Editor by Day, Author by Night

Over at Maine Crime Writers today I have a post about my dual identities as editor in chief at a magazine and book publishing company and as a novelist:

Being an editor by day and a novelist by night isn’t like being Batman. My two identities are so similar they doesn’t register with most people. But the distinction has meant a lot to me. In particular, having a career as an editor—of both magazines and books—prepared me in crucial ways for my life as an author. Most professional writers look at editors as exotic creatures of the sort you might find in a nineteenth-century bestiary. Identifying characteristics: intelligent but inexplicably dense at times; highly opinionated and yet maddeningly unable to articulate the specifics of their criticisms; gossipy when it comes to any subject relating to their industry but also prone to long, disquieting silences; underpaid saints capable of recognizing genius who never do enough to advance the causes of their writers against those no-good sales and marketing hirelings. As an editor by trade, I live a truly compromised life as a novelist. How can I piss and moan like a regular book author when I have sat on the other side of that crumb-dusted, Diet-Coke-stained, manuscript-littered desk?

Somehow I even manage to work John Travolta in this. Click on over and you'll see how.

Advice from an Agent

I don't write many posts on the nuts and bolts of publishing. I used to do a lot of that work in my former life as the executive director of Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (so long ago). And these days there's so much good advice on the Internet from professionals who know a lot more than I ever will. For instance, I stumbled on agent Rachelle Gardiner's blog the other day and, despite my best intentions, spent a fair amount of time reading her bracingly candid posts on all sorts of difficult subjects. I'd caution against trusting too much on any Internet source (when in doubt, I always ask my own agent), but the truth is there are now lots of reputable agents and other marketing professionals who are candidly writing and commenting online on this bizarre business of ours.