Friday, September 3, 2010

August Links & Things (Part One)

I'll begin with a quick status: I currently have three copyediting projects in process: 1) the December 2010 issue of Realms of Fantasy magazine; 2) Phil and Kaja Foglio's Agatha H and the Airship City (a novel based on the "Girl Genius" comic series) forthcoming from Night Shade Books in January 2011; and 3) Joe Lansdale's Crucified Dreams anthology for Tachyon Publications. And I have a couple other projects in the works that I hope to announce shortly. Until then....

Due to content, I'm splitting the "August Links & Things" wrap-up into two parts; hopefully Part Two will follow within a few days at most. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern -- but here in my blog post, in addition to the links themselves, I include more detail and the occasional comments.

  • If, like me, you're waiting for that Android tablet (because you simply don't like Apple and/or you are not satisfied with the iPad's features), then there is much to be pleased with in the world. Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy tablet at the IFA trade show in Berlin; the tablet will be released in Europe this month and in the U.S. "in coming months." has a features comparison between the Galaxy and the iPad.
  • Also in the news: According to, Google, Motorola, and Verizon are partnering in what may be the first Android 3.0 tablet. This is only a PR announcement, no real details, but enough to pique one's interest in the future of the Android tablet. (via @News4Android)
  • Best-selling author Seth Godin made headlines throughout the publishing industry when he announced on his blog: "Linchpin will be the last book I publish in a traditional way." Godin provides some background and thoughts on the current state of publishing, and concludes with: " mission is to figure out who [my] audience is, and take them where they want and need to go, in whatever format works, even if it's not a traditionally published book." (via @GalleyCat)
  • In fact, nearly all of the links in this post are concerned with non-traditional publishing. As I've mentioned in previous month-end posts, author Dean Wesley Smith is writing a series of blog posts entitled "The New World of Publishing." In the current entry, "Books Are No Longer Produce," Dean discusses how books were/are treated as little more than grocery store produce in traditional publishing, and he provides a bit of history on how this thinking -- and treatment of books -- came about. But, as Dean states: "books don't spoil." And because "books don't spoil" (Dean states this six different times in the course of the post.) traditional publishing must change if they are to survive. A well-written piece worthy of your time; and check out the more than 45 Comments as well.
  • And if the idea of self-publishing has even barely touched the outer fringes of your mind, then this next blog post is an absolute must read: "Self-Publishing and Subsidy Presses." If you've ever wondered what the difference is between self-publishing and vanity presses, this is the place to start. The post includes quotes from noted folks in the field, links to even more resources (SFWA, Writers Beware, Scribd, Lulu, etc.), breakdown in percentages of publishing costs, plus more than 30 Comments. I can't stress this enough: Before you consider the self-publishing route -- and more importantly, a self-publishing press -- you need to do your homework.
  • And to emphasize the fact that self-published books are still the Rodney Dangerfields ("I get no respect.") of the industry, Publishers Weekly announced on August 23 that they will begin publishing a quarterly supplement -- PW Select -- listing self-published materials. The caveat? To simply have your self-published book listed requires a fee of $149.00. What self-published materials actually get reviewed in the supplement is at the discretion of the PW editorial staff. My suggestion: Use that $149.00 for other, more positive, methods of PR, rather than a listing in a supplement that most likely will be read by very few bookstore and library book buyers.
  • An article in, "Byte-Sized Books," has the subtitle: "Digital publishing levels the playing field for small publishers." The article mentions a number of indie presses including Small Beer Press, Electric Literature, and Featherproof Books: "In the little-guy economy, the personal wins. In this way, indie publishing is no different from the start-up world. 'There's a premium on the individual. Getting an e-mail from somebody who says, "Hey, check this out," means a lot more to the recipient than spam from the Random House publicity department,' said Richard Nash, formerly of Soft Skull Press and founder of Cursor, a portfolio of digital publishing communities that launches next year."
  • As the industry moves more toward digital publishing, writers will encounter publishing contracts that include digital rights. Author Michael A. Stackpole, in a recent blog post, specifies "9 Must-have Clauses for Digital Rights Contracts": 1) A cash advance equal to an estimate of the first two years royalties; 2) A 6 month window for publication of each book under contract; 3) A sunset clause on the contract.... 4) Clearly define which formats are to be used; 5) Copies of all files, including source files.... 6) Electronic rights to the books are limited to one language only; 7) Where there are multiple books in a series.... 8) Royalties should be calculated and paid every 60 days; and 9) The files will be made available to the author to sell from his own webstore.... There is much more detail prior to the 9 points, and each point contains additional detail, plus more than 40 Comments.
  • From Much debate recently in the Twitterverse on the subject of placing advertisements in digital books. I suspect it's going to be inevitable if publishers/distributors are to keep the prices of ebooks reasonable -- or, at least, what the buyers of ebooks consider reasonable. Even the Wall Street Journal touched on the debate. (via @GalleyCat)
  • And on a more personal note... Maud Newton (@maudnewton) has a very heartfelt blog post, about her father-in-law Larry, entitled "On grief -- and dying without finishing your book." 'Nuff said.
  • And lastly, on a lighter note... I snagged this from a Facebook post by Paulo Bacigalupi: Headline in the UK's The Daily Mash: "Outrage Over Plans To Build Library Next To Sarah Palin." The article goes on to state: "Plans to build a state-of-the-art library next to Republican catastrophe Sarah Palin are causing outrage across mainstream America. Campaigners have described the project as insensitive and a deliberate act of provocation by people with brains..." Read more if you dare.

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