Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BBAW Guest: Claire LaZebnik


(This week we are celebrating the different niches in book blogging--Authors blog, too! Here's a special guest post from Claire LaZebnik)

Remember trying to contact your favorite authors back before the Internet? You could only reach them through their publishers, which meant you had to go to the library to find a copy of Writer's Market (or steal a look in a bookstore), look up the publishing house's address, and send it to your author "c/o Her Editor, Whatever Publishing House." It was a laborious project and you had to be a REALLY devoted fan to go through all that for the tiny shred of hope that this flung out missile would find its target.

Now, of course, every major (and minor) author out there has some sort of website or blog and all you have to do is click on "contact" and the next thing you know you're sending an e-mail directly to your idol (or the object of your fury, depending on your intention and mood). As a fan, I think this is a good thing, maybe even a great thing. As an author, I think it's even better.

I have two blogs at the moment. One's my official website blog (www.clairelazebnik.com), the other is a celebration of independent bookstores that I’m doing with a friend (www.bookstorepeople.com). I only started all this a couple of months ago, despite having read other people’s blogs for ages. (I’m a little slow.) I've pretty much had some sort of website ever since I published my first novel five years ago, but for me actually to spend a few hours every week adding to it—that was the new part. I was inspired by some materials from one of my publishers which urged its authors to maintain “dynamic” websites, ones that were continually interesting and not simply lists of reviews for their most recent books. My websites up till then had been, uh . . . a list of reviews for my most recent books. Nothing dynamic there at all.

Blogging was clearly the solution to my lack of dynamism. I started about a month ago and now I’m completely hooked. It is, as Monk might say, a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I’m doing something I love: writing about whatever I want to write about without having to worry about whether an editor will approve or people will buy it. On the other hand, I’m spending a lot of my writing time working on something that doesn’t make me a dime. (Not that writing fiction is the fast track to Easy Street, mind you.)

But given the fact that I became a writer largely because it meant I got to stay home (I’m a somewhat introverted homebody), blogging is the best publicity tool I could find. I get to increase my online visibility, pique people’s interest in my writing, bring up book events and get the word out about new releases, all without leaving my house (hooray!). And, of course, anyone who wants to can get in touch with me—I answer all e-mails, even and especially the grouchy ones.

Too bad blogging wasn’t available a couple of hundred years ago. I suspect Bronte and Austen would have written some really kick-ass blogs in their time . . .

Claire LaZebnik lives in Los Angeles with her TV writer husband and four children. She is the author of the novels The Smart one and the Pretty One, Knitting Under the Influence and Same as it Never Was and co-author of Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child's Life. Visit her online at www.clairelazebnik.com and www.bookstorepeople.com.

About The Smart and the Pretty One: When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend's son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she was once "engaged" to the Markowitz boy. But when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ava's prodigal little sister Lauren comes home to Los Angeles where she stumbles across the decades-old document.
Frustrated and embarrassed by Ava's constant lectures about financial responsibility (all because she's in a little debt. Okay, a lot of debt), Lauren decides to do some sisterly interfering of her own and tracks down her sister's childhood fiancé. When she finds him, the highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming Russell Markowitz is all too happy to re-enter the Nickerson sisters' lives, and always-accountable Ava is forced to consider just how binding a contract really is . . .
You can also read a review from Shana at Literarily here.

We've two copies to give away from Hachette. Want to win? Leave a comment telling me whether you were the Smart One or the Pretty One. Sadly, this is again open only to US and Canadian addresses. Giveaway open until Friday.

60 comments:

wordlily said...

Oh, I was definitely the smart one.

Loved the Monk reference! :)

hannah.free AT gmail.com

Anne said...

The smart one. In fact, I vividly remember an aunt introducing me to someone as "the smart one (as opposed to...)"

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Natasha said...

I was always the smart one, which is great in retrospect, but at the time I was always wanting to be 'the pretty one.'
natasha_sacopaso[at]hotmail[dot]com

kimmyl said...

I'm the smart one. The one who always had her nose and books and the one everyone went to for advice. LOL

Literary Feline said...

What a great post! I am very grateful for the internet and how it keeps authors and readers more in touch. I have always been the smart one. I've come to prefer it that way too. :-)

Ladytink_534 said...

I guess I was always the smart one until I reached high school and although I was still known as a bookworm I was more worried about being pretty than I should have

Nise' said...

I was the ugly duckling smart one until 9th grade and then something happened and I became the pretty one. Good thing the smarts lasted because pretty did not!

Alyce said...

I was the smart one, and one of my other sisters was the pretty one. Now my oldest sister, she was the rebellious one!

Lindsey said...

Well, I was the bookworm and my sister wasn't... would that make me the smart one? ;-)

Thanks for this giveaway!

Lindsey
ladyufshalott at yahoo.com

sheistoofondofbooks said...

