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With my new book, BookSpeak!, coming out, I knew it was time to update my official author photo. The last time I put one up was just before Stampede came out in 2009. (Fiona Bayrock and I posted our thoughts on author photos then on our Bubble Stampede blog.) I hate having my picture taking. Group photos are OK. Individual photos, not so much. I look bad in most pictures. I got out our digital camera with timer and spent a couple of hours one morning messing around with it, trying to get a decent shot. I wanted an outdoor shot, but with the camera perched on a deck post and me running around to the yard estimating where I thought I needed to be in 10 seconds...um, the results were iffy, at best. Here are some of the better fails.I moved indoors for the shot instead!
I also went to the arboretum down the street to try to get a few pix of me with leaves. When my spring book comes out, about leaves, the publisher will have a webpage for me, and I thought it might be fun to have a leafy picture. I had seen a few cool pictures recently of faces mostly hidden by leaves and thought that might be fun to try.
Wrong again. I stalked around the arboretum like a fool, standing almost inside small trees, taking pictures of myself.Not artsy. Just creepy and/or lame. Then, to make matters worse, I uploaded these images to Facebook last night and didn't Publish them. Just wanted to be able to copy them to use here. But I forgot to set the Album Privacy to me only. Oops.
Anyway, I did put new author photos on my site. I don't love them, but I don't hate them enough to mess with the whole thing anymore. I'm safe for another couple of years!
Mahtab, Cheryl, Neesha, and Helene at our book stand
I really enjoyed the signing at Indigo Yorkdale. The staff were incredibly helpful and thoughtful, especially one man (I wish I’d gotten his name, but I arrived rushed). I had fun talking with my fellow authors Helene Boudreau, Mahtab Narsimhan, and Neesha Meminger; we had some great conversations. And I tried to make sure we were approachable, and not just sitting behind a table (which I can find intimidating, myself). I called out hello to people when they came near or walked by, and a few times I got up and invited teens from the teen section to come talk to us and ask us any questions about writing or anything if they wanted to. That was a bit outside my comfort zone, but I wanted to make sure we were engaging people.
Cheryl, Helene, Mahtab (in back), and Neesha, all at our table
I was honest with the teens when they asked about Scars and my arm. One girl said “And I thought I had it bad at home,” and kept asking me more. After a long discussion, a bunch of teen girls asked me to sign bookmarks for them, which I thought was sweet.
our table, all set up
It was also lovely to see some people I’d only met on FaceBook, such as Christie Harken, and also other fellow writers who came by to support us such as Gillian O’Reilly. And it was also lovely to sell some books! There weren’t quite as many people as there might normally have been, since it was Easter weekend, but it was a good experience, and I think we all had fun.
our books on display next to our table
I liked that we had freebies to give away. I had three different bookmarks (each have different tips about dealing with self-harm on the back) and cards; Helene had bookmarks and buttons; and Mahtab had postcards.
I have trouble smiling for photos sometimes (the child porn stuff I went through as a kid), but I think these photos turned out pretty well. It helps that I was with people I liked!
Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair -- just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.
Then I went all Top Model and tried to do "Tyra Eyes."
It's harder than it looks, I swear.
I gave up and went for Comic Book Me.
I like this one. A lot.
What's the big deal about being two-dimensional?
In case you've missed them, the Poetry Foundation is doing a series called "The Poem as Comic Strip." Here's the beginning of the poem they've chosen for #6:
Every night, we couldn’t sleep.
Our upstairs neighbors had to keep
Dropping something down the hall—
A barbell or a bowling ball,
And from the window by the bed,
Echoing inside my head,
Alley cats expended breath
In arias of love and death. Read the rest (as a comic strip) here. Look for the link at the bottom of the introduction
Graphics by Maui-born artist, R. Kikuo Johnson.
Or for the straight text by poet A.E. Stallings, here.
And if you have PhotoBooth on a Mac, I'd like to see a ComicBook version of YOU. Please.Poetry Friday
is hosted today by Author Amok
posted by Neil
I seem to be spending the day recovering -- napping and sleeping and waking and not doing much of anything, really. It's wonderful. Perhaps tomorrow I will have a functioning head again. Not today.
