While I’ve been buried in my book and/or in Kyoto (will tell all about it when my sister sends me photos) you lot asked a bunch of interesting quessies. Here are my answers:
- Quessies from Ken Kugler: I was wondering if the deadline given to you pushes you to complete a book before you are really ready to give it to the editor? It seems that if that is the case, writing the book first and being satisfied with the final results before handing it in would be the way to go if you can hold out for money. Also there is the question of payment. Are there financial incentives to consider such as preselling a series at a lower price?
- A: Sure, that definitely happens. So far it hasn’t happened to me. I’m blessed with editors who won’t publish anything from me unless they’re sure it’s the best I can do. I’m running late on the current book and rather than publish prematurely we’ve chosen to skip doing arcs (advance readers’ copies). If this were a standalone book or the first in a series that would be a disaster. Fortunately it’s the third book in a trilogy so it should be okay. I’d much rather be late and unreviewed than publish a sub-par book.
- Typically a starting writer will get more money for a finished book than for a partial (usually a first-time writer can’t sell from a partial at all). There are exceptions obviously. As you get more established and particularly if you become a New York Times bestselling author like Libba Bray or my old man or other exalted folk you can prolly sell a rough idea scribbled down on a napkin for scads of dosh. In my case I imagine I’ll get more money for a finished book (depends on the book, natch). If an agent or editor wants to step in and answer this one I’d love to hear it.
- Now a bunch from Amanda Coppedge to help flesh out my wikipedia entry:What is your favourite book? Er, um. So hard! It used to be The Master and Margarita. Some days it still is.
Colour: Um again. I am tempted to say puce. Easier to tell you what colour I don’t like: yellow. But that’s only cause I look crap in it.
Animal: my husband.
Toothpaste: people have a favourite toothpaste?
Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations as a youngster? I never wanted to be anything else, but I did work on having a main job so that I could support myself. For the longest time that job was being an academic.
Any awards, degrees, etc. that should really be up there? Not that I can think of. I am award-less. Though I do have a Ph.D so you must all bow down and call me Dr Justine.
Anything else that just screams “essential Justine bio factoid”? That my religion is the noble sport of cricket.
Quessie from Marrije: I wonder what stories the taxi drivers in New York tell themselves and each other about black people.
A: Here are some theories I’ve heard: Cab drivers don’t stop for black men because they think they are more likely to be robbed and/or assaulted by black men then by anyone else. And they don’t stop for black women because they think they are accompanied by hidden black men who are just waiting for the cab to stop so that they can jump out and assault and/or rob them. And even if there is no assault the black passenger will make the cab driver go to an “unsafe” neighbourhood where they will be assaulted and/or robbed.
Q from Kristine Smith: Have you run this [the idea of writing a book on spec] past your agent?
A: Yup. She thought it was an excellent idea.
In response to those (few) folks wanting to read the Cambodian novel: I may well make it available online some day, but only when all possibilities of traditional publication are totally exhausted.
If anyone else has any further theories, answers or questions fire away.
And thanks again for all the fab comments on the writing on spec post. I feel very encouraged by your responses. My loins are now girded. I shall do this thing!