Thanks again to everyone who entered the second Guest Blog Challenge! This was just as difficult to judge as the first contest, and there were many incredible entries. But there could be only five.
Monday: Carly Wells
Tuesday: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Wednesday: Regina Milton
Thursday: Peter Cooper
Friday: Rick Daley
You will be in great hands next week. Congratulations to the winners!
Meanwhile, in the publishing this week:
Speaking of cover art, in the comments section yesterday reader EJ Lange posted a link to an article about an ongoing cover issue: two new releases with almost identical jackets.
More digital ink is being devoted to the Kindle this week and there’s a wide range of opinion. In the skeptic camp, reader Scott Spem was the first to point me to an as-you’d-expect review of the Kindle in the New Yorker by Nicholson Baker: there’s plenty of sneering (a sample passage: “The problem was that the screen was gray. And it wasn’t just gray; it was a greenish, sickly gray. A postmortem gray. The resizable typeface, Monotype Caecilia, appeared as a darker gray. Dark gray on paler greenish gray was the palette of the Amazon Kindle.”), but despite all that he almost brings himself to liking it in the end.
Meanwhile, in the “Holy crap I love this” camp is blog reader/commenter T. Anne who posted her own review this week, called, appropriately, Confessions of a Kindleholic.
In still-more-fallout from the whole Amazon/Orwell thing, the LA Times has an ominous Op-Ed called “Amazon’s Troubling Reach,” which includes this whopper: “[I]t’s not the incidents themselves but their ramifications that are disturbing, the idea that Amazon can effectively alter the collective memory at will.” Wow. I was going to make a point about this BUT AMAZON ERASED MY MEMORY. RUN!! RUN!!!!! SOMEWHERE! I FORGET WHERE!!
Meanwhile, GalleyCat spotted a journalist who is not terrified of the Kindle and all The Dire Implications it represents! In fact, Paul Carr suggests that Amazon shouldn’t apologize for the Orwell Incident. He writes: “In the past, once illegal copies were in people’s possession, there was little the copyright owner could do about it. Now, thanks to technology there is. Now, thanks to ebooks and the Kindle and Whispernet, the rights of authors – and their reward for spending their lives creating ideas and entertainment that benefit the world – can be protected and actively enforced.”
Meanwhile in still more e-book news, the NY Times detailed how DRM opponents are using the Orwell Incident to advance the non-DRM cause, while Mike Shatzkin, incredibly presciently as always, notes that in the future the DRM debate is kind of beside the point. In our Cloud future, where our content is stored centrally and we access it via our multiple devices, DRM will be the method by which that works.
To further illustrate Shatzkin’s point, I now read books on both my Kindle and iPhone. And the books sync between the devices. As in, after I read 20 pages on my iPhone the next time I sync my Kindle the same book will already be turned to the page I left off on. Let me just say that this shows that DRM… um… hmm… what was I going to say again? CURSED AMAZON!! LEAVE MY MEMORY ALONE!
Meanwhile, more news about the coming Apple Tablet, which will surely not be collective-memory-erasing because journalists love Apple like Flavor Flav loves clocks.
Whew! I swear some things happened that were not Kindle related.
Over at Pimp My Novel is a terrific discussion of Comp Titles, those magical books that are similar but not too similar to yours and by which publishers establish expectations for your book. Basically you hope your book is compared to good ones.
Neil Vogler pointed me to a very interesting post by an author who made the very difficult decision to leave her publisher.
In agent news, Jennifer Jackson has a great comparison for all that manuscript reading and conference-attending agents do for non-clients: not our job per se, but more like research and development.
Fitzgerald and Hemingway are two of my favorite writers, and they had a fascinatingly complex relationship. In a review of the forthcoming book FITZGERALD & HEMINGWAY: WORK AND DAYS, Matthew Shaer notes how Fitzgerald helped Hemingway get published, but later in life Hemingway increasingly felt Fitzgerald was soft and squandering his talent, comparing him to a wounded butterfly.
And finally, I love me some Disneyland, and thanks to the wonders of YouTube I give you… fascinating time-lapse footage of its construction (via Curbed SF via WhitScott):
Have a great weekend!
AM, yes – lots of congratulations today. Rick, I didn't quite take in that was you! Wow. I'm sure you'll be great, really. I have no doubt. Long overdue for you to shine, imho.
I don't know if I recognize any of the other choices, but I'm sure if I knew you, I'd be just as excited.
Laura, congrats as well – that sounds really fun.
I agree with other Lisa and Anon about the corporation stuff. The more power and money a business has, the more influence, the more they should be held accountable.
