Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The other day I got asked to join the board for the Edmonton Arts Council. I thought about it for a bit, wondered what kind of commitment it would take, and all that. But then I said what the hell, why not. The EAC is a great organization that supports Edmonton arts and artists of all types, either with finances, organizational help or emotional support. It was a no brainer.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm applying to be the 2011 Writer-in-Residence for the Edmonton Public Library. You need a few letters of reference so one person I asked is my buddy and fantastic playwright Marty Chan. He's also a great YA novelist. Everyone in Edmonton knows Marty. But when I asked him for the reference and what it was for, he said, "I was going to ask you the same thing." So we are referring each other for the position where are competing for. That in itself tells a lot about Edmonton's community of writers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I've been reading a lot of online posts, FB comments, etc, about how one gets published as a novelist. Many people say one key to getting published is getting your name out there, blog a lot, tweet many times every day, update your FB status, write online reviews, comment on other posts; the more people get to know you, the better your chances are. I know a lot of writers who do this, a few are published, many are not. I know a writer who was having trouble finishing their novel. They complained they could never find the time, but every day they would spend a couple hours blogging, etc. In those two hours, I could have written at least 2,000 words, probably more.

As you know, if you follow my blog, and only one person follows my blog, I don't update much.
I'm on FB more and I do tweet a few times a week, but I don't do online reviews or follow and comment on other blogs about writing/publishing/novels. Compared to a lot of other writers out there, I pretty much don't exist online. But I'm the one with the bigtimewriter deal and they are still trying to get their novel finished. I'm the one with the pre-order listing for my novel on various online booksellers like B&N, Amazon and Chapters, and their presence on these sites is their name at the bottom of the reviews they have written about someone else's book. I'm the one with the bigtimewriter hardcover book coming out on March 1, 2011 and they're not. I'm not saying having an online presence won't help you get published. But you also need a completed manuscript to send out to publishers or agents. If you don't have a complete manuscript, then it doesn't matter how much you blog, tweet or comment.

So my writer friend who would complain about no time to write but had time to blog? They finally completed their novel. And you know what? They sent it out and found a publisher.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday night I went out for beer and pizza with friends. When I got home, there was a package for me. It was my copyedited manuscript. As most writers know, there are two types of edits when you have a book published. The first is the serious edit, where you and your editor discuss your story, your voice, your characters, all the important writing craft things. Jim Frenkel is my editor and he's been in the biz for decades and worked with people like Issac Asimov, Philip K. Dick,, Vernor Vinge, Jack Williamson, and many other great writers. So I was a bit intimidated to work with him. But he was great. He likes my book, likes my writing (which is why he signed me in the first place) and his suggestions for my book were great. He didn't force any changes on me and only wanted to make my book better. In the end, he did.

But copyediting, that's different. I hate copyediting and I know a lot of other writers do as well. It's a lot of nitpicking of details, factchecking, typos, etc. I don't envy the people who do that kind of thing and I don't wish to have their abilities or personality. But I appreciate it and know it's important. And because of one of these people, I have more than 300 pages of redmarked manuscript to go through. I have until Oct 4 but I should get it done faster. I'm going to hate this work but it's all part of the process.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My buddy and fellow Edmontonian, Thomas Trofimuk, had his novel, Waiting for Columbus, chosen as part of the new Richard and Judy Book Club. In case you don't know, Richard and Judy's Book Club is like the UK version of Oprah's book club. This is a major coup for any writer and sure to give him a huge boost in sales in the UK and possibly in Canada. I've known Thomas for awhile, we used to travel together to small town Alberta, touting our first novels in rural bookstores. Back then, he talked about this Columbus novel he was working on and it's good to see all the success he's had with it. Thomas is a great writer and a great guy, and a fine example of Edmonton's writing community. For years, I've been saying that Edmonton's literary community is one, if not the strongest one in the country and this is another example of why.