Friday, November 29, 2013

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news covers 11/16 -11/29. Not too busy over the holiday. Hope you had a happy turkey day!

Publishing News:

Apple's trying the same argument in the States vs Apple price-fixing lawsuit as it used in the DOJ vs Apple price-fixing lawsuit: that fixing prices was good for competition. They're also trying to revoke the consumer class-action status to prevent a class action lawsuit.

In May, 2012, courts ruled that Georgia State Universities e-reserves were protected under fair use. However, in the appeals courts, things are looking less favorable towards GSU.

Random House is touching base with Pinterest, adding it to its website to help readers discover books.

Industry Blogs:

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 11/22.

Also from QueryTracker, if you have an agent interested in book #3, but they didn't request books #1 or #2 (different series), should you mention those first two books? You can, but remember that you've probably grown as an author--check closely to make sure the books still represent your best work. And what is the Frankfurt Book Fair? It's geared towards publishers more than fans, very much about rights, and of course, takes place in Frankfurt, Germany.
What happens after you've published... and someone decides they have it out for you? Even if it's just giving you bad reviews, like it or not, when you're published people will be saying things about you, and some of the things will be cruel. Rachelle Gardner gives advice for when a writer becomes a target.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions: How do you sign a query for a story written by collaborating authors? Include both names. She also says be tenacious, and admits that yes, it does help to know people in the industry.

So you skillfully avoided the vanity publisher; now here's a "pay-to-play" radio show... Don't fall for those Global Talk Radio ads; according to Writer Beware they're not the deal you're looking for. Oh, and news for Writer Beware--it's now also endorsed by the Horror Writers Association in addition to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Got writers' block? Here's a handy blog from i09 on ways to overcome it... looking at different types of writers' block, because let's face it, not all blocks are the same. And on the Editor's Blog, more ways to get the words flowing.

Did you know there's now a way to add a soundtrack to your e-book? Nathan Bransford posts about adding soundtracks.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch suggests authors who want a traditional publisher only for purposes of discoverability insist on 3 things in a contract: print deals, five-figure or higher advance, and a guarantee in the contract for a certain level of advertising. Otherwise there's no way to ensure the publisher will provide higher discoverability than authors can do themselves.

The Book Machine is a nifty idea--choose a book and print it, right there and then. But indie bookstores, which seem like a match made in heaven, are struggling with them. The high costs of the machine are compounded by the fact that publishers aren't making all books available for publishing via these book machines. Publishers' Weekly has more.

In the UK, apparently 62% of young adult readers prefer print to e-books. has done a text analysis of the Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter. The results are pretty fascinating!

Want to buy an e-book for someone as a gift? GalleyCat has how.

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, offers 3 tips for self-publishing authors.

What interesting publishing news have you encountered in the past two weeks?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful for...

Tomorrow is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Great food, terrible origins, but we won't go into what a horrible person Columbus was here.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Instead I'm going to celebrate tomorrow the spirit of Thankfulness.

What am I thankful for? Here's five:

 A fantastic family and amazing friends.

The opportunity to write. To choose my own destiny and have the capability to pursue it.

 Having a job I like, with coworkers I like.

Having access to books and having been able to get an education.

Indoor plumbing and a safe, warm place to live.

What are you grateful for this year?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day of the Doctor in Theaters

The Day of the Doctor, in case you've missed the news, is being shown in theaters in the US tonight. So if you're like me and don't have cable, you've been avoiding spoilers and are rubbing your hands together in anticipation for the Doctor on the big screen.

Guess where I'll be tonight?

Have you seen Day of the Doctor yet? If you plan on seeing it (or already have) will you be seeing it in theaters or at home?

On another note, today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Here's the United Nations page for more information.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cats in bookshops... They're one of the things that makes a person feel at home. Or so Dr. Lazarus T. Pinkbottoms tells us, in his cover letter to an indie bookseller on why he should be adopted by the store.

Quite humorous and a good way to start your morning.

So how do you imagine an indie bookstore? Is it brightly lit and clean, or cluttered with treasure?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Writing Exercise: Traffic

Traffic's boring.

What do your characters do to keep themselves entertained during a traffic jam?

Imagine your hero and your villain stuck in a traffic jam together (either in the same car or different cars within view of each other). What happens?

Actually it's pretty cool being stuck behind this guy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Now you can have your very own
weird cat statue!
(public domain image, via WikiCommons)
If you could have your own replica of an artifact from the Smithsonian, would you?

