inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #101 of 126: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 14 Jan 03 12:35
    
What was that band of sf authors that used to play every year at 
Armadillocon... I'm drawing a blank on that one.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #102 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Tue 14 Jan 03 12:56
    
Oh right, Jon. Brad Denton, Warren Spector, I think, Steve Gould...I
don't recall what they were called. I'm sure someone around here will
remember.
I wonder if any of them still get together to play...
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #103 of 126: CONSTANCE ASH writes... (tnf) Tue 14 Jan 03 16:17
    

Ellen, people go to readings for all kinds of reasons.  They go to have the
chance of seeing and hearing a writer they've admired on the page.  They go
to get a jump maybe on an author's new book before its published.  But I
think a reading series that is successful, in the sense that there is an
audience there time-after-time, is another kind of thing.  You may have a
core audience that itself changes and melds and so as people's secheduled
change or they move.  But what a continuing series does, one like the KGB
series with which you are connected, is provide a sense of community to the
audience and the readers together.  This is something that writers in
particular are often very hungry for.  Just my thoughts, anyway.

Constance Ash
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #104 of 126: Jack Womack (jack-womack) Tue 14 Jan 03 16:29
    
Speaking as someone with experience as a writer, publicist, and
bookstore employee, my advice to writers is as follows:

1. If your book isn't face out on bookstore shelves, don't take it
upon yourself to make adjustments. The clerks will notice and readjust
accordingly. Definitely don't call over the manager to complain; after
you leave, all copies but one will be removed from the shelf and one
copy it will remain, spine out, till the book is returned.
2. If you drop by stores to sign, don't do it at lunch, rush hour, or
weekend afternoons. You'll have to stand around waiting much longer for
someone to come over with the copies.
3. If you want to set up a signing at your local store, do it through
your publicist. Independent or chain, no matter.
4. Sometimes you might be traveling somewhere on your own and not
understand why your publicist won't set up an event. Sometimes this is
because the publicist is incompetent, true. More often it's because
there's a very good reason, or reasons -- the store has only one copy
on hand and doesn't want to order more; the last time you were at the
store and had an event, five people showed up; the day you're around is
booked; the store's policy is not to have signings for mass market
titles.
5. Having go cards printed and scattered at various places by yourself
is mildly effective. Mildly, the key adjective. 
6. Tell your writer friends about your book. Sometimes they'll have a
chance to read it; sometimes they read everything; sometimes they'll
tell other people to read it even if they don't read it themselves.
7. If you have a blog, flog.
8. If you have a list of people to whom you'd like review copies sent,
definitely forward it on to your publicist. HOWEVER if you send lists
numbering in the 100s, expect demurrals.
9. DON'T contact reviewers yourself. There's no surer way to keep your
book from being reviewed, especially if you don't know the reviewer.
10. Don't expect your publicist to give you a full listing of everyone
to whom you sent the book. See number 9.

Those are some things to keep in mind, off the top.

As for catching the eye of a non-genre reviewer, this is the greatest
mystery and challenge of publicity. Why were my first, fifth, and
seventh books reviewed in the NY Times but not the others? Why did the
Voice review the first, and nary another after? Why did the Financial
Times review my most sci-fi-ey, Elvissey? I had great luck publicizing
John Crowley's latest, last year, but not Jeff Ford's -- no
explanation.  

These things are far greater mysteries than whether or not Bigfoot
would drive an SUV.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #105 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Tue 14 Jan 03 18:36
    
Constance, 
You're right about reading series. The ONLY downside I can see to them
is that it's very difficult to get a bookstore to sell books at a
reading that's not in a bookstore--eg. We could not get any bookstore
to provide/sell books at the Jonathan Carroll KGB reading although his
publicist (and I, who have a few connections) tried.

But in whatever town/city you are try to organize a reading series.
Pat Cadigan runs one at a BOrder in London. Terry Bisson, who has moved
to the bay area is trying to start a new reading series out there (he
started the KGB series with Mark Jacobson, and then Alice Turner, and
finally me).
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #106 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Tue 14 Jan 03 18:37
    
Thanks Jack for the advice and the caveats.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #107 of 126: nape fest (zorca) Tue 14 Jan 03 23:06
    
thanks, jack. great advice.

so i keep hearing that it makes sense for many authors to hire their own
publicists. is there a best way to go about doing that?
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #108 of 126: Maure Luke (maureluke) Wed 15 Jan 03 06:48
    
