State of the Writing World & Star #4

My thumb continues to heal. Many thanks to the Constant Reader who sent me info on the local guy who makes handmade drums and gives lessons. That will be my reward for finishing the book I’m writing now (FORGE, the follow-up to CHAINS). Until then, I am downloading all kinds of drumming music. Any suggestions?

Many of the conversations at the KW retreat revolved around all the layoffs (i.e. bloodbath) that happened at various publishers in the last few months. It is horrendous for the people who lost their jobs, and it makes writers trying to sell a project or break into the market understandably confused and disheartened.

My opinion?

This too, shall pass.

It all sucks horribly – especially for the people paying NYC rents and suddenly jobless – but it is not a permanent situation. Nothing ever is.

My advice is to use the economic meltdown as an opportunity to focus less on the publication process and more on the quality of your craft. This is the year you don’t have send out one hundred queries or waste time keeping up on trends or tracking down agents. This is the year to focus on taking your writing to the next level. Do that and it will be much easier to sell your book when the economy strengthens.

Anyone else have an opinion about this?

On a more positive note, I can finally share the news of WINTERGIRLS’ 4th star!!! Thank you, Kirkus! Here’s the review:

“Neither therapy nor threats nor her ex–best friend’s death can turn Lia away from her habits of cutting and self-starvation. In broken, symbolic and gut-wrenching prose, Lia narrates her hopeless story of the destructive behaviors that control her every action and thought. She lives for both the thrill and the crash of not eating, and any progress she may have made toward normal eating is erased when her former best friend Cassie dies alone in a hotel room. The trauma of Cassie’s death coupled with Lia’s strained relationship with her parents and stepmother makes her tighten her focus on not eating as she slides into a world of starvation-induced hallucinations. Uncontrollable self-accusations (“Stupid/ugly/stupid/bitch/stupid/fat”) and compulsive calorie counts punctuate her claustrophobic account, which she edits chillingly to control her world. Anderson perfectly captures the isolation and motivations of the anorexic without ever suggesting that depression and eating disorders are simply things to “get over.” Due to the author’s and the subject’s popularity, this should be a much-discussed book, which rises far above the standard problem novel.” Kirkus, Feb. 1, 2009.

I think there may be a few reviewer ARCS available through the WINTERGIRLS MySpace page. This is done by the publisher, so for those of you who have been sending me questions about the ARCs, I’m really, really, sorry, but I don’t have a clue. On the MySpace page, there is an email address in the blog announcement about the giveaway. Mail your questions there.

21 Replies to “State of the Writing World & Star #4”

  1. Congrats! I suspect there will be at least three more when all is said and done. I also agree with you that the publishing downturn will pass and believe that there is never a bad time to be a writer.


    Good thread– good advice
    There is also (if I may) this link about the Postal Service trying to figure out their next step which could screw up any authors who (have P.O. Boxes for business mailings)
    might be waiting for manuscript returns and then (if this downsizing happens) may have to go elsewhere to pick up their mail if the local Office closes.

    Might also be a good idea for the time being (if your an author) to check with agents and publishers who accept e-mail queries. This won’t solve the returning manuscript problem but it’s a little faster service response wise (from agents and publishers who allow that kind of thing)

  3. You are so right. It does all pass.

    If you want to hear some of the drum music that fascinates me, check out This is the music that showed me what I needed to do in SPIDER FINGERS, so I am biased, but I still find some of it going through my head at odd moments. –And “Surfer at the River Styx” blows me away every time.

  4. Went back and really read your KW post–your drumming experience is exactly what mine was with the guy who does junkmusic. First time on the drums and hooked but good. Drumming into the zone is the coolest!

  5. drum music

    As an ex-drummer, I highly recommend anything by Micky Hart (of Grateful Dead fame). “At the Edge,” “Planet Drum,” and “Supralingua” are three of his CDs that spring to mind at the moment. All available on iTunes, I think…

  6. I suggest Brent Lewis’s “Monkey Hip Gumbo and Mothball Stew.” It’s got a very tribal feel. Deep drums and various other percussion instruments. I’ve been a drummer for about 8 years, and have picked up hand drumming in the last 4 or so.

  7. Kodo drums

    I love Kodo, although listening to them recorded does not capture the heartbeat that really gets into your body hearing them live. It was twenty years ago in NYC, and I still recall it with a delicious shiver.

  8. Congratulations on your stars! There’s a lot of drum recommendations on here already, but I’ll add one more to the list: taiko drumming, a traditional Japanese performance. It’s incredible. Fushu Daiko is my favorite taiko group, although there are many other fantastic groups as well.

  9. Congrats on your stars!
    I used to play Afro-Cuban precussion in college, and have many happy memories of nights spent drumming in the forest.

    One of my favorite drummers was Babatunde Olatunji. He was born in Nigeria, and was a member of the Yoruba people. His record Drums of Passion is just amazing, and I still can’t help but dance when I hear it.

    Also, some friends I used to drum with have a wonderful group called Gaia Roots.

    Drumming lessons will be a great reward for finishing FORGE!

  10. Whoa…

    Seven years ago, my ninth grade class read Speak during our first quarter, and now here I run into you on this online hub.

    …Sorry, just popping in with that!

  11. Yeah, I e-mailed two days ago and have been feverishly refreshing my inbox to see if your publishers have replied. They haven’t (yet); I assume they are like prospective employers, in which case they won’t contact me back in the event that copies run out. I hope they’re just being slow!

  12. I emailed yesterday and still no reply. I was really hoping to get one and only just found out because of the lovely Kentucky ice storm we just had. Bleh.

    Anyways, I guess you’re right though, they wouldn’t contact you if they’d ran out. Drat. 🙁

  13. I hope it does well for you. I know from writing on Xanga that there are more young people into cutting than people might realize. I had to move from N.Y. over ten years ago due to the high cost of living; I can’t even imagine how folks survive today. The Kirkus review is simply wonderful. I use to write but tossed the towel in some months ago. My LJ is mostly golden oldies, too depressed to do much more than that.

  14. Congrats on the fourth star! Can’t wait to read the book…

    (Just added you – hope you don’t mind; am a middle school librarian in Pittsburgh and a big fan of your work.)

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