Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nebulas -- Day 2

Nobody turned up in the breakfast room, so I ate breakfast alone, which suggests that (1) people sleep later than I do, (2) they all found somewhere else to get breakfast, or (3) nobody eats breakfast anymore. However, this solitary meal was the last time I was by myself for the next eighteen hours.

Registered, and met SFWA's new president, Russell Davis, with whom I had coffee. He wants to put SFWA on a more orderly basis, which it could certainly use. Russell also talked about his experience working on the Transformers movie, in which the initial script had Megatron crashing on Earth because this star-faring being was "surprised by gravity." Ah, Hollywood.

Found the hospitality suite and spent time talking to people there and drinking yet more coffee, which amounted to so much caffeine I felt I could levitate. This was followed by lunch with Beth Meachem, my editor at Tor. We talked about my book coming out in December, Steal Across The Sky, for which today was "launch day." That's when Tor assembles all its sales reps, marketing people, ancillary rights people, etc., and pitches the winter schedule to them. First, writers pitch concepts to editors; months or years later editors pitch books to the sales force; the sales force pitches the books to book sellers; the book sellers pitch titles to customers. A perpetual game of horse shoes. The break-even point for a hard cover is, roughly, sales orders of 4,000, with a 60% sell-through.

I took a walk around Austin with Jack Skillingstead; this is an area with lots of funky little shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. I resisted the impulse to get a tattoo.

Next came the "pin ceremony," in which all nominees were handed pins and certificates, followed by a mass autographing session that was more a chance to socialize than anything else (it included a bar, that always useful aid to socializing). I talked to people I haven't seen in years: Karen Joy Fowler, Bruce Sterling and his exotic wife Yasmina, Scott Edelman, Maureen McHugh, Texas local and Nebula organizer, John Moore. It was fun.

Pinned, certified, and slightly drunk, I went to dinner. We had a large group: Mike and Margie Flynn, Russell Davis, Connie Willis, Jack Skillingstead, Cynthia Felice, Joe and Gay Haldeman, Sheila Williams, and I. Conversation was so good that the last, hard-core group was still there four hous later. Connie and Jack argued about William Randolph Hearst. Joe discussed his graphic novels. Everyone discussed death (which sounds morbid but was not). During much of this dinner, a huge thunderstorm raged outside, lighting up the stories-high glass wall in eerie flashes, crashing with thunder, pelting the roof with rain. The reflections of cars on the glass glided by, stories above street level.

After this some people went on to the SFWA hospitality suite but I, on East Coast time and past midnight, went to bed.


Unknown said...

We're with you in blogspirit.

Have a good time for us.


Nancy Kress said...

Thanks, Alicia!

escoles said...

I'm slightly intrigued to know what kind of interesting argument there is left to be had about Wm Randolph Hearst.... Maybe you had to be there. (Which, when you were, makes it all that much more interesting in hingsight. IMO. YMMV. TTFN.)