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

Thursday Midday Links: Writing Is a Cold Door

Zane is interviewed by Mediabistro about her self publishing origins. I haven’t listened to it but hers is a success story.

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For all those writers out there, an iPad fan figured out how to hook up his alphasmart to the iPad.

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Korea is testing out a vending machine lending library and in Germany they have reconfigured a cigarette dispenser into a vending machine for books.

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Apple is selling more than 200,000 iPads a week. That’s a stunner but I also think it points to consumer desire to have a good priced, fast machine that allows them to surf the ‘net, look at pictures, watch videos and send/receive emails.

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Barnes and Noble is offering a free download a week if you come into the store and show them a device with the BN Reader on it. This would include the Nook, iPhone/iTouch, laptop, Blackberry. In exchange you will get a voucher that you can use to download the free book. Anything interesting you ask? Titles per Teleread:

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Next week's title is Storm Front, the first Dresden Files novel, by Jim Butcher. Other titles will include The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg, and One Shot by Lee Childs. All e-book vouchers can be redeemed through July 1.

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Teleread points to an article by Guy Gavriel Kay about the downside of robust communities attached to an author. For instance, Gavriel Kay points out, the false intimacy created by the online community breeds reader entitlement. Readers become demanding and angry when authors like George RR Martin are not producing.

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A commenter on Mobileread pointed to a press release from Overdrive. Overdrive is developing a reader app for all mobile platforms. Overdrive powers libraries and retailers so I wonder if this app will compete in anyway with retailers or just be an added benefit. For fans of Harlequin, I believe it will mean that you will be able to read Harlequin books on your mobile apps because Overdrive powers the Harlequin ebook store.

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Also on Mobileread, a commenter who works at Target says that all Targets will be selling the Kindle as of June 6.

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Kidlit blog says that only 3-5% of authors make a living off of writing alone. In her books, Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, Grace Lin refers to the avocation of author/illustrator as a “cold door.” I love that phrase.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

15 Comments

  1. Julia Rachel Barrett
    May 20, 2010 @ 10:55:12

    Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favorite authors, although I am not part of his fan entourage. I read the article quoting him from beginning to end. He says a readership, or a fan community, is a mixed blessing. Writers encourage fans to become familiar with them, or with their persona, and writers reap the benefits, but they also sow the whirlwind in a big way. Fans feel they have a right to provide input. He specifically mentions the brilliant George R.R. Martin and the way his fans demand the next installment. George R.R. Martin is a rare breed – I adore his books. I imagine the majority of his readers would never be so crass as to demand anything of him, but it’s pretty hard to wait years and years between installments of his Game of Thrones series. You are almost in danger of forgetting why you loved the series in the first place.

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  2. Kalen Hughes
    May 20, 2010 @ 10:56:21

    For instance, Kavriel points out, the false intimacy created by the online community breeds reader entitlement. Readers become demanding and angry when authors like George RR Martin are not producing.

    Neil Gaiman's George RR Martin is not your bitch remains my favorite response to this whole phenomena.

    And I'm 99.9% certain I've already seen most of those books offered for free at various other places over the past year or so (which makes sense, if you're this far into a series why wouldn't you try and hook new readers by offering the first book free?).

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  3. Susanna Kearsley
    May 20, 2010 @ 11:35:54

    Jane, thanks for the link that linked through to Guy’s editorial. He’s always struck me as a class act. (Although now, thanks to him, I’m stuck with a mental image of Liam Neeson thundering “Release the fans!”…)

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  4. Amy
    May 20, 2010 @ 11:53:10

    George R.R. Martin…love the Song of Ice and Fire books and I’ve been waiting for many years to read the next one. I’m a bit bitter, yes, I admit it. But that’s my problem. He’s not my bitch, fair enough. But I’ve stopped raving about his books to everyone I know, not out of spite, but because I fear he will never complete the series, which makes for an unsatisfying reading experience.

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  5. Julia Rachel Barrett
    May 20, 2010 @ 12:01:26

    “Neil Gaiman's George RR Martin is not your bitch remains my favorite response to this whole phenomena.”
    I read the post and I both agreed and disagreed with the premise. Mr. Martin is so very talented that honey, I would volunteer to be HIS bitch. However, over the years he has encouraged fans to take a proprietary interest in his work and they’ve run with that. Fame is a double-edged sword. Case in point…Lindsay Lohan…While I would never bitch about the time Mr. Martin is taking with the next chapter of his masterpiece, I do empathize with his legion of frustrated fans.
    I love the phrase, ‘writing is a cold door’ – I’d like to add, it’s also a mostly closed door. The vast majority of us do need other jobs to survive. Writing does not pay many bills.

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  6. Kalen Hughes
    May 20, 2010 @ 13:25:06

    I do empathize with his legion of frustrated fans.

    I do too (heck, I’m one of them!). I think my favorite part of the whole thing though is the chutzpah it takes to email Neil Gaiman to ask if you have the right to be ticked off at Martin, LOL!

