This week in Hogwarts…
Yes, the big news about Pottermore was revealed!! Sort of! Okay just a bit! It’s actually not coming until July for some people and October for everyone else!
This week J.K. Rowling announced that Pottermore would be an online site that will where you go for Harry Potter e-books, and a unique online reading experience that seems to involve some reader participation. The response was swift and breathless about what this means for the world of books. Is J.K. Rowling self-publishing her e-books? Has she cut out booksellers and Amazon in one fell swoop? If Rowling doesn’t need a publisher, what are publishers for?
Slooooooow down, everyone. First off, the Wall Street Journal reported that Scholastic and Bloomsbury UK are receiving a portion of e-book sales and are providing marketing support, so while you could argue that this is a form of self-publishing, it’s not exactly cutting traditional publishing out of the loop. And the WSJ also confirmed that Amazon is working with Pottermore to make sure the books will be available on the Kindle, and Sony may be selling branded e-readers through the site.
So yes – it’s somewhat unique for a book to be made available through a dedicated site, but let’s not go and declare world of publishing completely upended. All the major players will be sitting at the Pottermore table.
Meanwhile, in true self-publishing news, John Locke is the first self-published author to sell one million Kindle e-books, but since he’s selling them at $0.99, the LA Times’ Carolyn Kellogg asks, “At what cost?”
And the New York Times magazine has a nice profile on eminently sensible self-publishing-turned-traditional-publishing star Amanda Hocking.
GalleyCat picked up our poll on what e-readers should cost and then had a cool post that featured arguments for $0.99, $1.99, $2.99, $5.00, $6.99-$7.99, $9.99 and $12.99-$14.99 price points from industry luminaries. Moby Lives weighed in as well.
And finally (swear) in publishing and e-book news, disaster consultant (yeah) Ray Nagin self-published his memoir and appeared on the Daily Show. He says he self-published because “when you turn your manuscript over to a publisher you never know what’s going to happen.” Not sure whether he means “They might not make me an offer” or “They might try to edit it,” but at the very least this is probably a template for future politicians and authors who want to get their book out quickly. Get it written, get it out there as fast as possible by self-publishing, go on the Daily Show to promote it.
And speaking of speed, agent Rachelle Gardner has a post on why publishing is so slow.
And over at Slate, Katie Crouch and Grady Hendrix wrote a snarky article about (essentially) being dragged to write YA when what they really wanted to be doing was writing literary fiction. Tahereh Mafi’s response is completely priceless.
This week in the Forums, planning a possible forums meet and greet (Vegas!!!), discussing Pottermore and Rowling, the decline of mass market paperbacks, and discussing those ghastly -ly words and their alternatives.
Comment! of! the! Week! goes to Stephanie Garber, who had a great suggestion on another type of opening to avoid:
I don’t have a ton of opening pet-peeves, but I really don’t like it when a book starts with the author telling the reader what is about to come, things like:
I found out I had superpowers on my sixteenth birthday…
The day I died started out like a normal Monday…
Everything changed the day the new boy showed up at school…
None of these are real examples, but stuff like this bothers me… I want to read to see what happens next, not be told before it happens 🙂
And finally, there were some great viral videos making the rounds this week, and my colleague Molly Wood rounded them up into one hilarious compilation:
Have a great weekend!