Category: bea 2013

Keanu Reeves at Cannes; New F Word; Self-Publishing Tips

Evidently, Keanu Reeves made headlines at Cannes when he arrived looking slightly different than usual. If you do a simple search you’d be amazed at what you come up with. The article I’m linking to is the only one that said basically what I think about all this.

He arrived at the Cannes Film Festival looking less than stellar, and suddenly he’s getting treated worse than Kim Kardashian by the media. (“Keanu Reeves Looks Bloated at Cannes Film Festival” is a real headline that came up when I Googled his name.) And then they zoomed in to a horrific photo of his chin taken from below — because that’s always a good angle.

Read more:

It looks to me like he’s getting ready for a new film. And frankly, I saw the photos and thought he looked fine. But none of that should even matter anyway.

Women get this kind of thing all the time about body image and weight issues. But men get it, too, and you don’t have to be famous. I’ve been starving for years. Last weekend I went to a BBQ at an old friend’s house and it was the typical menu…most of the foods I never eat anymore. I passed on potato salad, pasta salad, hot dogs, and burgers. But you can’t just sit there and eat nothing because that would be rude. So I picked on a bunless burger and thankfully there was a mixed green salad. I’ve been conscious about food and gaining weight all my life, and when all else fails I always revert back to the Atkins diet principles. And sometimes I wonder why I bother. But this image bullshit has been so ingrained in us (gay men and women especially) it’s not simple to shake. Because when a man as gorgeous at Keanu Reeves shows up a few pounds overweight and gets slammed for it, there’s something wrong.

The New F Word

While I don’t think anything can ever replace the satisfaction you get from telling someone to go fuck themselves, especially a bully, I do like the idea of this new trend to take action.

Friend Movement has launched a new groundbreaking anti-bullying campaign with the support of stars, activists, dancers and athletes.

Ronnie Kroell and Elliott London, along with co-creator Bianca Kosoy, have launched the campaign, titled “The New F Word,” which is “designed to empower individuals and inspire” everyone to “take action.”

Celebrities such as Tim Gunn, Adam Lambert, Frenchie Davis, Carmen Electra, LeAnn Rimes, Lance Bass, Aubrey O’Day and others have lent their faces — and their middle fingers — to the campaign, which features photographer Ryan Forbes capturing them giving bullies the bird.

I also think all anti bullying campaigns are important now more than ever with so much online bullying happening. It takes a while to build up a layer of skin thick enough to deal with online bullying, and a good deal of time before you can smile and say go fuck yourself to a bully. But things like this campaign make it a little easier for people who aren’t sure how to deal with bullies. In other words, they validate what other people have been thinking for a long time.

You can read more here.

Self-Publishing Tips

I’m linking to an article now that talks about a few interesting topics when it comes to self-publishing. There’s the international factor, learning to be retail specific, and branding. I don’t remember where I found it, but there is some good info. On the other hand, it’s also a good example of why things like BEA can be a waste of time for many authors. Everyone’s talking about branding and no one’s actually saying anything.

The problem I always find with things like this about self-publishing and events like BEA is that even though they make sense and they might work for some people, they are coming from the POV of people who don’t always have the hands on experience. As a result a lot of people who attend events like BEA for the exposure wind up sounding extremely knowledgeable…only they are basically smiling and saying blah, blah, blah without knowing anything about indie publishing from personal experience.

Some of the most crucial meetings at BEA aren’t those where you pitch new business, but the opportunities where you build existing relationships; particularly with retailers. It’s a BEA tradition of ours – and many publishers – to sit down with the account managers at our retail partners. We update them on our plans for the coming year and they tell us about their latest technology developments and sales recommendations. Frequently, these meetings offer tantalizing glimpses into new features and storefront and device capabilities. Here are three of the biggest takeaways for authors that we noticed from this year’s meetings with Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samsung and others at BEA.
In spite of the fact that I’ve never met anyone who came away from a conference like BEA and said, “This changed my life,” I do think the article is good for people who don’t know anything about e-books or self-publishing. Just yesterday I saw a woman on a comment thread who said, “My mother-in-law thinks I should write an e-book. I’m already writing three other books and I don’t have time to write an e-book.” My first thought was she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, because an e-book is a book…and why aren’t her other three books being released in digital format, too? Sounds like she needs to listen more to her mother-in-law if you ask me.

