Friday, November 09, 2007

Short pants and miniskirts

UK publisher Picador has decided, not unreasonably, that an enhanced online presence will aid marketing, and one of the features offered is a blog, on which various known (and some yet to be known) names make an appearance. General discussions appear, as well as pieces about Picador books.

Picador, it seems, have recently decided to 'launch its new fiction in dual hardback and paperback editions, in a bid to combat the ailing market for hardback literary fiction. The move raises serious questions about the future of the hardback literary novel, which Picador publisher Andrew Kidd described as a "moribund format".' So says the Bookseller, reported by Literary Saloon.

PS Publishing have also revised their web site and this is well worth a visit. PS (UK based indie) do science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime novellas, novels and short-fiction collections. They also publish non-fiction titles and a quarterly short fiction digest magazine, Postscripts.

Another independent and interesting UK outfit is the Legend Press. This is the publisher of William Coles's The Well-Tempered Clavier, which I mentioned the other day.

Today in Literature appears, as its name suggests, daily, and each day's short piece is about an event or person in literature whose anniversary, of some kind, today is. This might well help to make the teaching of Eng Lit less tedious for all concerned. And you can get it delivered by email.

Iain Manson tells me that a thriller by my soundalike, Michael Alan, is well worth reading. Entitled The Lorelei Effect, it has been published by YouWriteOn, and sample chapters are available online.

Over at the Pundy House, Bill Liversidge continues to describe what it's like, in the real world, trying to market a self-published book to UK booksellers. The reading of which calls for strong nerves, a well developed sense of humour, and probably, one feels, most of a bottle of whisky.

Peter Wright, editor of the UK Mail on Sunday, is having to wrestle with the problem of how much to give away free online. Here, courtesy of Edmond Clay, is his current view: 'To get traffic on a web site you have to publish free and encourage as many people as possible to read it. We encourage people like Drudge to aggregate our content because it means more people are see [sic] it and come back to browse the site. Whether that is the correct answer I can’t tell you, but it’s what we’re doing a[t] the moment.'

The Friday Project finds another blog which justifies a book. (Info also from Edmond Clay.)

And, finally from Edmond Clay, a bit about fire. Edmond lives in the area of those Californian forest fires that you've been hearing about. He says that this resident's account gives a pretty good impression of what it's like.

Marilyn Saklatvala wonders whether she has found A New Way to Do Old Things no. 95, and I think she may have.

Marilyn, writing as M.J. Sak, has published a children's book via Lulu: The Stone Summons. In the book, one of the characters (Alex) writes a blog. She had hoped that a mainstream publisher might publish the book, and, as part of the marketing, run a competition for a youngster to write Alex's blog. In the end, having to resort to Lulu, she thought what the hell, might as well write the blog myself. Which she did.

Now that is interesting, and I haven't heard of it being done before.

In more orthodox style, P.K. Munroe has launched a blog to help along The Thursday Night Letters. Blokes having ideas in pubs, but also doing something about them.

How do youall feel about the Writers Digest? They are, for the sixteenth time, running a competition for self-published books. And the entry fee is $100. Well, that should keep out the riff-raff. (Link from G.R. Grove: a medieval Welsh storyteller for the modern world.)

Are there any teenage girls reading this blog? If so, kindly make yourselves known to me, with photographs. Heh heh heh. Actually, what I really mean is, go take a look at Poppy, because it's supposed to be just for you.

Fortuitous typos no. 94: On the Creative Commons blog, Michelle Thorne reports that the CC Salon London will be held at the Crown and Anchor, 22 Neal St, Covert Garden (on the 20th of November 2007).

I like that. For them as lives abroad, it should be Covent Garden; originally, of course, Convent Garden. Get thee to a nunnery, Michelle.

Parts 2 and 3 of Barry Eisler's discussion of the effects of the web, and other changing technology, on the book world are now available at Buzz, Balls & Hype. 'I'd wager,' says Eisler, 'that the average reader doesn't know, and doesn't give a damn anyway, who publishes James Patterson.' So would I. Said so on 8 February 2005, in a post which you might like to read before, or after, sampling Mr Eisler.

See also my thoughts on whether big-time authors really need a publisher at all. These are buried in the middle of my general post of 18 December 2006, under the sub-heading Here, Kitty, Kitty. Everything that I said then remains true today. It's only a matter of time. And Jason Epstein, as you would imagine, influenced my thinking.

This blog does not do politics, but we do pay attention to freedom of speech, and to the rational discussion of important issues. On Tuesday I referred to a discussion in the Times of the row about mentioning Enoch Powell's 1968 speech, and on Wednesday, I'm pleased to say, Simon Heffer, in the (right-wing) Daily Telegraph took up more or less the same position as the Times's Marxist columnist.

