Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, August 13, 2010

This Week in Publishing 8/13/10

In!!!!!!!!!! PublishingThisWeek

First up, if you are in the San Francisco vicinity I will be on a panel hosted by the good people at GigaOM regarding Disintermediation in Publishing the morning of August 25th. It's free, the panel I'm on is with the CEO of Smashwords, author Simon Wood, and the Director of Marketing at RAND, it's free, the other panel is with the CEOs of Vook and Scribd and the Director of Digital Publishing at Adobe, it's free, did you notice how I'm the least qualified person in attendance, it's free. Register here!

Oh, and you may have noticed a few blog enhancements that I instituted this week. At the bottom of every post there are now suggested links for your perusing pleasure, and yes, I know lots of them are This Week in Publishings and I will soon append dates to these so at least you'll know where you'll end up when you take a ride on the This Week in Publishing Time Machine. Bellow those links is a fancy dancy Facebook Like button for your sharing-with-friends pleasure, and down below and to the right is a new official Tweet button that will easily allow you to post the link to Twitter should you so desire.

For the latest on the whole B&N is possibly up for sale thing, as per usual Michael Cader is there with a completely essential rundown of their boomerang end of the week (subscription). A quick summary: CEO/founder Len Riggio has been resisting efforts by billionaire shareholder Ron Burkle to increase his stake in the company. After the announcement last week it appeared a settlement was close, then at the last minute negotiations broke down. Meanwhile a judge ruled that the poison pill that prevented Burkle from increasing his stake was valid. Then Burkle announced a proxy fight to remove Riggio. Cader feels that all this means some sort of deal to take the company private is the most likely outcome. Please check out his summary for more info, and if you don't already subscribe to Pub Lunch please consider it.

In other industry news, Eric from Pimp My Novel predicts the end of a print format and it's not the one you'd expect, Gina Frangello posted a fascinating take on life in the indie trenches, the Plastic Logic e-reader Que está muerto, and Slate's Farhad Manjoo is predicting e-readers priced at $99 in time for the holidays.

Time Magazine is featuring novelist Jonathan Franzen on the cover, the first time a novelist has been on the cover in a decade, ahead of the publication of his highly anticipated novel FREEDOM. Oh. He's also in Vogue. No, really.

Anticipating the publication of Suzanne Collins' MOCKINGJAY, The NY Times featured an article noticing the trend of adults reading children's literature, including a tres exclusive bookclub circle in New York devoted exclusively to kids books. Even more scandalous, though unaddressed by the article: lots of adults are writing children's books too. You didn't hear it from me. (via @EdwardNecarsulmerIV)

"H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A. That's my memoir, get your damn hands up." Actually it's not really a memoir as much as part/memoir song-lyric-demystification. And it's called DECODED, which means I lost my bet in the "What will Jay-Z call his memoir" pool. Argh. I had my money on HARD KNOCK LIFE or THE BLUEPRINT.

In writing advice news, there were two takes on said/non-said dialogue tags, and they agree. Both Rachel Cotterill (via @lkblackburne) and Eric from Pimp My Novel spoke in favor of sticking to "said" and "asked" or even just "said," and Rachel Cotterill explains why sticking to "said" and "asked" does not feel repetitive: they're stop words. They're so common (like "the") that when they're there no one even notices. "I agree with both of them," Nathan said.

And if you have some time on your hands, ohdeedoh turned some old paperbacks into snazzy looking hardcovers and shows how you can do the same! (via Katherine Arathoon)

This week in the Forums, the hilarious keywords people use to arrive at your blog, ten reasons why e-books won't take over the world (agree? disagree?), counting down to MOCKINGJAY, how do you motivate yourself to write, and of course, the most hilarious advice you've received from non-writers.

Comment! Of! The! Week! Goes! To! Adam.Purple. I went verbose last week, but Adam's pithy response to the Keith Hernandez Rule made me chuckle:

I'm afraid I'm more familiar with the Bill Buckner rule.

And finally, two images that will have you smiling for the weekend. The first is the amazing site Better Book Titles, which re-imagines the covers of retitled classic works (via The Rejectionist):


And finally finally, John Ochwat pointed me to an amazing merit badge for sending off your query letter from Merit Badger:


And yes, that is a recently ripped out heart and an envelope.

Have a great weekend!






41 comments:

Livia said...

Tee hee. Gotta love computational linguistics.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Oh, the Mockingjay frenzy! It's a glorious thing to behold the world going wild for ... science fiction! And kids books! (Maybe Ink will believe me now)

Happy Weekend! :)

Book Bird Dog said...

