Monday, December 26, 2011

In 2012, I resolve to...

1. Self-publish my entire backlist as e-books across all platforms.  Also make them available in print editions.

Reason: I need to wipe the slate (i.e. my hard drive) clean of old titles. Whether people read them is not up to me but at least all of them will be out there and available to be enjoyed.

2. Write the books I want to read.

Reason: I fell in love with reading when I was a teen and I devoured all genres, including fantasy and science fiction.  I have always loved spec fiction too.  When I write for others - for the marketplace - I get stuck because I'm not excited to find out more.  Then I'm trudging through it rather than racing through it.

3. Write the books I've always wanted to write.

Reason: It takes a very long time to write a novel - and to rewrite it and rewrite it until it's ready for others.  I am tired of wasting my precious writing time on books that mean nothing to me, that may have a fun premise but are nothing more.

4. Read more of what I love.

Reason: As a YA writer, I tend to read what I should read, what's popular among my audience. While it's important to know what sells, those books shouldn't be my sole literary consumption.  And now that I have a Kindle, it's easier than ever before to get what I need.

5. Organize my social media more efficiently.

Reason: Again, time is a precious resource.  I need to streamline what I do and when I do it.  Toward that end, I stopped using MySpace altogether and I linked my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I also have to set specific times of when I'm online - it's eating up my day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Who does that fat girl think she is?"

That's the strange comment I've read on some reviews of my novel, ALL ABOUT VEE.  Perhaps not quite as harsh but certainly I've read comments that express that sentiment.

Why?  I always wonder.  Why would a reader be upset that my mc, Veronica May, a plus-size actress struggling in Hollywood, has confidence in herself?  Plenty of other characters in other books know they are good at something, whether it's acting or painting or sports. So what's the difference between them and Veronica?

Her size. 

There's an attitude among a lot of people that overweight women shouldn't be happy with themselves.  They should want to look thinner.  They should not like who they are.  They should feel inferior to others.  Many readers who pick up VEE expect that Veronica will be sad or have low self-esteem and that, over the course of the book, she will learn to love her body the way it is (or change it and then be happy and get the guy!). They don't expect that the problems she has in the book are ones that other people impose upon her.

I've often told readers how I came up with my story about Veronica and her friends, Val and Ginny, the original 800 page book that was called FAT GIRLS IN LA. I had been walking on my lunch hour in Beverly Hills and saw a lovely young woman waiting to cross the street.  The neighborhood was filled with agencies for film and TV and this girl was overweight.  I wondered if she was an actress looking for an agent - or maybe she was a model or a writer. I thought about who she might be, where she might have come from.

And I thought about being a fat girl in LA.  You can never be too thin in this town, no matter what your profession. Even if you're a writer and you're attractive and thin, they can promote you better than if you're not.  Everyone, it seems, wants to be thin here.  But what if you came from a town where no one cared?  What if you were really good at what you did but you also happened to be overweight?  Why should that matter?

Behold, the Vees were born.  Three plus-size gals from Arizona who were best friends and who wanted to make their lives more exciting so they moved to Hollywood.  Veronica was the actress and she got all the best roles in her small town - why shouldn't she be positive about her talent?  Why shouldn't she assume she could get roles here in LA? Ginny was the writer and Val was the model. They all suffered discrimination here.  Their friendship was tested.  Their self-confidence was challenged.

I think a lot of readers who have problems with Veronica's positive self-esteem have struggled with it themselves. They may want her to feel as they do and are disappointed that she likes herself the way she is.  They may have had people in their lives tell them they need to lose weight in order to be hired - or loved.  Make no mistake: Vee does not think she's the best at everything, that she's beautiful, that she should get every guy she meets.  That's the assumption readers place on her just because she's a good actress. She struggles too.  She just doesn't struggle with what you expect her to.

She's just like you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Things I've Learned During Self-publishing (so far!)

