Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, March 14, 2008

This Week in Publishing 3/14/08

Publishing in Week This Backwards

For those you out there who are fans of both the NBA and The Wire, Sam Rubenstein from SLAM Magazine has an awesome article comparing The Wire characters to NBA players. My favorites: Larry Brown as Valcheck and Kevin McHale as Rawls. Sam couldn't decide on a Carcetti by press time, but after some back and forth we agreed that Carcetti is definitely Chris Webber.

Congratulations to Kate Christensen for winning the Pen/Faulkner award for THE GREAT MAN, and a belated congratulations to the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Borders plans to reduce the number of books they carry in bookstores, and instead use the shelf space to face out more books. In the course of reading different reactions to this news I learned the astounding fact that the average Borders bookstore contains somewhere around 90,000 titles, while B&N may stock 150,000 or more. WOW. The Millions doesn't love the idea, although they note that at stores where Borders has adopted this strategy sales increased 9%.

And finally, as reader Jim Schmidt pointed out, the Onion has a hilarious infographic on "Why Our Novel Was Rejected," including "agent not in novel as promised." The print edition has an extremely funny report on a three-month long novelist's strike that no one noticed and which did not affect anybody whatsoever.

Have a great weekend!


Jared X said...

Deputy Commissioner Rawls is not coming through that door!! And if he does, he'll be old and gray.

r.c. said...

That Onion piece is funny. Editorial anonymous has a link today to some funny t-shirts, including one that says, "I will not stalk the agent" over and over.

Have a great weekend!

Erik said...

According to their last Quarterly Report (BGP), the net operating loss at Borders' stores is about 5% to sales. I heard a rumor, which I can't substantiate, that they've only kept going this long due to DVD and CD sales - which are now declining.

My guess is that their move is about managing inventory as much as anything, given the tight pinch they are in.

Ulysses said...

Folks, for your edification and entertainment:

Reasons my novel was rejected:

1. Too many vowels, apostrophes and hyphens in title. Apparently, only Lovecraft can get away with that kind of thing.

2. Manuscript etched in Phoenician on 700 stone tablets. Postage cost $8700.

3. My e-query included advertisements for a deal on viagra.

4. Printed in crayon on rainbow construction paper.

5. I reely dunt no wy.

6. I wanted to perfume the query page, but grabbed the ricin bottle by mistake.

7. The editor likes pets, so I packaged my manuscript with a dog.

8. No market for human-goat romance.

9. They thought my alien abduction story was science fiction.

10. In true infinite-monkey fashion, my crime novel turned out to be a word-for-word compilation of scripts from the first season of the Sopranos. Go figure.

11. It was a detailed retelling of every event that occurred in my agent's life over the last six weeks, and I had to go over the video-tapes dozens of times to get the details right.

12. It violated the terms of my probation.

13. I'm not allowed a pen or pencil (or anything sharp) so I had to write the whole thing with tongue saliva.

14. What happens when I open with a rhetorical question?

15. I sent my tax forms to my agent and my manuscript to the I.R.S. Now nobody knows which is the more effective work of fiction.

16. I sharpened the edges of each sheet to make it memorable: a guaranteed papercut with each page.

17. I wrote the whole thing using a hole-punch.

18. My query letter apparently didn't contain the proper balance of promise and threat.

19. When they asked for a partial, I cut the manuscript with a band-saw and sent the left half.

20. During the final edit I got confused and replaced every adjective with the word "pooty."

21. The plot made perfect sense when I put the pages in the wrong order.

22. I knew my agent didn't want to receive an e-query that had also been sent to a bunch of other agents, so I sent all 460 to her and asked her to forward them on.

22. I sent it to Publisher's Clearinghouse.

23. I sent the editor a nude photograph of me.

24. I sent the editor a nude photograph of his wife.

25. I sent the editor a nude photograph of his mother.

26. I hand-delivered it to my agent's mistress's door at 3am, when I was sure he'd be there and awake.

27. I followed up with a phone call 31 minutes after I sent my e-query.

28. I followed up with an in-person visit 31 minutes after I sent my e-query.

30. I submitted a manuscript from all seventeen members of my writing group in a single package.

31. I camped out in my agent's office. There was barely enough room for the cookfire.

Dave F. said...

12. It violated the terms of my probation.

Now that's funny!

MA said...

The news about Borders makes a lot of sense.

If you want to prevent people from buying, give them too much choice.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Ma--yes. It's an official marketing plan on the part of Borders: people are idiots so treat them like that.

