Friday, March 09, 2007

Dear Editor: Is This a Clip?

I've read (or think I've read) about new writers using letters to the editor as published clips. What's your take on this? Is this a legitimate practice, or one of those new writer pipe dreams?

Noooooo!!! Don't do this.

Letters to the editor are in no way true clips. True clips are articles that you've researched and written and for which someone has contracted you (and should be paying you as well, but I know that some writers will write for free - a practice I really disagree with - but won't argue here). LTTE are not. If anything, sending your published letter to the editor only sends a clear signal that you haven't been published elsewhere or don't have anything better to offer. If LTTE counted as published clips, then everyone from my grandmother to a second-grader could be considered a published author, and sorry, they're not.

Please. Do. Not. Do. This.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'm Unboxed Again!

Thanks to everyone who emailed or posted questions! I'm so excited to get back to answering them...and if you haven't sent one my way but have a conundrum, go ahead and press "send!"

Today's post is at Writer Unboxed, where I'm now a monthly contributor. It's all about separating fact from fiction when working on your novel and how writing something that is too close to home might come bite you in the ass. Check it out.

Back tomorrow with more answers to your wonderful questions!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who Has Questions?

Because I might have answers....

I can't believe it, but I've burned through every last question that you wise folks have asked. So either a) I've taught you everything you need to know or b) the students have become the masters and you no longer need me. :)

That said, if you're lurking out there and need something answered, send it my way! That's what keeps this blog rolling. Don't be intimidated - I'm nice, really!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Getting a Feel for Film Rights

Can you discuss how film rights work? Do you have a different agent who handles them? What are the chances that film rights sell?

Ah, film rights, the ultimate dream of most writers out there. (Until they wreck your vision of it by casting Colin Farrell when you were more thinking Tom Hanks.)

Film rights are tough on several counts: 1) they're not always an easy sell. We have some things in the work for TDLF - and we've had some other things in the work for a looooong time - and who knows what will pan out. You can't pin your hopes on selling film rights. (If and when something pans out for me, you guys will be the first, well, the second after my husband, to know.) 2) Even if you sell those rights - usually in an option format, meaning they "option" the rights to your book for a certain amount of time but aren't under any obligation to actually make the film - there's still a slim chance that you'll ever see your work on the silver screen. Why that is, I'm not entirely sure, but I'm guessing that studios and production companies don't mind shelling out money to retain the possibility that they might want to make the movie, but when push comes to shove, they don't want to shell out to make the actual movie. And there are a variety of factors that go into this: landing the right actors, whether or not your demographic will show up at the theaters, whether or not execs think the story will sell, etc.

As far as agents, no, I don't have a separate agent who handles film rights, but MY agent has an agent who handles film rights. How it works is this: film agents can pick and choose which projects they want to represent, much like a literary agent can. Only this time, I'm not the one shopping the book, my agent is. So she farms it out to film agents she thinks are good matches, and then it's in their hands as to whether they say yes or no. My agent does deal with production companies more directly, however. They come to her and say, "Hey, I'm interested in TDLF; can you send it my way?," and she does.

So that's how it all works. Questions? Thoughts? Something I left out?

Monday, March 05, 2007

What I'm Doing Now to Pay Off Later

WIP update: I'm really happy with my progress - up to page 117 on my revise, and my goal last week was only page 100, so I'm ahead of the game. This week, I want to finish revising up to page 150 (where my draft ends), and then hopefully crank out another 10-20 new pages. The goal is to be at about page 175+ by the time my agent returns from her honeymoon. We'll see. goes it with your WIPs?

A few people wrote me to ask what sort of PR stuff I'm doing right now for the book. I know that I glazed over this in a post last week, so I thought I'd elaborate. From what I understand, a lot of the PR work really will come once the book is released - going around to a lot of bookstores and introducing myself (with the hopes that this might draw attn from the staff to the book), signing stock, doing interviews that my agent says will inevitably happen, and I dunno what else. But I've steeled myself to be supremely stressed and busy. Blech.

Right now, here's what I have going on, in terms of the PR stuff: I have a bunch of Q/As for blogs and websites that I have to put some thought into and answer (thanks to anyone who has asked! I'm flattered and grateful); I'm redesigning my website with a professional (as opposed to the half-assed job that I created myself), so that's going to take some time this week, and I'm hoping to have it up soon; I'm writing the Reading Group Guide that HarperCollins offers on their site for book clubs; I'm brainstorming essay ideas and drafts for my publicist to submit to a variety of places such as the Lives column in the NY Times Magazine; I'm busy reaching out to libraries, readers and breast cancer causes on places such as MySpace and via their own blogs, etc; I'm putting the finishing touches on an essay that I wrote about my friendship with Lizzie for the June issue of Fitness; I'm checking in with writers I know who read the galley to see if they've been able to place any reviews in shorter-lead mags/sites/newspapers.

Hmmm, I'm sure that there's more, but those are the things that spring to mind right now...

Authors out there, what did you to at this stage (a few months out) to help your own PR plan?