The thought of the future is often terrifying because we are biologically programmed to be frightened by dim uncertainty. But, as we've made steady progress toward the construction of a time machine, some pieces of the future have inadvertently slipped into our own time, providing a comforting sense of probability, if not certainty, about the fate of certain key elements of civilization: Mr. Zandri, an author of mystery and suspense tales, is published by Thomas & Mercer, one of Amazon Publishing’s many book imprints. He is edited by Amazon editors and promoted by Amazon publicists to Amazon customers, nearly all of whom read his books in electronic form on [...]
A couple of weeks ago, Adam Begley was in town to publicize his biography of John Updike, which is, as Louis Menand put it, “an extended essay in biographical criticism, an insight into the man through the work and the work through the man.”
I’d intended to talk to Begley, who I’ve known for years, about a scene towards the book’s end. Updike is dying at home, surrounded by his wife, Martha, and ex-wife, Mary. It’s a vividly rendered paragraph and I wondered: Had Begley been present?
He was still at home when Mary telephoned Martha and said she’d like to come see her ex-husband. Martha suggested that [...]
I congratulate you, my dear Cornelia, on having acquired the valuable art of writing. How delightful to be enabled by it to converse with an absent friend, as if present! —Thomas Jefferson
She hesitated, and then, impulsively, "I wonder if it would be too much to ask you for your autograph?"
Ralph then attached the Telautograph to his Telephot while the girl did the same. When both instruments were connected he signed his name and he saw his signature appear simultaneously on the machine in Switzerland. —Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+ (1911)
On February 27th, Toni Morrison took part in an [...]
When I got my first royalty check from Amazon, I went to my boss at the bar and was like, “Mike, I quit, dude,” and he was like why, and I was like “Look at this check, man,” and he said, “I’d quit too.”
This is what I’m doing now. My three stories that are out have now sold in excess of 93,000 copies, and I have another Kindle Single that I’m working on for later this year, and hopefully working on a book.
Let’s say that after a certain amount of time, probably more than a year (and possibly more than a few), you’ve finished your novel and want to find a publisher; or perhaps at the other extreme, five hours ago you started a high-traffic Tumblr, which people are telling you needs to be made into a printed book. Either way, chances are you’re going to need an agent. Agents are the gatekeepers of publishing, which may seem kind of pointless and inefficient until you understand that these days, agents not only negotiate contracts but often also do the lion’s share of the editorial heavy lifting (leaving actual “editors” more [...]
Dear Karl Ove,
I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but as curious as I've been about your work, I had to overcome my suspicion and jealousy resulting from the onslaught of critical praise and (though I wish I could ignore such things) rock-star photographs of your L'Oreal hair and heavy smoking habit. In any case, with the understanding that the third volume of My Struggle (Boyhood Island) was recently published in the U.S., I just finally finished the first one (A Death in the Family). I have to admit, I was impressed by the opening section. Your meditation on the decay of a human [...]
"The question remains, why do people have such a high regard for authors, even when they don’t read?"
In a 2005 article about hecklers, Stewart Lee related an anecdote about his fellow stand-up comic Daniel Kitson. "Privately, the debate continues amongst comedians, 'what is Daniel Kitson doing?' Why, many wonder, does he do [small Edinburgh venue] The Stand when he could do the big room at Assembly? Why does he insist on shaking off half the following he has established every couple of years by doing a sensitive story show? Why doesn’t he have a nice haircut? Surely he could afford it now. But Kitson once told me, that after his Perrier nomination, he was doing a run at the Soho theatre. Sitting in a toilet cubicle [...]
Hellzapoppin' in the world of intellectual property rights these days. Lawsuits, corporate flim-flamming, the claims of far-sighted academics and developers, furious authors and artists and the conflicting demands of a sprawling Internet culture have created a gargantuan, multi-directional tug-of-war that will inevitably affect what and how we will be able to read online in the future. Recent developments indicate, amazingly, that there are grounds for hope that the public will in time benefit from the results of this epic tussle.
If you didn't get enough of author Sam Lipsyte when he made pork buns here on Cooking the Books, he will be appearing live, starting circa 3 p.m. at, oddly enough, insane sports website Deadspin. Deadspin editor "AJ Daulerio" is promising "stars" for all incoming "Awl commenters." (I don't know what that means!)
Edan Lepucki’s novel, California, will launch next week as one of the most pre-ordered debuts in the history of the publisher Little, Brown. It has become, in recent weeks, an unintentional emblem of the war that Amazon is currently waging on Little, Brown’s parent company, Hachette, as the focus of a campaign by Stephen Colbert to “not lick [Amazon’s] monopoly boot” by pre-ordering it from independent bookstores. In some ways, it’s a fitting choice, since it tells the story of a couple, Frida and Cal, making their way in the world after the collapse of society as we know it. But it’s about much more—love, marriage, [...]
Yesterday we cornered Brooklyn Book Festival panelists and asked them: who do you like among the younger generation of writers? Some of them had great answers!Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs
Gosh, the younger generation being under what? [“That’s up to you.”] You know, I’m a big fan of Sheila Heti. Does she count as the younger generation? She’s over thirty, though, she’s 35. [She’ll be 37 on Christmas.] Turn it off a for second, I just have to think! Because I’ve been mostly reading old and dead people, lately, so it takes me a minute to—turn that off! [The recorder is turned off. Then turned back on.] There’s a [...]
If you have anything to do with the book industry, you are probably nauseated by the mere mention of that industry's annual tradeshow, which started on Monday and wraps up today. But not everyone is some sort of book fanatic—some people just read books and are innocent about the disgusting process that brings them into being, like little children who don't know that babies are generated via fucking. I know this because in the comments on every blog post or news story about book publishing ever, there's that person who asks "But if an author's book doesn't earn out its advance, does he have to give the money back?"
When food blogger Monica Gaudio complained to editor Judith Griggs of Cooks Source magazine about the theft of her online article about apple pie, she asked for an apology and a small donation to the Columbia School of Journalism in lieu of payment. The incident never would have made national headlines had Griggs not condescendingly countered that Gaudio should pay her for cleaning up her article. "But honestly Monica," she wrote, in what has turned into a widely mocked meme, "the web is considered 'public domain' and you should be happy we didn’t just 'lift' your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!"
While Griggs' [...]
Oh, so this is what falling in love is like. Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, which I am now going to buy and read during Tropical Storm Danny this weekend: "There was also a whole chapter about a dragon that I cut out. I didn't cut it out; my editor did. I was like, 'What makes you think the novel is going to be better with less dragons in it?' I guess it didn't advance the plot or some other thing."