I'm one of the die hards that won't go for e-readers or e-books. I guess I'm just waiting for the price to come down to my comfort level. "Then maybe I'll give one a try," she said.

swampfox said...

I live in the South Bay. But darn it, school will be in session by the 25th. :(

Ted Cross said...

I mostly use 'said' but all my favorite authors, from King to Martin vary it and I think it reads just fine that way.

aspiring_x said...

oh man! i'm in such a tizzy over the release of mockingjay!! :) so close!!!

Patty Blount said...

Mockingjay is going to be huge!

My twitter gang and I are reviewing HUNGER GAMES as our first victim - er, I mean selection. A blog post daisy chain will ensue starting 8/19.

I learned my lesson from King about dialog tags. He devotes a chapter to punning.

Duke Needham said...

"The whole said thing is so true I am a long time wanna be writer, with nothing but untested (and unfinished) manuscripts under my belt. I finally got one done, and was turned onto a book. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King. They go into the 'said' topic with great detail. I was wondering if anyone else has used this book, and what they thought of it." said I...err I said

mcorriel said...

I had to laugh at the times story about adults reading YA, d'oh. And more people are writing them. D'oh squared. I guess you have to give them kudos for recognizing it.

ryan field said...

Looking forward to my issue of Time this week. I read his first book twice I liked it so much.

Melanie said...

Another timely book-related item: this week's Newsweek, which features books you should be reading, a scandalously short glimpse at two projects in the works about J.D. Salinger, and a cool feature on Mark Twain. The picture of Twain on the cover alone is enough to justify the purchase in my book. Those eyebrows!

Kelly Wittmann said...

Thanks for the links as always, Nathan. Couldn't agree more about "asked" and "said." They're all you need.

Sheila Cull said...

Nathan, where do you find all the time to collect this information and then write about it, in a cute fashion?

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Susan,

Should I put it on my Christmas list? Send the wife out to shop at Dystopias 'R' Us...

Suze said...

Also this week...(drumroll) was the first ever writeoncon... total bliss :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Bryan You should enter my contest on Monday to win a free copy of Hunger Games. The subsequent addiction will compel you to buy Catching Fire and read both before Mockingjay comes out on the 24th.

Yes, I'm not above using gateway drugs to drag you into YA. :)

February Grace said...

Respectfully, I disagree on 'said' being like 'the'. 'The' does not generally end a sentence (well, if it does then you're in trouble. unless your characters get interrupted all the time and even then yeah you're in trouble) and so 'the' blends in, camouflaged.

To me the thing is that after awhile, too many 'said's in a row and my brain starts to count them. Kind of like hearing the word 'baby' in a song too many times. Or 'girl'.

Then I lose track of not only who is talking in the story but the sense of the story itself.

It feels sterile, bland, and yes, I'm going to say it, boring.

I know it's 'the' way to write. But I just can't write that way.

I really hope this is just a phase and that eventually variety in language, so beautiful in so many books, will be celebrated once again. Sure it's difficult to do well, but when an author does do it well, there's nothing better.

~bru

Andrew the author said...

On the topic of said vs other, I've been trying a third approach.

Instead of:

"It's my greatest work," Bobby boasted.

Or:

"It's my greatest work," Bobby said. (or said proudly)

I'm trying to use as much as possible:

"It's my greatest work." Bobby stood a little straighter.

Thoughts?

(apologies to the author of the article I stole that example wholesale from)

Nathan Bransford said...

Andrew-

I'd either go with a variation the last one or show it through more evocative dialogue that demonstrates immodesty "I hate to speak so highly of myself but it's really my greatest work." Or otherwise make it apparent through context.

J. T. Shea said...

If there's truth in song lyrics, they left that ripped out heart in San Francisco...

A Paperback Writer said...

Okay, I love the merit badge. :)

Other Lisa said...

Hah, I'd already guessed "mass market paperback." Just because that's a format I don't like very much and I could easily see reading them on an eReader instead. This would be the "It's All About Me" method of prognostication.

Marilyn Peake said...

Sadly, I haven’t yet read any books by Suzanne Collins or Jonathan Franzen. Have added this to my must-read list. HaHaHaHa, the Query Letter Merit Badge! Most excellent.

Duke Needham said...

@ andrew

As far as I understand it...

"Bobby said" is a speaker attribution, where as: Stood a little straighter is a beat.

Beats are good for slowing down the pace of dialogue, but too many can destroy really good snappy dialogue, I would use them sparingly.

And any time you use an -ly adverb, like said proudly, you tell when your dialogue should be strong enough to show it.

Em said...

Thanks Nathan, John (your tiara is fetching), and commenters!

D.G. Hudson said...

Nice enhancements to the blog, Nathan. And great post by Eric at Pimp My Novel.

