Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, March 28, 2008

This Week In Publishing 3/28/08

In Publishing, This Week:

Ok, so I know I've been remiss in my TV roundups (I've been, you know, too busy to watch TV), but I was able to catch up a bit last night and HOLY BACHELOR. I had it taped since Monday, and little did I know that there would be 1) two horrendous singers, 2) a girl with chronic hiccups who not only has chronic hiccups but had hiccups at the most dramatic moments in the show, 3) a girl who didn't receive a rose, started crying, and talked about how much she misses her cat, saying (AND I QUOTE), "It will be great to..... to have a purr again... because she's the love of my life at the moment." People, why wasn't I warned?? It was dangerous for me to watch that show without proper preparation. I don't even know what to say. Frankly it would be really nice to have a purr again.

Oh. This is a publishing blog? Ok.

Well, it's Amazon's world, we're just living in it. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is tightening the screws on POD publishers, announcing that they will have to use Amazon's POD printing facilities in order to be sold directly on (thanks to Marti Lawrence for the tip). This move could have a significant impact on small and self-publishers, who have in the past been able to sell directly through Amazon but now face some tough choices. Yowsers, as they say.

In agent blog news, Janet Reid reminds you to be nice to everyone who works at an agency, and Jonathan Lyons reminds us that not all agents and agent blogs are created equal.

Friend o' the blog and author Kim Stagliano was on Good Morning America Now this past week discussing the needs of families with autistic children. Here's a wonderful Janet Reid post about Kim, which details her awesomeness.

Via Shelf Awareness, The Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana booksellers are fuming about a new state law that requires anyone who sells sexually explicit material (and apparently this includes bookstores) to register with the state and pay a $250 registration fee. What year is it again?? I could have sworn it's 2008. Did Indiana get stuck in a time warp or something? Do we need to send in Bruce Willis to save them?

And finally, you know that rejection you received from a big publishing house? Well, there's a chance it didn't come from a real person. GalleyCat is reporting that an anonymous publisher has been sending out rejections from a fake editor. I can't decide if this is mean or a stroke of genius. Hmm... maybe it's time to go and create that e-mail account for my new assistant Franklin McScaredofyourquery.

Have a great weekend!


Adaora A. said...

YES! I was so hoping you'd mention the girl who missed her cat -- the love of her life. Brilliant. Bachelor looks to be the best yet this season. I can smell the fights and freakouts from a mile away!

Who says the host of Bachelor won't approach you to 'publish' his tell all book about all the season of Bachelors?

Amazon is changing its landscape. WOW.

Wow Indiana? Really? Holy cow...suddenly I'm bombared with memories of Nathaniel Hawthornes THE SCARLETT LETTER. 'Puritan Laws' anyone?

Fake Editor? Stroke of genuius and stroke of malice at all the same time.

Margaret Yang said...

I'm suprised that you're surprised by the "rejections from a fake editor" news. I think nearly everything that comes over the transom is returned with a form rejection with a fake name. Yet another reason to have an agent. I've learned that agents get much nicer, more prompt, and more helpful rejections than writers do.

And I have to agree with Johnathan Lyons that not all agent blogs are good. I've read blogs with glaring grammar errors that instantly made me cross that agent off my list (not typos, but truly bad grammar mistakes). I stopped reading two agent blogs because they were mean-spirited. I'm not talking about Miss Snark, who was over-the-top in order to make a point. I'm talking about agents who seemed to think their jobs would be a lot easier if it weren't for all those darn writers.

Some blogs say, "You idiots! Why did you do that?" Your blog says "Here is how you can do that better."

That is why your blog is a must-read, and their blogs are a must-not.

Furious D said...

1. Sounds like that Bachelor contestant needs more cats. Which is probably inevitable in her future life as the neighbourhood's "crazy cat lady."

2. Sounds like some short term greed is going to hurt Amazon's long term relationship with POD publishers. When you start thinking you can bully everyone around, is usually the time some hungry new competitor puts the blade to you.

3. Be especially nice to secretaries. They know things that can help you.

4. Here's a transcript of the conversation that started that policy in Indiana. "I want more money to waste on pet projects that make money for my friends," said Indiana's Governor.

"No one likes a tax hike," said the Speaker of the State Legislature.

"I know," said Indiana's Governor. "I'll make everyone who sells books and magazines pay me money for the right to sell them."

