Thursday, July 19, 2007

Notes from a long weekend

The Guardian has a very interesting article about Christopher Little, the man who has always acted as agent to J.K. Rowling. As ever with publishing, I suspect that the estimates of earnings are a little inflated, but even at a 100% overestimate, Mr Little is still a rich man. (Link from

One the same theme, Terence Blacker, in the Independent, has written a thoughtful and insightful article into the impact of J.K. Rowling's success, not least upon herself. And he concludes, inevitably, with a much-deserved comment on the general cluelessness of the book trade in general, at least as far as HP is concerned. When handed a unique opportunity to make huge profits, most of the book trade seems to have managed to actually lose money. (Link from

How reassuring to know that American puritanism has not completely died out. The Independent has the story of a German author who found out that a US publisher can be very touchy about the naked human body. Said body is, reportedly, potentially offensive. Problem is, of course, excessive prudery is also potentially offensive.

Meanwhile, the UK has its own pathetic nonsense, with the Tintin is a racist affair. I think it's about time some people developed a sense of proportion. Did British civil servants organise a protest march when John Cleese did his Ministry of Silly Walks sketch? Can't say I remember it.

Eco-Libris suggests that we should plant a tree for every book we read. It is estimated that about 20 million trees are being cut down every year to produce paper for books sold in the U.S. alone. By partnering with non-profit organizations in developing countries, Eco-Libris has a new website through which readers can do something towards replacing the world's stock of trees.

George Melly, a well known figure in the UK but largely unknown abroad, was one hell of a character, as the Times obituary demonstrates. He also wrote some good books, both autobiographical and on art. Now Publishing News tells us that trumpeter Digby Fairweather will soon be publishing an account of his work with Melly, covering their concert, recording and drinking sessions, as well as some 'unexpected and unscripted encounters' along the way. On the Road with George Melly: The Final Bows of a Legend will be published next month.

Ah, it's such fun being a writer, isn't it? Especially a science-fiction writer. Galleycat reports that there's a new online magazine being planned. Contributors will be paid, but not much. And for the privilege of being published, you will be expected to hand over a share of any subsequent income, should you succeed in turning your story into a book or a movie.

I get a lot of emails about self-published books, the latest being The Cobbler of Normandy, by holocaust survivor Otto Berliner. Not surprisingly, given the author's background, this book is about World War II. On you can look inside and decide if you wish to read further. What caught my eye, however, is that the book is published by Booksurge, an Amazon subsidiary. Just as a matter of interest, I checked via Amazon search to see how many books Booksurge has published. The answer: 11,436.

Despite my doubts about the O. Henry book, expressed earlier this week, I remain a keen enthusiast for the short story. Hence I welcome, in principle, Planet Writers, a newish site for posting short stories and articles. Not a lot there as yet.

Speaking of short stories, the Warren Adler Short Story Contest is now open for entries. The entry fee is $15.00, which is just one reason why many people are unhappy about such competitions. However, if you go into it with your eyes open I can't see any harm in it. Stories have to be about New York City. Further info at the Adler web site.

Another publicist's email tells me of a book called Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies: Issue by Issue Responses to the Most Common Claims of the Left from A to Z. This US publication would have us believe that Hillary, Al Gore and the like are trying to turn America into a socialist state. What is more, they're trying to cut off the phone lines of the Christian right.

I would like to be able to tell you that this is all an elaborate piss-take, but sadly I don't think it is. Let's see now -- didn't I once hear something similar about Commie bastards trying to take over America? Like, about fifty years ago? Rings a bell. The publisher of this new book, by the way, is JAJ, a one-book outfit, according to Amazon search.

Crime writer Marshall Karp is killing his readers. Or so his publicist tells me. Seems that Marshall's comedy novels about two LAPD detectives are getting excellent reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. And not just from bloggers either. These reviews are from the real guys -- you know, the ones who write in the newspapers.

More trouble, I gather, at the Chelsea Hotel, as mentioned here before. The Living with Legends blog has the details and is seeking support for the cause.

Josh Gidding, author of Failure: an Autobiography, will be interviewed on National Public Radio's 'Weekend Edition Sunday', hosted by Liane Hansen. The interview will probably air this coming Sunday, July 22. (Unless it fails to do so.) Josh suggests that, if your local NPR station carries this programme, you should tune in and hear him fail.

Last year I published a novel about reality TV -- and you can read it free online, should you wish. In that novel, the leading character says, more than once, that everything in TV is faked. And now we have proof that I didn't even know the half of it. Even the mighty BBC is now exposed as having faked all kinds of things. And an almighty row is afoot.

