Friday, April 03, 2009

ATwitter for Twitter

Okay, so I've been really bad about Twittering because, to be honest, I just don't really get the appeal, but my lovely friend, Christina Katz, aka, The Writer Mama, suggested that I install Tweetdeck...and thus, I have done so and hope to be more diligent about it. We'll see. I remain skeptical.

But if you're on Twitter, come find me at @aswinn!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My Golden Rule

So I'm hesitant to post this because I really don't want to seem like I'm whining (because I'm not a whiner), but it's been on my mind lately, so what the hell.

Part of being an author is getting reviewed. We know that. Sometimes, we might not like it, but we know it all the same. In fact, as the years have gone on, I've more or less numbed myself to reviews (after the first initial weeks of a book's release when you really don't know what the reaction will be). I mean, some people are going to like it, and some people aren't, and that's life. Really.

But I've made it a point, on Goodreads, for example, to only highlight books that I've enjoyed. Why? Because I know that authors are out there reading their reviews! And I'm always sort of surprised that some people can say such terrible things so publicly about an author or his/her works. I KNOW this sounds weird. I know it! I know that negative reviews serve a purpose to steer other people away from wasting their time reading said book. But still! I still find it negative reviews to be shocking, I don't know why.

Maybe it's because, as an author, I truly believe that it's an accomplishment to write a book, much less get it published, and so I'm not going to disparage what anyone else does. Could that be it? Yeah, maybe. Or maybe it's just that I don't like tearing someone down when I know the hard work that goes into it, and I also understand that, as noted before, if something isn't my cup of tea, that doesn't mean AT ALL that it won't be anyone else's. Maybe it's because, unlike a TV show or a movie, which are collaborative efforts and have a lot of cooks in their kitchens, a book is really the work of ONE person, and I think it's gutsy for that ONE person to put him/herself out there in such a vulnerable way. But regardless of my reasons (and obviously, I'm still mulling them over), I simply will not critique another author in public. It is my golden rule. I don't see the service of it to anyone. (Again, yes, steer someone clear of it, I get that, but isn't it also just as productive to instead point them toward something you like?)

I don't know. I don't know what my real point is here. Ha! I just read a review (not of my work, I'll note) that I thought was fairly rude and disparaging, and I thought, "I'll bet dollars to donuts that the author sees this," and had a momentary pang for her. I think part of the problem is the anonymity of the web: people write terrible things - not just about books, of course, but about celebrities, in blog comments, all over the place - that they're not accountable for. And I'm not talking about middling or lukewarm reviews. I'm talking about the really eviscerating ones that sort of raise your eyebrows and think, "WOW!"

Anyway, I really don't want to come off as sounding lame/whiny/ungrateful for this job that yes, exposes me to criticism, but offers some wonderful other benefits. It's just sort of me talking about this out loud and wondering if people realize that authors really do see your blog reviews/Amazon reviews/etc. I'm not suggesting that anyone alter their review to spare the author's feelings...really. That's part of this biz. But...I dunno. Am I making sense to anyone????

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

When Change Isn't A Good Thing

Question of the day: I have a question about big-time magazines...Last year I got an FOB assignment from one of my dream publications. Obviously, I was thrilled, and worked my booty off to make a good impression, do what the editor wanted, etc. It seemed like all went well. But when the article came out, it looked 80% different than the piece I sent in. The editor hadn't asked for any rewrites. I guess I'm this normal? Should I be discouraged or just chalk it up to the editing process? I'd like to send the editor more ideas, but am a bit hesitant to do so. Do you have any advice/thoughts on this?

Ah, yes, I have so been there, done that. You file a piece that you think is perfect, receive positive feedback, and then voila, rush to the newsstand when it comes out, only to find that it's nearly unrecognizable! And your stomach drops because you think it must suck.

The surprising truth of the matter is that often times, it doesn't mean a darn thing. Some magazines and editors - and the only way to get a feel for this is really through repeat work - are very, very, very into making it look like "their" mag, with "their" voice, in "their" format. These types of mags tend to edit just about everything, even from long-term writers.

That said, certainly, there are some editors who want their writers to nail the voice, etc, right out of the gate, so that they have less work to do (fair enough request), so sure, at times, this could be an indication that she wasn't pleased with the work. But, given that she didn't ask for revisions, I wouldn't necessarily infer that in this instance. It could be that once they had the info that you drafted, they envisioned the piece differently or as a box, not a narrative, etc, and it was just easier for her to repackage it. There are a lot of reasons why she might have changed it.

I think the best thing to do is simply to keep pitching her. If she assigns you something else, I'd just chalk it up to her/the mag's style and not give it a second thought. You could also easily send her an email and say, "Hey, I just wanted to be sure that you were satisfied with this, given that the published version was so different." I HAVE done this with one editor in the past, and she was totally pleased with my work (and I've since gone on to work with her many, many times) but had to make some changes to it for reasons that were out of my hands.

So don't be discouraged...this isn't a big red flag...and definitely, you can investigate and find out more. Anyone else out there been in this situation? What did it mean in your case?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Movie News: And We Have Lift-Off!

So super-duper excited! I was told last week that things are moving forward with the movie version of Time of My Life! After an extensive search for just the perfect screenwriter, the producers have finalized a deal with Nicole Eastman, whom I do not know personally but who wrote the forthcoming flick, The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl, and given the depth of the producers' search, Nicole is, I'm sure, a great match! What does this mean? Well, for one, it means that they're definitely serious about moving the project ahead from book to film, and it also means that we might have a draft of a script in a few months. (Squeeee!!) (I should note that I use the term "we" very liberally, as the producers are very kind to keep me abreast, but certainly, they are helming this - as they should! - and I'm not the one in charge, and anything they share with me is out of the kindness of their own hearts, which are big, and which I appreciate very much.)

Anyway, here's a trailer of Nicole's movie, out in July. Hopefully in the near future, I'll be posting the trailer of her NEXT movie, TOML! :)