This Week in Publishing 7/18/08

by | Jul 18, 2008 | Uncategorized | 32 comments

This week… in publishing.

Well, of course. Just when I buy a Kindle the rumors surface about future versions. Oh, the humanity!

Speaking of e-books, a few weeks back I linked to an article on a seriously cool e-reader called mibook, only in doing so I remarked that they had a strange website. Well, someone from this disparaged company e-mailed me, and…. I had the wrong site. Whoops! Here is the proper site, in all its glory. Sorry about that mibook! You still look very cool, and I still want one!

And now for This Week in Publishing…. in videos.

Slate talks to Junot Diaz about writing and THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, for which he has received many medals. Diaz also admits that he would rather be reading than writing:

In case you are wondering if the production values of book trailers are increasing (these are the things that keep me up at night), look no further than sci-fi thriller writer and faithful lurker Jeff Carlson’s awesome book trailer for PLAGUE WAR:

And finally, while we’re sharing videos, during that Gawker thing that shall not be named I was compared in the comments section to this individual:

So to set the record straight, no, I don’t surf, and no, I don’t talk like that guy. Although he’s kind of my hero.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Sprizouse

    Trailers are always universal signs that a movie is going to be good! How can this go wrong???

  2. Brian

    Yes, but how much awesomer would your book pitches to editors be if you DID talk like that?

    Think it over…

  3. Yat-Yee

    OT: I just noticed you’re coming to Pikes Peak Conference, Welcome (in advance) to Colorado!

  4. Jeff

    If only we could sell books the way they sell Kindles and iPods and computers.

    “Oh, but this version of the book is much better. It has all the vowels!”

  5. beingben

    Didn’t that surfer dude used to pitch Dell computers?

  6. Adaora A.

    Can you not upgrade to the newest version when it comes out? It’s just like the ipod. I keep peeking into Best Buy dubiously, afaid of a newer – imminent – version, which I know is going to come.

    Nathan your blog is so popular, folks are emailing you to set the record straight. Perhaps you should muscle yourself a new – and free – mibook. What do you reckon are your chances?

    Regarding ‘that Gawker thing which shall not be named…’
    Yea I read those comments. Some said you looked ‘too surfy,’ some said they liked a ‘surfy’ look. It’s all a haze. They were kind of insane over there! All the fuss!

  7. Adaora A.

    *Wish I could just add onto/edit pre-existing comments*

    I find it more then a little funny how the last video has a link to ‘The Moment Britney Didn’t want you to see.’ How this relates to surfing, I’ll never know.

  8. A Paperback Writer

    Um, well, it WAS funny, but “Oh the humanity!”
    Okay, well, not having the newest kindle isn’t QUITE in the same category as the Hindenberg, is it?
    I certainly hope your current kindle does not “kindle” itself (sorry, that hurt, didn’t it?) into a ball of fire, forcing you to jump 20 feet or so to the ground….
    In spite of the name, how likely is a kindle to do the whole spontaneous comustion thing?

  9. Dave F.

    Like Dude, he’s a surfer. What’s language to a surfer?

    Excellent book trailer and interview.

    And as for the kindle – Everything electronic is obsolete the moment you buy it.

  10. Anonymous

    Thanks for that Slate video, Nathan! I love Junot Diaz… a while ago on this very blog I listed OSCAR WAO as the best book I’d read in 2007.

    Didja all notice it took him 11 YEARS to write it?

    I think it was worth it.

  11. Elyssa Papa

    Oh, the LOLs that the last video brought on. All amusing. Loved the book trailer–very creative!

  12. Gabrielle

    As far as the surfer video goes…

    Does he purposefully sound unintelligent?

    Looks aside, you always manage to appear in full possession of your mind, Nathan. Except when spending money on a Kindle. 😀

  13. ORION

    My Spanish publisher made a trailer for LOTTERY – only problem it’s all in Spanish…

  14. Anonymous

    Ouch, that trailer is pretty bad. I have a feeling trailers scare off more readers than they attract.

