Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, November 19, 2010

This Week in Books 11/19/10

This week en los libros...

Query critique Friday/Saturday/Sunday! Yes, it is that time of week, wherein we critique a page or query (this week a query). The query for critique is up in the Forums. UPDATE: my critique and more about the importance of conveying your protagonist's motivation, posted here.

Meanwhile, the books had a week...

There were some pretty great articles this week about where things stand in the publishing business. First up was Publishers Weekly, who discusses how authors who may previously been published by one of the major publishers are now being published by smaller presses that are taking advantage of the titles that the bigs are passing up. Meanwhile, my mom sent me an article from Stanford Magazine, which has a great overview of the current landscape in electronic and print publishing, and describes how this is simultaneously the best of times and the worst of times in the business.

And Publishing Perspectives has an article by the great agent Betsy Lerner (whose blog you should be following as it is amazing), who writes about whether you should or shouldn't be embracing Twitter and social media, and what it means to be an author in the new era. Lerner's advice: get on it, people. Priceless quote for which we should all be paying Lerner cashmoney/first borns:
Writing is easy compared to finding an audience... People who have long given up on Santa, on lower taxes, on the likelihood of Lindsay Lohan’s rehabilitation, still believe that Oprah would like their book. Is this the Quixotic self-belief that compels a person to write in the first place? Or that leads him to be believe that his book should be a bestseller, and that everyone on the planet would like it, no matter that it’s about copper buttons in 18th Century France.
Actually the quote is even more priceless without the ellipsis, so click on through and check it out.

Meanwhile, e-readers are expected to be a big hit this holiday season, and some are suggesting that this is the tipping point for e-book sales.

But amid all of this transition, very very sad news this week as venerable 18-year-old Tricycle Press, which was recently acquired by Random House, was shuttered this week and its editorial staff let go. Blech.

Jim Duncan has a great post this week about Amazon's reviews problem and how there's really no way of controlling whether or not someone reviewing a book has actually read it.

The National Book Awards were announced! Patti Smith won for nonfiction and Jaimy Gordon for fiction.

And finally, Kate Shafer Testerman had a great breakdown of the business of book packagers, and differentiates between the reputable ones and a certain other one that came to light recently.

This week in the Forums, how to handle a request for an exclusive, should you reply to an agent who passed, writing fight scenes, non-stereotypical relationships, and are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Comment(s)! of! the! Week! You know, when I posted on Wednesday about everyone's greatest fear about writing, I thought it might be a little dreary. But you know what? I found it really amazing how many people weighed in with fears, at every stage of the publishing process. There's something really comforting about knowing we're all in it together. Collective comments of the week!

And last but not least, I really enjoyed the movie The Social Network and couldn't get enough of this parody, which shows The Social Network as directed by some other famous filmmakers:



Have a great weekend!






27 comments:

Neil Vogler said...

The best of times and the worst of times indeed... oh and you're right, Betsy Lerner is full of excellent advice.

Neil Vogler said...

Nathan, I think there's a problem with your PW link -- I keep getting an error message.

Anonymous said...

I'm having the same problem with the PW link. I'd really like to read it.

Nathan Bransford said...

Fixed now

Matthew Rush said...

YES! I finally won comment of the week. WOOT!

Mira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine AM Smith said...

Thanks for the round up. It was sad news about Tricycle Press. I enjoyed reading around the links, and links from links;:)

Mira said...

Oh piffle. I can't even post about this, it feels too....something.

Great links, Nathan. I'll be back to comment.

The Red Angel said...

The Social Network is indeed a great movie! I saw it just a few days ago. :)

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Kristy said...

Now following Betsy - thanks for all the info! Wish I could see Social Network. Maybe someday I will watch movies again. Like when my son is eighteen!

Anonymous said...

I think your mom wants you to be an agent again...mother's know best!

Lexi said...

How can Stanford Magazine have a whole article about publishing today and ebook pricing without mentioning piracy and illegal downloads?

If it's not a huge part of the equation now, it sure will be in 2011.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Considering Staples is selling Kindle now and Wal-Mart's pushing nook, (I think Target's sticking with Sony e-reader) I wouldn't be surprised if people who'd never even thought about an e-reader before at least check them out while shopping for other things.

I know that around here, where there are no book stores, not even B&N, unless you want to drive a loooooooooooooong way, this is the first chance I've had to get a good look at one and determine whether or not I could actually use it. (as I thought, backlighting is evil, eInk works as well as a book)

I can see people picking them up for tough-to-buy-for teens.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Man, those FB eyes-in-a-book are going to creep me out for the rest of the day. :)

CB said...

