Tuesday, 29 October 2013

News: Writing, Publishing, And ... Internet Slavery?

Working for 'exposure' (not money) is only cool when you're young. As Tim Kreider puts it: "Not getting paid for things in your 20s is glumly expected, even sort of cool; not getting paid in your 40s, when your back is starting to hurt and you are still sleeping on a futon, considerably less so. Let's call the first 20 years of my career a gift. Now I am 46, and would like a bed."

When points like that are preceded by something like, "Slaves of the Internet, unite!", there are bound to be dissenters (such as people who want to write for free, for instance). At PaidContent, it's pointed out that "it's not slavery" and freebies have helped the writing multitudes break into the arena in a market where supply seems to have overtaken demand. "Writing hasn’t become free or cheap because no one wants it any more, it has become free or cheap because there is so much of it that its intrinsic value has eroded — and the advertising content that used to help pay the freight for that writing has eroded just as quickly."

Hookay, what else?

  • The number of allowed submissions for the Man Booker Prize will be trimmed. Apparently, the growing number of published books is making things difficult for the judges. Also: "...this year's judges had complained that around two-thirds of the 151 entries for the prize were not up to standard, with only 40-50 worth reading for consideration and the others 'junk'." Booker non-winners should feel better.
  • The authors of Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler, published in 2011, have been accused of plagiarism by Argentine journalist and historian Abel Basti.
  • Last year, Businessweek published an article on Larry Kirshbaum, picked to lead Amazon's charge into the book-publishing industry (which I bookmarked). Now, it seems Kirshbaum is leaving Amazon.
  • An author wanted a suit done, but the tailor kept him waiting. So he wrote a bad review of the place on Yelp, a move which backfired when the tailor threatened to tsunami his upcoming book with negative reviews. Sounds like a cautionary tale against Yelp vengeance, but I can't help thinking that it's also about how online bullying (by said tailor) pays. No winners here.
  • We need to talk about 21st-century publishing success: For Lionel Shriver, literary success isn't what it used to be. For one, looks like authors have to sell themselves more these days, leaving less time to, well, write. "Now that every village in the United Kingdom has its own literary festival, I could credibly spend my entire year, every year, flitting from Swindon to Peterborough to Aberdeen, jawing interminably about what I’ve already written—at the modest price of scalding self-disgust."
  • Some of the Latino-related books that were banned by the administrators of the Tucson school district are now back in classrooms. What about the rest?
  • Indian publishers who engaged the Chemical and Allied Export Promotion Council of India to help them set up booths at the Frankfurt Book Fair reportedly got a raw deal, no thanks in part to what sounds like a shady contractor.
  • So you think you know King David, giant-slayer? Meet the historical David in a new book.
  • Germaine Greer sells her lifetime archive to the University of Melbourne, the proceeds of which will go to rehabilitating Australia's rainforests.
  • The New York Times's style guide says it's "e-book". And looks like style guides are more fluid than I thought.
  • It seems that diet books lie. You think?

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