I am back from a long, very pleasant weekend hanging with indie booksellers, talking about The Mirage and divers other topics, including the importance of finding a home with enough space for all your bookshelves, career options for creative writing majors, the arcane art of effective book jacket design, whether to go Imperial or Stormcloak in Skyrim, the German boardgaming industry, zombies, Tim Tebow, and, of course, things that should be on my to-read list.
My travel reading included the new William Gibson non-fiction collection, Distrust That Particular Flavor. This bit from an address he gave at the 2010 Book Expo seems particularly relevant:
I wish that I could tell you what [my new novel is] about, but I haven’t yet discovered my best likely story, about that. That will come with reviews, audience and bookseller feedback (and booksellers are especially helpful, in that way). Along with however many interviews, these things will serve as a sort of oracle, suggesting to me what it is I’ve been doing for the past couple of years.
From all I’ve heard about his process, Gibson is an extremely intuitive writer, whereas I tend towards the deliberate craftsman end of the scale—I know what I’ve been doing, or trying to do. But it’s one thing to have that knowledge in my head and quite another to articulate it in words other humans can understand, and there’s nothing like an audience of smart, enthusiastic booksellers to help smooth out the translation. I think I’m ready for the publication tour now.