Hmmmm. I showed the smart one at home (towed the line, did very well in school), so I could get away with all the things my alter-ego pretty one did outside the home!

Julie P. said...

Both --- Just kidding! I was the smart one!

Dina said...

I'd say I was the smart one, who wished she was called the pretty one.

Dina

dlsmilad(at)yahoo(dot)com

JenniferY said...

This book sounds really good...and I was definitely the smart one.

jennifersrandommusings(at)gmail.com

Icedream said...

I was the smart one, at least as long as it didn't envolve math.

blueviolet said...

Do we have to bring old painful memories up? I was the smart one.....
doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I was the smart one ...

Shell688 AT aol DOT com

Stephanie said...

Well, I was an only child, so I guess I was both! Or neither. Hmmm.............

daq_17 at hotmail dot com

Heather's Books said...

I have three younger sisters however it is between me and my youngest sisters as to who is the pretty one and who is the smart one. I like to think that we balance each other out, and we are both. There are times when I feel like the pretty sister and times when I feel like the smart sister, and it is the same for her.

Abi said...

Now that's one to think on. Can't say I liked school so not real smart. I even drug 4 year college out to 5 so wouldn't say that was real smart. But don't know that I'm pretty either. However, I must have some looks because a have a hubby that thinks I'm a knock out, if that counts I don't know.

Florinda said...

I was the smart one, but that wasn't really fair, because my sister's no slouch herself. I guess I was the smartER one, technically.

M. said...

I was neither! According to to me, I was the Misunderstood One. According to my mom, I was the Sullen One. According to my brother, he was the Smart and Pretty One. *g*

Nicole said...

I was the smart one, so besides that I had to cultivate other skills to get some attention, but I like that now because I feel like the relationships I have with people are based on my personality and qualities that I have rather than my looks

Meghan said...

I've always been the smart one. It's been the defining feature of my life since I was in kindergarten, basically. It was actually a pleasant surprise to get to college and find so many people who were smarter than me. I'm only average smart, who knew how happy that would make me? Maybe because I too wanted to be the pretty one ...

mari said...

Most definitely the Smart one. My younger sister was the pretty one. :)

MoonMaiden said...

I was the Smart -and- Pretty one :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

avisannschild said...

Smart one here too, but in a family of smart ones (I have two sisters and all of us were smart rather than pretty).

I'd love to win this book! Have wanted to read it since reading Shana's review!

bermudaonion said...

Enter this smart one, please!

Bobbi said...

I don't think I'm either smart or pretty, but I would much rather be in the smart category!
brightmyer249(at)hotmail(dot)com

windycindy said...

Hi, An interesting question! I am the third child with a much older brother and sister. My brother was extremely bright and had the highest grade ever at the University in Veterinarian School. My sister has a Master's Degree in Education and is retired after 34 years of teaching. Then, there's me! I have a degree in Psychology and did just fine. Early on, I told myself I couldn't compete with the two of them. My sister and I are about the same in looks-pretty good, but she is built much smaller. Maybe, I am not either. Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Book Zombie said...

I was an only child, but if I had a sibling I would prefer being the smart one.

Amanda said...

I would say I was the smart one. I'm the one who always did my homework, studied, and cared how I did in school. I'd love to be entered to win thise book. It sounds great. awalworth19(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!

Carrie K. said...

Smart one. My younger sister was the pretty one, and she even stole one of my boyfriends. I'm not bitter - anymore. :)

nnjmom at yahoo dot com

Lenore said...

That would be a riot to read a daily blog from Jane Austen. Or Mark Twain!

I only have brothers so I was the smart one and the pretty one :)

Dawn M. said...

I was the smart one. :0)

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

RobynL said...

neither the prettiest of us girls and neither the smartest of all 5 of us kids. Boo hoo.

yourstrulee at sasktel dot net

Barefoot in High Heels said...

Oh, how I wanted to be the pretty one!! But alas, it was "smart" for me.

Stephanie said...

Are you kidding - I was both (although don't tell my sister I said that)!

Sunny said...

The smart one. But I can see how either one could be a blessing or a curse.

sj3girls(at)hotmail(dot)com

Cindy W said...

Considering I am very average looking, I'd be the smart one. My hubby tells me I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. I'm okay with that.

kevin_cindy@verizon.net

Jessica said...

I was the smart one (and apparently i'm not alone, which leads me to think that one of us on this list must have been the pretty one. :)

elizabethwillse said...

I was in a gray area between the two: I was, and still am, the geeky one! Way too dorky for the pretty popular girls. And not willing to give myself an ulcer in high school like the smart kids.