1. First of all, the cool kids call it "indie" publishing and as we all know, when you stick the word "indie" in front of anything, its cachet is magnified a thousandfold.

2. Apparently, there was no Chapter 13 in my published novel, ALL ABOUT VEE.  Yes, it's true!  There's a Chapter 12 and a Chapter 14 but no 13.  This was due solely to human error (many humans' errors), not a superstition, although if it had been a superstition, that would have been pretty neat.

As we reformat the book to publish it as FAT GIRLS IN LA, I'm making changes, adding a little material here and there that I always wanted kept in.  So there will be a Chapter 13 in the new edition.

3. I only used one ellipsis in the entire novel of ALL ABOUT VEE.  Weird, huh?  An ellipsis is "..." Which I use all the time in my normal daily writing so it's truly bizarre there's only one in nearly 300 pages of text.

4. LOVE, MEG in Hungarian? Maybe!  When you're getting ready to re-launch, you need to regain control over all the material you own that's out there. Ninja Webmaster and I are always on the lookout for websites that have my ebooks listed so we can get them removed so we are constantly Googling, etc. But according to Goodreads, there was (or might have been) a Hungarian language version of MEG as an ebook and as a paperback.  They have ISBN numbers and everything!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New cover reveal: Vee's back!

...and she's bringing her friends!

Finally, we've got a little action going here on the blog.  It's been a long time percolating but we've got a brand new cover for the re-release of ALL ABOUT VEE, now titled FAT GIRLS IN LA, as I originally wanted it to be.  Check it out (thanks Ninja Webmaster for the redesign!):

We're all Fat Girls in LA - even the boys.

Vee will be released this month followed by...!  Nope!  Not gonna reveal that title yet!  You'll have to wait til December. Keep up to date with Vee and her friends on her Facebook page or her Twitter page and be one of the girls!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Upcoming books?

10, 9, 8, 7...

We're getting ready to launch.  Re-launch, that is.  My intrepid Ninja Webmaster is designing a brand new website and new book covers for the re-launch of 2 of my books plus several absolutely, never-seen-before new ones, including two sequels in my Fat Girls trilogy. Currently we are tweaking images and such - plus lots of technical stuff I don't know anything about.  We'll go to Amazon and other e-tailers online first but will hopefully have the books available for print as well. 

6, 5, 4...

And why am I doing this?  Well, first of all, I always felt like my novels, LOVE, MEG and ALL ABOUT VEE weren't given the opportunity to reach a wide audience.  Part of that was due to the very small marketing budget those books had- not my fault, not the books' faults, not the editor's or agent's fault. It's just the way traditional publishing works: only a select few books get the money spent on them. They are usually the ones whose authors received large advances so the publishers need to spend even more money on them to recoup that original outlay.  Those books are the ones which are expected to rake in the big bucks. 

Then there are "small" books like mine - "quiet" books that don't have big high-concept hooks - that don't receive big advances, big marketing budgets and are expected to do nothing.  Publishers throw these books into the mix and let them flounder on their own. If they make any money, hurrah!  If not, they go out-of-print.  Well, how many do you think fall into the former category?  Not many is right.  Mine fell into the latter and they went OOP and now, I have the rights back.

Another reason why I'm putting my e-books out online is that the market has changed an awful lot since I first got published.  The books I wrote after MEG and VEE were also "quiet" without high concept hooks and since MEG and VEE did not flourish, no one wanted these.  I disagree - I think readers want them.  I think people are hungry for good stories, regardless of whether they have a hook or not.  As a reader myself, I enjoy good characters and solid stories that entertain me. I have a Kindle and I want to load it up with books.  I think there are a lot of people out there like me.  And my books are for them.

Sure, I'm also writing books that do have "concepts" that I hope traditional publishing will want to put out but if not, I am creating an avenue directly to readers and I'll get them out there one way or another.

3, 2, 1...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here comes the 10th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair!

