Tuesday, June 06, 2006

YK Syndrome then an Interesting Link

So I was thinking about writing this post, and, you know, I couldn't exactly figure out, you know, how to, you know, start it. I mean, you know, starting a post is hard. You have to, you know, grab your audience, and, you know, talk about something, you know, relevant.

Man, I hope you made it through that paragraph. It was as painful to write as I'm sure it was to read.

As you might have guessed, I've been thinking a lot about public speaking lately. Next year after the book comes out, I hope to get some opportunities to go out and do a few signings. Even before that, there are at least three conferences I'm planning on attending, and at the first, ThrillerFest at the end of the month, I'm appearing on a panel. So I've started to pay more attention when I see others speaking in public.

Within the past week, I've had the opportunity to attend a couple of signings. First the Thriller Anthology signing with five great writers - Denise Hamilton, Gregg Hurwitz, Gayle Lynds, Christopher Reich and Christopher Rice, and then the next night Barry Eisler at the Mystery Bookstore. To a woman/man, they were all great speakers. Clear. Funny. Entertaining. Informative.

Great role models.

After I left Barry's signing on Friday night, I turned on the radio and caught part of a sports radio talk show. (I have my sports moments. GO ANGELS!...though we suck at the moment.) They had a caller on the line. Callers are seldom good public speakers, so it didn't surprise me that he was inflicted with YK Syndrome, that is, inserting "you know" after about every fifth or sixth word. What did surprise me was when the host came back on to speak. He seemed to have been infected by the disease. During his first response, he said "you know" seven times. Second response, nine times. Third response, eight. I stopped counting after that. This from a man paid to speak publicly nearly every day.

I'm sure you all have heard speakers with similar issues. It's a crutch, a way to fill the air because you think you need to fill the air. After all you are the speaker. You are the one everyone is looking at. What we fail to remember is that sometimes it's okay to not say anything. A pause without a "you know" filling the void, is thoughtful. It shows the speaker is confident and in control of what they are saying. Whereas dropping the old YK into the mix makes a speaker sound unsure of themselves.

Now I'm not about to start throwing stones here. I've been known to employ the you-know pause on several occasions. But I really try to watch it. And with more talking in front of groups ahead of me, I would love to completely excise this tendency.

So if you're ever talking with me, and, you know, you hear me, you know, fall into the YK Syndrome, you know, knock me up side the head.

Or just tell me to shut up.

Interesting Article on publishing paperback vs. hardback. Click here.


JT Ellison said...

Absolutely wonderful post today, Brett. I think I'm probably the worst offender, and need to exorcise YK, Ummm, and like from my vocabulary, pronto. Thanks for the thought.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yeah, it's like you stole this one off my computer! I was going to blog about "anyways, it's like, you know, totally cool, man."

But I didn't post today, because I'm in psychic rebellion against the brotherhood of triplets because the planets are aligned with the moon in venus, or something like that.

You know.

angie said...

I confess to being afflicted with the "like, you know, and stuff" syndrome. I have been assured with proper medication and aversion behavioral therapy that this condition can be managed, though not cured.

So...yet another author showing up at ThrillerFest! Who would have thought so many would show up in the first year? Hope I have a chance to say howdy to ya there!

Brett Battles said...

JT, I can sympathize. There are times when I start listening to myself speak and realize I've fallen into the whole, you know, you-know thing. Drives me crazy! :)

Oh, Sandra...don't you realize your petty psychic rebellion is no match to us. I was in JB's mind yesterday. I could just as easily be in yours today.

Angie, welcome. Thanks for stopping by. And definitely look me up at ThrillerFest. JT will be there to. Of course if that's an actual photo of you you're using, you'll be pretty easy to spot.

angie said...

Are you mocking the Skelo-writer?!! Fine. I see how you are.

Brett Battles said...

Me? Mock the Skelo-writer? Never!

Jason said...

Good post.

I'm a big "You Know"-er, and far too often a "Like"-er too. As in, "You know, like, you know."

I need to stop doing that.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Look, I'm from So Cal so YK is like breathing to me.

But what I'm really interested in here is the link to the article about releasing PB originals, especially in groups of two and three within a month or two. I thought that was a brilliant marketing idea and was wildly jealous of Allison Brennan when I heard of her triple crown deal. (How can anyone write that fast? ONE novel was hard enough for me... the second seems like I'll never be done, at the moment).

I'm very interested to see how that kind of deal and release plays out. I know when I find an author I love I want to read everything of theirs all at once - I go on reading binges (better than crack, I suppose...)

Frankly, I'm worried about the built-in year lapse between my first book and my second (except that, oh, yeah, I have to actually FINISH the second book for it to be published).

But does a muliple paperback release ever get the kind of exposure that a single hardcover does? Do you get the reviews that you need? Does this kind of tactic only work for category romances or romantic suspense? Does anyone out there know?

Alex (who should be writing but instead is obsessing about marketing...)

Jason said...

Alexandra, I think the biggest benefit to publishing like Allison did (as well as Naomi Novik) is shelf space. The best thing an author can do is occupy as much shelf space as possible (see: Patterson, James).

By releasing back-to-back-to-back books, Allison and Naomi had 3 books on the "New Paperback" shelf at the same time. By the time readers finished one, another was ready for the taking.

