Good morning, book people! I’m at a Starbucks working this morning, soaking up the yuppie-artistic vibe of Harvard Square. How about you?
In slightly sad Peta & Joe news this morning, I had an epiphany: We have lived in the US so long that Starbucks has become a way of measurement for us. Over the weekend, I had a rather heavy parcel of papers to mail–43 oz’ worth. Joe’s response? “Wow, that’s more than two ventis! Or almost a trenta and an half!”
And now for something completely different…
First up, literary agency Dystel & Goderich is entering the e-publishing game–sort of. Rather than becoming a publisher (as a few other agencies are doing), they will:
facilitate e-publishing for those of clients who decide that they want to go this route, after consultation and strategizing about whether they should try traditional publishing first or perhaps simply set aside the current book and move on to the next. (via @lkblackburne)
Next on the docket, YA Highway has an excellent post on “building a heart bridge” to your reader. It’s a great follow-up to #YAsaves. Very quick read, but long-lingering thoughts.
Stuck for time to write this summer? Over at Literary Rambles, Casey shares how she’s carving out time to write over the break. She also has a great-looking book giveaway. Head on over to win a copy of:
- Lauren Oliver’s Delirium
- Kimberly Sterling’s Desires of the Dead
- Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss
- Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Queen
…by becoming a follower (of Casey’s blog, though I love followers/subscribers too!) and leave a comment before July 9th.
Over at Pub Rants, Agent Kristin Nelson has a quick read on riding the cultural zeitgeist–when agents start seeing submissions that aren’t on-trend, but center on a certain theme anyway. Are they seeing the birth of a trend? Maybe.
Finally, NPR has an interesting read on using computers as part of classroom learning. I find this particularly intriguing since the kidlet is learning to count with an iPhone app we play together-he simply can’t get enough of it, and he’s really glomming onto the concept of numbers (eight is his favorite). (via Scholastic’s On Our Minds)
And for some Monday morning fun (which I could use, since web goblins ate half this post the first time around), The Onion, America’s finest news source, is lobbying for an #onionpulitzer. There are lots of great videos of support on YouTube already, here are two I particularly love: Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Coraline) and Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras). Two more I’d love to see? Old Spice Man Isaiah Mustafa and George Takei (preferably together).
Good morning, book people! After slogging through a lot of freelance work, I’m easing back into the world of my own blog, but it’s a slow process. But with a little luck, I’ll settle back into the usual routine soon. Some longer thoughts this morning, so fewer links.
ETA: Also, as you can see, I’m transitioning site design again. Unfortunately, there are always small bugs installing a new theme on an older site, so it may be a while before everything’s quite perfect. Please bear with me!
First up this morning, The Guardian’s Harriet Evans has a piece about e-books and editing. Although she’s writing about the loss of the editor in the self-publishing e-book world, the post made me think about the editing process for digital media.
If you’ve read at least five e-books, chances are you’ve run up against a host of spelling and grammatical errors. In some novels, they’re small things, in about the same numbers as a print book. But in others, the books have the feel of a galley, rough and hard-edged. Which begs the question: is there an editing process in play for e-books? Are there editors and copy editors who either work exclusively with a digital edition, or spend, at least, as much time proofing it as they do its print brethren? And if not, why not?
I know–like most folks who call themselves readers–that publishing is an expensive venture. It’s also riddled with archaic business practices and hard to understand contractual language. And (good) editing costs money, regardless of whether the publisher is paying for your editor (traditional) or you’re paying her (self-pubbed). The costs in running essentially two editorial teams per book would be high–hence the greater number of errors in digital editions. But here’s my big question:
If publishers don’t up their editorial game in the e-book arena (say that 5 times fast!), will self-pubbed books surpass them?
There’s a lot of dross in the self-publishing world, but there are clearly a few good eggs–the folks who spend the time working past the “I’m Finished!” happy dance, tightening, tweaking, and editing. And a lot of these people hire freelancers to edit their work–their digital only work–which means a much cleaner manuscript for the reader.
Right now, I’m all for traditionally publishing. But watching a friend of mine wade through the pros and cons of self v. traditional, and seeing her lean toward self, makes me wonder. Why? Because my friend isn’t a hot head, or egotistical about her work–she’s put long hours into her manuscript, not just writing, but revising, and polishing, taking all her feedback into account. If she did self-pub, she’d hire an editor, too, and I know that her manuscript would be almost flawless…
Next up, at The NYT, the estate of late memoirist and novelist, Donald Windham, will soon be awarding some of the largest literary prizes in America. Although the prizes don’t directly affect YA authors (as far as I can tell), there will be some opportunities for “promising” writers.
And last but not least, Becky Tuch over at Beyond the Margins have a fun piece on yoga for writers. It rings a little too true for me! (via @YAHighway)
Image Credit: Kindle. Coffee. Pumpkin. by Doreyexmachina, via Flickr.
Good morning, book people! It’s been hectic around our house lately, hence the intermittent blogging. I’ll be keeping up the coffee breaks (I love writing these) this week, and should get back to the 5 day a week schedule next week.
Excitement this morning! Jennifer Egan has won the Pulitzer for fiction with her novel, A Visit From The Goon Squad. Although the book is technically adult–it appears to be a collection of short stories–it has a couple of kidlit elements, and there’s an extract available over at the Guardian’s children’s book site. The extract is a short story formatted as a Power Point slideshow, and definitely worth checking out. (And I’ll have more on Egan and using technology in books sometime soon.)
Next up, a useful critique from ex-agent Nathan Bransford. More interesting than the critique, though, are his thoughts on learning to trust yourself as a writer. I’ve struggled with this on an off (particularly so when I’m sending out queries), as have most writers I know. And I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it’s part of the process of tapping into our own unique skills. What do you think?
