Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Week in Books 2/11/11

This week! The Books!

If you will indulge some JACOB WONDERBAR related books news, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of a copy of said space adventure! So please check that out if you would like a shot at a freebie.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that post-holiday season The Kids are starting to read e-books in significant numbers, and according to HarperCollins, in January e-books represented 25% of sales. Yowsa.

Oh - and speaking of teens, if you yourself are a talented teen writer or know someone who fits that description, be sure and check out the Alpha Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Workshop for Young Writers in Pittsburgh in July!

In this day and age of vanishing midlist and difficult everything, the Financial Times checks in with one breed of writer who is still doing alright amid the change: the debut.

Meanwhile, USA Today catches up with some self-publishing success stories (via lvcabbie in the Forums).

Lots of people have asked me what happens when someone wants an author to sign a book but they only have an e-reader. Well, GalleyCat found one solution: have them sign the e-reader.

And in book definition news, Rachelle Gardner talks all about remainders and Eric from Pimp My Novel talks E-Pub.

This week in the Forums, the other ways we define success, whether to spend money on a freelance editor or attending a conference, and whether writing has to make you happy for you to choose to write.

Comment! of! the! Week! goes to See Elle Oh, who riffs off of Lauren's comment to get at the heart of some of the striving that happens when writing:

I agree that striving is at the core of writing. And I think Lauren brings up a great point that some of it may be striving to control the past (or at least make sense of it, make it "fit"). I think a lot of writing is about striving for understanding and connection, with others, the world at large, and, ultimately ourselves.
And finally, a truly inspiring video that I hadn't yet seen, which so poignantly talks about how best to live one's life: Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement address. Well worth a view in full:

Have a great weekend!

31 comments: said...

That's really interesting about kids and e-books. We've had a Kindle for nearly two years now and my daughter likes to read, but she's actively disinterested in reading anything other than paper. So, pretty surprising, really.

Of course, there's no way I'm sending her to school with an expensive e-reader until she's a lot older.

Laura Campbell said...

Having the e-reader signed? What an awesome idea. It gives the cover or e-reader it's own design and you can carry it with you everywhere you go, rather than sitting on your shelf. I like it. I like it a lot.

RobynBradley said...

I'm really excited kids are embracing e-readers (and love to hear they're forgetting about TV!). My 16-year-old niece posted on my FB wall that she borrowed a friend's Kindle and read the novel Room, which I had been telling her about over Christmas. Loved that!

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

Very impressed with this new Generation of young readers... Awesome

Nicole said...

I was going to say, "I don't know about the whole 'sign the ereader' thing," but then decided that's not a half bad idea. I don't know about other ereaders, but you could easily collect a lot of signatures on a Nook (not the color one) by just switching out the back panels for a clean one every time you fill one up (if you do).

I think I might also have the author sign my ereader cover rather than the device itself. Just get a blank cover and then go to down. Now that would be an expensive ereader cover after a while!

(oh, and by the way, I'm giving away a copy of I Am Number Four on my blog for anyone interested)

Ted Fox said...

That story about debut novels is encouraging for all of us unpublished authors, although it kind of makes me think I should have went with teen paranormal romance instead of humor.

Fawn Neun said...

At the last publishing conference I attended, the buzz on YA books was "SMARTPHONE".

Anonymous said...

Interesting about kids and e-readers. Most of the kids I know are either into them or getting into them. (I'm still trying with mine :) great if you did a post about I've been fascinated by it for the past couple of weeks and can't stop reading it.

Stephanie Perkins said...

Oh, heavens. I cried throughout most of Steve Jobs' speech. Thank you for posting it.

D.G. Hudson said...

The giveaway of JACOB WONDERBAR seems to be limited to the US (not Canada or other locations) when I checked out the site. Too bad. (Don't they know you may have international readers?)

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement address video was inspiring. How true that we can only connect the dots from the past to our present state, we can't extrapolate into the future to see where we'll end up if we take the left fork in the road rather than the right.

Debut novels may have a better chance, but there's a lot of competition just in that category. There's a lot of new writers who want to be THE ONE.

Have a great weekend, Nathan and NB followers!

Kristin Laughtin said...

As an aspiring writer, I'm glad to see optimism about the sales of debut writers' works these days. Reasons to hope are always good!

I have contemplated having authors sign my Kindle in the future. The main downside is that it's a rather dark gray, but I suppose a silver Sharpie would show up nicely on it. I fear that I would eventually run out of room, though, or somehow end up damaging what should be permanent ink. However, as I'm not against buying print on occasion, that is probably what I'll do when author signings come up. Even if I got rid of my current collection of print books, I'd keep the signed volumes!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I had Scott Westerfeld sign my e-reader cover! He was unphased (he's just cool that way). And kids embracing the coolest new tech gadget? I'm excited for it, but a little perplexed that anyone would be surprised. :)

Kristi said...

My 6-year old thinks its a treat to read on my e-reader. And happily for us, the library has a large selection of kids books.

Also, about signing: get a Sony touch. Comes with a stylus. The author can actually sign the cover page of the e-book with the stylus and I don't mess up my pretty pink cover.

