Litquake’s Fifteenth Anniversary

I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of Litquake until a few years ago. It was happening in my neighborhood. It’d be nice to get in on the ground floor of one of the many cultural phenomena that spring to life in the Bay Area and be able to shake my fist at the late arrivers, proclaiming, “I remember when…” I suspect that Litquake is better now than it’s ever been, so I really can’t complain. The party is definitely not over.

A few highlights:

“Drivel: Litquake’s Book Launch,” featured well-known authors reading “some of their crappiest early work.”

The book is probably funny on its own, but it was great to see it read live. The authors were completely aghast. One poor guy used so many adjectives and commas in his sentences he couldn’t make it through any of them without a breath.

As bad as the Drivel was, I firmly believe that someone in the world would un-ironically enjoy the passages and that makes me happy.

litquakeDrivelJulia Scott, Andrew Sean Greer, Po Bronson, Peter Orner

Sunday I spent hours in a windowless room at Hotel Rex, which was tough because it was a beautiful day. Mid-October and San Francisco finally gets summer weather.

“Hybrid Publishing Models: A Writer’s Dream?” was a good panel, but didn’t cover much new ground for me, probably because I went to the Digilit conference this year. What astonished me though was how hard writers have to work to make a living. The panelists were superwomen, combo writers/writing coaches/small press owners/agents/etc. There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow!

Monday I went to what is always an interesting panel, “First-Time Authors Reveal All.” I’m fascinated by all the different paths writers take to publication. What continues to puzzle me is that many authors struggle to get a traditional publishing deal, yet I hear in panel after panel that you still have to do everything yourself, in regards to editing, marketing, and promotion. I’m so glad I didn’t realize what I’d be up against when I started this writing adventure. I willing to accept the reality of all this, but in small doses.

firsttime-14Edan Lepucki tells of getting promoted by Stephen Colbert

I gathered some good links from the panelists.

One of my favorite panels was “Masters of the YA Universe,” with Paolo Bacigalupi and A.S. King. I saw Paolo Bacigalupi a few years ago at Borderlands Bookstore in San Francisco. I’d guess maybe 15 people attended? Bacigalupi sat behind a folding table, nervous and uncomfortable as he read from The Windup Girl. No offense to the audience or Bacigalupi, but we were all pretty geeky.

What a difference a few years makes!

pbFirstly, the large room was packed, and Bacigalupi was a super comfortable and engaging speaker. I’m guessing he has been around the block a few times now–five years later. He was promoting The Doubt Factory, and his passion about the subject showed.

Also nice was the fact that he was doing the book tour with A.S. King, (promoting Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future) and it worked out well, each singing the other’s praises in a way an author could never do on his or her own.

asking2Anyhow, a great event, great energy.

Unfortunately I couldn’t do the Litcrawl this year. I’d been invited to a six-year-old’s Star Wars-themed birthday party, and hey, PRIORITIES.

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