Happy Birthday, In Cold Ink!

It’s been just over a year since I started In Cold Ink. Like most anniversaries, this seems like a good time to reflect on the experience.  As you can see in my first post, I started out with some trepidation. I juggle a lot of jobs, and when I write I’m prone to obsession.  I worried that a blog, in my hands, would become just one more thing to neglect. And you can’t neglect a blog.  It’s like babysitting the neighbor’s kid, except that you can’t plop the blog down in front of the t.v. and expect it to amuse itself.

But I had things to say, as a writer but also as a longtime publishing professional. Before I gave it all up to write my own books,  I was an editor in a large New York publisher and a literary agent. My career path has given me a multifaceted perspective on the industry, and I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned and demystify an industry that from the outside can seem remote, strange in its ways and potentially hostile.  I also wanted to learn from others. Publishing is an industry in turmoil, on the cusp of profound change, and I wanted to explore that evolving world.

The results have exceeded my expectations. A surprising number of readers found their way to the blog: nearly 24,000 visitors last time I checked. Many left comments, and I’ve met some smart, interesting people through the blog. I’ve had the opportunity to interview some publishing pros, who’ve shared valuable insights and perspectives, including literary agent Gail Hochman,  Viking editor Tara Singh, and Editor-in-Chief of S&S, Marysue Rucci. Among the writers who’ve graced my doors are Diana Gabaldon, Tiffany Allee, Lorraine Bartlett and Mika Ashley-Hollinger.

dianagabaldonIt was interesting to see what posts attracted the most reads. The most popular by far is my two-part interview with bestselling author Diana Gabaldon, of Outlander fame…and I do mean fame. Her fans would follow her anywhere, and they followed her to my blog.  Second in popularity is my interview with literary agent Gail Hochman, also a two-parter, and very meaty in terms of how agents work, what they look for in new writers and what they avoid. Third is a post called “Ten Things Writers Should Expect from Literary Agents,” which I wrote because, while lots of writers are busy hunting for agents, few know what to expect once they nab one.

Looking over the list of posts also reminded me of some of my favorites, which I’ll mention just in case you missed them. “What if J.K. Rowling Had Self-Published?” is one. It’s my fullest answer to a question I hear frequently: “If I have a choice, am I better off seeking an agent who will then seek a publisher or self-publishing?”

Medicalert: The Scourge of Premature Submission” is a comical piece with a serious message. “Digging up Blurbs” shares some of the Dickensamazing blurbs my latest book received posthumously, from writers like Jane Austen, Hemingway, and Dickens. (I thought it was funny, anyway, even if one reader took it way too seriously and accused me of literary grave-robbing. )  “Too Much Body Language, She Said, Frowning” focues on the essential matter of craft in writing. Finally, this one has nothing to do with writing but is so worth reading: “A Former Slave Writes to His Master.

The last year has been a momentous one for me, with a new book on the way and five (five!!!) earlier books reissued. Happy events; but like other Happy Events, very time-consuming. If it weren’t for the support and engagement of this blog’s readers, I would never have been able to keep it going, but now the blog is a part of my life.  I look forward to an exciting year ahead, with lots more interviews with publishing insiders, writing advice, and reflections on our changing industry. I also look forward to sharing with you all the events surrounding the publication of my new novel, A DANGEROUS FICTION, coming out in less than a month with Viking Books… including all the fun stuff that goes on behind the scenes.

Thanks for reading.

21 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, In Cold Ink!

  1. I’ll admit I’m one of the Gabaldon fans who followed the aforementioned interview over here… But I became a fan of yours after reading your other blog entries. Then somehow an unedited copy of A Dangerous Fiction found its way to my mailbox, and while I’m still not sure how/why, I’m never one to pass up a good read, so I read it cover-to-cover. In one sitting. 🙂 (And then I went on iTunes and downloaded more of your work )

    All in all, I’m delighted you put up the blog and stuck with it – for more reasons than one. Congratulations on the very eventful year you’ve had, and best wishes for many, many more. 🙂

  2. Hi Barbara,

    This is my first time here, but not the last. Looking at the posts you mentioned, I feel like the guy who came late to class and discovered he had a ton of catching up to do.

    Best of luck on the new book.


  3. Happy 1 year blogoversary!
    I’m glad I found your blog. I think it was a link someone had posted on Twitter. And I’ve been sneaking over here and combing through the archives ever since. ^_^ Cheers to the next year of blogging!

  4. Happy blogiversary!
    It’s always fun looking back, isn’t it? Blogs are such wonderful mediums for essays and interviews and what used to be called in school “compositions” 🙂

  5. Happy day! Thank you for the ARC of the new book! I inhaled it and loved it. You are on the authors to watch for list! A very exclusive club. Keep going strong! Alice

    • Hi Alice! Delighted to hear you enjoyed A DANGEROUS FICTION. I’ll take credit for sending it but (whispering) it wasn’t actually me! Maybe you entered Viking’s free sweepstakes, in which they gave away 100 ARCs? However it reached you, I’m glad it did. And if you ever find yourself with five minutes on your hands and wondering what to do with them, a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon is a great way to help a writer out.

  6. Happy blogday to you,
    Happy blogday to you.
    Happy blogday, In Cold Ink.
    Happy blogday to you.
    (And many mooore…)

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