It’s Towel Day, friends: the day hoopy froods carry their towel in remembrance of the greatest sci-fi parody writer ever, Douglas Adams. Since I hotlinked this image from Lemon.ly, I’m sending you there for the details.
It is perhaps odd for me to write a eulogy for Kathi Kamen Goldmark because in truth I barely knew her. I can say this: she always volunteered to speak or answer questions for the NCBPMA, and because of her friendliness and approachability she was one of the first local producers I knew by name. She was one of those vivacious people that seems to be everywhere, and always smiling to boot. Being a producer is a tough job, and yet she never hesitated to answer a question or offer an explanation about why a certain guest would or wouldn’t be a fit for her show. She somehow managed to do this job while writing books and performing in the literary group the Rock Bottom Remainders.
As I’ve embarked on this journey in the Bay Area publishing world, I always imagined the day when Kathi and I would be friends. Not because she was some milestone of important authors (though she was!) but because she had that kind of warmth that made me think I could do this, that the writing and publishing scene isn’t a clique, but a community.
In the coming weeks there will be numerous posts from people who knew her well, that will explain better than I ever can why the loss of this luminary light will affect the Bay Area forever. I only wish to contribute this to make it known how many lives she touched, even among her acquaintances. It breaks my heart to know that I will never be able to tell her what a role model she was for me, and for so many others. But perhaps if you are reading this now, it will remind you of all the lives you may touch, and the special place you may find if you keep following your dreams. A space that is all your own—like Kathi, whose presence in the literary world is irreplaceable. Kathi Kamen Goldmark, you are missed.
Two Chapter Ones
Novelling never seems to go as planned. When I started this novel, I told myself I would spend as much time on the later chapters as on the opening ones. Everyone spends forever writing their first chapter, of course because it is the first thing people read. I’ve also discovered that writing the first chapter is one of the hardest things to write. Why? Because what the reader wants is exactly the opposite of what the author wants. The writer wants to introduce you to their world: who these characters are, where they live, what they’re in search of. The reader hasn’t decided yet whether she cares about any of those things. The reader wants to know what happened: what’s the story? What’s the conflict? Where is this going? Complicating things further, the reader really does need some of that background information. Well into the novel, they know what the characters look like, where they live, what kind of world the story inhabits. So the author has this challenge: they must get the reader involved in the story right away while sneaking in little details that give the reader something to picture. When my reading group first looked over my story, I realized they didn’t know diving in whether the world was going to be suburban or fantasy, if it takes place today or fifty years ago. Thus every detail in chapter one matters, because the readers is starting from nothing. Not only do you have to sneak them in, you have to give just the right details in just the right order.
I wrote an article for Opportunities Planeet on why artists, authors, or anyone who needs to market a product should be on Twitter.
For Anyone Looking to Market a Product, Twitter Can Be Even More Important Than Facebook
Twitter is the second-most popular social network in the world, and the ninth most-most popular website worldwide. But I believe for marketing, Twitter is the most important social media account to have. First let me say I’m comparing Twitter to Facebook not because they are the most similar, or because I think you should neglect to promote yourself on Facebook. I compare Twitter to Facebook because most people see Facebook as an important part of their marketing strategy, while neglecting the little blue bird. Sure, Facebook is the second-most popular website in the world. But most of the people who use it expect it to be a personal space. Facebook is where people share photos of their vacation and videos of kittens. You are expected to have one profile for all the different “hats” you wear, encompassing what you do at work, how you spend your free time, what music enjoy and what stories you’ve been reading…the whole kit and caboodle. Twitter allows you to brand yourself. You can have a multitude of Twitter profiles and no one frowns upon it as they would if you had a variety of Facebook personae. This means if you’ve written the book Zombies With Guns you can have a Twitter feed that focuses exclusively on weapons, ammo, and surviving the zombie apocalypse. On Facebook, your friends and family would be irritated by your constant stream of zombie and gun info, because they are not your target audience. On Twitter, your account is specifically for that purpose, so all of your followers would be people interested in that kind of content. Sure, you can get fifty of your friends to like your company on Facebook, but on Twitter those followers are not your pals but potential customers. Facebook has created a number of ways to compete with this advantage. They created groups, then changed, them, and are now getting rid of them. They created company pages. But in my experience, it is harder to gain followers of a Facebook company page than a Twitter page, even though many more people are on Facebook! That’s because people go to Facebook to talk to people they already know in real life. People go to Twitter to find out what’s going on in the world and to receive updates on their favorite subjects.