Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, February 13, 2009

This Week in Publishing 2/13/09

This week..... publishing....

Lots of links this week, but first comes news that Dan Brown's long long long awaited follow-up to THE DA VINCI CODE just might be finished! He would have delivered it sooner, but he was caught up in a global conspiracy involving an ancient Sanskrit text, the National Security Council, aliens, and, of course, the Catholic Church. It was epic. I'm told the ordeal also had impeccable pacing.

My colleague Tracy Marchini attended the O'Reilly Tools of Change Conference, and has a must-read series of posts on what she learned. Absolutely worth spending some time there to learn more about eBooks, the future of free content, books and social media, and all kinds of other good stuff.

You might have heard about a little device called Kindle 2, which a little company called Amazon will be shipping out in a couple of weeks now. Kindle 2's birthing was met with a touch of controversy, as the device includes a feature where you can have the Kindle 2 read to you in a digital voice, which Amazon may not have the right to offer as they may not have secured, you know, audio rights. Stay tuned for this one.

Meanwhile, reader John Askins pointed me to this New York Times article about an upstart challenger to the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle. Plastic Logic debuted a prototype eReader with a 10.7 inch display (compared to 6" for the Sony and Kindle) that will support a variety of formats, and they've already begun reaching agreements for content.

As we all know, confidence is essential for any writer, and super-editor (I'm pretty sure that's his actual title) Alan Rinzler recently wrote a great series of tips on how to keep up the writerly self-esteem.

Reader Neil Vogler pointed me to a BBC article which poses the question: when you have mobile devices and a short attention span to distract you, are you still reading?

Jan Markley was the first to point me to an "End of Publishing As We Know It: Canadian Style" article from the Globe and Mail about the increasing necessity of authorial self-promotion and what's perceived as declining promotional efforts on the part of Canadian publishers, who are battling small margins. Sounds pretty familiar, eh?

The good people over at Book Roast have an anonymous publisher writing some great posts, and the most recent discusses what goes into a book cover.

One of the very most common questions I receive: how should an author conduct themselves when they have an agent? Agent Richard Curtis has drafted a 10 Commandments on this very subject, and quite a few of the points boil down to: let the agent do the talking. (hat tip Josephine Damian)

Several different blogging agents, including this one, have noted a serious uptick in queries in '09, and particularly of the "Dear Agnet, Ive written a book I need an agent please write me back, Sincerely, Author" variety (often with the word "query" misspelled in the subject line). Janet Reid, needless to say, has some hilarious choice thoughts.

And finally, because we all need a little more pig in our life...


Kingsford Goes to the Beach - Funny home videos are a click away

Have a great weekend!






91 comments:

Marilyn Peake said...

That pig is adorable! Watching the video just made my day. Looking forward to reading all the links. Have a great weekend!

April Hollands said...

Book covers blah blah blah ebooks blah blah blah Amazon blah blah blah little black piglet that goes to the beach and has a swim after annoying a cat who can't really be blamed for being a bit grumpy about being hassled by such a tiny and cute piglet. <--This is what I took from all that valuable information. It's just what happens if you post such cuteness.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that pigs could swim!

Mira said...

Interesting links, thank you.

I didn't like Richard Curtis' article, though.

I don't think that someone should write an article about courtesy, and then label three of his commandments: Keep your big mouth shut.

When I actually write something, Richard will have to be much nicer to me in his query letter offering to represent me.

Linda Cassidy-Lewis said...

Great links, but the real question is: will Nathan spend the weekend pig shopping?

cg said...

Who cares about publishing- okay I do and I want a Kindle, or a Sony Reader, or that tablet thing - but did you guys see that cute little piglet following the guy all around?? Thanks for the chuckle, NB. :)

Marilyn Peake said...

Just read Alan Rinzler's article about how to keep up confidence as a writer. I needed that. Thanks! Now, on to writing...

word verification, not kidding: "dromance" - Freaky, since Valentine's Day is tomorrow. (Of course, today is Friday the 13th.)

Mira said...

Yes, I agree Marilyn, that was an excellent article. I'm sorry if I'm overly critical, Nathan, this is a really good blog.

Kristan said...

Omigosh that pig! Too cute, thank you!

