Personally, I vote for the $5 hot dogs, washed down with a $3 soft drink.
Archives: May 2008
Have you heard about the Other Means Reading Series yet? The monthly readings, which have been going on for nearly a year now, and are currently based at Boerum Hill’s Flying Saucer Coffee Shop (494 Atlantic Avenue), are notable in that each event is a fundraiser for a charity selected by the featured authors. “By working with local community organizations and mobilizing attendees to give small donations,” says the organization’s website, “Other Means hopes to change peopleâ€™s minds about how much you have to give to make a difference-to show that small donations matter, and that charity isnâ€™t just for the rich.”
Tonight, for example, Janice Erlbaum and Roxana Robinson suggest that audience members contribute to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Other organizations which have benefitted from the series include Girls Write Now, the Community Word Project, the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, and the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition.
(Note: Looking through the archive of past events, I learned that GalleyCat contributing editor Emily Gould was a guest star at a reading last year.)
I’ll be speaking at the Writers League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference in Austin on Saturday, June 21. My fellow guests on the afternoon panel, “Landing Ink, Airtime and Blog Buzz in Today’s Changing Media Environment,” include Publishers Weekly editor-in-chief Sara Nelson, Dallas Morning News book editor Michael Merschel, and local journalists Ian Crawford and Eileen Flynn. According to the program, we’ll be talking about “how authors and publishing houses can effectively work with the media to position themselves for coverage.” I’ll be the one explaining that everybody else’s strategies work great for “the media,” but can often prove counterproductive when you’re dealing with independent bookbloggers.
The three-day conference will run you roughtly $300-$350, depending on whether you’re a member of the League or not, but we’re not the only attraction on the schedule. And it’s Austin! I’m already looking forward to finding time that weekend to browse at BookPeople, and figuring out what restaurants I’m going to visit, and maybe even catch some live music.
XKCD, which you might remember is one of my favorite webcomics, landed a NY Times business section feature today, and while creator Randall Munroe doesn’t seem any closer to a book deal, damnit, he appears to be holding his own, selling “thousands of T-shirts a month” with the help of his roommate. One secret to Munroe’s success online? “You can draw something that appeals to 1 percent of the audience,” he tells Noam Cohen. “1 percent of [the] United States, that is three million people, that is more readers than small cartoons can have.”
Another important reason: At this point, there’s pretty much an XKCD strip for every occasion—even the new James Bond novel.
When I got my invite to the book party for Mickey Rapkin‘s Pitch Perfect, a journalistic account of the competitive world of college a cappella, I hit upon what I thought was a great idea—I’d invite Kate Torgovnick (near right), who’d just published Cheer!, a similar book about college cheerleading, and introduce the two writers to each other. As it turned out, they were already friends, which made it much easier to get a picture of them together, after we’d been treated to a mini-concert by the NYU a cappella group N’harmonics (top), including their versions of “Seven” and “Somethng to Talk About.”
I also brought along memoirists Julie Klausner and Rachel Shukert, fresh off the opening night for their new comedy show, Wasp Cove. And that’s how Klausner, who had just sold her book to Gotham Books, met associate publicity director Rachel Ekstrom, who’s already looking forward to the possibility of working on I Don’t CARE About Your Band when it’s published next year…
(Shukert, by the way, can be seen Tuesday night at KGB Bar, along with fellow Nerve contributor Arianne Cohen—whose The Tall Book ought to be coming out soon, IIRC—and the website’s editor, Will Doig.)
Everybody’s making a big to-do about Devil May Care, the Sebastian Faulks-penned James Bond thriller Doubleday‘s releasing this week, but there’s even cooler news from England, where visual artist Michael Gillette has created covers for all of Ian Fleming‘s original novels, reissued by Penguin in new deluxe hardcover editions—for the UK market only, at least for the time being. Which is a shame, because Gillette’s gallery of “Bond Girls” is way cooler than the faux pulp imagery of the current US paperback editions, shown off to the sides.
Some of Gillette’s artwork is included in “Bond Bound,” an exhibition of Bond book art currenly showing in London with New York and Los Angeles gallery dates scheduled for later this year.
(via the ever-awesome Bully)
Thomas Nelson CEO/president Michael Hyatt recently convinced roughly one-quarter of the company’s Nashville-based employees to take part in a local half-marathon. A few weeks ago, he used his blog to collect staff testimonials about the experience, and now he’s hosting a mini-documentary put together by his corporate communications director with some help from Literary Video. It’s a good reminder that the power of online video isn’t in its capability to promote products, but to promote ideas, whether those ideas are stories (fiction or nonfiction) or identities (personal or collective).
Seth Godin wants 1,000 headshots for his next book cover. “The book is out in October,” he says, “and I’m not talking about it, not one bit, for months.” But I guess we can assume that the cover idea for Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us has changed somewhat from the version currently appearing on Amazon.com.
We can also turn to a post Godin wrote in January about “tribe management,” where he suggests, “What people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies,” and that effective marketing these days isn’t about attracting an audience to your products, but developing products and services for the affinity communities that already exist. He elaborated on the concept for his SquidBlog: “If you want a tribe, you need to earn one. You earn one by being the best in the world at what you do, by sharing generously, by being clear and clean and transparent and easy to work with.”
Earlier this month, I noted that the boom in YA science fiction and fantasy sales compared to the adult market for those genres. A little bird with access to Nielsen Bookscan tells me the effect can be seen in other genres as well. “Has anyone noticed that YA is also home to one of the bestselling (if not the bestselling) living poets in the country, Ellen Hopkins?” this source asks.
Hopkins is the author of four verse novel that deal with topics like drug addiction, child abuse, and suicidal impulses; according to my source, these books have registered more than 500,000 sales on Bookscan alone… and 7,000 copies in just one week earlier this month. “Hopkins isnâ€™t an anomaly, either,” the email continues. “Sonya Sones has over a quarter-million Bookscan sales across four YA verse novels since 1999.”
It’s too long to summarize or extract a pithy quote from, but there’s an essay at Editorial Ass about the current state of book publishing, and more specifically where it’s headed, that is absolutely worth your attention. The essay was inspired by a recent talk by Twelve publisher Jon Karp which the anonymous editorial staffer attended, and it offers some interesting possibilities about the Twelve model becoming more of an industry standard, and where author-editor relations need to go.
Meanwhile, Open Center‘s Three Percent blog points to a series of posts by Sara Lloyd at Pan Macmillan‘s The Digitalist which break down an article she wrote about “how traditional publishers need to position themselves in the changing media flows of a networked era” into six readily digestible chunks. I confess I’ve had to set this one aside for the weekend, but the excerpts I’ve seen look very compelling.