Well, now you might be able to!

The Smithsonian's about to let people start printing 3D artifacts for their own use. Nifty!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Publishing Industry News

Publishing news and industry blogs for 11/2-11/15.

Publishing News

Judge Denise Cote will soon be ruling on the damages in the States vs Apple price-fixing case. Bob Kohn, known in part for the comic on the DOJ vs Apple case he submitted, requests that Cote examine Amazon's pricing policies, but is once again denied (on the basis that Amazon's behavior is not the basis of the case, and if it is to be examined, it should be done in its own case--this case, Cote says, was about Apple).

In the Authors Guild vs Google bookscanning case, the judge rules fair use and dismisses the case.

Amazon offers indie authors the chance to sell Kindles in stores and receive a cut of the profits... but many indie stores aren't thrilled with the idea, with concerns that it encourage readers to buy from Kindle instead of them. Others are interested, under the thought that they'll start making a profit from the show-rooming that was happening anyway.

HarperCollins is adding digital content to print books through allowing readers to scan the book's code to access digital extras.

If you were an author who signed with All Classic Books, and you've recently got an e-mail offering to let you buy back your contract before the company goes out of business... well, it's sort of spam. Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware explains. If you with 2 Moon Press, looks like things aren't turning out well, at least not for authors who got ripped off by the company and who won't see justice after police don't press charges. Gotten an email from Bloggingbooks? Throw it out; you're looking at a bad deal. Gotten an invitation to a JM Northern Media's Book Festivals? Yeah, toss that as well--it's a money-making "award" scheme (Note: money-making for them, not you) that really isn't worth it.

The Espresso Book Machine finally makes a debut in a drugstore.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 11/8 and 11/15.

Publishers Weekly talks about how Google's win expands fair use, and offers a podcast on the ruling.

Heard about any good pitch contests? Thinking about entering one? QueryTracker has some advice.

Agent Janet Reid answers more questions. If submitting to a "query pool" where an agency has all queries sent to a central location, is okay to address it to a single agent? Usually yes (read the guidelines of course), just don't send it to that agent's private email address. What about personalizing your query with details specific to that agent--is this good? For most agents, but Reid admits she prefers you skip when submitting to her.

Should write what you love, or write for the market? Um, both. Rachelle Gardner advises professional writers to find where their passions intersect the market and gives advice on doing so. She also talks about other seeming dichotomies writers deal with every day (such as being both creative people and business people). How about your privacy as an author? Can you survive anonymous to the net? It'll sure make your books hard to sell. That doesn't mean you can't keep some things private; you should just be prepared to reveal enough about yourself so you can make a genuine connection with fans. Pick and choose. And don't make the 12 mistakes authors often make in connecting to fans.

Agent Kristen Nelson usually gives out great advice on contracts and publishing-related things... but now it's from her newsletter, not on her blog. Sign up here.

On the Editor's Blog, advice to build all scenes aiming towards the end. (Fun but meaningless side quests are for video games, not novels.)

 Writer Nathan Bransford collects some of his readers' favorite writing tips, as shared on Twitter.

Writer Augustina Van Hoven explains why she loves being part of a local professional writers' organization. (A lot of the things she lists are things I love about my local chapter of the Romance Writers of America, the HCRW.)

Do you edit yourself and your writing because the government may be spying on you? A survey says about 25% of authors do, at least in phone conversations and emails. (Government agents: My book is full of interesting stuff. You should buy a copy and read it. All of you, in case the others miss something important.)

An interesting infographic on the best-selling books of all time, on GalleyCat through .

What interesting publishing news have you encountered in the past couple of weeks?

Friday, November 15, 2013


You're here for...publishing news? Ooops! Check back tomorrow. >.>

Try this link to Disney Princesses as Superheroes as a consolation prize. It'll be another Saturday news post!

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Help Typhoon Haiyan Survivors

Typhoon Haiyan
Image taken by NASA
The Philippines were devastated under the recent typhoon, Typhoon Haiyan, that slammed into them, with potentially thousands dead and survivors struggling for food, water, and shelter in the aftermath. This was possibly the strongest storm to make landfall in recorded history, with wind speeds during landfall reaching 195mph--the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, if you live in North America and are more familiar with that scale.

(If a Category 6 had officially been on the charts, it would have been a Category 6. It had wind speeds higher than Hurricane Camille, Hurricane Andrew, the 1959 Mexico Hurricane, or Hurricane Wilma, and it will no doubt soon appear on the list of the history's strongest tropical cyclones.)