E-Book BEA Debate; Michael Douglas on Oral Sex; New Fight Against AIDS

E-Book BEA Debate

When I post about this topic now, I start to feel as if I’m living in an altered universe sometimes. And yet this article from PW talks about e-books as if they were just invented.

In a question from the audience, Ed Conklin, buyer at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara, Calif., said, “I’m not real interested in e-books.” That’s because there’s no way for a customer to buy an e-book in his store. In a follow-up question, Emily Pullen, manager of Word Books in Brooklyn, N.Y., pointed out how little money booksellers make on e-book sales. “If I sold an e-book to every customer who came in my store, I’d be out of business in a week.” To which Friedman responded that e-book pricing is going to level out at higher than $2.99.

While I do often think that e-books are either too expensive or too inexpensive to be realistic, and I would like to see publishers focus more on fair pricing, I can’t help but always take into consideration the near future. And when I say the near future I mean watch kids in grade school, or even in middle school and high school. The tech devices they own would most likely turn someone like Ed Conklin from Chaucer’s Books upside down. If past is prologue, and if history does repeat itself, than all these debates are absolutely pointless.

I saw an interesting TV commercial last evening. I forget what the commercial was about in detail, but at the end there was a young woman holding a record in her hands and she says, “I know what these are. I read about them in books.” The main focus was that records are obsolete, and most kids don’t even know what they are. Frankly, I don’t even know what records are because my generation had cassette tapes and CDs. I never had a record collection. My mom and dad owned records. But the underlying irony in that commercial is that in the real world the odds are that the young woman either read about old fashioned records online somewhere, or she read about them in an e-book. And whoever put that ad together didn’t even realize they were being ironic.

Michael Douglas on Oral Sex

Update: Here’s a link that will lead you to a web site that talks in depth about HPV. There’s also a vaccine available, which I didn’t know about.

Actor Michael Douglas talked openly about his ordeal with throat cancer and the kind of cancer it was. According to this article, it wasn’t caused by smoking or alcohol. It was caused by engaging in oral sex. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this. It’s actually more common than most people know.

 In a candid new interview with U.K.’s The Guardian, Douglas admits that his illness was caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

“Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus,” the “Behind the Candelabra” star, 68, explains.

For those who haven’t heard about this, it’s an interesting article with more links.

New Fight Against AIDS

This comes from Lambda Legal.

As the nation marks the opening of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, executive directors from 35 LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations from across the United States have released a joint letter committing themselves and their organizations to re-engaging the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV. While issues like marriage equality and employment protections for LGBT workers have taken center stage, HIV continues to ravage the LGBT community. Despite making up just two percent of the population, gay and bisexual men accounted for more than 63 percent of new HIV infections in 2010. In fact, gay men are the only group in which HIV infections are increasing.

With all the information out there, the numbers in gay men getting HIV should be declining, and yet that’s not the case. I’ve read that a lot of younger gay men hear that HIV is a chronic disease and there are now medications that can keep them alive so they don’t think they have to be as careful anymore. This is true about HIV in a general sense. Those with HIV don’t get a death sentence anymore. It is treated as a chronic disease.

But that’s not the bottom line, not by any means. The HIV meds have side effects that you may not see for years to come. These side effects can appear in a variety of ways. And none of them are pleasant. I know this first hand because I’ve been acting POA for a friend who is HIV+ and I often go to his doctor’s appointments with him at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The other factor is the cost of HIV meds. They run into thousands of dollars each month and if you think Obamacare is going to help you you’d better start reading more. The fact is that if you don’t have a great medical insurance plan you’re going to have to figure out a way to get those meds and it’s not going to be simple.

This is the goal. I think it’s realistic if everyone takes the time to read this information.

“The LGBT community always has been at the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic. As the community most impacted in the nation, we are the ones who must step-up and recommit to ending future transmissions. To have a new generation of LGBT young people grow up free from HIV and AIDS will be a fitting legacy to those we have lost to this disease.”

I also think it’s time we took the stigma away from AIDS. Michael Douglas talked about his ordeal with cancer and oral sex in the above article without a hint of shame. We need to be able to do the same thing with HIV as gay men.

BEA: Randi Zuckerberg’s Book Deal; Big Books of the Show

One of the topics of discussion at BEA this year was Randi Zuckerberg’s book deal with HarperCollins. She’s the sister of facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

When Randi Zuckerberg decided to become a writer, she didn’t shy away from the challenge. She signed to do not one but two books with HarperCollins—Dot, a picture book for children with illustrations by Joe Berger, and Dot Complicated, a nonfiction book for adults. Both are set for a November 5 release.

