Sunday, March 22, 2009

Be prepared...

It is Tania Hutley's book launch for her debut children's novel Tough Enough this evening at the wonderful jabberwocky Books in Mt Eden - 6pm. See you there!

Went to see the movie Duplicity yesterday on a daytime date with my SO. We both loved the movie. Weren't so sure about Clive Owen (no, he shouldn't have been James Bond instead of Daniel Craig - he cannot run like JB should and his shoulders are not broad enough to take on all those bad guys - Daniel Craig has 007 stamped on his DNA), Julia Roberts went up in my estimation and I will be watching out for other movies written and directed by Tony Gilroy (of Michael Clayton, Bourne trilogy fame) in the future. I found myself straining to hear every word of dialogue so I didn't miss one single gem. Loved the scene where Julia Roberts said very little but almost killed the other women with her icy stare, and the very first scene at the beginning of the movie when the two main characters first meet. Their conversation sucks you in and you know you have to stay and hear everything else they say until the credits roll and the lights go up at the end.

From across the blogosphere I loved this list of ten lessons from romance writer Michele Dunaway on the Bookends Blog the other day and this incredible video clip today on Kristen Nelson's pubrants. The video clip must be very cleverly edited to produce the miraculous skills it displays but the basic question of how to put your best, most compelling foot forward is an intriguing one. How do we best sell ourselves to potential publishers, agents and book buyers? Everyone has ideas but so often the answer seems out of our hands. Not even the publishers and booksellers can say what makes some books go like a rocket. And agents and publishers can't tell you exactly what they want until they see it in front of them. This is why persistence is a necessary skill. And being prepared. The other day Janet Reid admonished a querier for submitting a query and then going on holiday making himself and his manuscript unavailable for two weeks. The number of people who responded with comments about how they carry their ms around with them electronically wherever they go got me wondering. My first reaction to this whole thing was to think that agents and publishers train us to expect a wait of several months and we imagine those magical stories of being read overnight and contacted the very next day are myths or only apply to anyone else but us. Give the guy a break Janet - you've trained us too well and we've learned not to expect much. We are in a system where many agents/publishers can opt not to reply to submissions at all. However I know I have been lucky a number of times and luck is partly about being in the right place at the right time and being prepared when opportunity comes knocking. I guess I can say the system has its shortcomings or its downright negative side but its the system were in and if we want to succeed we have to be ready.

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