Friday, March 06, 2009

Book Hunting

For those wondering about the contest classifications I mentioned yesterday, here are the definitions the contest is using:

LIGHT PARANORMAL: Lighter in tone; these stories include paranormal happenings as a major element of the plot.
FANTASY: Includes mythical creatures and magical elements.

I think my books could fit in either, but I'm still not sure about the 40 percent of the plot being romance thing. I do think I'll send the book to the World Fantasy Awards, since that's more where I want my career to go. I know a lot of my readers are paranormal romance readers, but I don't see myself ever writing something that could actually be shelved as paranormal romance since, to me, the romance will always be subplot at most, and possibly even just subtext.

I had a great ballet class last night. I felt like I was finally almost sort of getting it, to where it was actually kind of dancing instead of just exercising (though it probably helps that we had a bunch of new people, so for a change I wasn't the worst one or the most clueless one in the class). But it was also a really tough class and my legs are still feeling it. It's not really pain, but there is an achy soreness that makes me wish it weren't too hot today to use the electric blanket as a full-body heating pad. It would probably help if I were better about getting physical activity more than once a week.

I mentioned a while ago that I seem to have amassed quite a collection of notebooks, and I've found a good use for yet another one. It's a small, pocket-sized hardcover journal with a ribbon bookmark and a little elastic band to keep it closed. That's now my "book hunt" notebook. I'd been scribbling author names and titles on the memo cube on my desk whenever I ran across a mention of something that sounded interesting. But those tended to get lost in all the other memos, and because my handwriting is hideous at the best of times, I often couldn't read what I'd scribbled. This notebook helps me keep my book shopping list in one convenient place, and I'm making a point of writing down title and author somewhat legibly. If it hasn't been released yet, I'm noting release date and format, and then I'm also noting if my library has a copy. It's small enough to go in my purse or backpack for bookstore or library trips, so now I shouldn't ever have to go without knowing which books I'm looking for. This will probably not help the size of my to-be-read pile, but at least I won't forget about something that sounded interesting.

As I've been compiling this list, I've realized yet again what a poor job most publishers do in publicizing their releases. I'm an avid reader and I'm pretty active online in the book world. I read book review sites in various genres. I go to conventions. I'm in SFWA and get that magazine. I spend a lot of time in bookstores. One of my favorite time wasters is to browse Amazon by category, looking for books I might like. And yet when I went to a publisher's web site the other day to research something, I stumbled across a book in their upcoming releases list that sounded like EXACTLY the kind of book I've been desperately seeking. And it was the sequel to a recent book. Everything in the packaging -- title, cover, description -- was something that would appeal to me. But I had never even HEARD of this book. Something has to be wrong if someone who's actively seeking a certain kind of book can't manage to run across a book that would fit in that category. And I must not be alone because it looks like the kind of thing that people who might like my books would like, and it doesn't show up in the "people who bought this also bought" list for my books, or vice versa (though I'm not sure how much that means because I'm not really all that interested in most of the books that show up in the "also bought" list for my books). (Hmm, just found the author's blog, and we were apparently separated at birth. Now I REALLY need to find this book.) And, no, I'm not going to say what it is because I generally don't talk about books until I've read them, and I only talk about them if I can recommend them.

Now to go do my final bit of pre-writing brainstorming before I plunge into actually writing The Nagging Idea. This weekend may be my mood-setting "retreat" in preparation for writing. I'm really looking forward to meeting these characters.

1 comment:

Carradee said...

Ooo, the "World Fantasy Awards" struck me as what your books seemed best to fit into, too.

I've noticed that bit about it being hard to find books you want to read, too.

I'm helped by friends who nudge me in the direction of things they've read (and usually disliked) that have been weird--it's how I discovered Robin McKinley's Sunshine--but still. I only recently found one book series I really like, and that because I think I heard the author mentioned by another author whose blog I poke my nose in, and then the covers were pretty.

There's even a book I heard about this week where I know the title, I know the topic--BUT I CAN'T FIND THE BOOK. It's a werewolf novel. How hard can it be to find a particular werewolf novel when you know the title?

Difficult, evidently.

Even your books I only found because I follow your agent's blog. And I like those enough that I poked in your blog to begin with.