Kindle, A New Way To Read

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Publishers Gamble On Blockbuster Book Deals

Blockbuster book deals have been around for a long time; well-known politicians and big players in the business world regularly pull in millions of dollars for their books, and recently, comedians Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin scored seven-figure book deals, with Fey topping the list at close to $6 million.

But given the current economic climate, some have been questioning whether such big advances make sense. Carol Schneider, the head of public relations for the Random House Publishing Group, has been around long enough to remember when a seven-figure book deal was a big deal. But, she says, no one at Random House blinked when comedian Kathy Griffin reportedly landed a $2 million deal with one of its imprints, Ballantine Books. Actually, it was quite the opposite:

"Everyone was very excited," says Schneider. "[Griffin] has great name recognition, and she hasn't done a book before, and she has a great title, which is Official Book Club Selection."

Schneider says publishers need blockbuster books — and they are willing to spend money to make money, even in this tough economy.

"We're acquiring fewer books now, but I think there is an intense focus on the next big book, books that will drive readers into the stores, books that will support the rest of your list," says Schneider. "I think finding the next big hit can make your year."

Authors who earn the really big bucks — like John Grisham or James Patterson — are considered pretty close to a sure thing. They can deliver a book and an audience on a regular basis. But celebrity books are a bigger risk, and literary novels are the most unpredictable.

Well-known literary authors can tank at the bookstore, while unknowns — like Sara Gruen — can have an unexpected hit. After Gruen's novel Water for Elephants sold millions of copies, the bidding went sky-high for her next book. Eventually, she got around $5 million in a two-book deal.

Chuck Adams, the executive editor of Water for Elephants publisher Algonquin Books, says he had to drop out of the auction because "there was so much money thrown at [Gruen]."

Adams describes book auctions as very competitive events, where the price of a book can be driven up easily in the heat of the moment.

"You really want a book, and then you get into the auction and you think, 'Ok, I've reached my top, but maybe if I just go a little bit higher,' " says Adams. "The next thing you know, it just keeps escalating. And finally you just have to slap yourself and say, 'What am I doing?' "

Like Gruen, Audrey Niffenegger was an unknown when her novel The Time Traveler's Wife was published and became a best-seller. Niffenegger will reportedly receive $5 million for her next book — a figure her literary agent, Joseph Regal, neither confirms nor denies.

Though Regal is clearly happy with Niffenegger's deal, he's critical of the way the system works these days.

"It's great if you happen to reach a big audience as Audrey Niffenegger has, but there are a lot people left out," he says. "And it's very frustrating if you sell literary fiction, as I do, and you have a novel that you really love that you think is special, and you're met with 'This is really great, but we don't think we will sell any copies.' "

Regal says that when he started in the business 16 years ago, it was phenomenal for a book to sell 3 million copies. Now a book like The Da Vinci Code can sell 13 or 14 million in the U.S. alone, and everyone in publishing is hoping they can find the next Da Vinci Code or Harry Potter or Twilight.

"Finding a novel that you think might be [by] the next brand-name novelist is pretty tough," says Bob Miller, the president and publisher of HarperStudio. "The gamble has gotten very high. ... Out of every 20 of those that you make, you hope that one of them you'll be so right about that you will make up for the 19 you weren't right about."

Publishing has been always a gamble, and Miller says the fact that no one really knows what will take off is part of the fun. But he thinks that these days, the stakes are getting too high, with the publishers taking all the risks and writers getting paid whether the book sells or not. So HarperStudio is experimenting with doing business in a different way; they publish two books a month, with no advance higher than $100,000.

"We'll pay anywhere from zero to $100,000, and to entice authors to do that, we offer them a 50-50 split on the profit of the book," says Miller.

HarperStudio is owned by Harper Collins, which has many other imprints that are still making big deals. But even so, the HarperStudio experiment has caught the attention of the industry because publishing is in transition, and the high-risk, high-advance way of doing business is one of the things that may need to change.

April 15, 2009

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NY Times to publish e-book best-seller lists!!

NEW YORK (AFP) – The New York Times announced Thursday that starting early next year it will begin publishing best-seller lists of fiction and non-fiction electronic books.

The newspaper, which has been publishing a list of best-selling print books since 1935, said the e-book lists will be compiled from weekly data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers and online retailers.