So, for those of you following the story, Coraline
came out yesterday. (Here's the Metacritic what the reviewers are saying list
. It's at 80%. This is incredibly good.) The box office estimates and tracking had us coming in in 5th or 6th place for the weekend. It's now looking like we'll be in a healthy third place, and that a lot more people than anyone expected are going to see it.
Which is good for Coraline, and good for Laika, and good for the Portland animation world, and good for Henry, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't good for me.
Now, none of this would have happened if Henry Selick and his amazing team of fabricators and animators hadn't worked miracles. A lot of this is to do with the amazing reviews the film has been getting over the last few days. A lot of it has to do with Focus Films' serious advertising on TV for the film. But in addition that, I like to think that a lot of it has to do with the work that Weiden+Kennedy have been doing over the last few months. Things like the Koumpounophobia Trailer
, or the spooky trailer
, or the boxes for bloggers, or the keys, all come from them, and if adults were being encouraged to go, or reassured that it wasn't just a kids' movie, it came primarily from them.
(Incidentally, before we leave the subject of film critics, for the record, it's even more fun getting thumbs up from Messrs Hill
than you might imagine. And you probably imagine it's an awful lot of fun.)
Not a question: when they´re taking your pictures, stop talking!!! They took funny pictures of you during Coraline´s premiere! Tell miss Maddy she look terrific in green!
The trouble is, most of the time the cameras are flashing. It's not one guy taking a picture of you: it's dozens of people all with cameras. And sometimes you know your picture is being taken, and you shut up and smile (or don't smile) but often you don't know, and sometimes you're in the middle of talking to someone when the flashes go off, and mostly then, if you're me, you just keep talking.
Sorry about that. Let me make it up to you: Here's an article from Toronto, mostly about me and Toronto, that I'm only posting because I like the photo. Mostly, I don't like photos of me. But I like this one. And look, I'm not talking.
And Maddy's green dress was truly adorable. As, of course, is she.
just wanted to know if you had the chance to see the German Edition of your fracking amazing Graveyard Book ?
I saw it a few days ago in a local Book Store - the book is inside a Metal Box - very neat ! :)
That's beautiful. I'd heard they were doing the books inside metal boxes, but hadn't seen them yet.
And this came in from my friend John Lorentz, and is a terrific round-up of the news from Portland, including the premiere, and some TV:
And we did, and we were, and now we are glad to be home.
posted by Neil
It's a beautiful day. Kyle my photographer houseguest is off down the creek taking photographs.
(He is out to get art made, as you will learn from the caption.)
I think that this
amateur Wolves In the Walls fanart is my favourite photograph of recent vintage though.
You are inside Neil Gaiman's mind. (Hands and feet must stay within the car at all times. Management not responsible, etc.)
Please note -- now coming into view on your left -- a highly unusual conglomeration. The phrase "a jumbled, jammed-together mess" might be an apt way to describe it, as would the adjective "higgledy-piggledy." There are fantastic creatures of every size and shape and color; a flaming arch leading into 37 alternative dimensions; a button; a crumbling staircase; a battered-looking witch's hat; a row of brooding Doric columns; a headless doll; a few hounds of hell, snapping and straining at their leashes; a peanut butter sandwich; a talking cat; a disembodied bloodshot eye; and the occasional troll.Currently visible on your right, my friends, is an ancient scroll upon which is written the minute particulars of your destiny -- yet sadly, another line of it disappears each time you lean close and try to make out the words. (Sit down, please -- you have been warned!)
Which is a fine way to start a newspaper article, if you ask me. Possibly the best way.
Oops. They're all back from the creek. Gotta go. (I've made bubble and squeak and poached local duck eggs for breakfast.)
I now have copies of my very first YA book–The Last Dragon! (grinning) On Saturday, I went to lunch at the editor’s house with my fellow writers from the Dragon Speaker series–Debbie Ouellet and Erin Thomas. We signed copies to each other, and received some copies of our own book.
What a thrill to see my name on the cover, to open up the book and see the dedication I’d written, and the story, the words that I wrote!
