The Muse and the Marketplace kicks off on May 1st at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. In anticipation of the conference, we collected micro-interviews written by authors, agents and editors who will be attending the event. This is the fifth in the series.
1. What do you think is the future of digital vs. printed media for the publishing industry?
I don’t think the printed book will become extinct anytime in the near future. I heard recently that a classroom of high school seniors were asked how many of them preferred books over e-books, and only one said she read on a Kindle. The current generation, at least, grew up with picture books and Scholastic paperbacks, so maybe the feel of a real book holds a special place in their hearts.
2. What is the strangest place you've ever been?
A couple of years ago, I hiked to Havasu Falls, where a creek plunges 100 feet into a surreal turquoise-blue pool at the base of the Grand Canyon.
3. Is it a good idea for a writer to write an article pro bono in exchange for “exposure"?
Whether or not to write for “free” is a tough decision, one that varies wildly at different points in your career. Writing for newspapers or online news sources can provide great experience in gathering material and writing concisely and quickly, and these venues may not pay much—or at all—under the best of circumstances. But the payoff in experience and exposure may be worth it.
4. Is writer’s block real?
Some days, writing is slow. Other times I get so lost in the flow of words that I’m shocked to find out how long I’ve been at it. I think being productive at writing is like being productive at anything else. Some days your creative engine slips into gear like a Maserati; other days it’s like a balky mule—you can prod it as much as you want and it just won’t take off.
Deborah Halber started out as a daily newspaper reporter then turned to the dark side to do public relations. She worked as a writer and editor for Tufts and as a science writer for MIT, where she chronicled everything from quantum weirdness (that’s the technical term) to snail slime. A freelance journalist since 2004, her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, Time.com, MIT Technology Review, the graphic news magazine Symbolia, Inked, and many university publications. Her narrative nonfiction book, The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2014. A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Science Writers, and PEN America, she lives near Boston in a house with a lot of former pets buried out back.
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