The charity review site Charity Navigator lists a set of places where you can donate, and rates each charity so you know exactly what you're donating to, and how much of your donation goes directly to those impacted.

ABC News also offers a set of sites to donate.

You'll hear of lots of charity organizations springing up to help the people of the Philippines and other hard-hit areas. Scammers, too, will try to take the money you're giving to help people, so if you're suspicious that a pop-up charity might not be legit, take a moment to research--your generosity is supposed to save lives, not scammers, after all. If you want research any charity, the Better Business Bureau also has a charity review feature. Read up on Tips for Smart Giving.

(Note: This is Wednesday's post up early for extended top-of-the-blog time, as it's immediately relevant. There will be no other posts until Friday.)

The pet's story

Sometimes I wonder what my cat would say if he could talk.

Usually I'm pretty sure it's some sort of lengthy tragedy about how he's left alone all day, with nobody but the dog and the other cat to keep him company.

Being a writer's cat, I expect he has a mournful tale of tragedy, adventure, and--well, not romance. Probably end with him being worshiped as he thinks he truly deserves, or else it would be a tragedy of his kingly suffering, denied his rightful adulation.

What title would your pet give for the story of his or her life? (If you don't have a pet, what about the last animal you saw?)

Friday, November 8, 2013


Steampunk spider
(by Daniel Proulx)
Steampunk is a cool setting. My roomie and I have a steampunk theme to our living room, with big clocks, clocks set in gears above the mantle piece, and cutout gears on the walls.

What is Steampunk? It's what would happen if in the Victorian era, steam-based technology had been the winner. It's usually Victorian-esque clothes and items laced with bronze, clockwork, and steam-powered inventions. It's fashion, it's technology, and it's creativity.

Or, to go by the Wikipedia explanation, steampunk
"is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power."
Steampunk costumes
by KyleCassidy
 Most importantly, it's about fun and invention.

The steampunk you see today is a loosely defined Victorian base, with clothes that wouldn't be acceptable by Victorian tastes. The attitude is very strongly inclusive, the genre shunning the Victorian "values" of discrimination, instead embracing modern sensibilities.

It's a redo. It's all the fashion, all the fun, all that's pretty and shiny--or, in this case, greasy and machine-oily. It's the cheerful friendly rebels, the honor, and the adventure, wiped clean of the oppression, murder, and elitism of the actual Victorian age. It's the age of discovery and invention, with flying machines and airships. It's what we wished had happened.

It's idealism, in other words. And like all ideals,

Elizabeth, a character in Into the Tides, is a steampunk fan. I've toyed with the idea of writing books completely in a Steampunk setting. One of my favorite webcomics, Girl Genius, is a "gaslamp fantasy"--meaning, steampunk-flavored but not pure steampunk.

Is steampunk a genre you're interested in? What cool steampunk have you seen in the past? What do you think of the genre?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spiced Apple Cider Rooibos: Tea Review

Spiced Apple Cider

Reviewed by: Juturna F.
Type of tea
Rooibos, loose-leaf
Flavor aspects and Aroma
Flavor aspects: Spicy, fruity
Aroma: Apple cider!
Where I got it
$8.98 per 2 ounces
How I brewed it
Filled a mug with hot water from the coffee maker at work. Walked back to my desk, added 2 tsp loose-leaf tea (in strainer) to 12oz mug. Waited about 4 minutes or so and removed.
Rebrewing notes
Don't. Rebrews turn out watery and weak.
It's apple cider! Teavana does a fantastic job of bringing the flavor of hot apple cider to your mug. Spicy, rich, and warm, all it's missing is the texture. If you want a tea that tastes like apple cider, you're in luck. The spices are very strong, especially the cinnamon, so if you like spicy teas with a side of fruity you'll enjoy this one. It has a rich, strong flavor to it (I find it better using slightly more tea than recommended), and the smell will take you right to the holidays.

That said, I'd probably rather just drink apple cider. This tea is delicious, and convenient because I have tea supplies at easy access, but the inability to rebrew means it's a high cost per cup. The first brew comes out great, but any attempt to rebrew ends up feeling like apple-cinnamon-dunked water, a hollow echo of the first taste so disappointing it ruins the whole experience.

While it makes a nice holiday gift, and it's exactly what it claims to be--tea that tastes like apple cider--on the whole I think I'd skip and just heat up a carton of apple cider.

