Wednesday Midday Links: The Iron Duke Bookchat
Are you guys up for a bookchat? We are hosting one for The Iron Duke that will be held Saturday night, December 18, beginning at 8 pm CST. We readers will chat for an hour and then the author, Meljean Brook, will appear at 9 pm CST to answer questions. If you haven’t read this book yet and would like a digital copy from Kobo or Kindle (because these two allow me to gift a specific title), I will give two digital copies away today to two random commenters in the post. The giveaway will end at 9 pm CST and I will email the books immediately.
You can sign up for a chat reminder using the widget on the sidebar —–>
Updated: Meljean Brook emailed me and offered 2 more Kindle/Kobo copies to random commenters.
Contest is now closed.
Updated: Two events readers might want to take notice of is the Harlequin Open House and the last day of the Unusual Historicals anniversary celebration.
Harlequin Open House: Are you ready for the eHarlequin.com Annual Holiday Open House? More than 140 of your favorite authors will be meeting with you, LIVE, December 15th to celebrate the holidays! We’ll have our discussion forums open all day long running through every time zone so that our overseas authors and members can meet on their own time zones! Then, in the evening, from 7-10pm Eastern Daylight Time, we’ll have three full hours of live chat! And, don’t forget, there’ll be oodles of door prizes and wild fun!
Unusual Historicals: The finale is drawing is going through this week, so people still have a chance to enter for the last prize package.
A few more details have been provided about the first India Mills & Boon romance. A handsome stranger and a city India girl meet in a yoga studio. This article suggests the work is only 2,000 words long which would be about 6-7 pages so hopefully that was just her contest entry and not the entire work. No word as to whether this will be available to non India readers.
Best Buy’s value is declining, in part, because it is losing market share to online retailers. I only mention this because it’s interesting to see what is going on in corollary retail markets.
Eoin Purcell takes a cynic’s view of Amazon’s offering limited Nieslen Bookscan data to authors. This move is bound to create headaches for publishers and foster the concept in author’s minds that they could do better dealing direct with Amazon. I tend to side with Eoin on this matter. After all, Amazon is only giving away valuable data for free because it expects to profit from it down the road.
Edward Docx (what a great last name) brings the haterade to Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown. Docx skills don’t lie in creating convincing arguments:
Readers, publishers and writers alike can agree that John Grisham, Robert Harris, Tom Clancy or Danielle Steel build up their massive readerships by knowing precisely what they are doing; they are master practitioners of their highly skilled craft. Conversely, Brown and Larsson – in their different ways – are mesmerisingly bad.
Laura Miller from Salon replies that we like Brown and Larsson because of the cliches in their stories, not in spite of them. Anymore, I am not sure what separates literary fiction from the rest of fiction other than a label. Not all literary fiction ends sadly and not all literary fiction is morose. Not all literary fiction is qualitatively good and not all of it is boring. Literary fiction, just like any other area of fiction, suffers from its bad press. There are bad books out there in every genre. Question is should we measure discrete areas of fiction by the best or the worst? And who judges?
I’ve heard that the next upgrade for Nookcolor will actually turn the device into a real tablet by giving people access to the Android app market which means you’ll be able to read Kindle books on your nook device. I wonder if opening up the nook will force Kindle to open up and accept ePub? If this next upgrade happens, I do think the Nookcolor is a great alternative to the iPad.
UPDATE: According to Mike Cane, this is not happening. Nookcolor will be getting an upgrade but it won’t be opening up its system to become a true tablet.
Curtis Brown is going to open a literary writing course that costs 1,600 pounds. That’s nearly $2,000. Each student will have the opportunity to be critiqued and reviewed by a Curtis Brown literary agent. While not exactly the same, Donald Maass’ wife, Lisa Rector, offers editorial services to authors. Maass is a respected literary agent. In at least one confirmed account, a client of Ms. Rector’s spent up to $10,000 with Ms. Rector but achieved no publishing success as of yet despite alleged promises that Maass himself would be interested in reviewing the manuscript once edited. The first hand account of this has all been deleted but references can be found at sites like the Kindle Boards.