Vacuum Queen says
Darn. I mean, congratulations to the winners! It will be fun reading good stuff from new peeps.
Steve Fuller says
That's weird. My email entries got lost in cyberworld two contests in a row.
That's the only explanation that makes any sense.
Quick Kindle question but more to do with the body than the actual e-reader/Orwell/Amazon issues swirling about!
We don't get to see many Kindle's down here in Australia, so I was wondering if anyone can enlighten me on whether they get very hot to handle, particularly the back side? I say this because I write on an alum-bodied 2008 MacBookPro and it gets red-hot after an hour or so of cooking my manuscript. So, after all the recent rumours about Apple releasing an e-tablet for Christmas, it got me to thinking – do Kindles get too hot to handle, does their temp change if you read 100 pages in one sitting?
Anon 3:57 AM–
I have a Kindle 2 and I haven't noticed any heat coming off of it.
Rick Daley says
Thanks Laura,PC,Mira,Marilyn, et al (still limited to Blackberry, so this is most inefficient). And of course thanks to Nathan for picking my entry!
For the record, this is the fourth time I've wormed my way into Nathan's blog. Query critique, TWIP Slushpile announcement, inspiring a follow up you tell me after the revision cheklist, and this.
Not that I am counting…
Rick, when you've got it, you've got it. It's just irresistible. Not only that, but as the Friday person, you'll be up all weekend. Not too shabby, Mr. D. 😉
Bane of Anubis says
I have to disagree. Companies/individuals with a tremendous amount of money/power have the ability to manipulate regulations and markets to their advantage that less empowered companies/individuals do not have. The reality is, they are able to write the standards to their own benefit.
To a certain extent, this is true… however, they are also held to higher standards and have greater restrictions placed on them (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley) in today's era.
Ultimately, I'm not supporting large companies/individuals — I'm supporting fairness, which is all too often thrown out the window when it comes to public opinion about "The Man" — whichever large entity that may be (admittedly, due to money and influence, these entities can get away w/ more, or at least can suffer greater detriment w/o permanent consequence than most of us).
Govt/market protection of large entities bothers me as much as litigation against large entities (well, litigation in general 🙂 — so if that topic ever somehow comes up, I'll be sitting on the other side of the fence.
Congratultions to the winners! And to Laura. I love this blog. It's like a friendly virtual cafe for writers.
For a recap of the wonderful "Am I Crazies" thread of earlier in the week, and a bit of Kindle humor, check out my new blogpost "You May Be A Bestselling Author on Tralfamadore" https://annerallen.blogspot.com/
"…journalists love Apple like Flavor Flav loves clocks".
Anyone who can come up with that simile deserves a "follow".
I have to read more about that Orwellian irony.
Marilyn Peake says
Finally had a chance to watch the time-lapse video of the building of Disneyland. Wow! Fantastic! I’ve been to Disneyland several times and to Disney World many times, and have loved every single visit. One of my best vacations ever was going to Disney World for a week that included New Year’s Eve, attending a New Year’s Eve show of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba in Downtown Disney, then going outside afterwards and welcoming in the New Year by watching the Disney fireworks. It was awesome, a night I will never forget.
Steph Damore says
Hey Laura, how'd it go today?
Steve Fuller –
I like your idea better! It must be a glitch. Yep…definitelly a glitch. Especially if it happened to multiple people???
Stinkin' spam filters! 😉
Laura Martone says
Thanks, Marilyn, AM, Mira, and Anne! I appreciate being able to share good news with my online buddies. 🙂
Oh, and Steph, my book signing went really well – some of my "live" pals dropped by, and it was fun meeting new people, too. And a visiting artist even painted a watercolor of me after the signing… true, it didn't look a thing like me, but it's the thought that counts, right?
Okay, now that that's done, I can catch up on all these newsy links. I'm so excited for this week's blog posts. I can't wait to see which topics were picked… although I'll gladly put money down that Rick's post will be hilarious. Better not disappoint me, man. (wink, wink)
I was thinkin' there would be more comments about the author leaving S&S – for less money. None! Guess it's tough competing with Hemmingway & Kindle. (That has a nice sort of ring to it – could be a high end men's tailor, or maybe an exclusive jewelry store.)
Marilyn Peake says
Laura – Congratulations! Sounds like you had an awesome book signing!
JaxPop – I think that Louise Doughty’s decision to leave her publisher makes lots of sense. Her sales figures were slipping, and nowadays publishers (and many agents) frequently drop an author if that continues. She was, in fact, offered a significantly smaller advance for her new book. On the other hand, people at a different publishing house were extremely excited about her new book, and that’s why she signed with them. Lots of well-known authors, including Piers Anthony, are now published by multiple publishers, having some of their books published by large publishing houses and some of their other books published by small press. I know authors who were advised by their agents to use a pen name in order to find publishers for their second book after their first book (published under their real name) didn’t sell well. I think it's great that Louise Doughty had choices.