Hi again. Ellen, this may be really naive, but I'm interested to know
how you find new writers. The stories in the anthologies always seem
mostly to be ones that people wrote specifically for the anthology,
stories by established writers, or stories that have been published
elsewhere first. Have you ever collected a new story from a new author
altogether in one of your anthologies?
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #109 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Wed 15 Jan 03 08:11
    
Hi Maure, 
Actually, Terri and I have published several new writers over the
years in our collaborative anthologies--and I've used some in my solo
anthologies as well. They're all word of mouth, so we often get
submissions from former Clarion students who tell each other about the
antho. Here are writers' whose early (or first work) we've published.
There are more, I just checked some of my anthos:
Leah Cutter
Leonard Rysdyk
Wendy Wheeler
Carolyn Dunn
Bryn Kanar
Emma Hardesty
Kelly Eskridge
Bruce Glassco
Melissa Lee Shaw
Christopher Rowe
Daniel Abraham
Susanna Clarke
Anne Bishop
Sten Westgard
Mike O'Driscoll
J. Calvin Pierce

Of course, the YBFH is ALWAYS a reprint anthology.
We find new writers by reading. If we like what we read we contact the
author. 
I read early stories by Pat Cadigan, Howard Waldrop, and others in
anthologies in the early 80s and because I liked their work. I
contacted Kelly Link after reading one story of hers and kept after her
for several years before she submitted "The SPecialist's Hat" to me.

As Jack mentions early in our conversation. I would/still do meet
writers whose work I've heard of but perhaps not read and say, "so send
me a story." 

And I do read slush that my reader (Kelly Link) passes on to me.
Ellen
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #110 of 126: Maure Luke (maureluke) Wed 15 Jan 03 08:47
    
Oh, very cool. Thank you for answering with specifics, it's very
interesting to me. 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #111 of 126: Jack Womack (jack-womack) Wed 15 Jan 03 09:03
    
Authors hiring their own publicists:  sometimes a good idea, sometimes
not. First, they're expensive -- a good publicity campaign run by a
freelancer or agency is going to run you a couple thousand, at least
(note: a *good* campaign). There are indeed plenty of good agencies and
freelancers out there, and publishers are always happy to have the
help.

 There are, however, only so many things that can be done with genre
fiction titles by midlist (or new) authors above and beyond what the
publisher's publicity department can do. (Or, for that matter,
non-genre fiction titles; nonfiction titles are another thing entirely,
however, and often a hired publicist is more readily able to get
additional attention). Followup calls etc. can be made to reviewers to
whom the galleys/books are sent, but if a reviewer is impervious to the
pleas on one he/she will often be impervious to the pleas of the
other. Bookstores can be called, and events set up, but if there's no
money in the publisher's budget for co-op then the event sometimes can
not even be advertised unless the author pays, and this is in 99
percent of cases just not cost-effective. With big titles of course
there are a lot of things goiong on, and the more hands the merrier;
but big titles are big titles because they're getting publicity in the
first place. 

These are just a few basic pros and cons off the top of my head, and
it really varies from book to book as to whether or not extra publicity
will be of help in boosting profile/sales. Most importantly, whatever
the freelance agency/publicist does must be coordinated with the
publisher's publicity department so as to prevent duplication of
effort, etc., but the agency/publicist will know this, or should.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #112 of 126: from BERT BROWN (tnf) Wed 15 Jan 03 11:02
    



Bert Brown writes:


On readings/signing and such, would either of you recommend a more personal
touch, such as reading from manuscript rather than a copy of the book, or
reading from works-in-progress and other stuff as well as the work at hand?
JDo writers tend to go into a reading thinking the audience ought to buy
their book? JWould it be better for writers to establish a personal
connection to their audience rather than rely on the "greatness of their
masterpiece," or is that path fraught with peril? JWriters aren't rockstars,
obviously, but maybe the difference is only one of attitude?

Bert Brown
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #113 of 126: Jack Womack (jack-womack) Wed 15 Jan 03 12:18
    
Reading/signing:  I read from whatever's most recent I have at hand,
usually -- if there's a new book out, I read from that; if I'm working
on something, I always like to try it out, even if copies can't be
bought for (six months)(1 year)(2 years). With some of the readings I
did with Elliott Sharp, I did read selections from past works --
"greatest hits" as it were. Depends on the timing of the reading;
certainly I wouldn't choose to read anything I was working on if I was
pushing a new book just out. And as for reading from book/manuscript --
usually it's physically easier to read from a manuscript; that way I
can also (as I age) increase the size of the typeface accordingly, as
need be, without resorting to constantly peering over trifocals....
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #114 of 126: Jack Womack (jack-womack) Wed 15 Jan 03 12:21
    
More: I've always tried to maintain a personal connection to my
audience; but then at times it's seemed to me that I know most members
of same in the first place, anyway.

