Pretty Locus Monster

Mon 29 Jun 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 5 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Pretty MonstersExcellent news! Kelly’s story “Pretty Monsters” received a Locus Award this weekend:

which is awesome!

Cutting and pasting from the gender and country breakdown of previous posts: who are they, where do they come from?

Winners (if a person is in a category twice they were counted twice. Numbers are hopefully accurate):

  • 10 men (USA)
  • 3 women (USA)

Nominees:

  • 50 men (32 USA, 9 UK, 6 AUS, 3 CAN)
  • 16 women (14 USA, 1 UK, 1 AUS)


Ready to burn up this summer?

Thu 18 Jun 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

issue preview Steve Berman has put out the first issue of a new magazine, Icarus, through Magcloud, one of those Web 2.1 long tail site thingies where you can publish what you like on any scale. Since niche mags are dying off like dinosaurs after a meteor crash, it will be interesting to see how this develops.Not sure if we will put out LCRW through them the way we did with Lulu; the ebook + zine format ($5 vs. $13) works quite well at the moment.

Not sure if you can subscribe or not, but you can preview and order the first issue here:

Icarus is the first magazine devoted to gay-themed speculative fiction and writing – from fantasy to horror to science fiction, and all the weird tales that fall between the cracks. Our first issue features short stories by Jeff Mann, Joel D. Lane, Jameson Currier and Tom Cardamone; interviews with Dan Stone and graphic artist Peter Grahame; poetry by Lawrence M. Schoen; plus book reviews, an article about the Gaylactic Network, and brief happenings in gay publishing. Icarus is published by Lethe Press.



Podcast: Media in Transition 6: “The Future of Publishing”

Tue 9 Jun 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A couple of weeks ago Gavin was on a panel on “The Future of Publishing” with these fine people:

Gavin J. Grant, Small Beer Press
Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Robert Miller, Harper Studio
Bob Stein, Institute for the Future of the Book
Moderator: Geoffrey Long, MIT

MIT has posted audio of the whole thing online here.

ETA: And now you can, erk, watch the whole thing here.

These were the panel questions to kick things off:

Read more



Mailing today

Mon 1 Jun 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Endicia LogoHey, we didn’t mail anything out today (we are still [sorry!] behind from our almost-cleared-out warehouse sale, yay!) because there was a glitch in our mailing systems. So we emailed the mailing company, Endicia, and within a couple of hours they returned our call, apologized, and credited us a with a couple of months service free.

Wow.

We used to use P*ney-Bowes and they were awful. Every time we ordered supplies it was like stepping up to someone and asking to be punched in the face. No, wait. Punched twice. There was even a service charge for buying postage. When we bought $400 of postage at the post office it cost $400. When we buy it from Endicia it costs $400. When we bought it from ShtnyBws it cost $418.99. Why?

They introduced some kind of completely useless rewards or points program, they insisted on sending us a stupid magazine (and then tried to charge for it!) and basically made us feel that they could do without us more than we could do without them and we should watch it otherwise they might drop us. Or raise yet another esoteric fee on us.

So: Endicia, what a breath of fresh air. Thanks for the credit!

This message (and recommendation to switch) brought to you by the letters h a p p y and a complete lack of behind-the-scenes-sponsorship.



new picture book

Wed 15 Apr 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Mabel, One and Only CoverOne of our favorite writers has her first book out: and this one comes with pictures. Mabel, One and Only is by Margaret Muirhead who long time readers will recognize as a contributor of some great and hilarious poetry as well as an early nonfiction piece. Some of these pieces can be found (or rediscovered) in The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

When we saw Mabel, One and Only was coming out (and it should be in your local store now), we tracked down Margaret and got her to sit still long enough to answer a few questions. Of course, we very much recommend her book:

We just loved reading your new picture book, Mabel, One and Only. Can you tell us about it?

Mabel is the story of a girl who is the only kid on her block. Usually she can convince her grown-up neighbors into playing a game or two, but one afternoon, she finds they’re all busy. So Mabel and her canine sidekick, Jack, set about to find their own fun.