I actually wonder why more of the other e-readers don't use a stylus but maybe I was pre-disposed towards the Sony for that reason. I used to carry a Palm Pilot, and my kids' game systems (a Nintendo DS for the older one and a Leapster explorer for the younger one) also come with styluses (styli?).

I'm hoping the tablet manufacturers take note of my (one-woman) campaign here and start adding them to the next generation of Android tablets (You Apple folk can do as you please) ;)

Anonymous said...

B&N offers replaceable back covers for the nook in a variety of colors. I've heard of readers collecting signed nook backs.

Pen and Ink said...

I am coming back tonight to hear Steve Jobs Commencement address. My lives are colliding. I have a blog post due, I have an audition in two hours, Go Daddy is holding my Domain captive and I have to make a new website...and Must Revise!
I am so impressed by your blog. My next website will have a whole different look and a lot of helpful links. Thank you

Susan J. Berger said...

Ooops. Left the last comment as Pen and Ink. I registered to win the book. Happy to see Debut authors can get noticed. Since all three of my published books are e picture books (good on Nook or ipad. not good on kindle), I would still be a debut author in adult....I think?

Fenris said...

Wow, great video. I'd never seen it either, but I'm saving the link.

Speaking of links, thanks for the one to the writer's workshop site. Definitely worth checking out.

J. T. Shea said...

So, 'young' means teenaged now, writer-wise? Yikes! Or maybe just in Pittsburgh.

The Financial Times article re debuts? Anglo-centric and focused on 'literary' novels, but still encouraging to us would be debutantes. We could have a ball. A debutantes' ball!

And interesting about UK editors receiving five times as many American as British manuscripts, and the Americans being 'generally far superior'. Now, wheres my corsage?

Anonymous said...

I've accidentally left a few books on the train, but I've never left my library there.

Martinelli Gold said...

Today I bought one book at Barnes and Noble. I almost bought four, but they were around $17 each. I had the distinct thought, "If these books were about half as much, I would get all of them." Then I realized I not only wanted an e-reader, but:

If I had one I would read three books instead of one.
four authors would have their books bought instead of one.

So reading the article about kids getting e-readers? Very exciting. I've been back and forth on the fate of publishing in lieu of the e-book, and today it's looking good. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nan said...

Nathan, I was actually present for Jobs's 2005 commencement address at Stanford. My kid received his Masters in Electrical Engineering that day. Jobs was indeed the point that said son has just been accepted into the Stanford School of Management and Engineering's doctoral program heading for a PhD in Policy and Strategy as he works as national security analyst. Yes, lots of mom pride going on here!

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Wow. Watched the video, I'm not crying...I have something in my eye.

Thank you for sharing that. I am in the process of leaving the hotel industry after 11 years to focus on things I enjoy, writing, painting, and starting up a refinishing business. I go through alternate waves of giddy excitment and sheer terror. This video reminded me again that I have to do something I love. It may be foolish, but sometimes being foolish is the way to go. Thank you.
Funny Stuff I Write And Draw

Heidi said...

Nan, congrats on your son's success. I have a H.S. senior who is just beginning to visit campuses, apply for scholarships and can't wait to leave home. I cried through most of the Jobs speech too, but I'm so glad to have seen it. Very moving - and motivating. As I go through the college process with my son, see these gorgeous schools, professors bursting with knowledge to share and kids with so much ahead of them, I can't help but think: I want to go back to school, too!

As for kids and e-readers, I will be more excited when someone develops a read-aloud app for older kids. Nook has one for picture books, but my 13-year-old with a learning disability listens to MG audiobooks (which are a bit more costly than the paper versions). Luckily, the more popular stories can be found at the library. He's currently loving the Percy Jackson series.

I also can't help but wonder - with the audiobook, it's done in a studio with an actor reading the book (and these guys do a great job, too. I don't think they get enough credit) - but with the read-aloud option on e-readers, is it just a computerized voice? That would take a lot out of it.

For anyone else with this same issue, I'm currently looking into RFB&D - Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic - a friend is a volunteer reader.

Mira said...

These look like wonderful links, Nathan - thank you! :)

That's exciting about a freebie copy of Jacob. It's getting so close to the release - I'm really looking forward to reading your book - yay!

I'm afraid I'm so swamped, no times to read the other links, yet, but I will and thus I will remain extremely informed and enlightened, which is appreciated!

Okay, back to work. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Elliot Grace said... with e-readers, my how times are changing:)

Lynne said...

Great wrap-up.
Special thanks for the commencement speech link. AMAZING. Thank you!

That's why many of us pursue writing. Not for the big bucks but because it's our passion. Write on...

Reesha said...

Maybe signing books is the author's way of getting people to buy hard copies instead of e-copies. Though I do really like the idea of signing an e-Reader cover.

Ted said...

Very few people are remembered 500 years after they lived, but I think Steve Jobs will be one of them -- as both a great technology evangelist and the most accomplished corporate leader in history to date, IMO. Thx for posting the video!

J.S. Frankel said...

It was a very good article and a fine video.

It is also good to know that more and more young people are beginning to do the e-book route as well as the traditional paperback/hardcover route. I just finished getting my first novel published through a reputable e-book publisher and hope that more will come.

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