Because agents are fiduciaries of authors, even prospective authors, this type of intermingling of services seems very odd to me. It would not be permissible within the legal practice but then again, neither would publishing books as some agents are doing.
I’m curious what people think of this in light of the huge outcry that went forth when Harlequin decided to offer Dell Arte Press, originally under the name Harlequin Horizons. A publisher has a very different (non fiduciary) relationship with prospective authors than agents do; yet, no one seems to be bothered by agents offering a service for a fee that clearly conflicts with this stated premise I’ve heard again and again: “all money flows to the author.”
Is it that in this changing publishing market, all bets are off and a new paradigm is emerging? Is it that authors have more trust in agents than publishers? Is it something else?
I missed this in November, but Dorchester has a new CEO who is promising that the boat will be turned around. This new CEO has inspired some confidence in SFWA who has placed Dorchester on probation.
If Dorchester successfully completes its one-year probation, fiction contracted during that term will be viewed as acceptable for qualification for SFWA membership. If it does not SFWA will remove it from the list of approved markets.
Why is the font so tiny today? I always appreciate the news Jane but this one is really hard to read.
I’m hoping to make it for book chat Sat. I have already read and enjoyed The Iron Duke!! I like Here There Be Monsters even better and am glad some of you guys have included it in your Best of 2010 lists.
@Lada Sorry about that! I copied it from an email I had sent myself and it must have had some font tags.
After reading the 2 article on literary fiction vs genre I now want to smack both Edward Docx and Laura Miller.
>>>I've heard that the next upgrade for Nookcolor will actually turn the device into a real tablet
You need to X that out. Not happening. I never thought it would and said so on Twitter yesterday. It makes no sense for B&N to do that — and now B&N has stated the report was completely wrong. 2.2 might be coming in 2011, which will mean re-rooting, but eh, so what?
What is 9pm CST in GMT? (Curse at the world clock for not making sense and for not telling me what CST is. Is it Central Standard Time?)
re: literary fiction v genre fiction v cliche writing – I just want something to read that I enjoy. If that’s cliche Larsson then whoop de doo.
My Kindle and I would be all over that Iron Duke. Magnetic attraction.
I’d love a kindle copy even though I do have the paperback. It was such an awesome book!
Ooooh, I’d love a copy of the Iron Duke. Read her novella — it ROCKED!! :-) Kindle, please!
Iron Duke is on my to-be-read list. Would love a Kobo copy of it!
I would dearly love to have a copy of THE IRON DUKE.
I would love to have a copy of Iron Duke for my Kindle — I have heard so much about it from both this site and a number of other romance sites I frequent — just haven’t had the money to spare to buy a copy yet.
Can’t wait to read the Iron Duke! Would love to add to my Kindle
Really want a copy of Iron Duke for my Kindle. I’ll try to get to the book chat. I have a holiday party that night, but maybe I can hide in a corner somewhere . . .
dulcibelle [at] earthlink [dot] net
I have heard great things about this book. Am fond of this author’s books.
The Iron Duke is in my TBR pile too. I would love a copy! Thanks!
I’ve already read and loved the Iron Duke, and pushed it on my sister, but sign me up, and if I win, I’ll give it to my sister-in-law. Bummed I won’t be around for the chat, but I look forward to reading the transcript later. :)
Iron Duke. Kobo. Oh, how I love steampunk!
Oh for crying out loud. I’ll grant that neither Dan Brown nor the late lamented Stieg Larsson write like Hemingway, but boy do they tell great stories and that’s why I read.
This is the first I’ve heard about the most recent pay to publish scams. There are simply no words for the author who paid Lisa Rector $10,000, and what a black eye for Curtis Brown. If there’s such a dearth of competent writing that formerly reputable literary agents have to drop what they’re doing to teach writing, I’m going to quit my day job immediately.
