Monday, January 31, 2011

Be Mindful of What You Say but Careful of What You Write

Be mindful of what you say but careful of what you write. My parents used to tell me this as a child all of the time. It was likely due to the rather disturbing stories I'd write as a child of inanimate objects flying around the house and as I got older the "forbidden" love stories I'd scribble about on the dozens of notebooks in my bedroom. As a teen, I didn't understand why my parents were so controlling of my words and often rebelled against them in my writing.

As I grew older, I realized why the pen is truly mightier than the sword and it's something I'm often surprised to find many people online forget. You can scream at the wind and howl at the rain but the moment those words are on paper (or screen) they are immortalized and the world's perception of you is forever changed by them. People believe what they hear but they SWEAR by what they read! Celebrities live with this fact of life as their words are often twisted in tabloid TV, e-zines and magazines. Why do you think their statements are often penned by their publicist or agent?

Authors often find themselves in the unwanted predicament of reading a bad review or hearing criticism about their work they don't find flattering. I often tell my clients to ignore these or simply say, thank you for your review and leave it at that. Unfortunately, not every author finds the "turn the other cheek" ideology appealing and decide instead to engage their "attacker" in a public forum. HUGE NO-NO! Yes, it's hard to see that scathing review and you probably spent your morning downing coffee (or tea) with trembling hands wielding your cigarette like a 60s Hepburn movie but please don't wield your sword in retaliation! Pen an email to yourself. One where you rant and rave and call the reviewer every name in the book, bring down the angels and lay a curse upon their house and brethren. Then, when you're done and sitting at your desk panting like a marathon runner, simply DELETE the message.

As an author, your name is your brand and believe me when I tell you that agents, editors and readers will Google your name and see what's being said about you. Is your name being run through the mud or are the blogs and forums (yes, these pop up on Google) singing your praises? I will not be the first to tell you that agents will pass up on great manuscripts when they find the author is a "problem child". We want to be your advocate. Your representative to the publishing industry and help your career blossom. Don't let your pen get in the way of your success.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ready to be Done with Family Emergencies

We went to visit my aunt last week in Tampa and found that she's not been able to swallow anything for several months. Doctor ordered endoscopy and found a mass in her esophagus. They did a biopsy and found the mass to be cancerous but also found that the tumor had spread down her esophagus into her stomach. The prognosis is not good without surgery and aggressive radiation and chemotherapy. She's 70 and while she was strong in her earlier years, she's grown frail in the past few months. She's my Mom's eldest sister (Mom's the second youngest of seven) and the one she's closest to since they were born on the same day, ten years apart.

Her lease is up next week and her daughter is moving them out of their apartment and needs help. So we're heading back down to Tampa this Saturday to help pack up their things.

This comes at the heels of my uncle being diagnosed with Alzheimer's last summer and learning a few weeks ago that he no longer recognizes anyone, including his wife of 57 years. We'll likely make a trip to Puerto Rico to see him soon.

This has been a year of family emergencies and illnesses and the year is only one month old! I'm ready to be done with it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's a new year already?

Happy New Year (Floating on a bubble) 2010 flew by in a gust of work, work and more work. 2011 proves to be just as busy... always a good thing! :D

My clients have been doing fantastic this year and in the next few days we'll start working on goals for the next 18 months. I'm really looking forward to 2011! Many of my clients were debut authors in 2010 and have had great success with their debut novels including Kele Moon and Diana Copland.

This week is going to be fun to get back into the swing of things after the holiday break. Have several contracts to finalize and queries to open up to... not to mention a slew of status calls and emails to my clients.

Things at home have been going well too. We ended the year on a high note with the entire family at home for Christmas. Though, my brother-in-law ended up in the hospital with a bout of pancreatitis. He will remain there for a week but is in good spirits and should be released back to active duty once his enzymes return to normal. His base was hit by a tornado on Friday and thankfully he was safe with us when it happened. The following morning, his pancreatitis hit and he was rushed to the ER. He'll be in the hospital for a week then will return to Fort Leonard Wood to find out what he'll be able to do next. They had orders to report to Fort Polk in Louisiana in February but these will likely change now that his AIT training has been postponed. But, even with these bad news, we're grateful for his good spirits and positive prognosis.

Off to get a few winks in before the first work week of the year begins!