Friday, March 17, 2006

Short notes

Here are a few bits and pieces which have cropped up in the post, in the press, or online. In no particular order.

Shameless Words

Shameless Words is a newish blog by an apparently anonymous writer, a 37-year-old journalist living in France. Will he be accepted by Macmillan New Writing? Watch this space.

The Daily Bulletin

Jack Saunders writes about depression in writers, and/or in himself, on an unusual site called The Daily Bulletin. Now that I think about it, Jack has turned up here before.

Still going at 92

Publishers Lunch reports that Lilian Jackson Braun, 92, is still going strong with her The Cat Who... mystery series. The Wall Street Journal says (in an article available online only to subscribers) that the 28 titles published since 1966 have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Braun is completing the twenty-ninth title, and 'installment 30 [is] a gleam in her eye.' The Journal also notes that 'the testimonials and sales figures are all the more impressive for an author who's always operated below the radar,' touring very little, and facing 'something of an industry bias' against her traditional, light-hearted approach to the crime-fiction genre.

I've never actually read a Cat Who book. Could never quite steel myself to do it. But lots of people have, apparently. Details of the lady and her books are on Fantastic Fiction, as usual.

Million Writers Award

Jason Sanford, of storySouth magazine, has posted the Notable Stories of 2005 list. This is a list of stories (published online) which have been nominated by readers worldwide. From these, a shortlist of 10 will be drawn up, and readers can then vote for the best. Even allowing for some mutual backscratching, there ought to be something worth reading among that lot.

Times Lit Supp dumbs down?

The People column in the Times reveals that the front cover of today's Times Literary Supplement has a (not very flattering) picture of Chantelle (winner of TV's Big Brother) on the front cover. Does this mean that the august journal is dumbing down? As I have not read the TLS for twenty years I cannot say. But I just thought that regular readers of same ought to be forewarned. Otherwise the shock might prove too much.

Val Landi gets paired off

As from 1 April, Val Landi's A Woman of Cairo will be paired on with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, currently the overall bestselling title after the Da Vinci thingy. I'm not quite sure how this works, or how Mr Landi wangled it, but it sounds impressive.

Murder Slim

Murder Slim is an outfit which deals mainly with music: 'From toe-tapping rockabilly to vicious punk, true alternative to ballsy garage, we've got it all.' But they also run to a literary magazine, Savage Kick, and, if the names Dan Fante, John Fante, Charles Bukowski, L-F Celine, Jim Goad or Jim Thompson mean anything to you, you're in the right place. They also publish Mark SaFranko's novel Hating Olivia, which has attracted quite a number of admirers on the hard-edged side of things.

Tentative conclusion

I don't know about you, but when I survey the above, I begin to think that all writers are a bit weird really. Apart from me, of course. And you. We're just fine.


Anonymous said...

We are indeed. To cultivate weirdness and write thus, that is the question...

Anonymous said...

RE: A Woman From Cairo on Amazon:

it's called 'paid placement'.

Martin said...

One reason for Val Landi's high Amazon placement - no 'new and used' offers other than Amazon and Booksurge's own, at the same price, are available. My own new book immediately had dozens of 'new and used' offers associated with it - so people go for the discount and sales aren't registered on the Amazon counter.

Maxine Clarke said...

1. I once read a "cat who" book -- I was in a book club (I keep getting tempted by the intro offers of 5 books for 1p each, even though I know it's a mug's game). They sent one to me free as a member incentive. I strongly recommend that you stay steeled. (Can't imagine how so many have been sold.)

2. Val Landi has this offer on his blog at the moment, that if you link via Amazon or similar to his book, he'll send you a free copy. I am not an Amazon seller but I enjoy Val's blog so I posted about this offer on mine (visited by about 5 people). I asked him if this counted, and he's sent me an email saying he will send me a free copy via Amazon USA (I live in the UK). How does he do it? If it is paid placement as Anonymous says, is he rich?
The book isn't on Amazon UK, by the way, or rather, there is one copy for 58 quid.

3. I like your blog so much I bought Grumpy Old Bookman (book) via Amazon UK, have nearly finished it. I am enjoying it so much. And as an extra bonus the print size is generous and the paper white. I don't think I'd realised how many books I now read on grim beigy (recycled?) paper, and with tiny faded print (publisher economising on ink as well as everything else?).

Anonymous said...

All: Amazon's "Buy X Get Y" program lets publishers submit titles to be paired with other books in both the 1-250 bestseller list ($750 fee) and the 250-500 bestseller ranking list ($500 fee). Amazon, however, has total control with who is paired with whom, however based on quality and comparable, combatible titles. It's a powerful sales tool for publishers. Best, Val Landi

Anonymous said...

Finally, we get to read the book! I'll review the book and tell you if the wait was worth it.
Mover Mike

Anonymous said...

Ref the Million Writers Award, I love the popular phrase, "The only criteria used to select these stories was excellence." True or not, they have to say this?

Richard said...

Jack Saunders has been doing these wonderful chronicles since the 1970s. I have some of his early books. He is an amazing writer.