Monday, March 2, 2009

Time Waits For No Blogger

Boy has the world been zipping by! Time has flown and I'm still in the coop. But hey, I'm here now and this is some of the news that's happening:

The economy still stinks. Booksellers, publishers, and everyone else keep laying people off (including the big news of Feb, Editor in Chief of Publisher's Weekly, Sara Nelson herself). Sales are down. Natch.

Moving on.

E-books are still in the news. The Authors Guild and Amazon settled quick on the issue of voice software but everyone's waiting to see how that plays out. The Big A backed down, but those in the know figure there'll be some other battles on the horizon that won't be quite so polite.

A Chicago Sun Times blog by Mark Coker (founder of Smashwords and Dovetail Public Relations), who moderated a panel at the Tools of Change conference just passed, said that IDPF reports November e-book sales were up 108 percent.

Amazon's new Kindle is out and everyone and their mother are reporting on what changed for the better - and what didn't change that should have. Still don't have one because (see above comment re: economy).

And along with everyone else and their mother, Hearst has announced it will be launching a wireless e-reader (according to "The publisher plans to introduce a large-format device this year based on electronic-ink technology.") I just gotta get with the high-tech program and figure out what all this stuff means.

While overall book sales are down, down, way down, Borders reports that a few of their categories were up, including American history books and science fiction and fantasy and, YAY, romance titles!

But don't be discouraged, all you hopeful authors out there. Deals are still being made arcross the board.

A new historical novel, The Queen's Pawn, a debut novel by Christy English (a fictionalization of Eleanor of Aquitaine) sold to NAL; Laura Lippman' new title, The Girl in the Green Raincoat sold to William Morrow; a fantasy title, Griffin Summer (griffins, mages, kings) by Rachel Neumeier has sold to Orbit (very nice, 3 book deal no less!). There's a new book out by Syrie James, author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen that sounds like fun: Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journal of Mina Harker sold to William Morrow. Sounds like James may have found a great gimmick!

Self-published Lisa Genova, whose title Still Alice hit the big time, has sold her next two novels to Pocket, following up on the success of such other self-pubbed to trad-pubbed notable titles: The Shack, Eragon, The Hoopster, and The Celestine Prophecies.

YA paranormals still rockin' & rollin' with The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers, Lynn Weingarten's title about teen girls with magic powers that went to Harper Children's, and Chelsea Campbell (her debut) The Rise of Renegade X to Egmont.

And books are in the media news again, with more titles being optioned, including The Life of Pi, with Ang Lee on Board, and Lucy Silga's debut Beautiful Americans going to Fox Atomic.

There are a few other choice tidbits floating around as well, including the announcement (oh, everywhere? but particularly PW) that Harlequin will launch their own teen imprint with a title(s) in August '09.

I just got a gander at the Barnes & Noble Review site - who knew? March 2, 2009's offering features romance heavyweight Eloisa James reviewing the Harlequin NASCAR title by Pamela Brittan On The Move. (And I've included the link for your reading pleasure).

And The New Yorker has its Book Club blog (ditto the link next door) to keep you in the know on loftier literary doings.

In the agency game Brendan Deneen has joined FinePrint Literary where he'll continue to rep writers in publishing and film, including all genres but (says The Swivet blog), he is "particularly interested at this time in genre YA and thrillers". Check out the agency - maybe you have what they want!

And all the guys on the NYC block are sweating it a little - one of the BIG BOYS - CAA -- is comin' to town. Daily Variety announced that talent agency Creative Artists Agency is getting into the literary game for the first time, and have hired Simon Green to broker book deals for their celeb clients (like the 7-figure deal for the Jonas Brothers photo book). The other guys are concerned that CAA, despite it's pledge that they will limit themselves to "marrying CAA celebrity clients to book deals and that the percentery will not make publishing deals for established authors", will make waves in their little East Coast pond. Other big-time talent agencies have played this game, including WMA, ICM and Endeavor, and the NYC competition is giving a lot of responses along the lines of "CAA is welcome to start any business they like, but they have to understand that if we see them as competition, we will pull back submissions, and that doesn't serve their central financial engine for packaging", a quote attributed by DV to "one heavyweight agent", who added, "If they build this department to five agents in the next two years, none of us will submit our books to them."

Well, that's mostly it for now. I'm off to a new monthly event here in the Big Apple that celebrates the romance novel in all of its glorious forms. Lady Jane's Salon, a new operation formed by authors Hope Tarr, Maya Rodale and Leanna Hieber, along with Ron Hogan of GalleyCat and have banded to together and are offering author readings on the first Monday of every month at Madam X, a cool club in downtown Manhattan. Tonight's offering (the 2nd of the events) has RWA/NYC chapter member Lauren Willig - a brand new New York Times bestseller author - doing the reading along with historical romance author Jenna Peterson (and her alter ego, Jess Michaels, who writes historical romance with a side of steam heat). For the price of a gently used romance novel, or a $5 contribution (proceeds going to Maya Rodale's Share The Love charity and you can meet, mingle, enjoy a cocktail and hear some glorious words of love every month. If you're in the neighborhood, why not stop by? Check out Lady Jane's MySpace link to the right.

See you there!