Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, October 3, 2008

This Week in Publishing 10/3/08

Are you ready for the most linkerrific TWIP ever?? Yes? No? Oh. Well, here it comes anyway. Be careful with your carry-on items, these links may shift during flight.

First off, in philanthropic news, Moonrat is hosting a raffle for a friend who is battling cancer and is offering query and manuscript critiques for your raffling pleasure, so please please check out the raffle site. The very busy Moonrat also recently wrote about the myth that there are no great editors anymore, and gives some advice for all those people who want to prepare for a job in publishing.

Hot off the Pub Lunch wire: Sony has announced details about their new e-reader, which will feature a touch screen with a virtual keyboard, expanded memory, and an LED nightlight. Well played, Sony. Well played indeed. The sad: still no wireless or Mac compatibility. Tears.

Meanwhile, GalleyCat floats a question about whether there will soon be a book version of Napster. That sound you hear is my head hitting my desk. Ouch!

A few months back we debated Random House's decision to cancel publication of THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, a novel about one of Muhammad's wives. Well, that decision just got quite a bit more real as the home of the British publisher was firebombed (luckily no one was injured). So far publication is moving forward as planned, and my thoughts go out all of those brave publishing employees who are truly living the values of freedom of speech and press.

I tell you what, NY Mag's End of Publishing article has generated quite the response, and perhaps none more eloquent than Kassia Kroszer's over at Booksquare, who suggests that the teeth gnashing about the decline of literary fiction stems from a misguided notion about literary niches that were "never were as big and profitable as legend suggested." The business of giving readers what they want: basically unchanged.

Lynne Spears was in the news last week wondering why mothers of pop stars are held to different standards than um... some unnamed prominent people who you might read about if this were a political blog. Why do I mention this? Because Spears has a parenting memoir out! And in case you're wondering why religious publisher Thomas Nelson decided to publish Lynne Spears' book, Thomas Nelson CEO/blogger Michael Hyatt recently wrote a post entitled Why Did We Publish Lynne Spears' Book? There you have it.

Annnnnnnd speaking of giving readers what they want, Forbes tallied up the yearly earnings of the top ten moneymaking authors. JK Rowling led the way with $300 million, and the combined earnings of the top 10 was $563 million. Yowsa.

Annnnnnd speaking of the supposed decline of literary fiction, reader John Ochwat was first to point me to this quote from the head of the Nobel Prize for Literature Horace Engdahl, who, despite the existence of Cormac McCarthy, Michael Chabon, Stephen Dixon, John Updike, Paris Hilton and Jonathan Franzen, has the audacity to say: “The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining.” Oh realllllllly. I know you are, but what am I?

Annnnnd speaking of that unnamed prominent person from earlier, Virgina Quarterly Review was thrilled to find out that Sarah Palin is a reader of VQR! Well. Technically.

In publishing advice news, do you need a literary agent? Agent Kate Shafer Testerman recently addressed an article on that topic, and her post is seriously worth a read.

And next in publishing advice news, the good and innovative people over at HarperStudio have good advice from a former publicity director on starting your publicity now.

And finally (no, really!), I had always thought of publishing as being a lot like a soccer -- a lot of kicking the ball and waiting for something to happen punctuated by some exciting goals (well, hopefully). But reader Dawn Metcalf has perhaps the most apt comparison I've seen. CALVINBALL!!

Have a great weekend!


lotusloq said...

Thanks for all that linkage! I can't wait to check them all out!

It was fun to see Becky Ramsey ref you in her blog. I felt like I was so in the know having already figured out your shirt and all! haha!

Have a great weekend!

Margaret Yang said...

Publishing equals Calvinball. This explains everything.

Sara Merrick said...

So many great links -- yet I'm still reeling with the knowledge that Sara Pallin reads your blog, too. And yes, I'm looking straight into the camera as I write this.

Susan said...

Great stuff!

But I see you're still recovering from air travel...

Thanks for the links!

bookboy28 said...

I was going to comment on THE JEWEL OF MEDINA publication, but I'm not that brave and value my life too much.

Have a good weekend, Nathan.

Stay Safe.

Dara Sorensen said...

Thanks for the links--they're really interesting! I really found the story about the terrorist attack over the soon-to-be published book fascinating and a bit scary at the same time.

Thanks again!

Lady Glamis said...

Thanks for the links; they should keep me busy all weekend.

Napster Novels. Hmmmm....I think my head just hit the desk, too.

Adaora A. said...

This is the best TWIP yet. I can't believe with authors like Paris Hilton, Ms. Spears,Chambon, Dixon, and many others, that the industry is insular. I've come to the conclusion that folks love to lament for the sake of lamenting. Especially if it's in print, audio, or video.

I've got no comment in regards to Sara Palin as well. Afterall this is a publishing blog.

I genuinely do hope that those folks overseas are coping(as much as can be expected under the circumstances). They've got guts. I wish them well.

Elyssa Papa said...

