Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Boskone 44 - Part 2

Some notes on the sessions I attended. Attributions, quotes, references, etc. are as best as I could manage or translate from my handwriting. All mistakes are mine.

Panel: Lou Anders

Elaine Isaak and I had a nice chat with the editor of PYR books.

Who/What They Mentioned:
Cory Doctorow
Ian McDonald
Dan Simmons
David Louis Edelman
Monkey Brain Books
Strange Horizons

The Business Side of Writing
Panel: Darleen Marshall, Joshua Bilmes, Jeffrey Carver, Gay Haldeman, Sharon Lee

Rather tame session, standard kind of information (e.g. keep your receipts, pay your self-employment taxes).

Bilmes: Keep copies of your reviews (no one else will) even the bad ones (can be edited creatively) and use for blurbs on next book.

Carver: Business credit card helpful for list of expenses. Do book signings with another author; cuts expenses and not as lonely.

Haldeman: Don't spend all of your advance! Don't change your lifestyle. Money won't always flow the same from year to year.

Marshall: Self-promotion is critical. Bring chocolate to book signings. On final edit of manuscript, change font and review. Eye is used to the usual font and can find problems, typos, etc. easier in a different font.

Finishing that Damn Novel
Panel: Judith Berman, Tobias Buckell, Laurie Mann

Hmm, not quite what I expected but interesting.

Mann: Don't quit. Took five years to write her book.

Berman: Day job can make a difference; ask yourself what day job is for you in order to be a writer (e.g. day, night, writing, no writing, etc.). Get past the highs and lows; bits in the middle can inspire other stuff for the book.

Buckell: Approached the novel with a question: What where the coolest things he wanted to read in a SF novel? Crystal Rain took five months to write. Second book took two years; whole thing got scrapped and re-wrote it over four months. Most authors first published novels are not the first ones they wrote.

Also on Saturday I went to 'Brother Guy on Ice' (Jesuit freezes looking for metorites), Agent Roundtable ("We're the honest ones, really"), a reading by Elizabeth Bear (She is a great writer. Read her at your own peril; you may not pick up a pen again. I'm not kidding.), 'Conciousness, AI, and Downloadable Personalities' (Marvin Minsky and some other people bowing to Marvin Minsky), a literary beer with Karl Schroeder (more AI talk; I would have taken notes but I was too busy drinking), and Broad Universe Reading (Jessica's was the best).


Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

woI found talking with editors much more illuminating than talking with writers. Other writers can give you the most creative ways of vacuuming the cat, but editors can give you the nuts and bolts, and maybe a wrench or three. Plus, they usually have the better stories about writers. Karl's a cool guy, I didnt' get to hang with him too much, and I still want to know more about his government work (did that come up? it's really facinating), well that's what going to more cons will help with. The "Finish the Damn Novel" sounds like it was more a cheerleading exercise than a "how do you get beyond this that and the other roadblock." But that's okay, I've heard that everybody has to find their own way there. And cheerleading can go a long way as you stare at white phosphors willing them to change to black.

February 21, 2007 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous rick o said...

I'm really impressed at both the amount of notes you've taken and the orderly way you've posted them. Even if it is about you, the references/links are helpful.

Finishing the damn novel is always about cheerleading. When I'm sitting in my dank, dark, dungeon studio apt clacking away on a keyboard, I want to think that there is at least one other person waiting to read my work (even if there isn't) The power of a myth of community to keep us going during the long drive is important.

February 21, 2007 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Steve: There is a much better synopsis of the lit beer with Karl Schroeder at Skott Klebe's blog (didn't introduce myself to him at the time; just found a link to his post).

Rick! Rick! He's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!

Goooooooo Rick!

February 21, 2007 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger littlebirdblue said...

Well thanks a lot for all those goddam excellent links, buster. There's another three hours I'll never get back.

I agree w/Steve about the editors thing. I attended a kaffeklatsch with Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. They had great stories about Tor and all the Tor editors and...o, there was a wealth there, man, of you know, information and whatnot.

And rick o,

It's not a myth if we make it happen. Then, it actually is community.

February 21, 2007 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Tobias Buckell said...

Crystal Rain was 5 months, with 1 month off in the middle to work on short fiction! If the 1 month thing gets spread around I might get beaten by irate friends... :-)

February 22, 2007 at 2:26 AM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Hi Tobias!

My bad. I stand corrected, as does the post. Thanks for pointing that out.

February 22, 2007 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

Ah, heck Tobias, and I was about to do the "We're not worthy" wave the next time we met. :)

February 22, 2007 at 8:15 AM  
Anonymous rick o said...

I feel in rarified air here ... thanks for letting me look in from the West Coast.

lbb - I agree that real community is important. I was (still) surprised at how many of the writers I met at our last conference don't have read/critique groups, writer buddies or even drinking companions. The most common incredulous comment they made "I didn't even know there was anyone else out here. I was hoping, but ..." I'm lucky to have two GREAT groups, and of course my friends' blog friends.

I'm glad Tobias dropped in. I loved his post on advances. It was nice to have numbers to support the anecdotes I'd been hearing for years. Now if only I could afford to buy a house in San Diego on a $5,000 advance.


February 22, 2007 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger littlebirdblue said...

rick o,

out of idle curiosity, what was "our last conference"?

February 22, 2007 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger littlebirdblue said...


And I want to publicly thank Mr. Buckell for the Ragamuffin ARC. It's delish.

February 22, 2007 at 11:03 PM  
Anonymous rick o said...

hi lbb and all -

when I said "our last conference" I meant this past weekend's Southern California Writers' Conference in San Diego. In rereading, I noticed how self-referential I'd become. Sorry about that.

Love reading your notes, and hope to meet you one day.

February 23, 2007 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Tobias Buckell said...

Steve-I'd take 'we're not worthy dances' in public but all of the kinds of friends I surround myself with are the ones who'd mock me and bash my ego down to keep me humble and in check. And I like it that way :-)

February 23, 2007 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Tobias Buckell said...

littlebirdblue-no problem, glad you liked it!

February 23, 2007 at 8:28 PM  

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