Whoo-hoo for Weho! As we say here in West Hollywood.  Once again, I'm very proud to be a part of this event, helping to coordinate some really cool things on the Teen Stage.  Let's take a look at some of the awesome things going on:

* "It Was a Dark & Stormy Night"--10:45am to 11:05am
YA Authors read A Wrinkle in Time
With those words, author Madeline L’Engle begins her extraordinary story of teenager Meg Murry who is about to embark on a journey to save her scientist father from the cold Universe with the help of three otherworldy beings.  YA writers Amy Koss (The Not-So-Great Depression), Sally Nemeth (The Heights, the Depths and Everything in Between), Leigh Purtill (All About Vee) and Carol Tanzman (Dancergirl) share the first chapter of this classic novel on the Teen Stage. And there's even a very special guest reader, Marg Helgenberger from CSI!
* "Extra, Extra, Blog all about it!"
One of the web's favorite bloggers, Chelsea Swiggett, aka The Page Flipper, who hosts the book blog, Coffee and Cliffhangers, will be interviewing 3 YA authors one-on-one, asking them all the questions you want to know about:
--Cecil Castellucci--11:15am to 11:30am
--Blake Nelson--12:50pm to 1:05pm
--Cherry Cheva--3:35pm  to 3:50pm
* "Lights! Camera! Coming Attractions!"--12:20pm to 12:40pm
Live book trailers on the Teen Stage preview new books from your favorite authors in Young Adult Lit.  Elise Allen (Populazzi), Allen Zadoff (My Life, The Theater and Other Tragedies), Claire LaZebnik (Epic Fail), and Carol Tanzman (Dancergirl) present their new books with the help of some amazing teens.  Singing?  Dancing? Acting?  Puppets?  You never know what you’ll get with these writers!
So mark your calendars now for the West Hollywood Book Fair. There's so much to do and see that you'll want to be there all day!
What: 10th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair
When: Sunday, Oct 2nd, 10AM-1PM
Where: San Vicente Blvd, between Melrose and Santa Monica Blvd
Cost: Free!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rachel Olivier's "The G.O.D. Factor"

Rachel Olivier's novella, "The G.O.D. Factor," reminds me of some of my very favorite science fiction: a little Ray Bradbury, a little Isaac Asimov, a little Robert Heinlein. It all adds up to a really fun story with a main character you want to spend more time with.

Monica is part of a small crew on a ship in deep space. While she tends to the ship's controls, the rest of the crew (including the captain she crushes on as well as her ex-boyfriend) rests in their stasis chambers. All by herself, enjoying her solace yet a little bit lonely, Monica talks to her plants and to the ship's controls, completely unaware that someone is listening - the ship itself. She's shocked when the Artificial Intelligence that she'd thought had been turned off by the ship's engineer begins communicating with her. It calls itself G.O.D. - Galactic Orbital Dreadnaught - which is a holdover from a long ago war. Monica soon realizes G.O.D. doesn't want to be her friend; it wants to control her and the rest of the crew.

Monica is a clever and funny protagonist who would rather sleep in her flannel pjs on a sofa with a crocheted pillow than in her high tech stasis chamber. There is a sweetness to this story that much SF misses: even in the midst of the crisis, Monica can't help but admire the nude physique of the captain when she awakens him from deep sleep - and then she admonishes herself for doing so! I love the oh-so-low-tech methods she and the crew use to outsmart G.O.D.

The author told me she was thinking about fleshing the novella out more, perhaps examining the earlier relationship between Monica and her ex. I think this would be a great adventure in a larger story and would definitely enjoy reading more about the ship, the past war, and Monica herself.

The slim and easily portable paperback of "The G.O.D. Factor" can be purchased online at Sam's Dot Publishing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Donate to a great cause and win books!

Donate and win me!

Over at TLC Auctions, Lauren of the blog Shooting Stars Mag and Kristi of the blog The Story Siren have combined forces to put together the ultimate book auction. All money raised through donations will go to help young Kaylea, who has leukemia, and Daniel, who lost his arm and has gone through over a dozen surgeries (very expensive!).

