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Archives: February 2010

Harriet the Spy, Random House, Lady Gaga, and Zach Galifianakis: Weekend Reading

RH_Logo_Sm.jpgIt was a wild week for publishing, from the Tools of Change conference to celebrity book trailers to bloggy-updates of classic children’s books.

For your weekend reading pleasure, here are the biggest stories from the week. If you are interested in reading more, check the Weekend Reading archive.

The biggest story of the week was a sweeping executive reorganization at Random House, preparing for the digital future.

Next, actor Zach Galifianakis interviewed novelist John Wray in a topsy-turvy book trailer.

At the Tools of Change conference, we experimented with the Entourage dual-screen eReader and watched the future of the bedtime story.

We published a downloadable, printable, mobile-device readable monthly edition of GalleyCat Reviews.

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Heather McCormack Promoted to Book Review Editor at Library Journal

mccormick.pngOn Twitter today, Library Journal managing editor Heather McCormack broke the news that she was promoted to book review editor at Library Journal.

She wrote to her Twitter fans: “It’s surreal & humbling. I will do my best to serve librarians. Let’s talk as always.”

Here’s a recent review McCormack (pictured) wrote of Gail Buckland‘s Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present: “[T]he way the author contextualized what might be a dead movement moved me even more toward that destiny. For decades, kids like me stared longingly into posters of rock gods like Elvis, Hendrix, Harry, and Cobain, hoping their cool would trickle down and anoint them. Yet so few of us know who captured those unforgettable gestures and faces. Buckland goes far beyond Annie Leibovitz to introduce us to a set of glaringly overlooked artists, many of whom have quit the game because of restricted celebrity access.”

GalleyCat Reviews: February 2010 Print Edition

It’s hard to believe, but GalleyCat Reviews is now one-month-old. To celebrate, we’ve created a monthly edition of our book review section–a 31-page collection of our best review content.

Now you can read all of our reviews, essays, round-ups, recommendations, links, and Twitter directories in a single document. The new format maintains all our hyperlinks and layout, but allows you to take GalleyCat Reviews on the road. Read it all at this link.

With this special monthly edition, you can read GCR, print GCR, or download GCR to your favorite reading device. If you enjoy reading GalleyCat Reviews in this new format, please leave us a comment–how can we make this printed copy better for you?

Now you can take our favorite book reviewers with you as well. We’ve built a special Scribd edition of our Best Book Reviewers on Twitter Directory. As the directory grows, we will update this handy document.

One Author Asks: “Who Needs You, Big Publishing?”

scott23.jpgAt the Tools of Change conference in New York City this week, author Scott Sigler delivered a provocative presentation entitled: Who Needs You, Big Publishing?

After publishing the thrillers Ancestor, Infected, and Contagious with Crown Publishing, Sigler (pictured, via Amy Davis Roth) founded Dark Overlord Media to self-publish a science fiction football novel called The Rookie–”a limited edition hardcover with a 16-page, full-color insert.” According to the writer, he earned 10 times more per unit with his new strategy, but managed to sell one-tenth of the copies he could sell with a major publisher.

Nevertheless, he speculated during his presentation about a future where bestselling authors could defect: “The bigger names (if they wanted to do this) they could bring in a crapload of money and not have to share it with anybody. Stephenie Meyer in particular–if she was to write a book of short stories about some of the Twilight characters and sell that directly from her website which gets a massive traffic, she could clear 200,000 copies on her first day without batting an eyelash. So that’s the kind of kind of thing that could take away from big publishing and put some of that control back into the hands of authors.”

What do you think? Is this an inevitable future or a pipe dream?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The conversation continues at this post, complete with additional commentary from the author.

Lost Season Six, by the Books

annotated23.jpgOn Tuesday night, the literary television show Lost featured a loving cameo appearance of The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition–W. W. Norton’s special edition of the Lewis Carroll classic. Since then, the book has rocketed up the Amazon charts, currently ranked 314th in Books and first in History & Criticism.

Over at Entertainment Weekly, journalist Jeff Jensen writes long, speculative essays about Lost, one of the more literary readings of the series you can find on the web. So far, Jensen has spotted two other books in the final season of Lost.

They are: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (“Its famous line? ‘What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?’”) and the famous Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard (“which challenges true believers to embrace the absurdity of faith. Combined, both books send this message to us: This absurd sideways thing has a purpose. It is ‘useful.’”)

Have you spotted more literary references in season six? Add any books we missed in the comments section–we’ll put them on the list in a future post. If you want to read more of our literary Lost coverage, follow these links:

GalleyCat Reviews looked at critical reception of the books of Lost.
Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll talked about time travel on Lost.
Chad Post revealed another book from the sixth season
Nikki Stafford talked about writing her unofficial guides to Lost.