"No one will like a tax on books," said the Speaker.

"I'll make it a 'porno' license," said the Governor, "that'll let me declare anyone who complains about it a pervert, and I'll look all pure and righteous. And I'll get away with it too, because I'M THE ALL POWERFUL GOVERNOR OF INDIANA! BWAH-HAH-HAH!"

5. I got suspicious when the rejection letter for my 10,000,000 word first-person opus about the life of a blind, deaf, mute person with no sense of touch, taste or smell, was signed by Eddie Torial.

Suggested names for Nathan's fake assistant who will handle rejections:

Chuck U. Farley.
Fay Kayjent
Ima Phony
Phineas Q. Falsehood III

Jenny said...

BookSurge charges publishers far, far more than Lightning Source for less service. Their pricing is such that only deluded would-be publishers could imagine they would earn enough selling through BookSurge to make it worth doing.

The big publishers have been using Lightning Source to keep old midlist titles alive because the pricing made it possible. This is a real kick in the balls for them. I can't see them using the BookSurge model.

The real problem here is that LS lets publishers set a low discount. Amazon is asking 55% from publishers using its Advantage program and taking quite a big cut from BookSurge too.

But because of the backlist factor, this may be good news for Barnes & Noble's online site. They also sell Lighting Source books, and they discount them, too.

And they are putting off publishers with their Kindle deals, too. They are demanding a 35% discount from publishers and requiring the use of a nonstandard format. Given the poor market penetration of Kindle, they should be paying publishers a lot more to motivate them to provide content for their limping device.

Heck, I'm so old, I remember when I used to LOVE Amazon. I order my books from now, because the service is much better and they don't pull crap like this.

Nathan Bransford said...


Thanks for weighing in, that's great info.

Kim Stagliano said...

LOL? Mean or genius?? Too funny.

Do you think if we all wish VERY HARD we could convince Miss Snark to return for ONE post on the anniversary of her retirement on May 20th? I miss her blog so much.

I'm not in a position to mention Janet Reid's blog as I'm still trying to get up off the floor after her post about...

You, Kristin Nelson and Janet Reid (and my own agent, Eric Myers) have convinced me that agents are actual flesh and blood and HEART human beings. Thank you.

Stat Albert said...

I used to work at now-defunct MBNA, and whenever they sent bad news to customers they would sign them with the name of a woman who didn't exist. We'd always get calls from angry people demanding to speak with this imaginary "Gayle Simpson." We had to tell the customer that she was on vacation and we could help them in her absence.

Nathan Bransford said...

Shoot! Shoot! I meant to talk about Kim being on Good Morning America!

And here's Janet Reid's blog post about her.

Kimber An said...

Thanks for posting these links. Yours is the only agent's blog I have time for anymore. It's nice to have you point out some good stuff I might be missing.

I'm not surprised about the Indiana thing. The last time I was in a large bookstore, the Romance aisle looked like it belonged in a porn shop. I realize it may be difficult for non-parents to understand, but most parents want to be the ones who decide when and what and how are little ones are exposed to certain facts of life. As long as that stuff's right next to the children's section, we're not going to visit that store. We can't enjoy ourselves as long as we're worrying about it.

It's just too bad a state feels it must legislate such a thing.

It seems to me bookstores would be more careful, considering children's books are such huge sellers. Seems to me they'd want to do everything they can to make families feel comfortable in their stores. But, maybe they don't have children or it's not an important part of their parenting.

I've seen bookstores not being sensitive to local culture before. They go out of business.

Shannon Yarbrough said...

Does Amazon not realize it's practically what drives the POD market anyway? Heck, you can publish your book yourself on sites like, pay 100 bucks for an ISBN and copyright, and's on six weeks later.

If anything (and if Amazon pulls through with this stunt at all), I would hope it would ease the tension that brick and mortar bookstores have had with POD. Most B&N stores frown at ordering a POD book because they can't return it for credit if the customer chooses not to buy it. So, they just turn the customer and/or the author away when asked if they can get the book. No loss but no sale either.

If some of these POD publishers would start allowing for returns (of course, defeating the idea of no overhead), the gap between the stores and POD authors would close and they wouldn't need Amazon to get their book out there.

I smell a monopoly (and probably a few lawsuits) but I hope it ends up biting them right in the kindle anyway.

Other Lisa said...