The Onion is my absolute favorite. The offices are right here in Boulder. Free and funny. An unbeatable combo.

Have a good weekend, Nathan.

Adaora A. said...

I watch the NBA, but I'm only just getting into the wire. I'm going to rent all the DVD's at the end of the school year and just vegitate as I watch them. The comparison sounds interesting though. I'll favorite this post so I can understand the meaning once I've become a WIRE expert. It's a great way to take your mind off of negative things.

I read about Kate Christensen winning. Congrats to her indeed.

With Borders lowering the amount of books they have (is that U.S's answer to CHAPTERS in Canada), that means they have to be very strict about what goes in, or does it mean more streamlining?

Furious D said...

1. Since I didn't get HBO and never saw The Wire, and haven't watched a basketball game in years, I got nuttin.

2. Kate Christensen, yet another pen name of CORMAC MCCARTHY!

3. Increase sales by decreasing selection? Soon they'll carry nothing but Dan Brown and JK Rowling!

4. Hmmm. That's a great idea, I'm not unpublished and bitter, I'm on strike!

gwen said...

When I first went into a Borders books in the States, I was really disappointed. In Canada, the largest retailer is Indigo Books & Music - under the store names Indigo, Coles, and Chapters. Coles stores are small; only found in malls. Chapters & Indigo, however, are huge.

I went into Borders (and later B&N) and was really disappointed. The well-organised, easily accessible, customer-friendly atmosphere that I enjoyed in Chapters was nowhere to be found in these American stores. Not as many book options, not easily accessible in terms of running searches, available staff to help the customer, etc.

Maybe becoming more customer focused would help the stores as much as more "face time" for the books would...


Nikki Duncan said...

I think the news about the change at Borders is great news. I'm a slightly naughty individual who tends to rearrange shelves, when there's space, and face books with great covers out.

Jo said...

What a marvelous blog you have here! Thank you for being available to us writers. We're VERY thankful for you!

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

No Country For Old Women / NCFOW

I just forced myself to buy Kate Christensen's "The Great Man" in hardcover (I don't do hardcover) - but three women in their 70's, how can I wait for the paperback to come out? Plus, "supershipper saving" by adding Ann Swir's "Talking to My Body" - I had just been reading Swir's "The Old Woman," translated from the Polish -

Her beauty
is like Atlantis.
It is yet to be discovered.
Thousands of humorists
have written about her erotic desires.
The most gifted of them
entered the school reading lists.
Only her making love with the devil
had the seriousness
of fire around the stake
and was within the human imagination
just as was the fire.

Mankind created for her
the most abusive
words of the world.

****** Buy the book for more great poems! ****** End blurb

I think elderly women are fascinating - but I would, struggling as I am with a 270-year-old female character. I did a little math: 70-year-old woman x 4 = 280 - 10 = 270. And all crammed into 2 chapters. No wonder I hate the process of revision! But I love elderly women - or at least, doing battle with the "terrible fish" of old age, that poet Sylvia Plath saw rising out of her mirror. Well, I certainly wish Plath had chosen to be a terrible fish in America, rather than a suicide in England. Well, we don't get everything we want!

Someone in response to the "Open Post" here at Bransfordshire, wanted to know how old everyone was - my childhood was bracketed (approximately) by the suicides of two female poets - Sylvia Plath in 1963 and Anne Sexton in 1974. I wish they'd survived, and kept writing, maybe they'd have written a novel or two or three in the wake of second, third, fourth (what wave are we on now?) feminism. I mean, I sometimes wonder IF MLK and Malcolm X hadn't been assassinated, maybe...I don't know, we'd have had a black president sooner, and so our inner cities would be...maybe 9/11 wouldn't have happened because...America's standing in the world...Dick Cheney...a retiree mentioned ONCE on the local news, quail hunting, and...

...I haven't read or seen "No Country for Old Men." But it's a little bit of a catchphrase for me now, a sticker to slap onto things - a movie with no female characters over 30 "No Country for Old Women." Ditto news shows with no female "journalists" over 35 "NCFOW." Oval Office, NCF...well, I wouldn't go that far, just yet.

And speaking of Old Women - over at Bookends, there are some posts by Angie Fox, author of a soon-to-be-released paranormal about "geriatric biker witches." I can't wait to read that either! Just now I think of a C&W radio station, ACFOW - All Country for Old Women (sorry, couldn't help myself.)

Well, back to the it possible to work on a novel within 24 hours of working on a website? I don't think so....I think anytime you work in HTML, you sacrifice a certain percentage of your "right brain"...

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