The move by the Times is a recognition of the growing popularity of digital books available through such devices as Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad.

"The vibrant growth of digital publishing has created a need for an impartial, reliable source for tracking and reporting the top-selling e-books across the country," said Janet Elder, editor of News Surveys for the Times.

"The Times is a trusted brand within the book publishing industry and with consumers," she said in a statement. "As with all The Times's rankings, these additional lists will benefit from corroborative sourcing and we will watch for trends in the industry."

Elder, in an interview with the Times, said "we've had our eye on e-book sales since e-books began.

"It was clear that e-books were taking a greater and greater share of total sales, and we wanted to be able to tell our readers which titles were selling and how they fit together with print sales," she said.

The Times said an independent third party, RoyaltyShare Inc., will be used to help validate e-book sales data.

In a report released this week, Forrester Research Inc. said sales of e-books are expected to hit nearly one billion dollars in the United States this year and to triple by 2015.

Amazon said last month that its customers are buying Kindle digital versions of the top 10 best-selling books more than twice as often as print copies.

"For the top 10 best-selling books on, customers are choosing Kindle books over hardcover and paperback books combined at a rate of greater than two to one," said Steve Kessel, senior vice president of Amazon Kindle.

Aging, algorithms and Nora Ephron

NEW YORK – Nora Ephron is thinking about algorithms.

She wonders what they are. It's one of those concepts, such as Twitter and heavy metal, that exist only to remind her she has lived too long. Unsure of her own definition, she takes a little nip from that electronic flask in her handbag, that digital demon rum: her iPhone.

"Algorithm," she reads, "a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor."

Exactly. "Thank God for my portable device."

She is seated at an Upper East Side diner, around 10:30 a.m., warmed up in a dark blouse and matching slacks, enjoying scrambled eggs and crisp bacon, undisturbed by the occasional glances from two middle-age men, in business attire, in the next booth.

Ephron is 69, known for such books as "Heartburn" and "Crazy Salad," and for the movies "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Julie & Julia." She is a parent and grandparent settled in a long-term marriage with her third husband, author Nicholas Pileggi. She has been writing about silly and serious matters for 50 years, from hooded seals to nuclear power plants to the silly and serious matters of men and women.

As middle age became a certain age, the laughs have turned darker and the joke has increasingly been on herself. In 2006, she had her biggest commercial success as an author with the million-selling essay collection "I Feel Bad About My Neck." The subjects included aging, illness and death, a corrective she says, to all those books that tell you how wonderful it is to grow old.

She is back with "I Remember Nothing," essays about family, journalism and everyday and eternal bothers. There are lists of what she'll miss (bacon, Paris) and what she won't (funerals, mammograms). Much of the book is a farewell to her own memory. She's not writing about Alzheimer's, but the way people and places and events fade as if erased from tape.

This is a new kind of name-dropping. She can brag about having met the Beatles, but not about what they said. She doesn't know. Same for Cary Grant, Dorothy Parker and Eleanor Roosevelt. She marched on Washington in 1967 to protest the Vietnam War and remembers only the sex she had in her hotel room.

As a reporter for the New York Post, she interviewed the much-censored Lenny Bruce several times.

"Lenny Bruce kept being thrown out of New York and every time he was, I was sent to meet him at the airport," Ephron says. "What did he say? You don't know and neither do I."

Her amnesia appears contagious. One old friend, author-humorist Calvin Trillin, spoke of Ephron as a great wit and a colorful "Auntie Mame" figure to his daughters. But he was stumped when asked for a favorite memory.

"My mind goes blank," he says. "I can't think of the time that Nora did such and such. I suppose one will come to me as I fall asleep tonight."

"I don't exactly remember when I met her," adds author-journalist Pete Hamill, whose friendship with Ephron dates to when both worked at the Post. "Nora would probably know better than I."

That is unlikely.

"It's not that I don't need to remember things, I just don't remember them," she says.

"I do little things with the mnemonics and then I can't remember the mnemonics. The other day I couldn't remember the name of the extremely nice person who blows out my hair when I'm in LA. All I could remember is she had the same name as the mysterious guy with the big hair a few years ago. And I couldn't remember his name, either. I thought, eventually, it will get back into my head.

"And this morning, as if by a miracle, the name Fabio came into my head and I remembered it."