“It’s like I decided to run a marathon before I ran my first 10k,” Zuckerberg says. She didn’t plan on being a debut author twice over, at least not at first.
I don’t think that time frame is all that bad. But for a first time writer I can see how it could be a little intimidating. She may or may not realize this, but she’s on the right track. And kudos to HarperCollins for setting this deadline and getting this book out just in time for the holidays. A few years back there would have been a year or more release date. Someone at HarperCollins is doing their job well, and it sounds like summer Fridays in trad publishing might be nearing an end. There used to be this saying that publishing is the slowest industry in the world, but I don’t think that’s realistic now.
From the way it sounds both books will revolve around kids, parents, and dealing with social media in a family setting. She’s even launched a web site, here.
For our society, it’s like the wild, wild west – social norms and etiquette are changing constantly as we get used to life with smartphones, 24/7 access to one another, and more emails than one person could ever humanly respond to.
I’ve been comparing the Internet to the wild, wild west for a long time. I wrote this post in September of 2012. I just hope she gets into some of the more serious issues, like sockpuppetry, catfishing, and doc dropping. Or how do we handle an online attack from someone who is mentally unbalanced, but not everyone knows this? And what about the legal ramifications? Defamation? These are the things we’re dealing with all the time online (kids included) and no one ever seems to address them…unless it’s a politician who has experienced some sort of online personal attack that opens his or her eyes for the first time, or something very serious happens. I’ve signed up for the newsletter, so it should be interesting to see how she approaches this. I’ll be posting more in the future.
Big Books of the Show
Here’s a link to some of the big books coming out. This one looks interesting.
Martha Grimes has a nonfiction account of mother-son alcoholism, written with her son, Ken Grimes, Double Double (Scribner).

BEA 2013: Macmillan CEO Says Eric Holder is Incompetent

In a provocative session at BEA 2013, Macmillan CEO John Sargent thinks Eric Holder and the DOJ are incompetent. Here’s the reason why. I’m not going into that now, but I did post about it previously. He also made a few comments about Amazon.

What Sargent did say about the pending DoJ suit is that Justice is “extraordinarily myopic. They carried the water for Amazon, when it had 92% of the market.” And, he said, they prevented others from coming into the market. “The senior guys, Eric Holder, are just incompetent,” he added, to resounding applause. As to the lasting effect of the DoJ case, Sargent said, “There’s no way to tell. I have a lot of hope. There are a lot of good signs about the movement to digital.” He’s been heartened that even with the increase in the number of screens, the growth of e-books is flat. “What is dangerous for us is cataclysmic change. You guys are superb at adapting. You need time to adjust. If it stays flat or declines slowly, we’re in good shape.”

While I have been following the Eric Holder debacle, and I’m not too thrilled with Holder now myself (far from it), I love when Sargent mentions that the growth of e-books “is flat.” I don’t know where he gets his info. But I’ve read a few different things.

Half the time I’m never certain what to believe anymore when it comes to e-book sales in a general sense, but according to the following article the rise in e-book sales seems to be 134% by 2012. This comes from the Publishers Association Yearbook, 2012.

If you check out the above link to my previous post on May 1 of this year I have a quote and another link to the original piece. I’m not saying Sargent is wrong or that he’s been misinformed, but I do think that depending on the source these days you’re going to get varying opinions on e-book sales that depend on personal agenda. And you’re left wondering who’s telling the truth.

I have no comment about the DOJ, Eric Holder, or Macmillan. And I’m not thrilled with one huge outlet controlling everything either. But I’m a competitive person and I like the concept of fight to survive. It sounds like Sargent thinks e-book sales are going to remain flat, and then decline slowly. I guess Amazon wasted all that money on the patent for digital resale? I know I’m not handing back my iPad any time soon to read print books. In fact, I purchased six new e-books this week because I’ve been running low on new titles. My personal library is stocked with affordable e-books all the time.

As to what Macmillan might be up to, Sargent said, “What people want is book-length works that tell a good story. So I don’t feel a need to put in film studios in the office, to invest tremendously in the enhanced e-book.” Nor does he have any plans to deliver data to glasses. And he affirmed his personal preference for print. “Call me old-fashioned. I prefer a book,” he said, to much applause. Sargent also spoke briefly about the ingrained culture of books in Germany, where Macmillan’s owners, the two shareholders he has to make happy, live.

