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Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 10 July 2012: greedy bloggers, readers and publishers, bad world-building & more!

book news Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 10 July 2012: greedy bloggers, readers and publishers, bad world building & more!

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RIASS stuff:

Book Review: The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska'Rating: star Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 10 July 2012: greedy bloggers, readers and publishers, bad world building & more!star Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 10 July 2012: greedy bloggers, readers and publishers, bad world building & more!star Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 10 July 2012: greedy bloggers, readers and publishers, bad world building & more!halfstar Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 10 July 2012: greedy bloggers, readers and publishers, bad world building & more!blankstar Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 10 July 2012: greedy bloggers, readers and publishers, bad world building & more!

Book list: Cinderella retellings

Giveaway: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper'(open to all)

Other bookish stuff:

What readers may not know about book publishing'Some people (quite a few in recent weeks, and even more chiming in today) have been writing to Lorraine, complaining bitterly that *she* has betrayed her readers by moving to hardcover. They accuse her of being greedy. Of hooking them with her wonderful stories and then raising prices by changing the format to hardcover.

My lengthy take:

In this article mystery author Julie Hyzy points out how little sway an author may have over their finished product, but how readers may not realise that this is the case. The lack of audio or ebook formats, for example, are due to contractual and production issues, not the fact that the author is a meanie who doesnt want their work out there in as many forms as possible. Price points, too, are not set by traditionally published authors, and nor are formats.

Unfortunately, many readers do not realise that this is the case. And while grumpy sorts like me are happy to level their complaints at publishers, many readers do the same to the hapless author. Ive seen a surprising amount of backlash towards authors for things like series being axed halfway through, cover designs suddenly changing, and so on.

I think that there are other reasons for this in addition to a lack of knowledge about how book publishing works. The first is that that many readers dont think of particular publishing houses when they think of a given book. Rather, they think immediately of the authors, whose names are branded in large print on their books. Todays author is no longer someone who writes books. Theyre a presence, a persona, and promoting their books and being accessible is a key part of that role. With the author-in-brand in mind, and particularly given that we now have some writing superstars who take that to a whole new level, its not surprising that readers believe that authors have a lot more control over the book production process than they do.

Are book bloggers greedy so and sos?'ARCs and other giveaways have always vanished quickly at trade shows and professional conferences. Publishers who provide the giveaways and professionals who covet them have perennially been dismayed at unprofessional behavior that can occur in a free-for-all giveaway scenario. But in recent days the giving and taking of ARCs has become the topic of heated debate as some passionate librarians and bloggers have energetically voiced their opinions on the topic.

My lengthy take:'I came across this post via the Book Smugglers site, and was intrigued. Being all the way over here in Australia, an ARC feeding frenzy is not likely something Ill be participating in any time soon, but if I did have ready access to ARCs in such a manner, you can bet that Id be coming away with quite a few books. Much of what I review is sent to me by publishers or publicists, so a good deal of what you see on this site is a direct result of what an ARC can achieve. Having access to ARCs I can selectively choose from (such as whats offered through Net Galley, or certain publishers methods of actively reaching out to bloggers) means that Im more likely to select books that are to my tastes and which will be more likely to be reviewedand positively at that.

If Im not wrong, ARCs are designed to build buzz about a book through channels such as reviews, interviews, discussions, giveaways and so on. This article complains about hashtags such as #bunheadgate trending on Twitter, but I cant help but imagine that the author would be thrilled to see her book trending on Twitter. Who doesnt want to be able to brag that their book was fought over at an expo?

Its interesting, too, that the article describes the nonprofessionals, by which I assume that they largely mean book bloggers, as the troublemakers. This, I have to admit, hits a nerve, as the relationship between publishers and bloggers has been somewhat fraught of late. Weve all seen that infamous what we expect from you letter from William Morrow that seems to claim bloggers as freelance employees. Bloggers, unfortunately, exist in a hazy space. By accepting ARCs and review copies were entering into an agreement to help promote these books, although Id strongly argue against a book being payment for said review. And yet, were not professionals in the sense of the word that seems to be used hereie, those picking up ARCs for specific use in their paid work. Its an unfortunate term to use, I think, as although many bloggers'blog in a nonprofessional capacity, thats not to say that we dont work within publishing/bookselling/libraries as our day jobs.