Chris Eldin said...

Thanks for the info!! I love your Friday round-ups!!
:-)

T. Anne said...

OK, I need a pig. With two dogs and four kids, who would notice?

Dara said...

I really enjoyed the article on how to keep confidence as a writer; I think it's something I'm going to have to refer back to in the future.

Thanks for these updates in publishing; I always learn something from them.

Paul Äertker said...

Yes, we do need a little more pig in our lives.

Lady Glamis said...

I am very sorry to hear that you get queries of that sort. :( My sympathies.

Nice video. I'm still giggling. Hehehe.

Anonymous said...

Pigs are very smart. But not smart enough however to figure out how not to be delicious.

Gina Black said...

Cute piglet video.

You notice anything about it that might involve the issue of digital rights and copyright infringement? People don't even notice it with music anymore. Pity, pity, pity.

Jill Corcoran said...

Thanks for the links and have a great 3-day weekend:)

brianjayjones.com said...

Yes, it's true: The Solomon Key is finished. And I've hidden ten clues to its storyline on the cover of my book.

(Just kidding!)

Rowenna said...

On the subject of the Kindle...it's been touted for its ecofriendliness (ie lack of paper usage), but an open letter from a paper exec(see http://sections.whattheythink.com/environment/2009/02/letter-to-the-industry) recently commented on the sustainability of paper production (when done eco-consciously) compared to the toxic elements inherent in electronic devices like this. Anyone have any comments? Do environmental factors play in for anyone else when deciding to stick with paper or go with a device like the Kindle?

I actually liked Curtis's article, though most of it (ie, don't badmouth anyone) seems like common sense for any industry.

abc said...

I heart Kingsford!

clindsay said...

Thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU for Kingsford. That made my whole week!

=)

Colleen

Scotty said...

Having worked at a full-service, in house marketing agency for the last 20 years, I can tell you with the highest degree of certainty that a camel is indeed a horse by committee. You just can't fall in love with a design when others are involved. It can break your heart. In fact, I design covers for all of my books and posters for my screenplays, but have learned to keep them to myself. Bah.

Also from experience, I actually owned a potbellied pig for three years. He lived with me in my apartment in Philadelphia and was the cutest, smartest pet I have ever owned. However, if they're mixed heritage--and that one most definitely is unless it's a very rare teacup--they grow to unmanageable size without a very large piece of property. I eventually had to place him with some folks who had a tree nursery and all's well that ends well.

Lastly, Nathan, I have a contest suggestion: best log line wins a pass to hear Jennifer Egan and Robert Stone read at the Golden Gate Room on March 12th (Tobias Wolff will also be there). I would say the winner gets a date with Jennifer, but alas she has already been wifed.

Can't have everything.

Newbee said...

Cute little Kingsford the pig! I bought a card for Valentines Day for a friend and it has a pig on the front of it with wings. On the inside it says, "Look it's cupig!"...hahaha...

Nathan hope you and your wife have a great long weekend. I'll look over the links and get back with you.

I can't wait for the Dan Brown book to come out. I have been waiting a long time to read it. The buzz around the research has been very interesting. It should be a good read!

Jen

lotusgirl said...

Thanks for the links. It never ceases to amaze me the kind of crazy stuff that you agents get in your inboxes. Have a great weekend.

DebraLSchubert said...

Damn, that pig's cute! I've got six cats (yes, you read that correctly), and Kingsford comes close to being as cute as my littlest kitty, Emma Lou Cupcake. Thanks for the smiles. That's clearly what we need these days...;-)

PurpleClover said...

i <3 Kingsford

He just wants to belong...poor little guy. He would crawl inside their feet if he could.

Word verification: HatFunk (When you take your hat off and your hair smells funky)

as meredith said...

That video is the cutest thing you have ever had on your blog!!!

Newbee said...

PurpleClover wouldn't that be more Hairfunk?

Margaret Yang said...

Richard Curtis has made me terrified of editors. He makes them sound so conniving and sneaky and evil. But since I'm already terrified of my agent, I guess having an editor in the mix won't be anything new.

ryan field said...

I always wanted a pet pig.

JaxPop said...

Mmmm.... I could go for a bacon, lettuce & tomato .......