Re-MOCKINGJAY info:
Just wondering why adults are reading MG & YA, and children's literature? And -- the idea of a kids book club sounds like the idea of a parent. What is the perceived value of such an entity, I wonder.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Sheila Cull said...

This has nothing to do with Nathan and his killer great post Friday, but does anybody know the best three writers conferences?

I'm signing up for one or two and there are too many to choose from. This is new to me and the more research I do the more I wonder how could there be so many and which ones are really great? Can anybody help?

Nathan Bransford said...

Sheila-

That would be a great topic for the Forums.

Frances said...

Thanks for the links. Speaking as someone who's trying to catch up on your blogs, a few suggestions are very helpful. Besides I love Lev and have been following his progress for a number of years.

The iPad video is very interesting but the huge draw back for me is the battery replacement. Sending the machine back and getting another in its place, albeit a new one, is a pain as far as I'm concerned. And if people don't remember to make a back up their data is lost forever. Perhaps a book collection can disappear into the ether in this way. In any event, I wouldn't like to be without it for a week which is approximately the time it takes Apple to send on the new replacement.

Cathi said...

D G Hudson - I am amazed The Hunger Games series is considered children lit, or YA. There's a lot of killing going on. I'm 42, my mom is 65, we both read them, and devoured the Potter books (who hasn't?). A good story is a good story, no matter what age group they are attended for. Give them a try sometime! Happy weekend all!

Cat said...

Hey, you forgot to mention WriteOn.Com which took place this week, too. It was an awesome online conference for all kidlit writers. Lots of information gathered in one spot, easily accessible AND free as well.

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

You know I really don't think e-books are going to be the end of any type of printed books. People sure do buy books as a status symbol but many people buy books because they like the actual physical sensation of reading a book. There is something very textual about the experience of leaning back and flipping through the pages of a book. Our kids grow up with that experience and they will take it into adulthood. That is not going to change. e-books will have there place in the market, it may be a big place but they are not going to cause the death of books. Or at least I don't think it will.

Sheila Cull said...

Nathan himself responded, alright! Any idea is a good idea because it leads to something new, yup.

Yes, do it!

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

Re-posted to avoid misunderstandings...

Cool links this week, Nathan. Thank you!

Is it inappropriate to be proud of you? Hope not, because I so am. It's just that I've seen you grow in importance, and I love that you're part of this impressive panel. And you are NOT the least qualified person in attendance. They assembled "key thinkers", so you are absolutely one of the most qualified. I just wish I could attend! Which I can't, because I really do have to work that day. But I noticed that there's a live stream AND they are blogging about it, which is cool. I hope you blog about it too!

And to help you out, I'll tell you my opinion on the topic: I think the new publishers will be the authors. That's what I think.

I love the new additions to the blog. Snazzy. :) I especially like the fact that the Old Spice guy appears to have taken up residence on your first page. Ah. Life is good.

I think I'm going to have to hurry up and buy Barnes and Noble. J.T. is going in on it with me, so we have 45 bucks. We could use a bit more money. Anyone else want to chip in a few bucks?

Well, I think hardcovers will disappear before paperbacks because of pricing, but then come back again as speciality items. I don't know if that means I agree or disagree with Eric. That was a really interesting article by Gina Frangello.

That is a great picture of Jonathan Frazen. He's very attractive. But doesn't he look alittle wild-eyed in the left eye? I'm not sure what's going on in that man's head. I guess that's the point.

Finding out about things like Mockingjay is part of why I love your blog - and forum. That article about why adults like kid's books had some great points. True for me and why I like kid's books, anyway. I don't know anything about J.Z., so I'm sure your titles are better, Nathan. I think the term 'stop words' is a great one.

Okay, lastly, I would say that was a good comment by Adam, except I don't know who Bill Bruckner was. Or is? Is he an is or a was? And what would be his rule?

I'm exhausted - I think you almost out-linked me, Nathan. Almost. I'm going to go take a nap. Is there a merit badge for commenting on a blog?

Thank you for the wonderful assortment of links, Nathan! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

adam.purple said...

Thanks for the mention!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Thanks for the link - if anyone can think of any other writing "rules" that would benefit from some science, I could be persuaded to delve into more of this (I'm doing my PhD in dialogue ... so just don't get me started on realistic speech patterns!).

Josh said...

I enjoyed the part on said and asked. I try not to go with those two at all costs. Thanks for the great blog for all of us aspirings.
-Josh

Kristy said...

New subscriber! I want to become familiar with the literary and publishing world as I am beginning my journey as a writer. Guess I need to start getting used to some ripped out hearts and envelopes, right?
http://www.pampersandpinot.com

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