Posts Tagged ‘Paul Constant’

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Martin tops first-day sales, year to date

July 14, 2011

The news in from Galleycat:

Novelist George R.R. Martin reportedly landed the highest first day sales of a fiction title this year, selling 298,000 copies of A Dance with Dragons. That figure included: 170,000 hardcovers, 110,000 eBooks and 18,000 audiobooks.

Martin had this comment: “It took me longer than anyone would have liked. But now that the book is here, I hope my readers will conclude that it was worth the wait. The turnout at my signings has been extraordinary, and I’m delighted to have the chance to meet so many of my fans, both those who have been with me all the way and those who have come to the books through the terrific new HBO television series.”

Meanwhile, Paul Constant looks to the future:

I’m willing to bet that next year’s record-breaker for highest first day fiction sales will sell more e-books than hardcovers. E-books are eventually going to dominate this kind of mass market popular fiction.

Something to look forward to, perhaps. Or not. Or, maybe, to argue with someone over a glass of chardonnay at the book club.

-bd

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The editor’s despair?

October 19, 2010

A British literary agent, writing under the pseudonym Agent Orange sees a possible transformation of the current publishing business model:

Here’s a modest proposal. Let’s get rid of editors. Seriously, would publishing be better off without them? Should we abolish lunch?

Any agent worth their salt will be able to tell you many recent stories of editors – senior, well known editors – who have loved books that the agents have submitted to them but for which they have failed to gain the support of their colleagues.

Of course editors are as status conscious as the rest of us and are keen to present themselves (particularly to agents) as mighty forces within the organisations they work for. But in unguarded moments it is possible to get them to concede that the majority of the projects they take forward get shot down during the acquisition process – often for reasons that seem to them to be obscure or arbitrary ….

…. Let’s say I pitched a novel at this meeting, everyone agrees it seems a good idea, solidly in genre, with a marketable author. The publishing director then decides which editor should read it. They love it, others agree and the publisher offers. Fantastic, everyone is happy, except one has to ask, what is the role of the editor in this process?

Traditionally agents pitch books to editors (lunch!), get them fired up, send them the book, the editor loves the book, drives that ‘passion’ through acquisition and editorial, sales conferences. They choose the image on the jacket, the blurb, even the title and author name in many cases. They are the publisher, the apex of a pyramid with sales, publicity, design and marketing all feeding into them. They own the project.

If, as is increasingly the case, that is simply no longer true, then what are they for?

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Google Editions: The giant looms larger, starting this summer

May 6, 2010

Google LogoDespite some legal questions remaining to shape the final outcome, Google plans to open its own online bookstore over the summer. Details come from CNet’s Tom Krazit:

Google announced plans last year to offer public-domain books for free in the Epub format, and the report did not specify what format it will use for the first-run in-print books it sells through Google Editions.

A Google representative confirmed that the company plans to launch Google Editions in the middle of this year, but declined to be more specific on the timing.

One key difference between Google’s approach to digital-book sales and the approaches used by Amazon and Apple is that Google customers will not be able to download books sold through the store: they’ll be accessible exclusively through a Web browser. That has some advantages for Google, in that it side-steps messy DRM (digital rights management) questions and allows it to offer the service for any device, rather than having to negotiate deals.

However, it means Google will have to create a mobile version of Google Editions that can support offline reading. It might also change the pricing equation, given that customers wouldn’t actually have their own copy of the books they purchase. Google declined to comment on the pricing structure for Google Editions, although Google’s Dan Clancy told The New Yorker in April that it would let publishers set the prices for their books.

The Stranger‘s Paul Constant notes an important question about the Google model:

This is a weird approach. Part of the whole tablet/e-book explosion of the last year has been about making sure that books are available to their purchasers around the clock, and that the devices have the battery power to sustain long periods of reading. Internet access consumes a lot of power in mobile devices, and it’s still not available everywhere. Will people be willing to buy online-only e-books? And how much will they be willing to pay for them?

Meanwhile, Google’s settlement offer with various industry groups may also revive a large number of copyright-protected books that are out of print. Presiding Judge Denny Chin has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is expected to issue a ruling before his departure to a new bench.

Stay tuned. The times, they are a’changing, so there is plenty more drama to come. What will the publishing industry look like this time next year? Or five years on? As e-reader services evolve, will the battery warmth of a pocket reader ever come to properly replace the feel of a worn, comfortable book? Can you make an e-reader smell like an old, comfortable, favorite book? Would it be creepy if someone actually managed to pull that off?

-bd

(Paper or electronic, we’ve got agents, editors, and publishers all working to adapt their own lives to the new technology, and that means they should be on the forefront for their writers, too. If you’re ready to dive into the untold adventure of writing and publishing in the twenty-first century, it will help to have some smart and friendly people on your side. And there’s no better time or place to meet them than September 24-26 in Newport Beach, the Eighth Annual Los Angeles gathering of the Southern California Writers’ Conference. And just to prove how smart and friendly we are, we’ll knock $75 off your registration fee if you sign up before June 1, 2010. Hey, it’s better than breaking your kneecaps, right?)

