I started the day at the Art of Titles panel. With Terry Pratchett and Gordon Van Gelder on it, it had to be good. There were lots of anecdotes and not a little bit of handwaving about what made a good title. Of course I’ve never been good at titles, but with the general consensus that editors had to change the titles of about 25% of all the works they used, I didn’t feel all that bad about my track record. It was interesting about the differences between short fiction titles and novel titles, though. Short fiction titles could be long and complex if necessary. Book titles had to be read at a distance on the bookshelf, so the preference was for short ones that looked esthetically pleasing. I recorded the panel.
DOA: Books that died despite everything: Editors confess to bad marketing, bad cover art, bad timing, and just plain bad luck. Recorded for future worry.
Baen Traveling Slide Show: Of course now it’s done on Powerpoint, but Toni Weisskopf kept up an energetic presentation. I am going to be paying more attention to this publishing house. I recorded about 15 minutes of it, but I didn’t have a chair, and so left early.
And dropped into the Stories I’m Too Scared to Write panel. Joe Haldeman had an interesting story of writing a too-perfect blueprint for extortion that a reader turned into fact. Soon the topic shifted over to the personal demons that the writers avoided, or that turned up in their writings in spite of themselves. I stopped recording it all because the battery level on my iPod wasn’t holding up. Thus far I had recorded two hours today, and I had a lot more to go.
The Bantam/Spectra Presentation: I only stayed for a few minutes. Nice people, but the wrong market for me.
I started a panel on Myth and Fiction, but it was a bit too dry for me, although I did get a very detailed overview of Oedipus.
Finally, it was time for the Tor Presentation. A lot of the editors I had know for years were there (this does not imply that they know me) and they had a lovely time with a very fast-paced slideshow, covering many many books. About half-way through my battery ran out, but I was very pleased to see a number of YA titles. Maybe they won’t buy mine, but I have a little hope at least.
I dropped by the SFWA suite again, but other than a nice bit of cheese on crackers, and a really lovely view across the river to the MIT campus, there was nothing much going on, so I headed on back to the hotel. I was tired, and my iPod had recorded over three hours of audio. Now I had to process it and do my Blog.