Lots and lots of links!
First off, if you live in the Bay Area or plan to pass through our fair part of the country I will be hosting a workshop at your friendly neighborhood Books Inc. Opera Plaza in San Francisco on September 13th. The workshop is called Secrets of a Literary Agent, it will be about finding an agent and the secrets therein, and believe it or not, after I reveal this top secret classified agenting information I will not then have to kill you. You’ll just have to take a memory erasing drug.
Amid all this talk of Amazon’s world domination comes more persistent rumors about Apple developing a (potentially Kindle-killing) tablet sized device. T-minus six months until Apple is the new company the Internet thinks is going to bring about the apocalyptic end of books as we know it.
And speaking of the Kindle, remember way back a week ago when everyone was worried about Kindle pricing? Former HarperBusiness publisher Marion Maneker has a terrific article in Slate’s The Big Money this week summarizing the issues surrounding the price point battle and why publishers are reluctant to embrace $9.99. Essentially, even though publishers are generally receiving near hardcover-level revenue from the Kindle as Amazon takes a loss, publishers are anxious about Amazon using their books as loss leaders and also about the extent to which readers are fleeing paper books in the direction of plastic whenever a big title comes out.
The article is also noteworthy as Maneker is the first individual to ever utter the following words in a journalistic sphere: “Publishers aren’t stupid.” HISTORY IN THE MAKING, PEOPLE. Also there is no word on Maneker’s whereabouts. Journalists don’t take kindly to such loose talk.
For more discussion on the future of e-books: B&N recently announced the creation of a massive e-book store, PBS recently featured a segment on e-books (thanks to reader Heidi Willis for the link), there’s an article on demand pricing for e-books by Evan Schnittman, and a 100% must read by Mike Shatzkin evaluating the future of e-books. Shatzkin envisions a near future where there’s an explosion of devices and purchase points, an environment in which Amazon and B&N in particular may not have an edge (via Pub Lunch)
Meanwhile, in news that is completely and totally unrelated to this week’s Orwell/Amazon Internet freakout, Shelf Awareness linked to an article in Retail Week about how customer service expectations have soared in the recession. Hmm..
In Jessica Faust news, I thought three of her recent posts were especially terrific. First is a list of reasons she would stop reading a query and the second is a fairly comprehensive post on novel word count. The last one is advice for all: “Good enough” isn’t good enough.
Also in agent advice, Jane Dystel has a great post on etiquette when submitting to an agent. Some goes just for Dystel & Goderich and some is universal, but definitely check it out.
Still with me? MORE LINKS TO GO.
Anonymous publishing intern The Intern wrote a post about how many spiritual memoirs she’s been receiving (she’s not alone) and some things to consider when writing one. (via Janet Reid)
And in more writing advice news, my amazing client Jennifer Hubbard wrote about the importance of patience (no, really, you’re going to need it), and she also linked to a very interesting discussion by Janni Lee Simner about the distinctions between “girl” and “boy” books and voices.
Many people passed along Editorial Anonymous’ recent Publishometer, a point system by which you can see whether you pass the bar for publication.
Almost finally, as many of you know ANGELA’S ASHES author Frank McCourt passed away this week and there have been many remembrances in the media and online. I was particularly struck by the LA Times book blog Jacket Copy’s article that remembers McCourt as one of the great late blooming authors, having published ANGELA’S ASHES, his first book, when he was 67 and retired.
And finally finally, I was immediately drawn to this video of the world’s fastest everything. I only wish they had included footage of the world’s fastest novel (via Andrew Sullivan).
Have a great weekend!
And yet I can't help but comment that you weren't exactly annoyed by Tim-bo's comments when he was saying nasty things about me.
Indeed, the first comment, by the other guy, you actually agreed with!
You weren't actually annoyed by the posts until you discovered that I was the one who wrote them.
So I shouldn't have said anything then – and you would have been alright with that?
I'm not sure what difference it makes: a comment is a comment, no matter who posts it. We should be judging the comments, not the people who are posting those comments.