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  7. Jennifer Estep
    May 20, 2010 @ 14:21:27

    Writing is a cold door … and on the other side there is an open elevator shaft, the bottom of which cannot be seen. Enter at your own peril.

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  8. Gina
    May 20, 2010 @ 14:28:57

    Barnes and Noble is offering a free download a week if you come into the store and show them a device with the BN Reader on it.

    Is this different then the Free Friday giveaway that appears on the NOOK Blog and Facebook page?

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  9. Mary Anne Graham
    May 20, 2010 @ 15:44:27

    3-5% of authors make a living from writing alone? I’m amazed the number is that high!

    Don’t count me amongst the blessed 3-5 percenters.

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  10. Kalen Hughes
    May 20, 2010 @ 15:53:39

    3-5% of authors make a living from writing alone? I'm amazed the number is that high!

    Don't count me amongst the blessed 3-5 percenters.

    I know, LOL! My big boss was out from the East Coast last week and she heard I sold a book. Amidst the congratulations she said, “Guess you don't really need the day job anymore, but we're sure glad you stayed.” I laughed and assured her I wasn't planning on quitting, but it was a good reminder that the public really does have a misperception of what most authors make (I'm guessing that's because the only numbers they see are the big, BIG deals that make the papers occasionally).

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  11. Kim
    May 20, 2010 @ 19:16:17

    Thank you, Jane, for the link to the article by Chris Meadows. His article references an editorial by Guy Gavriel Kay about readers’ demands from authors who develop a fan base. Meadows added,

    ”Another point Kay did not bring up is that even as community-building brings authors and readers together, their geographical separation via the Internet and relative anonymity can lead people to behave on-line in ways that they never would in person. I doubt many of the fans who complained about Martin's age and weight would dare do so to his face.”

    How true these words are. I've noticed a tread of some bloggers to ignore the good manners that the parents taught them and the persuasive writing skills they should have learned from their English teachers. Rather than address an issue and offer a solution, some bloggers just spout off … and apparently readers are doing the same to their beloved authors (reminding me of Kathy Bates in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery).

    As a military veteran, I defend the freedom of speech. But I remind those who emjoy this right that they also have the responsibility to use it wisely, appreciate it, and respect others' freedom, too.

    Meadows also wrote, “This kind of thing always takes me back to that line from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: ‘To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.’” But I add that it is some people who are the problem.

    On May 25, Hitchhiker Fans will celebrate Towel Day as a tribute to Douglas Adams. Hitchhiker fans know that the towel is a multifunctional object, “Wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you).” So I suggest that authors use the towel to ward off the noxious fumes of rabid fans and the hateful gaze of nasty bloggers.

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  12. Kim
    May 20, 2010 @ 19:39:53

    Regarding the Kidlit blog that “only 3-5% of authors make a living off writing alone.”
    Legendary author Bertrice Small made the same comment this morning to Cathy Maxwell during an interview for Romance Radio, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/romanceradio.

    Then again, Bertrice didn't just rely upon her writing skills. She talked about promoting herself on the road, including the Romantic Times' Booklovers' Conventions. Bertrice demonstrates her flexibility to write historical romance, fantasy, and erotica – she has three books out this year
    - CROWN OF DESTINY (May 2010) The Last Book in The World of Hetar Series
    - PASSIONATE PLEASURES (August 2010) – A Pleasures Book
    - THE BORDER VIXEN (October 2010) Book 5 in The Border Chronicles Series

    Following the examples discussed by Chris Meadows and Guy Gavriel Kay in building a “robust” fan base, Bertrice offers beautiful trailers on her website. Her historical fans expect an October release every year, so she writes to meet their expectations.

    Cathy, like Bertrice, keeps herself relevant in romance publishing. I have read about Cathy in 10 blogs in the past two months – promoting her own book THE MARRIAGE RING, leading inspiring workshops at local conferences, interviewing authors for Romance Radio, and dressing up as the Scarecrow during the WRW Retreat.

    Yet I know both Bertrice and Cathy are genuine – they give back to an industry that has supported them. The interview was fun and I encourage readers to log onto Romance Radio to hear it.

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  13. Ros
    May 21, 2010 @ 02:43:53

    Apple is selling more than 200,000 iPads a week. That's a stunner but I also think it points to consumer desire to have a good priced, fast machine that allows them to surf the ‘net, look at pictures, watch videos and send/receive emails.

    Nah. Netbooks are cheaper, do all that stuff and much more. I think it points to Apple’s marketing strategy and high-spec design.

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  14. Ridley
    May 21, 2010 @ 10:38:07

    @Ros:

    It’s all marketing. Apple’s established itself as the “indie” brand, and yuppies love indie.

    Apple’s products sell not because they’re designed well, but because having their products makes you hip, indie, artsy, etc.

    It’s the consumer product version of going out for “ethnic” food.

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  15. Bernita
    May 21, 2010 @ 12:37:36

    Sly plug for one of my favourite writers…
    Guy Gavriel Kay’s new book “Under Heaven ” is now out.

    ReplyReply

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