Over on Tumblr, my friend and former bookseller Melanie has started up blog, Yay Kidlit! Go give it some love–she has some great links and book coverish posts already, including a (perhaps more realistic) cover for Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach which did actually make me laugh out loud.
In some heartening Hunger Games news, the actors cast to play Rue and Thresh have been announced–and they’re actually POC. Granted, the movie probably couldn’t have weathered the backlash if the studio had cast white actors for the two roles, but it’s nice to see them sticking to the ethnicities in the book this time around. Congrats to Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh) and Amandla Stenberg (Rue)!
Not exactly kidlit related, but The Economist has a great, well written, and thoughtful piece on two books about Pakistan, “an important but confusing country which has been driven, partly by American intervention, into strange ways.” Although I don’t read much outside of YA and kidlit these days, I’ve always had a soft spot for books about Pakistan and India, since large parts of my family history are rooted there. Are your reading tastes ever influenced by your family history?
Also at The Economist, Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson has been accused–by CBS News–of “fabricating some of his stirring tales.” Three Cups of Tea was a best seller and is now a picture book.
And finally, some sad geek news - Elizabeth Sladen, better known as the Doctor’s companion, Sarah Jane Smith, has died. She was the star of a surprisingly good Doctor Who spinoff for kids, The Sarah Jane Adventures.Read More
Good morning, book people! I’m sorry for the impromptu coffee break hiatus–my computer’s hard disk died last Wednesday. I have a new disk now, though, and thanks to my time capsule restoration, everything is as it should be. Which means we can start gearing up for Easter! I’ll have an Easter book list up later this week.
First up, at io9 author Robin Hobb, aka Megan Lindholm, aka Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden writes about how she ended up with her two pseudonyms–and the distinct authorial personalities that go with them.
Over at The Shatzkin Files, Mike talks about why it might be hard to find a public library 15 years from now. Long, but thoughtful and worth reading, particularly if you’re just getting into the digital game.
Over at Kris Writes, Kristine Katherine Rusch continues her Business Rusch series with this post on e-book royalties. Again, (very) long, but even if you’re not in e-book publishing right now, this is worth a look, as it highlights several key issues within the industry writers need to be aware of. (via @lkblackburne)
At The Wall Street Journal, Claire Messud reflects on the importance of finding a character’s true name. This, I can relate to–I often start with a place holder name, then write around until I find what I’m looking for. Name dictionaries and googling do not work for me; I need to come to my name organically, the way I need to come to my writing organically. (I am not a planner. I am dependent on lists in my everyday life; in my writing one, I’m dependent on my own particular brand of scattered focus.) Read more about Messud here.
In last week’s Independent, Boyd Tonkin wonders what it takes for a book to make history. Is it controversy? Writing? The author? Or the ‘ideological “grand narrative”‘?
At Kidlit, Agent Mary Kole has a quick post on the difference between proposals and querying with a complete manuscript–and why debut fiction authors need to the do latter.Read More
Good morning book people! It’s grey out this morning, which is actually a good thing–it’ll make it easier for me to stay inside and catch up on work today! That, and the Mir-Cat and I are sick. Why is it that mummies must always catch whatever their kids have?
This morning, I’m all about the flashbacks–there’s so much great stuff out there that was popular last year or the year before, and has faded a bit, even though it’s still very relevant today. And so, without further ado…
First up, author Marianna Baer has an absolutely brilliant post on sex scenes in YA over at A Crowe’s Nest. It’s full of examples and insight, and is never condescending. A must-read.
Over at Forever Young Adult, the most swoon-worthy YA couples of all time. A couple of my favorites made it in here–Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables), and Macy and Wes (The Truth About Forever).
Another oldie but goodie–an interview with Printz award winner and Australia icon Melina Marchetta, over at YA Highway. Marchetta is a fixture in Australia; her debut novel, Looking for Alibrandi, is on reading lists all over the country.
And finally, back to Marianna again–using a couple of Sarah Dessen novels, Marianna explores how to get the most out of introducing a new character with dialogue, action, and internal monologue. I love this post, and have it bookmarked for my own future reference.
I’ll (most likely) be back later with a Cover Notes post. Have a great day, everyone!Read More
Good morning, book people! It’s sunny & kinda-sorta warm in Cambridge this morning – I actually ran outside! And now I’m home, with my boys, coffee, warm beignets, and a pretty fun day ahead, showing my cousin around town. What more could a girl ask for? Oh, wait…Easter eggs! Fortunately, the Mir-Cat has a few to offer around…
Yesterday, ex-Agent (wow, that makes him sound like a Bond villain) Nathan Bransford posted about virtual witch hunts and respect within the writing community. A must-read.
Agent Kristin Nelson has a short video (1:58 minutes) with a couple of useful query tips. She also has The Book Lantern, an in-depth look at the supporting characters in a story. It’s broken down into “Parents,” “Mean Girl,” and “The Friends,” and is very, very useful. Works as a great checklist for avoiding stereotypes.
SLJ’s A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy has a very well done review of Melina Marchetta’s The Piper’s Son. Marchetta is an Australian author; her first book, Looking for Alibrandi, is on a lot of reading lists back home. SLJ’s review is very positive–which I mostly agree with–though I don’t think Marchetta’s “teen/twenties guy” voice is as strong as her “teen/twenties girl.”
Check out The Big Kahuna Round of SLJ’s Battle of the Kids Books. So far, I’ve only read A Conspiracy of Kings–which I loved–but all these books look good.
And finally, another must read–Library Journal’s Annoyed Librarian on the Devolution of Public Libraries, and privatization. It’s a little old in internet time, but an essential post.
And that’s it, folks. I’ll try and take some more pics of Borders while I’m in town, so we can see how the remaining stores are holding up. Have a great day!Read More