But-- the guys I played Dungeons and Dragons with in high school sure thought I was pretty. :-)
ewillseATgmail.com

c-alexis said...

the smart one. but only because my younger sister is viewed as the pretty one. meaning, i could be just your average girl, but because i have a sister, i cant escape that constant comparison. =/ i guess there's nothing wrong with being the smart one. there's a little pressure though because then you can't ever fail, cause you're supposed to be "smart".

- Carmen T
carmenalexistsang[at]gmail[dot]com

Tracee said...

I was the smart one and the pressure sucked sometimes, lol!

novelnoise(at)live(dot)com

Cindy said...

I am by no means the pretty one LOL so I guess I would have to be the smart one.

cindysloveofbooksarcATgmailDOTcom

S. Krishna said...

I just reviewed this book over at my blog and enjoyed it!

http://www.skrishnasbooks.com/2008/09/smart-one-and-pretty-one-claire.html

Susan B. Evans said...

Um, I'm smart and pretty - a triple threat!

Wait... a double threat?

I guess this means I'm just pretty.

Mandy said...

I was always the smart one.

bellesorrisa (at) gmail (dot) com

Majgie said...

Sadly enough, I was neither. I was the plain Jane. (Or Jen, HA!).

I was smart enough, and was always told that I was smart so if it has to be one or the other, I guess I would be the smart one. However, one of my other siblings was smarter than me according to the standardized tests and was favored with the Smart One title.

And well.. pretty... This is a label that will never be used for me other than by my husband. That's ok though. :) Geeks didn't get to be sexy until the past few years, and that means I missed my chance.

jenmoon4[at]charter[dot]net

Chris V. said...

How do you answer without sounding conceited? ha! Pretty? Not bad. Smart. Not brilliant, but not dumb. (well sometimes. ha!) chris AT cverstraete.com

Callista said...

I'm not interested in this giveaway but just wanted to comment. It's so true what you say. I remember as a kid writing a letter to Ann M. Martin (Babysitter's Club series) for school. I never got an answer.

Now I have talked to at least 6 different authors either through websites/blogs, forums, or book sites (like library thing and goodreads)

Rebekah (the_littleminx) said...

Great interview! I definitely agree that it's so much nicer these days being able to simply locate your favorite authors online and send them an e-mail.I remember writing to "fan clubs" when I was a kid, and you NEVER (or I never) heard back from any of my favorite authors. It was so sad and disheartening. In today's techno friendly world though, contacting your favorite authors (or most anyways) is as easy as 1.2.3 and you almost always will hear back from them personally. It's awesome! =D

I am an only child, but even if I had not been I'd still have been the smart one. I'm pretty average in looks, but I always have always been a bookworm (I read the dictionary for fun when I was a kid) and was usually really good in school.

I think today's giveaway book sounds really entertaining. So, please put my name in your proverbial hat.

THANKS!
RebekahC
littleminx@cox.net

Jackie B. said...

I was definitely the smart one.

Serena said...

I was the smart one that grew into the pretty one, or so my friends and husband tell me. I was the one in school with her nose stuck in a book, and I was even considered a lesbian when I was in junior high because I hung out with only girls and never dated anyone in my class. Honestly, who wanted a pimply teenage boy when you could have a fantasy life with Mr. Darcy!

darbyscloset said...

I was the pretty one that grew to be the smart one....I was so busy chasing boys and life while growing up that I didn't read nearly as much then as I do now. Plus when I returned to school for my Masters, I realized that I really enjoyed school!
Cute question and looks like a great book!
Darby
darbyscloset (at) yahoo (dot) com

Aerin said...

I can't help but think of the "Sisters" number from White Christmas, sung by Rosemary Clooney and Vera whats-her-name; since this book involves a guy. But I was always the smart one and my sister's younger than I am, so the "guy" thing never really mattered.

I'm really interested in LaZebnik's book on autism, since my 4-yr-old son has it..

thanks for the reference!
Aerin
Aerinblogs AT aol DOT com

Anita Yancey said...

I am the pretty one. Sorry to say I didn't have much brains, especially when I was younger. My sister has a lot more brains, but sadly is very plain. Not sure which one of us came out ahead. The book sounds great. Please enter me.

Kristina said...

I am the oldest of four sisters and I would have to say that I've always been the smart one. I was the first and only so far to go thru college (the next two after me are still in school). The next one is the pretty one, the next one is pretty and smart, and the little one is pretty and athletic so far lol.

Tara said...

um... I guess I am a bit of both! I started out as the pretty one but because the smart one... sort of.

Amber said...

How cool to get to know Claire better.

I was the smart one. I was in National Honor Society in high school (as treasurer my senior year) and wrote a senior thesis in college so I could graduate with honors distinction.

TruBlu93 said...

I'm going to have to say that i'm half and half. I am smart but i also like to think of myself as pretty, i'm really not all that ugly, although it took me a while to realize it. but if you were to ask a friend, they'd pick my brain but would not deny my beauty.

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