Monday, 16 July 2012

News: Reviews, Authors and Amazon

Review revue
Don't be held hostage by reviewers, urges this author. As if they have ever been.

However, one author seems to feel that way, from his meltdown over a poor review of his novel, whose back cover copy doesn't inspire much curiosity at all. In his defence, he cluttered the comments section with numerous positive reviews of his book, a move the reviewer calls harassment. His response: "Your disbelief in my success is also amazing."

No, what's amazing - and unbelievable - is EL James's success. Which is set to get even more unbelievable.

A commenter kind of nails it, regarding the majority of self-published books online. Most tend to rush it out to publication, mainly for bragging rights ("Check out my book!"), to "be the first to get it out" (but how do you know if someone else didn't write something similar before?), and maybe to avoid the heartache that comes with an editor or a proofreader's feedback ("But it's good enough! My best friend/parents/English teacher/barkeep said so!").

This story was picked up by book blog Luxury Reading, which has supplied some information on author/blogger online spats, along with how an author got burned fighting fire with fire.

How much do book reviews matter, anyway? Especially the ones in the New York Times? About as much as book prizes, it seems. Having your book lapidarily limned is probably all the PR you'll ever need, though.

If that - and the usual Amazon and Goodreads reviews - are not enough, here's iDreamBooks, a book review site being touted as the Rotten Tomatoes for books. Easier now to 'hold authors hostage' or piss them off.

Author, author
You know, I'm not sure if I'd want to buy this book after reading its author's tirade over her former (traditional) publisher's allegedly shoddy PR engine. Though not everybody agrees with her, there are lessons in it for the publishing industry.

Terry Goodkind's not-so-"good" or -"kind" gesture towards an e-book pirate is also a lesson on how not to 'respect' books you like. Piracy is not the sincerest form of flattery, and not everybody can afford to be like Coelho.

Nor is it a good idea anymore to pass off other people's work as your own.

Elsewhere, a romance writer tells us why smart women read romance - and perhaps why smart women should read her romance novel, The Booby Trap. Which is supposedly what smart women reading romance should read. Uh huh.

Other news
  • Amazon's same-day delivery will destroy your neighbourhood retailers, says Mr "Die, Physical Indie Bookstore, Die". At least he doled out some advice for bookstores fighting the encroaching Amazon jungle. Speaking of which: Booksellers say 'no' to Amazon imprint - again. Is Amazon, like, Mephisto's jungle?
  • A US citizen jailed for posting translated excerpts of a banned biography of the Thai king has been freed. Meanwhile, here's a glimpse at how books are banned here. I think we need a break from the Borders thingy.
  • Ottavia Bourdain needs to blog. Mrs Anthony Bourdain needs to write a book. She needs to run a media empire (move over, Oprah). A few more pieces like this and she'll need her own freaking Parthenon. The writing sounds familiar - has dear hubby been helping out or it's just that they sound the same?
  • Not just chicken tikka masala: Words with Indian roots that sneaked into the English language.
  • Cinderella, explored. In other words, "Siapa Sinderella?" ...Or should it be "Cinderellae"? ...Did I just name a possible Malay novel/movie?
  • Drug-related violence in Guadalajara, where Latin America's second largest annual book fair is held. So depressing.
  • Is this story of a many-aliased literary fraudster really out of a book? This guy says so - out of his book, apparently.
  • Why tpoys are hrad to ctach, eipscalely in Eilnsgh. Deosn't mkae me feel bteter, tughoh.
  • The "mummy porn" wave has some strange surfers. Who knew Anne Rice wrote a submission-themed erotica trilogy adapted from a fairy tale in the Eighties? Expect more of this ilk to shamble out of their crypts.
  • Unbelievable: corruption in holy book procurements in Indonesia?
  • Making e-book predictions is hard, but this guy's giving it a go, anyway. We'll check back in five years.

Oh yes, I have been writing book reviews. All for print publication, unfortunately, so I have to wait for them to come out. And I know the upcoming issue for Quill is late, too - a snag in production that will, hopefully, iron itself out in a fews days.


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