Mabel is a great, lively kid. Do you have more stories for her planned?

Read more



Coming in September: Hound

Tue 13 Jan 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Here’s a book we’ve been looking forward to publishing for a while: Hound, the debut mystery from long-time Boston bookseller, Vincent McCaffrey, which we’ll be putting out in hardcover in September.

Vincent is working on the on the final draft (as well as a follow-up novel, always good news for mystery readers), then there’ll be review copies going out, at some point there’ll be a cover—maybe even by BookExpo in May, hey, you never know—then he’ll meet some other booksellers at the New England Indie Bookseller Association trade show in September, and the book will come out (set in Baskerville type, as requested by the author!), and readers everywhere will get to enjoy this slow-burning mystery.

Vincent owns the Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop (AVH) and has a great new website where he’s posting good pieces on the state of publishing, bookselling, and all those good things. AVH is now an online bookshop and we still get to see Vincent when he comes out to the Northampton book auction (a dangerous place). We (Gavin & Kelly) met while working there. Long before our time he had published a series of magazines, Fiction, Gallileo, even managing one issue of Galaxy, with help from writers and editors such as Charlie Ryan, Floyd Kemske, and contributors such as Connie Willis and John Kessel.

In the last couple of years, since moving the bookshop out of Boston, Vincent has been writing up a storm and we’ve been enjoying reading his novels as they’ve been sent out our way. It’s been good to work with Vincent again and we’re looking forward to getting his old-fashioned mystery out there to readers.



4 agents + some wine = good conversation

Sat 20 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

0901agents_homepage.jpgThe latest issue of Poets & Writers has a great, solid, seitan-y* conversation between four agents, “The New Guard,” as they’re deemed: Julie Barer (Barer Literary), Jeff Kleinman (Folio Literary Management), Daniel Lazar (Writers House), and Kelly’s agent, Renee Zuckerbrot (Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency) where the four of them were given plenty of space to talk.

It’s like reading the transcript of a focused panel (with a skilled moderator) where everyone got to say everything (or almost everything, no doubt) that they wanted to say. There is a lot of really useful information for writers—and anyone with any interest in the business of publishing:

ZUCKERBROT: The point is, how do we create a new generation of readers? That’s one of the many reasons why Harry Potter has been so fabulous. We have to grow new generations of readers. And technology can help. I’m a dinosaur. I grew up with books and typewriters. But this new generation wants all the gadgets. They want to be able to play with it and they want to be nimble.

BARER: I have to say, I really hate this debate of either/or. That we’re either going to become this electronic world or we’re going to be dinosaurs. Hopefully we will continue to grow readers, and people will read in several mediums, whether it’s on their computers or on their e-book-version whatevers or on the printed page. The goal of agents and publishers is to keep finding ways in which we can reach as many of those readers as possible and provide as many opportunities for them to read our books as we can. Not just one way, but many ways.

KLEINMAN: That’s the problem. I don’t think that’s what publishers are doing now. They are going by the same old Paleolithic ways of doing things. They are translating this ancient technique of reading into the Kindle. But it’s the same thing. And I think it needs to be something different.

Start Here.

And once there, you might dig around, like the other PW, Poets & Writers don’t skimp on the online material. (You know, that stuff you’re skimming instead of reading a book.)

*it’s like meaty without increasing your chance of colorectal cancers.



Bloomsbury Academic

Wed 10 Sep 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Bloomsbury’s recent announcement about their new Creative Commons-licensed line provides a fascinating point of entry into the possible future of niche-interest books:

Bloomsbury Academic will be using a radically new model. All titles will be made available free of charge online, with free downloads, for non-commercial purposes, immediately upon publication, using Creative Commons licences. The works will also be sold as books, using latest short-run technologies or Print on Demand (POD).

