It seems the week is gone in the blink of an eye, and that’s without going to an office anymore. A lot of it is the thousand and one details of self-publishing and indie work, all of which has to be done if you are planning to have anyone beyond family and close friends read what you write. I don’t claim to be a master of the business side of this – ’cause I’m not – but I try to keep learning with each book and with each mistake. Remedial marketing is the current project. Like it or not, marketing is part of the business of writing and, if you are not with a traditional publisher, it is as much a part of the job as writing the book in the first place. That means understanding what works in advertising and learning how to do it. All of which is part of being ready for when “Complicated” comes out this fall/winter.
I did find time to read “A Song For A New Day” by Sarah Pinsker. Picked it up in a bookstore and thought it would be interesting and I was not disappointed. First, a word about the setting. The author has built a world in which a viral plague has led the government to pass laws against congregating, large crowds (including concerts) are forbidden, and many people self-isolate as much as possible. No, this is not today’s news – the book was published a year before COVID-19 hit! The crystal ball isn’t perfect, of course, and many differences between the way people act in the world of the book and the way they are actually acting in the real world stand out, but it is overall a fascinating experience to read it with COVID-19 going on around us. The story follows Luce Cannon – best name ever invented for a singer, guitarist and songwriter – and Rosemary Laws, a talent scout, as they look to bring rock back to the people. Pinsker is a musician and it shows in the wonderful detail around the bands and the music. The setting and the story work really well. The characters with their strong points and their flaws are terrific. You know this when you hesitate to start a chapter because you know there has to be a big reveal/break-up/blow up coming and you’re sufficiently invested in the characters that you wish it didn’t have to happen. A few things don’t work so well. The Luce POV chapters are first-person narrative while the Rosemary ones are third-person restricted. I found the shift a bit jarring in some places. I also wish we saw more of Luce’s story. Rosemary gets most of the growth arc. These are minor and don’t spoil the enjoyment of the book. If you like rock and near-future, slightly dystopian sf (which could almost be on CNN now) you should read this. Highly recommended.