Huge news this week, as a federal judge rejected the Google Book Settlement. If you recall, Google had scanned basically every book in the world and was hoping to make them all available. But there are a ton of old books where the rights situation is uncertain. Technically the books are under copyright, but who knows where the rightsholders are. The judge ruled that the settlement effectively gave Google a de facto monopoly over those books. The Author's Guild and the AAP are hoping to amend the settlement to pass legal muster.
It was the tale of two authors this week. First came news that, as mentioned on Wednesday, bestselling author Barry Eisler passed up a $500,000 deal from a major publisher in order to self-publish. Among Eisler's reasons were frustration with traditional publisher's royalties and pricing model, and a desire to get his book out earlier. Industry sage Mike Shatzkin calls it "a key benchmark on the road to wherever it is we're going."
Meanwhile, self-published superstar Amanda Hocking went the opposite route and decided to move to a major publisher, to the tune of a $2 million deal with St. Martin's. Among Hocking's reasons were wanting to reach readers through bookstores and more editing.
So... who's right and who's wrong? As Kassia Krozsser says: they're both right. And that's the great thing about this new era. Authors with a following now have a choice about which route they want to pursue. My colleague David Carnoy, author of KNIFE MUSIC, talked about his own move from self-publishing to traditional publishing in a recent interview.
Meanwhile, John Ochwat passed me this link first: E-book Publishing Bingo
Also, Barnes & Noble is still looking for a buyer, and the Economist had an interesting article on the decline of Borders and of bookstores in general.
Introverts unite! Shrinking Violet Promotions had a great post on dispelling myths about introverts.
And agent Jane Dystel has a helpful list of pet peeves, which serve as a guide to a productive relationship between author and agent.
This week in the Forums, how to get your writing mojo back after a long break, discussing the services provided by publishers, story goals changing midstream, and of course, March Madness!
Comment! of! the! Week! There are two comments I wanted to highlight this week. First, the incomporable Bryan Russell on balance:
I think balance, for most people, is a fairly amorphous thing. It's not something that you have, or don't have, but something that you are always working toward, something that is always evolving, always shaping itself around new experiences and new parameters in your life.And a publishing insider sheds some light on some of the day-to-day irreplaceable elements that keep publishers in New York.
It's a matter of degree. Life is always changing, and so the goal of balance, and the processes for finding it, are in constant flux as well. A new concern, a new need, a new friendship, a new hobby, a new responsibility - these things will all transform your idea of balance. They'll transform, whether to a small degree or a large, what you need, what you want, and, simply, what you can actually accomplish.
And this last point, it seems to me, is important. That evolution toward balance is an evolution toward meeting goals that are within reach, that we can actually accomplish. A plan is great, but if it depends on things out of your hands it's going to be hard to find balance. You'll always be needing to do one more thing, and other activities will be pulled along in your wake like a rusty old tailpipe; you might hear the rattle sometimes, but you've forgotten how to get to the mechanic's garage.
And finally, a video that's just as mesmerizing now as when I saw it when I was five... crayons! (via Mashable)
Have a great weekend!