Tuesday, November 17, 2009

AWP, surfing for blurbs, and other calisthenics

Well, I've finally paid my dues for another year's membership with AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) so I can attend the AWP Conference in Denver next spring. Anyone else going? Last year, the conference was in Chicago, where my friend Andrea and I came down with temporary cases of ADHD from the hundreds of options offered to us. Because Andrea had some prior commitments, I found myself scrambling for company come dinnertime (and not always successfully, let me tell you). Here's a picture of a more fortunate dinner arrangement, with my dear friend Andrea Leavey and Bob Butler (we did Asian fusion that evening).



So this year, I'm booking my dinner companions early. If you're attending, and I've never met you, please join Andrea and me sometime for "good eats" at the conference!

What am I doing between then and now? Surfing for blurbs. You know, those little quotes on the dust covers of books: "a phenomenal triumph!" "this year's must-read!" "a debut taken by storm!" followed by a newspaper title, The New Yorker, or Ben Affleck (yes, he really wrote a blurb). None of these blurbs are mine, mind you. You'll see my blurbs come next spring. It feels a little awkward, a bit imposing, and sometimes downright embarrassing to think about the whole prospect of getting a blurb. First, you have to be bold enough to ask someone to read your book. The whole thing. Before Christmas. My mom doesn't even read my books. She just wants the lowdown: "So, in a nutshell, what's your book about?" she says. (I love you, Mom.)

I need about 5 or so from "interesting" or "influential" people. I have a few special endorsements (and I'm truly honored to received them), and now I'm waiting for word about another one from a certain someone here in Dallas. It makes my stomach all gurggly inside as I ruminate over the whole petal-picking scenario:
The reader loves it? (pluck)
The reader loves it not? (pluck)
The reader loves it? (pluck)
I can't bear to go on.

Once the blurbs are gathered and printed, a review copy of the book is bound and sent to the major book reviewers. We'll cross our fingers and hope the blurbs are tempting enough for someone from Publishers Weekly to nestle down with Song of the Orange Moons beside a cozy fire and cup of tea. Or brandy.

I'll keep you posted as we move along the next stage of this adventure ride called publishing!

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