Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Midweek News Links: Free Wifi at BN, Bloggers, and Writing

Barnes and Noble will offer free ATT wifi access in all its retail stores. Once on the wifi access, you’ll be able to get access to instore promotions and the ability to buy your ebooks.

Wendy, the SuperLibrarian, wonders if bloggers can actually make a book. Wendy says that publicists can’t expect this of a reader and reader bloggers shouldn’t play into that mentality (hear, hear).

My response to this was that if Avon was waiting for the day when a blogger was going to be solely responsible for “making” a book, they’d be waiting a long time. Listen, I’m a librarian. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that there are two ways to “make” a book. 1) The publisher’s PR department puts in a lot of long hours and 2) Oprah picks it for her book club.

The minute reader bloggers begin losing sight of what their purpose is, and why they got into the game to begin with, is when they start feeding a corporate machine. Most of us started blogging for one reason, and one reason only. We wanted to connect with other readers who loved the romance genre as much as we do.

Even Jeff Bezos thinks that there are things on sale at Amazon that aren’t worth buying. Gawker takes a look at Jeff’s Amazon reviews and uncovers a one star review.

Sorry if this seems harsh, but I just don’t want anyone to buy it unknowingly.

Publishing is notorious for its lack of market research. Bowker’s is trying to fill in this gap by offering it’s first Consumer Focused Research Report for the Book Industry. The report costs $1,000 but the press release in the previous link includes some data points:

— 57% of book buyers are women yet women purchase 65% of the books sold
in the U.S.
— Mystery books are the most popular genre for book club sales, with 17%
of all purchases of mystery books coming directly from book clubs
— Generation X consumers buy more books online than any other
demographic group, with 30% of them buying their books through the Internet
— 21% of book buyers said they became aware of a book through some sort
of online promotion or ad
— Women made the majority of the purchases in the paperback, hardcover
and audio-book segments, but men accounted for 55% of e-book purchases

Book Depository has opened its US store front online at Book Depository has free shipping (no need for Amazon Prime membership) and the prices are very competitive.

Christina Dodd tweeted a link to a post about writing that she called “the best article about writing [she had] ever seen”. The blogger writes that authors are not vessels:

The most pernicious thing about this myth is it implies the author does not own what he or she creates. The muse did it. The author just took dictation. Authorial intent is all but dead in critical circles anyway. This effacing of the authorial self is bizarre and laughable on its face–of course the author did it. They planned it all out. Miss Eat, Pray, Love planned it all out, however she wants to talk about her vessel-ness. An author is not empty, they are not driven by embodied characters to write things they would not otherwise write. These are metaphors for brain processes–but talking about them as literal realities makes us all look a little flighty and a little crazy. And indirectly leads to the awesome I’m-an-artist-and-I-can-drink-all-day-and-fuck-whoever-I-like-because-I’m-an-artist-and-I-need-to-court-my-muse. Vomit.

Pimp My Novel was a link tweeted by Carolyn Jewel. Pimp My Novel is a blog run by a marketer at a major publisher. The blogger provides some fascinating insight into the business of selling books. This blog is so interesting that I added to my blogroll.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. dancechica
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 10:55:01

    The Book Depository link isn’t working. It should be:

  2. azteclady
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 14:28:24

    The writer = vessel myth continues to exist in great part thanks to writers who talk about how they “write the story as it’s told to them” and how any inconsistencies are because they “misinterpreted what they were told” *coughJRWardcough*

    I don’t write so I don’t know how other writers feel about these pronouncements but personally, it sounds like a bit of schizophrenia.

    I much prefer writers who talk about sitting down every day, no matter what, and just writing–taking the process as part of the career/job of being an author, seriously and with discipline.

  3. Babz
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 15:30:10

    Hee – I was going to mention JR Ward too, but azteclady beat me to it. And hello, LKH and her christmas shopping for her characters, anyone?

    I try to write and as much I want to be able to just go wherever a character takes me, it ends up being messy. I need to plan what happens in each chapter. I have a friend who writes brilliantly without plot plan and gad, how I envy her.

  4. Tatiana Caldwell
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 16:13:10

    *laughs* I’m a writer (not yet published but working diligently to change that) who WISHES some divine entity or energy would take over my mind and body and use me to pour out great books with little effort on my part. Because as it stands right now, I very deliberately plan and agonize over every page I write. Sometimes, I even have to pull, tug, drag, kick and slap those words onto the page.

  5. (Jān)
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 17:02:41

    Having experienced that divine spark of something that lets you pour writing out onto a page, I’m not going to tell anyone it doesn’t exist. However, it’s only called divine because it feels that way. I know it’s my brain, on crack or something, just pushing the words through. (But oh God is it nice when it happens…)

  6. Anion
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 17:04:55

    That is a GREAT writing post. I am so sick of the idea that writing requires no work, but is just all inspiration la la la. Because honestly?


