Monday, 9 April 2012

News: Young Authors, Random House, And An Apple Settlement?

The Writer Games
A new trend appears to be emerging. Publishing parents, ushering an era of authors who are too young to drink, drive, frequent bars and buy prescription drugs.

It's heartening to see kids actually write books. They may be emulating favourite writers or striking out on their own. It might also bear hope for literacy, which is slumping like the economy these days.

Kids, however, also have a lot to bear while growing up and, often, don't have enough shoulders for the job. Soon, instead of just looks, clothes and choice of idols, a typical schoolyard dust-up can be sparked with a, "Your book stinks."

From what I've read so far, even adult authors don't always respond to bad reviews with grace. We can't expect kids to do any better, though one can hope. And some author spats can get really nasty. Will parents be filing lawsuits on behalf of their feuding literary proteges some day?

Also, how will editors handle kid authors? Or their parents? It'll be a new set of challenges, managing their expectations and going through the manuscripts. I've personally reviewed several 'scripts by writers below 18, and it's hard to be the bad guy.

By all means, let kids write and publish books. Just don't let things get ugly among them.

Canadian libraries staying out of Random House
Libraries in Nova Scotia, Canada are boycotting Random House over "unfair" e-book pricing.

Some weeks back, Random House bumped up prices of its books for libraries, believing, I assume, that people won't buy books if they can borrow them for free. But going by that logic, publishers might as well campaign to have libraries closed so people would have to buy books if they want to read them.

Tempus fugit, and now it's libraries that are threatened by the explosion of e-published books. At least publishers can revamp their business model to stay afloat. When anyone can tote around a virtual library in notebook-sized devices, who needs a real one?

Other news
  • Apple and the publishers targeted for "collusion" by the US Department of Justice appears to be heading for a settlement with the feds. Some observers think this will mean lower e-book prices, but also the possible strengthening of Amazon's grip over book selling and publishing.
  • A Q&A with Jodi Picoult. But why did you say "DO NOT SELF PUBLISH", ma'am? The Sydney Morning Herald, meanwhile, says "yes" to self-publishing.
  • From The Maid and the Queen: Yolande of Aragon, Joan of Arc's secret backer? And the author of the book debunks seven Joan or Arc myths.
  • The American Library Association's list of the ten most frequently challenged library books of 2011.
  • Robert Silvers, founding editor of The New York Review of Books, takes us back in time to its early days.
  • Amanda Hocking answers some questions on the varying degrees of success among self-published authors, and the responses to her input.
  • Three costly cuppas: Greg Mortenson has to repay (at least) US$1 million to his former charity.
  • Because you can't have too many writing tips: Here are some from CS Lewis.
  • Cathy Clamp, one half of the writing duo known as Cat Adams, Guest blogs at Writer Beware on why (some) small publishers fail.
  • 20 per cent of US is reading digital books, says Pew E-book Survey.
  • Mightier than the sword: Shiva Rahbaran's Iranian Writers Uncensored.
  • Anthony Bourdain's Ecco will be publishing the online restaurant reviewing phenom known as Marilyn Hagerty.
  • New York City school tests will get more boring with a ban on 50 words being mulled.


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