Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, April 2, 2010

This Week in Publishing 4/2/10


OMG why didn't anyone tell me Apple's coming out with this tablet device thingy?! No seriously, is anyone talking about it? CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT IT'S CALLED?

Um. Sorry.

Let's just get all the iPad-related news out of the way, hmmm? In case you haven't heard the 3G-less versions are dropping tomorrow, David Pogue is half-fan/half-skeptic, Vook is releasing 19 iPad friendly titles, Harper and Simon have come to terms with Amazon on the agency model but Penguin and Hachette are having hiccups/disagreements/depends on who you believe, and dear god, with this many games on the iPad let's hope people also read books.

There is one iPad article that I actually want to highlight, because it's probably the biggest deal in terms of the iPad and the future of publishing. The Wall Street Journal has a report (snippet except for subscribers) wondering if Amazon is going to actually become the dominant bookseller on the iPad because Apple doesn't include the iBooks app pre-loaded, the iBookstore doesn't yet work on the iPhone (unlike the Kindle app), and Amazon already has an existing customer base who can easily transfer their e-book titles from the Kindle to the iPad (if this sounds familiar it was previously predicted by Peter Ginna). Will people gravitate to the Kindle app or the iBooks app? The reason this question is such a big deal is, as we all remember, the Agency Five publishers are actually giving up per-copy revenue in order to have (only slightly) more control over pricing and to hopefully open up the market to other vendors. Worst case scenario for the Agency Five: the market doesn't open, Amazon still dominates, and agency model publishers (and authors) are receiving less money per copy.

In other big news this week: BORDERS LIVES! They were able to secure financing to pay off some debt and will live to sell books another day.

Oh, and an author named Stephenie Meyer proves that the novella isn't dead.

In publishing demystified news, Moonrat (who is celebrating 500,000 hits, congrats and deserved!) talks about what goes into the all-important decision about which books become "lead titles", Eric at Pimp My Novel has a great list of publishing abbreviations, defined, and the NY Times tells us that science is busy figuring out why we read (via @annedayton)

Meanwhile, lots of people wonder what an agent's inbox actually looks like, and while we can't of course show you, the Rejectionist came up with the next best thing: a look at queries by comparing them to Craigslist personal ads. Probably 10-20% of my queries actually sound and are spelled like #4 on Le R's list (well, minus the whole looking-for-a-date-thing).

In life after publishing/re-finding publishing news, Bruce Tracy wrote an incredibly moving, gripping, honest, and all-out wonderful article about what it was like to be laid off after a twenty+ year career in publishing. (via @ColleenLindsay)

This week in the Forums: I'm soliciting blog contest ideas, puppies!, how important are character names, all things world building, and yes, still trying to figure out what in the heck is happening on Lost.

Also, Kristi from How Did You Get There was kind enough to include me in her series where she remixes interviews and spins them into a sitcom scene.

The! comment! of! the! week! goes..... to..... Sam Hranac on which book is the most influential of all time:

Nathan - are you trying to tell us the The Little Engine that Could is secular? Wake up, man!

As for my choice, I would have to say the question cannot be answered. But if you held a gun to my head, I would say the McDonalds Training Manual

And finally, I'll end this list of links with a really nice post by author R.L. LeFevers at one of my favorite blogs, Shrinking Violet Promotions, about the pleasures of unplugging from the Internet for a while and cutting back on the number of blogs she follows in order to feed the creative process.

Have a great weekend!


Sandy Shin said...

Thank you for all the links! :)

Linda McCabe said...

Tomorrow I get my iPad. :rubs hands in anticipation: I had been vacillating about the Kindle. It just didn't seem to offer what I wanted. Then I heard the rumor that Apple was working on a book reader, I decided to wait.

Now I only have a little longer to wait until it arrives on my doorstep and I have it in my hot little hands.

I'll let you know what I think of it after I get a chance to play with my new toy.

Nathan Bransford said...


Definitely keep me posted! I'm waiting for the 3G version because I have a feeling I'm going to want to use it to work wherever/whenever.

Tracy said...

I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate all of the information you give during your Friday posts. All of that linking is a lot of work! Thanks!

Tracy said...

Not that the rest of your posts stink or anything... :)

Matthew Rush said...

As usual thanks for all the info Nathan.

traceybaptiste said...

I was wondering when Meyer was going to come out with something new. ... Are they all sold out yet?

Kristin Laughtin said...

I'm very excited to see more reviews on the iPad starting tomorrow, and now I'm really curious about the Amazon point you mentioned. I hadn't even thought of it. Thanks for the food for thought!

Novellas might not be dead, but I think we all know that Stephenie Meyer can do whatever she wants at this point. She could doodle on a napkin and every company would be fighting to publish it.

The Rejectionist is brilliant far more often than is fair.

Ink said...

I thought the Ebook Overlords would atomize me if I unplugged from the internet. No?

Matthew Rush said...

Nathan I just read the article about Bruce Tracy at the Post and I have a question. Ink feel free to answer too, or anyone for that matter.

Does it make me a punk if my eyes grew a little moist when the cabbie offered to comp his ride?

Sam Hranac said...

Thanks for the shout out, Mr. Bransford. And thanks for the link to the Rejectionist. Inspirational.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I am staying far away from any and all electronics stores tomorrow. Even if they don't have the iPad, there's going to be people who want proof.

Someone on here who's getting one, please let us know if the screen is back-lit or e-Ink. Depending on the answer to that, nook is still the front-runner in my "e-reader to buy" category.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and an author named Stephenie Meyer proves that the novella isn't dead.

