Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, October 22, 2010

This Week in Publishing 10/22/10

This Week in Publishing Normal This Time

Whew! I may have missed a few items in publishing news this week as I chipped away at the mountain that sprouted in my office while I was out, but here are a few of the many things that happened over the past week.

Don't forget about Page Critique Friday! The page up for critique is up for critique in the Forums for critique. UPDATE: my critique posted here.

Now for the news.

The NY Times had a widely linked-to article about the decline of picture books, citing ambitious toddlers who are purchasing chapter books for their parents in order to prepare them for a bright future (or maybe it's the reverse of that), and also the pesky economic downturn. (Downturn, could you please go away already, can't you see NO ONE LIKES YOU. Seriously, take a hint.)

Mother Jones summarized the maladies of fictional characters as diagnosed by various health professionals. They diagnose Darth Vader with borderline personality disorder (borderline? I think he's quite past the line), and Bartleby with Asperger's.

A lending feature will soon be coming to the Kindle, allowing users to lend a book for 14 days, during which time it won't be available to the original user (assuming publishers and rights holders approve). Pretty cool.

Eric at Pimp My Novel has a great list of publishing myths that he slays like a samurai fighting some dude who was crazy enough to mess with a samurai. The lesson: don't mess with samurai.

There has been a debate percolating on the Internet about the presence or lack of presence of strong female characters in young adult literature, including in the Forums. Natalie Whipple had a great post about this phenomenon, pointing out how complex this issue is given that what constitutes "strong" and "weak" varies so much from person to person and character to character. And editor Sarah Jae Jones and agent Sarah LaPolla had very interesting follow-up posts to Natalie's post.

Michael Stearn from Upstart Crow wrote an upstanding post about some of the differences between middle grade and teen literature, including the levels of complexity and interority (a word I cannot say out loud for the life of me).

There are some beloved novels headed for the silver screen. GalleyCat had an early look at the Hunger Games script, and Peter Jackson announced the cast for The Hobbit, including Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, which I think should be spectacular. What sayeth you?

Moses Siregar uncovered plans by Nielson to begin tracking e-book sales, perhaps as soon as the end of the year. And speaking of e-books, Jacob Lambert at the Millions has a thoughtful post about how advertisements for Kindle and iPad make print books almost seem like an afterthought, and relates how his attachment to CDs fell by the wayside when Tower Records disappeared.

And this has been making the rounds: a hilarious Nerd flowchart. Which kind of nerd are you?

This week in the Forums, should wealthy writers win literary awards?, listings of agents in other countries, what is it about bad boys?, how often do you read your manuscript?, Halloween microfiction, and this was bound to happen sooner or later, but Colonel Travis spotted me in a Village People video from 1985.

Comment! of! the! Week! There were many great responses to yesterday's post about the temptation of thinking someone has it made, but Theresa Milstein wins for an expert 30 Rock reference:

This reminds me of the "30 Rock" episode. Liz Lemon considers quitting her job when she meets a bunch of women in her building who spend days taking yoga and getting pedicures. After a few days of bliss, LIz discovers the women beat one another up to feel alive again. We must always strive to feel alive. Coasting is stagnating.

And finally, not one, not two, but THREE great videos for you. And not a one is even Whip My Hair, believe it or not.

First up, via Sarah LaPolla, Grover from Sesame Street as the Old Spice Guy (the levels of bliss... they are staggering)



Second, a spectacular book dominoes video from Bookmans in Phoenix (via GalleyCat):



Finally, this video brought back some memories from childhood, and I may have to devote a full post to it someday. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the man who is unquestionably the greatest athlete in the history of the world: Video Bo Jackson from Tecmo Super Bowl:



Have a great weekend!






41 comments:

Kristin said...

Your link to "a hilarious Nerd flowchart" grabbed my attention, but it could not be found.

Kayla Olson said...

http://www.nerdist.com/2010/10/geek-flow/

Somehow, I cut a bunch of stuff out of the link and made it work. The one I pasted here should work. :)

Nathan Bransford said...

Sorry! Should be fixed now.

ajcattap said...

I just watched the Grover video three times. It's hilarious! Definitely sending it on to friends!

Thanks, Nathan!

Natalia said...

"Sadly, you are not a monster."

