Almost there….

As Ali has said: tommorow is the day. And while she was busy moving some new-to-the Springs friends in, here is how everyone but me surged past her:

John: 48, 266
Marie: 42,591
Matt: 38,933
Ali: 34,100
Jenny: 15,176

Let’s see who can bring it home by midnight tomorrow!

E-xclusivity: The Word on the Bookselling Street

See previous post for current Amazon/Wylie Adventuretime In Books.

At a staff meeting recently at one of the big chain bookstores to which I was privvy, there was a brief but interesting discussion regarding the Amazon/Wylie exclusivity venture. Seems that some booksellers have come to the conclusion that exclusivity for e-book titles is detrimental to the growth of the electronic book model.

Basically, if you can only get these titles at Amazon, why would you purchase an iPad/nook/Kobo/etc. And, if this exclusivity thing gets bigger and say certain authors will only deal with Barnes and Noble, or Google, or Apple, then why on earth would anyone in their right minds by any of these devices? You’d have to buy an iPad to read JK Rowling, or a nook to buy Stephen King, and a Kindle to read Updike.

It gets ridiculous pretty fast. Why buy electronic reader for $100-$600 when, well, there’s a perfectly good book already on the shelf?

A New ‘Agency’ Model?

There’s been some recent hubbub about agent Andrew Wylie’s deal with Amazon–to exclusively sell backlist for a list of big-name/legendary authors in e-book form. The exclusivity lasts two years, and while I have my own personal issues with bookselling in any format as exclusive, that’s not what I want to talk about.

What struck me as most interesting in this whole debacle is that a major agency took it upon itself to deal directly with a major distributor. That’s a paradigm shifting move for the publishing world. Wylie’s e-book imprint, Odyssey Editions, is in essence a brand new publisher. The agent and authors (and author’s estates) through direct-dealing like this they will garner more revenue because they’ve cut out ‘the middle man’.

And millions of dollars for said middle man. Random House and MacMillan did not take kindly to the slight. Which is completely understandable–this one agency yanked a considerable percentage of their backstock control. Check out Wylie’s client list and be in awe!

(Whether or not the exclusiveness to one reader, the Kindle, will pay out gigantically remains to be seen in the next couple years. Predictions of e-book reading say that up to 50% of all reading in the next 5 years will take place on an e-book reader like Kindle, but the price wars on e-books and e-book readers hasn’t balanced out yet, so putting all your eggs in one basket might mean that until the exclusivity time is up, there aren’t as many readers for those particular e-books. For example: EBook Reader Choices)

But my question is this: After the litigation over rights, and who really controls them, settles, who will be left in the power seat? For over a century, it has been the publishing houses. They’ve merged and remerged and mergered to become gigantic and powerful industries. Agents and agencies were built to protect author’s rights, and have since become the essential ‘gatekeepers’ for the publishing houses.

Now those lines have been blurred. An agency is acting as a publisher–though right now with only backstock titles for authors and their estates who are already established, and only over this one format. But as e-books and their popularity rise, and as the technology becomes more diseminated, you can’t tell me that people who have trained in publishing (an inordinate amount of agents have edited for big houses, or worked for them in some capacity) might not think that this would be the way to go: take your clients and distribute those e-books yourself.

Good, bad, ugly, or Betty? I guess we’ll find out!

Writing Race Update

For all my Facebook smack-talking, I have not caught up with Ali today. She can rest safely for another day.

As I’ve let myself get smoked, I have decided that while losing definitely sucks (and losing significantly sucks even more) that there is still an advantage to competing. Namely: I wasn’t producing this much two month ago. I was so confused as to where to go with the story that I instigated my own butt-kicking because I said ‘Hey guys, you wanna race?’ hoping that just the idea of competition would get me writing stuff down.

But I didn’t get off the start line because competition didn’t solve my problem: Where the hell am I going with this? So I took too long figuring that out and now that I’m fairly solid on many more things in the story, I’m way too far behind to catch up…even with this vacation week in here.

Still, I’m going to keep pluggin away because the goal is to finish the novel anyway. And who knows? Maybe all four of them will pull a hammy and I’ll be gold!

Current stats:
Marie: 36,849
Matt: 36,578
John: 35,898
Ali: 20,600
Me: 14,173

Copying Fleur; or, I Write Like…

I write like
Raymond Chandler

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

If you need a distraction from writing, this is a fun one!

I Write Like

**The Raymond Chandler result was for the La Llorona novel. I threw in bits from my other novel and got Stephen King, threw in a different short story and got James Joyce. It’s fun to see what others come up!

I have no time to talk about how badly I’m losing. I’m just losing. Off to hopefully not lose as badly.

The Satisfaction of Filling a Notebook

Sure, you can write on a computer. I hear that many writers do so. In fact, I recently read Lawerence Block’s chapter in Spider, Spin Me a Web in which he said that writing on a screen was the best way to write because that way you have control over what the prose looks like. After many poetry classes where form and line structure were discussed, I can even see his point.

But very, very few things beat the satisfaction of taking a notebook that was once filled with nothing but blank lines…and filling it up. Page after page littered with words that didn’t exist before I took a hand to paper. It’s not as fun as typing ‘The End’ but there is a definite sense of accomplishment. You can point to that notebook at the end of the day and say “I filled that.”

It’s a definite motivation when you’re in the middle of a long piece to point at the benchmarks. You can guage your length, your accomplishment, and know that something in the midst of all those word count goals became tangible. A computer screen is a computer screen is a computer screen. You can go on forever and not realize how much you’ve done utnil you hit the print key.

My way is great for those who are interested in immediate gratification.