  15. Harris

    hey nathan,

    just found your blog…read part at right first…thought YOU have repped authors since 1914.

    rock on,


  16. Anonymous

    Dude, allz I can say is in that interview with the Pulitzer guy–one of those chicks is super frickin hot. I’d like to come across her in an empty library stack…

  17. Anonymous

    I thought the trailer was too long.

    The production quality was decent-to-good, but the whole commentary by the author himself gets in the way.

    Instead of 4 minutes+ it should be 30 seconds. Plus, that way if it gets picked up for TV spots it’s already trimmed.

    I would like to talk about this with that chick who interviewed the Pulitzer guy. Then again, I would like to talk about anything with her.

  18. Anonymous

    I hope you don’t think that surfer dude was being serious. Watch Kelly Slater or Laird Hamilton in an interiew sometime. THey do use words like ‘gnarly’ and ‘stoked’ but in a very serious way.

    I would like to talk about this with that chick.,,,,heheheh

  19. Lizz Huerta

    The Junot Diaz interview on The Colbert Report a couple weeks back was pretty good too. They were clearly both excited and giddy, very cute.

    I wonder what a query from that surfer would would like. . .

  20. A Paperback Writer

    Anon 9:49
    “Gnarly” and “stoked” Oh my. Those were words used when I was in high school. And they applied to skiing and pep assemblies. They may have been a result of the urban surfer kick that had a brief life in about 1980 at my high school, but those words hung around for years….. I still occasionally hear “gnarly” used to describe a test or something in the junior high where I teach.
    Hmmm…. etymology in pop culture: a fine bit of study for a Saturday morning.

  21. Anonymous

    Duuude. Surfer guy was funny. But wow. That plague trailer is amazing. Nice concept for the books, too.

  22. JP

    book trailers…really?

  23. Anonymous

    Personally, I think plagues and viruses are overdone to death in thrillers and sci-fi.

    Can’t anyone think of anything different?

    Or is it that no one WANTS anything different?

    There are plenty of other ways to die besides plagues and viruses.

  24. Kristan

    Thanks for the Junot Diaz interview vid! I’m going to try to check out more of this Open Book series now.

  25. Erik

    We discussed trailers on a little while ago – it’s a hot topic. I like Hans’ advice: Don’t suck!

    I’m still not sure who the audience is for a trailer, which makes it all the more difficult to do a good one!

  26. Margaret Yang

    I don’t think you resemble the surfer guy that much. After all, you can speak (or at least write) in complete sentences.

    It is good to have a hero, though. Joss Whedon is mine.

  27. Wes

    Riding home from work on the train Friday evening, I sat next to a guy who had a Sony electronic reader (what’s the generic name for those things?) that seemed advanced compared to a Kindle. It had a leather cover for the look and feel of book and had the length and width of a trade paperback, but was much thinner. He claimed he liked it better than a Kindle. I’ve not used either, so I can’t compare them.

  28. Wanda B. Ontheshelves

    Three voices/videos – I appreciate anew the wonderfully flexible English language. Diaz (approximate paraphrase): “…wait for the noise in my mind to recede, so I can have a better relationship with my unconsciousness.” Subconsciousness? Unconscious?

    I thought the book trailer was fine, just finished Andromeda Strain after seeing it on TV, reminded me a bit of that. Golden oldie Andromeda Strain – copyright 1969, Centesis Corporation. Definition of Centesis: “a surgical perforation or puncture.” Was med student Crichton pulling our leg with Centesis Corp?

    Re: Plagues being overdone – well, I seem to recall a plague back in Egypt way back when…they’re kind of a subgenre of thriller all on their own, aren’t they?

    Back to un(sub?)consciousness…

  29. Wanda B. Ontheshelves

    Re: Oscar Wao and the dictator Trujillo:

    For anyone who’s interested:

    Here’s the link to (3 English translations of) Pablo Neruda’s poem “United Fruit Co,” that mentions Trujillo:

    A great poem, one of my favorite poems.


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Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

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