Monday, December 22, 2008

December 22, 2008

Well, looking back I see that I have been remiss for 2, count 'em, 2 weeks. Due to all manner of home appliance and system SNAFUs (car breakdown, plumbing nightmare, oil burner disaster which is on-going forcing us to keep the heat at the lowest possible setting of 59 degrees which, in NYC, means things are getting pretty nippy in the house).

But there's good news to be spread! So here I am, frostbite and all.

I spotted on Galleycat that, apparently, Nielscan's book numbers for fantasy and romance are UP the week of December 15, contrary to just about every other aspect of publishing (although I understand that children's books are still selling...). Galleycat quotes Juno Books editor, Paula Guran who says "fantasy mass market paperbacks sold 102,660 units last week..." compared with "62,781 units" in 2007. Romance, she says "always the industry leader in mass market paperback, sold 202,667 for the week in 2007..." and this year "310,689".

Although they report further that overall for the year, fantasy sales are down, but they report that "overall romance sales are up 83 percent, with mass market paperbacks alone experiencing a 50 percent boost".

Wha-hoo! Some good news. And if you aren't keeping up with all the news that GalleyCat has to offer, check out their site (see link at right).

There are still lots of deals being announced, especially in the romance genre, which bolsters the belief that they are strong sellers. Kelly Mortimer at Mortimer Literary is responsible for numerous romance sales in recent weeks. Check out this agency. Could they be for you?

Charlaine Harris is also hot with sales of both mystery titles and anthologies via JABerwocky Literary.

The likewise popular genre of paranormal continues in YA with a recent mother/daughter Cast sale of three additional titles in their House of Night series.

Simon & Shuster reported (Publishers Lunch; Publisher's Weekly) on their end of year with similar news to their NY brethren in "a challenging year". As with Random House, however, S&S has indicated they will "nearly quadruple eBook salse this year". And they'll be digitizing another 5,000 titles. Additionally they are relaunching their website in January, so check it out for upgrades.

Despite an on-going debate among Romance Writers of America members over the legitimacy of e-published titles, S&S' latest news seems to support my contention that, as far as the e-book is concerned, authors better get on this train or be left in the station! When the traditional NY houses embrace the format, you know it's on its way.

Exciting news for literary and film fans. PL reports that Baz Luhrmann has optioned The Great Gatsby. That's a big WOW as far as I'm concerned. The Aussie-born director of the fantastical and lush Moulin Rouge, as well as the romantic epic, Australia starring (sigh) Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, cannot help but do justice to the story of ill-fated love, money, beauty and the picturesque Gold Coast of Long Island. Now, who will he cast? Who can possibly outdo the perfection of Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby? And what about Daisy?

Another book to film story is that of Robert Harris' The Ghost. The contemporary international thriller by the author of Fatherland and Enigma, the latter of which was also turned into film, will be the next project of Roman Polanski. Say what you will about old Roman, but the guy sure has a way with film.

In the gossip news (sort of), Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari, facing a deadline to repay $800 million in debt, are feuding.

Publisher Cumberland House is folding and Sourcebooks is "taking over the rights to almost a hundred titles". Cumberland founder Ron Pitkin is "seeking publishers to take on rights to 400 previously published titles not included in the Sourcebooks deal". Cumberland specialized in non-fiction titles, especially history and quirky subjects.

Several posts ago I mentioned the Tools of Change conference and provided a link to the registration site. Booksquare blogger Kassia Krozser has also made the argument that this conference is a must. She says "I've long encouraged publishing folk to setp outside of traditional book conferenes to get a sense of where technology - particularly social media - is heading." Check out Booksquare (see the link) for complete details on the panels for this conference, which include Speaking the Same Language: Universal Technology Standards in Publishing and Bookselling; Where Do You Go with 40,000 Readers? A Study in Online Community Building; New Reading Habits, New Distribution Models; and Smart Women Read eBooks.

And on a wonderful note for all fans of words, President Barak Obama has selected Elizabeth Alexander to write and read a poem at his inauguration. Find out more about this fellow word lover at her site (see at right).

For tonight, that's all folks, as I head home to watch over my laboring oil burner until our 2nd visit from the folks I hope will fix it (this time) so we can dispense with the thermal underwear while inside!

I leave you with a poem of my very own.

Write happy,
Write true.
It's the best thing there is,
And it's all you can do.

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