Tuesday, 28 October 2008

True Confessions

Okay, I admit it. I've developed the really, really bad habit of checking out the sales rank for Rachel DuPree on Amazon. When the number is enormous, I tell myself it means nothing. When the number drops a bit, I'm ready to celebrate.

This is a quick route to insanity. Does anyone else find themselves doing this?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Separated at Birth

I've been blogging over on the Veggie Box about the similarities that crop up between MNW books - for instance, North and Taking Comfort right at the beginning of MNW's life.

Have you noticed any other similarities? What do you put this down to? The Zeitgeist? Something in the water? Do certain ideas come into their time?

Right, I'm off for a bath. Ooh, don't tell me you all do that on a Sunday afternoon too...

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Gone off it

When I was a Relate counsellor, one of the sex problems clients would present with was known in the trade as 'gone off it'. Well, I have gone off my WIP. Three quarters of the way through, on course for my (private) deadline, I've fallen out of love with my novel. What do I do? Finish the damn thing anyway? Bin it? Start a new one? Go for a long walk? Has this happened to anyone else? And if so, what did you do? Help, please!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Agents and All That Jazz

Okay, just to keep off of Eliza's Bad-Boy List, I'll ask something I've been wondering about. Where do all of you stand these days on the matter of agents?

I had shed mine just before I submitted to MNW (after her sage advice that my novel was "too American" to be of interest to anyone in Europe). Roger Morris, if I recall, already had an agent at the time he signed with MNW. I believe that the prolific Ms. Whiteley acquired an agent somewhere after Three Things but before Light Reading. And I know that many of you have been through the whole agent grind on the way to where you are today.

For me, it's been loverly (my subconscious must have just now connected Elizas) not worrying about the whole agent issue, but it's also become clear to me that my trajectory, be it high or be it low, at Pan Macmillan is going to be within the thriller genre--which makes sense from their point of view, and also makes sense from a career point of view.

Unfortunately, I'm not a sensible writer, and so I have this pile of stuff in other genres, and I've realized the only way I'm going to get the rest of it out there is through an agent. Sigh.

Being me, of course, I can't even decide whether I need an agent in the US or in the UK. (And finding someone who wants both thrillers and dain-bramaged fantasy/sci-fi with literary pretensions isn't easy in either place.)

But what about the rest of you? Are you repped? Do you feel the need to be repped? Do you feel that the word 'repped' is an annoying neologism, and just the sort of thing you'd expect from someone who lives so close to Hollywood?

Monday, 20 October 2008



Is there anyone there? Is everybody working very, very hard?

Monday, 6 October 2008

A passing thought

You know how musicians often have deals with the manufacturers of their instruments/microphones/sound equipment of choice, whereby they declare their love for said brand in exchange for money and free kit? ("So-and-so uses Whataracket drums!") Well, I wonder whether it would work for writers and our tools? To a certain extent it has been done - the late Douglas Adams was a big advocate of Apple Mac computers, while Moleskine claim that their notebooks were used by Hemingway (although there are some quibbles over the accuracy of this statement) - but never on the same scale as with musicians and instruments.

Saying that writers would never go for something as vulgar as a commercial endorsement simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny: for one thing, we don't all have the same personality and sense of what is and isn't appropriate, and secondly music is also a field in which artistic integrity often plays a large part in determining one's credibility (witness the contempt for major labels frequently displayed by indie bands), and that hasn't done the guitar endorsements any harm. Ultimately, as long as you don't turn into Krusty the Klown and start endorsing a load of random tat that you've never actually seen in person, never mind used, aren't these endorsements just word of mouth with benefits?

So what I propose (with tongue only partly in cheek), is that stationers and computer and software companies could run similar ads in the pages of, say, Writing Magazine or Writers' Forum, parading a particular author's fondness for their products; assuming they can find a willing author who does use their gear of course, and in exchange for money and free samples. I imagine there are plenty of authors who will be willing to skewer me if they lay eyes on this post, but I also believe that there will be a considerable number of others who think that there is a smidgen of method in my madness. And hey, there might be a computer company out there who likes my idea (a girl can dream), so just in case, I'll flutter my cyber-eyelashes at Advent and Microsoft in case they want to give me stuff. You never know.

Friday, 3 October 2008

The Gathering (part 4)

We seem to have a date, and, so far, a respectable seven (if we include Len. Come on, Len. Of course you can make it) - Aliya, Tim, Alis, Eliza, Matt, Len, Frances - for lunch on Friday 16th January. Of course, it will be lovely if more can make it. but I think seven makes it worth doing. Does everyone agree? And I suggest Len gets to choose the venue as his reward for joining us. You can't say fairer than that.