In Minnesota + Interview

Arrived yesterday at the Minicon hotel, met the con chair and my liaison, and was taken to a suite large enough that you have to take light rail to get from one room to the next (all right, maybe not actually that large, but damn, it’s very nice). This was followed by dinner with the con folks and the other GoH, who was then having a get-together in his suite that I fully intended to get to, but then I got back to my own rooms and it felt like an elephant had stepped on my head; a combination of being awake since 5am and a food coma. So I slept in until just a few minutes ago. Which was not a bad thing. Now I’m off to have breakfast with an old friend of mine. Then I will FIGHT CRIME. Or take a nap. Probably a nap.

But, you say, what about us? Have I nothing for you to keep you suitably amused this day? Actually, I do: Another interview! This one is with Library Journal, which is putting me on the cover of the May 1 edition. In this interview (which is an excerpt of a longer one that will run in the magazine), I talk more about Fuzzy Nation, the writing life, and, of course libraries. I think it’s my first cover story. I’m all a-squee. Enjoy.

17 Comments on “In Minnesota + Interview”

  1. John, this is amazing, they normally put librarians or library buildings on the cover of LJ. And you’re on this month’s McNaughton list (which does library rentals to meet high demand items) as well. Congratulations and much luck with the book.

  2. Great interview.
    So you are upset because you don’t have enough fan fiction? (I know, it was a joke on your part). I wouldn’t dare – my fiction writing skills are very poor.

    Also – have you ever read “Melancholy Elephants” by Spider Robinson? It was one of his early short stories, and I don’t know how he knew, but he so perfectly captured the consequences of “what if copyright extended for decades?” – long before the issue even really hit geeks as a problem, never mind the mainstream.

  3. I second the photo request. I want proof that you’re here! I almost decided to attend just for you, but then my mother volunteered me to host Easter, so I’ll be steam cleaning the house instead. *pout*

  4. It’s a fun interview at LJ, but I think you were presented with a leading question about Margaret Atwood that led to an answer that assumed she didn’t tweet or disdained Twitter. Not so! Not only does she tweet with great vigour, she designs superhero costumes and makes them available to the people she follows. She wasn’t harried about this: she just volunteered out of the blue. They’re pretty nifty costumes, too.

    I dug around and found an LJ story with some recent quotes from Atwood.

    At its core, publishing is simply about making information public, a “mode of transmission… from one brain to another brain,” Atwood said. The Internet, she pointed out, is merely the latest in a long line of publishing mediums.

    It is a tool, and like all tools, she said—illustrating the point with a line-drawing of a knife—it has a “sharp side,” a “dull side,” and a “stupid side…the part you cut yourself with without intending to.”

    She warned publishers not to make a key mistake with new technologies: “Never eliminate your primary source”—that is, authors. Only ten percent of authors make their living by writing full-time, she said, and lower royalties for ebook sales—which appears to be the trend—make this a more difficult proposition.

    Social networking for marketing purposes also presents difficulties, according to Atwood, by taking up authors’ time that they could spend writing. If publishers want authors to make use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social technologies to promote their books, authors may want more of a share of the profits. “If I’m expected to do all this other work,” Atwood said, “shouldn’t I get more of the pie?”

    The part I bolded seems a fair enough statement to debate. Both of you seem to tweet because you enjoy it, and both of you are reaping the benefits of keeping up with social media (you much more than her, I think), but it brings us back to the roles of publisher and writer and the kinds of negotiations you make, as well as the templates and models that will work for some authors and not others, which you also discussed in your interview. You and Atwood are both successful enough that you have the time to enjoy tweeting for its own sake, while benefiting from the publicity, but is it fair to expect all authors, some still with demanding day jobs, to put in the time you do without getting a dime for it? Maybe the publishing industry is in deep enough crap that few authors should expect much in the way of promotional support again, but maybe not.

    Hey, when you’re back, how about trying to get Atwood to engage on this? It could be interesting.

  5. #5: Thirded!

    #6: If you’re a big enough girl for your mother to “volunteer” you to host Easter, you’re a big enough girl to tell her to stick it, and go to Minicon :-)

  6. I must bang my tin pans together, and demand a copy of the system’s LJ when it comes around.

  7. “But the point for me about libraries is not how they work for my career but basically how they work for my culture.”

    Lovely way to end the interview. (Although my inner copyeditor suggests striking “basically”.)

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