Currently I am working on editing an author’s book that is to be published next month (by another publishing house—not Roundtable). It’s science fiction, which is a genre I’m not that familiar with, as sci-fi never held any fascination for me, either to read or to write. But working on this book has gotten me thinking about the genre overall. Inarguably, despite the fact that I am not a fan, it has a wide following. Why?
As a prolific author—I’ve had over 100 books published since 1993—I understandably have a number of different publishers, of which Roundtable is one. And as an author who wants to sell the books she writes, I do what I can to promote them, including going on various radio shows—mostly podcasts (internet radio)—to talk about my books. Just last week I was extolling the recipes in STEALTH LEFTOVERS, one of my cookbooks (cookbooks are just a small part of my output), which was published a few years ago by Roundtable.
There is much to love about the freelance writing life, but one of the perhaps under-appreciated aspects is how much you get to learn about a wide diversity of subjects.
So I was supposed to do a booksigning and reading—two picturebooks from two different publishing houses (neither one from Roundtable)—and I thought I had all my ducks in a row. Since the books weren’t returnable, the bookstore that was the venue for the event said I would have to pre-purchase and bring the books in myself, a condition they had stipulated for my previous signing there, and therefore one that didn’t take me by surprise. I ordered the requisite number of each of the two books from their respective publishers and sent out notices to my “local list” (friends, associates, clients, and others I know who live in my area), alerting them to the signing and saying I hoped they’d show up.
If you’re a fellow author or thinking of becoming an author, I hope you’re comfortable doing public speaking. The two kind of go hand in hand.
That’s not as true for short-form writers as it is for book authors. But book authors often do public readings from their books to help get the word out about them, and nonfiction writers in particular (and fictioneers to a lesser extent) also appear on radio and TV.
I don’t remember now where I read it, but I just recently read somewhere a comment on the memoirs of two famous people of the past. It seems that one “invented” a boat that didn’t really exist, while the other left out any mention of numerous sexual affairs he had had.
Variety is the spice of life—and I definitely like my life “spicy.” I would hate to have a career in which I did the same thing over and over all day, every day, day in and day out.
“But, Cynthia—you write and edit. All day, every day, the same two things,” I can hear you saying to me now. You’re wrong, however. Continue Reading
A connection that may or may not be real occurred to me recently, and I thought I’d run it by you. How much truth do you think there is in this statement: Many people who are dissatisfied with their lives prefer reading fiction over nonfiction because through fiction they can escape to alternate lives. Many people who are happy with their lives prefer reading nonfiction over fiction because they have no need or desire to escape their own realities.
So you think you’re too young to write your memoirs?
Just as your life is a work in progress, your memoirs can be a work in progress too. If you’re 30 or 50 or even 70, and you’re not facing a dreaded illness, you probably have no reason to disbelieve that your life will stretch out quite a way ahead of you yet. But you can at least start writing the story of your life now—and add to it as you go along.
Much of the nation suffered through a cold spell last week, with blizzard conditions in the Northeast, snow in northern Florida, where such an occurrence is rare, and misery widespread. It was good weather for staying home and curling up with a good book.
With many places of business closed due to life-hazardous conditions and impassable roads, if you aren’t a police officer or firefighter, doctor or nurse, or other crucial worker, you probably stayed home from work. As you hunkered down in the relative warmth of a weather-chilled house, what use did you make of your free time?
I hope you read a book. Or several.
As you know by now if you follow these weekly blogposts, I encourage reading. (And no surprise there, given that I’m a writer.) I encourage reading by people of all ages, from young ones just learning to sound out “C – A – T…cat!” to seniors with time on their hands and perhaps limitations on their physical abilities, and all ages in between. It’s those “in-betweens” who often need the most encouragement to read.
In the hurry-scurry of life’s everyday demand, most adults who are not retired, especially if they’re raising kids, have little discretionary time. If they do have a free hour, claimed by neither household tasks nor work obligations, they’re likely to spend it on the internet, having a drink with a friend, or vegging out in front of the TV.
And that’s a darned shame. They could be reading.
Books can enrich our lives in so many ways. To begin with, reading is relaxing. But it’s also informative. Nonfiction especially, from history to how-tos, biography to self-help—not to slight the categories I’ve omitted—can be downright educational and helpful. But even fiction has its informative moments. Fiction set in real places can take you on a revealing journey, carrying you to the Scottish highlands, the Midwest of the American pioneers, or the trenches of the First World War. Fiction can also give you an insight into how other people feel, act and react, and cope with problems either common or extraordinary. Even fiction set in the distant future, in a far-away galaxy, or in a dystopian parallel universe can often instruct and inform—or at least open our eyes and make us think.
There’s so much to be gained from books. What’s not to like about reading?
So the next time the weather—or the flu, or a layoff at work, or some other circumstance—has you shut in, make sure you have a good book as a companion.