Writing on the Ether: A Valise Full of Numbers

Baggage at Rest

The first time I flew into Heathrow, I was thrilled. Everyone was calling my name. “Porter! Porter!” Allow me to get your baggage this week.

A valise full of numbers

“In its one day on offer as (an Amazon) Daily Deal, Food, Inc. sold 14,158 ebook copies—an astounding number. Sales for the previous day were 9 copies.”

Peter Osnos sees “the ebook marketplace redefining what people expect to pay for books” in
The Power of a Book Bargain 

“Only 6.5 percent of the buyers surveyed knew they had bought a self-published ebook at some point in time, and 73 percent said they have never done so.”

PublishersMarketplace.com founder Michael Cader went
Looking for Facts About Self-Published eBooks
(registration and/or subscription required)

Random House announced that it would be going with strictly digital catalogs from now on and NetGalley reports it’s gone from fewer than 50 publishers to over 120, including all of the Big Six, in a little over a year.”

Don Linn in Meanwhile

“A tide of free and cheap product is flooding the market. Self-published novelists, keen for attention and without agents or publishers to share the proceeds with, often sell their works extremely cheaply. Meanwhile publishers have moved to offer introductory discounts on some books. As a result, Amazon’s list of 100 best-selling books has become a pricing free-for-all. This week 21 books were selling for just 99 cents. Others were priced at $4.98, $7.59 and $8.82. The most expensive single book, at $16.99, was Dick Cheney’s memoir.”

The Economist in Great digital expectations


A trunk of transmedia (are those my Direct Messages in there?)

“Transmedia storytelling techniques … can increase the longevity of that initial ‘big bang’ period—your tent pole movie release, network premiere, novel release, or indie film festival debut. They can certainly increase how long mass interest around a release lasts, as fans dig deeper, revisit the original content for a deeper understanding, and pull their friends into the discussion.”

Simon Pulman  on The ‘Interest Graph,’ Digital Distribution & Transmedia Storytelling

“I took the story like a piñata and smashed it to see where it would land. I learned loads.”

Alison Norrington, chair of StoryWorld Conference + Expo, in a webinar,
Transmedia: Outsold or Sold Out?
(Storify treatment by Deborah Edwards-Onoro)


Not all bags look alike

“It’s not a black and white issue. Publishing is not completely homophobic, or completely supportive. It varies, and it changes, and there’s no one standard for how things work. … Yes, there are a lot of LGBT supporting characters in YA. But there are significantly fewer main characters who are LGBT. “

Scott Tracey, author of Witch Eyes in #YesGayYA 

“The overwhelming white straightness of the YA science-fiction and fantasy sections may have little to do with what authors are writing, or even with what editors accept. Perhaps solid manuscripts with LGBTQ protagonists rarely get into mainstream editors’ hands at all, because they are being rejected by agents before the editors see them.”

Rose Fox in Authors Say Agents Try To “Straighten” Gay Characters in YA 


The how-to is a heavy lift

“This is the drudge. You have to do this for every single page. It’s fiddly. And this is why you want to have established all your other design decisions before you get here. Because you don’t want to have to do it all over again. And this is why you need to separate your chapters with page breaks, so that any change you make is confined to just a few pages. If you use carriage returns instead of page breaks, every change you make will affect the rest of the entire book.”

Roz Morris, in How to prepare your Kindle text for a print edition (Part 1, Part 2)


Still waiting for the duffel to show up?

“When I was an agent I responded to everyone, but it was by no means an easy task, and sometimes in retrospect I wonder if I really should have had that policy. But regardless of which policy agents pursue, I still maintain that agents don’t owe authors a response. ”

Nathan Bransford in Should Agents Respond to All Queries? 

“What I don’t want to hear is that you don’t know how to do it or what to do. The information is out there. So many smart, successful writers are blogging and tweeting essential tips for promoting yourself via social media that all you have to do, honestly, is start with a Google search.”

Jenny Bent reads the righteous riot act to writers in Back to Work!


Overhead din (rankings that rankle)

“Almost 200 creative writing professors have signed an open letter to Poets & Writers, criticizing its 2012 rankings of MFA/PhD programs…According to a statement attached to the letter, Poets & Writers’ first offense is that it does not take into account a program faculty’s reputation.”

Kat Stoeffel in Creative Writing Profs Dispute Their Ranking–
No, the Entire Notion of Ranking!


Unpacking it the wrong way

“The public flare-up by (Serena) Williams was a reminder of the resentments she carries around, just below the surface … the anger again tumbled out fast, a huge contrast to the girlish giggle that Williams affects in her mandatory interviews after matches. They are extreme opposites.”

—George Vecsey writing the sort of measured, difficult coverage that’s required in world-class sports coverage, but is never easy; an instructive, regretful read for your weekend,
From a Voice to a Roar, Again


Porter AndersonPorter Anderson is a Fellow with the National Critics Institute, and a senior producer and consultant formerly with the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome and INDEX: Design to Improve Life in Copenhagen. As a journalist, he has worked with media including CNN, the Village Voice, and the Dallas Times Herald. He’s based in Tampa.

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