DRM, Pricing and How We Can Help Piracy End Itself'Focusing on DRM, in our experience, in an increasingly diverse 'e-reading' environment ' where the same e-book can be accessed on different hardware devices, using different software platforms and also via cloud-based services ' DRM militates'against'giving consumers easy access to e-books.

My thoughts in brief:'DRM makes me cry. Theres a reason I bought a cheap, dodgy region-free DVD player. Do you guys have any idea how often we switch between devices or upgrade? Bring on the cloud!

On crap world-building and cultural appropriation'Many white western nerds have never experienced culture beyond one driven by popular media and mass marketing. Star Wars and Star Trek are their uniting forces, late-night D&D sessions their shared rituals, being the first in line to buy BlizzCon tickets'and cramming ten to a hotel room'their bonding experiences. Now of'course'these people absorb some 'culture' in their odyssey toward mindless consumption of utter piss. It's why there's such a proliferation of Arthuriana, Norse gods reincarnating in high schools, and'steampunk, which speaks for itself (mostly 'we want to revel in the nostalgia of imperialism, aren't corsets awesome?'). But it is all, again, absorbed via pop culture and possibly a glance at wikipedia, not research or even the source material.

My thoughts in brief:'having studied linguistics at uni, theres a reason why I loathe names filled with apostrophes. Stop that!

Cassandra Clare on what it takes so long for a book to be published'So I would say there's'no'chance of the book being published earlier ' it's a miracle it's being published when it isI want to make sure what I give you is the best effort I could give and if that means extra weeks here or there, better a book I think is the best I could make it in March than a book I know could have been better if I'd had more time to work on it in February.

My thoughts in brief: Publishing time is not the same as normal people time. Except when you work in journals publishing. Trust me on this.

David Vann'reveals how he can no longer sign his name in longhand and why he downloaded the Kindle app'I prefer physical books, but when Im travelling, and Im reviewing and blurbing several books as well as reading others for fun, I just cant carry them all around. I downloaded the app in desperation.

My thoughts in brief:'My husband bought me a Kindle because he was sick of me taking dozens of books on holiday and being charged excess baggage fees.

The importance of good editing'After all, this editing business is comparatively new, and it is only applicable to prose ' Imagine a music publisher editing a composers work! Or an art dealer insisting on an artist modifying a painting! ' If I were an author I would sooner (or very nearly) starve than let anyone hack my book about.

My thoughts: hack away, my dears. I promise that someone would tell Mozart if he hit a bum note.

Revived comics publisher Marvel stakes its future on movies

Juliet Marillier, author of Shadowfell, answers Ten Terrifying'Questions'Music teaches us so much about rhythm, balance and flow that is directly transferable to writing. Without my years as a musician I'm sure I would have written very differently.

How much does a New York Times'book review affect sales?

Fabulous book art by Jonathan Wolstenholme

Check out brand new Australian publisher Margaret River Press

50 books that every African American should read

10 unusual micro libraries


  1. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out /

    I have to admit to being appalled at some of the post-ALA/BEA book haul lists I have seen on blogs. There are instances of bloggers who read only maybe a few dozen books a year who picked up well over 100 ARCs at the events. They have no hope of reading them all, especially since they continue to add to their collection through the year by accepting more books from publishers. Rather than evidence of a love for books, I think it is more an example of greed.

    • Stephanie /

      Yike, if I picked up a hundred books I wouldnt have room to move in my flatId also probably suffer a hernia trying to get them home.