When the brain fails, technology fills in. It's her friend, her foe, her shadow. Her iPhone means she will never truly forget the name of a favorite character actor. But she worries that the screen is harmful to writing. In the old days, the blocked author had nothing but walls to stare at. Now, there's Facebook.

And lying about your past is a lost and impossible art.

"My grandmother didn't know when she was born. She had no idea, because she was born in Russia. The calendar was different. It was 18-something or other when she came to America," Ephron says.

"I think you certainly can make the case that the ability to reinvent yourself is a lovely thing that's probably been stolen from us completely by all this record keeping."

Born in New York in 1941, Ephron, the daughter of screenwriters Henry and Phoebe Ephron, spent much of her childhood in Beverly Hills, Calif. As she writes in her new book, regular visitors included "Casablanca" co-writer Julius J. Epstein, "Sunset Boulevard" collaborator Charles Brackett, and the team of Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, who worked on "The Thin Man" and "It's a Wonderful Life."

Everyone was in movies, "the business."

"People who were not in the business were known as civilians," Ephron writes.

She graduated from Wellesley College in 1962, moved to New York and started out as a "mail girl" and fact checker at Newsweek. A newspaper strike at the end of the year proved her breakthrough. Victor Navasky, the future editor of The Nation, was then running a satirical magazine called the Monacle. He was working on a parody of the New York Post, "The New York Pest," and asked Ephron for a spoof of Post columnist Leonard Lyons.

She succeeded so well that the newspaper's publisher, Dorothy Schiff, reasoned that anyone who could make fun of the Post could also write for it. Ephron was asked to try out as a reporter. Within a week, she had a permanent job.

"She had this one thing — talent," Hamill says. "She had the gift that later blossomed, the wonderful, ironic laughter and humor and the precision of the writing."

By the 1970s, she was reporting for Esquire and New York magazine and had met and mated with Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporter who teamed with Bob Woodward on coverage of the Watergate scandal. They married in 1976, and had two children. Ephron was pregnant with the second when she learned Bernstein was having an affair, a betrayal that had its rewards, once she stopped crying.

She wrote a novel, "Heartburn," later a film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. The book was so close to her life that Bernstein threatened to sue. The memory of the book's birth is easily summoned.

"Yes, totally, completely, absolutely, sitting at the legendary and long-gone Smith Corona electric typewriter that I once had," she says. "I was working on a screenplay and wrote the first 10 pages of a novel, and I knew the title, knew there were going to be recipes in it. This I remember, exactly where I was, working and knowing, `Oh, I see, enough time has passed that I'm ready to do this.'"

She doesn't know if she'll write another novel and doesn't worry. She just likes the writing process, whether essays or screenplays or the occasional entry on the Huffington Post. Her iPhone has not kept her from writing every day and from working on a film about singer Peggy Lee, with Reese Witherspoon expected in the starring role.

In "The O Word," an essay from her new book, she anticipates growing too old to make jokes about her age. She will be "really old," beyond sex in a hotel room, or even a frozen custard at Shake Shack. It would be nice if she believed in a higher being, she agrees, but the phrase "everything happens for a reason" is a sermon that only annoys her.

She thinks of each day as perhaps the last that she'll be able to live as she pleases. Ephron writes of summers in the Hamptons on Long Island when her children were little, of fireworks on the Fourth of July and picnics on the beach. She loved the sound of geese in mid-July — "one of the things that made the summers out there so magical." Now, the geese remind her that summer will end, and so will everything else.

"I especially began to hate their sound, which was not beating wings — how could I have ever thought it was? — but a lot of uneuphonious honks," she writes. "Now we don't go to Long Island in the summer and I don't hear the geese. Sometimes, instead, we go to Los Angeles, where there are hummingbirds, and I love to watch them because they're so busy getting the most out of life."

By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer Hillel Italie, Ap National Writer

Hayden Panttiere & Nikki Reed set to star in high school thriller

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Hayden Panettiere, of TV's "Heroes," and Nikki Reed, from the "Twilight" franchise, are attached to star in a high school-set thriller written by "American Psycho" novelist Bret Easton Ellis.

"Downers Grove," based on a novel by Michael Hornberg, is set in a high school in the titular Chicago suburb where every year, one senior dies a bizarre death before the end of the school year. Panettiere's character fears that she's the next victim. The cast will also include Rebecca De Mornay ("The Hand that Rocks the Cradle").

