This week! Publishing! Thursday!
Here’s the schedule:
– The contest is open until today at 4pm Pacific, at which time I will close it to entries faster than you can say “thank goodness no more please thank you mercy.”
– Tomorrow I will announce the paragraphs I have chosen as the Stupendously Ultimate Finalists, most likely in the form of a character in a television show, so as to keep with tradition. Prepare yourself.
– Voting will commence in that thread and will be open until Sunday at 6pm Pacific.
– The winner will be announced on Monday, and I’ll also discuss my thoughts/reasons/observations/errata/postulations for all things first paragraph.
Before we get to the abbreviated week in publishing, a little plea:
I have now conducted enough blog contests to know the life cycle of every contest. At the beginning of the contest: everyone is excited excited excited! Then the finalists are announced, and a vocal minority goes from: excited excited excited! to mad mad mad! Throwing things! Shattered glass! Riots in the streets! I don’t like any of the finalists Nathan is an idiot ZOMG he didn’t choose the Charles Dickens paragraph I slipped in there to test him I think I’ll go eat mud!
So here’s my plea: please remember when the finalists are announced that this is just a contest on a blog, it’s not a referendum on your skills as a writer, it’s not the difference between getting published and not getting published, and with 2,300+ entrants, choosing only a couple out of such a huge number is a laughably difficult task. Let’s not overestimate the importance of a paragraph in the grand scheme of things. Just because previous finalists have a good track record (he brags) doesn’t mean that you also won’t go on to be wildly successful. Remain confident in your abilities! If you’re confident in your own work there’s no need to hate on the finalists. Yes? Okay then.
I trust everyone to conduct themselves with professional decorum. But I’ll be closing anonymous comments when the finalists are announced all the same.
This week in publishing!
Former Collins president Steve Ross penned the rarest of rare species: an article about how book publishers aren’t actually idiots/Luddites (via Pub Rants). He points out that publishers have every reason to want e-books to succeed, even if too-cheap e-books presents quite a daunting challenge for business models.
Everyone in the world pointed me to this New Yorker Shouts & Murmurs piece about a publisher’s fictional marketing plan. If so many people loved it it must be funny!
Galley Cat is breaking out its inner muckraker and is investigating an industry scourge: why isn’t your agent returning your phone calls? Not this one, mind you. I call people back right quick.
Christian publisher Thomas Nelson made big waves this week as they announced a self-publishing program that has many people wondering if it’s the future or simply a head-scratcher. The program is appropriating the name Westbow Press, which up until recently was an actual Thomas Nelson imprint. Thomas Nelson CEO/blogger Michael Hyatt writes that they see growth potential in self-publishing and will be looking for new voices. Rachelle Gardner, Maya Reynolds, Mike Shatzkin, and Victoria Strauss/Writer Beware all have must-read takes on the new venture and the many questions that have so far been left unanswered. Their responses range from cautious excitement to skepticism.
In e-book news, Gizmodo got their hands on some possible images of the Barnes & Noble e-reader, which combines e-ink with an iPhone like display for navigation. Well played, B&N. I wants one.
In other e-book news, JA Konrath peels back the mystery of publishing yet again with another blog post about his royalty statements. Turns out he’s earning more from cheaply priced Kindle books that he self-published than from the ones that are published by Hyperion and have a higher price. THE FUTURE???????????
National Book Award nominees were announced! Congrats to publishing powerhouse Wayne State University Press for scoring a nominee. Take that, NYC!
John Ochwat passed on this really cool article in the NY Times about a woman who read a book a day for a year. That’s pretty intense.
And finally, Esquire Magazine is always there with the pressing questions: are vampires so popular because women love gay men? (via Bookslut, naturally)
Have a great weekend!
Hah, you never fail to crack me up. And sheesh, I couldn't imagine reading a book a day for a year. My family would surely have left me after the first week.
Good luck on the judging!
Hmm…Just what we females need. A man telling us why we find something attractive. I often wonder if they bother asking women.
I for one know lots of women who share my love of paranormal books/movies and none have never said, "I like vampires because I want to have sex with gay men."
Usually they say, "He is good looking, or sexy", or something to that nature.
Emily White says
That B&N e-reader is so perty. In the words of Gollum, "we wants it, precious, we wants it."
Willow Cross says
Yeah…the vampire post revved me up a bit. So much so, I did my own post about it. Vampires intrigued me as a child, long before I knew gay meant anything other than happy. I wonder what his take on that would be?
But how will you hear from The Anonypus if you disable anonymous comments?!
Tamara Hart Heiner says
you are simply hilarious, as always.
Dances with Werewolves says
I'm on to you, Nathan. You think you can blog and still keep your secret a secret, but you can't. The long hours, the incredibly fast response times (you rejected me in 2 hours), the ability to read almost 3000 first paragraphs….
You're a freaking vampire. The question is–do you sparkle?
I thought I already posted this, but maybe I hit the wrong button, anyway forgive if this is a repeat.
Nathan, are any other agents reading these paragraphs, ya think?
By the number of times I have logged in to read your blog in the past few days, you wouldn't know I have a life, So. It is a pretense there is no Angst. I read your picks from the last contest and felt further humbled, so maybe Angst is too positive a word. But thank you for the fun. When it is all over, when the glasses have all been thrown, I will go back to my life. And I can see there is much to be done if I am to change that life to include being published.
