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Archives: February 2013

Characters From Novel Turn Up In Amazon Reviews

We’ve heard of sock puppet reviews, but what do you call it when characters from a novel review the book on Amazon?

This has been happening for This Is Your Captain Speaking, a novel about an airplane crash in in the Hudson River in New York City. Here is an example, one of the reviews from “Passenger 12B”:

Far be it for me to point out that I almost died on that plane. There I was, pinned to the fuselage’s ceiling, wondering if I would ever see my kids again. Then we all discovered it was a ruse, and there was much rejoicing. Then we discovered Mr. Methven, who dreamed up our hellish descent and was writing a crap novel about it. He and I spent sleepless nights working and reworking my characters’ dialogue. And even though I didn’t think he had an inkling of how I would really react, I approved it because I thought he was my ticket to getting a foot in the door with the Hollywood crowd.  Read more

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Next Lemony Snicket Cover Revealed

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has released the new cover for the next Lemony Snicket book. When Did You See Her Last? is coming on October 15th.

This is the second book in the “All the Wrong Questions” series, illustrated by Seth. The dispatch also included a YouTube conversation between Snicket and his pseudonymous creator, Daniel Handler.

Snicket also sent a curt letter along with the cover image: “Please immediately listen to THIS which contains a top secret recorded conversation between Daniel Handler and myself, and see the attachment below, which depicts an undisclosed book cover. The more people who are made aware of this classified information the better chance we have of keeping our secret.”

Audible & Center for Fiction Establish Christopher Doheny Award

Audible and The Center for Fiction have established the Christopher Doheny Award, honoring the memory of an employee who died of cystic fibrosis.

The winner will receive $10,000, publication and promotion of their book both in print and audio formats. This award recognizes writers whose fiction or nonfiction manuscripts that focus on the topic of serious illness. You can email DohenyAward [at] audible [dot] com for more information.

Here’s more from the release: “The winner of the Christopher Doheny Award will demonstrate high literary standards while exploring the impact of illness on the patient, family and friends, and others. In recognition that authors frequently need support during the writing process, both manuscripts in process and completed manuscripts will be eligible.”

Barnes & Noble Nook Revenues Down 26%

Barnes & Noble reported that Nook segment revenues totaled $316 million for the fiscal third quarter, sinking 26 percent compared to the same period last year. The company blamed “lower device unit volume” for the sagging sales, and promised to “significantly reduce NOOK’s expenses.”

At the same time, retail revenues at Barnes & Noble bookstores and the online business, decreased 10.3 percent during the quarter–counting revenues of $1.5 billion. The company said a “decline in comparable store sales, store closures and lower online sales” had produced these reduced figures.

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch had this comment in the release: “In terms of the NOOK Media business, we’ve taken significant actions to begin to right size our cost structure in the NOOK segment, while also taking a large markdown on NOOK devices in order to enhance our ability to achieve our estimated sales plans in subsequent quarters … NOOK Media has been financing itself since October of 2012 due to the strong investment partners we’ve been able to attract in Microsoft and Pearson. Coming off the holiday shortfall, we’re in the process of making some adjustments to our strategy as we continue to pursue the exciting growth opportunities ahead for us in the consumer and digital education content markets.”

StoryCorps Gets $1 Million MacArthur Award

StoryCorps has received a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. They will use the funds “to build its reserve and upgrade its infrastructure.”

Radio documentarian David Isay founded StoryCorps in 2003, and the nonprofit has recorded almost 90,000 interviews with everyday people. These stories are shared through NPR broadcasts, on the StoryCorps website and through StoryCorps publications.

StoryCorps records powerful one-on-one interviews, usually between family members or friends, to hear about their lives, experiences, and perspectives. Often, these individual stories give us insight into the most important issues of the day, from race to immigration, education to equality. Each interview helps everyone recognize the dignity and power in all human lives … From documenting serious illness in hospices and palliative care centers to collecting the words of post-9/11 veterans, active-duty service members, and their families, StoryCorps illuminates the lives of everyday people and helps us see difficult and divisive issues from a human perspective.