Read about it all here at their combined site, TLC Auctions. My book is up for auction now - donate between today and Sunday, 7/24, and you could win a signed copy of my novel, ALL ABOUT VEE. I will sign it to you personally (or to whomever you want to give it) and send it out with my very own hands.

My book auction here.

Thank you Lauren and Kristi for asking me to participate! I hope you raise all that you need and more!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Road to Self-Publication

It's been a long time since I've seen the inside of my Blogger account! LOL! For those of you who have stuck with it, thank you kindly for your patience. You probably saw an update of my blog in your feed and did a double-take: "Leigh is posting something new? Have pigs begun to fly?"

The reason for my neglect of this blog has been twofold:
1. I'm prepping books for self-publication. 2. I'm writing a new book for traditional publication.

Both at the same time!

First, let's start with self-pubbing. This, contrary to a lot of opinions, is not a bad thing necessarily. So long as you follow a series of logical steps:
--Write. --Rewrite. --Take a break. --Rewrite. --Get honest feedback. --Rewrite. --Hire an editor. --Rewrite.

In the meantime, you have to perform all the tasks publishers normally handle for you. Design the cover, plan the marketing, contact readers for blurbs, "typeset" the manuscript, and so on. If you have a particularly skilled person in your life, consider asking for their help in the design of the cover, etc. Take advantage of just about anyone you can. LOL!

I also recommend reading great blogs like Konrath's A Newbie's Guide, where he lays it out as it is. He and Amanda Hocking are the great exceptions to the rule but that doesn't mean you can't glean insight from their process. Plus it's good to read the comments for Konrath's posts because his readers have a lot of practical guidance themselves.

In fact, read everything you can about self-pubbing. You need to know what you're up against, not just the good stuff. It's also a good idea to buy a Kindle or a Nook or whatever format you plan to publish in. I have a Kindle and I love it. I love reading on it, loading new books to it, and perusing what's hot on the Kindle lists. Also good research.

I'm not up to marketing yet but I'm starting to think about how I will do this, how I want to create my brand, the C. Leigh Purtill brand. This is big picture thinking and right now I'm mired in writing and rewriting. I want to have all the books in place before I start pubbing.

I'll report more on this as it progresses.

Oh yeah, I'm also writing a ghost story that I want to publish traditionally. Yup. Ghosts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

YA's too dark? Bring it on!

For the past week, the YA world has been aflutter with essays and tweets about the Wall Street Journal opinion article by book reviewer Meghan Cox Gurdon. Here it is for your reading pleasure but I can sum it up briefly: she spoke to a mother who walked into a B&N store and couldn't find a book for her 13 year old daughter that wasn't filled with vampires and werewolves or dealt with issues like cutting, suicide, etc. Where are all the fun books for teens?

Well, LOTS of well-known writers jumped into the fray, providing cogent arguments refuting her claims. Among the best that I read were by Laurie Halse Anderson, Cecil Castellucci, and Sherman Alexie. There are plenty more plus the Twitter hashtag #YASaves that asked people to talk about their own experiences with books and how they helped them in rough times.

My reaction? It's all overreaction. The woman at the store, Ms. Gordon, and many of these writers. First of all, that woman at the store didn't try very hard because there are hundreds of books on the shelves that don't have black covers and "blood" in their titles. And if she bothered to look online, thousands of bloggers would gladly direct her to their favorite contemporary novels. Second, I don't think Gordon was condemning the entire YA lit world but she was making lots of incorrect assumptions. The idea that YA writers and publishers should somehow be held responsible, more so than their adult lit counterparts, is ridiculous. We write stories because we want to tell stories. We don't write stories because we want to be role models or teach lessons. If lessons are gleaned, well, hurrah.