PurpleClover said...

Newbie-

Well when you remove your hat and your hair is messy it's called "hat head" right? It was the quickest thing I could come up with...

don't hate me for being a student nurse. ;)

Marilyn Peake said...

I've been seeing posts about the Kindle 2 and its Text-to-Speech function in many of my writers' groups, starting last night and all day today. The Authors Guild has definitely stirred up controversy.

I'm torn over the Kindle 2's Text-to-Speech function. On the one hand, publishers, including my own, pay good money to have voice actors record audio books; and then Amazon does what Amazon always does: sells books in ways that benefit Amazon without ever consulting authors and publishers. Grrrrr... On the other hand, this is one time I really don't care. (Maybe I'm tired.) However, Text-to-Speech already exists on computers and is nowhere near sounding like real voice actors.

I was thrilled, however, when Authors Guild took up the fight against Google's plan to offer book text for free. I had read a statement by Google expressing the opinion that all books should be available to the world for free ... except, of course, with advertising running alongside it. (Advertising money paid to Google, I assumed.) The electronic revolution is pounding on our doors, trying to break down copyright barriers and let it in. I'm just hoping we aren't entering an era in which writers receive very little compensation for their work. There have been times in history when that was an artist's reality.

I better go look at that cute little pig again. Baby pigs! Puppies!

Laura said...

Pig=-cute

Dan Brown novel = UGH!

Alexa said...

I want Kingsford far more than a Kindle!

reader said...

Re: the 10 Curtesy article. Are you kidding me? The article makes it sound like editors are not to be trusted and have the power to send you to Hades if they wish.

Quote: "...Even your correspondence with your editor should be sent to your agent for review and forwarding, at least anything more significant than Thank you/You're Welcome..."

How is a writer supposed to feel free to communitcate about their book or ideas if they have to look over their shoulder to this extent? And what agent actually has the time to hold everyone's hand in this manner?

Anonymous said...

That pig is SOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Annalee said...

Concerning audio rights, and with do respect to agents who are just trying to look after their clients:

Text-to-speech is as much like an audiobook as a cave painting is like the Sistine Chapel. No one inclined to buy the audiobook is going to decide not to because of the Kindle's text-to-speech. The only thing that technology does is make e-books that don't have audio versions more accessible to the blind and the reading impaired--thereby increasing the book's audience.

Seriously, this is like complaining that people who get paid to read things for blind people and dyslexics are violating the copyright.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Great batch of links this week, especially Alan Rinzler's post and the Ten Commandments ("keep your big mouth shut" is good advice in most professional situations, it seems--shooting off without a thought rarely accomplishes anything).

I have never wanted a piglet until now.

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm supposed to self promote but keep my damn mouth shut? haha! I think I get it... leave the agent's job to the agent, but don't expect anybody to promote your own book as hard as you would.

Now, the piglet. Never in an entire childhood of attempting to raise runty piglets did I keep one alive long enough to have it follow me around. Let me tell you, when he was squealing at the stairs, did that ever bring back some memories!! Imagine a couple hundred like that! My heart almost broke at the sight of those cute little hooves trotting around. But the litter box... oh my. What's the little guy's breeding and are those folks aware that pigs end up being several hundred lbs worth of hog eventually?

Still it was fun to see the cuteness after all the doom and despair, so THANKS!

Nathan Bransford said...

annalee-

I don't think it's a question of quality, it's a question of rights. Making an electronic audio reproduction of a book, even a mechanical one, is a derivative right.

I mean, no one would argue that making a bad movie adaptation shouldn't count as a derivative right but a good one should.

There are existing provisions in many, many agreements that provide for granting copies royalty-free to the handicapped and/or visually impaired and many programs that exist in that arena. And let's be honest -- the overwhelming people who would use this feature on the Kindle are not the handicapped.

Melanie Avila said...

I want a piglet!

Anonymous said...

Anyone read this posting on Neil Gaiman's blog?http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/02/quick-argument-summary.html
I thought his opinion made sense. He also posted an email he got from a quadriplegic reader which was also a good argument for the text-to-speech function:
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/02/zoom-zzzzoom.html

Gina Black said...