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(Insert Title Here)

November 11, 2009

Fun stuff from around:

  • Short fiction online: Rebecca Lee’s “Bobcat.
  • Book reviews: Ted Wilson on The Bible.
  • Emanuel Faye drags Martin Heidegger back into the news.
  • Lemony Snicket finds a new home.
  • Breakfast serial: Del Rey will publish King/Straub novel The Talisman as a serial comic book.
  • Book review: Speaking of Stephen King, Paul Constant has a few things to say about the newly released behemoth, The Dome.
  • And speaking of Paul Constant … actually, no. You know what? I’m out.

And now, for absolutely no reason at all:

Short story cartoon

(I have no proper attribution for the above frame. If I discover the artist’s name, I’ll definitely include it here.)

-bd

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Books and bacon

June 27, 2009

The annual BookExpo America took place a couple of weeks ago in New York. Did you miss it? I did. Went right by without me even noticing, but that’s okay because, well, it usually does.

I think I posted something or another about Paul Constant’s coverage of the event because I was hard up for material. And that’s probably the same this year, since I haven’t shown my face around this blog since February. As to that, I’ll spare you the gory details and simply say that yes, I know feeling sorry for myself isn’t an excuse. My sincere apologies.

But this isn’t about me. How many times have I said that? Oh, right ….

So … um … oh, yeah. Paul Constant brought us his thoughts and observations concerning “The Slow, Moronic Death of Books (as We Know Them)“.

It’s strange that the only sign of growth at this BEA was in the number of journalists present, and that the people running BEA somehow seemed to think that the presence of more journalists was going to save them, considering that journalism just saw its most terrifying year in memory, too. It felt like the two industries were clinging together out in the ocean, drowning together. Since most of the bloggers were new to the party, none of them were asking any of the hard questions. No one was asking editors why they didn’t think twice before tossing out seven-figure deals for books based on zany blogs that anyone with half a brain could read for free on the internet. No one seemed to notice that major presses like HarperCollins weren’t asking booksellers what they wanted to sell or what their readers wanted to read. Instead, there were well-attended panels about making an insignificant amount of money off of Twitter. A sizeable number of booksellers were unwittingly attending their last BEA, because their bookstores are likely about to downsize or close. A bunch of people tried to hustle another bunch of people into buying something they didn’t want. Some of them succeeded, but most of them didn’t.

After the convention, MobyLives, the blog for indie publisher Melville House, published a postmortem titled “BEA Is Over… for Good?” I’m not so sure that it was the last one, but it was certainly a milestone: By the time next May’s BEA rolls around, at least one of the major publishers probably won’t be around to see it. The age of the giant conglomerate publisher is over. Publishing has always been an industry that has seen razor-thin profit margins if it saw profit at all, and the corporate model isn’t satisfied with a business model that optimally remains 1 or 2 percent above zero growth. The only way that 2009 will be considered a good year for the publishing industry is in comparison with the unprecedented disaster of 2008. People will tsk-tsk at the numbers and write endless, boring blog posts about it, which won’t be read by anyone except other people writing endless, boring blog posts about it. Here we were in the epicenter of publishing, at publishing’s big yearly event for insiders, and it was almost completely crushing any belief I had in the future of publishing. I don’t enjoy attending funerals, so unless things drastically change, I’ll probably never go back to BEA.

Cheery, no?

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Doubleday layoffs: Nothing to do with Dan Brown

November 3, 2008

Paul Constant writes at Slog:

Did Dan Brown’s inability to write the sequel to The Da Vinci Code cause a 16-person layoff at Doubleday earlier this week? …. A Doubleday spokesman denied it, which of course makes me think it’s true.

Sorry, but there’s no brilliant analysis to go with that. But Motoko Rich has a few of the details for the New York Times.

Get writin’, people! Publishing company employees everywhere need you!

-bd

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Osama been writin’?

October 31, 2008

Poor James Frey.

Well, okay, maybe I should explain that. It seems that Osama bin Laden is writing a memoir. Except, as Paul Constant points out at Slog, it doesn’t really sound like a memoir: “It sounds kind of like a polemic to me, like a super-extreme version of an Ann Coulter or Michael Moore book.” According to the Times of India:

The book, being written in Arabic, will later be translated into English. Bin Laden decided to write the book to counter “propaganda” against al-Qaida, Geo News channel reported ….

…. The book will reportedly highlight atrocities allegedly being committed on Muslims by the Western world.

Bin Laden will also discuss how the medieval Crusades greatly impacted the growth of Western influence in world affairs and ultimately helped the US to control the oil reserves of the Muslim states.

So, what does the disgraced author of A Million Little Pieces have to do with anything? No, no, he’s not ghostwriting the bin Laden book. Rather, it’s just Paul Constant’s blog entry title: “The Next James Frey?

I mean, seriously: Ouch!

-bd