Trusted Friend Is Top Book Discovery Tool

Goodreads recently asked 1,000 members of the social network publishing’s burning question: What convinced you to read the book?

They revealed the results at the Tools of Change (TOC) conference (chart embedded above). Overwhelmingly, most readers relied on real life conversations: “trusted friend,” “everybody was talking about it” and “book club” were the top answers. Here’s more about the survey:

“Discovery” is a huge topic in the publishing industry, especially as more and more books are published each year. For this presentation, we took a different tack. Rather than just ask a general “How do you discover books?” question, we went to recent readers of two popular books on Goodreads and asked: “What convinced you to read this book?” The two choices were Gone Girl (which was the most reviewed book on Goodreads in 2012 and the winner of the Mystery & Thriller category in the 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards) and The Night Circus (a debut novel from 2011, which was a finalist in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards).

Read more

Cody Simpson Lands Book Deal with HarperCollins

HarperCollins will publish the first official book by 16-year-old YouTube pop singer Cody Simpson, a book entitled Welcome to Paradise: My Journey. Above, we’ve embedded a copy of Simpson’s most popular video–viewed  23.7 million times on YouTube.

Publication is set for October 22, 2013. The book will contain never-before-scene photographs as well as exclusive gossipy tidbits about the Australian singer’s personal and professional life. Matt Graham at Scooter Braun Projects, Primary Wave and CAA negotiated the deal for world rights with Harper nonfiction publishing director Anna Valentine and executive editor David Linker.

Here’s more from the release: “Cody Simpson gained notoriety in 2009 when he began uploading songs to YouTube and quickly became a viral hit. He was signed by Atlantic Records and, by 2010, had released the massive chart-topping single ‘iYiYi’ featuring Flo Rida, which has over 23 million views on YouTube … Now his YouTube channel has more than 155 million views, he has over 4.2 million Twitter and Facebook followers, has released two bestselling albums and has embarked on a global arena tour supporting Justin Bieber.” (via Yahoo! News)

Symbiosis Art Book Featured on Kickstarter

Marvel and Image comics artist Steven Sanders hopes to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter for his art book, Symbiosis.

Sanders plans to use the money to release the book in both eBook and hardcover format. The 100+ page book will contain fully-painted artwork. We’ve embedded a video about the project above–what do you think? Here’s more about the project:

It explores a world where there are no mechanical sources of power. Instead, humanity has learned to utilize biological engines that harness a “bio-ether” present on the planet. They can control and feel what these bio-engines feel via a “Resonance Tooth.” Consider it 1940s era bio-punk.

Read more

Writing Advice from Producer of The Tudors, History Channel’s Vikings

“My instinct is to absolutely recoil when talking about writing in a mechanistic way,” says screenwriter and producer Michael Hirst. With a bunch of film credits under his belt, along with the award-winning series The Tudors, Hirst talks to Mediabistro for the latest installment of So What Do You Do? Though he writes for a different medium than most of you GalleyCat readers, his advice for research and crafting characters is useful for any writer.

“The key for me with historical characters is they’re interesting because they’re human beings,” he said. “A little bit of Hemingway goes a long way here, but journalists and writers should honestly look at their material and have a real interest, a real passion in what they want to write, and they should also have a lot of knowledge, as well. You don’t write police procedural stuff unless you really know that beat, but it’s ultimately not the procedure that makes the show work — it’s the people. The more real they are, the better.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Michael Hirst, Creator of The Tudors and Vikings?

Al Roker: My First Big Break

Al Roker, weather guy for NBC’s “Today” Show, can sum up the secret to his success in a sentence, “Don’t be a jerk!” Roker has his own show “Wake Up with Al” on The Weather Channel, owns his own production company “Al Roker Entertainment,” has co-authored three mystery novels, written a couple of cookbooks, and a has penned a couple of New York Times Bestsellers.

So how did America’s favorite weather guy go from being a flannel shirt and overall wearing college student to media kingpin? Al said his first big break came from being in the right place at the right time when someone said the wrong thing at the wrong time.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

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