December 8th, 2009

Read an interview with Sara Nelson about the future of the book

Sara Nelson, the books director for O magazine and the former editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly, was asked a number of questions in a wide-ranging interview.

In part, she said, “I have seen in the last six months, the beginning of a sea change that probably should’ve started years ago, that publishers are starting to understand they can’t pay $3 million or half a million dollars for a book of short stories, however great the short stories are, because those books are never going to sell, and then that writer’s never going to get published again, and the whole system falls apart. Plus the publisher’s going to take a bath.

“So I think that publishers are learning that they have to look at other business models. I mean, there are some examples within the larger publishing community. Harper Studio is one that people talk about a lot that is a smaller advance and ahigher percentage of royalty to the author. There’s been a lot of grumbling about it, because their smaller advance is a $100,000, and I know people who work at Farrar Straus and say, well, big deal, I don’t pay $100,000 anyway. But at least it is the beginning of thinking about a different way of publishing. And one of the things that Harper Studio and that I see smaller and medium sized publishers doing much more than the big guys is understanding the author – and agent – but the author’s role in publicizing and distributing the book.”

Read more of her thoughts here.



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Two Portland SCWBI members in this week’s Publishers Deal Lunch

Anne Osterlund's EXILE, the sequel to AURELIA, the continuing story of Princess Aurelia as she travels her kingdom while in exile after refusing the arranged marriage her father orchestrated; and SALVATION, the story of a Mexican American teen and a Caucasian teen, who strike up an unlikely romance which is put to the test when one is involved in a car accident that causes the fatality of another teenager, to Angelle Pilkington at Puffin/Speak, in a nice deal, for publication in Dec 2010 and April 2012, by Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).

Bridget Zinn's debut POISON, in which a teen girl finds herself a would-be assassin, hunting down her former best friend, the princess of the realm, via the aid of an enchanted piglet, to Tamson Weston at Disney-Hyperion, at auction, in a two-book deal, in a very nice deal, by Michael Stearns at Upstart Crow Literary (NA).



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You run into the weirdest things doing research

This is from a totally serious advisory given by an employer to employees - tips on how to deal with being held hostage:

"Manage Your Personal Environment.
To the extent possible, treat the space in which you are confined like a home:
• Consider personalizing it by rearranging things as much as you can.
• Designate specific places for your various activities.
• Keep the place clean.
• Add to the furnishings. If possible, display photos of the family, which you may have in your wallet.
• Ask for things you need, without appearing to demand anything, but do not expect all promises to be kept.
• Where possible, avoid eye contact, which tends to be provoking and emotionally arousing. However, when being directly spoken to, the hostage should look at the captor, as this tends to establish rapport. Care should be exercised not to stare at or look down upon captors, as this tends to cause the captors to feel threatened."

I'm not exactly sure what kind of job these folks had - all I know is I wouldn't want it!



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Swim the Fly - a seriously funny book


I'm sure I'm not the intended audience for Swim the Fly, a seriously funny first YA from Don Calame. I'm not a male teenager, but a middle-aged woman. Even so, I loved it! [Full disclosure: I have never met Mr. Calame. I picked the book up on dlgarfinkle's recommendation.

The book is about 15 year old Matt and his two best friends, Coop and Sean. Every summer they have a goal. And when the book opens, they decide that their goal is to see a real live naked girl in person. How they meet that goal is a lot funnier than you might expect. The three are on a swimming team, and Matt finds himself volunteering to swim the butterfly to impress the beautiful Kelly.

As you might expect, there's a lot of jokes about farts and masturbation. But there's also a lot of heart.

And it's just plain funny.

Matt often lies to get himself out of trouble - haven't we all? (Trust me, if what follows doesn't seem funny, when you read the book and come to this section, you will find yourself laughing out loud.)

"I realize now that I am terrible, terrible liar. I mean, how am I supposed to get a picture of my entire swim team in dress clothes with towels around their necks and goggles on their heads? And how am I supposed to get Pete to buy Mom a giant, unhideable present? What would that even be? A statue? A totem pole?"



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Tone deaf

What kind of person thinks that putting this on my MySpace comment page:

"Just to let you know, my short story collection “Name Redacted” is now available to buy. (It’s great, by the way.)"

and directing me to some weird web site is going to actually make me buy it?



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