Where is Nathan going? Vacation again?
Marilyn – I wasn't questioning the decision – was just surprised there were no comments/questions.
Enjoy the remaining few hours of your weekend. Dave
I read the article by Louise Doughty, but I didn't feel she gave me much to work with – as far as forming a "good" opinion.
She heralded the working relationship with her editor and she was pleased (enough) with her last advance – but then – she vaguely glosses over her reasons for switching houses.
She implies, but does not state, that the first publisher was somehow responsible for the fact that she "had written two good books in a row that had been acclaimed but flopped at the box office."
Why does she make this implication? She doesn't say.
She also doesn't say whether or not she talked about her concerns with her first publisher.
Frankly, I have to say that going to visit a publisher where the staff has been coached to show enthusiasm for a potential convert doesn't convince me that the publisher is appropriately enthusiastic.
I mean, what did the first publisher do wrong and what is the second publisher going to do right?
I hate to sound critical – especially of a published author who is probably light years ahead of me in the talent department – but the article came off as being a bit whiny, and I initially took it as an inexpensive way to announce that she had switched houses without volleying anything that might be substantially litigious about her previous publisher.
I generally agree with Marilyn, and I am sure that she knows more than I do about the inside workings of the business – which is why she could infer more out of the article – but I had nothing to work with other than the article itself.
Perhaps, Marilyn can fill in the gaps. Perhaps, Ms. Doughty was indeed concerned that she was about to be dropped and didn't want to come out and just say that?
There, that’s why I didn’t say anything before.
I hope I don't get attacked – I'm sensitive today.
Marilyn Peake says
Anon @1:45 P.M. –
I've heard many stories about authors being dropped by publishers when their books don't sell well. When the economy was good, it was taken for granted that, if an author's first book with a big publishing house didn't sell well, their second book wouldn’t get picked up. My impression is that, if Louise Doughty’s new publisher is very excited about her new book, they won’t be as likely to drop her if her sales don’t increase and they might even be willing to put more money into advertising her new book in order to boost sales. Reading between the lines, I wondered if Louise Doughty wasn’t worried about eventually being dropped by her first publisher. She was lucky to have had a choice, but I think it must have been a very difficult decision.
Marilyn Peake says
Earlier today, found an interesting link in my Twitter feed to an article about Amazon filing a patent application for embedding ads in books: here.
Hi Nathan –
Your recent post on dealing with the "Am-I-Crazies?" prompted one of my own.
If you'd like to take a look, please go to: https://www.birthofanovel.wordpress.com.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Lea McKee says
Hey Nathan, i was just reading your blog, like I often do 😉 and while reading about your Guest Blog Challege I was reminded of the Agent For A Day challenge and was wondering if you were planning another one. It was a really great experience!
I wonder if Amazon would be regularly updating the advertisement/commercials, and if authors should be negotiating royalties from both the books' sales and its advertising.
Advertisers could pay a publisher/author based on the number of times readers view their advertisements.
I suspect that bestsellers will charge a higher advertising fee and as an author's sales increase, advertisers will be willing pay more per each view.
This is something to think about. This could significantly change the publishing industry, especially self-publishing.
And way beyond having a say in my novels’ book covers, I would definitely want a say in what advertisement is displayed 'on' my novels.
Thanks for sharing.
Marla Warren says
If I may share my perspective as a bookseller, it is not that bookstores love stickers. We put stickers on books to distinguish which ones are currently discounted. We cannot just put these books on specially marked displays or tables, because customers frequently leave books that don’t belong there in those spots (either carelessly or deliberately). I’ve had customers who insisted that we had to sell them a $150 medical book for a dollar because it was on the clearance table. We respond that the book is not stickered for that table, so another customer must have left it there accidentally.
I agree that the stickers can obscure important parts of the cover. Occasionally customers have asked me to locate a book for them which they did not notice because the sticker covered up part of the title or the author’s name. It’s something to be considered when designing a book cover.
Since "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" was written by one of your clients, you might enjoy reading the interview at my blog (marjorie-digest) with Anna Berger. She was in the original film. She has had a career on film, TV, and stage that spans six decades and she worked with Kim Novak, John Garfield and Marlon Brando. Recently, she played Cookie on "The Sopranos."
I was thrilled to have had Anna sit with me for the interview and we are now friends.