Lots of links! Let’s get to them.
There were a few controversies this week in publishing. Firstly, if you have ever attended a conference with the fabulous YA Author Ellen Hopkins, you know that in addition to being a brilliant writer and storyteller she’s also a terrific, honest, and inspiring speaker and devotes a huge amount of time to mentoring up-and-coming writers. So it was very distressing to hear that she was dis-invited from the Teen Lit Fest in Humble, Texas, due to a librarian’s complaint. In the wake of the news about Hopkins, several additional writers subsequently withdrew from the event in protest.
Secondly, bestselling author Jody Picoult made some waves this week when she accused the NY Times Book Review of a white male literary fiction bias in the wake of Michiko Kakutani’s rave about Jonathan Franzen’s upcoming novel FREEDOM. While I leave it to you the reader to agree or disagree with this characterization of the NYTBR, PWxyz’s Jonathan Segura recalled the Kakutani/Franzen spat of 2008: After Kakutani slammed Franzen’s memoir THE DISCOMFORT ZONE, calling it, “an odious self-portrait of the artist as a young jackass: petulant, pompous, obsessive, selfish and overwhelmingly self-absorbed,” Franzen shot back, calling Kakutani “The stupidest person in New York City.”
And in further controversy (or is it?), industry sage Mike Shatzkin wrote a post that characterized print books, as “On a path to oblivion.” The crucial takeaway: “Indeed, the insistence by some people that they will “never” give up the printed book — which leads to rather ludicrous glorification of the smell of the paper, ink, and glue and the nonsensical objections that the screen would be unsuitable for the beach (depends on the screen) or the bathtub (I can’t even imagine what the presumed advantage of the printed book is there) — must ignore the fundamental dynamic. Print books aren’t getting better. Ebooks are.” No doubt there will be lots of reactions to this article, and we have already been discussing this in the Forums.
In further e-book news, Saundra Mitchell has a thoughtful take on a WSJ Journal article that speculates that ads and product placement could soon come to the e-book world, Apartment Therapy Unplggd surveyed the different e-reader apps on the iPad, and two new iPad-esque tablets seem to be on the horizon: one from Google (link via PubLunch) and one from HP.
Ever wonder if editors (or agents) have second thoughts after passing on projects? Well, of course we do. This week veteran editor Reagan Arthur wrote a very candid post about how she passed on Alexa Stevenson’s memoir HALF BAKED, which was recently published by Running Press, but ultimately trusts that it found the right home. (via Dystel & Goderich)
In financial book news, Forbes released its list of the Top 10 Author Earnings in the last year (James Patterson coming in first with a cool $70 million), a new academic paper claims to be able to predict box office revenue through an analysis of the script (most important variables: the genre, how conflict builds, whether conflict is multidimensional), the Millions surveys Time Magazine’s choice of authors on the covers from way back when, and B&N CEO Len Riggio bought a million more shares of the company.
And in writing advice news, my client Natalie Whipple has an awesome and inspiring post that uses the Japanese snack umeboshi as a metaphor, my client Jennifer Hubbard has a terrific take on the author/agent relationship, Tahereh has a hilarious interview with Eric from Pimp My Novel, and guest posting on PMN, Henriette Lazaridis Power surveys some great first lines and the different approaches the authors took.
This week in the Forums, the care and feeding of an introvert, does agenting need to evolve?, unagented author websites, just a few more days until MOCKINGJAY, and do you like or dislike thinking of titles?
Comment! Of! The! Week! Goes! To…. There were some really great ideas and responses to the post on what you would do if you were King/Queen of the publishing industry (some more practical than others), but I especially enjoyed Mark Terry’s suggestion of publishers creating a rival to Amazon called DeNile.com. His comment is definitely worth reading in full because he has some very interesting ideas.
And finally, this is one of the most hilarious and effective political ads I’ve ever seen, in support of a bill in the California state legislature that would do as San Francisco has already done and eliminate plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies. I give you: a nature video on the life cycle of a plastic bag, narrated by Jeremy Irons (via @TravelForGood):
Have a great weekend!