Alicia A says
I think vampires are representations of "Mr. Right" and that is why woman love them so much. Immortal, powerful, and perfectly beautiful, with a dash of dangerously deadly. They are the paranormal bad boy we can't take home to meet the parents but sure don't mind having naughty fling with during those crazy college years.
Lady Glamis says
Good luck, Nathan! Is your wife going to make you eggnog again? Heheh.
A book a day for a year sounds downright relaxing compared to what I have to read for my PhD qualifying exams…oh, to read for fun again!
Thanks so much for hosting this contest, Nathan! It's been fascinating and very educational. God bless your poor, tired eyeballs. 🙂
Sam Hranac says
DebraLSchubert has a fantasy therapist? Man could I use one of those.
Susan Quinn says
Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
Mercy me (or rather YOU)! Your fans have already surpassed my 2x estimate (2428) – and the last-minute avalanche hasn't even kicked in (yet)!
Oh my. Good Luck!
Esquire has missed the point — women love vampires because they would like to believe that if they actually found a man who surpassed the minimum standards of acceptablity (put's toilet seat down) he would live forever. lol.
Victoria Strauss says
Thanks for the link, Nathan!
I'm surprised to read that some people have thrown fits in the previous years. I see many people saying, here and elsewhere, that they feel a little daunted by the really good entries and feel their own paragraph needs a lot of work. That's definitely what I'm thinking right now. So maybe we're just the humble ones?
I'm really curious to see which ones you pick and what your criteria is. This has been such a learning experience already. Good luck!
OK, so you scared me on the opening paragraph length. I went from 241 to 60 words. Extra credit is expected.
Great links. Steve Ross' article on the trials and tribulations of publishers made me understand better what they're up against.
Also, loved the Bookslut's commentary. Hmm. I once had a crush on a handsome, brilliant, gay guy. But neither he nor I were vampires. Maybe that's why it didn't work out… Or maybe he just wasn't that into me.
Good luck choosing the finalists. I know I'll have a hard time voting.
Thanks for the links.
LMAO on the vampire bit. Um…I've seen some pretty hot gay men in my time but none bed-lust worthy! haha.
But I believe there is a desire for a chase to get an ungettable get. Not sure it's just women though. I just think people want what a) they can't have OR b) is dangerous for them.
Thanks again for doing the contest. You have never-ending energy to be doing everything you're doing. Whatever you're on…tell me. I want some…even if I have to get an Rx for it! 😀
Now…back to nodding and drooling on my computer!
Journaling Woman says
Pick me, Pick me. Oh wait I didn't have time to enter. I will next time.
Just wanted to add my thanks for offering this contest, Nathan. I can hardly wait to read the books behind these amazing first paragraphs. What an incredible learning experience this has been!
Nathan, I don't know how you find time to do everything you do. Just when it looked like you'd maxed out your time (agent! blogger! author!), you posted another contest. You're insane—in a good way.
Thanks. I look forward to voting. I love voting!
Hats off to you Nathan.
Anybody who can do this contest and muster the time and energy to do anything else (maybe shower or sleep) must be some kind of reading Hercules. I can't imagine doing this and working a job too let alone fielding all the querys, dealing with the egos and irate people etc. . You have truly shown me that literary agents EARN THEIR MONEY!
ryan field says
I love the Esquire link.
Arik Durfee says
I clicked on the link to the previous contest and was really impressed with the finalists. This whole thing has made me think more than I ever have of the importance of every little word in each paragraph. I'm excited to read and learn from the finalists tomorrow.
Just read the NYT bestseller's opeing paragraphs. chapter Ones free online. that's how you really learn.
Service Manager says
I'm thinking the Thomas Nelson self-publishing move might be the future, for Christian publishing. Seems everyone I meet who is in the business of church has a book to hock.
Come to think of it, I guess the original bible was self published, no?
Jen C says
I had a fleeting moment of regret for not entering the comp (my first paragraph is actually ready to go – my book is in its FINAL editing pass OMG). But, I think it's going to be much more fun sitting back and watching how it all pans out!
Wow! "This Week in Publishing" provided a panoramic view of the publishing industry’s painful transition.
Steve Ross proves himself a nobleman among commoners in his article in which he argues that the publishing industry should be uplifted rather than trampled.
About WestBow, I agree with Rachelle Gardner that Thomas Nelson should select another name for its self-publishing imprint. I’d be interested in seeing Nelson’s answers to the questions Mike Shatzkin posed. And JA Konrath made a compelling argument for self-publishing with e-books.
Lots and lots to think about.
I wonder if next year, if Ms. Sankovitch would be interested in reading an unpublished book every day to review on her blog?
Agree with anon 10:46; it's not the fact that they're "gay" that's appealing, but rather that they're effeminate.
Basically, effeminate men = cultured men = men who are most probably filthy rich. Trufax. Being posh is not a manly characteristic. It's been proven in linguistic studies, for example, that speaking with a cultivated accent is by far a feminine trait.
In other words, it's not their "gayness" that's attractive, but their effeminacy (and all the implications that come with it: education, wealth, prestige.) Gay = likes sleeping with other men. Effeminate = possesses feminine qualities. Contrary to popular belief, the two don't necessarily have to overlap.
you are awesome. The (he brags) you slipped in there made me almost wet myself laughing. rock ON!
Anon: 12:43, Nice theory,and may be true, in some cases, but the gay guy I had a crush on was quite masculine, not effeminate. So, the reasons may vary.
I agree that gay and effeminate don't have to overlap.
Sorry, I meant, Anon 12:33