Friday, March 25, 2011

Diagram Prize Winner!

Those of you who follow the news of the weird and wonderful in the publishing world are aware of the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year, awarded by The Bookseller. It's selected by online voting; we'd previously posted the shortlist of finalists and and voting link.

And this year's winner is...Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way by Michael R Young.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bookshelf as Video Star

Okay, how often do you see bookshelf assembly featured in a YouTube video? Don't stop watching when the bookcase is filled! Wait for the cat.

Oh, and a bookshelf video by someone who really, really has too much time on their hands if they spent it setting all this up:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Google Books Settlement

by Raelene Gorlinsky

Well, if you read any of the industry newsletters or blogs, you are aware that yesterday Judge Denny Chin rejected the Google Books Settlement deal. This thing has been dragging on for several years, so it is at least good to have some sort of progess. Now, of course, most people are betting that Google will appeal the decision. So it's not really over. I'm sure that eventually--in how many more years?--a deal will get worked out.

My personal opinion all along has been what the judge suggested--make it opt-in instead of opt-out. But that is not what Google wants, as it increases the work and record-keeping for them and greatly reduces the number of books that could be included in their digitize-the-world plans.

Publishers Weekly article:

New York Times article:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

D.I.Y. or D.I.with a Publisher?

by Raelene Gorlinsky

Writers are now inundated with stories about how self-publishing will turn them into mega-selling authors, millions of copies of their e-books snapped up by slavering fans. This is based on the very admirable success of a very few authors. But can the same thing be achieved by everyone or anyone?

An aspiring author needs to reseach the publishing industry and all the options, analyze what fits their style and their situation, what skills they bring to the table when it comes to all the things beyond the actual writing that need to be done to publish and promote a book. What would work best for them? Traditional big publishers? Digital-first publishers? Self-publishing? Or who knows what other options may become available.

Even supposing a book is in fact really good, there are lots of other factors in play besides the wonderful story and writing. One of the self-pubbed icons you constantly see mentioned is Amanda Hocking. When she realized she was being used in the "you too can easily become rich and famous by self-publishing" legend, she felt compelled to put some reality into this discussion. Writers considering self-publishing need to think seriously about her advice.

Some Things That Need to Be Said

What did she have to say? Please read the whole (fairly lengthy) article, but here are some highlights.

~ "others will be as successful as I've been, some even more so - I don't think it will happen that often."
~ "Some books and authors are best sellers, but most aren't."
~ "Self-publishing is great, but it's not easy. Most people who do it will not get rich."
~ "it's harder to be a best seller self-publishing than it is with a house."
~ "I don't think people really grasp how much work I do. [...] This is literally years of work you're seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting."
~ "There is so much stress in doing it all yourself. The editing is never good enough. And finding an editor isn't as easy everyone thinks."
~ "ebooks make up at best 20% of the market. Print books make up the other 80%. Traditional publishers still control the largest part of the market, and they will - for a long time, maybe forever."
~ "I just don't understand writers animosity against publishers. [...] Publishers have done really great things for a really long time. They aren't some big bad evil entity trying to kill literature or writers."

To me, Amanda Hocking makes a lot of sense. She makes it clear she's been writing and trying to be published for years before she hit success, that the success is the result of an enormous amount of hard work. And she has a realistic view of the publishing industry, in all its many permutations.

Here's a short article and video that again stress that writers should figure out whether self-publishing is a good fit for them or not:

Publishing Perspectives: Is D.I.Y. or Self-Publishing Best Suited to Energetic Extroverts?

The article points out the most important attributes of successful sel-published authors, and that D.I.Y. is not going to work for everyone.
~ They already had established reputations via working with traditional publishers. (They've already got an established and large fan base.)
~ They are self-motivated, high-energy, charismatic individuals. (Which does not describe most authors, as writing is mainly a quiet, largely introverted job.)

If that truly describes you, then you may indeed be able to hit self-publishing success. But if you are in a different place in your career, or you don't have the time and interest and personality to take on all the publishing tasks, you should find the alternative that will work best for you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

National Grammar Day

Yes indeed, it's today! As their website says:
Language is something to be celebrated, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It's not only a date, it's an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!

You'll find all kinds of fun things, including the theme song!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Perils of Purple Prose in Erotica

Ooh, the things one can do with purple prose, euphemisms, and double entendres, especially of the sexual nature! And then throw in some standard outworn romance cliches.  This had us howling and falling off our chairs. Please enjoy--

A Bluff Pirate’s Tale - Semen at Sea
by Katalina Leon

“Ha, ha, ha, I don’t give a heck if yer ah virgin lassie, I’m going to peek in your porthole and force you to ride mi bucking lower deck whether ya like it or not.” Captain Muskysac, the much dreaded handsome bastard pirate of the inky blue undulating ocean, lorded menacingly over his newest captive, conveniently kidnapped on the eve of her wedding, the wistful jewel of his heart since childhood, the beautifully, delicately innocent Miss Ashley Roseheather.

