Interesting Items from the Book World–January Edition

I recently realized how frequently I come across an interesting literary or publishing item in the news, the blog world (I refuse to say “blogsphere,” and insist that you do as well), or through various veins of social media, and subsequently realized how often I intend to share those interesting tidbits, but forget.

It’s with the hope that my readers will find these items as interesting as I do that I’ve decided to catalogue a handful of newsworthy items here at least once each month. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Kelly Davio blog without some completely unsolicited opining by yours truly.

Last time we talked here, I mentioned that I had a few words about the new chick lit book called A Shore Thing, putatively written by Snookie. It seems as good as any to begin, but I will point out that I’m speaking about these books in no particular order.

1. Simon and Schuster picks up A Shore Thing, “by” Snookie. Yes, that Snookie.

 

this author has a bigger advance than you do

You might think it would be encouraging that even someone like Ms. Snookie can seem to get a book deal. After all, her main credential for writing the novel is that she “can go to frickin’ Barnes and Nobles, sit down, get a coffee and read a book.”

But for those of us who lack a pouffy hairdo, and are continuing to clack away at our little literary endeavors and losing sleep over the pitching process, this news is not so encouraging at all. But it doesn’t have to be a losing situation–in fact, this could be a teachable moment. Ask yourself, as I did: what am I missing from my platform? Apparently it’s 1. Declaring on national television that I wake up in a garbage can at least once per month. 2. Courting skin cancer with an extreme regimen of tanning.3. Getting arrested for harassing hapless people on the beach.

Clearly I’ve been trying for too many conference gigs while ignoring the real work.

2. McSweeney’s offers a timely alternative to Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir

 

choose your own Rumsfeld adventure!

When Penguin releases Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir on 2/8/11 (what, he’s not going to debut the book at AWP?), McSweeney’s is prepared to release an alternative version of those known unknowns. Eric Martin and Stephen Elliott call the book a record of “…What would happen if Donald Rumsfeld, former defense secretary and architect of the war on terror, was abducted at night from his Maryland home, held without charges in his own prison system, denied a trial, and kept in a place where no one could find him, beyond the reach of the law?”

 

3. American Book Award Winner abandons presses both large and small in favor of curated Print on Demand

 

he doesn't want Snookie's advance

Seattle Writer Matt Briggs, winner of the American Book Award for Shoot the Buffalo, has had it with publishers (and for some very sound reasons, like his book’s being sold, edited, and published in Ireland without his consent). Now he’s with Publication Studio, a print-on-demand house curated by novelist Matthew Stadler.

On the face of it, it would seem that printing books in recycled manila folders with the title and author rubber-stamped on the front cover  wouldn’t be terribly workable in terms of publicity and sales. But according to the Seattle Times, Publications Studio is making money. Quite a bit of it, actually, by small press standards. Maybe they’re on to something?

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