Novelists Inc 2015 — a Heckuva Conference

October 27, 2015

My concern was never about the conference. I was worried about the conga line. Three hundred authors, 90% women, drawn together for four days at a deluxe south Florida resort. The TradeWinds Island Grand offers “11 unique dining and entertainment venues” including Awakening’s Lobby Bar, the Sharktooth Tavern and Salty’s Poolside Beach Bar (“what’s a beach vacation without a brightly colored beverage under a palm-thatched hut?”). Didn’t that mean there was going to be, at some point, a conga line? (more…)

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The Writers in the Silos, by Heidi Julavits

September 28, 2015

In 2008, Heidi Julavits published a marvelous short piece, The Writers in the Silos, a satirical glance at where writing and publishing is headed in “our current conglomerating, lowest­-common-denominator, demographically target­ed publishing industry.” I fell in love with it and bought the rights to reproduce the article on The Future of Publishing. As its buried somewhere at the back of my site, I like to pull it out on occasion for a new group of readers. Here you go:

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Worse Than Paying for Online Reviews

September 3, 2012

We’ve seen a lot of righteous indignation following David Streitfeld’s recent New York Times article on the occasional practice of paying for positive book reviews on Amazon. I read the story and moved on without giving it much thought: I assumed that everyone knew that the review system on Amazon was rigged. (more…)

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Conversations on the Future of Publishing

September 2, 2012

Finn Harvor, a Canadian writer and artist living in South Korea, publishes a blog called Conversations in the Book Trade. He’s interviewed Rolf Maurer, publisher of New Star Books, noted journalist Ian Brown, Richard Nash from his Soft Skull days, provocateur Edward Champion and numerous others. Harvor asks each interviewee mostly the same questions and so I found myself pondering issues such as whether literary prizes reduce our ability to think in a critically complex fashion (they do, but the benefits outweigh the problems). (more…)

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Findability, Discoverability and Marketing

May 31, 2012

Most discussions about the value of metadata move quickly to proclaim that metadata is essential to discoverability. Discoverability is rarely defined: we’re left with the vague sense suggested by its root word “discover”. (more…)

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