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Archives: August 2010

Rebecca Traister on Writing Political Books in the 21st Century

rtauthorphoto.jpgMore than any other generation of writers, 21st Century political reporters know exactly what their readership is thinking–bombarded daily with comments, blog posts, and emails.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Rebecca Traister, columnist and author of the upcoming book, Big Girls Don’t Cry. She discussed her recent op-ed about Sarah Palin and gave advice for writers hoping to cover the 2012 election.

Press play below to listen.

“I’m not a traditional political beat reporter,” Traister said, explaining how her work at shaped the book. “As soon as I would write something, I would get hundreds and sometimes thousands of people telling me what they thought. It helped me understand what the sentiment was out there, at least among the sector of people I was writing for. There’s some of that in my book–I write about the reactions I got at Salon, because they helped me understand how these conversations were playing out across the country.”

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Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library to Open

Vonnegut Library.JPGThe Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library will open fall 2010 in Vonnegut’s Indiana hometown of Indianapolis. The Emelie Building donated 1,100 square feet of space and the Lilly Endowment donated $50,000 to the library. Any extra money generated by the nonprofit library will go towards charitable causes like Indianapolis public high school newspapers, scholarship awards for public high school writing competitions, and developing a small press.

The space will include several “comfy” chairs for on-site reading, a small gift shop with Vonnegut memorabilia, a replica of his writing studio, and display cases featuring Vonnegut’s personal items and artwork loaned by supportive Vonnegut offspring. Edie Vonnegut, Vonnegut’s biological daughter and published author, has loaned her father’s Purple Heart award and rejection letters from publishers.

Julia Whitehead, the president of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, explained: “I came up with the idea for this library in November of 2008 after discovering the Henry Miller Library online. I wondered to myself why there wasn’t a similar place to memorialize someone as extraordinary as Vonnegut. I immediately called Kurt Vonnegut’s son, Dr. Mark Vonnegut, to gauge his interest. Mark offered his enthusiastic support.”

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Espresso Book Machine Spreads to Bookstores

A new method to stay competitive in the digital age for physical-product book merchants has emerged–the Espresso Book Machine (featured in the video above). If a customer wants an out-of-stock book, a bookstore with the printing machine from On Demand Books can create a copy of it on site.

The Wall Street Journal spotlighted the economics of the machine in a Vancouver bookstore: “Oscar’s Art Books in Vancouver says it has sold about 1,500 digitally printed books since it bought a special printer in March. The machine, which cost about $118,000, accesses an online library of titles and then prints, trims and binds paperbacks on demand. ‘Of course the fun is being able to watch their book being made,’ says Oscar’s manager Barry Bechta.”

Stores like Oscar’s pay less than a penny a page and a licensing fee to print an out-of-stock volume for their customers. The Espresso Book Machine was publicly available in 2006. On Demand Books has a partnership with Google for access to public domain titles.

Moby Dick Dragons, Free Kaplan Books, & Literary Netflix: Weekend Reading

It was an action-packed week for publishing news, and we wanted to make sure you had plenty of publishing headlines to keep you busy over the weekend. Email GalleyCat to get all our publishing stories, book deal news, videos, podcasts, interviews, and writing advice in a daily email newsletter.

Seth Godin told us “I’ve decided not to publish any more books in the traditional way”–making headlines around the world.

Netflix launched an iPhone app, giving readers a chance to surf our Best Netflix Instant Movies for Readers lists.

Kaplan Publishing offered 90 eBooks for test prep and study aids for free–but the offer expires August 30th!

Some brave filmmakers released the trailer embedded above for Age of the Dragons, adapting Herman Melville’s Moby Dick in a medieval kingdom full of dragons.

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Leo Hunter Lands Book Deal at 6-Years-Old

strategic.jpgMost 6-year-olds are reading Dr. Seuss and moving on to Harry Potter. Leo Hunter isn’t just reading books, he’s also writing them. Strategic Book Publishing has signed a 23-book deal with the 6-year-old UK native.

Hunter is publishing under the pseudonym, J.S. Huntlands. His first title is Me & My Best Friend, about a little boy Liam and his dog Henry. The story behind these two characters was conceived when Hunter was 5. When asked about writing and books, Hunter told the Mirror: “Writing makes me very, very happy. It’s so interesting. I like Harry Potter but I like my books even more. I would like to be more famous than JK Rowling — even more famous than Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell.”