    The words themselves. The way they’re put together. It MATTERS. Writing well is hard. It doesn’t just happen. I work hard to deliver the best writing, on a technical level, that I can, and it’s irritating to see that pooh-poohed as useless because books should just “spill onto the page through divine intervention,” or whatever.

  7. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 17:12:43

    Having experienced that divine spark of something that lets you pour writing out onto a page, I'm not going to tell anyone it doesn't exist.


    I am torn between the concept of muse and work. Does it HAVE to be one or the other? Can it be some sliding scale on a day-to-day basis? Maybe I’m mistaking experience/knowledge/wisdom/muscle memory for La Muse.

    It just…clicks. Everything you want to do with the scene/book, and all your life experience, and your skill/talent converge–it flows like it came from nowhere. You look back and scratch your head and go, “I didn’t know I had it in me,” but you did.

    I don’t outline and I write out of order. Some things do seem to just come to me, but you know, I forget that it’s been churning in my subconscious for months or I’ve been consciously stewing about it for a week, and then it’s there, on paper, in front of me.

    The heavy lifting is cleaning it up, filling the holes, straightening out the logic and timelines, addresses the weaknesses that “it just came to me” leaves.

  8. S.
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 18:44:20

    I think I’m in love with the Book Depository. They’ve got new mass markets half off! And I can get UK books that are published about two years ahead of the US? Love, I’m telling you.

  9. Lynz
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 21:34:50

    Ugh, I hate the whole “writer as a vessel” thing. I used to write a lot in high school – in class, to be specific, which is what started conversations about writing in the first place – and one of my friends would always mention about this theory she had. As far as she was concerned, every great story was out there already, just waiting for an author to find it.

    Which, when said in a hushed voice to an enraptured audience, sounds wonderfully profound and insightful. Except that an hour later, I’d realize that it was a huge insult to me as a writer, because it didn’t acknowledge the hard work that I put into creating the plot and characters. Yes, sometimes ideas pop into my head, but I still have to expand on the basic premise.

    Some things do seem to just come to me, but you know, I forget that it's been churning in my subconscious for months or I've been consciously stewing about it for a week, and then it's there, on paper, in front of me.

    I think that’s exactly it – those “flashes of genius” or whatever you want to call them come from your work. Yes, your writing flows more easily during them and you’re amazed by what you’ve managed to produce, but the only reason you produced it in the first place was a lot of hard mental work in the first place.

  10. Kerry Allen
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 06:31:53

    I’m tired of the “it makes us all look (fill in the blank)” hive mentality. Someone watching the exploits of Author X is doing it for the entertainment value of the spectacle, not transferring the crazy onto Author Y, who’s cringing in the background because she’s sure it reflects badly on her, despite the fact that she’s not even on the observer’s radar.

    I’ve found that writers who talk about sitting at the computer for eight hours every single day and making their word quota every single day, emphasizing that it is a JOB and making no mention of imagination or creativity, produce books that read (to me) like they came off an assembly line, formulaic and lacking any spark of individuality. The “I’m a serious professional” attitude demonstrates a lack of whimsy not conducive to the type of fiction I like to read. I’d really rather read something “inspired,” where the author’s excitement and sense of wonder is apparent on the page, than quota words hammered out on a schedule because they’re somebody’s JOB.

    Yes, putting together 100,000 words in a coherent and entertaining fashion is hard mental work. Writing is is one of the few careers where having fun doing all that hard work leads to a better end result.

  11. SonomaLass
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 08:41:02

    Authors who work largely from the subconscious are going to have that feeling that they aren’t consciously creating their stories and characters, because they’re not. I don’t think it’s fair to diss them for that, or for the way they talk about how it feels to them — it’s their process, and they are describing how it works for them. Some of my very favorite authors write that way; I love their books too much to want them to change what obviously works!

    I come from a performance background, and there’s a long tradition in acting of the creative divide between analytical actors and (improperly labeled most of the time) “method” actors. As an actress and acting teacher, I know from long experience that some actors work with a more externalized, conscious approach, while others more instinctively create a character — and they are doing the SAME THING, just with a different part of the brain. Most actors I know use a combination of conscious and subconscious processes — some stuff you feel, other stuff you think about and make conscious choices about how to make it work. I suspect most writers have at least a little bit of both going on in their process as well. But I don’t think the ones who feel the inspiration more than the perspiration should be treated as nutcases for how they articulate that feeling, any more than Meryl Streep or Dustin Hoffman should be.

  12. azteclady
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 08:42:51

    Ms Allen, I find it ironic that you complain in one paragraph of people painting every one with the same brush, while a paragraph later you paint all authors who treat writing as their career with a rather unflattering one, calling their work formulaic and spark-less.

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