Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Closing tabs

Swimming the Hellespont! (FT site registration required; thanks to Ian C.-B. for the link.) I must do this one day....

A lovely piece by novelist Alan Warner at the Observer about what it meant to him, as a boy in the Western Highlands, to get his driver's license. (I am a person without a driver's license, and really I enjoy a life without driving, but triathlon in the end is going to make me have to learn to drive and get comfortable renting a car and driving self and bike out of the city to get to good training areas and/or races; public transportation is not so convenient in this regard, alas.)

I've been thinking quite a bit this past week about the whys and wherefores of book promotion; it is not my metier, but it must be done, and various friends and colleagues have offered thoughtful suggestions as I ponder the impending publication of Invisible Things. Several former students have been especially generous with their time and attention, and Brent contributes a link to Gary Butler's interesting 2007 profile of science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer:
He works seven days a week, and the definition of “work” covers many tasks, including writing/editing, developing personal marketing strategies, and graciously participating in too-long media interviews. Each novel takes a year of his life: three to four months of research (mostly reading, predominantly popular science, philosophy, and history – his favourite part of the process); two to three months for the first draft, writing a fixed target of 2,000 words per day (“it’s the only part I don’t enjoy – like a sculptor making his own clay”); three to four months of revisions, yielding anywhere from four to eight drafts before the book is “abandoned, never finished”; and finally, two months of vigorous promotion.
Slightly to my own amazement, I will be signing ARCs at BEA on Wednesday, May 26 from 3:30-4 at Table 19 (the HarperCollins Children's Books booth is #3340), so if you are there, please do stop by and pick up a copy and say hello.

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