Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Self-Published Books on the Rise...

It's another busy busy week so light on the blogging, but I wanted to get a link up to this GalleyCat post especially for the writers who came to see me speak on Saturday at the Carnegie Center in Lexington.

We talked a lot about self publishing (there were many questions about it), so here's an interesting stat from Bowker via GalleyCat:

According to the bibliographic company Bowker, 285,394 new books were published by print-on-demand companies last year--a 132 percent increase compared to 2007. In contrast, U.S. publishers put out 275,232 new books and editions in 2008--a 3.2 percent drop compared to the year before.

In case you don't have your calculator handy, that's a total of 560,626 books published in 2008.

This was also reported on in Publishers Lunch with the headline "On Demand Books Overtake Traditional Titles for the First Time."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Info Now Posted for Newest Writer's Digest Event: The Business of Getting Published...

A brand new Writer's Digest event, The Business of Getting Published, is designed to guide any author through the new dynamics of today's publishing world. This three-day event takes place Friday, September 18, through Sunday, September 20, 2009, at the New York Marriott Marquis, on Times Square in New York.

With emphasis on platform, networking and social media, The Business of Getting Published is an innovative and ground-breaking conference, featuring the industry's top forward-thinking speakers, leading sessions on topics relevant to the current and future state of the publishing world.

Chris Brogan, social media genius, is the keynote speaker. Other speakers include Kassia Krozser, editor/publisher of BookSquare.com; David Mathison, whose online sales success is the new business model; Mike Shatzkin, the industry's top publishing consultant; Seth Harwood and Scott Sigler, whose own podcasts and videocasts have made them superstars in the business; Christina Katz, author of Get Known Before the Book Deal; and many more, plus WD Publisher & Editorial Director Jane Friedman and Guide to Literary Agents Editor Chuck Sambuchino.

Complete program information, including speaker bios, special events related to the conference and registration, is now available at writersdigestconference.com.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Deborah Brodie Headlines First Annual Stanford Publishing Workshop...

Freelance editor Deborah Brodie has helped organize and will instruct at the First Annual Stanford Publishing Courses Writers Workshop, set for July 31 and August 1, at Stanford University in Palo Alto. The workshop will explore both craft and new media tools for marketing fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults, books for adults, magazine journalism, writing for the Web, and creating blog and Web videos.

Deborah's sessions start on Thursday, July 30, before the workshop officially begins, with a relaxed conversation about The Writer’s Juggling Act: Balancing Work, Life, and Play.

Her subsequent sessions include:

  • Open with Enticement, Maintain Your Momentum, and End with a Bang
  • Honing Your Voice, Developing Plot, Deepening Characterization & More
  • Guided Writing Challenges: Tackling Writer’s Block
She’ll also moderate two panels, allowing lots of time for Q & A: Insider Advice from Children’s Book Editors and Wise Words from Children’s Book Agents.

The event is pricey ($650 per day, $990 for both days), but there's a 10% discount for groups and the quality of instruction promises to be high. Deborah spent 22 years at Viking and six years as co-founder of Roaring Brook Press before becoming a freelance editor for publishers and book doctor for literary agents and individuals and she does a great deal of instructing and mentoring. She's worked with Stephen King, David A. Adler, Sarah Dessen, Patricia Reilly Giff, Milton Meltzer, Jean Marzollo, Mary Pope Osborne, Jacqueline Wilson, and Jane Yolen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Limerick Day!...

After a week of busy busy followed by another week of busy busy I've almost forgotten about blogging. (And answering emails. And returning phone calls. And using the ladies room...)

Today, however, my dear eldest brother (who keeps up on such things) told me it's Limerick Day and, being quite the fan of Edward Lear, I certainly can't pass up a chance to write and post some sing-songy bad rhyming poetry. Here is a limerick by yours truly about yours truly:

There once was an editor fair
With blue skin and ebony hair
She made lots of books

She was into her looks

And her butt always stayed in the chair.

Limericks really are infectious. Read a few of Lear's and the rhythm will soon be playing in your head like a bad pop song.

Hope you all have some Edward Lear volumes on your shelves--grab them, read some limericks aloud and have a cupcake. Or write a limerick about cupcakes:

On Mondays we all eat cupcakes
That our co-worker lovingly bakes
They don't cost us a penny
So we scarf down too many
Then all suffer bad tummy aches

I expect you all to comment in Limerick form.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Quiet Blog...

