January 29th, 2009

Book specific Web sites

The NY Times looks at book specific Web sites. “Publishers have long hoped that, say, a jacket by Chip Kidd or an author photo by Marion Ettlinger will increase attention and sales by signaling that a book is a big deal. In recent years, as publishing houses have encouraged writers to create a robust online presence, a new team of experts has emerged. Rabb and a handful of others are now the go-to people for book-specific Web sites and videos, and many authors are willing to shell out big money — usually from their own pockets — for the privilege of working with them.”

[Full disclosure: Regular readers of this blog may remember that I once had a somewhat personal and somewhat confusing conversation with Chip Kidd at a party after I got him mixed up with someone else.]

Read more here.

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You find the strangest things when you search Google for information about kidnappings

This is from an article in the Portland Mercury: "Author Marjorie Skinner asked a stranger for the opportunity to be tied up and kidnapped. You should always be careful what you wish for... I got the idea to arrange my own kidnapping from a friend. We were discussing Brock Enright, who runs New York City's Videogames Adventure Services (semagoediv.com). It's a business wherein Enright and his partners are paid thousands of dollars to perform custom kidnappings on their bored, wealthy clients."

[Full disclosure: here’s hoping the bottom falling out of the stock market has made this less appealing to people. It's about as worthwhile as serving people special foods topped with gold flakes.]

Read more here.

And in another odd twist, our own crissachappell wrote about these customized kidnappings in 2003. Read more here.

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How to respond to reviews

Step 1: Fret. What if no one likes it? What if they hate it? [And it can happen - I've had the same book get starred reviews from two pubs, and the snarkiest review you ever saw from a third.]

Step 2: Obsessively check Google Alerts, BN.com, and Amazon.com for reviews.

Step 3: Begin to think that no one will review it. That seems to be happening more and more. Try to decide if you would rather be hated or ignored.

Step 4: Find email in your inbox titled "Review from Kirkus."

Step 5: Feel wave of nausea.

Step 6: Open email. Let eyes skitter over text, alighting on nothing. Then look for bad things.

Step 7: Decide it's not so bad - in fact, it's pretty good. Esp. considering it's from Kirkus, which can be kind of a cranky-pants.

Step 8: Share:
"Henry, April
Sixteen-year-old Ellie is caught between two evils in this eco-terrorism thriller. When Ellie’s aging hippie parents are arrested for drug dealing, the FBI offers a deal: If Ellie will infiltrate the environmental activist group Mother Earth Defenders, her parents will stay out of jail. Ellie can’t bear to betray a group whose goals are so laudable—after all, who doesn’t want to protect old-growth forests and the habitat of the endangered lynx?—but she’ll do anything to keep her frail, innocent pothead dad out of prison. MED’s members aren’t so morally pure as Ellie would hope, however. Sure, gorgeous, blond-ringleted Coyote is a good guy, but creepy-looking Hawk advocates violence. Early attempts at exploring the moral complexities of extreme environmental activism get left by the wayside as Ellie’s tale concentrates on romance and big explosions, but the thrills and action will keep readers interested as she navigates her way between terrorists and self-centered Feds. (Thriller. 12-14)

Step 9: Begin to obsess about other reviews.

Step 10: Repeat.

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