Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brave New (Publishing) World

After a little summer break the blog chain is back (and better than ever with several new members - check the links in my sidebar to see the new line-up) and Sandra decided to start things up with a question that looks at the business side of writing.

Have the recent changes in the publishing industry affected your writing plans/career? If so, how?

So here's the thing, if you've read my last few posts here (Quick recap for those not interested in scrolling: found an agent, book sold to HarperTeen) then you might have guessed that for me personally, well I'm currently feeling pretty good about the publishing industry and my place in it.

However, that doesn't mean I'm just gonna sit back and say, "I cannot let my artistic brain be bothered with all this business side of things" because that would be kind of stupid, and generally I try to avoid being kind of stupid.

With the rise of e-books, the growing numbers of people choosing self-publishing, and Borders going under - the publishing industry is definitely in flux right now. Nothing is certain, and that's kind of scary. But let's face it, in life nothing is ever certain.

Five years ago had I had just moved to Knoxville with my husband, and I was having a really hard time finding a job. Being a book-lover I decided to apply at my local Borders store. They called me in to interview for a position in their cafe. Three managers interviewed me for this position that paid minimum wage plus tips, and during the interview one of the questions they asked was, "Where did you see yourself in five years?"

I don't have the best poker face, so they probably caught a hint of my inner-thoughts of, "Seriously? You're kidding, right?" Eventually I think I bs'd something or other about wanting a job where I could continuously grow and learn.

I didn't get the job, and now that there no longer is a Borders I can say that it was probably for the best. But I still have to wonder what my interviewers would've said if they'd been given the five year question. Did they see themselves at Borders? Did they have the slightest inkling that it would end up sinking faster than the Titanic?

I'm guessing they didn't. How could they have, and how can anyone else really know where the next five or ten or fifteen years will take us?

This doesn't mean we can't have goals, or make plans, because we can and we should. My goal was to find an agent and get published. And now that I've reached those goals, I'm setting new ones for myself. Maybe the changes in publishing will make some of those goals easier to reach, maybe it will make them harder - only time will tell. But in the meantime, I'm gonna continue working towards them no matter what next week's headlines may read.

All right that's enough from me. To continue following along with the blog chain check out Matt's blog before mine and directly Katrina after.

I'm also posting today over at Pots 'n Pens so make sure to head over there for a little chicken soup for the writer's soul.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wonderful and Exciting News Part II

One week after my amazing agent had sent my book out on submission, I got a voicemail message from her saying to call her back and that it was only "good news".

I am not a jump up and down person. I am not a scream and shout person. I am a sit still and quietly hyperventilate type person.

Except I couldn't do any of those things, because it was 4:30 on a Wednesday, and that meant it was time to begin the GAUNLET.

What is the GAUNLET you ask?

It is my Monday through Friday afternoon routine wherein I make the trek from my workplace to my children's daycare and then back home again.

I know that doesn't sound impressive or GAUNTLET-ey at all. Tons of people do that every day you are thinking. But let me paint a better picture for you.

My work is in downtown Buffalo. My children's daycare is in the suburbs. I have to go from the 33 to the 290 to the 90. That's three thruway changes. And the last one has a toll. I am on the 90 for all of maybe five miles and there is a toll!

Then I pick up my children. My twenty month old daughter is a goldfish cracker addict. Seriously, she has a problem. She needs them at all times. We are thinking about doing an intervention. It's that bad. But I have just come straight from work and I don't have any goldfish crackers. She whines. My four-year-old son sensing that she is getting more attention begins to whine too. I crank NPR and drive.

Except I can't get out of the daycare parking lot. It is on one of those streets where making a left means either waiting fifteen minutes for a solid break in traffic, or taking everyone's lives in my hands and shooting out into the slightest gap I can find. So I shoot out, and then take the side streets home, and there are approximately five bazillion traffic lights. Every single one of them turns red right as I reach them. And finally at the "almost home you guys and then you can eat all the goldfish you want and totally ruin your dinners" point, there is a traffic circle.

Traffic circles are wonderful in theory, they keep traffic flowing and you usually have a shorter wait then you would at a light. Except 80% of the population has no idea how to drive in a traffic circle. So they sit beside the yield sign, while I fight the urge to scream, "Yield! Yield! It says yield not Stop - YIELD!" When I do that I hear my son's little voice from the backseat say, "Mama, are you okay?" and then I feel like the worst person in the world. So I really try not to do that. Instead, I sit impatiently yet silently as the line of cars in front of me slowly gather their courage to enter the traffic circle, until finally it is my turn.

Then at last, I'm home. Now I can sit and hyperventilate, and I do for a minute, but I still have to call my wonderful agent back. So while my husband keeps the children entertained I sneak into our bedroom, close the door, and dial.

She talks and I hyperventilate. I can actually feel my eyes growing incredibly wide, as if my eyeballs were trying to jump out of my skull. I consider seeing about having one of those emergency defibrillators installed in our home.

And then the phone call is over. I talk to my husband. Call my mom. Text my best friend. Slowly my breathing slows.

And now the news is official. My name is part of Publishers Weekly deals section. My name. All three parts of it. Spelled correctly and everything. And the name of my book too. And I really wish I'd gone ahead and gotten that defibrillator installed.

Anyway, in case you are curious, here is the news that was the cause of all my erratic heartbeats and heavy breathing.

HarperTeen Takes Quinn's ‘Piece'
Alexandra Machinist at Janklow & Nesbit closed a two-book deal, at auction, for debut author Kate Karyus Quinn. Erica Sussman at HarperTeen took North American rights to the novel Another Little Piece, in which a girl comes to on an Oklahoma highway in another girl's body with the knowledge that she has murdered the girl whose form she now takes. The main character journeys back to the murdered girl's home in upstate New York as she tries to figure out, among other things, the identities of her other victims.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Twitter and Vimeo

Tweet, tweet, tweet.

Go ahead, guess what that is.

A bird?

You're close.

A bird-brain?

Oooh, so close you're burning up.

@katekaryusquinn on Twitter?

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Yes, after years of foolish resistance I have finally joined the Twitterverse, the Twitternation, or as I prefer to be called - the Twits.

It's an ongoing experiment, I am still not one hundred percent certain exactly what I am supposed to do with it, but so far I am having fun figuring it all out. If you want to follow, I have oh so conveniently added a little follow button to my side bar. Considerate of me, isn't it? And if I should be following you, leave your @name in the comments and I will gladly become a follower.

In other news, my husband and I have been working a little side project for several months now called Piscean Cinema. Our first finished film is from a wonderful wedding that we shot in May. What we made is a cross between a music video and a preview for a new movie. I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out, so if you have a few minutes - check it out!

Brenda and Steven - Wedding Trailer from Piscean Cinema on Vimeo.

For those that are interested in the technical details. My husband and I shot this on two Panasonic GH2's with a variety of four-thirds, micro four-thirds, and legacy Minolta lenses. My brilliant husband, Andy Quinn, edited it using Final Cut.