Here's the thing. Text-to-speech technology is only going to get better as time goes on. It's not unrealistic to think that in ten years (or even less) it could replace the process that exists now for audio books. Maybe not in all cases, but in many.

If a line is to be drawn in the sand, now would be the time to do it.

Elyssa Papa said...

The video of the piglet is priceless. I loved it. Neil Gaiman shared an e-mail on his blog today that really addresses the pros of having text to audio speak. I think any naysayers out there who read that e-mail would view the topic differently.

Elyssa Papa said...

Oops, Annonymous @ 2:48 already provided the link. Sorry, I didn't read through all the comments before I posted.

Sue said...

I'm glad to be a vegetarian. Cute little Kingsford.

Nathan Bransford said...

Elyssa-

I still don't know that the e-mail that Neil posted obviates the argument that it's still a derivative right that Amazon needs to clear. Yes, make the technology available (and free for the handicapped), but it doesn't completely negate the claim that it's a derivative work.

These things don't need to negate each other.

Cam said...

Thanks for the links. Thanks for the news. And thanks, especially, for the Pig.

Scotty said...

My pig ate bacon, Sue. Just saying. ;)

Jo said...

All I want to know is if Plastic Logic's prototype E Reader with a bigger screen is going to sell for no more than $59.95.

Elyssa Papa said...

Nathan, I completely understand your point. I guess my question is: does it really infringe on derivative rights, or is this a more gray area? To be honest, I'm not sure of what the correct answer is. I do know that even if I bought a Kindle, I know I wouldn't use this feature. The text to audio isn't one that makes me think, I must spend X amount of money to have this now.

Nathan Bransford said...

elyssa-

It is definitely a gray area, but I will say that "mechanical audio recordings" are often specifically enumerated in publishing agreements, meaning, unless a publisher granted Amazon those rights I don't see how Amazon could claim to have them.

But something tells me this will get settled by intellectual property attorneys, and I'm not one, so we'll see what happens.

(And yeah, I wouldn't use this feature either.)

Elyssa Papa said...

Nathan -

Got it and it makes sense. I don't see how that happened either. Thanks for the explanation.

Anonymous said...

I'm here for the piglet--which will probably inflate to the size of a Volkswagon.

Thanks, Nathan.

--BarbS., who's still raging against the machine.;-)

Lorelei Armstrong said...

I just clicked on the link about keeping up your confidence as a writer. Heck, I never clicked on any link so quickly. Imagine my dismay at the title: "How Successful Writers Keep Up Their Confidence." Like I give a *&@#^$* about how successful writers manage. I'm looking for some help as a struggling writer with one hardback book out, a book that my mother alone seems to have purchased. Successful writers? If even one of them griped in my hearing I'd give him or her a swift kick in the shins. Why not send along an article about Angelina Jolie's insecurities about her experience? Yeesh.

Jenna Jenna Bo Benna said...

Can you imagine listening to a whole book being read by one of those computer voices? It would be funny for about 2 minutes and then it would just be infuriating! You couldn't listen to a book like that and get any sense of the emotion and subtleties behind the authors words.

However, whomever said that the technology will only get better is right. (We have video phones and digital picture frames, those were existent only in the world of Star Trek not too long ago...) The precedent has to be set now, before things get out of hand.

And, of course, the pig. The best bit was when it was following the cat around and the cat was getting super peeved. I'm with the cat! That pig is adorable but it has a squeal that only a mother could love...

Donna Hosie said...

I've been following Alan Rinzler's blog for a while now. His advice is superb and required reading.

As for the increase in queries, could NaNoWriMo have something to do with that?

Mira said...

I couldn't watch the pig video at work, but I did just now when I got home.

That is the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Polenth said...

Just wait till he's big enough to knock holes in their walls!

Every pet has its downsides...

Christine said...

That pig Was awfully cute... but I greet the cuteness with a degree of skepticism. My aunt had two such pigs, and they grew to be the size of small wildebeests, and were twice as destructive and bad-tempered.

Ann Victor said...

Great link to Alan Rinzler's blog.

Loved the piglet! :)

other lisa said...

Previous comment didn't post. Not that I had much to say. Except I can't see the pig movie where I am. Phooey.