I’ve been so looking forward to reading this book on my kindle, then discovered due to geo-restrictions that wasn’t gonna happen (: Have just cleared my house of two bookshelves, so really trying to hold on to my resolution to not buy print anymore, but may need to cave on this one because I’ve heard such good things
@Mike Cane: Oh curses on Engadget. Now I have to go back to figuring out how to root it.
I would very much like to have a Kindle copy of The Iron Duke. I loved the novella and I keep hearing such good things about the book, but I still haven’t had a chance to read it.
Also, I enjoy reading Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown. If they’re cliche then so be it. Just so long as they entertain me that’s all that matters.
OOOH! Random commenter, right here! :) My kindle would love to have Iron Duke, I thought the novella was fantastic!
I would love a Kindle copy of the Iron Duke!
I’d love a copy of The Iron Duke! I’ve ben dying to read it. I’d prefer a Kindle copy, but I have access to a Sony, so Kobo would work for me, too.
I have not read The Iron Duke yet but am very curious about it!
RE: Literary Fiction vs ?? fiction, popular fiction maybe – I just read what I like and I have a wide range of interests. I don’t mind critics who insist on labeling. In my mind literary fiction sounds unbearably stuffy and I tend to veer away from it.
@Fia For you, I think that would be two hours past midnight. I’m so sorry! Maybe we could host another bookchat for UKers and others?
Oh, I’d love it – can’t buy it on my Kindle due to geographical restrictions :-(
*mutters about stupid computer eating comments, forcing self to try to recreate them*
I’d love a copy of The Iron Duke – I’ve been meaning to grab one for ages, but keep forgetting to actually get around to doing it.
The whole literary vs. genre thing is so incredibly stupid and constantly pisses me off. I read whatever sounds interesting to me, which means that I’ve read both, and there’s really not that much of a difference. Anyone who could read, say, the best of Ivory’s and Gaffney’s romances and argue that the writing in them isn’t at the level that literary fiction aspires to would be lying to themselves, as would anyone who could read one of the horrid wrecks of literary fiction that I’ve had the misfortune to come across and say that it was better than each and every one of the genre novels ever published simply because it was classified as being ‘literary.’
Would love a copy of The Iron Duke. I keep wanting to try it since everyone seems to love it but I am not sure about Steam Punk yet…
Oooh, I am dying for this book! I have the short story prequel from the library and I have been holding onto it until I get this book too. Sounds great!
I have to admit, I’d love a copy of the book. ^_^ Wish I had something more coherent to say about the post, but it’s that kind of day.
I’d love a Kobo copy of The Iron Duke. I really liked Here There Be Monsters.
This book is on my TBB (to be bought) pile. Santa…are you listening?
I am so game for The Iron Duke bookchat!! Going on my calendar right now. A Kindle copy would be nice, that way I’d have Mina & Rhys wherever I go.
I’ve already ordered the Iron Duke from the Bookdepository but because of the weather in the UK it hasn’t arrived yet. So to be prepared for the chat I’d love to get a Kindle copy :)
I would like a Kindle copy. I’ve been dropping hints I would like The Iron Duke in my stocking this Christmas morning. Don’t know that it’s taking, though. Thanks for the chance to win one.
If Maass is referring his query rejections to his wife for book-doctoring services, then there is a major problem here, but it doesn't sound like that's what's happening. And I don't see any problem with an Agency teaching writing courses (assuming it's an actual course, not just a gimmick to get people to pay for you to read their MS).
Taken at face value, I don't think it's the same as a publisher referring rejections to their self-publishing division.
@Isobel Carr I’m beginning to think this is a paradigm issue. For me, I can’t get past the fact that the agent is in a fiduciary relationship with the author and prospective authors. The law holds fiduciaries to a higher degree of duty and ethical behavior than ordinary parties which would be the relationship between a publisher and an author.
The fiduciary responsibilities ordinarily require no self dealing and at least the writer’s course and publishing of books is a traditional self dealing example. It’s not that self dealing is never allowed (although rarely in the legal profession and greatly frowned upon) but it’s very dangerous to engage in as an agent, the fiduciary, from a legal standpoint.
