This was kind of neat. Margaret Atwood has a stake in a company called iDolVine that has created software and a social networking site that allows authors to meet virtually with book lovers, and then inscribe their ebook remotely. I tried it out yesterday for an event organized by the bookstore at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, while I was sitting in my office here in Toronto. It all worked very well. A steady stream of customers (well it was steady for a few minutes!) sat down in the hotseat and pulled on the headset so we could chat for a few minutes through cyberspace. Then at what seemed like the appropriate moment, I inscribed the cover of my second novel, The High Road using a stylus and a tablet computer. Then I hit the “Send” button and the electronic image was sent to the customer’s email address. I’m told that when the system is fully developed, the inscribed cover of the novel will actually be embedded directly into the customer’s ebook stored in his/her online library, whether it’s with Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, or other ebook services. Slick!
Archive for the ‘Margaret Atwood’ Category
Time to look back on my writing year, as I’ve done annually since starting this blog back in January, 2007. It was another year of counting my literary blessings. Here are a few highlights that made 2011 such a memorable year for me:
- I did 95 talks and readings over the course of the year, a pace of nearly two each week. I travelled to Vancouver, Whistler, the Sunshine Coast, Calgary, Banff, Halifax, Ottawa, and all through Ontario.
- In early February, The Best Laid Plans, due largely to Ali Velshi’s stellar advocacy, snared the 2011 Canada Reads crown. This put TBLP on the bestsellers list for much of the year and even dragged The High Road on to the list in its wake.
- In June, I started teaching at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing program. I developed, and have now twice taught, a five week course on how to build an audience for your writing.
- In July, TBLP was the only novel included in the twelve books shortlisted for the Best Canadian Political Book of the Last 25 Years honour compiled by the Samara Foundation and The Writers’ Trust.
- In late October, I finished the manuscript for my third novel, tentatively entitled Up and Down, and in November, passed it along to my wonderful editor and publisher at M&S, Douglas Gibson.
- Also in November, CBC announced that it is developing The Best Laid Plans as a six-part television miniseries.
- In December, the City of Woodstock announced that The High Road had been chosen as the official Woodstock Reads 2012 selection.
- Finally, to close out the year, Margaret Atwood “tweeted” very positively to her nearly 289,000 followers after reading The Best Laid Plans.
As you can see, it was a very happy fifth year in my life as a writer. I am one, very grateful novelist.
Looking ahead, there’s more excitement coming in 2012. First and foremost, my third novel will hit bookstore shelves in September. Beyond that, who knows?
A few weeks ago at the Writers’ Trust Gala, I chatted for a few minutes with Margaret Atwood. Yes, Margaret Atwood. If you’d told me three years ago that in November of 2011 I’d actually be speaking with Margaret Atwood, I’d have scoffed until I had no scoffs left to offer. I’m still amazed that I managed to construct complete sentences and not fall down throughout the brief but memorable (for me) conversation. Margaret (I dared not use “Peggy,” which I assume is reserved for closer acquaintances) left me flabbergasted when she said that several audience members at a reading she’d given recently in Picton, Ontario had suggested strongly to her that she read both of my novels. She went on to note that they were so eager to ensure her compliance that the titles of my first two novels were dutifully written down on a piece of paper and given to her lest she forget them. As she conveyed this miraculous story, I did my best to plaster a modest smile on my face even as what felt like a hockey game broke out in my stomach and my heart rate soared into the red zone. I thanked her and let her move on to the throng of fans gathering on the periphery of our conversation. I then sat down for a moment to… well, to recover. Eventually I collected my wits that were strewn about me on the floor, stood up, and ventured into the reception. It was a lovely night, but my brief exchange with Margaret Atwood was certainly a highlight.
Our encounter came back to me this morning when I opened Twitter on my iPad to get caught up on all the news. Of course I’m one of Margaret Atwood’s nearly 289,000 followers. I had to sit back down again when this Tweet passed through in my Twitter stream:
I guess she kept that piece of paper from Picton. What a thrilling way to close out a wonderful year in my still fledgling life as a writer. Well, twelve hours later, I’m still sitting down. Tomorrow I may try to stand up, but I don’t want to rush it…