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

Wednesday Midday News Roundup: historical fact v. entertainment

Generation Y women like social networking and sharing their thoughts on the products that they buy.   This is, apparently, news.   It is not something that ebook manufacturers have caught on yet, though.   The current ebook reader enthusiast is a 47-year-old married man with a household income in excess of 6 figures.   But! researchers believe that the ebook market won’t take off until the women get a hold of it.   Frankly I think the current ebook reader is the 47 year old male because that is whom the product was initially marketed toward.   Ironically, as the article sent to me by Leah notes, women and romance fiction is pushing the ebook market forward.

But to go truly mass-market, e-books will have to appeal to women, who tend to be warier of new technology and more price-conscious, Epps says.

Harlequin, purveyor of those lusty supermarket bodice-rippers, has dipped into the market with an e-book subscription service for some series, like Silhouette Desire, “delivering the provocative passion you crave.” And no one can see you put it in your shopping cart!

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GalleyCat asks the question of whether an author needs an agent in the future.   Meriam Goderich responds that any serious author needs a good agent.   I see agenting in the future as more of a business management position that will include hooking the author up with a good editor (maybe a contract editor) and providing publicity vehicles for authors.   Speaking of publicity, this Miami Herald article looks at all the publicity an author needs to do particularly if you are self published.

As the Miami Book Fair International gets underway, more than 400 authors have discovered they must be there to push their books, either by nailing a spot on a panel, hosting a session, or shaking as many hands as possible to get noticed. Of course, there’s the social media component, too. They must write on blogs, reach fans through Twitter, even make online and the usual in-person book club appearances.

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Macleans discusses historical fiction and whether it needs to be  faithful to historical fact by looking at the Booker prize winning novelist’s work which is very faithful against the Governor’s General Award nominee Kate Pullinger.   Pullinger says “Surely it is the role of all novelists to uncover the untold stories, the undocumented lives; surely this is a legitimate way to demonstrate and elucidate "historical truth’ (a concept that is itself notoriously unreliable).” Hilary Mantel, the Booker winner, has a different view, “"I stick with the facts until the facts run out. I don’t try to improve on them.”   It’s a fascinating difference, no?

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Kristie J has found another new romance blogger: Jessica at Book Bound.

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Did you know that Hachette sells digital books straight from its website? Me neither but this article in PW suggests that it does.   I went over there and clicked around and saw no ability to purchase ebooks on the site. What am I missing?

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

16 Comments

  1. jmc
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 13:24:01

    The end line of the Seattle Times article cracks me up: If you want to meet a girl, don’t get a dog, get a reader. It’s funny, but it is also true. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been approached on the train, the bus, waiting rooms, restaurants, etc., and been asked about my reader.

  2. Lisa J
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 13:47:17

    jmc is right on target. Anytime I have my reader out someone asks about it. They are fascinated with it and all want one when we are done discussing it. My nephews threaten to take mine and use it to pick up girls.

  3. joanne
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 14:10:14

    I went over there and clicked around and saw no ability to purchase ebooks on the site. What am I missing?

    Well that was 20 minutes of my life I’ll never get back! They have a shopping cart. They have a ‘shopping FAQ’. They have lots of stuff but if you can buy an ebook there then it’s beyond my ken.

    I’ll wait to see what others know that I don’t.

  4. Diane V
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 14:55:03

    The “Jessica at Book Bound” site made my eyes hurt…didn’t even try to read anything. Never figured out the attraction of a black background with red or purple print — my idea of what the walls of hell look like.

  5. Mischa
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 19:43:38

    The “Jessica at Book Bound” site made my eyes hurt…didn't even try to read anything. Never figured out the attraction of a black background with red or purple print -’ my idea of what the walls of hell look like.

    Dark text on a light background is more stressfull on your eyes than light text on a dark background. Most people don’t really notice but for those of us with eye sensitivities, I have chronic iritis in one eye, it can be very noticable. (For one thing, staring at a white screen for hours on end can cause a tension headache.)

    While the dark lavendar was a little hard to read, I thought it and the rose red were quite pretty. Either our monitors are displaying the site differently or we just have different ideas of hell. :-)

  6. Janet W
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 22:35:06

    I must be going blind too because I couldn’t read, with any facility, the words on Jessica’s pages. Such an individual decision but that’s my honest feedback. Either that or my monitor is shot but surely not :)

  7. Nicola, Sterling Editing
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 23:15:17

    With regard to historical fiction, here’s a fascinating blog post by an academic on historical mindsets and what novelists usually get wrong.

