Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NZ SpecFic Blogging Week - Ooh La La!

I have to write something here, because, well, I can't NOT, can I? Even though I only just heard about this a couple of days ago and just today became aware of SpecFicNZ, I'm certain that this is a place where I belong.

It's a long road, this writing of science fiction, and it's been a lonely one - at least in physical terms. The international online community has been my salvation on many occasions - my support network, my reviewers, my fans.

And now, where I'm almost ready to take the leap and begin release of other authors' titles under my imprint, things are starting to get exciting. Just today I had a meeting regarding a nationwide radio advertising campaign for the runup to Christmas. I just have to decide whether to create the 30-second spot myself or leave it to the professionals.

Anyway, this post is mainly for the SpecFicNZ folks who might wander in. Be sure and check out the Splashdown Books homepage now open for pre-orders on our first two books, and the Splashdown Reviews site for sci-fi and fantasy books that have caught my attention. Don't forget you can connect with me on Twitter @gracebridges, and look me up on Facebook and Youtube.

I'm also planning to hold a seminar in late November on the basics of novel structure. So get in touch if you're interested in that. It'll be real cheap and probably held in Glenfield. Fun!

In the meantime, I'm headed off to France in a couple of days, so wish me luck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pre-orders open for The Muse

Well, here we are. Today I've set up the pre-order facility over at the Splashdown Books homepage, (preview at left) along with a dedicated page for each new release. The addition of shopping cart buttons drives in the fact that this is for real - and very soon, there's going to be real books to show for it. To reward those who buy before release date, we're going to offer a special electronic bonus as incentive. Fred's working on that right now.

In fact, Fred has been nothing but patient as I've gotten more and more frantic this week. Maybe he can't tell from halfway around the world. You see, I'm headed away on another two-month trek (blame that travelbug) and there's been a lot of stuff we needed to get done before that. I'm glad to say it's pretty much all done and in the can. What remains can be done from underway, or rather, en route in the back country of France.

It's been a busy week, all right - but I've loved every minute of it. Seriously, there's nothing I like better than to publish books and sink my teeth into marketing projects. Says she, the career-hopper. Heh.

Here's a video blog I just recorded today, including a bunch of stuff on Splashdown and upcoming projects. Talk to you later!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Best-Laid Plans

Had a nice weekend visiting with my middle son, who is at college in Chicago. Didn’t get any writing done, as is usually the case on these trips, but I put in a lot of think time regarding my writing plans for this fall.

‘Tis the season for NaNoWriMo, the novel-writing extravaganza that launched my first novel, The Muse, and which I intended to devote this year to another book-length project. It’s held annually during November, but that coincides with the release of The Muse, and I’ll be busy then with interviews, blog tours, and other promotional activities.

I discussed this problem with Grace, and she suggested bumping the NaNo writing up a month or two, which sounded like a good idea. The main benefit of doing it at the customary time is the mass networking/cheerleading/commiserating with the many other participants, but I didn’t participate in much of that last time, so I don’t think it’s a huge downside, though connecting with more local writers is one of my objectives for this year. I’ll just have to do that another way.

So, Plan B is now to write on the NaNo schedule (around 2000 words/day, every day) from 13 September to 13 October, which coincides with a work trip to Florida. I’m working day shift this time, so evenings will be free, leaving me little else to do but sit in my hotel room (or Starbuck’s, or on the beach) and write–an ideal situation.

The next problem is deciding which project to write, since I now have two–a science-fiction action/adventure story I’ve been outlining on-and-off all summer, and a sequel to The Muse, for which the idea just hit me a few weeks ago. I’m probably more prepared to start writing the sci-fi story, but a follow-up to my first novel, particularly if it gets a good response, needs to follow quickly, while the characters and their “universe” are fresh in the readers’ minds and in my own.

What to do? Both stories will be fun to write, and I have good reasons for writing either one. I could also try to do both of them. I’ve got another work trip from about 16 October to 7 November, so there’s room for another big push. The only problem with that is I don’t know how much juice I’ll have left in my batteries after putting out a max effort on one novel-length story. There’s also the possibility that whichever story I write first may turn out to be significantly longer than I expect. I may need the extra time to complete it.

Okay, decision time. I’ll plan to work on both stories in the two big blocks of writing time coming up. I’ll start with the sci-fi story, since I’ve laid most of the groundwork already, and that will also give me some more time to get initial feedback on The Muse before starting a sequel that might not happen.

As I did last year, I’ll blog a diary of my experience writing the stories as I go along. I’ll be returning last year’s diary to public access after The Muse debuts in November.

(crossposted from http://frederation.wordpress.com)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reality Check

I got my proof copy of The Muse in the mail a couple of days ago, and the impact of actually having the book in my hands, in very nearly its final form, was remarkable. Suddenly, this nebulous concept of "my book" had mass, and color, and texture.

Even re-reading the story was a different experience. There were still a couple of annoying typos to correct, but what really struck me was a few passages that seemed fine in the electronic copy felt like they needed adjustment in the printed copy. Some words didn't seem to resonate the way they should. Something about leafing through the story page-by-page was different from scrolling through it on a monitor.

The physicality of the book also ended all the comfortable convenience of treating it as something abstract. There it was, and from that point on, I was responsible for marketing it and answerable for what was between the covers. It's one thing to say, "Oh, I'm writing a book," or even, "I wrote a book that's going to be published one of these days," and quite another to have the thing sitting on your coffee table, demanding attention from everyone who passes by, with your name emblazoned across it in big, spooky letters forever identifying you as the one who made it happen.

It's daunting. It's like bringing a child into the world, hoping on the one hand that it will thrive and prosper, while at the same time praying it doesn't become a delinquent and wreak havoc on everyone and everything it touches.

Anyhow, The Muse is still on track to arrive in November. Get ready, world, here it comes!