Vodka Mom said...

I had something incredibly witty and interesting to say, and the damn pig stole my heart. I'm going back to watch again.

Jan said...

Loved the pig video! I am a new reader to your blog but I see lots of useful information here.

Eva Ulian said...

Given the fact the Da Vinci Code is based on evidence the authors claimed to be fictitious since such is the novel, but which everyone has taken for real; makes me think, isn't that taking the mickey of not just The Somebody? So I simply just can't wait for the follow up for another jolly ride around the mulberry bush.

Eva Ulian said...

Given the fact the Da Vinci Code is based on evidence the authors claimed to be fictitious since such is the novel, but which everyone has taken for real; makes me think, isn't that taking the mickey of not just The Somebody? So I simply just can't wait for the follow up for another jolly ride around the mulberry bush.

Reason Reanimator said...

Years ago I queried Curtis and got back a form rejection containing an advertisement for his book; that was one of the rudest rejections I've ever received. If you don't want to be queried, make sure you're not listed in every writing-listing book as accepting queries. Granted, sometimes this is out of an agent's/editor's control. But seemingly using that to sell writers books about writing is sleazy, frankly.

I think his article sounds mean, like the one-sided pro-publisher anti-writer attitude that's typical in publishing today: making many demands about what the writer should do, but making few to none about what the publisher should do. And this one-sided attitude exists because too many writers put up with it--and support it.

In my opinion at least, the rules he outlines sound like literary slavery, not courtesy. Courtesy implies a mutual relationship, not talking to adults as if they're five years old and then expecting them to talk to you as if you're king. (Most) Writer's aren't children, nor are they the peon subjects to the royal publishing industry. The publishing industry wouldn't exist without writers; I wish all writers would learn this already.

Reason Reanimator said...

Ugh--my second to last sentence should be "(Most) Writers" not "(Most) Writer's."

Mira said...

Reason Reanimator -

Hear, hear!

I couldn't agree more. Nicely said.

jimnduncan said...

I like the possibilities I see with that plactic logic reader. A reader available to multiple formats equals a good thing. Now, if they could just design it so that it folds in half to make it book size instead of notepad size, and priced it around $100, I might actually buy one. Certainly a lot of possibilities for those adventurous enough to delve into add-on content for their internet publishing. Plus, anything that sucks away from the monopoly kindle and sony are garnering on the ebook world can't be bad. I heard today that Amazon was going to stop selling ebooks that aren't kindle formatted. Bastards!

J Duncan

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

"I don't usually eat chocolate ice cream with a spoon this big"

- however, I was driven to the excessive spoon size by the raging earache I got, walking out of the hospital and into the cold rain blowing horizontal to the surface of the earth and right into my ear! Besides the crick in my neck I got from falling asleep in a weird position, on the same side as my earache.

Perhaps it was the above, an indirect result of my mother's newly-cracked pelvis (giving new meaning to the phrase "walking on eggshells"), that made me see the piglet film as poignant not cute, tragic not humorous. Aren't we all driven by our instinct for survival to cling to the ankles of a being more powerful than ourselves, whether a nice woman in a blue sundress (if I remember the video correctly), or the Federal Reserve, or even people who are completely cold-hearted and working silently and steadily for our destruction, because all we've ever known are completely cold-hearted and destructive people and/or the institutions they work for?

I think also of the defeat of the 1939 Wagner-Rogers bill (to bring Jewish children to US from Germany), the remark by Laura Delano Houghteling, FDR's cousin: "twenty thousand children would all too soon grow up into twenty thousand ugly adults."

From A CONCISE HISTORY OF AMERICAN ANTISEMITISM, by Robert Michael.
_________________

My oh my. Don't I have anything positive to say? Free content: Sure, why not, if you have something to sell on the other side of it. Or alternatively: If you can't sell, then give. Giving is a kind of a wealth. Fork it over, and make someone's day. Maybe if you do that enough, creatively enough, it will help land you an agent. At least you can build a platform "for free." Just have something to sell, once you've built your platform.

On that note, nothing more to say.

Paul Äertker said...

I would say something but after reading Richard Curtis' blog, I think I'll just keep my big mouth shut!

Anonymous said...