The 2010 Writer's Market is going out the door tomorrow, so I haven't had time to post this week (which, hopefully, you have noticed).

I hope you've all checked out the new (and much improved) SCBWI website and registered for the August conference.

I'll be back next week.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Blogger of the Week:
Mark Garvey, Text Arts...

As an English Major, I have a special place in my heart for William Strunk and E.B. White's The Elements of Style. (I have a copy--the one illustrated by Maira Kalman--on my nightstand and often peruse it pre-slumber.) Author Mark Garvey is also a fan of the well-regarded classic guide to usage and offers the ultimate tribute to Elements in his upcoming title Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (pubbing in October).

Mark recently began his blog Text Arts, devoted to other beloved books, where he shares excerpts, info and insights on an interesting mix of literature--recent posts discussed work by David Foster Wallace, Marcus Aurelius and Jack Handey.

You began Text Arts in February. What motivated you to start blogging? What did you hope to accomplish?

I started the blog after finishing my latest book, Stylized, which is a history of and an homage to Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. After working on that book, I was in the mood to write about more of my favorite books and writers, and the Text Arts blog seemed the perfect venue for sharing my enthusiasm for the kinds of writing I enjoy. And I thought it might have the added benefit of helping fans of Strunk and White find out about my book.

Your posts feature commentary on and excerpts from a variety of books. How do you decide what to feature? What can readers expect from a Text Arts post?

The books and excerpts I feature in my Text Arts posts are drawn from my favorite writers, it's as simple as that. My tastes, like anyone else's, are my own, but my hope is that readers coming to the site will be excited by some of the excerpts and be intrigued enough to go seek out the books and, I hope, enjoy them. I try to feature interesting and entertaining excerpts that are indicative of the works as a whole. I'm not terribly up-to-the-minute in my reading, but I've been at it a long time, and I have collected a long list of favorites. Many are old books, but their age or their currency doesn't really matter so much to me. I just love to read and talk about good writing--no matter what era it's from.

Tell us more about your upcoming book Stylized. What prompted you to work on this project?

I've had a soft spot in my heart for The Elements of Style since high school. It has always seemed to me that Elements draws together, in concentrated form, the most fundamental and helpful attitudes about writing, and it is one of the books that made me want to be a writer (and editor) in the first place. A few years ago, I noticed that 2009 would mark the book's 50th anniversary, and the time seemed right for a book that considered the history and influence of Strunk and White's little book. I was lucky enough to work with the cooperation and generous help of both the Strunk and White families, and I had the pleasure of interviewing many of my favorite writers for the project.

Stylized includes more biographical detail about William Strunk than has ever been published before, including some wonderful photographs. I was also able to include some of the correspondence between E. B. White and his editors at Macmillan (the original publishers of The Elements of Style), as well as a number of notes from White to readers of Elements. E. B. White may have been the best letter writer of the twentieth century, and I'm thrilled to be able to reproduce some of his letters and notes in my book. In all, I'm excited and honored to able to pay homage in this way to a book that's been such a big influence in my life.

Can you offer some advice to writers new to the blogosphere?

I'm a newbie in the blogging world myself, so consider the source. But I have learned a few things so far:
  1. Set up a schedule that you can live with. Don't promise your readers new daily posts if you don't have the time, energy, and ideas to deliver on that promise.
  2. Find an easy way to keep track of ideas for blog posts--they'll hit you when you least expect it. For this purpose, and for my other writing projects, I carry a small digital voice recorder; it's about the size of a disposable lighter. Have idea > click button > record idea. It's even easier than carrying a notebook and pen.
  3. Build up a "bank" of ideas--at least titles--so you've got some choices when it comes time to write and post.
  4. Keep the posts professional, sharp, and well-edited. Before you make them public, ask a trusted friend to look them over for clarity and correctness. (
  5. Enjoy yourself. If you're having fun, chances are your readers will, too.
Tell us about your most recent post.

Visitors to Text Arts this week will find a somewhat atypical post--longer than usual, and more polemical. I'm usually not quite so worked up. I wrote it in response to some articles and blogs I've read in recent weeks that were using the occasion of the 50th anniversary of The Elements of Style to take potshots at the little book. That kind of foolishness doesn't sit well with me, so I used my platform to do a little venting. It's all in good fun, though. Mostly. And I think blogs can benefit from a little dustup now and again.