That video made my day when I first saw it, and watching it again just made my weekend. It just never gets old.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I take it a lot of the talk about strong vs. weak female characters centered around that flowchart, which was fascinating and entertaining to read. I can see why it would be divisive, though, and though I liked the concept, I didn't agree with all of its conclusions about what makes a weak character (and wish they would have included an example of a strong one that passed all their criteria). Heck, if a female character wasn't the main one in a story, she was automatically classified as "unable to carry a story" and deemed weak.

Saw the Grover video last night and loved it!

I'm going to go check out the Novel Maladies post now because I love that kind of stuff.

Doug Pardee said...

In case anyone wasn't aware, the e-book lending feature has been available from Barnes & Noble for about a year. It's been a B&N exclusive up 'til now.

The big complaints that people have with it are 1) only about half of the e-books are lendable, and 2) you can only lend a particular e-book once, ever.

Some notable publishers who are not participating in the e-book lending program: Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Harlequin, and Dorchester.

chrisjbehrens said...

Tecmo Bowl, wow, bringing back some memories of playing with my brothers! Go Bo Go!!

I received an email this week from a literary giant!! This person had high praise for a story I wrote! No money, no contracts, wasn't expecting any. The kind words trump everything. Been on cloud 9 since. I wrote like there was no tomorrow, and I wrote that story for myself and a few close friends. It was based on real events!

Anyone concerned with picture books declining or anything else like that, don't forget why we write. We write cause we have something to say. We're artists. Money, things, and all that other stuff--let the world have it. Just write and do it with your heart and soul!
PEACE!

Anonymous said...

So Ozzy Osbourne is a reformed 'gekken?'

Anonymous said...

'Gecken.'

T. Anne said...

I think I'm going to like the lending feature on Kindle!! And yes, the comment of the week had me smiling. Off to play with all the links... Have a great weekend!

Rick Fry said...

Tecmo Bowl! I'm feeling the nostalgia swim around my head. My best friend used to always pick the Raiders and do that to me. Thanks for the video!

J. T. Shea said...

Congratulations, Theresa! I must check out that 30 ROCK episode. Sounds like a Female Fight Club, though I'd imagine the fights ruin their pedicures.

Darth Vader has Borderline Personality Disorder!? But he's my hero! I've modeled my entire life on his! Except the asthma. I hope this won't affect the sales of my upcoming book THE LEADERSHIP SECRETS OF DARTH VADER...

Matthew Rush said...

It's working now. And I always thought I was just a washed up old D&D nerd, but now, thanks to you Nathan, I know better.

Also, according to reports, Del Toro has quit the Hobbit, but now Jackson will direct himself.

Christi Goddard said...

I followed the flowchart, but still don't know which geekdom in which to toss my hat. I am a many-hatted geek.

abc said...

My husband is at least seven kinds of geek (but all the best ones, I think). My daughter is well on her way to being an Otaku Geek (as we speak she is enraptured by some Dragon Drive episodes--trying to sing a long with the Japanese title song). The closest I come to being on the flow chart is a Book Geek. But I don't know since I've only read the Harry Potter series once.

30 Rock rules!

I'm out.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Thanks for the great links! I hadn't heard about the Kindle lend feature coming. I use the LEND feature on my nook, and it's pretty cool. :)

Laurel said...

Ummmm, Alabama held Bo Jackson to 34 yds rushing his senior year in the Iron Bowl. Or maybe I'm confusing that with his jersey number. They were both in the thirties, at any rate.

But still, he is a pretty all around stand-up guy. And apparently gifted in the athletic arena. I guess. What with the football, the baseball, whatever. I'm not bitter.

Ted Fox said...

That Tecmo Super Bowl video is epic. I saw video Bo do some crazy things in my day but never run out the whole quarter on one run. Video Barry Sanders and video Christian Okoye--when he was in "Excellent" condition (with 100 on his hitting power)--were also ridiculous.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm happy to have an "expert '30 Rock' reference" comment of the week. I love the Grover link. He's always been my favorite muppet.

Carol Riggs said...

Whaaaat? Nathan dances--or at least did?! Way cool. Who'da thunk? ;o) Enjoyed that vid.

Kris Dalpiaz said...

Do you think Nielson will do all right tracking e-book sales? I've heard horror stories about BookScan.

Also, I think your word verification app is trying to tell me something. The phrase is poohu.