The Times this morning has a report of an old dodge performed yet again, and presented, naturally, as if it was all new. Man in England copies out a few chapters of Jane Austen's novels, sends them to agents and publishers as a new submission, and they all reject them. The Guardian also carries the story.

Ho hum. This is, frankly, very boring. The last time someone did this, I wrote about it at excessive length, giving, in a footnote, full details of several other occasions on which exactly the same thing was done with the same results.

This time I think I'm going to ignore it.


Anonymous said...

In self publishing, Booksurge strikes me as a bit on the expensive end...

Walter Ellis said...

I sent the following opening paragraph to every major publisher in Britain the other day, including, I might say, yourself. It is, of course, a rip-off of the Da Vinci Code. Yet where Dan Brown was immediately offered £100 million pounds, I was told by all and sundry to sod off. You yourself advised me to “get help”. Well … if this doesn’t prove the stupidity of the publishing industry once and for all, what does?

Prado Museum, Madrid
10.47 P.M.

Well-known art lover Jaime Santiago staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Galleria Grande. He lunged for the nearest painting he could see, a Valasquez. Grabbing the ornate frame, the seventy-seven year old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Sanitiago collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canvas.

Anonymous said...

Book Review of an English Classic

The Inspiring Story of Little Goody Two Shoes

One of the Most Popular and Influential Children's/Adults Books of the Eighteenth Century.

The History of Goody Two-Shoes was one of the most famous, popular and influential children's/adults books of the eighteenth century. It had an unparalleled status for many years ... It was universally popular for over two hundred years before languishing in obscurity...

Now, after two hundred and forty-two years, Point of Life publishing house has renewed, refreshed, revitalized and recreated the literature masterpiece. By the inspirational pen of Michael Levy the ingenious publication has been gracefully transformed, while at the same time keeping to the original text and meaning as much as possible. It is an updated, encouraging book that is required inspiring reading for all children and adults.

A little girl named Miss Margery Meanwell, is so poor that she walks around with only one shoe. She is orphaned early in life, a penniless urchin, who is given two shoes by a friend... From that moment on she is nick-named, Little Goody Two Shoes.

Little Goody Two Shoes, is a keen learner and becomes an eager pupil of the alphabet. The heroine acquires learning and wisdom at a young age and teaches children to read and write with wisdom. In the second part of the story, as an adult Miss Margery, teaches adults how to stop quarreling and live a peaceful, wholesome life by wearing a "Pals Hat" that can stop to make people think about the differences in their opinions.

Who from a state of rags and care,
And having shoes but half a pair;
Their fortune and their fame would fix,
And gallop in a coach and six.

The story highlights her charitable activities, which results in her being carried from her humble station in life and into a lady of means. The narration in the story by Merry Love, points out the plight of the poor and downtrodden, while fighting the greed and avarice of deceitful men.

To quote one line:

Ah! my dear reader, we brag of liberty, and boast of our laws; but the blessings of the one, and the protection of the other, seldom fall to the lot of the poor; and especially when a rich man is their adversary.

The narrator points out not too much as changed in the past two hundred and forty years. If anything the greed has been magnified while the poor are still poor and downtrodden.

Many exciting adventures befall Goody Two Shoes and her bother Tom. Levy's inspirational style of writing fits like a hand in a glove with the original unknown authors text.

The story is sure to delight children of all ages, as it has past generations...It is a highly spiritual experience.

The book devotedly points out that everyone who calls themselves a human being has a choice to follow Goody Two Shoe's pathway to happiness and wisdom ... The book has been rewritten and renewed for the benefit of all humanity no matter what creed or color.

About the author
Michael Levy is the author eight inspirational books. Michael's poetry and essays now grace many web sites, journals and magazines throughout the world. He is a world illustrious speaker on health maintenance, stress eradication, wealth development, authentic happiness and inspirational poetry.

Book Details

The Inspiring Story of Little Goody Two Shoes
Publisher: Point of Life Inc.
ISBN Numbers 978-0-9668069-9-1
Publication date 07/04/07
Number of Pages: 136
Paperback 6x 9
Price $12.95
Cover design and editing by Entry Way Publishers
Cover artist: Kathy Cline
Editor: Professor Frederick de Serres

Contact Details

Point of Life Inc
3032 East Commercial Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale
Florida 33308

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments on The reason there isn't that much content there yet is because we haven't officially opened it yet (even though we are accepting stories).
Its sister site - - has been around for about 1.5 years now and is close to 1,000 posted stories.