Writers certainly aren't rock stars. A few can get away with it,
audience-wise. Backstage, it's when they start wanting the red M & Ms
removed from the bowl that it gets tricky.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #115 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Wed 15 Jan 03 14:47
    
It usually makes sense to read the most recent thing you've got out
and published (or about to be published) although at KGB we encourage
our readers to read stories rather than novel excerpts. At a bookstore
reading you can be sure that the store (and your publisher) will expect
you to read from the novel they are promoting. At KGB and other
smaller venues (particularly where books are not being sold) there's a
lot more leeway.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #116 of 126: CONSTANCE ASH writes... (tnf) Wed 15 Jan 03 15:16
    


From Constance Ash:


Ellen and Jack -- Reading more recent or unpublished work -- that's another
important way an audience for writers differs from the music industry
audience.  The musician's fans want to hear all the old stuff all the time
(by and large).  Writers' audiences want to hear something new.  No doubt
there are exceptions.

However, speaking of NYC, I'm depressed by the latest Ground Zero plans, as
discussed in the press and at Pace this week.  I wasn't able to attend
myself due to other commitments.  Personally, having lived all my NYC life
shadowed by the Towers, now that the first stages of all this are over, I've
settled into a seemingly permanent state of low-level jitters that can go
high-level in a nano -- I'd rather nothing at all be built.  I've gotten
used to having open sky and space and brighter days and longer days.  It has
improved the quality of life down here a lot.

Is that heresy?

Constance
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #117 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Wed 15 Jan 03 21:03
    
Constance, 
I don't think it's heresy. It's an interesting pov that no one (as far
as I know) has addressed. Too bad you couldn't give your input. 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #118 of 126: Jack Womack (jack-womack) Thu 16 Jan 03 07:29
    
When they finally opened the area up enough last March so that you
could actually walk down Church Street, directly along the site, the
only heartening thing I felt was how startlingly sun-filled it now was
in that part of downtown. 

It'll be a good ten years before anything is built down there, I
think. In the paper this morning I was reading about delays in getting
the new building started where 7 World Trade stood -- evidently some of
site owner Larry Silverstein's bankers are not pleased by the loss of
office space that will be caused by his leaving space to cut Greenwich
Street back through, but more to the point, he still hsas no tenants
signed to rent space in the rebuilt structure. 

Ellen, I believe today is the end of our two weeks' discussion. Am I
believing correctly? If so, how do you want to leave our audience?
Laughing? Thinking? Breathing a sigh of relief?
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #119 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Thu 16 Jan 03 15:06
    
Jack, isn't it tomorrow that we end? 

I'd like to leave the audience laughing with relief that we're
done--unless there are last minute questions....

I'm off to see the play _Adult Entertainment_ by Elaine May and with
Jeannie Berlin in it--after spending much of the day hanging out with
Eileen Gunn, who is in town visiting for a few days.

The KGB reading last night with Greg Frost and Kate Bernheimer went
wonderfully well. We had a large crowd. We all went to dinner at the
Kiev afterwards--about 25 of us! And the service, for the first time
was awful even though the food, as usual was great. Two new waitresses
who couldn't speak English and who couldn't/wouldn't figure out our
bill. Otherwise it was a wonderful eve. Greg read from his new horror
novel FITCHER'S BRIDE, a bluebeard story from Tor BOoks and Kate read
some of her brief fairy tales. Both held us all spellbound. Photos
eventually on my site, once my webmaster gets to it.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #120 of 126: Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 16 Jan 03 17:03
    
Today's the last full day!

And I'd like to thank both of you, Ellen and Jack, for a great conversation.

It's not that you have to stop tomorrow, by the way, it's just that we
unlock the shackles.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #121 of 126: Gail Ann Williams (gail) Thu 16 Jan 03 17:14
    
Thanks for the insights!
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #122 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Thu 16 Jan 03 20:46
    
Thanks for having us Martha. I think Jack's relieved :-) we never talk
THIS often!
Where does it go from this url once we're done (so I can change the
link from my website, which is, btw: www.datlow.com 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #123 of 126: Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 16 Jan 03 20:58
    
Stays right here.  Same bat url, same bat station.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #124 of 126: Jack Womack (jack-womack) Fri 17 Jan 03 09:05
    
It's been real. Well, sort of. Thanks, Ellen! Thanks, Martha! Thanks,
everybody!
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #125 of 126: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 17 Jan 03 10:33
    
Thanks, Jack! And thanks, Ellen! Great discussion.

Feel free to keep talking.
  

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