      But if the ARCs are put out there on the floor, are they fair game to whoever walks past? The ideas to spread the word, right? Otherwise surely publishers would limit their ARCs or provide details for how to obtain a copy of the book through other, more moderated channels. The cynic in me suspects that publishers are hoping for a catfight over that much-desired final ARC in the pile

      Perhaps its the definition of book blogger thats hazy? If someone only reviews, say, 30 books a year, does that mean theyre ineligible for picking up a haul, whereas someone who reviews a book a day, and who will ostensibly get to those books in short order, should be able to? But what about the quality and reach of those reviews? If Ms 30-A-Year writes amazing reviews and has a lot of clout, then surely shes doing the publishing industry a service? (Why yes, Im playing devils advocate here, but its a valid question :) )

      • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out /

        You are right, it is a valid question, perhaps more accurately I am speaking of intent. As you say, and which I believe is true, by accepting ARCs and review copies we're entering into an agreement to help promote these books especially when, as is the case at events like BEA/ALA you have chosen to pick up and take home a book.
        If the intent of Miss 30 A Year is to promote those titles (aside from one book haul post) then I am less disturbed by it, though I am still saddened the bulk remain unread (after all books are for reading). I would expect that Miss 1 a Day also promote the books she chose and I admit to being happier that at least she is more likely to read those books as well.
        Unfortunately though I think there are several instances where those ALA/BEA books end up unread, or on e-bay.

        • Stephanie /

          Great point about intent, Shelleyrae. Its a difficult situation, as there are so many different types of book bloggers out there. There are those who are hard to differentiate from the professionals, avid hobbyists, and those who just do it for a bit of fun on the side. I think thats the issue that publishers/industry pros are struggling with: how do they differentiate between the different groups and ensure that their promotional materials are getting good mileage?

  2. Adrienne /

    I really like how you now put your thoughts/take on the article youve linked us to! I love your blog so much, I check it religiously every day :-)

    • Stephanie /

      Thanks so much, Adrienne! I am blushing. :)

  3. Nice links here, Stephanie.

    Regarding the ARC issue, I completely agree with Shelleyrae, and I think its sad when a lot of book of a 100-book haul stay unread or are sold on.

    There is NO buzz if you merely write one blogpost with the 100 titles that youve picked up. The Lonesome Vampire by Stephanie Nicholson in a list of 99 other books? Doesnt mean a thing to me, unless you show the cover, and a little blurb about the book (but not 100x in the same post).

    I ALWAYS read and review ALL the ARCS/books I request because I make an informed choice about these books before I ask for them. I hate to see books go to waste so I dont pick and choose the ones I receive, I read them all. (Unsollicited books are a different matter, of course).

    I have no chance of going to BEA or equivalent but if I did, I would only pick up the books that I was reasonably sure of reading and reviewing. If I happened to pick up some that didnt look quite so good at second glance, theyd be going in a giveaway on my blog. As I say, I hate to waste those ARCs.

    • Stephanie /

      Good points, Judith. I always review the books Ive specifically requested, but the unsolicited ones that arent to my taste typically get passed on to friends or donated.

      I often wonder whether the many in my mailbox etc style posts are bloggers way of dealing with book overload. Im beginning to receive more than I can review, and theres going to come a point where Im so far behind that Im doing everyone a disservice. Perhaps thats why those who rarely review, or focus on meme-style posts, tend to do soits their way of promoting the books they dont have the time or inclination to read.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book blogger debacle that has hit the internets as of late. Personally, Im a little dismayed by all the hate on the book bloggers lately. Everyone keeps making assumptions about other peoples intent and then ranting. Tad annoying.

    Im also annoyed by the term unprofessional when pointed at book bloggers. ARCs are used to help promote the book, which most book bloggers do for free. And, at least the ones I follow, do it on a consistent basis aiding in exposing the internets to new and fun reads. Maybe this is unprofessional in the sense, as you said, they are not getting paid. But it doesnt necessarily make their behavior unprofessional.

    Also, freelance employees, good lord.

    • Stephanie /

      Fortunately its only a tiny proportion of the interwebs that are getting up to mischief. Maybe its the bloggy circles that I move in, but most people I deal with are wonderfully thoughtful and professional, and Ive had nothing but positive dealings with publishers. (There is the occasional author or publicity company who breaks that mould, however!)

      Great point about the distinction between unprofessional vs non-professional. I think the two have become conflated in this debate, and thats where a lot of the angst is coming from.

      • Thanks for pointing out what I was trying to say. And yes a lot of angst because people are assuming unprofessional and non-professional mean the same thing, and they really do not.