Lots and lots and lots of links for you. All good ones too, swear! Let’s get to it.
Blogger Penelope Trunk wrote one of the more controversial publishing posts I’ve read in some time. She accepted an advance from a major publisher, and after being wildly unimpressed with their marketing plans she decided to keep the advance, pull the book, and self-publish instead. Absolutely worth a read. I’m not exactly sure how contractually this all was worked out, but I’ve heard from quite a few authors who are/were similarly underwhelmed by their publishers’ ability to market online. (It’s also worth reading the follow-up interview by PaidContent.org).
Meanwhile, book blogger John Self took a measured approach to Trunk’s post, expressing sympathy for the publishers who are dealing with a wildly fragmented landscape. He decided to take it upon himself to promote the heck out of a new book he liked. He ended up very pleased with the result and urges people to promote the authors they love.
In further controversial book news, Penguin recently acquired self-publishing conglomerate Author Solutions, which has been accused of a slew of shady business practices. Both industry watchdog Writer Beware and author David Gaughrin are openly wondering if Penguin are going to clean up Author Solutions’ business practices.
A giant Wal-Mart in Texas was converted into a giant library, and the photos are pretty amazing. Lots of box stores are shuttering as more commerce moves online, and hopefully this will serve as a model for what’s possible with those empty spaces.
Author Sarah Manguso wrote a post on advice for young writers, which I partly admire but mostly fear for its ruthless efficiency. (Sample: “Don’t give favors to people or institutions that lack authority or consequence.”) I’m honestly not even sure whether it’s real or satire. What do you think? (via Janet Reid)
I don’t know if you’ve heard of this book called Fifty Shades of Grey, but it’s kind of popular at the moment. It’s not without its controversy, however. Blogger Melissa Jenna wrote a post that has generated a staggering response (1,800+ comments!!), criticizing Fifty Shades of Grey and a movie I had never heard of called “Magic Mike” as “mommy porn” and suggesting that wives spend their time spicing up their own sex lives rather than reading Fifty Shades.
Literary agents are sometimes inaccurately maligned for being shady, but the New Yorker profiled an influential one who truly was.
Goodreads is a site where both authors and reviewers behave badly, and one user has taken it upon themselves to create a list of authors who respond badly to negative reviews. Is this fair game or two wrongs not making a right? (via The Millions)
Why do so many book covers look alike? The Atlantic investigates.
The author of the much-beloved Encyclopedia Brown series passed away. Author Cynthia Leitich Smith has a great roundup of tributes.
This week in the Forums, favorite writing podcasts, advice for a self-published author looking for an agent, ongoing rejection stats, Blogger vs. WordPress, your favorite writing tips, and is it okay to use real places in novels?
And finally, my good friend Sharon Vaknin is going to be a regular on the nationally syndicated PBS show America’s Heartland starting in September. Her segment is called Farm to Fork, and it looks awesome:
Have a great week!