I had a really nice time signing Lords of Ch’i and Mayan Nights at a local Borders yesterday. I sold a bunch, and folks were truly nice. My wonderful (formerly only electronic-) pal Melanie roped folks to my table, and family and friends bought books I could have given them. (Hey, my “state trooper” friend even sent her wonderful partner and baby to the busy mall to buy a book–note the dedication SM!) I don’t think I’m at the point where a signing is a great career booster (I think I remember Jaci Burton or someone talking about this), but it’s a real affirmation that you’ve actually published a book that folks are willing to hand over money for. I mean, you watch them walk to the cash register with it in hand. Amazing. Photos to come.
So, at the risk of really establishing myself as the most clueless writer in cyberspace, I found myself gaping at the books for sale, especially the romances… How can I do that? I wondered. Can I ever do that? In my post-flu haze, they all started to look alike–the trade size suggestive entwined torsos, the mass market dark-haired fellas, all looking basically the same. Dark this and dark that. Kenyons and Sheehans just falling into shopping bags. JR Ward–do love the latest. I’m not only in awe of these writers, but the soon to be huge ones I’ve rubbed cyber elbows with at places like Samhain. The ones who can stick to a style, run with it, get better…the Jaci Burtons and Angela Knights, for example.
I’m all over the map. Satire, contemporary, fantasy…seems like fifteen publishing houses in three years. I don’t have a niche. I don’t even have a genre. I like them all. I’m starting a steampunk, I suppose just to venture even further from some center. I always said “I don’t do vampires.” Now I’m writing one for my satiric sequel to Wizard of Time at EC.
So readers, is it true what they say about you? You want to know what you’re getting when you pick up a book by an author? You know that the book will be dark, or have a vampire, or be the same as the previous title? Your Skippy peanut butter always tastes the same, and you like it that way? I think I’m like that. When I pick up Nora’s books, for example, I know exactly what I’m going to get. And I like it that way.
Any other writers pantsters all the way? You not only don’t plot out your books, you don’t plot out what you’re going to write this year? Do the questions “What should I be writing?” and “Where should I send it?” sound familiar–like once every hour?