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Archives: December 2007

The Year in GalleyCat: March

⇒I discovered this job will probably give me deep vein thrombosis. Great.

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Marvel Comics announced the death of Captain America, and they swore they meant it. Well, they meant that the guy who was in the costume was dead; next month, they’re finally going to hit the plot point where somebody new takes up the shield.

Jonathan Safran Foer is working on a haggadah that speaks to today’s youth, one that is actually going to inspire you to get up from the seder table and change the world. Also, he said, it’ll have “awesome artwork, not little kitschy scribbles.”

⇒The Wall Street Journal took note of the decline in ad sales supporting newspaper book review sections, but even if those sections died out completely, Lauren Lipton told me, most writers wouldn’t be affected, since they’re not deemed “literary” enough to warrant reviews anyway.

⇒I sat in on an Assocation of American Publishers conference on publishing technology, which confirmed my suspicion that “[publishers] have got to make some strong allies in the technology world, because the content is already migrating online and at this point it’s only a question of how much power they’ll be able to retain over it.”

⇒A young boy got lost in the woods for four days, and reading a YA novel probably saved his life. Awesome.

The Year in GalleyCat: Feburary

Maureen Dowd discovered chick lit, and she really, really hated it, in that superficial way she has of hating things. Chick lit writers found her vapid, not to mention lazy, late, and lackluster.

foob-manuscript.jpg⇒The total lack of realism in For Better or Worse when it came to selling your first novel was so annoying. (It wasn’t any better in the fall, either.)

⇒”We’re still a $10 billion-plus industry!” is how I summed up the 2006 book sales. And, thanks to J.K. Rowling and The Secret, we’ll probably do it again this year, too.

⇒The Newbery Medal-winning novel The Higher Power of Lucky had the word “scrotum” in it, and children’s librarians across America freaked out.

James Bernard Frost hated the cover St. Martin’s gave his novel, World Leader Pretend, so much he commissioned a new one himself.

Jonathan Lethem, on the other hand, had no problems with the cover Doubleday put on You Don’t Love Me Yet. Heck, he supplied the photo.

The Year in GalleyCat: January

Over the weekend, I had a hunch today might be a slow publishing news day, and all those bowl games aren’t going to watch themselves, so I dug into the archives and pulled out some of my favorite posts among the hundreds I wrote this year. Hope you enjoy this look back at 2007, and I’ll see you in 2008!

nymag-regan-cover.jpg⇒As 2007 began, we were all still reeling, and many of us were a bit giddy, after Judith Regan was fired from HarperCollins. The backstory continued to emerge, although some anti-Regan gossip was wildly implausible, even for a personality as outsized as hers. Also, we learned the cancelled If I Did It TV interview was more like an infomercial. Oh, and HarperCollins officially shut down her imprint.

Terry McMillan let loose her inner homophobe in an essay of rhetorical questions aimed at her gay ex-husband, like “Why do men like Vince try so hard to act like women, and why do men like you like them so much?”

Oprah Winfrey picked Sidney Poitier‘s memoir for her book club, and folks were all, “That’ll make people forget James Frey,” except of course the media was always there to remind us about him and the things he did, especially when he launched his second act later in the year.

⇒When Henry Alford tried his hand at musical theater parody for the NY Times Book Review, I was rather underwhelmed, and invited GalleyCat readers to do better. You totally delivered.

Three Movie Trailers for the Weekend

Here’s another trailer from Persepolis, based on the graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, which may make you fall in love with “Eye of the Tiger” all over again:

OMG, they made a direct-to-video cartoon of the Turok: Son of Stone comic book, hewing closely to the 1990s reboot of the character (warning: this one has dinosaurs and blood):

Also, technically it’s not a trailer per se, but Neil Gaiman has posted a short clip from Coraline, the computer-animated adaptation of his fantasy novel coming out towards the end of 2008:

Big Hair, Big Appetite for Literature

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When Kathy Patrick (center) hits the road next week to promote her memoirish self-help book, The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life, she’ll be raffling off a “big hair makeover” at each stop on her 25-city tour. One attendee at each reading will, after signing a photo waiver, have a style session with Patrick—who runs her book club out of her combination hair salon/bookstore in East Texas—with “Put on Pieces” from Hair U Wear collection.