When I worked in network standards, there would be periodic uprisings from Parents Television Council, a very vocal conservative watch group that would freak out about blood on the show "Angel" or sex on just about any other show on television. Language, nudity, sexual innuendo - they would lump it all together and shout, "Enough!" Some show runners might tone down things for a little while in response; some would dig in the heels, but eventually, it all worked out.

In the world of TV, you vote with your remote control. You don't like a show, you don't watch. The numbers get to the networks and they cancel shows that no one likes. It's that simple. The book world is the exact same thing. Vote with your dollars: you don't like a book, don't buy it. Will they go away? Yup, they will. Will this argument- and the one on television - come up again? No doubt about it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kindle Love Or, A Book By Any Other Name Would Read as Sweet

What can I say about my Kindle that doesn't make me sound like I'm shilling for Amazon? I've had it for about a month so far and I love it. I think I've read more books since owning this thing than I did before I got it. Anyone who knows me knows I am neither a technophobe nor a technophile; I don't glom onto the latest of anything. And if you do know me, you know I'm a traditionally published writer and I want to continue to be a traditionally published writer, as well as a self-published one. So that's why you should listen to me.

Let me state first, though, that the version I have is the cheapest one they make, the so-called "ad-supported" version. I don't honestly know what that means since I never see ads on my Kindle.

So far I have read a manuscript written in Word, a script written in Final Draft, 6 free Kindle books, 4 free public domain books, 1 short story I wrote and published for Kindle, and 1 purchased Kindle novel. All of them were incredibly easy to download and read. Before I begin to buy books (many of which are very reasonably priced especially if the author is self-pubbing or the publisher wants you to sample the author's work), I will exhaust the free lists, which are numerous!

Reasons I love my Kindle more than my computer:

1. Battery lasts a month (or longer).
2. Lightweight, easy to carry.
3. It's way cool.
4. I'm not distracted by the internet.

Reasons I love my Kindle more than books:

1. I can change the font size.
2. I can load just about any book I want at any time I want.
3. It's way cool.
4. I can carry 3500 books at once.

My version of Kindle also has some neat things like a limited web browser, text-to-speech mode, and the ability to listen to music. Basically anything you can send to yourself in an email, you can load to your Kindle.

No, it's not color. No, it doesn't have email. No, it doesn't have a touch screen. It's designed to read things. Books, magazines, blogs, Word documents, and so on. And it does that, very very well. I don't want it to do much more than that. Just like I want my phone to make perfect calls to other people - and not take lousy videos or photos - I want my e-reader for...reading. I'm tired of having wi-fi where I drink coffee and coffee where I buy books.

I don't think every store/cafe/thing needs to be all things to all people (yeah, Starbucks, I'm talking to you: you don't need to sell CDs and books and sandwiches and oatmeal and have wi-fi in the just need to make a good cup of coffee). What's so wrong with doing one thing really well?

That's what the Kindle is for: it does reading really well. And that's why I love it.

And it's way cool.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Making the right choice

When I first began writing, my primary concern was finishing the novel, actually telling a story that made some sort of sense from Page One through The End. Many years have passed, and many novels have been written - some published, most not - and now my worry is not that I can't finish a book but that I haven't chosen the right story to tell.

You probably have dozens of stories in your head, a hundred characters you could write about, and you're probably thinking that everything would be awesome if you could just find the time to write them all down.

No, that's not the problem.

The most important decision you can make is not which one to write FIRST in your limited free time, but which one to write AT ALL. Is it the vampire-zombie romance? The political thriller? The cozy knitting mystery? Or a memoir of your days working in the Peace Corps?

You may be tempted to choose the story that would sell right this very second if it were in the market. Don't choose that one. By the time you write yours, edit it, rewrite it, submit it, sell it and publish it, the small window that was open will be long gone.