I loved the original cover of "The Life of Pi"
much more than the subsequent ones and feel lucky to have bought that version.

jb said...

Nathan Bransford......Thanks for the Dan Brown update. The Kindle 2, I like the audio feature alot, I hope that works out, for them.


I want Kingsford, more then the Kindle 2, I admit it...ahhhh...cute video and you just made my day.

Thanks
JB

Marilyn Peake said...

Reason Reanimator said:
"Courtesy implies a mutual relationship, not talking to adults as if they're five years old and then expecting them to talk to you as if you're king. (Most) Writer's aren't children, nor are they the peon subjects to the royal publishing industry."

I've been noticing this more and more the past couple of years: writers being talked to like they're five years old and in the middle of some kind of unreasonable temper tantrum or something. It's very demeaning. I find myself struggling to block it out and just keep on writing. It says to me that writers have become a dime a dozen, and the publishing industry has become so overwhelmed by submissions, they'd just like the flood of submissions to go away and return to a trickle. This seems to happen in lots of businesses. Gas stations used to wash windshields and give away free merchandise to bring in customers. Imagine that.

Mira said...

Marilyn,

For the first time, I'm going to disagree with you. Your comparision with gas stations and their customers doesnt quite work.

We aren't customers of the publishing industry. We are suppliers. They make their living off of our work. Without writers, they wouldn't have a job.

I don't think that good writers are a 'dime-a-dozen' at all. I think they are an extremely valuable and lucrative commodity that should be treated with courtesy and respect at all times.

The problem is a situation where there is an artifical bottleneck created by exclusive publishing companies who don't market test, and writers who don't have many options to publish, so they allow themselves to be treated badly.

This has created a culture where publishers can get away with being rude to the very people who support their paycheck - and writers let them get away with it.

I'm very hopeful, however. E-publishing should change the whole dynamic.

I only hope that in that change, writers can remember that they are the important ones - the ones who create the product.

Reason Reanimator said...

Thanks for the compliment, Mira--yes, I see we're in agreement from your post above.

And yes, Marilyn, I agree. I think it's a publisher's market right now (well, maybe it always has been but has simply reached an apex today): the growing number of writers and the dwindling number of publishing slots means publishers have their choice of picks, and writers are often left stuck being picked over, being passive at the whim of the active publishers, who contain too much power.

I also think it's an employer's market now in general and has been for several years at least, whereby employers are very demanding about who they'll hire, yet offer less and less for new employees. Look at employment ads--many talk about "ideal candidates," candidates unlikely to exist they're so unbelievably perfectly qualified to the specific positions, like for obscure jobs requiring obscure degrees, with long lists of other qualifications in the ads. Even for common retail jobs--the demands are so excessive now. And all those jobs typically do NOT offer ideal salaries and benefits.

These scenarios lead to exploitation.

Too many people, too few resources left is a cause of all this, in my opinion.

Mira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mira said...

I said that poorly. Let me try again.

Re-animator - I'm glad we agree - except for the last line. I feel that saying it's an over-population problem lets alot of companies off the hook.

There's a problem with any system that allows workers to be exploited, even if the supply exceeds the demand.

But that's a very large discussion. For this conversation, I'll just look forward to a future where authors can recover their sense of worth!

Reason Reanimator said...

"The problem is a situation where there is an artifical bottleneck created by exclusive publishing companies who don't market test, and writers who don't have many options to publish, so they allow themselves to be treated badly.

This has created a culture where publishers can get away with being rude to the very people who support their paycheck - and writers let them get away with it."

--Yes! And I can't emphasize this enough, the key is: writers letting publishers get away with mistreating writers. Writers support this largely unfair system too. If many would simply STOP DOING THIS, I think the industry would change in two seconds, or else it would face certain death.

Writers really hold all the power to make or break publishing; I wish they would use that power. Instead, too many choose short-term gain--like a publishing contract or the chance at one--at long-term sacrifice for both themselves and for writers as a group.

Command respect and you'll more likely get respect.

Mira--I said "a cause" not "the cause." I think there are a bunch of causes for the mess society is in, but I do think overpopulation is a primary one. I also think ANYTHING unrestrained is too often bad news, I mean if people want to live in a supposedly "civilized" society. To me, unrestrained capitalism is not much better than unrestrained communism. The unrestraining part is the biggest problem. Any system can suffer from that affliction.