Nelson McCormick ("Prom Night") is set to direct the feature, which will film in Louisiana in the spring.

Sales For Cathie Black's Book Jumps After Chancellor Appointment

Cathie Black's book Basic Black, released in 2007, has sold relatively well - it was a national bestseller, actually. Sales were boosted by support from Oprah, who featured the then-chairwoman of Hearst Magazines on her daytime show and in O: The Oprah Magazine (a Hearst publication). Now, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement last week that Black would be taking over for Joel Klein as the chancellor of the Department of Education, Basic Black is having a second act.

Keith Kelly reports in the New York Post that sales of Black's book have jumped 400 percent since the announcement. "There's no question her appointment has had an impact at retail," Stuart Appelbaum, the Random House spokesman who confirmed the spike, told Kelly. He said in total, the book has sold 130,000 copies.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Writer's Digest 2011 Conference

- Space is limited Secure your spot now! -

Writer's Digest Conference:The Business of Being Published

Presented by the #1 Resource for Writers since 1920

New York, New York
January 21-23, 2011

Click Link For More Info

E-book Sales Rise in September

As sales in the traditional trade segments plunged in September, e-book sales jumped 158.1%, according to the monthly sales estimates released by the Association of American Publishers. Sales for the 14 publishers that reported e-book sales hit $39.9 million in the month, and were up 188.4% in the first nine months of the year to $304.6 million. In contrast, sales in the three adult trade segments, adult hardcover, trade paperback and mass market paperback, all fell by more than double digits with the adult hardcover segment experiencing the biggest decline with sales down 40.4% at the 17 publisher who reported sales to the AAP of $180.3 million. The only other segment to post a significant sales gain in September was downloadable audio with sales from the nine reporting companies up 73.7%, to $7.7 million. Sales of audio CDs fell 42.6%, to $11.6 million, in the month at the 22 reporting companies.

From PW Nov 10, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Author Trivia

Before James Patterson became a bestselling thriller writer, he worked for the advertising firm J. Walter Thompson. He’s also credited with creating the “Toys R Us Kid” slogan.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Backspace Agent-Author Seminar, November 11-12, 2010

Where: The Radisson Martinique, New York

Price: Both days $495 before Sept 15, $595 after; one day $275 before Sept 15. $295 after (discounts available for Backspace members)

For More Info:

You won’t find giant lecture halls full of writers competing for one agent at the Backspace Agent-Author Seminar—workshops are limited to only 14 writers for every two agents to ensure all attendees receive individual attention.

The event also includes panel discussion with the agents in attendance. And because criticism—even good criticism—can sting, the organizers include uplifting presentations, as well. For example, at a previous Backspace event, Lorenzo Carcaterra, a screenwriter and New York Times bestselling author of Sleepers, talked about breaking in, networking and other topics. Panels and presentations break 15 minutes early to give attendees a change to mingle with the agents and authors and ask questions.

Backspace is home to some great success stories, too. Last year, between the organization’s May conference and its November Agent-Author Seminar, 10 attendees secured agent representation.

By Linda Formichelli for Writers Digest and co-author of The Renegade Writer, teaches an e-course on breaking into magazines and offers writer phone mentoring.


Anastasia Hopcus, Austin, Texas,

New Book: Shadow Hills (young adult, Egmont USA, July 2010)

Time Frame: The first draft of Shadow Hills took about two months, but the rewrites took five.

The Agent: Including my first (still unpublished) novel, I queried for three years. I contracted at least 100 agents before finding Meredith Kaffle (with Charlotte Sheedy Literary), and she’s absolutely wonderful. I can still remember when she called my house. I almost hyperventilated.
Biggest Surprised: That my book could be rejected by agents and publishers and yet I was still able to find people who completely love it and believe in it.
What I did Right: I paid attention to advice from an agent who turn4d down the first draft of Shadow Hills. His letter was blunt, with more specific criticism than anyone else I ‘d sent it to. Though it took me a few days to get over my hurt feelings, the letter helped me figure out my manuscript’s weakness.

Helpful Communities: Luckily, I found the Tenners, a LiveJournal Group of authors who have debut YA or middle-grade novels coming out in 2010. The Tenners also helped me connect with online bloggers, and those collaborations and friendships have proven invaluable.
What’s Next? I have a few paranormal YA projects in the works. I see a lot of potential to continue the story of Shadow Hills, but I have plans to explore other characters and stories, as well.