After “Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars;” Updating Classic Children’s Books

Yesterday we pondered that movie trailer for Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars starring Jennifer Stone (one of the leads in the Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place)–a blogging update of a beloved children’s book.

The good folks at Jezebel took the idea and ran with it, updating other children’s classics with 21st Century twists–including The Bridge to Tumblrbithia and Wikipedia Brown, Boy E-Tective. Here’s a Twitter-centric re-write: “The Twits–This Roald Dahl classic is tailor-made for a social media updating. Mr. and Mrs. Twit are two online misanthropes who use their shared Twitter account to say mean things about people. Then they learn that Twitter is for niceness, and everyone lives happily ever after.”

So far, 87 readers have added their own titles, proving that this renaming game is addictive. Add your imaginary updates in the comments section–we’ll round up the responses in a future (or futuristic!) post.

Job Detective: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Contracts Associate

fsglogo.jpgAs NYC is buried under mounds of snow, there’s no better time to polish your resume. We’ve uncovered five new publishing jobs for your resume-making pleasure, fresh off the mediabistro.com job boards.

First up, HarperCollins Publishers is seeking to fill two spots: a National Accounts Manager and an Assistant Manager–Marketing Operations.

Next, the American Kennel Club needs a Senior Editor. AA Grapevine, Inc. is looking for a Web Editor.

Finally, Farrar, Straus & Giroux seeks a Contracts Associate. Here’s more about the job: “We are seeking a knowledgeable, organized, meticulous individual to join our small, busy department. The Contracts Associate will report to the Director and Manager and will assist with drafting and negotiating author contracts and subsidiary rights licenses.”

Visit GalleyCat’s publishing jobs page for more listings. If you have any job leads, email GalleyCat to get them posted.

First Peek at Apple iBooks Store?

ibooks.jpgAll morning eBook fans have been analyzing a list that may be a leaked promotional memo about the upcoming Apple iBooks store.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog broke the news of the leaked list. According to the speculative article, the list may outline a new pricing scale for eBooks at Apple–with $14.99 for Too Big To Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin to a free edition of Heat Wave by Richard Castle, among many others.

Here’s more from eBookNewser: “It’s got books by Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell and Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s over 100 books, ranging in price from $14.99 to free…What’ most interesting about this is not the titles themselves–everyone’s got the same books … the fact that Apple might launch iBooks and draw attention to $14.99 eBooks. Goodbye $9.99.”

Story Friday at Writer’s Digest

writersdigest.jpgSnowed in? Exercise your writing brain with a bit of snow-day Twitter fiction. Every Friday Writer’s Digest leads a storytelling exercise on Twitter called #storyfriday.

At 9:30 a.m. EST on Friday, the site posts a 140-character first sentence from a story. Readers will weigh in all day, contributing new lines to the reader-produced story. If you want to contribute, read the story so far and then contribute your own line–with the hashtag #storyfriday appended to the tweet.

Here is the first line of today’s story: “Jake waited in the emergency room to get word on his friend Tim. He never expected their crazy night to lead to this. #storyfriday”

If you just want to read along, you can follow all the action at this link.

Digital Reorganization at Random House, Inc., Part Two

RH_Logo_Sm.jpgAs we noted earlier this afternoon, Random House, Inc. announced some sweeping adjustments in digital responsibilities at the conglomerate publisher. In a staff memo, Sales, Operations, and Digital president Madeline McIntosh explained the changes and gave some insight into recent projects–returning to Random House leadership after a stint at Amazon.

Among the many changes, V.P. of Online Marketing Pete McCarthy will have expanded responsibilities. The memo praised his department’s “work with Doubleday on the ‘second wave’ campaign for Dan Brown‘s The Lost Symbol [as] an excellent example of the sales magic that can be created by combining corporate technology and analytics expertise with the publisher’s stellar creative campaign.” In addition to his old responsibilities McCarthy will now oversee Christine McNamara in her new role as V.P. of Partnership Development.

Crown Publishing V.P. of Group Sales Director Amanda Close will now serve as V.P. of Digital Sales and Business Development. McIntosh explained why: “she stepped in with great agility when Jaci and I asked her to coordinate the cross-functional team evaluating Apple’s new e-book program.”

Finally, Random House’s V.P. of Digital Matt Shatz will be leaving to serve as Head of Strategic Content Relationships at Nokia.

Read more about the changes here. The full memo follows after the jump.

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