Saturday, May 28, 2011

BEA, Day Three

This is how I started Day Three: meeting book bloggers Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelf and Nicole of Linus's Blanket for breakfast. Don't they look tired? I was tired, too. BEA does that to you. You're exhausted and your feet hurt, but you don't stop. Jenn lives near me and we see each other and tweet all the time. She runs events at Arlington, VA indie bookstore One More Page (and by now you probably realize that I live there part-time, eating their chocolate and drinking their wine). Nicole lives in NYC and has a blog I adore because it's so smart and her selections are so good. We met at Book Blogger Con (more on that in a minute) last year when she spoke on a panel about supporting good causes through blogging.

We then piled into a cab and headed to Javits where they went off to be industrious and I stood in the Simon & Schuster booth gabbing with all the wonderful Gallery and S&S people.

My next stop was to meet Janet Cadsawan, jewelry designer. I can't go into too much detail here because it's still a surprise but Janet and I have been in touch for a few weeks and this was an opportunity to meet in person. I will talk about her jewelry in a future post, but let me say here it was a total blast meeting Janet! She has led quite an interesting life, is currently living an interesting life and no doubt will be interesting in new surprising ways in the future. If she doesn't write a book about it, I will. There are already plans to have a dashing Lady Cadsawan character in a future novel.

Next I met with MJ Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist series. MJ kindly blurbed my book and I wanted to thank her in person. Not only is MJ a lauded author but she is also a marketing whiz and publishing industry insider, and let me tell you how generous she is, she gave me, a newbie, tons of advice. And she is pretty glamorous so you feel like you're getting the NYC experience just being around her.

By now, I've been away from the office for three days and am just starting to relax enough to ENJOY what's going on. I walked back from drinks with MJ thinking this is completely different from work and it is pretty good. I could get used to this. I could see myself doing this, the writer thing.

Last stop of the day: my friend and thriller writer Karen Dionne is running a writer's conference in association with her online writers community Backspace. There are lots of published authors who are Backspace members, including some fellow debut authors I've met online but haven't met in person, so I said I'd stop by the bar after the conference concluded for the day. Only I get the schedule mixed up and end up too early, so I sit in on the evening session on the realities of selling in today's publishing market run by my friend Jeff Kleinman, a well-known and well-respected literary agent and really good guy. Again, one of these people who is so generous with his time and expertise. In addition to the folks in the session, I got to meet more Backspace folks afterwards in the bar including Sara J Henry, who I'll be reading with at Squaw Valley Community of Writers this summer.

It was very late by the time I got back to the hotel, needing to be at Book Blogger Con at the Javits Center early in the morning. I'll talk about Book Blogger Con -- one of my favorite conferences of any kind -- in my next post.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BEA -- Day Two

Day Two was not completely off the hook as Day One. It started with a leisurely morning on the expo floor. I arrived at the Simon & Schuster booth as they were unveiling the cover for Cassie Clare's next book. The line was about 1,000 people long waiting to get a tee-shirt. Across the aisle was this giant mock-up of the book and this very friendly model with an Australian accent offering to pose for pictures with folks before the cover. No one was taking him up on his offer. Have they lost their minds? How often do you get the chance to stand next to a handsome young man in period steampunk garb? It was awesome. Also, try to imagine that pretend book standing in your living room, greeting all your guests when they come through the door. That's what I'd do if I were Cassie Clare.

I met my editor, Trish, at a restaurant to go over her notes for revision of the second book, The RECKONING. I would like to dispel the myth that all writers are prickly about doing revisions. I look forward to getting guidance from my editor and agent. Without a doubt it makes the books stronger. Look, a novel is a damned hard thing to write. It's like trying to steer a huge ship through a very narrow passage with innumerable sharp rocks lurking along the ocean floor. You need people standing at the bow and the sides, letting you know when you're veering off course. You'd be an idiot not to take the advice of people who have much more experience navigating these waters.

A short break in my day while I made appointments for the last day of BEA and selected the restaurant where I will have lunch tomorrow with the awesome publicist at Gallery, Mary (note to self: write future blog about the incredible restaurants. Geez louise, I live in DC and you'd think we have some nice restaurants there but the past two days have been mind-blowing in the food department.) Then I was briefly at the Workman Publishing BEA party which was like a scene of a literary party in a movie, only with about twice the number of people and more catering. (Way to go, Workman!)

Then dinner with my literary agent, Peter Steinberg, who as you may have already heard is the best agent in the world. Since every meeting in the book world is, by law, done over food and/or drinks, we went to dinner to talk about -- well, everything from Game of Thrones to Tim Gunn to writing projects. This was done over plates and plates of the most fantastical, delicately flavored Korean food I have ever eaten. Really. We'd take a bite of one dish and go, "this is amazing" and then take a bite from a second dish and say, "oh my god, this is even more amazing" and so on.

So a pretty crazy wonderfully delicious and slightly surreal day, and that's leaving out the part where I met Colin Meloy, singer for The Decemberists, and his wife artist Carson Ellis, and author Lauren Oliver. Or author Naomi Benaron. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Book Expo America -- Day One

It's 3 AM on Weds 25 May, the day after my debut at BEA. Words will have to wait for another time but I wanted to share some photos. It started with the signing for The TAKER with longs so unexpectedly long we added another 30 mins, went to lunch and drinks with the folks at Gallery, my wonderful agent Peter and his assistant Lisa, and meeting buyers and press, to seeing so many blogger friends at the Bookrageous party. You only have one chance to debut. Mine could not have been better.
Katie (Book Addict Katie) is one of my Washington, DC buds. She wrote the first review of The Taker and has been a constant supporter since. And she is the nicest person and best storyteller.
How many book publishers will get tattooed for you? The gang at Gallery Books at lunch, all with TAKER tattoos.
This is what happens when you have a box of fake tattoos in a bar...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Swag. Loot. Gifts. Gets Yours.

Would you like some TAKER swag to keep your copy of The TAKER company? Send me your mailing address via email (almakatsu@gmail.com) and I'll send you a lovely gilded bookmark, a signed bookplate and a temporary tattoo. Offer good while supplies last. I'll ship anywhere worldwide until it starts to become prohibitively expensive....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shooting a Video for The TAKER, circa 1747

I've mentioned more than once that I have the most generous publisher in the world, yes? Among the many wonderful promotional opportunities they are heaping on my little book is a book trailer. As we were kicking around ideas, I said wouldn't it be nice to take advantage of some historical Colonial site for flavor, like someplace in Massachusetts or, I dunno, maybe Colonial Williamsburg.

And they said YES.

So this past Monday, I found myself down at Colonial Williamsburg scouting out locations that might be included in the video. Gallery Books hires a company that makes videos and there was quite a bit of prep work, including questionnaires and a conference call, and finding additional still artwork. But then on Monday, I went all over the historic village, taking pictures and trying on tricorner hats and talking to the characters (as the actors are called), and trying hard not to touch everything or rent a costume to flounce around the village because, really, that's only charming on children.

I kept hoping a young man would dash through town on a black horse but it was too hot to pretend it was St. Andrew, Maine (hometown of Lanny and Jonathan, two of the main characters).

Tuesday we filmed the talking portion, which is me, sitting in a chair next to a fire engine RED wall where the fireplace is located. We filmed in a historic house, the Isham Goddin Shop, which you can rent for lodging. I forgot to take pictures of the cottage (can you believe it?) but here is a photo of Jason, the videographer against aforementioned wall:
I'll let you know when the video is out but in the meantime, here are a few more photos of Colonial Williamsburg. Lovely, even if there is no Jonathan living there.