By Chuck Sambuchino for Writers Digest.

Warren The Ape

Two Episcopal High School alums now work on the MTV show Warren the Ape. Spencer Chinoy is the co-creator, director and writer of the Greg the Bunny spin-off, while Rhyan Taylor serves as a graphic artist.

Casting All Screenwriter's!

October 14-17 Casting all screenwriters. Your break in show biz may come at Hal Ackerman’s film writing workshop. This event takes place during the Jacksonville Film Festival, a four-day celebration of all things movies, held at various theaters across the city (858-9889).

Quotes for the Writer

"Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing." --- Oscar Wilde

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wes Craven Creates First Graphic Novel

Wes Craven is creating his first graphic novel with indie publisher Liquid Comics. "He's one of the nicest people I've worked with, though his films scare the hell out of me," Sharad Devarajan, the publisher's CEO.

Inc Mag Oct 2010

Digital Royalties and Strategy at PW Panel

At PW’s panel on e-book rights Tuesday morning held at Random House's New York headquarters, questions swirled about digital royalty rates and the place of traditional publishers in a fast-digitizing book market. While panelist Neil DeYoung, director of digital media for Hachette, and the only panelist representing a big six publisher, asserted repeatedly that the creation of digital books is a costly one for houses, other panelists, including attorney Lloyd Jassin and Paul Aiken, executive director for the Authors Guild, contested that notion with questions and, at one point, a little math.

In his opening remarks about the state of digital publishing, DeYoung said the popular perception about e-books is that they’re solely a profit-driving force for publishers. Given their perceived low cost of production, many in the business—from agents to authors—have railed against publishers' claims that e-books, like print books, cost money to make, manufacture, and distribute. As DeYoung argued, the costs may be less visible, but they’re there, from the price of conversion (which he said ranges from “affordable to expensive”) through the cost of sustaining servers to the cost of tracking sales. In DeYoung’s phrasing, the addition of digital publishing “only makes the business more expensive.”

The notion that digital publishing is a complex cost center for publishers is, as Aiken put it, the “company line” that the big six have been touting for years. And in the name of those costs, Aiken said, publishers have essentially been cheating authors out of fair royalty rates on e-books. As Aiken explained, “With 25% of net, under the agency or publisher model, the publisher will always do better on e-book sales [than the authors].” And this, Aiken noted, gives publishers “an incentive to favor e-book sales.”

So how much better do publishers do on e-book sales? One attendee, who identified himself as working in contracts at Scholastic, asked Aiken to do the math. Aiken then did the math out loud, tallying what a publisher makes vs. what an author makes on three different formats of a frontlist title—the hardcover, the e-book edition sold through the wholesale model (which Amazon uses), and the e-book edition sold through the agency model (which Apple uses). With his math, which he walked the audience through, a publisher, on a title with a $26 list price, makes roughly $5.10 on the hardcover while the author makes $3.90. On the e-book sold through the wholesale model, the publisher brings in $9.25 while the author gets $3.25. On the e-book sold through the agency model, the publisher gets $6.38 and the author gets $2.28. (A graphic that ran in the Huffington Post displays this visually. Interestingly, though, more costs are subtracted from the publishers’ bottom line.) So with that math Aiken’s question remains the same: why should authors make less on one version of a book than another? In a fair world, authors would earn at least as much (in dollar terms) on e-book sales as on hardcover sales, Aiken said.

For Jassin, who said he thinks “the future of publishing is bright, but the future of the big six is cloudy,” the big thing he asserted that publishers should be concerned about is the copyright termination clause that many authors will be able to exercise as early as 2013. Jassin, touching on the issue of backlist books and digital rights, said that even though the dust may seem to be settling on this subject, “publishers may get these e-rights, but only for a few years.”

Agent Scott Waxman, who owns the Scott Waxman Agency, spoke briefly about his startup publishing venture, Diversion Books, which he described as an experiment, to see if there’s a way to publish titles his agency either cannot, or chooses not to, sell to publishers. Waxman said with Diversion, which is still in its infancy, he’s trying to figure out what the cost benefits of publishing certain authors is, and whether there’s a revenue stream there.

