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Lecture Circuit

David Levithan Writes Love Story in Dictionary Entries

In his first adult book, The Lover’s Dictionary, author and editor David Levithan wrote “the story of a relationship told in the form of dictionary entries.”

Levithan (pictured next to an espresso book machine) read at McNally Jackson Books earlier this week. He explained that he used The New York Times’ Book of Words You Need to Know to pick out words for the book. While writing, he followed the dictionary format, telling the story in a non-linear way.

After the reading, the author fielded audience questions. When asked to pick his favorite word, Levithan said “wonder.” He concluded the night with an encore reading of one of his favorite entries in the book,  ”elegy.” What is your favorite word?

Lifestyle Bundles & High Speed Printing: The Future of Book Publishing Roundtable

Today we joined a small group of industry leaders and  journalists at the Future of Book Publishing Roundtable at the New York Public Library. The guest list ranged from publishing executives to bookstore professionals to self-publishing experts to authors.

Hosted by Chris Verlander, Kodak’s director of book segment marketing (pictured), the panel discussion was moderated by Jim Milliot, the editorial director at Publisher’s Weekly. Here are some highlights from the wide-ranging discussion.

Liz Scheier, the editorial director of digital content at Barnes & Noble, talked about success stories with eBook bundles. She said one unnamed publisher saw a massive increase in an author’s sales when they gave away the first book of a series for free. She also suggested publishers try “lifestyle bundles,” selling related eBooks together (like a pregnancy guide and a parenting handbook).

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A.M. Homes Speed-Dates Audience at Reading Series

On Wednesday, the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series celebrated its 2-year anniversary of being held at the New York City venue, Joe’s Pub. After reading a short story, author A.M. Homes (pictured) conducted a 5-minute round of speed-dating with some audience members.

Four potential dates volunteered; two men and two women were asked a series of funny questions to determine compatibility. The audience voted by cheering on who they felt should go on a coffee date with Homes. The winner (pictured), was asked whether or not she would make a good stalker. She answered “yes.”

At Happy Ending events, authors are required to do two things. First, they must give a 10-minute reading. Then they must perform a risk on stage–hence Homes’ choice to speed-date.

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Charles Dickens vs. 30 Readers

Thirty writers and actors joined a marathon reading of the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol at New York City’s Housing Works Bookstore Cafe before the holidays. In an article about the event, Bookish compared the reading to a similar reading staged by Charles Dickens in 1867. Editor’s note: We’ve added some commentary from Housing Works Books below.

A trailer for an animated adaptation is embedded above. Here’s more from  Bookish: “Dickens was greeted with eager fans who waited for tickets overnight in the cold, wrapped in blankets and huddled around bonfires to keep warm. The cops were called in for crowd control. On the first night of his New York tour, a sold-out audience of more than 2,000 literary socialites and powerful businessmen gathered in the grand Steinway Hall by Central Park. They cried, laughed, and interrupted with applause during Dickens’ reading.”

According to the article, only about “a half-dozen” of the attendees stayed for the entire 3-hour reading. Literary enthusiasts aren’t what they used to be in the 19th century. Bah, humbug!

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Rachel Kramer Bussel Ends In the Flesh Reading Series

Author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel (pictured, via) has been running In the Flesh for five years, but the reading series will end tonight.

We caught up with Bussel before her event to find out why she is ending the series. She also shared advice about how to run a better literary reading.

Q: Why are you ending this reading series?
A: It was not an easy decision to end ‘In The Flesh,’ but I realized that I’ve been losing money on it, because I pay for food, photography and videography. I do get a cut of the bar, but that doesn’t cover everything, and then once I decided to end it, I realized just how much time it takes each month to book readers, promote the event, and generally organize it.

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What Publishers, Authors & Journalists Can Learn from Indie Rock and Music Blogs

At Book Camp New York on Saturday, this GalleyCat editor gave a short presentation about lessons the publishing world can learn from the indie rock scene: “Love Is a Mixtape: What Publishers, Authors and Journalists Can Learn from Indie Rock and Music Blogs.”

We believe that the publishing world will someday resemble the fractured landscape of rock music. This new world will be filled with nimble publishers and self-published authors, but also feature dramatically reduced profits for many writers.

Drawing on a few key lessons from indie rock musicians and music bloggers, we have tried to reshape GalleyCat to prepare for these momentous changes. Below, we’ve listed the five lessons we learned alongside five pieces of advice from a indie rock band manager.

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Author Reading Advice from Moth Ball Attendees

On Tuesday night, GalleyCat hobnobbed with socialites, authors and celebrities at the annual Moth Ball at the classy Capitale on the Lower East Side. Moth GrandSLAM winners read one minute stories and Deborah Allen-Carr received the $5,000 MothShop Community Scholarship Award.

We caught up with some of the attendees to get author reading advice. Moth GrandSLAM winner Brad Lawrence had this suggestion: “One of the most valuable things at The Moth is the time-limit. It makes you hone things, there’s never a wasted line. There’s never filler–because you don’t have time for that. It’s very valuable–making every word count.”

Moth Ball host and author Jonathan Ames had some short and sweet advice: “Keep it short–no more than 15 minutes. Pick something funny.”

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Yann Martel Shares Author Reading Advice

Author Yann Martel has a straightforward method for choosing selections for public readings: “it has to work orally.” In an interview with the National Post, the novelist shared author reading advice.

Martel explained: “In other words, people have to be able to get it hearing it and hearing it only once. Description isn’t usually a good choice. Dialogue or a scene with action works best.”

In 2002, Martel won the Man Booker Prize for Life of Pi. The novel will be adapted into a 3-D film by Oscar-winning director, Ang Lee. Lee has cast 17-year-old Suraj Sharma as lead protagonist, Pi Patel.

BEA & ALA Will Not Host a Joint Convention

Book Expo America (BEA) and the annual American Library Association’s convention (ALA) will continue to be held as separate events. The two groups had been discussing creating a combined event in the future.

Publishers Weekly broke the news last week: “[A joint] statement called the discussions ‘a positive experience’ and that ‘doors have been opened for other possible collaborative activities between ALA and the American Booksellers Association, the American Association of Publishers and Reed Exhibitions.’”

BEA 2011 is scheduled for May 23-May 26, 2011 in New York City. The ALA’s annual Conference is scheduled for June 23-28, 2011 in New Orleans, LA.

How to Build a Sponsored Book Tour

zeroe.jpgOne author turned his book tour into an endurance test, taking a “zero emissions” bike tour down the West Coast to support his title–securing sponsorship from Flip Video, Cannondale Bikes, and other companies.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was novelist James Kaelan, explaining how he built his book tour for his debut novel, We’re Getting On.

Press play below to listen.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview: “I had the naive confidence that if the idea was good enough, we could pitch it to the right people and they would support it. I ended up being at least somewhat correct. Cannondale jumped right on it. [My publicist] Jessi Hector from Goldest Egg pitched them and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a great idea’ and set up a meeting and gave us bikes … You should know InDesign and be able to put together a good pitch deck. More important than the actual aesthetics of the presentation is just have the idea. I talk a lot about adding narrative to narrative–the story that sells your story.”

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