Thursday, April 30, 2009

April End Links & Things

These links are from my previous tweets for the latter half of this month. I've listed them here, all in one post, and with additional detail (and occasional editorial comment, since I am an editor!). This allows me to have a somewhat permanent file of all these links. And hopefully you'll find something of interest here, especially if you're not following me on Twitter.

  • In July 2008, author Lynn Viehl's sixth Darkyn novel, Twilight Fall, debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at #19. She promised her writer friends a few years ago that if one of her books ever made "the list" she would share all the information she was given by her publisher about the book "so writers could really see what it takes to get there." And here is that information, including her complete first royalty statement! Along with all 330 comments as of April 27, when the author turned off comments on this article. Great piece! (via @deanwesleysmith)

  • From Publishers Weekly for 4/20/2009: Jonathan Karp’s article "This Is Your Wake-up Call: 12 Steps to Better Book Publishing." Did you know that there is an illustrated gift book available entitled A History of Cannibalism? Obviously something we all need to buy for those on our holiday list who are difficult to please. (via @RickKlaw, @ColleenLindsay, and @sarahw)

  • Self-Publishing Review has an excellent interview with Carol Buchanan, author of the self-published God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana, which won the 2009 SPUR Award (Western Writers of America) for best first novel. And she did it all, according to the interview, for the paltry sum of $600.00. [See my "Mid-April Links & Things" for more information on this book and the SPUR Awards.]

  • Author Jay Lake on Andrew's Fox's The Good Humor Man, Or Calorie 3501 (Tachyon Publications, and edited by yours truly): "The jacket copy compares it to Fahrenheit 451, but I'll go with a blend of Don Quixote and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

    An update today: The Good Humor Man has received a starred review in Booklist, for May 15, 2009 -- but there is no need to wait: you can read the
    starred review now.

  • Sarah Weinman, in her blog Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, shares with us a publisher's letter to booksellers that was included in an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) for James Ellroy's novel Blood's a Rover. The letter itself is from the author; here's an excerpt: "Knopf will drop this atom bomb of a book on you September 22. Your job is to groove it and grok its groin-grabbing gravity between now and then.... The novel covers 1968-1972. It's a baaaaaad-ass historical romance -- huge in scope, deep in its exploration of the era, filled with my trademark craaaaazy shit, and suffused with a heightened sense of belief and the corollaries of political conversation and revolution." You need to read this letter!

  • I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the passing of author Ken Rand on April 21; I only knew Ken virtually, but his emails always reflected his kind heart. He sent me a submission query in October 2006 for his novel A Cold Day in Hell, but unfortunately, I had already given notice, so to speak, at Golden Gryphon Press, and at the time I wasn't acquiring for any other publishers. The book was finally published this February by Norilana Books, so I'm pleased that Ken got to see the book in print. Ken is also the author of a wonderful chapbook on self-editing entitled The 10% Solution, from Fairwood Press, who also published a number of Ken's nonfiction and short story collections. Fairwood Press Publisher Patrick Swenson posted some heartfelt memories of Ken Rand, along with a wonderful photograph; lots of readers comment, too.

  • From Variety, an excellent review of the new Star Trek movie, featuring Chris Pine (James Tiberius Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Eric Bana (Capt. Nero), Karl Urban (Leonard "Bones" McCoy), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Montgomery "Scotty" Scott), John Cho (Sulu), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov). "Stir in a well-chosen cast of relative unknowns, a strong new villain, vastly updated special effects and a dynamic style that makes Star Trek: The Motion Picture look 60 years old rather than just 30, and you've planted the seed to create a whole new generation of Trekkies." [My favorite Trek series has always been ST:TNG.]

  • A follow-up to an entry in my "Mid-April Links and Things": author Kristine Kathryn Rusch posted on April 23 the next installment to her online The Freelancer's Survival Guide: "Vacations."

    And an update: the latest installment on
    "Job Description" was posted on April 30.

  • From "A group of local book authors has donated their time and wisdom to launch, a new website to help aspiring authors land a book publishing contract for a six-figure advance." Here is a link to the full press release. The site provides a free book proposal writing workshop as well as a free download of a sample book proposal. The site has other goodies worth exploring as well.

  • Marc Fisher, in a Washington Post article on April 21 asks and answers: "Who Killed the Bookstore? The Reader, at Home, With the Computer." He bemoans the loss of Vertigo Books in College Park, Maryland, another independent bookstore undone by the behemoth online booksellers -- and how the loss will be felt by the entire community. And yet, he even admits to the seductiveness of online shopping, having ordered a book from just one hour before writing this article. Marc also states that online booksellers have an advantage over local, physical bookstores because they don't charge sales tax. And to that advantage, I strongly disagree. Book purchases are done online because of the convenience and the price discount. When each hardcover book costs an average of $25.00, and you can buy four hardcovers at your local indie store, or, for the same total amount, six hardcovers online -- and you're operating on a budget -- tell me, where are you going to purchase your books? Sales tax is insignificant in the overall scheme of things, and bookstore owners are going to be hugely surprised when states initiate Internet sales tax and these bookstores continue to close down. Physical bookstores are suffering the same fate as newspapers, magazines, and the compact disc music industry; it has nothing to do with sales tax.

  • Ray Bradbury, during his regular appearance at the Los Angeles Festival of Books, remarked that this may be his final appearance unless the LA Times resurrects its "Book" section, which, like most of the paper, has seen staff and page counts cut over the years. Bradbury worked for the LA Times "Book" section more than forty years ago! He shares some anecdotes in this article, including how he typed the manuscript for Fahrenheit 451 using a "pay" typewriter in a basement room under the Powell Library on the UCLA campus. The typewriter required 10 cents for 30 minutes. Bradbury came each day with a bag of dimes. When the manuscript was complete, he had spent $9.80. (via GalleyCat) [Good luck, Ray, on getting the "Book" section reinstated!]

  • Suvudu conducts a round table discussion featuring five science fiction and fantasy genre reviewers on the subject: "The Future of Newspapers and Book Publishing." The five reviewers are Mark Graham (The Rocky Mountain News, now defunct), Jim Hopper (The San Diego Union-Tribune), Nisi Shawl (The Seattle Times), Robert Folsom (The Kansas City Star), and Michael Berry (San Francisco Chronicle). I recall reviews of my edited Golden Gryphon Press titles by Michael Berry, Robert Folsom, and Mark Graham. (via GalleyCat)

  • Brendan Sherar, the founder of and former new media director of a newspaper, warns literary types to pay attention to digital books to avoid the same fate as newspapers. His essay is entitled: "Why should I care about e-books? Lessons learned the hard way from the newspaper biz." Sherar writes: "Seriously, folks, the future of books is being decided now, much like it was being decided for newspapers 5-7 years ago." He presents nine important issues/questions to consider. (via GalleyCat)

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