I imagine the photos will be turning up on her website around the time Patrick makes her way back to Jefferson, Texas, for her annual “Girlfriend Weekend” book festival—at which, I would be remiss if I failed to point out, I’m scheduled to conduct a workshop on blogging for aspiring (and accomplished) writers. It should be a fun weekend: Featured guests include Adrienne Barbeau, N.M. Kelby, Will Clarke, and Mary Kay Andrews, and something like two dozen other writers.

(I took the picture above at last year’s festival, where Patrick was flanked by two members of her Grand Central publishing team, editor Natalie Kaire and publicist Elly Weisenberg.)

Japanese Comic Books Wow ‘Em in Europe

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“German and French sales of manga totaled $212.6 million last year,” says Jennifer Fishbein of Business Week, “making Europe the largest consumer of manga outside Japan.” The news gets better for publishers of the Japanese comic books; in Germany, manga account for nearly three-fourths of all comics sales.

You could expound all sorts of theories about that, including the possibility that a reading culture in which bandes dessinées like Asterix and Tintin have long been accepted would be welcoming to the multi-volume serialized manga format. (Fishbein notes another influence in the airing of Japanese cartoons on European television from the late 1970s onward.) But the main question, according to the article, is how to retain the readership as it enters into adulthood. I imagine it’s just a matter of finding, translating, and publishing the right stories—or, as is increasingly happening here in the North American market, finding writer-artists who have absorbed the manga style into their own personal visions. (See, for example, Brian Lee O’Malley‘s Scott Pilgrim series, one of the most fun books around.)

(artwork above from Kiyohiko Azuma‘s Yotsuba&!, which has also become a big hit with U.S. readers)

LOLGalleyCat: Max Can Read No Further

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This photo definitely shouldn’t be construed as any sort of serious editorial comment on Herbie Brennan‘s bestselling Faerie Wars series, which concludes this week with the publication of Faerie Lord. “I don’t know why the series isn’t being widely hailed as The Next Big Thing After Harry Potter,” says Max’s owner, Book Promotion 101 director Bella Stander. “It’s terrific!” (And her teenage son agrees.)

LOLGalleycat: Walter Reassures an Anxious Public

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When I ran a poll around Brad Listi‘s book trailer, he wanted to make sure that everybody understood that his dog hadn’t really been taken hostage, and that Walter was perfectly all right. And here’s the proof, as the adorable pooch is corralled into another marketing campaign for Listi’s novel, Attention. Deficit. Disorder.

LOLGalleyCat: Sonnet, Stoic in the Face of Despair

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Really, any caption I added to this picture of Sonnet, sent in by John Aaron of Modern Arf Entertainment, would be superfluous. At first, I wasn’t sure if this picture was going to make the cut, because I was only supposed to be taking photos from authors and publishing industry pros, and Aaron’s actually a sculptor and a painter. But then I saw that he’s also the author of a children’s guide to art called The Journey of Spotty Coverage, and that made everything okay again.

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LOLGalleyCat: Rufus Calls the Tune

lolgalleycat-rufus.jpgThis is Rufus, a three-year-old golden retriever belonging to Doug Lamy, an aspiring author in Washington State who’s trying to convert the manuscript for his sailing memoir, Schooner Appreciate, into a screenplay. He adds that he’s looking for an agent and a producer.

Maybe that gives us all something to think about over the weekend: What’s your creative/professional ambition for 2008? You can email me about it if you like—I’ll probably have something to say on Monday—but I figured it was more an opportunity for personal self-reflection than anything else.

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