I dunno. From what I've seen of "The Bachelor," she might be better off with a purr.

Anonymous said...

There were some women in Indiana who tried to shut down Victoria's Secret not too long ago because they thought the window displays were too shocking.
Yes, the state I live in is pretty backward in some ways. That explains why I avoid everyone. :)

Michelle Pendergrass said...

Yes dear, Indiana is a bit backwards.

But that's okay. I think I like it better than California. :) I've spent plenty of time in both places and I like it here just fine.

It's a good place to raise your kids.
Well, if you don't live near Gary.

Tammie said...

Hey I'm right across the border, in Michigan and yeah I've walked pass Victoria Secrets with my husband and 2 teenage boys - they are fine with it, I'm the one that feels weird with the kids - they could careless.

Today the actor that played Rudy in the same titled movie was in Indiana cheering for Clinton, okay, I guess with all the goodness of him being Sam I can look past that :o)

Yeah Kim on Good Morning America!!

nancorbett said...

Jeepers! Amazon is starting to resemble, some other software company in a neighboring city. This kind of techno industry dirty pool really frosts me.

However, this would be the perfect time for some smart software developer to write a POD software program and make a gazillion dollars. If someone puts out there a POD offering that is accessible, easy to use and affordable, Amazon be blown to Bermuda!

Dave F. said...

Years ago, one of my Aunts worked in the Credit Office of a Department Store (this is circa 1950's and 60's when VISA, Mastercard and Discover didn't exist).

Well they used fake names - Miss Green, Miss Black, Miss Steak (we used to tease my Aunt). . . It was done to protect the clerks from harassment or from accidently contacting their own families, friends and acquaintances.

And yes, she related one or two stories about very famous deadbeats who weren't paying their bills.

Franklin McScaredofyourquery sounds so nice to my ears. How could a boy like that say anything bad.

Other Lisa said...

Yikes, well, this is grim. It's about the current standard publishing contracts. I quote:

"It's (publishing) about squeezing every last dollar out of every available source—and the most vulnerable source is the author."

Read on if you dare...I'm hoping it's not as bad as all that!

Adaora A. said...

@Nathan - She sounds like a great woman. If I knew she was on GMA I would have watched! I love seeing people like that on the news. They barely ever report positive things anymore. Chances are, it will be on YOUTUBE. Q

Robin said...

Regarding Indiana: Yes, please send Bruce immediately. Although his ex, Demi Moore, might be more effective. She could bathe the legislature in turpentine (um, are organic solvents still carcinogenic, or have I been out of school too long?) and then cover them with leeches. It might not work, but it might be a nice reminder regarding backwards thinking.

A comment on the Indy Star website made me realize that libraries often sell used books and so would not necessarily be exempt. I hadn't even thought of the romance aisle or Victoria's Secret. See how quickly the circle can widen. . . .

Anonymous said...

> Yes dear, Indiana is a bit backwards.

Yes, it must be. "Dear"?

Paulsen said...

Dear, hon', sweetie-pie. Ha!

SherylAdairVv said...

Welcome to my world.
Please send in Bruce Willis.

The county I live in, is unable to send out their property tax bills, so the schools are out of money and we are expected to pay three overdue years of tax bills in one year.

So, they probably decided to make up some of the money with this idiotic "adult tax."

Anonymous said...

The best thing about The Bachelor is reading this woman's weekly recaps:

Nona said...

Nathan, believe it or not, the cat bit wasn't the greatest moment yet in the British Bachelor. You missed the first show where the girl from Chicago tries to stuff her panties into his pocket. He acts all posh and bothered by it and banishes her in the very first round. Then in the coming attractions they show him back on the streets of London trying to hump a red telephone booth.

Adaora A. said...

Indeed Nora. I can't wait for tonights episode. I can sense hair pulling, shoe stealing, and hot iron yeilding, forces to be reckoned with. Geez. Put a bunch of women in the room who are all after the same man and you've got chaos. Don't know whether to slap the inventor of the show or shake his hand.

Nona said...

Don't know whether to slap the inventor of the show or shake his hand.

Adaora: I agree 100%! It's love/hate for sure! I hope he gets subjected to the same humiliation some day. . . maybe he already has! Also looking forward to the next installments of Gordon Ramsay on Fox (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares). I swear, if that guy says "f*** me" one more time I'm going to hunt him down and do it!

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