All the way home on the subway, I kept taking one of the copies of my book out of the back, grinning at the cover, reading a few pages, then putting it back. I’d stare at the cover peeking out from the top of the bag. I kept wanting to turn to strangers on the subway and wave my book at them, saying “I wrote this! This is MY book!” It took great restraint not to do that. (laughing) I satisfied myself by showing my book to a store clerk who I’ve had interactions with before, and she was lovely and excited with me.
Dragon Speaker Series authors - top, left to right: Cheryl Rainfield, Erin Thomas; bottom: Deb Ouellet. And yes, that's a Wonder Woman belt I'm wearing. :)
Here's each of us holding a copy of our book in the order they appear in the Dragon Speaker series: Cheryl Rainfield with The Last Dragon; Deb Ouellet with A Hero's Worth; and Erin Thomas with Draco's Fire.
Erin Thomas was savvy enough to ask for a photo with our editor, Paul Kropp (also a children's/YA writer); he's poking his head out behind Deb and me.
Erin also managed to get a photo of Lori Jamison, the author of the 32-page teacher's guide for all the Dragon Speaker books.
This must be some kind of a tipping point. Users won’t know this as “RSS,” but the mainstream march continues.
, feed reader
, new york times
John over at Library Clips does an amazing job of explaining just how detailed you can get using RSS aggregators to become more efficient by setting up a Getting Things Done implementation in Google Reader. It may even make your head swim a little. Me, I’m nowhere near this level of productivity, but it’s good to see someone else taking full advantage. As with all software, John is a power user and the other 99% of us will never achieve this level, but see if there are any tips (and sites) here that you can incorporate into your own routines.
, google reader
, library clips
It’s hard to believe that TEN LUCKY THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO ME SINCE I NEARLY GOT HIT BY LIGHTENING will be out in just three months, but it will. And it’s a great example of how the pre-publication time flies by and why it’s so important to stay organized and on top of your Promotional To Do List.
The bulk of promotional and marketing tasks to be accomplished this month have to do with press and promotional materials.
Now is a good time to begin putting together a full spectrum wardrobe of author bios. As we’ve talked about before, they can be devilishly hard to write, and you’ll need a variety of sizes. A very clever example of these varying-in-detail type bios can be found on Shannon Hale’s website. As we’ve said before here at SVP, it’s nice to have a 50 word, 100 word, and 300 word bio on hand for the various requirements of those who will ask you for them. But start playing with them now and trying a number of approaches and angles. If you start now, you may just have one you like in three months. Maybe.
This is also a good time to think about getting an author photo. You’d be surprised how often you’ll be asked for one, and if you give yourself enough lead time, you can wait for a good hair week to set up the photo shoot.
Another thing to begin thinking about at this three month mark is a press kit and whether or not you’ll want to put one together. A press kit, for those of you who don’t know, is a nice folder that contains information about you and your book, usually with the intention of being sent to the press so they can have all the information at their fingertips should they care to write about you or your book. A press kit might contain a short and long author bio, an author photo, a color postcard of the book cover, maybe a short interview with you answering some basic author FAQs about how you came to write the book, your path to publication, etc.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have yet to send out a press kit on myself. (Bad Violet!!) I did, however, send out many, many of them when I worked for a non-fiction publisher.
And lastly, I recommend getting some high quality, color postcards of your book cover. I know that Mary’s been researching the pricing on these, but I’m not sure if she’s ordered them yet. Usually, it’s a pretty simple and straightforward process and there isn’t much graphic designing involved, so it lends itself well to a do-it-yourself (read budget!) type production. But because it does involve graphic production and print time, it pays to get started early. Plus, you'll want to have them back in time to mail out before your launch date!
I don't know. You turn your (still extremely jet-lagged, just in the opposite direction) back for one moment and the tabs to be closed are already breeding...
First, the big sadness: Cody's Bookshop has closed completely. http://www.boingboing.net/2008/06/21/codys-books-of-berke.html
I've loved doing signings and events with Cody's over the years, thought they were special and will miss them very much. It makes me glad that Kepler's is still in business,
I'm a Hachette author in the UK and much of the Commonwealth. I see that, from an Amazon-selling point of view, this might not be a good thing to be.