Adele Richards said...

I've just read the Picture Book article and it made me mad and sad (and bad?).

I love reading picture books to my girls (ages 4 and 2) and I'll be sad when they grow out of them. They are often wittier and quirkier than the chapter books which are often head-bashingly boring so that kids can start to read them themselves.

Seems to me the world has gone achievement crazy. I believe it is much more important to breed a passion for books and a wide-ranging imagination in small children. Not have them reading War and Peace by the age of 6.

Having said that, picture books can be expensive when the kids eat them up by the dozen. I have an amazing solution.

It's called The Library.

Picture books authors keep going - we need your beauty and imagination!

Robert said...

Tecmo Super Bowl was probably the only sports video game I could ever play with any degree of skill.

At least I smell like a monster.

LTM said...

some of my best bonding w/my daughters was over picture books--The Hello-Goodbye Window, What Will Fat Cat Sit On, all the Madelines (of course), and even older the Eloise books... In case anyone's looking~

They also nurture early art appreciation IMO b/c they're usually GORGEOUS~

(thanks for the monster video--snag~)

D.G. Hudson said...

Re-Martin Freeman playing Bilbo -- there was another link at the bottom of that article stating Martin had turned down the role because of his commitment to the TV series he recently started where he plays Dr. Watson to a new and interesting Sherlock. So which is true?

The Sherlock series is great, but he would have been such a great Bilbo! I haven't researched this yet, does anyone else know?

Also liked Eric's posting -- his blog is one I check out sometimes, but especially if Nathan's referring his readers to it.

jjdebenedictis said...

I so don't understand football. Is there a nerd category for that?

Suzan said...

What a nice literary blog, and you're an agent to boot!

You evidently are a prince.

Found you at Naked Opinions.

May I blogroll you?

Suzan

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nathan .

Although I realise it is not your chosen area of expertise I'd love to hear your views on the said death and decline of picture books .

Do you think it is just a silly phase parents are going through ?
Will they grow out of it ?

ryan field said...

Enjoyed the Mother Jones piece.

Tara Maya said...

Grover, I love you.

Jen said...

I have loved Grover ever since reading The Monster at the End of this Book. How is that for a twist at the end?

My niece is turning four soon, and is already getting interested in her older brother's basic chapter books. I'll miss my excuse for buying brilliant picture books...but who needs an excuse?

Draven Ames said...

Thank you for the post, Nathan. Where to start? I read the critique. It was on point.

What do you think of Kindle letting people lend books? I see so many problems with an application like that. Couldn’t it lose authors a lot of money?
Hopefully they charge a small fee, equivalent to sending a book in the mail. I don’t think taking the book away from the owner for a couple weeks is enough. Will this lead to the literary industry being hit as hard as the music industry was by file sharing libraries. With a large enough virtual library, a company would be able to charge less then authors do for their work to have a membership. They could send out books to people for pennies on the dollar and still make a huge profit after a very short while. The only cost to the business would be buying the books. Book sharing also brings used 'ebooks' close to a reality, if they already aren't.

I'm sure someone has thought of this already, but it was the first thing that popped in my mind. Scary. What laws are they putting in place to protect authors from something like this?

I am going to check out that list of myths. Every samurai is related to Chuck Norris, we all know that.

While I haven't read the debate over the lack of strong female characters in young adult literature, I’ve made a conscious effort to craft a complex and very real woman that isn't perfect, but is never weak. Every time I look at my wife, I can't help but feel bound to portray women as independent, intelligent and world-shaping. What an exciting time, to nearly have a woman as our president. I don't know what is coming, but it's going to be interesting. I look forward to reading these posts.

I also liked Upstart's post, it is worth the read.

I cannot wait to see The Hobbit. My wife hates it, but I can do Smeagles voice to a T. Talk about uncomfortable—moving on.

I liked the videos too, thank you for the laughs. All in all, I really enjoy how much information you put out.
Draven Ames

Draven Ames said...

Thank you for the post, Nathan. Where to start? I read the critique. It was on point.

What do you think of Kindle letting people lend books? I see so many problems with an application like that. Couldn’t it lose authors a lot of money?
Hopefully they charge a small fee, equivalent to sending a book in the mail. I don’t think taking the book away from the owner for a couple weeks is enough.