Bzzzt! Wrong answer. Thank you for playing.

192 pages isn't a novella, it is a novel.

Anonymous said...

Someone on here who's getting one, please let us know if the screen is back-lit or e-Ink.

The screen is back-lit, exactly like the iPhone & iPod Touch.

In fact, it is the exact same device as the iPod Touch with a larger screen.

You can forget about the iPad. MS is launching the Courier in the fall and it is a complete and total iPad killer.

Margaret Yang said...

Will the debut of the ipad mean an expanding market in used kindles as people upgrade? Nathan, will you get rid of your kindle when you get an ipad or will you keep both--perhaps one for work and one for fun?

Ann Marie Wraight said...

That was a kind of KARAOKE OF THE LINKING world.

Perhaps adding a rap rhythm and background music would have made it easier to reel off all that info...

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Nathan Bransford said...


I hadn't seen a page count and "novella" is what the author is calling it. Also the link is fixed.

Nathan Bransford said...


I've been giving my devices away actually - I just couldn't adjust to using the Kindle to edit (I prefer a computer/laptop combo because word processing programs are far easier) and I found I much preferred reading for pleasure on my iPhone rather than a Kindle or Sony Reader. I'm counting on the iPad to be the perfect combo for editing and reading. We'll see!

ryan field said...

Thanks for the link about the Meyer novella. I hadn't heard about it.

ryan field said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Paperback Writer said...

Is it just me, or does it bug anyone else that Meyer's title is a parody of Hemmingway, of all people?

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts on the whole pricing mess.

If prices go up, which I assume they will, then publishers are going to sell less units. But I'm not sure how many additional units iPad owners will buy to offset the drop.

The story about the editor who lost his job made me sad.

Christi said...

I'm glad that there is still mention of the novella as a form of writing. I love them! Even if her word count is longer and might justify the book being called a short novel, I'm glad they are calling it a novella... more press for the novella means it might not be as difficult for me to sell mine when I am finished (assuming mine stays under the word count). I've been doing a lot of research on this art form.

Linda Godfrey said...

Thanks for the Shrinking Violets blog link - it WAS a delightful post and a new-to-me blogsite. She makes great points about being selective online rather than spreading too thin or frittering. I admit I fritter on Twitter, but I love it.

Kate Evangelista said...

Great links, especially the one about queries being similar to Craig's List. A good laugh was all I needed to start the day right.

Mayowa said...

Thank you for the links Nathan.

I also read an <a href=">article<a> about authors being able to self publish on the iPad through Smashwords. Thoughts on what that does to the Pubs/Amazon/Apple party?

</devil's advocate>

Mayowa said...

I do apologize for the messy link above...late night. Here is the link to the article. Enjoy

Self Publishing and Apple's iPad

howdidyougetthere said...

Nathan you were absolutely a gentleman for doing the interview - and HILARIOUS by all accounts!! Thanks for being game, Kristi

Rik said...

@Mayowa - don't know what Nathan thinks, but I'm well chuffed by the thought that my smashwords indie-pubbed novel will be available for vast hoardes of iPad geeks to ignore over the weekend.

@Nathan - did you like the map?

E.J. Wesley said...

"Stephenie Meyer proves that the novella isn't dead.

To echo a previous comment, the novella is dead, UNLESS you're Steph Meyer. She could bring back silent movies at this point ...

@ Josin: I think it's backlit, no eink. (Unless what I've read is wrong.)
@Nathan: Great links! Also, we'll expect a full review when you get your paws on one of those 3G bad boys (that's the one I'd hold out for).

Chuck H. said...

I've been thinking of unplugging but then I'd have to interact with those around me. Or I'd have to work on my WIP. Or go outside and breathe fresh air or go for a long bike ride. Wait a minute. Yeah. See ya later.

WV: friquest - The quest that begins the weekend of questing.

Ink said...


And here I was all ready to go off questing for french fries...

D. G. Hudson said...

Paperback Writer -- it bugs me as well that anyone, especially Ms Meyer can't come up with an original title. In her favor though, I've heard many writers say that they may get their own ideas from what someone else has written. Our annoyance at her title may be because Hemingway fans are loyal.

Mira said...

Great links this week, Nathan! Too many to comment on them all, but, like Tracy, I also want to acknowledge all that linking is a bunch of work - and thank you!

I loved Sam's comment when I read it - very funny! :)

I also enjoyed Krista's interview with you - also very funny and well done.

Very happy to hear about Borders! Yay! I'm a big e-book proponent, but they closed down the Barnes and Noble near my house, and I feel so sad whenever I drive by. Also sad - sorry about the man who was laid off. I feel sad hearing that.

But something cheerful - a contest! How fun!! Looking forward to that!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Happy Easter, Happy Passover, or just Spring or whatever you are celebrating. :)

Joan Hartford said...

Thanks for the great effort Nathan, there's some wonderful links you've posted.

Beautiful said...

As always, you are awesome. Thanks. One a week of you and I'm good. Up-to-date.

Kourtnie McKenzie said...

It's interesting how Meyer is offering this novella for free for a month online. I really want to see how that pans out; I wish there was a way to track its impact on the novella's sales.

Thanks so much for the super-informative Friday reads!

Tambra said...

I'm glad someone else likes the novella format. My Christmas story is a novella (pubbed in mid-December )and I haven't had any complaints about the length from readers or reviewers.

Best of luck with yours!

Tambra Kendall/Keelia Greer

Tambra said...

My novella came in at 158 pages.

Anyone where the word count line is between novella and short novel?

My experience is that is varies from publisher to publisher.


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