Lots and lots of links this week, so let’s get this started, shall we?
First off, I’m as surprised as you are that my bracket wasn’t completely busted by 3 PM yesterday, which probably means that I’ll be dead in the water by the end of the day. There’s currently a nine-way tie atop the Blog Challenge — we’ll see how things shake out by Sunday!
In other literary sports news, ESPN columnist JA Adande wrote a terrific article about the relevancy of Malcolm Gladwell’s book OUTLIERS to sports, and in particular he talked to the extremely intelligent Celtic star Ray Allen about his thoughts on the book. Allen reflected on the unique advantages that put him on his path to NBA stardom.
Given how many dreams we have to dash in a given day, and, yes, how many bad literary agent apples there are in the publishing orchard, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that literary agents have aroused so much antipathy out there on the Internet lately and lots of finger-crossing about our supposed impending demise. The Self Publishing Review took issue with my statement in my interview with Alan Rinzler that we’re always on the side of authors because Henry feels that we first have our eye on the market.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin is Maya Reynolds, who went on a rant of her own about against anti-agent rants.
Victoria Strauss also pushed back against some of the agent-related Internet negativity and checked in with the ultimate, hilarious queryfail: querying someone who isn’t even an agent.
Also, I love Seth Godin, who has an article about how important it is for literary agents to specialize and stand for something in order to add value (and I agree), but he begins with a foreboding comparison to how travel agents have disappeared, which only made me think of the rejection letters: “I’m really sorry, but Hawaii said they won’t let you in. Sigh. It’s just such a tough travel market and they say they can’t take on yet another person from Indiana. I’ll try Fiji next.”
Lastly in agent news, Curtis Brown client Gretchen McNeil recently posted an awesome interview with ICM children’s book agent Tina Wexler, a fellow faculty alum of the Atlanta Writers Conference and an excellent agent.
At SXSW this week, Penguin UK won awards for Best in Show and an experimental prize for their website We Tell Stories, devoted to experimental stories told through web tools, including a story told through Google Maps. Very cool.
Also on the web, reader Teresa Miller pointed me to WriteTV, which is a web compilation of interviews with authors such as Sue Monk Kidd, Amy Tan, and more.
Reader Mary Ulrich pointed me to a seriously terrific article by Kevin Kelly about the uneven adoption of new technology, and how different groups sometimes have irrational reasons for refusing to adopt superior technology even when it would be to their direct benefit. Hmmm…. A group with an illogical attachment to outdated technology….. grasping for a book-related example….
Speaking of new technology, Sony and Google got their deal on and you will soon be able to read 500,000 public domain books on the Sony Reader. For free. Wow. Your move, Kindle. (And yes, publishers weep for their backlists).
The David Foster Wallace tributes are making their way through the magazineosphere, and you probably can’t do better than D.T. Max’s profile in the New Yorker. And in the chiding-but-we-still-love-ya category is James Tanner’s diagram of how to create a Foster Wallaceian sentence.
Still with me? Lots more to go.
Also in New Yorker profile news is blog favorite Ian McEwan. Daniel Zalewski’s profile of McEwan is, shall we say, comprehensive. In fact I’m pretty sure it’s longer than ON CHESIL BEACH. And ATONEMENT. Combined.
In presidential book news, via Publishers Lunch (subscription) comes word that former President Bush got himself a book deal, to be published by Crown, about making decisions. Commence sniggering or reverential expectation depending on one’s political persuasion.
And also via Pub Lunch (subscription) comes word that current President Obama has contracted with Random House for more books post-presidency, and his book earnings now total…… close to $9 million. Commence “Holy crap that’s a lot of dough” no matter one’s political persuasion.
Amid a really big year for Hachette, one bookseller is none too pleased that they have cut back on the co-op programs, including their Emerging Voices program. Check out the post in case you’re curious about what those co-op programs constitute, and yes, another example of publishers coalescing around established authors at the expense (potentially) of new voices.
Almost finally, Happy 40th Birthday to THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, which Google is honoring today with a cool homage with a caterpillar logo.
And finally finally, you know how I like to end with puppies, and this week I get to end with a bestselling author’s puppy. I give you… Jeff Abbott’s insanely cute corgi. (UPDATE: oops, it’s a cardigan. Not just a sweater anymore.)
Have a great weekend!