As you may have been able to tell from my somewhat sporadic blogging I've had a rather bananas couple of weeks, so these links are somewhat spotty. But! I still aim to please with the link love.
First up, wow, some massive news out of Facebook yesterday, as they unveiled a whole slew of new changes that are going to seriously impact the way we live online. It's a lot to keep track of, and my friend Sharon Vaknin has a really helpful article on the five things you need to know about the changes (links are to CNET, I work at CNET).
Perhaps the biggest change is a complete overhaul of profiles. Facebook unveiled Timeline, which will basically be your entire life (photos, status updates, changes) on Facebook, scrollable. And the new Ticker (aka the Facebook within yo Facebook) is now rethought to basically share with your friends what you are reading/watching/doing. You'll even be able to share what you are listening to, and your friends can click on it, the song will sync, and you can listen to it together.
For someone who mused openly about the permanence about Facebook yesterday, I have to say I'm deeply impressed with the changes. Timeline is a whole new way of chronicling and visualizing your life. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with that and I'm sure it gives some people the willies, but I think a lot of people are really going to like seeing their whole life and their friends/family's life all in one place. I wish it had been around when my grandparents were alive.
As for the other changes, we'll see how much people really want everything they watch/read/listen/do sent to a Facebook Ticker and whether they really want to see everything their friends watch/read/listen/do on Facebook. I have my doubts.
What do you think of the new Facebook?
I'm late to this controversy, but there has been a whole lot of discussion around the topic of LGBT subjects in YA literature, and some wildly intelligent responses. What kicked off the discussion was a post by two authors who said an agent urged them to de-gay their novel (UPDATE: some further background and counter-claims on this is summarized here). This kicked off what started out as a pretty anguished discussion in the YA book world, but there were two great responses I wanted to point out.
First, Malinda Lo brought some actual stats to the discussion, tracking LGBT books over time, broken out by publisher, and by gender. Some very helpful context. And agent Michael Bourret has a post with an inescapable conclusion: If you want to see more LGBT novels, the best way to ensure that there are more is to seek out and buy more LGBT novels.
Amazon has kicked off its library e-book lending program, joining B&N and Sony (and others) in offering access to e-books from over 11,000 local libraries, and GoodReads launched book recommendations.
In agent advice news, Call My Agent talks about what it takes to become a literary agent, and Rachelle Gardner gives some insight into agents as editors.
The great Tahereh Mafi (whose novel SHATTER ME is less than two months away from taking over the world), has some of the best possible advice for writers: Don't be afraid to write a bad book.
In other book news news, the Man Booker shortlist has been announced, Levar Burton revealed he's working on a followup to Reading Rainbow, Roni Loren writes that even if blogging is (supposedly) dead there are good reasons to do it anyway, and a new from-slush-to-publication website has launched called PUBSLUSH Press. I'd be curious to hear what you think.
Comment! of! the! Week! goes to John, who I thought had an interesting counterpoint to my post on how imprints could be important to consumers in the e-book era. He disputes whether it does or will matter:
On Amazon many of the large publishers are demolishing their street creds with the Agency model of pricing ebooks. Perusing the Kindle forums will show you that resentment runs deep and is growing deeper.
I'm pretty sure the big publishers are doing more now to make sure the public views them as money-grubbers more than bastions of quality control.
And as any new author knows, they really don't do much for you in terms of marketing. Much of that is left to the author--they have to make connections with readers and get the word out.
Once you've done that, it's your name that matters. The author will be the brand in the mind of most readers. Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon will either add or detract from that name brand.
Let's face it. The traditional model of printing and distribution is dying. Borders is the latest victim.
I'm an avid reader and I probably couldn't tell you who the publisher is on half my books. I use Goodreads reviews more than anything else to determine what's worth reading and what isn't.
I also download samples to my Kindle to see how I like it.
Otherwise, indie, traditiona, it really doesn't matter to me so long as I enjoy it. And then I'll be yet another grassroots link to boosting or lowering the quality of that author's brand.
And finally, the Andy Samberg/Mark Zuckerberg comedy routine at the f8 event. Yes, really:
Have a great weekend!