Well, that was a workout! So electrified was I that all my hair stood up on end like the Bride of Frankenstein. (Yes, I know, it already kind of did…)
Off I went to New York on February 13 to be a keynote speaker of O’Reilly’s #toccon book-tools publishing conference. (Speaking about the author as primary source, a sort of small anchovy that en masse fuels whales – e.g. publishing companies — or a sort of dead moose on which more than 30 other life forms draw for nourishment… How many have made a living, so far, on Dead Shakespeare? You cannot count the ways.) (Arcane reference to E.B. Browning.)
But first I went to the premises of Open Sky on 18th Street for a pre-conference industry think-tank at which many bright souls were either holding forth or taking it all in. Publishers, bloggers, e-biz book folks, hopefuls, mopefuls – all sectors were represented, though not many elderly authors such as Self.
Yes, “publishing” (the transferring of stuff from one brain to another by means other than direct vocal contact or the Tube method, as in Young Frankenstein) – publishing, I say – and this is not a world-shaking new insight – yes, publishing, I repeat in Dickensian mode –that method of brain-creation transference that has, since Gutenberg, been using the paper “book” as the mass-transference tool – this “publishing” is in turmoil. And it was said turmoil that was the subject of many a discussion at #book2.
What about blogging, tweeting, and social networking in all its forms? Should authors be expected to do these things to promote their books, and what if they don’t want to? (See for instance Codrescu’s “Soapbox” in PW of January 31, included in our TOC kit, in which he poxes on all their houses.)
What about e-books and the purloining of content therefrom? Are paper books really in trouble, or is it just bookstores who are staring down the throat of Fenris? (Arcane reference to Norse mythology.) Can we credit a comparison between musicians – downloads have cut into the record biz, but just do a lot of concerts, like Lady Gaga? (I’d say not. Which writers would you pay to take off most of their clothes, paint themselves yellow, and cavort about curvaceously with a giant egg? Please do not answer this question. There is such a thing as over-sharing.)
All in all #book2 was livelier than a gaggle of fleas on the Hunger Artist (arcane reference to Franz Kafka), and indeed hunger was at the basis of most of my eldritch questions – all very well, said I, but who pays the artist to keep the poor thing in cheese sandwiches? Or at least enough of them so s/he can get on with the writing thing.
I did try not to say such things as “In the old days, we…” and, “Before e-books and Amazon, we used to…” or, “My generation invented the…” or, “People have been wrestling with that one for at least 1,000 years.” Yes, I did say them a bit. But the young were kindly, and gave me some grapes and cheese, so, being a Fox by nature, and fond of both, (arcane reference to Aesop’s Fables) I had a fine old time. Yes, cheap date, I know; but that is increasingly the problem, for authors: primary food sources are cheap dates.
Curious encounters of the #book2 kind:
www.booksonthenightstand.com Ann Kingman
www.bookmavenmedia.com Bethanne Kelly
www.gutenberggirls.com Melissa Klug and Laura Brown
www.litlifela.com Callie Miller
www.dearauthor.com : mentioned by several
www.bookladies.net Also mentioned
www.beatrice.com Ron Hogan – one of the first
www.deborahemin.com : blog about publishing
www.vol1brooklyn.com One of the guys was there, but which one? Toby Carroll!
www.largeheartedboy.com Combines music and books and much else. He was definitely there and known to all, but I didn’t get a card, and where is the name on the website? David Gutowsky!
www.sb-tb.com Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – reviews romance novels. One certifiably smart person was there – whether a bitch or not was unclear at that moment, but she seemed very nice to me.
www.radar.oreilly.com/publishing/ The O’Reilly’s blog.
Many mentioned Bookblogger Appreciation Week.
Also there was www.dailylit.com , which does e-serialization.
www.fsbassociates.com mentioned as an aid to online stuff.
www.LibriVox.com, readers read books out loud, sometimes well
www.bookoven.com, a publishing platform
Amanda Katz, “bibliophile” column in the Boston Globe: www.amandalkatz.com
Old friend Philip Turner, Book Productions firstname.lastname@example.org
And Michel Vrana, Book Designer, at email@example.com
The death of the book has been greatly exaggerated.