Other topics the panelists touched on ranged from the importance of publishers maintaining the print business—Aiken stressed that, despite the focus on digital, publishers need to find a way to keep brick-and-mortar bookstores and physical bookselling part of the equation—to the difficulties of breaking out new authors in a digital sales chain. Speaking to that point, Aiken said, “There’s clearly a growing demand for e-books, but it’s not clear that [with] e-books [we] can grow a diverse industry.”

Inevitably, though, the conversation looped back to that digital royalty issue. Moderator Jim Milliot’s question about what the costs for publishers actually are in creating digital books not only led to Aiken’s aforementioned math but, again, to a back-and-forth between the panelists. While DeYoung said profitability needs to be measured across all publishing formats and that a publisher’s costs can’t be measured “in a vacuum,” Aiken pressed the notion that the current digital royalty rates cannot stand. Reiterating that format should not affect royalty, Aiken said that the big houses are in effect paying off the most powerful authors—who have the ability to push the issue of the digital royalty rate—with big advances, but that a move to keep the status quo can work for only so long, with a 50% royalty rate on frontlist titles inevitable.

By Rachel Deahl, PW

Oprah's New Book Selection, Book Club Will Continue On New Network

Today on her show, Oprah confirmed what had been rumored for days--her newest selection is Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. Said Oprah, “I read it over the summer because the author sent me a galley with a note.” Finding the book “exquisite,” Oprah called Franzen to ask him whether he would like to be the next book club pick, because, she said with a smile, “as you all know we have a little history. After careful consideration, he said yes.” Freedom, said Oprah, is “a masterpiece that spans three decades…an epic family saga…it is everything you want in a book, and I’m betting it will end up being one of the best novels you’ve ever read.” Franzen will appear on a future show to discuss the book, Oprah said.

Freedom publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux, said it has printed 600,000 Oprah Book Club-stickered copies to augment its printing of 355,000 regular-jacketed copies.

When Oprah selected Franzen’s The Corrections in 2001, the author was quoted as saying he had almost turned down the offer. He was subsequently uninvited from appearing to discuss the book, but has made both public and private apologies for his remarks.

Oprah also denied what she called "rumors that this will be my last book club pick." She said: "I’ll continue to pick books all season long, and the book club will go with me to the Oprah Network."

Priceless, new book by Nicole Richie

Nicole has already led a quite the life. And she’s only 29. A reality TV star, she’s long been a staple on the celebrity scene. The daughter of music legend Lionel Richie, she’s now a mother of two, a novelist, philanthropist and has recently launched both a line of signature jewelry and accessories (House of Harlow 1960) and (Winter Kate).

Craig Wilson of USA Today catches up with her as she looks forward to next Tuesday’s release of her second book, Priceless (Atria, $24.99), a riches-to-rags tale of a spoiled child whose life changes in ways she never imagined.

Q. Your new novel Priceless follows your bestseller The Truth About Diamonds, but it’s not a sequel right?
A. No, it’s not. I like to close one chapter and start fresh.

Q. What’s your writing routine? Early in the morning? Late at night?
A. I wake up at 5:45 and the rest of the family gets up at 7:00, so I have an hour in the morning. And then I have time after 7 at night to write and calm down.

Q. Do you work with anyone?
A. No I write all my own stories.

Q. What are you reading right now?
A. I wish I were reading something. Everyone tells me about a few books I should read, but I’m rereading Tuesdays with Morrie right now. It’s one of my favorites, and its comforting to read something I’ve already read.

Q. Who are your literary role models? Jackie Collins? Danielle Steel?
A. Danielle Steel has been a huge mentor of mine. I look up to her. I’m lucky just to have five minutes with her. She told me not to write a sequel. She told me writing takes time and I might not be in the same place in a few years.

Q. What’s next? Another novel?
A. I’m waiting to be done with my book tour first and then I can get into another creative chapter.

Q. You’re a Virgo. Is that how you can have so many balls in the air at once?
A. I’m very organized. I love a good list. It’s the nerd side of me. I like to be busy.

Q. Still a big Twitterer?
A. I am! It’s a great way to connect with those who support my dreams and to tell them what’s going on?

Q. Speaking of that, is there a sitcom in production? Will Diamonds be a TV series?
A. Not right now.

Q. Tell us about your Chuck episode which airs October 4th, Your back from last year! Still fighting?
A. We just wrapped that up. They had to up the ante this time around after last year’s fight scene. It’s longer and more intense this time. I even hurt my shoulder. It was amazing an experience.