Heffer is unusual in having actually read Enoch Powell's famous 1968 speech, which the Telegraph helpfully makes available online. If you do read it, which most of those who talk about it apparently have not done, then it is hard to disagree with the contention that Enoch was right about immigration, as he was about most other things.

So why is it so difficult, one may ask, for sensible and reasonable people to accept that, and then to move on to discussing how best to exploit the undoubted benefits which (controlled) immigration brings, and how best to cope with the undoubted problems which also arise?

I note, in passing, that when I came to use the digital workstation in my local camera shop yesterday afternoon, it was displaying text in Polish.

I long ago gave up trying to keep track of all the good crime writers, even the British ones, and here's another one: Martin Edwards.

Sgt Mom, aka Celia Hayes, is taking positive steps (see post of 2007-11-06) to market her latest, To Truckee's Trail. A group of people who 'met' in an discussion group for writers of POD or small-press historical novels are getting together. All of them were 'stymied by the literary-industrial complex', and are now marketing their books themselves.

The group began as a way to swap tips and encouragement -- now they're putting together a glossy newsletter to publicise some of their books. For details of what they are up to, visit the Independent Authors' Guild's new web site.

iGavel is an online auction house which sometimes has lit'ry things, such as this rare Irving Penn item.

Londoners, Publishing News reports, will soon have the benefit of a free literary magazine. It will be a 16-page, bi-weekly, tabloid-format enterprise, with 'a broad variety of high quality content, ranging from short stories to cartoons and stimulating non-fiction, from both up-and-coming young writers and more high-profile published authors'.

It's the 'high quality' bit which worries me. If it's to be the usual creative-writing school kind of fiction, readers will not bother after week one. If, on the other hand, we have more commercial short stories, then maybe. But who is going to write them? Especially if, as seems likely, writers are going to be encouraged to do it for the exposure.

Shelfari has a new widget.

From time to time I have expressed the thought here that, at least as far as the UK is concerned, subsidy of the arts from public money is undesirable in principle and produces mostly ghastly stuff in practice. Now it turns out that quite a few artists and writers feel that applications for funding really aren't worth the time and trouble in any case. You are required, it seems, to give up your artistic independence. Thanks to Elberry for the link.


Dave Lull said...

Characters in Scott Stein's book Mean Martin Manning have blogs and websites:

Mean Martin Manning's website

Mean Martin Manning at MySpace

Mean Martin Manning for President website

The blog of Alice Pitney, the case worker, 'the driving force behind revolutionary self-improvement programs spreading across the state. Remember, "Not wanting help is the clearest possible indication that in fact you need it."'

The website of Dr. Karen, star of "It's Dr. Karen" and holder of a Ph.D. in psychology

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I guess I'm just getting tired.

From Fowler ("when I became a mother it was such a mind-blowing experience that I wanted to write about it")

to the eight year-old who’s not an eight year-old:

"and my Mana, I guess she's a sort of social worker I go to an international, virtual school, we meet..."

It's all too much. Someone just hand me the gun and I’ll shoot myself.

David Isaak said...

Covert Garden...

Wow. Gives the place a whole new feel.

tory boys never grow up said...

You're right you should not do politics. I've reread Powell's speech and putting aside the racial hatred it whipped up at the time, and Powell was an experienced enough politician to know that this would happen, its central predictions were just plain wrong - e.g 5 to 7 million Commonwealth immigrants in 2000 - actual figure was c3.5m per the 2001 census, as as for seeing "rivers of blood"? Perhaps some comments about how immigration from the Commonwealth has enriched our literature might be more appropriate.

Gladys Hobson said...

Have people like T.B.N.G.U. considered the whole picture? It is fine for those who came here and found a new life and opportunities for fulfillment. They and their children will have settled into the community as a whole.

But was any thought given to those who came here willingly to do menial jobs that our residents refused? Was our country fair to them? What opportunities did their children have? Working in low paid jobs — if they were lucky?

Now it is happening again. The country is short of housing, the NHS and schools are being stretched, as are all public services. Where will it end?

If we are open to all comers, thought must be given to the consequences, and not just glossed over.

We need to know how the crime figures are being affected too. Not all who come to this country are here enrich our culture — far from it.

Especially because emotions run high on this subject, logical discussion is needed. I'm sure our literature is enriched by authors from all over the world. But we do not need to bury our head in the sand to achieve this.

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Anonymous said...

Short pants and miniskirts is a temptation to men... right? hehe

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