Good morning, book people! I have a critique group meeting this morning, and a yen for chocolate biscuits, so this will be quick–and almost painless.
The interwebs exploded yesterday (the writerly corner of it, anyway) when author Jacqueline Howett responded to a critical review of her book, The Greek Seaman, at BigAl’s Books and Pal’s. Here’s a snippet of one of the comments:
And please follow up now from e-mail.
This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don’t fool me AL.
Who are you any way? Really who are you?
What do we know about you?
You never downloaded another copy you liar!
You never ever returned to me an e-mail
Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors.
Your the target not me!
Now get this review off here!
And, in case you’re curious, here’s her biography, which suggests that large parts of the novel are autobiographical. I suspect this is why Ms. Howett responded so violently.
Also, Joe says he will now be renaming his Nana Mouskouri cover band, The Greek Seaman Train Wreck.
If you have some time to kill, the comments are worth reading–not just for entertainment or as a “not what to do” but because some are genuinely kind and well-thought out notes on dealing with bad reviews.
Of course, the Jacqueline Howett story doesn’t end there–Good Books and Good Wine has the LOLcat version of her comments.
Over at Zazzle, we also have a snake mug… (Not sure why, but WP ate this line originally, so I’ve added the link back in.)
In other book news…
Mike Shatzkin has a post on ebook bestsellers that’s worth reading. It’s long, but talks financials, distribution, and bookstore placement. One quick aside though–Mike says,
Now the paradigm has changed. The default front table is the choice of titles on the screen that comes up first when a store’s program is opened. That’s almost always that retailer’s bestsellers (and, as far as I can tell, it isn’t customized for me at any of these retailers; you or my wife would see the same default screen that I would.)
I haven’t bought anything from B&N online in a long time, but I do know Amazon has customized front pages with recommendations based on my book-buying history. (And a lot of my recs are ebooks, since I read a lot on the kindle.) More thoughts on this post later.
And now, about those chocolate biscuits…Read More
Good morning, book people! After yesterday’s mini freakout and fiction-related writerly indecision, I’m feeling much calmer (in great part due to the excellent comment-love). For those who asked, yesterday’s interview went well, I think. It was definitely kind of fun, and I spent a lot of time in my writer’s garb, chatting about voice (one of my favorite topics).
And I have some most-excellent news this morning!
Back home, in the great (though often cold) state of Victoria, the library system has launched a YA type Goodreads, Inside A Dog. The name comes from a Groucho Marx quote, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” I’ll have more on Inside A Dog next week, but definitely head on over now–they have guest posts by some great YA authors coming up! (Brian Falkner, Gayle Forman…)
Field Trip Friday over at YA Highway has some excellent links around the writing webs this week, including this LA Times piece on Little Red Riding Hood getting a makeover. I love the cover, but it’s so Cinderella to me that I’m not sure I love it for Riding Hood. What do you think?
It’s been a big week for e-publishing in the blogosphere. Eric at Pimp My Novel has a nice, grounding list of 5 Things You Should Know About the eRevolution. Nathan Bransford has a few insights into pricing and ebooks vs. hardcovers (a nice follow up to Mike Shatzkin’s post on pricing models earlier this week). He also some really useful–again grounding–on Amanda Hocking and the 99c Kindle millionaires. (If you have to choose just one of these posts to read, go with the last on Hocking.)
An internet oldie but a goodie – my critique partner and friend, Livia, has a post on writing realistic male characters, and the jerkyness that is Guyhood. Love, love, love this!
Debbie Ridpath Ohi over at MiG writers has a follow up to her first post on writers and voice this week. The new post draws from Stephen Pressfield, and asks a couple of questions all writers should be thinking about. Both are well worth reading, and very quick!Read More
Last weekend, the NYT’s Jenna Wortham admitted her secret shame: until this year, she had never finished an e-book. She writes,
It’s not that I don’t read books. The various shelves and tables in my apartment are overflowing with paperbacks. But without a physical reminder of a book on a nightstand, it’s easy to forget that an extensive digital library is at my disposal.
This is a problem I don’t have–although our shelves, tables, even closets are overflowing with books, my Kindle goes almost everywhere I do. But Wortham’s article is less about her finishing an e-book and more about the decreasing length of e-texts.
Shorter e-books and essays are definitely gaining in popularity; Jodi Picoult’s Kindle Single “cracked Kindle’s top 100 seller list.” But what does this mean for YA readers?
Probably nothing. Sure, e-book lengths are decreasing, but the number of kids using e-readers is increasing. And in YA, that could actually mean more kids reading long books.Read More
Kindle Singles are, on the surface, the 21st century answer to pamphlets and novellas. They could also save short stories of the longer variety, the 6,000 to 10,000 word works that are too long for many lit magazines, and are still a bit of a nebulous nellie in the online zine department. But what has me really excited is the extras possibilities.
Reading a novel is a big time commitment, and in a good novel the emotional connection–happy, sad, funny–can leave you both elated and exhausted. But the hardest thing for me, harder than finding time to read, is not just putting a novel down. And not just literally–for every book I love, I spend days thinking about the plot, the author, and reading about the genesis of the book.
Kindle Singles won’t kill my must-read issues (yesterday, I read the first Incorrigibles book from start to finish, even reading in the dark by the light of my phone), but it might cut down on my compulsive novel googling.Read More
I have a new-ish piece over @ PopMatters on B&N, Amazon, and the power of the brick & mortar store. Click through to read more!
Barnes & Noble has one big advantage over Amazon, Sony, Apple, and pretty much every other e-reader out there: brick and mortar bookstores. Sure, the Kindle is available at Staples, Target, and even airports, but these lack the ambience, the bookishness, of a Barnes & Noble. Even with the gift sections and the toys, most Barnes & Nobles offer a cozy place—a cozy nook, in fact—to curl up and read, to sift through bestsellers before deciding on one (or in my case, all).