Until we all have Instabook printers on our desktops (just as photo printing became dispersed onto desktops instead of centralized), this seems like a great model: insure the work is available to as wide an audience (online, libraries, etc.) as possible and also provide the option of buying the physical text.

For the moment, people do a ton of reading online (hello NY Times, Blogistan, etc.) so our distribution model is still mostly the same as publishing last century: make a pretty book and send it out there to be read and enjoyed. Since 99% (ok 99 point something-or-other) of our sales are physical, paper books, this is what we’re sticking to. (And, it’s great fun working with authors and artists to make books.)

Looking ahead (or at least sideways) quite a few of our books are available as ebooks and some are out there as free CC-licensed texts that can be played with, shared, sent on, etc., and maybe provoke the reader to look up those authors in the future.



LSsss

Fri 25 Apr 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Eric Marin is hanging out his shingle and has announced his first book project, The Lone Star Stories Reader.

Table of Contents? After the cut.

Read more



That 800lb gorilla

Fri 28 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

From today’s Shelf Awareness a note that’s going to affect a ton of indie presses:

Amazon has notified publishers who print books on demand that they will
have to use Amazon’s POD facilities if they want to sell their books
directly on Amazon.com, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The move signals that Amazon is intent on using its position as the
premier online bookseller to strengthen its presence in other phases of
bookselling and manufacturing,” the Journal continued. Amazon “has
evolved into a fully vertical book publishing and retail operation. Most
recently, Amazon acquired audiobook seller Audible Inc. Amazon also
sells its own ebook reader called the Kindle.”

Publishers will have to use Amazon’s BookSurge POD subsidiary. Among
competitors are Ingram’s Lightning Source and lulu.com.

Read the whole piece here (put in any WSJ headline into Google News and you can read the whole thing).



Defeated!

Wed 13 Feb 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The weather has done us in and we will not be at the lovely NYC reading tonight: bah!



Numbers trouble

Thu 8 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Unread around here as yet but posted as something of passing interest to more than a few people we know. Besides Jedediah Berry’s new story, the latest issue of the Chicago Review (53:2/3) has an article about gender breakdown in poetry in Conjunctions, The New Yorker, and 10 other magazines. The article, a response, and some numbers can all be found here.



Booker books online

Fri 19 Oct 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

This (from Shelf Awareness)  is pretty exciting:

The organizers of the Man Booker Prize are negotiating to make the six shortlisted titles this year available in their entirety and for free online, the Times of London reported. The idea is to reach areas, particularly in Africa and Asia, where the books might not be available. “The downloads will not impact on sales, it is thought,” the paper wrote. “If readers like a novel tasted on the internet, they may just be inspired to buy the
actual book.”
The publisher of the Man Booker winner, The Gathering by Anne Enright,  said he prefers “a partial reproduction.”



Thu 2 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Not sure if I believe him, but this laugh out loud lines these are one of the reasons to read Will’s Hang Fire blog:

Speaking of pulp fiction If you haven’t seen Black Snake Moan drop everything and rent it now! Christina Ricci play the greatest Jailbait Trailertrash Nympho ever captured on film…and I would know.



Thu 2 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Not sure if I believe him, but this laugh out loud lines these are one of the reasons to read Will’s Hang Fire blog:

Speaking of pulp fiction If you haven’t seen Black Snake Moan drop everything and rent it now! Christina Ricci play the greatest Jailbait Trailertrash Nympho ever captured on film…and I would know.



Wed 14 Feb 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Finn Harbor, a writer currently working at a university in South Korea, has been posting a series of Q+A’s with a bunch of agents, editors, and publishers — they’re interviews, rather than conversations but they make for interesting reading. Recently he interviewed Gavin and recently posted the results — excerpt below:

1. Literature is in trouble — that is, more trouble than usual. Why do you think this is? The increasing prevalence of TV? The distractions of increasingly narcotic subcultures such as video games? Sept. 11? Or is talk of the “death of literature” simple exaggeration?

