Tag Archives: novels

Blurbs, Blurrgh

Last week was Spring break, but I was doing anything but relaxing. We finished the last round of edits on The Juliet mid-week, and I was panicking about the blurbs that hadn’t come in. See, everything was on track for there to be physical books delivered in time for the Northern Virginia launch at One More Page Books on March 25, but no one told our chief book wrangler that I had a DC launch schedule for two days earlier at Upshur St. Books (yes, both shops are ones that the President has visited on his annual holiday shopping tour). To make that deadline we had to send off the book files at least a day earlier than planned, and by 6:30pm Thursday night I was frantically refreshing my email, hoping that my blurbers would come through.

A quick note on blurbs—the jury is still out as to whether they have any effect on selling your book, but their appearance certainly lends an air of legitimacy to your art. Asking for and collecting them is sort of terrifying and embarrassing—Please read my book and say you love it in public? Writing them isn’t so bad, but I spend too much time crafting those one or two sentences that will permanently adorn a book’s cover, like a tattoo. I can’t imagine how I’d react if someone asked for a blurb turnaround time of only a week. Which is what I did.

So at 7:00pm Thursday night, Art Taylor was commencing a panel at the Burke Centre library, where he would lead a discussion about literary and genre fiction publishing experiences. The panel included me, Tara Laskowski, and Steve Weddle. Just as Art was doing the introductions, I received a blurb—a really fab one—and I frantically copied and pasted it into a message to the publisher, typing on my iPad, which I held under the table, which wasn’t all that clandestine seeing as there was no skirting. Everyone in the audience could see what I was doing, and the only one who couldn’t was Art. Sorry, Art.

From there we all had a great session, but I don’t think we talked lit vs. genre as much as Art had planned. The audience–bigger than I had expected—was mostly writers with significant experience, including several members of the local Sisters in Crime chapter, so we mainly talked about our different paths to publishing. Art has been successful in selling his short stories to commercial crime magazines, Steve Weddle works with an agent, and Tara and I are having truly positive experiences working directly with our publishers.

Once I got home, the next amazing blurb arrived, and by morning the final blurb. They are all so wonderful, and were produced so quickly, I can’t help but feel that I’ve got some serious karma to work off. So once all the blurbs were sent off and the information is updated on my various pages, there isn’t much more for me to do for The Juliet until the book actually comes out.

Which is NEXT WEEK. And if you can’t wait until then you can order a print copy directly from CreateSpace, NOW.

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Fidelity and the short story that comes from/turns into a novel

Question: When you write a short story that spawns a novel or when you extract material from a long project to create a short story, how concerned are you about consistency between them?

In my own practice, I make a regular habit of developing short work and submitting it for publication from whatever novel project I’m working on, both to buoy my spirits and to test the general concepts/characters. I rarely take into consideration how the short work diverges from–or outright contradicts–the long work.

I imagine I need to think more about the dependencies between the forms if they are operating with the same concepts, although the only time it was an issue that I was aware of was when Barrelhouse hosted an event to support my novel but were also selling issues of the mag with a story of mine in it. They cautioned purchasers not to read the story before the book because the story gave away the ending.

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