Q. You have two fashion lines. Anything else coming down the pike?
A. We’re expanding into eyewear and handbags in the spring 2011.

Q. So , the world wants to know when you and your fiancée, singer, Joel Madden, are going to get married.
A. They’ll just have to wait and find out.

Q. How are the kids, daughter Harlow and son Sparrow?
A. They’re great. Wonderful.

Q. You’ve admitted you were given too much as a young child. Are you trying to not repeat that with your own children?
A. My parents were great and they gave me their heart and soul. I have to look up to them and hope to do the same, to be the best of me.

Q. Have you been in contact with your old pal and colleague, Paris Hilton?
A. I don’t speak about her.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Evanovich Leaves Longtime Publisher St. Martin's Press After Asking for $50 Million Book Deal

Is Janet Evanovich worth $50 million? That was the question we asked ourselves in this week's magazine. Although no numbers have been disclosed, Evanovich now has a new publisher, having signed a four book deal with Random House's Ballantine Bantam Dell division.

After Evanvoich's longtime house, St. Martin's Press, played down rumors that she might defect after asking for a pay day in the neighbohrood of $50 million for her next four books, the author indeed left. A Random House rep refused to comment on how much the deal was worth. Now BBD, which took world rights in the deal, is planning its first Evanovich title for mid-2011.

In Random House's release about the deal, the company touted some impressive statistics, citing the fact that 75 million copies of Evanovich's 33 novels have sold worldwide. The house went on: "Her new titles are huge simultaneous e-book bestsellers, as is her backlist, and each of Ms.Evanovich's novels also are million-copy paperback bestsellers. Her foreign sales also are large and growing."

World rights for the new Evanovich novels were acquired by BBD editor-in-chief Jennifer Hershe. Two of the books will be Stephanie Plum novels, and the other two will be in the author's newer "Unmentionable" series.

From Publishers Weekly July 26, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quote of the Day for the Writer

“Just in time for my 50th birthday, I discovered that I could write fiction. My husband had urged me to try fiction for 15 years before I did…I believed that if I couldn’t write ‘literature’, I shouldn’t write at all…Now, I would say to young women, do something you have a true feeling for, no matter how little talent you may believe you have. Let no masterwork be your goal---a modest goal may lead you further than you dream.”

---- Judith Krantz speaking at her 40th Reunion. Judith graduated from the upscale Birch Wathen School in 1948. Barbara Walters is a childhood friend who also graduated from that school.

Judith Krantz wrote Scruples , I’ll Take Manhattan, & ‘Til We Meet Again

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Waking the Subconscious

The subconscious: Can the unknown corridors of your mind be hidden pathways to creativity? Author and mental health counselor Kelly L. Stone (Grave Secret, Time to Write) thinks so, and with Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind, he documents how she believes writers can channel their hidden halves to pump up their pages.

What’s a Key To Unlocking It?

One key is related to brain waves. Certain brain wave states are associated with the subconscious mind and creativity, specifically the alpha wave state. Alpha waves are responsible for causing people to get “into the zone” and are documented to be linked to creativity. Professional athletes have been capitalizing on the alpha wave state for decades to improve their performance.

Music is a good way for writers to get the brain into an alpha wave state. Many of the bestselling authors I interviewed for Thinking Write use music as a way to unlock their creativity. What you do is choose music that matches the theme, tone or message of what you are writing and then listen to the music only when you write. Over time, you set up what is called a conditioned response to that particular song or playlist, and when you hear it, you trigger the alpha wave state and are automatically in touch with your subconscious mind and deeper levels of creativity.
Do you have any advice to keep your creativity going strong once you’ve tapped into it?

Ride the wave for as long as you can. Also, be alert to messages from your subconscious throughout the day. It takes time to learn how your subconscious mind communicates with you; some people get hunches, others get dreams that offer an idea or solution, or ideas “pop” into their heads at odd times.

What’s the best craft advice you can offer?

Write on a schedule. Don’t wait “until you feel it.” Set aside time every week for writing (with a built-in time off if you need it) and then when that time arrives, sit down at your desk and write no matter what else is going on. That’s the only way to get words on the page—and, as many of the authors I have interviewed say, you might write crap, but you can edit crap. You can’t edit a blank page.