From a publishing paradigm, however, this seems to be of little concern and I’m really trying to wrap my head around it. If agents are going to be offering more of these writer services but still acting as agents, both acquiring and selling, it presents even more problems. But maybe just for me, looking at it from a legal paradigm.
I already have a copy of the Iron Duke, but I’d love to win one for a friend of mine who I’ve been trying to get to read it, if that option is even possible.
On that note, I can’t wait for the bookchat. I might have to reread The Iron Duke beforehand to refresh my memory, though.
Sign me up please, have heard nothing but wondrous things about this book…
The implied offer of favoritism does bother me. I don't like the fact that Maass's wife and Curtis Brown are both *wink wink nudge nudge* implying that by paying for editorial or taking a class, you will get your MS in front of an agent and that agent may well be interested in your work. THAT is hinky. No getting around it.
I will also admit to turning a jaundiced eye on agencies starting up their own in-house publishing brands. There's just something not right about that . . .
But I don't think the class or the wife who edits rise to the same level of oy as a publisher referring rejections to their self-publishing branch.
And yes, the $$$ should always flow from the publisher to the author, but this does not mean that an author should never spend money. I've spent plenty of money over the years on things that I feel improved my craft/business. Everything from an MFA program to my RWA membership. It's entirely possible that what Maass's wife and Curtis Brown have to offer might be worth the price to some people. It's certainly less than an MFA.
I just signed up at Kobo but the book wasn’t showing there for me so I don’t think there may be geo restrictions? (I’m in Australia). If I’m wrong on that, please count me in for the Kobo epub version (which I think I can read on my Sony reader…)
I’ve been wanting to read The Iron Duke on the Kindle for a while. :)
I’d love a Kindle copy of the Iron Duke!
Re the Kobo store or Borders for that matter; if the book doesn’t show up it means it is geo restricted because they only show you books they can sell you. If you link through from a site like DA then there might be a pop up that tells you you are restricted. I usually check by looking at Books On Board as well and if they can’t sell it to me either then the book is geo restricted. E.g. I looked up Joanna Bourne’s ‘Forbidden Rose’ yesterday (checking out Jennies top 10)and it is geo restricted.
Since my darling husband hasn’t taken the hint, I’d love a Kindle copy!
My Kindle is hungry and has a fondness for steamed punk.
I’ve heard good things about The Iron Duke, either the Kindle or Kobo epub version would work for me.
I had heard the NookColor rumor a couple days ago but really didn’t think B&N would actually open the device to the entire Android Market. Mainly because I couldn’t see B&N taking the risk of having people download the Kindle app onto the device.
Iron Duke would an awesome Christmas present!
I’ve been wanting to read the Iron Duke for a little bit of time now. It seems awesome!
I’d love a copy of the Iron Duke for my Kindle!
I looooved (!) Here There Be Monsters so would love to win Iron Duke.
I’d like to try for the Meljean Brook
I’d love an ePub Iron Duke for my Sony.
This business of agents and agents’ spouses selling writing classes seems smarmy to me. The Curtis Brown thing is iffy, the Maass thing makes me feel embarrassed for Donald Maass (like I’ve ever met the man, or something). A similar situation got Helena Geurgis kicked out of cabinet, when her husband (allegedly) advertised access to her (as embodying government) as a benefit to doing business with him.
I think it’s smarmy, and it makes me think less of the agencies involved, but it doesn’t feel as outrageous and misleading as the Harlequin Horizons did.
You pay your agent, and it kinda-sorta makes sense that an agent would direct somebody to a class to improve their craft (although it could easily slip into an access-fee situation, which would be entirely unethical). You DON’T pay your publisher.
The winners are:
29. Chris W
7. Teri Anne Stanley
@Suze But Harlequin isn’t the publisher of Dell Arte authors. It’s offering a writer service just like the agents aren’t agents of the authors, but offering a writer service. Under the law, a fiduciary, like an agent, owes a duty to even prospective clients where as a publisher who negotiates at arms length with a writer does not. But again, I think I am looking at things in just a different paradigm.
