Friday, May 11, 2007

News of a sort

The book inscriptions project reproduces some strange things written in books. Says Shaun, who runs the show: 'These inscriptions -- not to be confused with author dedications or autographs -- are personal messages written in ink (or lead or marker) and were given as gifts from one person to another. Some of them are so private that it seems almost impossible that they ended up in a library or a garage sale.' Intriguing. Possibly a site of value to secondhand bookshops, because an entry can have a link to your store.

Kitty Myers, by the way, who reminded me about Abandoned, is herself the author a book of short stories called Briefs and Other Unmentionables. Trust me -- it's a lot of fun. is setting up partnerships with big players, one of the first being Universal Press Syndicate. It is not at all clear to me yet how this partnership will work (to my mind, the press release could be a lot clearer). Nevertheless, I agree with Publishers Lunch's comment on this deal:
Publishing traditionalists often lament the explosion of self-publishing and the ironic implication that people today are more interested in being authors than readers. The next logical step is to see how publishers can make money serving this audience rather than fighting with it, and these initiatives are steps in that direction.
June Austin is a UK-based writer and speaker whose new book has been described as the antithesis to Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion. June has written extensively about the self-publishing process (in a UK context), and there is a great deal of background information on her web site. On the general principle that you can learn from other people's experience (and mistakes), it's well worth a look.

If you are one of those who hopes/believes that your self-published book will immediately be taken up by a big-time publisher, and thus make you rich, famous, and beloved by Oprah, take heart from Maryann McFadden. Publishers Lunch reports that Maryann's The Richest Season (about a corporate wife who runs away and settles on Pawleys Island, SC, working as a caregiver for an elderly woman) has been sold to Ellen Archer at Hyperion, with Leslie Wells editing, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2008. Agent: Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates.

Crumbs. Read Lynne Scanlon's beat-up on book reviewers and you will never dare to write a review again. Not till next week, anyway. (Hands off -- Saturday night? What kind of book is that?)

For reasons best known to himself, Mr Joe Blogs wanted to interview me.

Interested in graphic art? Interested in lesbians? No, no, I didn't think you were really, but I just thought I'd ask, in case some weirdo pervert had wandered in here by mistake, in which case I'd despatch him, or even her, over to Dykes to Watch Out For. Probably permanently. (Link from Bookslut.) Note the thousands of comments, by the way. There are lots of them out there. So watch it. You just can't be too careful.

There's a very amusing piece on called Confessions of a Recovering Writing Contest Judge. If you enter contests, it's well worth reading. And besides being fun, it's seriously good advice.

Emil Michelle has a novel in progress: Saints and Sinners, a religious thriller. Constructive comments welcome.

Everybody says that newspapers in America are cutting down book reviews, or eliminating them entirely. But in the UK the Financial Times's Saturday magazine has for the last two weeks advertised an increase in book coverage.

Dekel Publishing House is based in Israel, but it has an extraordinarily cosmopolitan list of books. The web site does not entirely do the list justice in my opinion, as you have to dig deep into it to find the good stuff. But it is there. Where else can you find a book about 'the only female Pope', or a book about Turkish food written by an American trial lawyer?

Morris Hill Pictures can tell you how to write the great American novel. Turns out it's quite simple really.

The paperback of Emily Giffin's Baby Proof is published in both the UK and the US on 15 May. A romantic comedy, it also deals with some of the serious issues facing young, or not so young, women who are still wondering about having that baby. Or not. An issue de nos jours.

Well, I should have known, shouldn't I? I wondered why a novel called Sunday at the Cross Bones was getting lots of publicity and reviews. So much of it that even I noticed, and I don't actually pay a lot of attention to fiction reviews. And it turns out, of course, that the author, John Walsh, is a columnist at the Independent, and therefore the usual Fleet Street rules apply. You scratch my back...

This info comes to me courtesy of Madame Arcati, who was at the launch party. Which was, it seems, attended by every literary journalist and reviewer in London. Bar one. You must not believe, of course, the terrible lies that Madame tells about everyone. And later on Madame reported a little spat which occurred; but I'm sure that wasn't true either.

We have commented here before on the endless greed of the big corporations, and their willingness to trade mark even the most common everyday phrases, thereafter claiming them as their own property. (See my discussion of Kembrew McLeod's Freedom of Expression.)

For a new example, read today's account in the Times of how Kentucky Fried Chicken and their overpaid lawyers tried to bully a remote English pub out of using the phrase 'family feast'. Result of this fatuous endeavour: acres of bad publicity for KFC and their representatives, Freshfields. Aren't lawyers supposed to give sensible advice?


Madame Arcati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madame Arcati said...

Mr Grumpy! Madame Arcati is constitutionally incapable of telling a lie, she is the very opposite of Pinocchio.

Anonymous said...

Nice interview of the most handsome GOB--I'm surprised it took Mr. Joe 112 interviews to get to you. I couldn't help noting that 'Confessions of a Contest Judge' ended with reference to 'some old crank who's grumpy.' I'm guessing you're not a basketball fan. Too many sweaty armpits for me.

Anonymous said...

Once again, I have spent a great deal of time (well-spent - lol) clicking on the links to all of the wonderful information you provide. Thanks a million! Hope you have a great weekend!

bhadd said...

Finnegans Wake, I think, Joyce Unlimited: here. Fans beget.

The Hood Company

Ms Baroque said...

I knew somebody who had a North London bluegrass band called Foghorn Leghorn - until Warner Bros got wind of it... can you imagine? Great name for a band, too.

Very entertaining interview, I laughed far too much at the bishop joke.

June said...

Thanks for the mention Michael, and all your words of wisdom. Thanks to all those who visited my site as well.

The new edition of my book goes to print on Monday!

Kitty said...

Thank you!!

My computer is in the shop for repairs -- I'm using a friend's right now -- and I just noticed the link and the lovely compliment on my book blog "Briefs..."!! How generous of you :)


Jon Jermey said...

Well, the UPS/Lulu press release worked for me. I realise now that I would rather tear my own head off than read even one of those so-called comic strips.

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