The story you should write is the one you are the most passionate about, of course, but be realistic about it. If you love love love paranormal romances, go for it but understand that the marketplace is glutted with them and yours will have to stand out significantly to be noticed. On the other hand, you may want to tell a very small personal story; sure, go for that one, too, but recognize those literary dramas don't usually garner very big advances and may be better suited for a small press.

I spent a year on a novel that I thought was perfect for the market: big themes, big action, big drama. No heart. No love. No bit of my soul in any of the pages. That was my fault. I wrote for everyone else but me. I incorporated everyone else's ideas and hoped they'd make my book bigger. Now, as I push that book aside and consider my next writing project, I have to ask myself the hard questions that I asked you. I have 2 ideas. I love both. One is lighter weight, fun, but has a positive message and a semi-sad ending. The other is more complex, historical, yet personal. Which do I write?

Last time I did this, I solicited advice from both my agent and manager, submitted a detailed outline which they approved and then got to work. The book failed miserably. This time I go with my gut. What moves me? What will be the story I fall in love with and have to tell? Then regardless of its "bigness" or "complexity," it will have been written with passion and I'll be happy with it no matter what happens to it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Odd things I miss about my day job

Make no mistake about this: I don't want the day job back, at least not in the form I was chasing it. And although I teach dance every day and spend much of my free time thinking about and planning for it, I don't consider that my day job. It's too much fun to even call it work, although that is indeed how I make a living.

So aside from the steady paycheck and benefits, what on earth would I miss about a 9-to-6 Monday-to-Friday cubicle gig? Funny you should ask.

1. Free toilet paper. You're at the office 8 or 10 hours each day, five days each week. You're gonna need to use the restroom a whole bunch of times. You figure it out.

2. Free coffee. Not the best, not as good as I could make it at home, but hey, it was free and a good way to eat up some break time.

3. Free parking. Everywhere you go in this city, you have to pay to park. Everywhere. But when I worked in Burbank, I parked in the garage for free and at lunch, I'd walk to most places I needed to be (doctors, stores, lunch, parks...).

4. Structured writing time. Ironically, I think I was more structured then simply because my time was not my own. I happen to be a very disciplined person which is why I have gotten many more books and drafts of books completed since leaving the day job, but I kinda miss my lunchtime writing time. It really felt like my own slice of life.

And...that's about it. Sure, the money was very good and I worked with some wonderful people (many of whom are no longer there anyway) but in the end, that's not enough to woo me back. Not that anyone is trying! LOL...

I can buy cheap toilet paper, make my own coffee at home, park ten blocks away instead of at a meter, and be more consistent with my writing schedule. And I can email the friends or watch their kids grow up on Facebook. I'll take the uncertainty of my teaching paycheck over the steadiness of the day job.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Journalist or race car driver?

Oh well, says Damian Pyka to himself, No time to check! Must cut and paste!

I got an email from Edwin Black the other day with the following letter attached that he received from Mr. Pyka, apparently his favorite delusional fan from Holland:

Dear Edwin
I am one of your most faithful fans here in Holland and I decided to write
to you to express my great acclaim to your work. I think you are a great
driver and I love watching when you start in the race. It would be the best
gift ever
Align Left
if you could please send me two your picture or autograph. As I probably
not be able to meet you face to face, owning a gadget signed by you would
be an awesome pleasure for me.

Here is my address:


Thank you for reading my letter and thanks in advance for fulfilling my
Yours sincerely,


It didn't take very long for me to do a quick search for to learn that Mr. Black is an investigative journalist and author of many best-selling books. I wrote him back, laughing as I imagined he must have when he got it, and wondering exactly what sort of "gadget" Damian would have liked to receive from him.

The craziest thing is that Edwin Black actually is a New York Times best-selling author and his autograph is probably truly worth something! If only Damian had gotten it right, he might have snared an autographed "gadget" from Edwin or his publicist.

