Harvesting those writing questions again

I’m off on a totally cool adventure today. In my absence, please tell me any of your writing or publishing questions that I forgot to answer, so I can answer them next week.

Feel free to make up new ones, too.

Do you know anyone who lives around San Francisco? Tell them to check out the “Private Party” that Books Inc. is throwing for me on Sunday, March, 22nd. Tickets need to be purchased ahead of time, so call today.

Love from USA Today and a Skype visit with readers

USA Today gave an early shout-out to WINTERGIRLS and the 10th anniversary edition of SPEAK in the Book Buzz column yesterday!!! (There was dancing in the Forest.)

Once the excitement about that died down, it was time for the First Grand Experiment With an Online School Visit. Through the miracle that is Skype, I sat at my desk and talked to a class of 7th graders who live hundreds of miles away. Because both of our computers have cameras, we could see as well as hear each other.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is what the visit looked like at my end.

Their teacher, Kate Messner, is a friend and a fellow author. This was all her idea in the first place, so thank you, Kate! She and I tested the connection over the weekend, and then first thing in the morning yesterday, before the actual event.

You can read a detailed explanation of how the visit went (complete with more photos) on Kate’s blog.

How did it go from my POV? Excellent. It took about an hour of my time. I didn’t have to travel and sleep in a hotel. I really enjoyed being able to see the faces of each reader. I was able to hear their questions and enjoy interacting with them. I also got to be a little bit of a ham, knowing that my face was about 10 feet tall on the projection screen.

There were a few glitches. We lost the connection several times and had to reboot (or reconnect or reskype – we need a new verb for this) which was a wee bit frustrating, but not that bad. The quality of the video was not what you’d imagine, going by the visual quality portrayed in the ads on TV. Both of those problems could be a result of my location way out in the boondocks. We frequently have pixelation issues and limited bandwidth. We’ve had the technicians from Time Warner out here countless times and they have a different explanation every time.

I have another test Skype visit next month, with a group of teachers from the American School in Warsaw, Poland. (Yes, it’s the one I visited a couple of years ago.)

I am thinking of offering Skype visits to book clubs after this Spring’s tour and to classrooms starting in the fall. If you are a bookstore or book club interested in something this spring or summer, email me at laurie AT writerlady DOT com. If you are interested in a classroom visit, watch this space in September. I’ll make an announcement when I have it all figured out.

Finding order in chaos

Spent all day yesterday sorting through receipts. Things are fairly under control. Now I have to total things up and prepare the package to send to my accountant.

This is something that few of us think about when we dream of becoming a writer. If the stars do line up and you are making a living from your books, you need to transform yourself into equal parts creative person and businessperson. I’m self-employed, just like many hairdressers, carpenters, graphic artists, and musicians. It’s not a bad thing, not at all. I like being in charge of myself. I get to boss me all over the place some days.

I do wish that I could boss these receipts into marching into the proper piles on their own.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic My desk, looking MUCH better than yesterday.

There are bunch of new things happening here in the Forest. I’ll be blogging about them tomorrow, I promise.

Meanwhile, check out this article about getting adults to read YA literature.

You can also read a fun interview with me done for the teens of Palatine, IL.

House of Penguin

Yesterday was Penguin Day.

This is the fun part of being an author; meeting my new publicist, Allison.

Videotaped some online publicity pieces.

Best part of the day: meeting with 8th graders from the Little Red School House and hearing their comments on WINTERGIRLS. (More on this tomorrow.)

We had a party back at the House of Penguin with a cake that looked like the book and I got to say thank you to everyone, especially my editor Joy and the talented team who came up with the WINTERGIRLS cover and interior design.

There was a bunch of meetings and a dinner and I crashed into bed. Off now for another meeting and then to the airport.