Don’t agree with the premise so I’ll go with the exaggeration. We’re all going to have TV and the net wired into our brains as in innumerable science fiction novels (and M.T. Anderson’s excellent Feed) so why would anyone need to read? Putting that aside, until the cable company comes to (ahem) jack me in there are so many advocates for reading, for books, books in translation, magazines in print and online, that I am somewhat sanguine about at least the near future. Some of the publishers I respect will fail (maybe including us!), some of the authors I love will stop writing or selling books. But new publishers will appear, new authors, new ways for the authors I love, to get their work out.

2. And what is literature, anyway? Should the traditional novel be considered the prime example of it?

Literature is the printed version of the ever-popular narrative dream state induced by such primary sources as storytellers, poets, Hyde Park orators, (some) TV, film, and video game writers, the Interblognet, the couple fighting quietly behind you on the bus, and so forth.

4. Literary publishing has always been a marriage of art and commerce. But in recent years, the Cult of the Deal has become more influential, with agents demanding larger advances and marketing people paying especially close attention to sales figures. Is the “art” side of the business being pushed out?

The really big deals for new authors dropped off after the 1990s. Sales figures are harder and harder to get around — the ubiquitous peek at Bookscan is part of the consideration of any ms now.

Publishers can afford to take some chances, but it’s harder with the accountants looking over your shoulder. If a book costs ~$25,000 to do decently then it had better sell more than 1,000 copies. Finding a way to make it sell more:  that’s the challenge!

Art and commerce are intertwined and nowhere does it say that art is something anyone should be paid for. The writer should ask themselves what they want to do: amuse a reader? Puzzle them? Confuse? Inspire? Having answered that question they can then consider who will be willing to pay them what amount for the job of sending that work out into the world.



Wed 14 Feb 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Finn Harbor, a writer currently working at a university in South Korea, has been posting a series of Q+A’s with a bunch of agents, editors, and publishers — they’re interviews, rather than conversations but they make for interesting reading. Recently he interviewed Gavin and recently posted the results — excerpt below:

1. Literature is in trouble — that is, more trouble than usual. Why do you think this is? The increasing prevalence of TV? The distractions of increasingly narcotic subcultures such as video games? Sept. 11? Or is talk of the “death of literature” simple exaggeration?

Don’t agree with the premise so I’ll go with the exaggeration. We’re all going to have TV and the net wired into our brains as in innumerable science fiction novels (and M.T. Anderson’s excellent Feed) so why would anyone need to read? Putting that aside, until the cable company comes to (ahem) jack me in there are so many advocates for reading, for books, books in translation, magazines in print and online, that I am somewhat sanguine about at least the near future. Some of the publishers I respect will fail (maybe including us!), some of the authors I love will stop writing or selling books. But new publishers will appear, new authors, new ways for the authors I love, to get their work out.

2. And what is literature, anyway? Should the traditional novel be considered the prime example of it?

Literature is the printed version of the ever-popular narrative dream state induced by such primary sources as storytellers, poets, Hyde Park orators, (some) TV, film, and video game writers, the Interblognet, the couple fighting quietly behind you on the bus, and so forth.

4. Literary publishing has always been a marriage of art and commerce. But in recent years, the Cult of the Deal has become more influential, with agents demanding larger advances and marketing people paying especially close attention to sales figures. Is the “art” side of the business being pushed out?

The really big deals for new authors dropped off after the 1990s. Sales figures are harder and harder to get around — the ubiquitous peek at Bookscan is part of the consideration of any ms now.

Publishers can afford to take some chances, but it’s harder with the accountants looking over your shoulder. If a book costs ~$25,000 to do decently then it had better sell more than 1,000 copies. Finding a way to make it sell more:  that’s the challenge!

Art and commerce are intertwined and nowhere does it say that art is something anyone should be paid for. The writer should ask themselves what they want to do: amuse a reader? Puzzle them? Confuse? Inspire? Having answered that question they can then consider who will be willing to pay them what amount for the job of sending that work out into the world.



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