Friday, June 15, 2007

Further to the former

Brian McGilloway's Borderlands has been shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association New Blood Fiction Dagger. It is a Macmillan New Writing publication.

Blog tours seem to be arousing an increasing amount of interest these days, as a cost-effective way of publicising a book. Here's an example. (Link from Anne Weale.)

I'm sure that blog tours are a good idea in principle, and I've co-operated in one that I remember, but I feel a strange lack of enthusiasm somehow. It's a side effect of coping with too much data, I think. Must cut down on the mouse-clicking. Must cut down on the mouse-clicking.... Must cut down....

Martin Rundkvist has kindly drawn my attention to a most unusual memoir by a famous American publisher, James Laughlin.

Laughlin certainly was famous (it turns out) though I must confess that I had never heard of him, probably because he operated with big literary names; and as you will know, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, I do not usually (there are exceptions) bother with the lit'ry stuff, it being way above my head. And I know my place, guv. He says, tugging forelock.

Anyway, Laughlin's memoir, The Way it Wasn't, seems to come in an alphabetical format, with lots of pictures.

Martin Rundkvist adds that Laughlin invented for himself a fictional assistant. All unpleasant correspondence was signed with this assistant's name, and every time someone was angry with the publisher's doings, Laughlin told them that the problem was the assistant's fault and that he had fired the man. I warm to Mr Laughlin.

Publishers Lunch reports that Flickr is about to publish The 24 Hours of Flickr, a heavily illustrated book with 122 photographs picked from (presumably) the thousands that were submitted. The book will be sold 'at cost', and $1 for each copy sold will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières, up to a total of $10,000.

This publication was announced on 5 May, when submissions were invited, and perhaps the chief point of interest for readers of this blog is that it is a collaboration between Flickr and Blurb, an ambitious POD book publisher.

Blurb is a potential rival to Lulu, as noted by the Washington Times, and it's about to enter the European market. Books will be printed in the Netherlands. It will be interesting to see how well the Blurb product reproduces the photographs in the Flickr book -- that is, after all, bound to be the key point in any collection of same.

Just to repeat: M.J. Rose has been re-running her 1993 words of wisdom and ran part 3 on 13 June. The bit I like best is in the 'sidebar', at the end, where two anonymous writers list the 'things they [i.e. publishers] don't tell you'. E.g.:

  • They don't tell you that your publicist is leaving, has left.

  • They don't tell you that your new publicist is still too young to rent a car and has never heard of Somerset Maugham.
I mean, really. How can people be so cynical? And ungrateful to boot. Publishers are such lovely people. I won't hear a word said against them. Two or three hundred words said against them, on the other hand, and I'm interested.

Galleycat reports that a big-shot librarian has attacked web 2.0 culture. The fellow in question, Michael Gorman, has a few valid points, but he seems to think that the internet is incompatible with respect for expertise and scholarship. I think the reverse is true. I think the internet provides a wonderful route whereby one can access expertise and scholarship, in a way, and with an ease, which was not even dreamed of by earlier generations of scholars and experts.

Wordsworth, a division of Not Born Yesterday, reflects, amusingly, on the ups and downs of the English language.

Darrell Bain is another of those high-energy American guys, the very contemplation of whose literary output fills one with the urge to lie die down in a darkened room until the memory dissipates. And as if that isn't enough, he wins prizes too.

It's a bit late in the day for me to notice this, but it was drawn to my attention by Cantara Christopher.

Back in 2006, the British Government passed the Terrorism Act; this made it illegal to glorify terrorism. Well, we may allow, gritting our teeth, that the glorification of terrorism is a bad thing. However, since the British government, in world war II, was itself involved in terrorism, the goodness or badness of terrorism clearly depends on where you're standing; one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Furthermore, there are plenty of serious people in the UK who feel that the Terrorism Act 2006 was an unacceptable limitation on free speech.

Among those troubled by the Act were quite a number of science-fiction writers, and a group of them got together to publish a book which overtly protests against it. The title of the book is Glorifying Terrorism, and it was published in February this year.

Since I had not heard of the book until recently, it's probably fair to say that its impact has been muted. No one has arrested the authors, anyway. That having been said, I gather that the print run is almost sold out, and that there are no plans to reprint, so this book may well become something of a collector's item.

It was only a matter of time dept. Madame Arcati has heard from Jon Snow's lawyers. And the comments are not likely to go down well either.


Anonymous said...

I too have learned the advantages of having a shadow assistant who willingly accepts all blame (but has thus far salvaged his job, bless his heart).

Martin said...

"I think the internet provides a wonderful route whereby one can access expertise and scholarship, in a way, and with an ease, which was not even dreamed of by earlier generations of scholars and experts."

I agree. A fine example is the proprietess of The Hall of Ma'at, a skeptical web forum about pseudoarchaeology. She has recounted in print how she started off as a rural von Däniken fan back in the 70s, and that what finally turned her on to real archaeology was the internet.

savannah said...

Always a find here, sir! I'm on a mystery jag, so Borderlands is on my list! Thanks

Anonymous said...

The web certainly helps for some research.. but not always. I'm currently working on an anti_TV book, but I'm finding all the research papers that I need now cost big $$$ via the web. Back in the 70s, when I was researching, I could go to the local university libraries & read them there. Now, the universities have cancelled most of the journals & the web access at uni is only to registered research students. So I'm cut off.
Oh, the libraries aren't buying many books today either, but you knew that..