Random Notes on Publishing
January 22, 2010 | Written by admin
>So I noticed one of the popular writing websites was doing a feature where they ask people to send in the best first line of a book they've read, and two people sent in first lines they'd written themselves. That's right — better than Dickens, better than Austen, even better than Edward Bulwer-Lytton's "It was a dark and stormy night." Clearly there's no shortage of confidence among newbie writers!
>Forget the doom and gloom. The 2009 overall sales numbers have now been crunched, and overall book sales were only down 3% from the previous year — that's in a year that had the worst economy since the Great Depression. People are still reading (and buying) books!
>The six largest publishers in the US are negotiating with Apple to create a new (read: "profitable") model for releasing e-books. They're tired of Amazon paying them next-to-nothing for e-rights, and they plan to work with Apple to establish a new business model on the device that Apple is expected to unveil next week. That's good news for authors, who are simply not making any money on all those $9.99 ebooks selling to Kindle owners.
>The head of Author Solutions (the company that is teaming with other publishing houses to help them sell self-publishing to author wannabes) has created a message on YouTube, inviting the leadership of the writing organizations that are critical to a discussion. CEO Kevin Weiss called for Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and the Science Fiction Writers Association to dialogue about the role of self-publishing in a changing publishing environment. If you don't know, those organizations tossed out publishers who were now offering self-publishing options — the most notable case being RWA ditching Harlequin, who has been the major sponsor of the organization. It's an interesting debate, and Weiss' message is worth a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnmoWq0m5bY
>The 17th Annual Heartsong Bookclub Awards are out, in which readers vote on their favorite novels of the year. The top five authors this year are Janice Hanna Thompson, Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Mary Conneally, and Janet Lee Barton. Congrats to all! And, um, I'll point out that four of those five are represented by MacGregor Literary.
>Thomas Nelson's blogger site www.booksneeze.com is proving to be wildly successful with authors. They offer bloggers a chance to receive books for free if they'll agree to review the titles, and early returns show nearly 8000 bloggers have already signed up.
>The Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) is not only without a president, but they've just put their headquarters up for sale. Hard times for the organization that brought Christian publishing out of the dark ages.
>Barnes & Noble has its NOOK, now Borders is going to offer their own devise, the ALEX READER from Spring Design. Word is that Borders, who has been trying to manage their huge debt, is facing serious financial problems. Pray they survive — if only to give B&N some competition.
>Someone wrote to ask me what I think is the best writers' conference. My response: The Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. It's coming up April 15 to 17 in Grand Rapids, and this year's speakers include National Book Award finalists John Edgar Wideman, Kevin Young, Sara Zarr, and Gene Yuen Yang, Newberry Award winners Avi and Kate DeCamillo, Pulitzer Prize nominees Richard Rodriguez and Lawrence Dorr, Coretta Scott King Honor winners E.B. Lewis and Sharon Flake, acclaimed filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson, bestselling authors Joshilyn Jackson and Wally Lamb, noted Christian writers Lisa Samson and Eugene Peterson, and the fascinating Parker Palmer and Sarah Miles. There will be notable poets, screenwriters, playwrites, children's book authors, graphic novelists, nonfiction writers, and… well, everything. A fabulous conference. You can find out more at http://www.calvin.edu/academic/engl/festival/
>Speaking of bestselling author Lisa Samson, she is starting a tea shop in Lexington called "Cuppa" that is going to offer a great experience to people who want to sit down and have a nice cup of tea (at the right temperature, steeped for the right amount of time, in the right atmosphere). She's asking people to donate nice teacups, and will have a book that allows the donor to tell the story of each cup. If you've got a teacup you'd like to donate, you can reach Lisa at lisa (at) lisasamson (dot) com. I know she'd love to hear from people with great teacups and great stories!
>If you're a fan of Lisa, and would like to learn from her, she is teaming up with Susan Meissner to offer a couple writing retreat weekends in 2010. May 7-8 they're going to be in Orlando, offering a weekend entitled "Adding Depth to your Fiction." The two will repeat the experience July 23-24 in Grand Rapids. You can find out more by emailing the person coordinating their writing retreats — Tiffany Colter at tiffcolter (at) gmail (dot) com.
>And I am teaming up with bestselling novelist Susan May Warren to teach a couple of fiction writing seminars. Writing Bestselling Fiction will be held in Atlanta on Feb 26-27, then again in Portland on April 23-24. Participants will bring their novel and we'll work through what really constitutes a bestselling novel. We'd love to have you join us. The cost is $349, and we can only take a dozen people. Find out more at www.themasterseminars.com
>I had more winning proposals in yesterday's email in-box: "I want top be published what steps do I need to take?" Another was, "Are you looking for a great novel based in truth and my fantasy's?" (I checked to make sure I had these two exactly right.) These were both was tempting, but somehow I was able to resist their siren song… [NOTE TO AUTHORS WHO SENT THOSE EMAILS: "Siren song" is a literary allusion. Ask your mom to explain it to you.]