Monday Midday Links RoundUp: EC Rumors, HSN, and Branding
While not book related, it was an article that was too cool not to share. A couple of MIT students assembled a camera equipped with GPS that was sent into space, to an altitude of about 18 miles, where the camera took photos of space and the curvature of the earth and the appearance of the atmosphere. What makes this amazing? The students did it for $148 using common components found in most stores: cell phone, camera, weather balloons. Via Slashdot.
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez bemoans the branding of an author. She’s unable to sell her Irish-American saxophone story because publishers believe the consuming public won’t believe she has an authentic voice. We’ve explored the concept of the author’s biography as authenticity here.
The race to provide a low priced color ereader might be on our doorsteps by Christmas. Interread, the manufacturers of the COOL-er Reader, have promised a low priced, color, touchscreen eReader. The COOL-er Reader has been given lackluster to bad reviews so hopefully they’ll improve the quality of their devices.
Shannon Stacey blogs that obsolescence is not the fear behind adopting digital reading but it’s chaos:
I don’t think the core issue is technological obsolescence. I don’t even think the issue is the price tag.
The problem, as I see it, is the chaos.
There is almost no way for a rookie consumer in the digital reader industry to make an informed decision.
Is it any wonder a person’s not willing to throw down a few Benjamins to ride the digital carousel from Hell? By the time you figure out which formats can be read by which devices, you’re exhausted. And then there’s the DRM horror show. And beyond the devices, people starting talking about Stanza and Calibre and-
It’s a lot easier to drop $6.99 at Walmart for a paperback. P
Ravenous Romance announced that it would be offering its books via the Home Shopping Network. This morning and again at 3 am. tomorrow morning, Holly Schmidt, one of the owners, will offer sets of six of its stories to the 90 million people who watch HSN. The books have been sanitized with the sex scenes mostly removed. (No time traveling urinal stories for the HSN folks). This is an innovative move, but will lack of success for Ravenous Romance turn the HSN off other romance book sales? I read in one article that Paula Abdul moved 35,000 pieces of jewelry after a two day sell-a-thon so it’s unknown what figures Ravenous is hoping to pull in on this marketing ploy.
Jennifer Crusie wrote a long response to Robin’s thoughtful piece on the bad mother trope in genre romance. Crusie argues first that the bad mother trope is due to its universal appeal: we all have mothers and we all have issues with our mothers. Crusie argues that her mother who constantly picks on Min to eat less, weigh less, and be a better prop to the mother’s social climbing ambitions is not evil or bad but just imperfect. Her mothers are “pursuing their own ends, not sitting around bitching and moaning. They’re active.”
I think the question of Bad Mothers in romance tends to be a political question more than it is an art or craft question: is the rash of Bad Mothers bad feminism, does it make the genre look bad, does it send a dangerous message, whatever. I don’t care about that and I don’t think most readers care about it. A Bad Mother badly written is going to be Bad, period, just as a Good Mother badly written is going to be awful. A Bad Mother well written in a good story is going to work because she’s necessary to the plot and character development, not because she’s a Bad Mother
To some degree, I think Crusie misses the point. It’s not that we readers don’t recognize that Bad Mothers are plot devices or intentionally written to be bad but rather that the proliferation of Bad Mothers in romance may be unintentionally saying something. Maybe it is just an easy plot device to create a Heroine with Baggage.
Mike Shatzkin’s ruminates on whether ebook and POD is a viable publishing strategy yet. No press run publishing model depends highly on direct sales and that a burgeoning publishing community cannot withstand individual publisher sales sites.
Ellora’s Cave tried to capitalize on its own niche which it has dominated since its entrance back in the early 2000s but even EC is recognizing that not being part of the larger retail market such as Kindle, Sony, Fictionwise is dangerous. Rumor is that EC books will be for sale on other vendor sites.