Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No Assholes here

Lynne Scanlon tells me that Bob Sutton's book, The No Asshole Rule, has won the Quill Award for best business book. This was achieved in the face of some pretty stiff opposition, Seth Godin's latest being one of them.

If you're worried about your own asshole status, take the test in the top right-hand corner of Sutton's site, the first one listed under ARSE tools. I'd like to tell you how I got on, but it's too embarrassing.

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Interested in how your book is doing on Amazon? Or how your enemy's book is doing? (Badly, one hopes; heh heh heh.) Then visit RankTracer and learn how to gloat.

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The Times is offering the chance to receive love letters by email. Or you could buy the book. Link from Edmond Clay.

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Ansible reports that Robert Ronson, author of a children's sf novel called Olympic Mind Games -- set at the 2012 London Olympics -- was sternly told by the Olympics 2012 committee that he wasn't allowed to use the O-word, nor such protected terms as 'London 2012' or even just '2012'. What's more, they complained, 'there is no such thing as Olympic mind games'. Ronson ignored this bluster and seems to have got away with it.

Good for him. This kind of thing is getting too ridiculous to tolerate. The UK Writers' Guild takes a dim view, and even some of m'learned friends aren't too amused.

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Alex Scarrow is worried about the future....

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Gee whiz. The Bookride blog reports that Bill Clinton visited Shakespeare & Co.

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Do you live in the UK? Do you write stuff? If so, it will be worth your while to join the Authors Licensing & Collecting Society. Last year they paid out over £16.74 million, split between (or is it among? Mr Robinson would know) 45,000 writers. They even paid me some, though I'm not at all sure why.

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Litlist is a web site which attempts to provide accurate info about various markets for literary writers. Looks useful, in its field.

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The Gents, as you may have noticed, are not always frequented by gentlemen in need of a pee. Some chaps are more concerned about other things. And there's a book about it, recently republished by the Friday Project.

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HarperCollins have an eye on as yet unpublished writers, believe it or not. If you're interested, keep your own eye on this web site.

The press release says that 'HarperCollins UK is to launch a brand new proprietary community site that will discover and nurture the freshest new writing talent online. Authonomy™ is a groundbreaking initiative that enables unpublished writers to build lasting relationships with readers and publishing professionals.' Kick-off early 2008.

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Pseudonymous Bosch has written a book. But, unusually, he is keeping it a secret. You need to be awfully clever to keep up with this stuff; which rules me out.

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A book about a mentally ill brother is not going to appeal to everyone, of course. But... if you're in a similar situation, this one may help.

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The libel/Mahfouz uproar continues. As indeed it should. (Even some British newspapers have dared to mention it now.)

And for comment on the latest UK nonsense about being free to say what you think, see this morning's Times. Things have come to a pretty pass when an old-fashioned Marxist is more tolerant than the leader of the Conservatives.

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Tim O'Reilly, of O'Reilly Publishing, has long been one of the smartest thinkers on the web. It was he, you may remember, who pointed out that writer's chief problem is not piracy but obscurity.

Now Mr O'Reilly further explores the issue of free material on the web. And what is more, he is sufficiently well connected to have had dinner recently with Rupert Murdoch. From which we learn that Mr Murdoch is a very smart man. But we knew that already. You may or may not like him, but smart you can hardly deny.

Link from Galleycat, where Ron Hogan discusses these issues.

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On similar issues, Barry Eisler gets space on M.J. Rose's blog to talk about how Web 2.0 changes the media, including, of course, the book biz. Are there any publishers out there who are worried, do you think? Or are they all saying Nah... Couldn't happen here.

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If you're interested in kiss-and-tell memoirs, the Times recently ran a piece about one of the earliest such memoirist: Harriette Wilson. It was she of whom the Duke of Wellington famously said, 'Publish and be damned.' She was damned, sadly.

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Further to last week's mention of Foyles, you may like to read an interview with the boss man, Christopher Foyle. It was Christopher who, shortly after taking over from his aunt, Christina, put an end to a massive fraud which must have been one of the book-trade's worst-kept secrets.

It seems that, at one time, any small-time crook who was short of a few bob knew where to go to get some drinking money. And the Foyles accountancy system (three old ladies with hand-written ledgers) was quite unable to detect anything amiss.

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Profile Books is one of the UK's most successful small publishers. A quick glance at the catalogue reveals some real gems. There's Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader and Susan Hill's The Man in the Picture, for a start.

We also have a book called Bertha Venation, which is about funny names of real people. I wonder if it gets as vulgar as the Times did in the eighteenth century, on the same subject. The list of (genuine) surnames which the Times of 1797 considered amusing included Holdwater, Pricke, Poopy, Piddle, Piss, Honeybum, Quicklove, Shittel, and Teate. And more. Easily amused in those days, weren't they?

14 comments:

Andy O'Hara said...

I like how Harper Collins is putting together a spam list before letting loose the details of their "groundbreaking" Authonomy program. Victoria Barnsley of HC breathlessly announces it as "an opportunity for these authors to woo a large audience, get an army of support behind them, and really test whether their work has got what it takes to make it.”

Right, people are going to sign up and, unbiased, trudge through countless manuscripts for Harper Collins so they can pick out the best of the slushpile.

Absolutely nothing new, in other words. A gimmick, from which will rise the already-connected authors.

VP said...

As a student I once got asked out by a Chris Hamilton Wanke - with an absent but prounanced R at the end. He had no idea, bless him, and my student mates still won't let me forget it.

Anonymous said...

Know an asshole? Try out sendahole.com.

David Langford said...

Having published some SF stories featuring the notion of jarring fractal images that cause brain damage or death, I wonder whether I could sue the 2012 Olympics committee for some kind of infringement. I mean: look at their logo. But not too hard, and not for too long.

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Parantar said...

what really is the meaning of asshole???

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gih said...

@VP

that would be his style.

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absolutely no assholes here.