Will this lead to the literary industry being hit as hard as the music industry was by file sharing libraries. With a large enough virtual library, a company would be able to charge less then authors do for their work to have a membership. They could send out books to people for pennies on the dollar and still make a huge profit after a very short while. The only cost to the business would be buying the virtual books.

Book sharing also brings used 'ebooks' close to a reality, if they already aren't.

I'm sure someone has thought of this already, but it was the first thing that popped in my mind. Scary. What laws are they putting in place to protect authors from something like this?

Draven Ames said...

(continued)

I am going to check out that list of myths. Every samurai is related to Chuck Norris, we all know that.

While I haven't read the debate over the lack of strong female characters in young adult literature, I’ve made a conscious effort to craft a complex and very real woman that isn't perfect, but is never weak. Every time I look at my wife, I can't help but feel bound to portray women as independent, intelligent and world-shaping. What an exciting time, to nearly have a woman as our president. I don't know what is coming, but it's going to be interesting. I look forward to reading these posts.

I also liked Upstart's post, it is worth the read.

I cannot wait to see The Hobbit. My wife hates it, but I can do Smeagles voice to a T. Talk about uncomfortable—moving on.

I liked the videos too, thank you for the laughs. All in all, I really enjoy how much information you put out.
Draven Ames

Mira said...

Lol, Robert.

Wow, someone else is commenting on all the links. Yay! I'm not alone. I shall proceed with awonderful feeling of solidarity in commenting.

So, Nathan, I was thinking this is like a mini-literary magazine that you post every Friday. Only with funny videos. The Grover one is so funny - I'm going to inflict that on everyone I see. And I thought the book domino video was amazing. How many hours would it take to set up something like that? I will say that's where books have it over e-readers. I don't think you can domino e-readers in the same way.

Do people know there are hidden videos here? I never get tired of the Darth Vader video - so funny. I thought the samarai one was disgusting. No offense. Arms flying all over the place. Yech.

Sadly, I don't understand football, and the video game looked like they were just running all over. That was kind of fun in its own way, though.

So, now that I've spent three paragraphs on the videos, onto the links!

I think that picture books will make a comeback in e-readers. I already saw some applications on the I-phone that were interactive picture books. (That was very funny what you said about the downturn. clever.)

Didn't we have a thread in the forums where we diagnosed characters? I think we decided that Sleeping Beauty had narcolepsy. Mother Jones obviously stole the idea from us.

I think a lending feature on the Kindle is very smart business. Sort of like phones who have networks of friends, so everyone gets the same phone.

I agree with Eric on some, and don't agree on others. Always find his discussions interesting though.

All of the articles about what makes a strong female character were very interesting. I guess, for me, my biggest gripe isn't the lack of strong female characters, it's the huge amount of weak female characters, who do not get stronger. A weak character who finds strength - that's worth reading. But a weak female character who sits around until she is rescued or fades into a shadow? Blech, blech, blech.

The Hobbit's coming!! I don't really care who plays him, just hurry up and make the movie! Yay!
In terms of Hunger Games, I hope they don't make it romantic. My biggest fear about that book is that kids will think it's a good thing to be running around trying to kill other kids. I hope they are careful.

Be very interesting to see the actual sales from e-books. Very interesting. I hope they make them public. I thought that Lambert's article was interesting. I'm sure that leaving print books out of the ad between two e-readers was very deliberate and part of the advertising. Advertising works. I drive by HUGE billboards of the I-Pad daily, and even though I don't want one, I WANT ONE.

So, I read the nerd flowchart, and I'm about 12 of them. I'm not sure I want to know what that means.

Funny comment by Theresa - I remember that show, it was funny.

Okay, I'm done. Phew. Lots of wonderful links - oh, and great page critique, Nathan! Very interesting and educational. Thank you, as always.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

lotusgirl said...

I love MIchael Stearns post. That summed it up quite nicely.

Sarah said...

At first I read "Martin Freeman" as "Morgan Freeman" and went "WHAAAAT???" LOL.

J. T. Shea said...

Sarah, Morgan Freeman as Bilbo? Why not? I'm not ageist. As long as he's not typecast as God...

ginny martyn said...

This week in publishing Haiku

Because of Grover
And because of 30 rock
I’m a hard-core fan.

karenbethjones said...

I can't believe I watched that football clip twice.

I love Grover.

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