Sunday, February 03, 2013

Weekend Links

I've actually had a little time to look at some of the Internet gleanings I've been saving up these past few weeks. And I can't wait to discuss them.

It took a while for me to get around to The Last Word on Blurbs at Educating Alice, because the documentary about Gary Shteyngart's blurbs that Monica links to runs 15 minutes. When I finally saw the  little film, I found it interesting because it seems to project the pointless nature of blurbs and suggest that the literary world, itself, doesn't take them seriously, while all that same time portraying Shteyngart, a well-known "blurb whore" in blurbing circles, as a nice guy trying to be helpful. As I was watching it, I imagined hundreds, if not thousands, of writers contacting him, hoping for a blurb, not because it would say anything particular about the quality of their books but because it would be neat to have a Shteyngart blurb. I'm thinking it could be like collecting autographs or balls signed by athletes.

Some of what you'll see at Six Things I Learned About Publishing a Book That Very Few Books Will Tell You at The Huffington Post you probably have seen in a lot of books. However, I was particularly interested in Points 1 and 2. 1. The author, Nataly Kelly, talks about connecting with an editor on LinkedIn. I have wondered about whether or not LinkedIn would be useful. I rarely hear any talk of it in author promotion materials. However, my limited knowledge of it suggests that it is professional rather than social. Shouldn't that mean you'll get fewer political rants and odes to pets there and more real professional exchanges? I could be convinced to link up with LinkedIn. 2. Kelly says an agent is necessary to assist with negotiations, even if you "made" the sale yourself. I've often heard that. However, in this video Mark McVeigh did for the 2010 WriteonCon, he said that getting an agent at that point is a little late, and that for most new authors, an agent won't be able to do much more for you than the editor's original offer. Which way to go? I am at a loss.

New Developments in Self-Publishing at Turbo Monkey Tales. Note that in spite of the new technical developments related to self-publishing, the post also makes the point that self-publishing is still publishing. In order to publish a book, someone has to do the work of a publisher--"editing, design, and marketing, at the very least." If authors publish themselves, then they either have to do that work or they have to pay someone to do it. But there's no getting around the fact that it needs to be done.

And while we're talking about writers needing to spend money, as we were in that last para, let's also touch on them making money. The financial realities described for genre novelists are similar to those for children's novelists. I would add something to this quote from the excerpt from Brian Keene: "And you probably won’t see a royalty check until another year AFTER your book has been published (provided enough copies have sold to earn out your advance)." The part about "provided enough copies have sold to earn out your advance" is extremely important. Many books never sell enough copies to earn out the authors' advances, and, thus, those authors never see a royalty check, never see money beyond the original advance. Some authors only make money the years they receive advances. 

Okay, we're going to end this weekend's links on a lighter note. Maybe. Take a look at 7 (More) Children's Books by Famous "Adult" Lit Authors at Brain Pickings. My personal favorite is the first one, The Crows of Pearblossom, by Aldous Huxley. It's about a crow couple who are having no luck at all starting a family because a rattlesnake that lives below their tree keeps eating their eggs. Seriously. It eats 297 of them. They trick the snake into eating two stone eggs, which, as you might guess, kills him. They then go on to live happily ever after, I guess, with the 60-plus children they proceed to produce. There is a Greek tragedy element to this story that appeals to me.   

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