At the same time, I'm no fan of restricting freedom. Some issues have no easy answers, no easy solutions. Or maybe they have absolutely NO solutions. I don't know.

But I think all that's a discussion outside the focus of Nathan's blog! I don't want to hijack the thread. So back to the topic at hand....

Mira said...

ReAnimator - I agree about not hijacking Nathan's thread, and I think you and I are very much in agreement.

But I have one really important point to make first.

You said: "Some issues have no easy answers, no easy solutions. Or maybe they have absolutely NO solutions. I don't know."

I want to reassure you. I actually have all the answers.

Anytime you're confused, let me know, and I'll clear it up for you.

:-)

Reason Reanimator said...

Mira, you shouldn't have deleted all of your posts--you made good points about writing especially.

I'm not letting companies off the hook--no way. For sure, they are responsible for their own actions. I think everyone is.

It's just changing systems once they've grown too large can be hard--I mean hard for individuals to do this, unless they work together. The systems themselves are unlikely to change themselves. They may have too much momentum in bad directions, too much entropy to organize in new directions.

But with respect to publishing, individual writers CAN more easily change their own behavior; the "little people" do bear some responsibility. In my opinion, in most situations involving more than one entity--all sides share some responsibility, just maybe varying amounts. One side may be largely responsible, the other may be only a little responsible, or both sides may share an equal or nearly equal amount of responsibility.

With writers, demand more respect and then see how the publishing industry responds. This situation hasn't happened on a large-enough scale in recent times, so the end result might be surprisingly positive for writers. I don't know for sure, because, as I said, the situation hasn't been realized yet. Only that becoming a reality will show what the actual outcome would be.

Anyway, thanks for the interesting discussion!

Reason Reanimator said...

lol about all the answers.

pjd said...

Isn't Kingsford a brand of charcoal? And doesn't charcoal give barbecued pork ribs the best flavor? Mmmm. Yeah, with a cold beer on a nice summer day.

Oh, wait, I hope that wasn't a spoiler for the video series.

Mira said...

I didn't delete all my posts. You scared me! I just deleted that one. How can I give everyone all the answers, if I delete all my posts?

You too - thanks for the interesting discussion. It's nice to find someone who sees things in a similar way.

Anonymous said...

Love the pig. He has a good sense of perspective.

Marilyn Peake said...

Mira and Reason Reanimator,

Really interesting discussion. I think publishing companies are overwhelmed by the sheer number of submissions these days. Back when Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf self-published, self-published writers were only those who owned or had direct access to a private printing press. Nowadays, a computer + computer printer + access to email and Internet = a kind of printing press...and lots of people have all of that. Just a few short years ago, a slew of brand new small publishing houses and book promotion businesses bent over backwards trying to court new authors. For the past few years, though, I've noticed announcements to authors on many of those same websites, saying that their publishing schedules are temporarily filled up, along with lists of instructions for future submissions that sound more like reprimands. The tone on those sites tends to be argumentative, and the instructions tend to state much that's obvious to conscientious writers: "Spell correctly", "Use correct grammar", and so on. (Duh!) It's a huge attitude change in a very short amount of time. I don't personally feel that writers are a dime a dozen. Reason Reanimator's insightful observations just struck a nerve in me in regard to the huge shift in attitude toward newbie writers I've observed online over the past few years.

Mira said...

Marilyn,

You have a really good and compassionate point. I hadn't looked at it that way, but...

So, you're saying this 'attitude' is partly the result of people feeling overwhelmed and flooded.

Well, that does make sense. I get really grumpy when lots of people want something from me at once.

I still hope the situation changes, and that writers stand up for themselves. But it's always good to remember that when it comes down to it, we're dealing with human beings, who have a side to their story too.

Thanks for reminding me of that.

Liz said...

hey Nathan,
You're probably already aware of this, but on the slim chance you aren't, Read an E-Book Week is coming up next month:

http://www.ebookweek.com/

Gillian McDade said...

That pig is too cute! Far too cute. More cuteness please!

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