This Week in Publishing Normal This Time
Whew! I may have missed a few items in publishing news this week as I chipped away at the mountain that sprouted in my office while I was out, but here are a few of the many things that happened over the past week.
Don’t forget about Page Critique Friday! The page up for critique is up for critique in the Forums for critique. UPDATE: my critique posted here.
Now for the news.
The NY Times had a widely linked-to article about the decline of picture books, citing ambitious toddlers who are purchasing chapter books for their parents in order to prepare them for a bright future (or maybe it’s the reverse of that), and also the pesky economic downturn. (Downturn, could you please go away already, can’t you see NO ONE LIKES YOU. Seriously, take a hint.)
Mother Jones summarized the maladies of fictional characters as diagnosed by various health professionals. They diagnose Darth Vader with borderline personality disorder (borderline? I think he’s quite past the line), and Bartleby with Asperger’s.
A lending feature will soon be coming to the Kindle, allowing users to lend a book for 14 days, during which time it won’t be available to the original user (assuming publishers and rights holders approve). Pretty cool.
There has been a debate percolating on the Internet about the presence or lack of presence of strong female characters in young adult literature, including in the Forums. Natalie Whipple had a great post about this phenomenon, pointing out how complex this issue is given that what constitutes “strong” and “weak” varies so much from person to person and character to character. And editor Sarah Jae Jones and agent Sarah LaPolla had very interesting follow-up posts to Natalie’s post.
Michael Stearn from Upstart Crow wrote an upstanding post about some of the differences between middle grade and teen literature, including the levels of complexity and interority (a word I cannot say out loud for the life of me).
There are some beloved novels headed for the silver screen. GalleyCat had an early look at the Hunger Games script, and Peter Jackson announced the cast for The Hobbit, including Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, which I think should be spectacular. What sayeth you?
Moses Siregar uncovered plans by Nielson to begin tracking e-book sales, perhaps as soon as the end of the year. And speaking of e-books, Jacob Lambert at the Millions has a thoughtful post about how advertisements for Kindle and iPad make print books almost seem like an afterthought, and relates how his attachment to CDs fell by the wayside when Tower Records disappeared.
And this has been making the rounds: a hilarious Nerd flowchart. Which kind of nerd are you?
This week in the Forums, should wealthy writers win literary awards?, listings of agents in other countries, what is it about bad boys?, how often do you read your manuscript?, Halloween microfiction, and this was bound to happen sooner or later, but Colonel Travis spotted me in a Village People video from 1985.
Comment! of! the! Week! There were many great responses to yesterday’s post about the temptation of thinking someone has it made, but Theresa Milstein wins for an expert 30 Rock reference:
This reminds me of the “30 Rock” episode. Liz Lemon considers quitting her job when she meets a bunch of women in her building who spend days taking yoga and getting pedicures. After a few days of bliss, LIz discovers the women beat one another up to feel alive again. We must always strive to feel alive. Coasting is stagnating.
And finally, not one, not two, but THREE great videos for you. And not a one is even Whip My Hair, believe it or not.
First up, via Sarah LaPolla, Grover from Sesame Street as the Old Spice Guy (the levels of bliss… they are staggering)
Second, a spectacular book dominoes video from Bookmans in Phoenix (via GalleyCat):
Finally, this video brought back some memories from childhood, and I may have to devote a full post to it someday. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the man who is unquestionably the greatest athlete in the history of the world: Video Bo Jackson from Tecmo Super Bowl:
Have a great weekend!