Friday, July 25, 2008

Pieces of Flair!

I don't do Myspace or have a website...yet. And I've only had a blog for a week. But I do have a Facebook Page. Although new at that too, I've become enamored with this ridiculously fun application called "Pieces of Flair." For those of you who don't Facebook (I think it's now a verb), POF looks exactly like this cool bulletin board to your left. If I were Blogger savvy by now, I'd have a handy dandy link right *HERE* for you to click on and get it for yourself. But sadly, I am not. (If you feel like telling me how to do that, bring it on!)

So the way this bad boy works, is that you first get a plain bulletin board, and then you shop for buttons or "Flair" that reflect your personality. On my board for example, there is everything from yoga and chocolate to snowflakes, daughters, TV shows, and anything else that catches my fancy. I even have some writerish ones that say things like, "Careful, you may end up in my novel." The catch is, however, that the only way to get more Flair, is to give it away. And you'll want more. Trust me.

My friend's high school daughter, knowing I was new to Facebook and a confessed Flairaholic, sent me more Edward Cullen Flair than I could ever need or want. This has come in handy because if I pass it on, I get more credits. Therefore, if I have sent you "Twilight" Flair...It's not 'cuz I am a vampire obsessed groupie. It's because I am passing it on and earning more sweet tea Flair for myself! That's right. You heard me. Last night, after sending a few POF gifts, I decided to really start making my board ME. So I looked for my one vice... my crack cocaine... my good ol' southern SWEET TEA. As you might expect, I almost did a back flip when I found the "I love Sweet Tea" button. Not only that, but there were probably five pages of sweet tea stuff. So I'm pretty sure if you loved Different Strokes, you could get a "Whatcha talkin' 'bout Willis?!" button. (Hold on, let me check) Yes Sir. There it is! Wait, I am gonna look for the stupidest thing I can find ...cornbread.

HOLY MACKERAL! There are seven "Cornbread" buttons! See how fun this is! Ahem...So How does this apply to writing? Well, I knew I needed to work on really developing the main characters in my new YA novel. So I mentally made Flair Boards for them. They're all cool Facebookers of course. And sure enough, I discovered a few things. Several of them only had two buttons which meant I needed to know more about them. And Emerson, my MC's Board, looked exactly like mine! So I knew immediately that Emerson was too much like Katie and I needed to separate myself from her a bit. Try it out. Not only is it fun in real life, but you might just learn something about your book characters that you didn't know.

Rock on Pieces of Flair! (I'll bet "Rock on!" is a button)

P.S. For those of you tempted to join Facebook, be forewarned. My friend Jason said it best, "Congrats on Facebook....You just became three hours less productive daily."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dating Game

My cyber-space friend Robin (of Disco Mermaid fame) made a comment that really got me thinking. She mentioned how some agents become more interested in you as a writer when they find out another editor is already interested in you--which she compared to the dating scene. I realized that this whole trying-to-get-published gig shares lots of similarities with beloved courtship rituals. Namely:

*endless waiting around for the phone call from the editor/agent who may or may not be interested in you

*completely naked vulnerability--I mean, you've poured your bleeding heart and deepest, darkest secrets out there onto those pages

*wondering if you sounded like a complete rambling idiot in your pitch letter

*stressing about whether a follow-up call is ever appropriate--and did I really give that guy my phone number? I mean, did I remember to include my SASE?

*crushing blow of rejection . . . after rejection . . . after rejection . . .

*giddy excitement of that first request for a revision or a full manuscript (or actually selling your book--something I've not yet experienced but fantasized about more than I should admit)

*did I mention the waiting? and the fantasies?

And, isn't it kind of like hiring a sexy, young escort to take you to your twentieth high school reunion if you self-publish your book?
Aw man, I'm an old married woman. I thought I was through with this whole scene.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Importance of Networking?

Sarah Frances and I are about to fly to Los Angeles for our second annual SCBWI conference. In fact, just today I had to buy a new LARGE suitcase because the airlines have changed their luggage policy to allow one suitcase (that you have to pay to take?!). I am a two to three suitcase kind of girl. How do you fit all your shoes in one? Anyway, I digress. So last year we were told that we really needed to *network* and *meet as many people as you can.* We even received a document from SCBWI giving advice as to how to effectively network.

Therefore, we were not surprised (although horrified) when we got on the elevator the first day in LA, and a woman shouted out to the entire packed elevator that her name was Nellie McNetwork, and she had a fascinating blog. She then whipped out several hundred business cards and forced them into the hands of everyone between floors one and four. All of this, while wearing a glittery costume resembling the kind of gaudy pageant attire commonly seen on Circus of the Stars. Talk about a nervous breakdown. We got off the elevator and SF said, "Dang! Are we supposed to do that?" And I replied, ''What the heck was that? I'm not doing that." To which SF brilliantly replied, "Whew! It's a good thing we don't have one of those blog things."

That single event however, caused us to rethink our networking strategy. Our mantra became, "We must not fade into the background. We must get noticed!" Too bad we left all of our sequined tube tops back home in Mississippi. Not to worry though. We stormed into the conference the next day and became the newly formed Name Tag Nazis. As luck would have it, the "Faculty," otherwise known as "important people with whom to network," all had purple stripes on their name tags... which made them easy to find (if you were comfortable walking around only staring at people's chests). I went with the flow staring down chests until I felt like a complete creepster. Things went from bad to worse as I eventually got up the nerve to *network* with two GIANT editors (giant in fame, not size) in order for them to remember me. As you can imagine, they were rather put off by my timing and stupid comments and the only remembering that happened was them remembering not to get coffee if I was nearby. After the second of these unfortunate incidents, which ended with the editor literally pushing another button on the elevator and getting off several floors before his intended stop, I had a full blown panic attack, which led me to skip all the classes that day and go to the gym, (btw, it is AMAZING!).

A little more than an hour later, I had shed my mantra and embraced a new one, namely "networking is for the birds." The new plan involved just going to the workshops and simply meeting whomever I sat next to. SF had come to this conclusion on her own after watching me humiliate myself. And guess what? The rest of the conference was awesome! And we DID meet quite a few people, some of whom we still keep up with and will see again in two weeks :-)

So don't stress people! Forget networking. Just listen to the excellent speakers and if you feel like it, chat up your neighbor. Who knows? Maybe we'll sit next to ya.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hello World

Here we are!


Blah Blah

Our Motto

Our Motto