Thanks for sharing this one, Edwin. And authors/singers/dancers/race car drivers, be on the lookout for the newest addition to the autograph request group.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Thoughts on a Friday

1. Sometimes having a migraine is good for you. In my case, I had a massive headache yesterday and when I lay down to rest a bit, I got the most brilliant idea for a new story! A day later, the idea is still a good one so I know it will “take.”

2. Sometimes letting go of your ego is good for your work. Since my last book was published three years ago, I’ve written five complete manuscripts, two of which have gone out on submission and failed to spark enough interest to be purchased. My pride was bruised, admittedly, and I only wanted a third book published. But now I want an awesome book published, not just good but great. I want to break out and be noticed, not merely “acquired.” Therefore I will not rush this book to my agent but take the time to craft it and if she thinks it needs more work, then I will do that.

3. Sometimes putting cocoa powder in the mix is good for your muffins. While baking banana nut muffins for a co-worker (and Mo), I added several tablespoons of cocoa powder (the unsweetened kind not hot chocolate mix) and they turned out yummier than ever! This happens to be fantastic recipe that I got from Saffron Hut's blog. Here's the link so you can make them yourself. Don’t forget to add cocoa! And be generous with the nuts.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Borders bookstores closing

News of Borders filing for Chapter 11 is nothing surprising to the publishing industry now but 3 years ago when my books were coming out, there was not an inkling of trouble with the company.

Borders in Westwood (near UCLA) was the first store where I signed stock of LOVE, MEG. I was so nervous and excited to see my books on the shelf! Mo and I searched on-line first to see where the books were around here and then we set out with pen and camera in hand. The very first time it took me forever just to get up the nerve to talk to a manager and say, "Hey, those are my books, do you want me to sign them?" I think we walked around the store for about half an hour first! But they were so nice and eager to slap the "Autographed copy" stickers on them. It was a huge thrill for me.

I always had a soft spot for Borders over Barnes & Noble for the simple fact that they stocked my books in more of their stores than B&N did. Also, they hosted a really nice signing for me at their West Hartford store when ALL ABOUT VEE came out. The manager, David, was amazing and kind and did everything he could to make it a success. When we ran out of books, he promised to order more that I could come in and sign before I left for the west coast - and he did!

Borders was also a better place to strike up conversations with other customers. For some reason, the stores I went to attracted readers who liked to talk about their favorite books. B&N customers were more business-like - either in and out with their purchases or hanging out with a coffee and earbuds in.

I'll miss Borders and I'll miss their managers. I hope the ones I met on both coasts fare well in this business, regardless of where they decide to stay.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Axioms I love spoken by real people

"Nothing ever starts on time." - my dad, John Purtill

As kids, my brother and I would get frustrated with my father's inability to leave the house in a timely fashion to arrive at events *before* they began. Now that I'm older, I realize he's right: most things (theater, meetings, weddings, etc.) rarely start when they are scheduled to so why bust your butt to get there? And if that's not true and you're a few minutes late, so what? It's not the end of the world.

"No one wants to do their job." - my friend and manager, Adam Peck

When Adam told me this years ago, I didn't get it but soon - especially after living in LA for a while - I did. It's not that people are lazy, it's just that they don't want to do the jobs they were *hired* to do. They want to do someone else's job, which is the job they really want (assistants want to be producers, clerks want to be managers, and everyone thinks they can be a writer!). I try to be aware of this myself when I don't do something: is it because I can't or because I want to be in someone else's shoes?

"Most people are thinking about themselves." - my husband, Maurice Jordan

After parties, I have a bad habit of analyzing every single thing I said ad nauseum. Maurice reminds me that, unless I ran around naked with a lampshade on my head, the likelihood of anyone remembering anything I said is super-slim. Why? Because they're all thinking about what *they* said at the party. Let's face it: when you're talking to someone, it's very rare for you to be thinking about them, isn't it? You're waiting for your turn to speak. You're thinking about something to say or an excuse to get away or what you can eat next. Well, so is that other person! Once you realize the truth of this, it makes parties and meetings so much easier.