Captain Muskysac insolently puffed his broad chest forward, thrusting his man-nipples three feet apart, kicked his boots astride and stood thusly with his fists firmly planted on his insinuating lean hips and barked. “On your knees lass, I’m going to spoil you!”

“There’s been a slightly awkward miscommunication.” Ashley glanced upward and mumbled softly through rubied rosebud lips. “I’m not a virgin…”

Captain Muskysac frowned. His posture wilted. “What do mean yer not a virgin? I had a whole deflowerment routine of horribly protracted degradation painstakingly planned for you. I was going to win your heart by conquering your frail womanly form and easily shocked sensibilities. I went to a great deal of effort. Manacles were polished, Neverwash Walter is eagerly waiting in the next cabin to shout rude, inappropriate comments and leer over the entire sordid event. I’ll be honest with you, this is quite a bitter little let down.”

“I’m so sorry I’m not a virgin but there nothing to be done about it now. What about a sassy whiskey-voiced, salty-tongued, been abandoned by love but has a heart of gold, hip-swishing sea wench? Could you use one of those? I adore life-jarring forced seductions and humiliating degradation on the high seas.” Ashley’s limpid baby blue eyes bulgingly pleaded. “It’s not too late to have a good time, is it? I’ll just behave flustered and witless and we’ll put the whole embarrassing misunderstanding behind us. You’ll never notice I’m not a virgin. What do you say, my spicy pepperoni—is the party on?”

Captain Muskysac stared dejectedly at the toes of his tall boots. “I don’t know—it's not quite the same. I take pride in my arrogantly aberrant behavior. Menacing maidens is an art form. I’m not really prepared for an experienced woman. I don’t want to just walk through the act half-heartedly.”

“Oh what the hell, I’m starting without you.” Ashley shouted, “Nay, nay dark ruthless master, don’t burst my preciously treasured carefully guarded and saved for sacred marriage maidenhead and ruin my chances for a peaceful, productive life and soak my virgin tight-as-a-kidskin-glove, pouting rosebud, woman’s secret cottage in the glen, quimmy with your steamy hot juices! Spare me, lava hot love god. I beg of you!”

Captain Muskysac’s expression was appalled. “You do realize Neverwash and others can hear you in the next cabin?” He whispered a tense warning.

“I don’t care! Lash me to yer throbbing purple yardarm, Hop’n jack me, Whip the pony, butter the biscuits, take me if you must, grease me with deck-wax, pin me flat and ravish me on your thick commanding masthead. Your mysteriously threatening knobby turgidness compels me to surrender!”

“My turgidness?”

“Yes, your stony, rock hard as iron, straight as a plank of wood, turgidness. Shove it in me, lord of my mattress! For you, my dewy quim is like a fragrant rose shyly opening its delicate silky pink petals to the first fair day of spring sunshine that we call love. My naughty lady slipper pouts, longs, desires, drools and oozes with love nectar waiting for you to take me again and again and again and again…

“All right already!” he announced as he tore at his laces and evacuated his threateningly turgid, inhumanly proportioned, mapped with veins, sweaty, salty manhood from his skintight period-correct breeches and let it thrust in all its twitching glory toward her startled face. “I’m going to slip you the sausage and mash the potatoes. Then I’m going to spill man-gravy all over your plate, and let it all soak in the sink until morning. I doubt you’ll walk upright for a week!”

“Nay, if I ever walk again!” She screamed ridiculously and ducked under the bedcovers. “You’re so massively, hugely big! The sheer girthy width of your tremendously engorged spit–red-hot-rivets-wang-hammer is enough to kill a girl. The impressive volume of your man-tool leaves me humbled, awed yet strangely drawn to the danger-tinged mystery of its wrinkled foreskin. Your balls are big too.” She sighed sweetly.

“So is your plump round bottom, madam! I think I’ll take a brisk palm to task against those firm, proud peaches and paddle a happy tune on your pink drumskins before I lave my tongue between your warm, wet woman folds and send the fire truck to hose down the flames.”

He did and they lived happily ever after. The End.

Katalina Leon writes actually excellent stories for Ellora's Cave. Her editor keeps her purple prose in check. Katalina’s latest erotic romance is Nice Package. You can check out all her releases on her website at