Nathan Bransford says
Please don't take advantage of the anonymity afforded by the comments. I really don't want to switch off the anonymous option, which up until this point has been very rarely abused. You're welcome to comment about the topic(s) at hand, but anything overly tangential will be deleted to keep things on track.
Marla Warren says
"You're welcome to comment about the topic(s) at hand, but anything overly tangential will be deleted to keep things on track."
As a professor of mine put it when the class would get off-topic: "We're chasing rabbits now and it's time to stop."
Michael, like all of us, I have to pick and choose which posts I refer to, including disagreements between people. If I commented on everything, Nathan would start…..deleting my comments. Trust me on this.
I understand that blogs are alot of fun. I have done things on blogs that I eventually learned weren't appreciated. So I adjusted. Doesn't mean I can't particpate and feel welcome here.
As can you – be welcome and participate here.
Lydia Sharp says
I enjoyed the post from Jane Dystel. Thanks for keeping us well-informed, Nathan.
Okay, I won't do it again. (I promise.)
And you can delete this comment right now if you like (though I hope you don't): but I find it slightly strange that a person, or people, would get upset about a person's comments only after discovering the identity of the person who wrote the comments.
Doesn't that interest you at all?
When we're reading a work of fiction, obviously everything we're reading has been made up by just one person – the novelist.
Everything on those pages is a deception – and if we're really and truly lucky, then it's not just a deception, but a grand deception.
The difference here, at present, it seems to me, is that people simply weren't provided with advanced knowledge of that deception.
That's the only difference.
When I'm reading a novel, and two characters are presenting me with opposing viewpoints, I don't say, 'oh, this is nonsense, the novelist is playing games with me here, I just want to know what the novelist thinks, not about all of these various made up viewpoints' – no, I actually weigh what each character has to say, even though I'm fully aware that, in reality, all of this is being written by just one person.
Why do we need to know in advance what's real and what's not?
I don't understand that at all.
Some people are advancing the idea that what I did was somehow 'off topic', which is why they were irritated by it.
And yes, I'll admit that Tim-bo went a little off topic there (or rather, that he didn't really contribute much) – but I get the feeling that people here would have objected even if Tim-bo had remained on topic.
What if Tim-bo had actually generated the most profound comment here in the comments section! Would we have obliterated Tim-bo from the discussion for that! Holy mackerel that just blows my mind!
Nevertheless, alright, I won't do it again.
I'll just go and stand in the corner.
Laura Martone says
Dear Michael Younger/The Goose/Tim-bo –
I can't speak for others here, but as I've been in "lurk mode" over the weekend, quietly reading the seemingly endless conversation about deprivation, catapults, ice cream, and the like, I have found your "hijacking" of the thread a little disconcerting. While it's been entertaining, to an extent, I hope that it won't be a habit with you. I actually did suspect that you were having a conversation with yourself (via Tim-bo) – and I was slightly irritated, even before my suspicion was confirmed.
I've only been a regular visitor/commenter on Nathan's blog for the past four months, but in that time, I've learned a lot about the art of writing and the business of publishing – not just from Nathan, but from all the wonderfully diverse commenters here as well. And while humor is prevalent here – in Nathan's posts as well as throughout the comments – I like that the majority of commenters are respectful of one another, trying to the best of their ability to stay on topic while expressing their unique viewpoints and tossing in a bit of wacky humor from time to time. While I, for the most part, enjoyed the wacky discussion this weekend, I just hope that it won't be a regular occurrence. All I ask is that you bear in mind the overall intention of this blog. If you long to be the main voice of a comment thread such as this one, you could always try starting your own blog.
Of course, it's just a suggestion. As I stated earlier, I can't speak for anyone but myself.
I must say, Mike, you have profoundly odd logic. A novel is not a deception – it's a fiction. There's a difference. And the fact that the reader knows it is a fiction is important, even though you shrug it off. Reading a novel is a joint project, a creation that results from the contribution of both the reader and the writer. But you were simply trying to deceive and trick people. No one likes to be deceived.