Doing this for hardcovers is damn near impossible. Who wants to spend $72 on three novels by an author they haven't read?

But investing $21 in 1,200 pages of paperback, that's a flat-out coup. And it seems to be working for both of them.

Brett Battles said...

Jason, I've dropped a like in here and there myself. Now that I'm paying attention to the subject, it's amazing the amount of space filling words we all use.

Alex, you echo a lot of my same thoughts. I definitely will be interested to see how allison's triple release works out over the long term. I wonder what kind of schedule they'll put her on now?

I also worry about the one year turn around, but am gratful for the time to finish book two. JT, I believe has a six month turn around between books.

Jason said...

I'm on a 6 month schedule too, and my books are due a year before publication (I just turned in my mss for July, '07 yesterday, and book 2 is due in January).

I believe Allison is releasing another trilogy next year in the same time frame (please correct me if I'm wrong, Allison).

Oh, and likelikelikelikelikelike.

Had to get it out of my system.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Jason, yeah, exactly, it's the MONEY, isn't it? Would I ever in my reading life have spent upwards of 75 bucks for 3 novels at a time? Non-fiction, for sure, but that's RESEARCH. So three PBs by the same author for 21 bucks... irresistible, isn't it?

(However, I've never heard of Naomi Novik. What does that mean? And I can't get Allison Brennan in my local bookstores. What does that mean?)

Now that I'm being published, I wish I had known so much more before I started. Why couldn't I have written a bigger book, or THREE books - before I even tried to publish?

These are crazy thoughts, I know that. Totally insane. When I started to write THE HARROWING I had no idea if I could even pull off the novel thing. I wrote the book I thought I could pull off, and I was over the moon that I actually DID IT, and people who read it responded the way I wanted them to. When I was done it sold within a month of my sending it out. How can I possibly complain? But if I had known ANYTHING about the business, I would have done a whole lot of things a whole lot differently. (Note to self - write three books at a time, next time. Yeah - right.)

"Comparisons are odious." - John Donne

Can I have that tattooed on my forehead, please?

Brett, you're right. I am incredibly grateful that I have as much time as I do to get my next book right. That's all that matters. Maybe that's what I'll have tattooed on my forehead.


Sandra Ruttan said...

JT has a six month turnaround between books?

Eish. Intense.

I definitely see two sides. There are people who find it hard to read the small print who prefer the trade paperback. But I do think it would be good if there were only a few months my book was out in hc before coming out in paperback. I think it will be an easier sell.

JT Ellison said...

I'm on the sixth month program, with books coming out in Nov. 2007, May 2008, and Nov. 2008. And even with all that lag time, I'm worried about hitting deadlines.
Alexandra, worry about getting the book written well. The rest will fall into place as you go. A book a year in hardcover is nothing to sneeze at!

Amra Pajalic said...

Reading your post about public speaking brings back horrible memories of terrible conversation with my sister. Her every second sentence is "You know," until I start snapping "No, I don't." Still at least it's better than "like." Amazing how many people use that one. Another favourite is "aks" instead of "ask." My skin is crawling just thinking about it.

Allison Brennan said...

You know, I'm a product of California and, it's like, you know, just a part of speech . . . anyway . . .

Okay, I missed this thread the other week but was procrastinating and going through all the Killer Year member blogs and found it. So I'm late and probably no one will see this, but here you go . . .

Alexandra, I sold THE PREY in 3/04 and it didn't hit the shelves until 1/06. I really had about 12 months to write two more books. In fact, Ballantine pushed back my original pub date from 6/05 to 1/06 when they decided they wanted to do back-to-back trilogies. Their reasoning (at least what I heard) was that since the romantic suspense market is so competitive, they wanted to give me a push. Mariah Stewart was broke out of a respectable mid-list (she's a fabulous writer) when Ballantine did a back-to-back trilogy for her in summer 04. Back-to-backs also broke Kay Hooper out a few years back (I want to say 2000, but I'm not positive) . . . she's with Bantam, also part of RH.

Anyways (had to add that "s" for Sandra) I have 10 months to write my next three books. I'm almost halfway done. I turned in the first book already. I wrote (and re-wrote and re-wrote) the first 150 pages in about 8 weeks, and the last 300 pages in 4 weeks. I'm at the rewriting stage with the second book now, so I'm hopeful that once I get over the hump of page 150 I'll finish quickly.

Alex, I'm curious as to why you can't get my books locally. They're readily available. Hmmm . . .

FWIW, I enjoy the back-to-back releases not just from a marketing standpoint, but because of the way I write. I get bored very easily. I get a dozen ideas during the 3-4 months it takes me to write a book. Maybe only one is good, but it starts to eat up my thinking time because I can see the potential. If I was given too long to write a book, I think I'd go bonkers.

JT, I think six months between releases is perfect. I have no idea what my publisher plans to do with me in the future, but I do have one more idea for a back-to-back and I don't know if I want to do them beyond that because it's hard to work on something else, you know, a little different . . .

Oh, and Alex, you have a hardcover deal! That means reviews, exposure that PBO authors just can't get. There's pros and cons to each format, and careers are built in both formats. Take what you have and run with it.