A new book about creative writing has been released. "From Huh? To Hurrah!" by Dr. Stephanie Stiles. It can be purchased now at American University Press.com or wait for it to be released on Amazon or B&N in Dec. She's a professor at DC in NY. Very knowledgeable and a fantastic person! She taught me, and I did extremely well in the 2010 Hemingway Short Story Comp.!

I can post the link if you want?! There is a description of her book at American University Press!

J. T. Shea said...

I love the Stanford Magazine Bridget Kinsella article:-
'Publishing has, for decades, lamented its lost Golden Age.' The insiders' classic joke says that the second book off Gutenberg's press predicted the demise of publishing. "We seem to have the ability to be bleak in our outlook," Sargent says.'

Damn right! Publishing's motto could sometimes be 'Always look on the dark side of life!'

One of Betsy Lerner's commenters proposes 'Ghost Tweeters'. Now THERE'S an idea! When I'm a famous bestseller I'll have to hire a ghost commenter to comment on Nathan's blog.

Other Lisa said...

I got nuthin,' but I loved the Social Network parodies!

T. Anne said...

Comment of the week! Me?!? Oh wait...

Anonymous said...

Definitely worth clicking on Betsy Lerner's blog for the missing ellipses part . . .

Anonymous said...

What..! you mean somebody else is writing about copper buttons in 18th century France ?

D.G. Hudson said...

Great links in this post. Read Betsy Lerner's and Jim Duncan's posts, both interesting and timely. I'll keep my eye on those blogs.

Really loved the video - if social networking is being spoofed, what does that foretell?

Your blog continues to entice us with your witty comments and solid advice.

Enjoy the weekend - or at least get some writing done. . .

J. T. Shea said...

Anonymous 10:27 pm, I know! I hear copper buttons in 18th century France is the Next Big Thing.

Speaking of Next Big Things, this Facebook looks like it could catch on. The video was great, but they left out the Wes Craven version, called THE BOOKS HAVE EYES...

Mira said...

Just wanted to quickly drop in with a very relevant statement about my alma mater: Go Bears!

Ann Elise said...

I stopped reading the Standford Magazine article when they referred to PublishAmerica as a subsidy publishing firm. They are a scam factory. Nothing more. The Absolute Write author's forums have a wealth of information on them here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5527338

lexcade said...

Nathan, I was looking at a website of inspirational quotes for writers and happened upon one of yours, which made me chuckle. It links to your blog.

"I've never changed my mind about a project because someone wrote a very nice thank you note, but good thank you notes have definitely made me feel guilty. So if you want revenge on an agent, a nice thank you note is the best weapon."

Mira said...

So, I still have zero interest in sports, but since the Giants, I've discovered it's very fun to have team loyalty.

Except yesterday. That was depressing. Even the heavens rained tears and shook their fists of thunder at the wrongness that occured. I was in Berkeley near the University right as the game let out, and people were so quiet and sad. I just hope Stanford is proud of itself, picking on Berkeley like that.

So, I guess should stop the trash talking and move on to the links. Great links, Nathan! And a really good query critique, too. I don't like queries, but I know a good critique when I see one, and that was a good one.

I thought the PW article was interesting. I wonder if the mid-list is becoming stigmatized. That's too bad if it is. There is honor in selling your book to an audience, so what if it's not a bestseller - not everything will appeal to the masses - but it still may be a very good book that speaks to a smaller group of people. The Stanford article was interesting, even if it was written at the College of Darkness, but it argued that paper books bring something to the market that e-books don't. I'm sorry, I'm really not sure about that.

Betsy Lerner's blog was interesting and very worth reading. My vote is still out about social networking, though, I have very mixed feelings about it.

I'm sorry to hear about Tricycle press and its staff, that's really sad. I guess Random is really struggling, and I'm sorry.

Good article by Jim, and congrats the book winners! Yay! And that was a fascinating article about book packagers. That doesn't interest me, I wouldn't do that myself, but I know there are many, many people who would, and I really appreciate the article and that it warned them about some dangers.

Hilarious video, and I haven't even seen the movie - although I want to.

I thought that Wednesday's post was amazing. It was so vulnerable and honest - I was really touched. It also struck me that writers have such courage. All these things to be afraid of, and we keep persisting. Yay for us!!

Okay, great fun reading the links, Nathan, I'd never know anything if you didn't have your Friday in Books. Thanks!

Betsy Lerner said...

Thanks Nathan! Plug greatly appreciated. Hope you're having fun in your new life. Betsy

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