    (I’m halfway through Wolf Hall, and it’s great in some ways and annoying as hell–POV, for example–in others.)

  8. Ros
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 05:49:30

    @Mischa: You probably already do this, but there are ways of making sure that webpages are always displayed with the colours and fonts that you prefer to look at. In FF, you can simply choose ‘No Page Style’ and it will revert to the settings you have on your computer. I think there’s something similar in IE.

  9. DS
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 07:44:07

    @Diane V: There was some protest ages ago when lots of people changed their web site to have a black background with white text. I can actually read that without discomfort. But I have to agree with you about this blog. I also have to give it a pass due to the text color. I expect that she is going to have to a decision for either style or readability.

  10. brooksse
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 07:57:09

    Did you know that Hachette sells digital books straight from its website? Me neither but this article in PW suggests that it does. I went over there and clicked around and saw no ability to purchase ebooks on the site. What am I missing?

    According to their Shopping FAQ, there is supposed to be a Buy Now option below the cover image. The first couple books (electronic format) I looked at didn’t appear to have a Buy Now option. The fourth or fifth book I looked at had the Buy Now drop-down. After that, I was able to see the Buy Now drop-down on all their electronic books, even the ones that didn’t appear to have the option the first time I looked at them. So it may be some type of script that doesn’t work correctly.

  11. Stephanie Draven
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 08:36:49

    When I write (or read) historical fiction, I understand that the job of a novelist is different than the job of a biographer. I expect to be educated, but I also expect to be entertained and to imagine the scenario in a different light. The facts can’t be blatantly wrong, but there’s a lot of room for editorial choice, and that’s where the art of it comes in.

  12. Janet W
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 09:17:23

    More blindness. Did you link to the Epps article (provided by Leah) … I opened links but didn’t find the quote you posted. Thanks.

  13. Susan/DC
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 17:26:08

    Somewhat off-topic, but the link in Nicola’s post to the blog about an historian unable to read historical fiction now has me wanting to see the two movies referred to in one of the responses (a link in a link). One is about Hildegard of Bingen and the other about Pope Joan; the former is historical, the latter mythical. Unfortunately, both appear to be in German, which I don’t speak. I hope they are released in English at some point — the Pope Joan movie has David Wenham and John Goodman, so that hope may not be groundless. Does anyone know?

  14. Janine
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 18:09:40

    @Susan/DC: I just searched imdb.com and found the movie, titled “Pope Joan,” through John Goodman’s page. According to the IMDB release info page for this film, “Pope Joan” will be in limited release in the US sometime in 2010. Presumably it would have English subtitles or dubbing. The release info page may be updated as the release date approaches and you could also google it and see if any more specifics come up.

    You might be able to find details about the Hildegard of Bingen movie on imdb.com also, if you can locate it through the title (both foreign language and English titles are listed there) or the name of someone involved in the project.

  15. Nicola, Sterling Editing
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 18:48:38

    @Susan/DC the Hildegard film does look interesting, doesn’t it? I’m just sorry they didn’t use any of her music for the trailer…

  16. Susan/DC
    Nov 13, 2009 @ 11:07:42

    @ Janine:

    According to the IMDB release info page for this film, “Pope Joan” will be in limited release in the US sometime in 2010.

    Thank you. I originally went to imdb but saw only trailers in German; I appreciate the hint about looking at the release information. I’ll keep my eyes open. My hope is that if the movies play anywhere in the US in limited release they will play here in Washington (sometimes movies like this come over in the diplomatic pouches — which I think is kind of cool). Or perhaps they will be available in a dubbed or subtitled version via Netflix (now I just have to buy a TV).

    @ Nicola:

    the Hildegard film does look interesting, doesn't it?

    Movies about women are all too rare, especially movies about intellectual nuns. No sex, no explosions, but I think the Hildegard film looks fascinating. I’ll have to read up on her before I see it. I also think the Pope Joan movie looks interesting. Focus on a woman, although it does appear to have sex and enough medieval battles to make up for the lack of explosions.

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