Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Week in Books 8/22/11

This week! Books!

Apologies for the delay in getting you This Week in Books. The week: Hectic is an understatement. On Tuesday I was on a social media panel at the Search Engine Strategy conference, and in case you're curious about what I've been up to at CNET, ClickZ has a very nice summary.

 And welcome to everyone who is arriving via Felicia Day's retweet of the E-book/Hardcover Pricing post! Grab a drink from the cooler and make yourself comfy. 

Meanwhile... yeah we have a lot of links stored up.

 Harry Potter was in the news quite a bit this week. The first screenshots of Pottermore began surfacing, and some real-life policy experts wrote a simultaneously hilarious and educational paper for Foreign Policy Magazine on what the reconciliation process should look like in a post-Voldermort society (via io9). And in a seriously bizarre story, after POD publisher Publish America offered to put books in front of J.K. Rowling (for a fee, of course), Rowling's spokesman called the claim completely false and promised appropriate action. Publish America then threatened a lawsuit. Sigh.

 In Amazon-as-publisher news, the Internet giant is set to publish the next book by self-help guru Timothy Ferris. The 4-hour publisher disruptor perhaps? (Actually it's called 4-hour Chef).

 And speaking of book deals, arguably the most famous cat in the world, Maru, just got one.

 Who topped the Forbes list of highest paid authors? The same guy as last year: James Patterson, with $84 million (via GalleyCat).

 In social media news, Jane Friedman has a great post on some important principles and best practices for Facebook fan pages, and Jessica Faust at BookEnds makes the case that social networking really does work.

 In writing advice news, author Kiersten White has a great post on the rules of genre in YA, and agent Sarah LaPolla says you don't need an MFA as long as you follow these steps.

 Katherine Eastland profiled the sordid! shocking! scandalous! history of the world's most widely-used font, Times New Roman (note: it's not that sordid, shocking or scandalous, but it is interesting). (via The Millions)

And my (alas former) colleague Erica Ogg has a great article on the End of the PC Era, which has been aided and abetted in large part by the rise of the tablet. What does this mean for books? Well, if you don't have a tablet now it's highly likely you'll have one in the future. And when those tablets become positively ubiquitous pretty much everyone will have an e-reader.

 This week in the Forums, the difficult process of snagging e-book reviews, is it a good or bad idea to serialize your work online, listing your 10 favorite books, do you take a couple of weeks off while writing, and the Forum meet and greet has been scheduled for March 3 - March 8 2012. Brainstorming for workshop topics in full effect.

Comment! of! the! Week! There were many great posts on the most important qualities writers possess, and I was especially struck by Bill's:
Respect. The single most important quality of any successful writer; really, of any successful artist. Many others here have quoted things like perseverance, determination, discipline, etc. All these are byproducts of respect. When you respect the art and the challenge of writing, then you treat like a vocation that demands your maximum effort. But we need to also remember the other lesser advertised byproducts of respect. Things like humility, a sense of humor, and the much overlooked gratitude. Sheer talent might grant you some of the rewards that would traditionally require perserverance, determination, and discipline. But without respect, you'll come to see your success as something owed, rather than something earned. The result; arrogant and dim-witted one-hit wonders who's flash of success caused them to self-destruct. But if you respect the difficulty of writing; if you resepct both those who pan and praise your writing; if you respect the sacrifice; then you'll find success wherever your writing takes you.
And finally, if you are one of the three remaining people who haven't heard of Maru the cat, well, here you go. Also: You're welcome.
 Have a great weekend! Er, I mean week!


abc said...

I love love love Maru! Maru makes Mondays better.

And that is one swell comment of the week!

Mr. D said...

First day of school today. Tally Ho!

Ava Jae said...

Great links as usual! Thanks, Nathan!

Cathy Yardley said...

I was reading this, and my 5 year old son came up. He is now obsessed with Maru. Not sure to thank you or curse you for this one... I see a lot of cats in boxes in my future. :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Ok, how is it possible I hadn't known of the Maru phenom? I had seen one of his videos (in a box, a very small box), but didn't realize the extent he had taken over. :)

Thanks for sharing.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

p.s. also the Jessica Faust link doesn't work?

K. M. Walton said...

It's now down to two remaining people who don't know who Maru the cat is. I had no idea, and now I know. Thank you, Nathan Bransford.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks Susan, fixed.

D.G. Hudson said...

I love cats - Maru is a great example. Cats always "think outside the box". Plus, cats like being on camera -- at least, all the ones I had did.