@Jane: To me, there’s a visceral difference, and I’m not sure I can articulate it coherently. But I’ll try:
An agency offering a class is saying, “I don’t think we’d suit each other if I took you on as a client, and I think your work needs polish. Here, take a class and improve your writing skills. Maybe we can try again in the future. Best of luck and have a nice life.”
What Harlequin was saying (in my mind, anyway) was, “I don’t think I can make any money off your book if I publish it, but here, YOU publish it (and I can make money of your book by selling you publishing and editing services. It’ll cost you a lot of money that you’ll almost certainly never recoup, but hey, at least one of us is happy)”.
I think the difference comes down to the agent being up-front about the writer needing to become a better writer in order to get published (if a little slimey about holding out a carrot to a dreamer to part said dreamer from his or her cash), and the publisher setting out a poison cupcake to a sugar addict.
That sounds like hyperbole, but it really felt like what Harlequin was doing. They were telling the writer that his/her writing wasn’t good enough for them, but instead of sending them to a class to improve the craft, they sent them to a dream factory that would suck a whole bunch of money out of them without teaching them a thing, except an inadvertent and bitter lesson in being taken advantage of.
My paradigm is education, by the way. I spend a lot of time telling people why I can’t take their money and let them into a course when I know they won’t be employable at the end of it. I could, but I won’t, and I think that’s kind of what Harlequin was doing with the Horizons links.
Wow, that’s a lot longer than I intended it to be. Sorry about that.
What I don’t like about Curtis Brown deal is that after you finish their course, you owe them a 6 week exclusive on your manuscript.
Their application states:
So you not only have to pay for the class, but you can’t even shop for an agent freely after the class is over. This is incredibly unfair and not in the best interest of the class participants.
Good morning! And thank you so much for the ebook of THe Iron Duke! What a great surprise to see that email very first thing in the morning. I already downloaded it and will start on it at my break. I can’t wait to dive right in. Thanks again. And Merry Christmas to everyone here at Dear Author.
Re the Laura Miller piece, disgarding all the language of “bad” and “good” — which is unhelpful and inaccurate, IMO — I think she might be on to something with her discussion of CS Lewis’s “hieroglyphic” language. It’s what I would call genre “coding” or what many would call “shorthand” — where the reader does the work of filling in gaps and filling out meaning instead of the language.
Re the Docx Guardian article, I don’t think there’s any question that Docx eclipsed, in the second half of his piece, the validity of any points he made in the first half — points about how lit and genre ficcers go into attack mode, when many of the differences btwn lit and genre fic are artificial and formalistic. BUT why, oh why, do genre fic fans then take to the comments with the usual bashing of lit fic (pretentious! depressing!) and the ad hominem bashing of Docx’s writing ability? ARGH.
Re the Curtis Brown news, I do not understand the lack of outrage, a la Harlequin Horizons. And I do not think this is a legal paradigm v a literary paradigm thing at all. But instead of waxing on about what I do think is at issue, I’ll simply offer up the IMO brilliant and hysterical piece by Ed Champion: http://www.edrants.com/the-benefits-of-being-conformist/.
Crap. I still haven’t gotten around to reading The Iron Duke. I wanted to take it with me on an out of town trip earlier this week and couldn’t find it! I’ll have to launch an all out search and then see if I can get it read by Saturday night.
Sorry I missed the Iron Duke! This will make me keep up with email better.
Regarding the Docx article (and the follow up) – it just make me slightly ill. Is THIS what we have descended to? Nitpicking and bashing other’s reading choices? A literary fiction novelist sitting in judgment of the reading choices of his potential audience is just absurd. Personally, I read it all. I majored in Literature in college and I read genre fiction for personal entertainment. How dare anyone decide my reading choices define my knowledge about book/author availability or my intelligence? Only elitists make comments like that – for a true book lover would never care.