Sheryl Sandberg's book acknowledgements, of course, run for seven-and-a-half pages, thanking 140+ people. (Mandatory disclaimer: I have not read the book. Also, I never will.) But that is really pretty outrageous, and it is true that book acknowledgements, whether for fiction or nonfiction, have gone absolutely bonkers. Lorin Stein's got a pretty great historical take—"You don't see Joseph Conrad thanking Ford Madox Ford"—but when did this really begin? Well!
From this nice little profile of Karen Russell, the Pulitzer-shortlisted author of Swamplandia!, comes this nugget. Tom Wolfe's lastest, "Back to Blood," which went with him five years ago when he left FSG, for the cost of around $7 million, has sold 62,000 copies to date. (That's according to Nielsen BookScan, which does not record sales at WalMart, Sam's Club or BJ's. Not sure how well Tom Wolfe performs at WalMart anyway though!) That's at least a hundred bucks in advance per copy sold. These things happen.
Writers have contorted relationships with publishers, probably because they excel at projection. Particularly this is true now in an age where publishers sue writers for undelivered manuscripts. Something about this has the ring of the disinheriting vengeful father, if you're paying half-attention, until you snap to alertness and realize that it's just a business that wants its money back.
There are writers who dream of selling books, the kind who when they were little children for some reason fantasized about having bound books with their names upon them. No one dreams, yet, of having an .epub file with his name in the metadata. (Or does someone? Who knows [...]
Mike Shatzkin, a "widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry" (his bio), counsels that Brightline, Barry Diller and Scott Rudin's new ebook publishing company with the fun and talented Frances Coady, "would appear to be poised to compete with major publishers for major books." And: "Diller and Rudin, with their Hollywood roots, certainly have access to many of the great story-creators and storytellers." True, but they have two bad choices there in order to compete: explain the finances behind ebooks to authors who are used to being overpaid—"Hey, you get 50%! Of something between zero and infinity dollars!"—or, overpay those authors up front, and [...]
Like it will ever earn out. RT @PublishersWkly Grand Central pays $1.5 million for Greg Smith's Goldman Sachs tell-all nyp.st/HoDSEl
— Sarah Weinman (@sarahw) March 30, 2012
Haha, right? Just kidding! Not gonna happen.
So yes: Greg Smith changes careers, from one system of fleecing people to another! Publishing and investment banking have a lot in common in their machinations actually. Just that in publishing, only eight people get rich. And you gotta move a lot of merch to get that $1.5 million back. But don't worry about Hachette's Grand Central; they've got David Baldacci and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter to [...]
After pulling Neal Stephenson's ebook of Reamde off Amazon on Tuesday, early this morning, Amazon emailed to tell readers they could replace their copy. "The version you received had Missing Content that have been corrected," they wrote. (Or, apparently, their machines wrote. So glad the "Missing Content" "have been corrected.") And here's how it works: "If you wish to receive the updated version, please reply to this email with the word 'Yes' in the first line of your response. Within 2 hours of receiving the e-mail any device that has the title currently downloaded will be updated automatically if the wireless is on." It's a strange kind of [...]