Surprisingly, there isn’t a huge publicity splash from Strategic Book Publishing about Leo Hunter. The publisher’s website offers this an explanation: “We are relatively new, and we are aggressively launching as many titles this year as our budget will allow. We are a smaller ’boutique’ publisher.”

UPDATE: Writer Beware! writes a cautionary post about the publisher behind this project.

Hunter’s mother Jaime, 29, is a published author herself and convinced her agency to take on her son as a client. From there, publishers in both the US and the UK were contacted until Strategic Book Publishing awarded Hunter his 23-book deal.

Laura Lippman eBook Sales Top Hardcover Sales

llippman.jpgNovelist Laura Lippman sold 4,739 eBook copies and 4,000 hardcover copies of I’d Know You Anywhere since her new thriller went on sale August 17th.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with HarperCollins senior VP Frank Albanese about the new development. He explained: “This is the first book of ours of any consequence that has sold more e-books than hardcovers in the first week … What we’re seeing now is that if a book gets a good review, it gets a faster lift on the digital side than it does on the physical side because people who have e-readers can buy and read it immediately.”

Lippman (pictured, via Jan Cobb) has some strong critical support. The Washington Post ended a recent review with high praise: “Some people would segregate Lippman as a crime or thriller writer. That’s a shame. She’s one of the best novelists around, period.”

James Patterson Tops Forbes’ Highest Paid Authors List

forbeauthors.JPGThis week Forbes published their annual list of the highest paid writers. Novelist James Patterson led the pack with $70 million. Next in line was Twilight Saga author, Stephenie Meyer with $40 million, followed by Stephen King with $34 million.

Thrillers still earn the most, as the list included Ken Follett, Dean Koontz, and John Grisham. Romance novelists Danielle Steel and Nicholas Sparks also made the cut, earning $32 million and $14 million respectively. J.K. Rowling closed the list at #10, but did not publish anything in 2010.

Readers may recall last year when King criticized Meyer while praising Rowling. King also offered his opinion on several adult writers sharing the highest paid authors list. King called Patterson a “terrible writer” and said “sometimes [Koontz]‘s just awful.”

How to Make a Pitch Deck for Your Book

6a00d8341c527353ef00e5500e2a7c8834-150wi.jpegEarlier this week, entrepreneurial author James Kaelan explained how he built a sponsored book tour using a pitch deck–a slideshow presentation that helped procure sponsorship for his book tour.

Most writers are completely unfamiliar with the process of creating a pitch deck. Venture capital firm managing director Guy Kawasaki (pictured) created a concise and practical guide for venture capital seekers and writers to follow when creating a presentation. He wrote it in 2005, but the advice still works beautifully after five years.

Here’s an excerpt, but read the whole essay: “I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I’m in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.”

Sneed Collard III Starts His Own Publishing House

sneedsm.jpgVeteran kidlit author Sneed Collard III (pictured) has formed his own publishing house, Bucking Horse Books.

After 15 publishers rejected Collard’s latest nonfiction title, The World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, he launched his own publishing house. The rejected manuscript will be the house’s first title–due out in October with an initial print run of 5,000 copies.

Collard told Publishers Weekly: “It’s a children’s book, but it’s also a coffee table book, and a gift book. It wears a lot of hats, which is key to success when you are starting your own [publishing house].”

Bucking Horse Books will specialize in stories about life in the midwest. So far, the house’s staff has Collard as the publisher, a freelance designer, and a freelance illustrator. Collard is the lone author at Bucking Horse, as he wants to establish a comfort zone before taking on other authors.

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Twilight Toilet Seat Sticker

toilettwilight.jpgBoth Twilight lovers and haters can appreciate the surreal beauty of this eBay listing for a Toilet Seat Skin inspired by Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight Saga: New Moon.

Thanks to Jacket Copy’s brilliant list of literary goods on eBay, we found a Robert Pattinson toilet decal that will remind you of your feelings for Twilight and protect your bathroom at the same time.

Here’s more from eBay: “Durable, weatherproof, computer cut from high quality Avery Vinyl…This is made of the same thing used in vehicle wraps…The skin will protect your seat and tank from fine scratches.”