Tips Tuesday – Face Time

facetimeI’m new to FaceTime. An author based on the West Coast recently suggested we use FaceTime to work through revision notes I’d sent her. My first thought was, NO! I felt so self-conscious about talking on a screen. Which doesn’t make much sense – if she lived in NYC, we would have met in person to discuss her book.

It wasn’t the face time. It was the technology. But I’ll save that for another post.

Before my first foray into FaceTime, I met with the author and illustrator of an upcoming picture book, who both happened to be in NYC at the same time (one lives on the West Coast, and one in the Midwest). We worked out all the challenges in the book’s narrative and visual structure in one 90-minute meeting. I can’t begin to count the number of emails it would’ve taken to accomplish the same results.

Back to the West Coast author and FaceTime. We talked for about an hour, and had several breakthroughs regarding her revision. I discovered, through conversation, that she already had in mind some of the issues I wanted her to explore more deeply, and she knew how her characters would deal with them – it just hadn’t risen to the surface (or the page) yet. Could we have gotten to the same happy place via notes and email? Maybe. But not as efficiently. Yes, sometimes, casual, free-floating conversation is more efficient than standard business correspondence.

Why am I sharing this? Because we all live and work online these days, and Swoon is celebrating what an online community can do for books and authors. Take the comments from the site, and then discuss them with a trusted reader or critique group. Especially if you have a problem that you’re finding difficult to “solve.” Work it out by talking it out. Try a little face time!

I’ve just had my second FaceTime convo with the same West Coast author. Yes, I made sure my hair looked decent and my desk was somewhat uncluttered. But mostly, I focused on making a different kind of creative connection than is usual in my work as an editor. Sometime, old-school fuels the best breakthroughs!

Author spotlight

Liz S.

Hi, I'm the Editor-in-Chief at Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. I've worked in the book biz for over 30 years (let's just …

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