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Archives: March 2012

Patrick deWitt Wins the Tournament of Books

Patrick deWitt has won The Morning News’ annual Tournament of Books.

The contest pits novels in a competitive bracket like basketball teams during the NCAA tournament. The two finalists this year were deWitt’s The Sister Brothers and Teju Cole’s Open City. Which was your favorite book?

Back in 2009, we interviewed deWitt about his struggle to publish his first novel, Ablutions. We talked about DIY publicity and how his book survived the restructuring of a major publisher. (Via Electric Literature)

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Publishers Struggle with iBooks vs. App Problem

With the release of iBooks 2, Apple is proving that it wants to be the place for interactive books.

Yet for now, when it comes to creating interactive kids books, publishers are often forced to create apps because many features won’t actually work in books sold in the iBookstore.

Digital publishers Ellen Jacob and Kirk Cheyfitz have had to release books as apps to do the things they have wanted to do.

Fast Company has the story: “If you want to sell your book in Apple’s iBookstore, you have to create it on Apple’s iAuthor platform, but then you are only allowed to have video and links in your book (unless those links lead to Amazon’s store, then fuggedaboutit). If you design it so readers can interact with it and have it do all the things that Jacob and Cheyfitz wanted Bats!and Horse Magic to do–both were created on gaming platforms; Bats! on Unity, Horse Magicon Corona–it goes into the app store.”

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When Should Writers Work for Free?

When should writers work for free? It is one of the most difficult questions facing writers in the 21st Century as unpaid outlets multiply online.

In an interview at The Paris Review, we found a historic moment when famous authors wrote for free in a completely unknown publication. When the legendary editor Robert Silvers launched The New York Review of Books in 1962, he went straight to the most talented writers in the country and asked them to work for free.

Check it out:

Our thought was to think of the best writers in the world to review the books of the season—even people who hadn’t written book reviews for years or ever. Many of them we knew—Norman Mailer, [William] Styron, W. H. Auden, Edmund Wilson. We said, “Look, we have three weeks, we can’t pay a penny, will you do it?” And they all did.

Former Goldman Sachs Executive Greg Smith Inks $1.5M Book Deal

Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs executive director who quit his job earlier this month in a scathing New York Times op-ed, has reportedly landed a $1.5 million book deal with Hachette’s Grand Central imprint.

Apparently the book inspired a bidding war. Sarah Weinman and The Awl have raised another important question: Will the book earn back its advance? The news comes only days after news broke that literary agent Paul Fedorko was shopping the book.

The New York Post has more: “By Monday, with the price tag flirting with the $1 million mark, it was down to two bidders, Penguin and Hachette Book Group. Hachette’s Grand Central Publishing finally nailed the deal with a $1.5 million advance yesterday.”

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Ben Schrank on the Art of Compartmentalizing

Novelist and publishing executive Ben Schrank has mastered the art of compartmentalizing his life.

During business hours, he is the publisher of Penguin Young Readers Group Razorbill imprint, but he has maintained a writing life as well. Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish his adult novel (Love Is a Canoe) in February.

We caught up with him to ask about how he manages to juggle these two different roles.

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CONTEST: Write the Worst Sentence in 25 Words

Think you can write the world’s worst opening sentence in 25 words or fewer? You should enter the free Lyyttle Lytton contest.

Readers can submit their own writing or nominate someone else at this link. You must enter your terrible sentence before April 15th.

The contest was inspired by the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a famous challenge to write the worst opening to a novel. Many of these winning entries are quite long, so the Lyyttle Lytton contest limits entries to 25-words or fewer. Writer Judy Dean won the 2011 Lyttle Lytton contest with this smoldering sentence: “The red hot sun rose in the cold blue sky.”

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9-Year-Old Author Throws Cupcake Book Party

Nine-year-old author and cupcake blogger Carrie Berk just co-wrote Peace, Love and Cupcakes with her mom, former Life & Style Weekly editor-in-chief Sheryl Berk.

To celebrate the release of the novel (published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky imprint), Berk (pictured) hosted a book party at Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City. Author and cupcake blogger Rachel Kramer Bussel covered the event at Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Check it out: “[The book] is about a group of little girls who form a cupcake club at their school, start a cupcake business, fight bullies and have fun baking, decorating and learning about each other … [the candy store] was set up with a chocolate fountain where you could get Peeps, marshmallows, Rice Krispie treats, pretzels, strawberries or bananas dipped in it, a cupcaketini cocktail, which had Frangelico, Bailey’s and Kahlua (adults only, obviously) and adorable custom mini cupcakes courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake, which managed to replicate the book cover exactly, with glitter!”

Weekend Writing Inspiration: War Robots

Need some writing inspiration this weekend? We’ve collected a series of mind-boggling robot demo videos from Boston Dynamics, a company creating robotic tools for the military.

As you can see by the Sand Flea robot video embedded above, these videos could inspire an entire bookshelf: a militaristic science fiction novel, a robot-driven horror movie, a chilling spy novel, a tense suspense book, a heroic war novel or a nonfiction examination of the ways robots will change the art of war. Watch the videos below and start writing!

Check it out: “Sand Flea is an 11 pound robot that drives like an RC car on flat terrain, but can jump 30 ft into the air to overcome obstacles. That is high enough to jump over a compound wall, onto the roof of a house, up a set of stairs or into a second story window.”

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Operation Ruby Slipper & Pulse of Mixed Media: Coming Attractions

Here are some handpicked titles from our New Books section. Want to include your book? Just read our Facebook Your New or Upcoming Book post. Don’t forget to include your title’s exact release date and a link.

Operation Ruby Slipper by John Meyer: “Judy Garland is dropped behind enemy lines in 1943 in this espionage thriller; she’s to bring back a photo of a dangerous Nazi physicist with the camera concealed in the heel of her shoe. Why Judy? Because this man, Franz Kintner, has supplied the OSS with the only lead they have: a request for a picture of Judy, mailed in 1940. They know he’ll surface if twenty-one year old Judy is the bait.” (March 2012)

The Pulse of Mixed Media by Seth Apter: “Imagine that you have been invited to have an intimate discussion with all of your favorite artists: a one-on-one show and tell. You can ask them anything, no holds barred, and hear first-hand the personal stories behind their artwork. This is what you will find on the pages of this book.” (March 2012)

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Facebook Timeline for Pages Tips

facebooklogo.jpgBy tomorrow, Facebook Pages will automatically convert to Facebook Timeline–so publishers, agencies and other organizations should take some time today to clean up their new pages.

Facebook has published a Pages Overview Guide (PDF link) that can walk you through many of the new features. If you want to see examples of how brands and organizations use Facebook Timeline, check out Magnolia Bakery, Hyundai Worldwide or Ben & Jerry’s.

We’ve collected some helpful hints to walk you through the entire process. Keep reading…

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