It's been a hectic day, filled with meetings, submissions, taking kids to the doctor for their checkups (which confirmed that they are, indeed, teenagers, but didn't offer any solutions). I don't have the head space for a full topic, particularly since the main one I could think of is politics and that's just giving me anxiety. So here are a few short takes.
1) The summer is about editing, but the fall is about submissions. I spent the summer reading and working on manuscripts, with many fewer submissions than I've had the past several years. Editors seemed to be doing less new-author reading, and much more solidifying lists with new books by authors already in the stable. Now I'm in the process of submitting...a LOT of books. It's huge fun, but there's a different feel.
2) Whither Rio? I saw report on BBC World News last night about the aftermath of the Paralympics, which were held on the heels of the Olympics, which were held on the heels of the World Cup. For more than two years, there's been a focus on Brazil and its beauty and enormous problems. Now the athletes and the fans and the press are leaving. But the corruption scandals and violence and poverty remain.
3) Nobody has solved the problem of how to reliably move the dial of book sales. You may have been able to advertise in the NY Times Book Review and expect a bump; or get a book in the front table of Barnes and Noble and assume that the money would inevitably cause increased sales; or go out on tour and expect to speak to full houses (nah, that never worked as much as people said...). But now we have such individualization of sales, and such contraction of retail outlets, that it's extremely hard to move the dial unless you have established yourself either as a YouTuber before the book comes out; or as a franchise author before the internet; or simply catch fire somewhat randomly (maybe by overwhelming critical acclaim; or a particular topic that simply works; or...well, that's why we play the game). There was a short time when social media moved the dial--now it's necessary, and good, but only to stay on par. There is still the chance to sell a lot of books by being chosen for a Kindle Daily (or Monthly, or hourly) Deal. But it looks like Amazon may be glutting the market with price-driven deals as much as some cozy mystery imprints glutted the mystery market with books about murders involving knitting needles and cupcakes--sometimes simultaneously. Part of the value of marketing is increasing discoverability, to rise above the white noise. That's becoming ever harder.
4) The NY Football Giants are 2-0. Here's a GIF of Victor Cruz's touchdown dance. Stay happy!