Very big week for links, so let’s get started!
First of all, I hope everyone remembers that This Week in Publishing is but a pale imitation of author Cynthia Leitich Smith’s comprehensive weekly Cynsational News and Giveaways, which rounds up all of the best news and promos all in one place. It’s a weekly must-read.
Andrew Sullivan recently summarized two different anguished posts about the effect piracy is going to have one the future books. In order to enjoy my weekend I will stop thinking about piracy now. Okay now. Now.
Over at Bookpage comes word about Stephen King’s new book UNDER THE DOME, a 1,136 page epic novel about a town that is suddenly surrounded by an invisible force field and things start to go crazy. Anyone who has spent a day in 100+ degree weather in New York City probably knows what this feels like.
The Guardian recently featured the opposite of the “end of publishing as we know it” article: the less common but still enjoyable “things have always been this crappy” take on the book business. And actually, they have the audacity to suggest that some things might be less crappy now than before.
Janet Reid ponders what I’ve been pondering, which is that we agent bloggers may have terrified the wrong group of writers. It’s the age-old blogging agent conundrum: we want to reach the truly clueless, but the truly clueless don’t read agent blogs. If an agent screams in a forest about rhetorical questions, does he make a sound?
Kristin Nelson has some really terrific advice if you’re going to name-drop someone in a query: remind us who that person is. Our brains are full.
In agent pushback news, Jennifer Jackson took up one of my personal sticking points, and reminds authors to remember the difference between what is wanted and what is owed.
Via reader Tomas Mournian comes a really great post by author Joshua Mohr about his path to publication with big agents and a small press. He gets at some of the essential truths about the business: luck is huge, and rather than knowing everything, agents and editors are just making the best guesses they can.
Neil Vogler pointed me to an article in the Bookseller that provides the very interesting news that in 2008 the number of self-published books exceeded the number of traditionally published books for the first time. Wow.
And finally, I’m sure that I’m the absolute last person to know about this in the universe since even the New York Times wrote about it a couple years ago, but reader John Ochwat took pity on me and pointed me to the review page of a gallon of Tuscan Whole Milk, which has the best and most hilarious review thread on the Internet. Enjoy. If you haven’t already.
Have a great (long) weekend!
Marilyn Peake says
Somehow, my two links merged in the above post. Here are the two links:
Harlan Ellison Documentary on TVand
Harlan Ellison’s Background on Wikipedia
Wanda, what a very sad poem!
Have you been to Gettysburg where the circular painting is described as men going to their glory. The glory of dying horribly- oh, the magnificence of it!
Blessings and thanks to all the poor souls and their families who suffer so.
Jen C says
Owen is my favourite poet. His work is just beautiful, and what a shame he was lost so young. Thanks for posting.
I think the difference between a query letter and an online form is much like the difference between playing poker in a casino rather than online. You can see their tells in a query letter but the online form may mask them. 😉
Either way it’s a gamble.
Wow. Sometimes I surprise myself. 😉
Um. There are some agents who have fill-in forms. I can remember at least three from when I researched them a year ago. There may have been a lot more who did then and there may be even more now.
Elaine 'still writing' Smith says
Brooke, McCrea, Sassoon and Owen -but Owen’s ‘Disabled’ is my absolute favourite.
Love the idea of the standard form – then could we use colour, fonts, form verse and perfume??
Laura – congrats on your first rejection! You’ve arrived! You’re now a ‘real’ writer – yea!
P.C. – !!!! I play poker! Do you play?
But you have a point. It’s not that the agent doesn’t get any information from a query. I just think it’s a very time-consuming and labor intensive way to get the information. For both the writer and the agent.
The agent can get the information more quickly and easily by finding writing that he likes, and contacting the author. If he then finds out the author hasn’t bathed in 3 years, that’s a ‘tell.’ It ‘tells’ him to conduct all his business by phone.
Really. Does it matter if the writer is professional? Really? If they’ll net you a million bucks with their writing, can’t you put up with nose plugs?
I’m just saying.
Wanda B. Ontheshelves says
Re: “Brooke, McCrea, Sassoon and Owen -but Owen’s ‘Disabled’ is my absolute favourite.”
Here’s a great resource on WWI poets:
“Harry Rusche is the author of Lost Poets of the Great War, a hypertext document on the poetry of World War I; his address is the English Department, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; he can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
I find it interesting that (at least in the writing programs I’ve been in) you just don’t READ these poets at all – there’s a whole tradition including them, Edna St. Vincent Millay, even Robinson Jeffers, whom Millay said was the only free verse poet that she admired. You know, as if narrative poetry isn’t “modern” enough a response to war, or “high” technology, or social changes…
Joseph L. Selby says
Marilynn Byerly beat me to it. POD is not self-publishing. The OOS designation is being replaced with In Stock but that in stock is POD. Lightning Source is growing by leaps and bounds and they won’t be the only POD solution in the future. OOS will be a thing of the past until books go fully digital and stock ceases to exist.
You have a good point. I mean seriously…if celebs can get paid millions of dollars and not have one iota of mad-writy skillz then I think we can let a few great story tellers slip through the professional cracks.
And yes, I play Texas Hold'em for fun with friends. Not online (I try to limit my internet addictions to Blogger & FB). Though I came close to playing out in Vegas when I was visiting my sister. But I found I have mad-winny skillz at the Wheel O'Death. Much safer and winning was fast!
P.C. – I’m not familiar with Wheel of Death (at least not in Vegas. In my life, it sounds familiar…), but Vegas is fun whatever you play. 🙂
I played poker seriously for awhile, but had to give it up. I’m a wimp. I’d feel guilty taking their money. I couldn’t go for the ‘kill.’
I will say it was fun at times, though. Poker is a man’s world, and a woman can use that to her advantage – if she’s not a wimp!
I take candy from babies.
Elaine 'still writing' Smith says
All poetry has to resonate from the writer’s hand (through time and over cultural and around gender barriers) until it gets to translate from words to images in your head.
I first heard the words of these war poets.
Of the pack, only I kept trying to get my Dad to talk about his experiences of war – he refused all medals he was entitled to. By using his brother’s birth certificate he went to war at 15.
For years he didn’t talk but he would read the poems to me – several rang louder than bells when he read them.
But I was most fascinated by the one he wouldn’t read.
He wasn’t disabled by injury – theoretically he came back whole.