Writer's Digest

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lemony Snicket Moves On

Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, has signed a new five-book deal with Little, Brown, leaving HarperCollins to follow editor Susan Rich.

The deal includes a new four-book series from Snicket (the first book is due out 2012), and a separate YA novel---written under the name Handler—due out in 2011.

From BookPage January 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grand Valley alumnus collaborates on latest 50 Cent film script

Brian Miller, a 1999 graduate of the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University, has co-written a movie script with Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, currently being filmed in Grand Rapids.

With the working title of "Love Me, Love Me Not," the film tells the story of an all-star running back at the height of his football career, who is faced a sudden change-of-life event. Jackson plays the lead role and has been in Grand Rapids for a week filming scenes, on Grand Valley's campus and elsewhere, for a trailer to secure financial backing for the film. Other actors in the film include Lynn Whitfield and Mario Van Peebles. William Eubank is directing the film.

This is the third film collaboration between Miller and Jackson. Miller wrote and directed "Caught in the Crossfire," shot in Grand Rapids in May, and collaborated with Jackson on the script for the action thriller "Gun," which completed filming in Grand Rapids last month. Both films had Grand Valley alumni on their production crews.

Miller spoke with students in several classes during the past week, sharing his own road to Hollywood and encouraging them to take advantage of every opportunity to get involved and learn from the pros. Noting the Michigan film credit incentives and the new Hanger 42 studio in Walker, Miller told students they no longer need to move to Los Angeles to get started in the film industry. "You now have everything you need here and a growing number of opportunities," said Miller. "There's no other place like it."


Friday, January 29, 2010

Beautiful Malice

Australian mother and small-business owner Rebecca James has sold world rights to her first two young adult novels for major bucks, going from mom to millionaire overnight after her manuscript was pulled out of the slush pile by a U.K. agent. The rights to Beautiful Malice and its sequel sold for $600,000 in the U.S. alone, according to the Wall Street Journal, who calls James the next J.K. Rowling.

Since the days of big advances for the heck of it seem to have disappeared with the recession, this signals that Bantam Dell expects a Rowling-sized payout once the books are published.

Beautiful Malice is a story of the friendship of two girls. One has lost her sister in a horrible murder; the other is a chilling and charming party girl. The series has been described as Twilight without the vampires ----and with the sex.

Kate Miciak, editorial director of Bantam Books, who won U.S. rights, said, “You had only to read the opening sentence ---“I did not go to Alice’s funeral’---to know that you had instantly fallen under the thrall of a strong narrative voice.” The book is scheduled for a September 2010 publication in the U.S.

From BookPage January 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Amazon Kindle iPhone App

If you want to jump on the Amazon eBook store without forking out for a Kindle, or alternatively want another way of reading your Kindle’s books, Amazon has just launched its Kindle iPhone app in 60 markets around the world, including little old Australia.

It’s a free download, and lets you sync your bookmarks and notes across your devices. Well worth the download, even if you hate the idea of eBooks as much as he idea of spreading marmite over cinnamon toast. Or anything, for that matter.

France to Digitize Its Own Literary Works

President Nicolas Sarcozy pledged nearly $1.1 billion on Monday toward the computer scanning of French literary works, audiovisual archives and historical documents, an announcement that underscored his government’s desire to maintain control over France's cultural heritage in an era of digitization.

Real Housewives of New Jersey Star Writes Book

Real Housewives of New Jersey star, Teresa Giudice, has sold a cookbook, Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It—Live La Bella Vita and Look Great Too!, to Brenda Copeland at Hyperion. Susan Ginsberg at Writers House brokered the deal, for world rights, and Hyperion is planning a May 2010 pub. In the cookbook, Giudice offers recipes for healthy Italian meals. The book will also feature behind-the-scenes details about the show, as well as pictures of Giudice and her family.

Clara Cannucciari's New Book

St. Martin’s Press celebrated the release of Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression over lunch at Carmine’s in Manhattan’s Theater District on December 7. Cannucciari garned a wide fan base with her YouTube videos on Depression-era cooking, which led to her book deal. Pictured here are executive editor Michael Flamini, Carmine’s executive chef Christian Ruiz, and Cannucciari.

Quote of the Day For the Writer

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain