First kill the lawyers...
...then burn the bookshops. Clive Keeble draws attention to a report from Baghdad about determined attempts to destroy bookshops which sell newspapers.
Lynne Scanlon has been having breakfast (4 April) with Steve Murphy, who runs Rodale, and has been suggesting to him, very politely, that his business's days are numbered. This is known, I believe, as chutzpah.
The Needle award
Gee and I thought I was keeping up with this stuff. Poddy Girl is a reader who has been searching through the self-published print-on-demand (POD) books of this world, seeing if she could find an overlooked gem. Well, she found two.
One was Brian Agincourt Massey's Morning Glory's Long Lost Order of Worship (literary fiction), published by iUniverse. This was highighted by Poddy Girl as long ago as 15 August 2005. Another is Isn't That Bigamy? (commercial fiction), by Mike Vogel, published by Lulu, and noted on 13 June 2005.
On his own site, Brian Agincourt Massey notes that Poddy had 6,000 nominations to choose from, looked at 1,400, and chose two. Mike Vogel also has his own little corner of the web.
Now you and I, dear reader, may or may not like the look of either of these books. But the point is, there are people out there looking for the good stuff, despite the needle in a haystack model. This is noble work.
Both Needle award winners, by the way, now have agents who are looking after them.
Boyd Tonkin has a few things to say about the MNW initiative, officially launched last Thursday evening. He demands to be astonished, which is a bit cheeky considering how seldom that happens even with experienced names.
Aviation and photography
UK based? Looking for books on aviation and/or photography? John and Jan Lewis specialise in these topics respectively. They always have hard-copy catalogues available and are open to visits in Alton, Hampshire, by appointment.
Sara Gran has a hard time
Sara Gran is an experienced writer with some reviews that most of us would cheerfully give a couple of teeth for, but even for her life does not go smoothly. To find out what's going on, visit her blog and read the various posts about the fate of Come Closer. (I was led there, incidentally, by Maxine Clarke, who saw references to the situation on Jenny Davidson's Light Reading.)
James Aach, and the online publication of his techno-thriller Rad Decision, were noted here on 6 January 2006. Now James has written an interesting set of reflections on publishing's attitude towards techno material on Lablit.com. (Link from Maxine Clarke again.)
Elaine Pomm: Edinburgh Knights
If you've finished The Da Vinci Code and want to explore more of the same, you might try Elaine Pomm's Edinburgh Knights. Yes, it is another self-published work (Authorhouse), but why not live dangerously? Available from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
Scott Pack to join The Friday Project
Scott Pack, described by some as the most powerful man in UK publishing, made it known a while back that, of his own volition, he would be leaving Waterstone's and heading for pastures new. Now it has been announced that he will join new publishers The Friday Project. He will have overall responsibility for the Project's commercial strategy.
'Most people know,' says Scott Pack, 'that I am a huge fan of the independent publishing sector. It is where the most imaginative and innovative publishing is happening at the moment and The Friday Project are very much at the forefront of that activity. I can't wait to start on this exciting new adventure but hope someone there knows how to make a decent cup of tea.'
I must say that I find this a very surprising announcement (the first para, not the bit about the tea), and Ihave no doubt that it will generate a fair bit of comment this week.
Publishers Weekly has noticed the Maddox phenomenon and adds a few details re print run et cetera. More to come, I am told, in the NY Times on Thursday.
Carmel Morgan's new play, Smaller, was discussed here on 20 February 2006. Now it has gone into the West End, and the critics have been taking a look at it. Most of the notices have been OK to reasonable, though not the kind of money notices that set the phones ringing. Jon Peter, of the Sunday Times, however, really didn't like the play at all.
He has nothing against the play, he says, 'except it being in a West End theatre. Any theatre. It’s a half-hour sitcom thinly stretched out as a two-hour play, full of flat, cutesy writing and plodding jokes.... For God's sake,' he concludes, 'no more celebrity theatre.'
Ah yes, you see, but that's what brings in the punters, Jon. As I remarked in the first place.