Enjoyed the article on ClickZ. You carry a lot of web-weight, Mr. Bransford, as can be seen by the increase in stats at CNET. Guess that explains why you're giving the other social media you do more of your attention these days. C'est la vie.

Had a look at the forums, since I don't travel there often. Sommer always catches my interest with whatever she's doing in there.

Also enjoyed La Polla's post. She's right about two out of three of the books she suggests (Maass and King) but I'm not familiar with the other book. Will check next time I'm at the bookstore.

Interesting round-up.

Anonymous said...

very nice mix of items - worth the wait!

hey, can you post the Comic Con confab w/you & Amanda Hocking and/or direct us to where people could read/view the panel discussion?

Diana said...

Oh, Maru, I always laugh so hard watching him that I get laughter induced asthma and can't breathe.

But Maru already has two books out. This one that you are referring to is the English translation of one of them. His human has a blog about him. You can find it here:

Giles Hash said...

Ug. Why would anyone bother with PA after that? The cat has better sense. :D

Dawn Pier said...

I guess I am the third person who has not heard of Maru. But my excuse is that I live under a rock on the beach in very hot Mexico where there is no electrical grid. (I'm sending this via mental telepathy to my brother who lives in a rock garden in NY - he has wifi.)

Other Lisa said... of the few celebrities who deserves a book deal...

Mira said...

Well, I'd never seen Maru, so it's now down to one person in the world.

That gave new meaning to the word determination. That cat has one of the most important qualities of being a writer, so he should have a book deal!

So, look at you being all awesome at CNET. And you're all scientific too, talking about data and tracking. So cool to see you in action, and congrats on your success! :)

And tweeted by Felicia Day! Well, here you go, being all awesome again, Mr. Bransford.

So, unfortunately, that's as far as I've got. Thanks for all the cool links, Nathan, I'll get busy reading.

Oh, and that was a good comment of the week!

And the forums are going to Vegas in March - coolness.

Alvarado Frazier said...

You are so cool Nathan B. and I'm not, as I don't know Maru. Thanks for the links and the video. Now there will be only 1 unMaru'd person left.

wry wryter said...

I'm the last non-Maru-er.
So now the whole world knows about that wonderful feline.

Times New Roman is my world.
Long live Times New Roman.

Nathan Bransford said...


Unfortunately I don't know that it was posted online! Too bad it wasn't recorded.

Simon Haynes said...

If I lived in an apartment without a 42" flatscreen I'd play with cardboard boxes too. (Just kiddin' - I don't have a TV at all.)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Nathan, when you called Maru a cool cat, I thought you were speaking figuratively! I stand corrected.

And if anyone out there still thought that Publish America was even remotely credible up until now, that should have ended when that business about JK Rowling came out. What utter nonsense. And did you notice that PA threatened action against Rowling for saying that industry watchdogs have doubted their credibility, when it was actually the writer of the article who said that? Thus proving the article writer's point. Good grief.

Happy Monday!

wendy said...

I'd subcribed to Maru's Y.T. channel a year back - and a few other channels featuring cats. Didn't realise he was so famous.

Loved the links, especially the one to Kiersten White's blog where she gave a hilarious take on the YA genre and definitions. I was chagrinned to discover I'd written a paranormal which exactly fitted her definition, including the muscles, although mine was intended for an adult readership.

Muscles weren't popular elements of paranormals....once.

Tim Chaves said...

Fascinating and impressive what you've done at CNET. Nice work!

Kristin Laughtin said...

I was prepared to take issue with Sarah LaPolla's article, but I found myself agreeing with quite a bit of it. I don't have an MFA and don't plan to pursue one, especially as I strive to write genre fiction and most of the programs I looked into seemed to have a more literary bent, but to write well in any genre, you have to know what you're doing, and so much of that comes from studying the greats. We should all read some literary fiction once in a while, in addition to whatever genre we want to write. Giving yourself assignments will test your boundaries and expand your skills. I'll admit I've had some bad experiences with writing groups (mostly stemming from a few bad apples who wanted their stuff read but not to participate in any other way), but they're worthwhile to try, and even if you don't end up with a formal group, you should make connections with other writers in order to exchange ideas, learn to criticize and take criticism, and so on. (Oddly enough, though, one of my best writing critique-ers is a good friend. Normally I'm wary of letting friends read my stuff--they're so dang supportive!--but I find myself more nervous with her and trust her to be honest about what's bad. It's helped me learn not to take things personally and to accept them gracefully.)

Loving all the Harry Potter stuff in this post as well, especially that policy article!

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