James Frey wrote a memoir with lots of fabrications that he passed off as true. And when caught out many people were angry – they had been deceived. Does that mean there's no literary merit in the project now? Of course not. But fiction and fact are not the same thing, and people don't like the feeling of being tricked.
And part of the problem is that there didn't really seem to be a point to what you did. Your fabulations didn't seem to say anything substantive – it was more like a silly little dialogue with yourself. And why would anyone comment? Timbo didn't really say anything worth commenting on. "He" said you were irritating, but you're a big boy and can presumably take care of yourself. If he'd crossed the line Nathan would have deleted the comment.
Again, I'm just not sure I see the point. You suggest that Timbo could have said something profound… if he had, people probably would have responded. He didn't. And if you have something profound to say, why not simply say it? Why hide behind Timbo? It seems like gamesmanship rather than an attempt to have an honest discussion. And no, no one else was doing that. The people participating were mostly regulars, commenting as they usually do under their normal names. Most weekend commenters are regulars, the ones who like tracking the friday conversation threads. So that was just you playing that game, I'm pretty sure.
And I don't think the people here are closed off enough to react only to your name rather than to your comments, if that's what you're worried about. Lots of room for both disagreement and respect. Heck, Nathan is a Sacramento Kings fan and I'm still here. Possibly out of pity, I admit. It's very sad when there's no one to ring those cowbells for…
My best, as always,
Wanda B. Ontheshelves says
Re: Deprivation as motivation for novelists – novelists as alcoholics – novelists as introverted – ??? – I've only written 1 novel – motivation: I remember the '67 riots in Detroit, from my childhood – I could never understand WHY? Why did this happen? So writing the novel was a way of answering why, to my satisfaction (although you probably couldn't tell from reading the novel). And then after the riots (rebellion, civil disturbance), my grandmother wanted us to drive her around, so she could show us all the boarded-up, bricked-up, cinder-blocked-up windows: "Look what THEY did. There won't be a single window left in the city." They? But you live here too, Grandma…
WHY? and THEY?
Maybe it's not just that every novelist has a different motivation, but every NOVEL has its own motivation.
And I hate the idea that only through drug use can writers "loosen up," or get the creative flow going, etc. Someone once told me, the first time he tried pot, he remembered something from when he was 14 years old – I said, "well, you could just write in a journal, and remember something from when you were 14…"
Re: Introverted – sometimes people act "introverted" around others, because they don't feel safe, or respected – or maybe they aren't native speakers of a particular language – or there are class differences (yes I know, US is supposedly a "classless society") – and maybe a novelist puts themselves in more situations where the above holds true…
Regarding "true identity" issue on blog – don't really care one way or the other.
I was also getting the feeling that there were too many "annonoymous" posts, and was starting to think most of those had to be the same person. What happens when you pull a joke like that is that you tend to make it harder for the next annonymous person to be taken seriously. Just because someone may not stick around long enough to create an identity doesn't mean he doesn't have something useful to say. But because the posts from Anon's was getting way out of hand, I'd pretty much decided to ignore anything under the post, regardless of what the end signature said.
So thanks Michael, and whoever else you've been playing at, for letting me know not all "annonymous" persons are here just to get their need for attention satisfied.
hmm, I like my word verif: larail. Larail; what pretty character name.
I think I'm first on the waiting list for your workshop – Books, Inc. told me they were just waiting to see if you'd agree to go up to 30.
I've been to a couple of SFWC (but didn't pitch to you) and I've followed your blog for over two years, so I hope I have the opportunity to attend the workshop and meet you in person.
An added bonus would be meeting some of the local folks who are posting here.
So, uh, don't forget to call Books, Inc. back, okay? 🙂
Nathan Bransford says
I gave them the go-ahead so hopefully you'll hear from them soon.
*I gave them the go-ahead so hopefully you'll hear from them soon.*
btw, I am convinced you have somehow cloned yourself given how hard you work.