Once again, I have a bunch of sales meetings to attend, so Laura will be treating you to another round-up today.
I had a very smarmy introduction planned that involved the Pied Piper, Rat-catcher’s day, and a mountain in which to hide small children, but then I found out that they’ve started casting for the HBO mini-series of A Game of Thrones (Middlesex is also becoming an HBO series, but teen hermaphrodites are less exciting to me than swords). So let’s have a moment of silence for the loss of my dignity—I read this in the office and may have squee-ed a bit loudly—and move on to other, clearly less exciting publishing news. Also, there’s a contest in paragraph three. The prize is kudos (verbal, not the granola bar) and recognition from me. Wait, no, don’t stop reading…aw…
First, though, vindication. Remember way back to last week, when I said zombies aren’t the new vampires? I was right totally right—it turns out Christian vampires are the new vampires. Sin, I stake thee through the heart! Also moving up in the world of religious literature is Amish fiction, ever controversial for its pro-bonnet, anti-nails stance.
My challenge to you all: leave the first line of an Amish vampire novel in the comments. My favorite will be featured in my next post. Extra points for including zombies, of any religious or cultural stripe.
Speaking of the undead: have you had enough Twilight to choke a horse? No? Well, just you wait—the Twilight graphic novel is coming to town. But don’t worry, the world has balance, and a posthumous George Carlin memoir is also forthcoming, in which he wrote the seven words you can’t say from beyond the grave.
For some reason all of the big publishing debacles this week were e-book related. One started with a wee article on Slate about e-book pricing. Eric did a great job of summing this up here, but don’t miss opinions from Dominique Raccah, Peter Rubie, and the handsome and charming Nathan Bransford (hey, we all know where most of you followers came from).
In European ebook news, the Kindle is about to come out in the UK. As in, it’s not already out there. How do you live, United Kingdom? How do you LIVE? I choose to believe the UK is taking a stand against Big Brother, sneaking into incredibly expensive e-readers and stealing purchased books. The disappearance of 1984 and Animal Farm is, to some, just like Kristallnacht. Less violent, less racially motivated, less government sanctioned, but other than that, gosh darn it, just the same.
This is a great opportunity for all of us jealous, cranky, non-Kindle owners to be smug—at least our regular books won’t be stolen by Amazon (unless, as some suggest, Amazon is creating a crowbar division to break in and get the real deal from the rest of us). Kindle owners can stick it to the man by downloading non-Amazon books to their Kindles, and all of us who are afraid of monopolies can go to the Google books webinar so they can explain their sneaky ways. Perhaps it’s stuff like this that make some believe publishing can’t survive as-is, or that makes Barnes & Nobles convinced they can compete online with Amazon.
In other England news, authors who want to speak in schools now need to pay for background checks. Some authors are angry, because they think they deserve unquestioned trust and access to children. With direct access denied, child molesting authors need to stick with offering candy from vans and the Internet. Regular non-pedophile authors also use the internet to interact with readers, and the eternal question lingers: Myspace or Facebook?
Academic publishing houses are finally jumping on the e-book bandwagon, with Harvard University Press selling 1,000 titles to Scribd, and NYU, Rutgers, Temple, and Penn looking into a collective scholarly e-book publishing plan. Cambridge University press isn’t going online per se, but is starting a new print-on-demand project. But don’t digitize everything just yet—students aren’t feeling e-textbooks. Don’t tell the Governator.
Troublingly, Ridley Scott tells us that science fiction is dead. With the recent passing of Phyllis Gotleib, Canadian sci-fi legend, and the death of Batman, I’m sorely tempted to believe him, but then articles like this one about Jack Vance, the genre-bending Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and this great discussion of international science fiction bring me back to reality: sci-fi is alive and kicking.
Harry Potter, though, is done for real (says JK Rowling for the millionth time, but what does she know?). This is too bad, as HP just got the Vatican seal of approval. Clearly they are stamping everyone with that seal, though, because Oscar Wilde is a-okay now too.
Although not officially Vatican sanctioned (yet), the literary heavyweight who is Shaq’s mom will be penning a memoir. Hopefully her lesser known, rapping genie son Kazaam will get a mention. Apparently a lot of musicians have been writing novels as well, because it’s not like it’s hard or anything. Right? Guys?
The incredible ease of writing is not evident in the new documentary Bad Writing (with David Sedaris!) or in the reasoning behind Anti-Plagiarism Day. And apparently even good writers suck, because although the Beat movement was influential, people are calling to remove, from the canon, Kerouac. What a hack. Especially compared to Momma Shaq. (Confession: I too am a rapping genie. It’s a very small community.)
Ten bucks says the Shaq book gets a massive advance; meanwhile, authors with no advances are turning to fundraising to pay for their lives while they write, and the nonprofit Archipelago Books is asking for people to buy subscriptions to keep them afloat. Even published authors are being humiliated, but mostly at book signings. Also at book signings: Margaret Atwood and her LongPen. Since this blog is rated G, you’ll have to fill in your own joke here.
In the spirit of this being a sales blog, I thought I would include some sales-related links (please, contain your joy). It turns out that remainders can still help you make cash money. With all this new cash in hand, keep your ducks in a row with this retirement plan for writers and this explanation of the joys of buying three books for the price of two (or buying random used books for hilarity). You know what I hear really helps book sales? Binding your books in human skin. (Anthropodermic bibliopegy. Say that three times fast! —E) Not. Creepy. At all.
In exchange for your submissions to my Amish vampire story contest, I trade a list of the 61 post-modern novels you must read (I said you, not me), an article about how modern day ladies aren’t really interested in “rape novels” from the 70s (here’s a hint: it might have something to do with the word “rape” in the name), a “Publishometer,” and this great beef with the Hugos. Not convinced? I now share with you the Holy Grail of combos: free chocolate Fridays and on-demand flash fiction. Now go nuts below—bonnets are optional; hilarity is a must.