The Author as Dread Pirate Roberts

Nothing about e-book piracy, no. Benign New Year’s mood this afternoon, en route soon to a January 1 levée some friends hold every year. Host makes superb Bloody Caesars (Canadian riff on Bloody Mary). A good way to start the year.

My wishes to all gathering or sojourning here for a healthy and rewarding 2013.

No, the header is anticipating the nervous circling of desks for protection-from–ferocious-author at my various agents and publishers when the break ends. As I mentioned before, I get a huge burst of energy when a book is finally out of my hands. Some of it is time freed up, some is busywork to distract me from sadness and the usual feeling of ‘if I had another few months …’ but mostly it is a response to accumulated to-dos that get shelved as the books are pushed hard to the finish line.

Once that happens (finish line) there are a lot of post-its on my desk and notes on my desktop and in what I am pleased to call my memory for things to check on or request.

The range is ridiculously broad. Examples. We are changing publishers in China for Under Heaven and thus for River of Stars. My existing house in Shanghai has been folded into a government controlled house in Beijing and the entire publishing programme changes when that happens! (And this is a new one for me in a long career of international editions and houses.)

We need to sort out the charity fundraiser auction for the first book off the press in Canada for River (we have done this four times now, a gesture I always like). Tour dates and gigs have to be firmed up fairly soon for April (some have already been posted online by the venues – Vancouver on April 17th). Some of this comes from the ‘other end’ as bookstores or media request gigs or interviews. (Interviews are, more and more, done online these days.) A UK announcement/press release for River is in the works. Any day. There is film stuff. Always. Usually time-consuming, usually amounts to a tease. But…

The terrific Elena Stokes and Tanya Farrell of Wunderkind PR come on board again this week (they were with us on Under Heaven) to help with marketing and publicity, and coordination is going to be important. Theirs are names I’ll likely mention often as the next months unfold. I may also tease. Actually, it is a lock that I will.

ARCS start going out from NY and Toronto, a few already have (and the winner of the FaceBook ARC contest will be sent hers this week, too). Negotiations are underway at my agents for various foreign editions and I want to have discussions with about a couple of countries where they are getting tangled. (The recession in Europe is hitting the book world, too – no surprise.)

A book video needs to be made. For reasons I’ll explain later (promise), we’re hoping to have it done by early February.

Book videos are a newish and interesting aspect of the business and again everyone is still figuring them out. My own sense is they matter most for YA books, as the target audience views them again and again (‘Is that actor hot enough to play Biff?’). But they are in play for all books now. My filmmaker son has even formed a company, Kove Productions, to do these for authors and publishers. ( I may do a longer post on this topic later. Someone remind me.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg in the River (ahem). I don’t want to even think about metaphors of crashing into it.

How ’bout that Adrian Peterson? Vikings will very likely lose in Green Bay on Saturday, but it was quite the game Sunday.



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