I guess I'll start finding other places to link to when I want to point to books. Amazon is always the easiest way to link, so it tends to be the place I default to.
I got a bit puzzled last year when my name got left off the National Theatre of Scotland production of "The Wolves In The Walls" at the New Victory (it was there as writer of the book the thing was based on, but not as co-adapter or as writer of most of the extra lyrics). Still, I felt that things had swung a bit far the other way when I saw this article from Variety on The New Victory winning the National Award for Excellence...
Here's the second part of a two part interview with Alan Moore at the Forbidden Planet blog (where you can learn what he thinks about Gordon Brown being petitioned by the public for an honour on Alan's behalf ):
The door to Hell. It's in Darvaz in Uzbekistan.
Weird Tales is blogging an entry a day on its 85 weirdest storytellers of the last 85 years.
I was thrilled by Sandman
, the whole thing, being on the Entertainment Weekly
top 50 new classics of the last 25 years, and baffled why, when they did the entry on what the longest work on their list was, they only listed the first volume of Absolute Sandman
, rather than the whole thing. And googled to make sure that my friend Marc Bernardin was still working there to ask him (not that it's anything to do with him of course) and found myself reading this:
I met Miriam Berkeley on a plane in late 1988, on my first professional trip to the US, I think. She's a photographer who photographs authors -- here's an interview with her, along with some of her great author photos:http://goodbooksguide.blogspot.com/2008/04/eyes-of-miriam-berkley.html
Hi, Mr. Neil!
Thought you might enjoy this:
That's cool: Turning wordclouds into art. I have to go and play with Wordle, don't I?why do the characters in your children's book "The Dangerous Alphabet" look so very similar in appearance (hair color, eyes, clothing - even, somewhat, the shapes of their faces) to Al Columbia's beloved underground cartoon characters, "Pim and Francie"? The similarities are pretty uncanny. Are you and your illustrator very big fans of Al Columbia, or is it simply a very big co-incidence?
thank you for your time.
I'm not sure I've ever seen anything Al Columbia's drawn, apart from a promo piece for Big Numbers
about 18 years ago, but I googled Pim and Francie, found a picture
, and can't figure out what they have in common with the brother and sister in The Dangerous Alphabet
apart from being male and female children, and his hair being lighter than hers. So it's a mystery to me too.
Sent some pictures of me taken for Time Out
And here's a scan of the Entertainment Weekly
photo page with my top ten on it. A photo almost unique in the history of pictures of me in magazines, for actually looking like me...
In my head Eddie Campbell whispers
, "Ah. Righht. Another picture from the Neil Gaiman School of Looking at You Sideways.")
STOP PRESS: "The Witch's Headstone" (which will, later this year, be Chapter 4 of The Graveyard Book
) won the Locus Award for best novelette. Thank you to all who voted for it, and to Gardner Dozois who accepted the award on my behalf. It's a really terrific list of winners, too.
Locus Awards Winners
Winners of this year's Locus Awards, voted by readers of Locus Magazine in the annual Locus Poll, were were announced this afternoon at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Seattle, at an event led by Master of Ceremonies Connie Willis.
- SF NOVEL
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
- FANTASY NOVEL
- Making Money, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperCollins)
- YOUNG ADULT BOOK
- Un Lun Dun, China Miéville (Ballantine Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
- FIRST NOVEL
- Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill (Morrow; Gollancz)
- "After the Siege", Cory Doctorow (The Infinite Matrix Jan 2007)
- "The Witch's Headstone", Neil Gaiman (Wizards)
- SHORT STORY
- "A Small Room in Koboldtown", Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Apr/May 2007)
- The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories, Connie Willis (Subterranean)
- The New Space Opera, Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan, eds. (Eos)
- Breakfast in the Ruins, Barry N. Malzberg (Baen)
- ART BOOK
- The Arrival, Shaun Tan (Lothian 2006; Scholastic)
- Ellen Datlow
- Charles Vess