Never underestimate the power of gossip. It's important to know what people are saying to whom about what. Now, we're not talking about the malicious kind that some people spread for sport nor are we interested in dishing the private lives of those who run in our circles. What we are interested in, what you should keep an ear open for, is the industry buzz, buzz, buzz. This is what we're hearing, how about you?
Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why, was over the moon recently. Why? Because his novel hit the Children's list as a New York Times Bestseller. Congrats, Jay!
Pssst! Did you hear that publishers and the chain booksellers want more succint novels? Yes, it's true. Now, we're not talking Michael Cunningham's THE HOURS-short (53,730 words), though if you can and create something as gorgeous, good on you. An attractive word count these days is between 70,000-80,000 words. The reason? Of course there's always that old chestnut about people not having enough time for reading, but there's also the very real issue of shelf space. The thinner the books, the more will fit on a shelf. Not that you asked, but I say let all of the outside world be static and write for the story.
And did you know about the bestselling British author who is supposedly just as nice in person as the public persona she projects? It's true! I had the good fortune to meet Kate Mosse at a Buttonwood Books-sponsored reading this week -- her only stop in New England. Kate is the author of LABYRINTH and the just released SEPULCHRE. We chatted along with her Orange Prize co-founder Sam McGregor (let's hear it for women helping women!) for quite a bit and then Kate began her talk. She is brilliant and beautiful and a superb writer.One last item of note: TETHERED sold in China!
I know this doesn't count per se as gossip, but if you long for inside info that is entertaining -- and highly practical -- you haven't had your regular dose of Kristin Nelson's blog. I'd fallen out of the habit and recently went back; it is every bit as addicting as a certain magazine with star photos, yet delivers real benefits! Two favorite posts that come to mind that are better than gossip for Writers-With-First-Manuscripts are her post on Where Eight New Clients Came From, and last fall's blog workshop series on writing queries, which started with Pitching and All That Jazz. I re-read the latter recently, and was again grateful for her generosity!
I had breakfast with my agent, Elisabeth Weed, yesterday and after talking about books and publishing for two hours, I practically skipped to the seminar I taught later that day. Though there are writers who have yet to meet their agent face-to-face, I highly recommend taking the time and making the effort to nurture a good relationship. And that goes for your relationship with your editor too.
In this month's Poets and Writers, Jofie Ferrari-Adler has written a wonderfully insightful q & a with senior editor at Little, Brown, Pat Strachan. Not only does Strachan share highlights of her career, working with Tom Wolfe, Marilynne Robinson and Grace Paley, to name a few, but she gives advice to writers on working to build a career. The insider information she offers is well worth the read.