Calvinball indeed! Often times it feels like Monty Python's The Holy Grail.

Becky Ramsay has some of the coolest blogs out there.

nomadshan said...

Whew! Good thing you get paid for blogging!

Oh, wait.

nona said...

“The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue"

This is extra-funny coming from the Swedes. I found out during the recent "Georgia incident" that neither Sweden nor Finland are members of NATO.

Erik said...

As far as that agent thang goes, I figger that having the best MS possible is the first step no matter what. I don't think anyone first time author is going to get an advance from anyone for a novel, so there's no point in shopping it around until it's done.

At that point, I can decide how I want to do it. Of course, I have a back door to the publishing world that will be a lot easier, but I never do things everyone else's way. :-)

Nancy D'Inzillo said...

Glad to know there are still publishers out there defending the freedom of the press. With the reporters who got arrested (the chargers were later dropped, of course) at the Republican National Convention, I was beginning to wonder if we still had it. . .

Scott said...

Would anyone else be thrilled to pieces with the knowledge that people wanted to steal your novel? I suppose it's symptomatic of my fledgling status, but I'm giving it away at the mo' anyway.

Lotsalinks, Nathan. Cheers.

the Amateur Book Blogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the Amateur Book Blogger said...

Nona, there's interesting background article here to the neutrality of Finland and Sweden, and the pros and considerations of joining NATO. (

Despite the statement, perennial favorites, from American novelist Philip Roth to Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, top the list of hopefuls for this year's Nobel prize, according to Reuters.

British betting agency Ladbrokes gives Italian scholar and journalist Claudio Magris the edge with 3-1 odds, followed by Israel's Amos Oz and American author Joyce Carol Oates.

I guess we'll find out on the 9th.

Great links Nathan. (apols. deleted first due to link issue)

A Paperback Writer said...

So, one of the publicity tips says "Immerse yourself in the community you want to be in."
Does it count if I write YA and I teach junior high? How much more immersed can one be?
;) j/k

TerriRainer said...

Now that was a lot of info!


:) Terri

©Hotbutton Press said...

Just hopped over from Emma Larkins blog where she interviewed Helen Ginger. Will spend a bit of time exploring this nice resource you have here. Thanks.


Jeanne said...

I'm not shocked at the remark that the U.S. is "too isolated....."

Over the past, oh say- 8 or so years- I've seen a major shift in the way most Europeans think of Americans.

When I was 14 I took my first trip to Europe and was fawned over most everywhere BECAUSE I was American. Also because the $ was stronger than the franc, etc.... but not anymore. This summer I took my 14 yr old son to Spain, Paris, Provence, the French Med, Florence, and Rome- and suffice it to say we were treated like dirt BECAUSE we were Americans. The Euro is King. The U.S. $ isn't worth anything- beggars won't even take it- and everyone thinks we have the IQ of "W." No offense to any W fans of this blog. Just don't smack an old "W" sticker on your backpack if you plan to travel through the EU. Not unless you want some random old lady in a market square in Barcelona to threaten to beat you over the head with her cane. (True story. Happened to a tourist while we were there.)

If Obama is elected the U.S. MIGHT be considered "outward looking" enough to be respected again. Not that I'm endorsing. Just saying that we had a lot of people who wouldn't dain to tell us where the nearest toilet was in holler "Obama! NO McCain!!" at us in perfect English.

Scott said...

I feel your pain, Jeanne. I'm heading over to the UK in about ten days.

When I go over, I listen carefully and do my best to give a decent account of myself, which is all I can really do.

I can say, however, that isolationism isn't just an American problem. Without getting too deeply into it, some folks are just looking for a reason to go off the U.S. and have been for some time. Hopefully there are are a greater number of those who take what they learn and allow it to inform them without transforming them.

I should say the same about American writers, provided they're interested in being informed in the first place.

Jeanne said...

Very true Scott. It'll always be a bit "chic" to bash America in some parts of the world. It just gaulled me to pay 3 to 5 euro's for a Coke with no ice in the middle of summer. :) That's like - 5.00 to 7.00 U.S. $$! :) But- no one forced me to go on that trip so I shouldn't complain.
I just appreciate the U.S. more- even if we are "isolated..." I had an overwhelming urge to kiss the Customs Agent in Chicago when he said "Welcome Home" but I thought better of it, and restrained myself. :) Have fun in the U.K.!

Sara J. Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Jay Jones said...

I give you this:

"In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? . . .

"When these questions are fairly and favorably answered, their laudatory epithets may be allowed: But, till that can be done, we would seriously advise them to keep clear of superlatives."

More comments from Horace Engdahl? Nope. It's Sidney Smith, blasting American writers in the January 1820 edition of the Edinburgh Review.

Bashing American writers is as old as American publishing itself.

Debbie Stier said...

Someone just told me that there's a work around to get the Sony EReader compatable with the Mac. Maybe running it on Parallels??? Our tech people didn't know....but it seems so unfathomable to me that they haven't dealt addressed this. I'll look into and report back.

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