The PR Conundrum

So at recent writing conferences this year, I heard this a lot: “You need a publicist!”

Basically, with all the books being published and self-published, it’s becoming almost impossible to rise above the noise. So you hire a publicist to help you get noticed.

Makes sense. The only problem (for me, at least) is… It’s really expensive. And while I believe in investing in my career, and that you have to sometimes put money in to get more out, a [good] publicist is something I can’t afford. (I can’t afford a bad one, either, but for different reasons.)

So here is my chief issue with publicists: if you can afford one, you probably don’t need one, and if you can’t afford one, you probably do need one.

Sigh.

Any of my fellow authors use a publicist? If so, were you satisfied with the experience?


Best of 2016

I’ve started to see the lists popping up online. Even though there is still one month left in 2016, people are ready to call their favorites, from books to movies to television shows. So I thought about what I read and watched this year, and here are a few notables:

Books

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young. This pseudo-paranormal mystery set in the bayous of Louisiana is both atmospheric and fast-moving. I raced through it and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Not a 2016 release, but I finally got around to this one and, though long and deep, it’s so well written. Was perfect for the long flights to and from New York.

Dark Dawning by Christine Rains. A novella, first in a series, and it sets up just a very interesting world full of shape-shifters and Inuit mythology.

Lorelei’s Lyric by D.B. Sieders. A twist on mermaids/sirens.

Movies

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. A new window into the world of Harry Potter… pre-Potter.

Sing Street. Just really cute, even if it is mostly a bunch of music videos hung on a very sparse plot frame.

Snowden. An interesting perspective on how and why Edward Snowden did what he did.

The Imposter. A documentary about how a French con artist convinced a family in Texas he was their missing son/brother.

Kubo and the Two Strings. More gorgeous work from Laika.

The Nice Guys. Typical Shane Black, so if you like his stuff…

Zootopia. Above and beyond as far as children’s animated features go.

Love & Friendship. A delightful Jane Austen adaptation.

I know there’s a lot I have yet to see (I do have tickets to Rogue One!), but of the things I watched this past year, the above stand out.

Television

The Crown. I was sucked right into this drama about the start of Elizabeth II’s reign and can’t wait for more.

Westworld. I resisted, and do continue to resist on some levels, but I can’t deny that this is a well-written, well-acted, well-produced program. (I feel similarly about Game of Thrones and The Leftovers. Must be an HBO drama thing.)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Everything Doctor Who should be, used to be, and no longer is. In short, a whole lot of absurd fun.

Documentary Now! Fun, though the second season was not as good as the first IMHO.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Probably the single thing I most look forward to each week. (And now on break. *sob*)

I also watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine and am just dabbling in Superstore. Started Designated Survivor and AHS: Roanoke and Timeless and need to get back to those… Television is getting harder to keep up with because there is so much and it’s all dumped in one go instead of airing weekly. But hey, even the weekly stuff piles up on my DVR, sort of like all the books I mean to read that pile up on my nightstand or in my Kindle. The above, then, are just shows that definitely had me hooked over the year.

So what about you? Any favorites this past year? Recommendations? Anything to look forward to in 2017? Let me know in the comments!


2016 Review

Yes, I know the year is not over, but it’s close, right? Anyway, this post is about one particular aspect of 2016 that I only just noticed thanks to Angelorum’s review prompts. Namely that in 2016, I swapped a lot of old groups of people for new ones.

For example, we left our old place of worship after four years because we didn’t really feel very connected to the group of people there. No one was mean or anything, it just wasn’t the right fit. And then we found a great new group that we actually really like.

A similar experience happened with my writing group. It sort of imploded a bit, and I wasn’t feeling as though I was getting the support I needed. It got messy. But after taking a break, I ventured out and found a new writing group I really enjoy.

The lesson here, I think, is that sometimes you have to let go of what you have in order to find something better. That can be hard because we tend to want to stay with who and what we know, even when sometimes those aren’t the best things for us. We’ll stick with where we’re not getting what we want or need simply because it’s familiar and that makes us comfortable. Except we’re not really comfortable or even happy. We’re just too scared to let go and start over.

I’ve written in the past about personal Tarot years, and how for me this was a Justice/Libra year. Things balanced out in the end. For everything I lost, I also gained. Some of the losses still hurt, but that’s life. As I move into a Hanged Man year, I’ll work to gain new perspectives. There will be more letting go, I’m sure. Sacrifice. But, like Odin hanging from the World Tree, one hopes the enlightenment will be worth any pain.


More Stuff!

Read the previous post for all the fun things currently going on, then come back to this one for one more thing to add to the pile. Manifesting Destiny got another lovely review, and it’s paired with a little author interview I did. You can find it on With Love for Books. And remember that a Goodreads giveaway is currently on! Enter to win one of three signed copies of Manifesting Destiny! You can do it right here on my sidebar.


So Much Stuff!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving (if they observed that holiday), and are now having just as lovely a weekend, whether shopping or hiding from the crowds. No need to go out for any of these things I’m about to share with you, though!

  1. Look to the sidebar on the right and you’ll see that there is a Goodreads giveaway going on for Manifesting Destiny. I’m giving away three signed paperback copies, and each will also come with a bookmark and temporary tattoo. Giveaway runs through December 9.
  2. For the holidays, you can now pick up my Sherlock Holmes stories, The K-Pro, and my anthology The World Ends at Five for 99 cents each on Amazon! If you like supporting indie businesses, please consider also supporting indie authors!
  3. I discuss literary fiction on Jay Lemming’s site today. I consider The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller to be literary because of the way it’s written. What do you think? How do you define literary fiction, and is it a dying genre or merely exclusive (and exclusionary)? Swing by to see what I have to say about it!

That’s all the news that is news for the moment. I’m closing in on finishing Brynnde, too. Can’t wait to present her to you!

Happy Holiday Season!


Politics in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

I participated in a panel that discussed politics in science fiction and fantasy. Which books (and TV shows and movies) do it well? Which don’t? And is it always necessary to have politics in SFF world building? What do you think? Have you ever read a SFF book that didn’t have any kind of politics? (I would say The K-Pro doesn’t, but it is set in contemporary England with only fantasy underpinnings, so . . . Does that count? Or would you argue the politics in that book are more about the mythology?) Lots to think about and discuss!