Reviewed by:

No second review yet.
Type of tea Aroma
Where I got it Cost
How I brewed it Rebrewing notes

(Learning to Like Tea Part 1Part 2Part 3, Guest Post: Types of Tea, Guest post: Getting the Best Cup of Tea)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Round Animals

What if animals were round?

I couldn't stop laughing at this video. That is my only excuse.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Publishing Industry News

This week's Publishing News post covers from 10/19-11/1.

Publishing News

Kobo might have removed all the self-pubbed books from its UK site in an effort to remove content that doesn't follow their guidelines (i.e., including illegal or exploitative content), but they e-mailed LBGT publishers to reassure them that publisher-verified work will not be removed, and that Kobo has no policies unfavorable to LBGT publishers. Kobo also promises that all self-published content not violating the guidelines will be returned to the site and that they will be updating their guidelines, following a petition by indie authors.

Attorneys for the states and consumer class-action suit against Apple and the 5 major publishers (not the DOJ suit but a similar case put forth by the individual states) estimate the damages Apple was responsible for about $307 million of overcharging. This calculation, by the way, is based off a $1.54 billion baseline revenue for e-books. Apple also disputes the $307 million damage sum presented in court.

And that's only about 30% of books sold... as e-books become a standard form of reading, the sales are now appearing to plateau. That is to say, they're still selling nearly 30% of the market, neither taking over nor withdrawing from the book sales market, as compared to 2012.

Simon & Schuster will finally have a dedicated sci-fi and fantasy imprint.

Amazon's stepping into short fiction and poetry with its new Day One weekly literary journal. And Amazon is also releasing an early access program for Kindle books, where some big names will be released a month early to Kindle readers. And MatchBook is now live, allowing you to buy an e-book at a reduced price or even for free after buying the paper book (although not all books are currently enrolled).

Baker & Taylor are coming up with programs geared towards indie bookstores.

Gale offers a new e-book purchasing option for libraries that's based off usage, and will allow them unlimited lending of their most popular books for a flat fee, while charging them use-based fees for less popular books.

Iran will be reviewing their censoring policies on books and consider allowing some previously censored books.

Do you read manga? Viz Manga is now at the iBookstore, and you can now also find Kodansha Manga through Crunchyroll (okay, not really book news as much as random news, but I think it's interesting.)

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 10/25 and 11/1.

Nathan Bransford's The Last Few Weeks in Publishing.

Bransford gives advice on getting started writing to kick of NaNoWriMo: find your plot and your voice, and go. He also advises against querying short story collections as your debut book (I suggest going for the magazines instead of trying to get a book of them published).

Agent Rachelle Gardner explains why she doesn't consider herself--or any agents--"gatekeepers." And she posts a nifty infographic about motivated writers in NaNoWriMo.

Agent Janet Reid says yes, synopses are still important, and you still need to know how to write them. QueryTracker's Ash Krafton, meanwhile, talks about when to write the synopsis.

When Reid is asked about good craft-books for writers, she says she's an agent and not a writer, and instead does a little "ask the audience." Stroll through the comments for some good recommendations. And should you mention a big news event in your query to set up the mood of story? Not unless the book is actually about that event. As far "will an agent take a book with promise but that still needs help?" No. How much danger are you in if you base a character off a real person? Don't be obvious about it; yes, you can be sued, especially if it might damage their reputation in some way. Should you mention what genre your book used to be? No. And her opinion on re-querying.

Can you include song lyrics in your book? Well, if you're willing to pay the fee: GalleyCat explains. Plus more copyright basics, by Natalie Lakosil at the Bradford Literary Agency.

And GalleyCat offers a new directory of new books, where authors can add their upcoming releases for free.They also put together a freelance editing pricing guide. And offer advice on how to approach another writer for a book blurb.  And what writers should know about the Affordable Care Act.

The hyphen in e-book remains, according to the New York Times styleguide, although email is now one unhyphenated word, as is website.

Agents talk about the trends they're seeing in YA.

On QueryTracker, an interview with a reviewer, on how an author can get a book reviewed. And while reality can be whatever it wants, fiction has to be believable.

Speculation at Publishers Weekly that e-first may be becoming standard at traditional houses... even e-only.

Scribd, the e-book subscription service, reveals some data from their first two weeks of service.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Now what to do with all the pumpkins...
(Image by Carole Pasquier)
Today's news post will go up tomorrow. There were cute kids in costumes knocking on my door, looking for candy.

Happy Post-Halloween!