Well. I thought an e-book was a book, too. I guess I was imagining things when I finished reading Anne Tyler’s last novel on my Kobo. As a side note, I also get a lot of e-mail from German readers who read digital only.

If I’d been in THAT crowd I would have been looking for a back way out of the room. I wonder if Sargent is still listening to records on his HiFi. You know, because that iTunes thing will never take off.

BEA 2013; Ethics for Reviewers; Digital Resale; Social Media and Booksellers

Each year people gather in NYC for BEA (Book Expo America) to check out all things related to book publishing. Here’s a condensed version of some of the things happening this year. I went once a long time ago, and found it interesting…in a good way. In this post I’m linking to articles about ethics for book reviewers, digital resale, and how publishers and booksellers should start hitting the social media trail like all their authors have been doing…especially small start up e-presses.

This week, BookExpo America (BEA) captures the attention of various facets of the industry including myriad conferences to bring together the variety of professionals who will descend on New York City to discuss books from every perspective.

More here.

Literary Ethics for Book Reviewers

This is something that would have fascinated me had I been there. Unfortunately, I have this sad feeling all the right people went and the wrong people missed it.

Valdes asked, “Are there any hard rules that we could put out there?” The panelists concurred that, despite Romano’s earlier sentiments against applying a universal code for reviewers, being honest about biases within a piece is fundamental, and that it’s vital to take a book on its own terms, not those desired by the critic. Sehgal and Romano added that a good critic never misrepresents an author’s argument or exaggerates the flaws in a text.

It’s a good piece about objectivity and disclosure…in part. I take the above paragraph to mean that if the reviewer is reviewing an erotic romance novel and he or she doesn’t like erotic romance as a rule, he or she should disclose this up front…or at least somewhere within the review. I’ve read more than a few bad book reviews for erotic romances and I’ve always appreciated when the reviewer makes this disclosure up front. This way I know where the reviewer is coming from, so to speak.

The part about a good reviewer never misrepresenting an author’s argument or exaggerating the flaws in a text can be slightly more ambiguous when it comes to popular online review sites. I agree with it in theory, but I could link to more than one book review where this didn’t happen. In fact, I could link to one professional review web site where they’ve not only exaggerated flaws in a text, but also exaggerated erotic scenes and situations to make authors of erotic romance look bad intentionally. But then I use the word professional very loosely with respect to the web site I’m referring to. The people on this panel at BEA, clearly, are professionals.

You can read more here.

Digital Resale

This gets complicated and I’m not even sure I fully get it right now. But it’s something I think we all should learn and follow as the concept of digital resale slowly gains more interest.

Despite a series of court rulings against the concept of digital first-sale rights, ReDigi’s Ossenmacher was on hand to continue to make the case for the practice. ReDigi—a firm that offers a digital resale market for music and is looking to add e-books—allows customers to sell their used digital files (and offers publishers a royalty on the sales), but the proceeds can only be used within the digital economy of ReDigi. Consumers cannot, say, resell old music files and use the money to buy a hamburger. Accordingly Ossenmacher made the case that ReDigi is helping the music business and will do the same for publishers. Indeed, Ossenmacher claims, “Our resellers sell, but they want to get new goods with the funds.” He even claims that “people are buying albums on ReDigi, because they know they can get their money back” after listening to the album. Ossenmacher says that a secondary market in e-books is what consumers want, “and when consumers win, everyone wins.”

This is basically the concept of used e-books. Amazon has expressed interest in this, too, and they now have a patent to do it. When it was first announced a few months ago I posted about it and how a lot of authors went berserk. It would even cover self-pubbed books. If someone who bought one of my self-pubbed books on Amazon wanted to sell it back to Amazon, then Amazon could put it up for resale and make money again on it. I don’t know if I would get anything from that resale. Of course if you have .99 e-books on Amazon, I don’t see how much cheaper Amazon can sell them…ten cents a dance, that’s all they pay me. This sounds more like something large publishers have to deal with at this point. But as I stated, I’m still a little confused about it myself.

You can read more here, but I think the post I wrote in the link above will help you understand it more. If anyone knows more about it, please feel free to comment.

Social Media Matters, Too

This article is interesting because it is focused on booksellers and how they should become more social and take advantage of social media outlets now more than ever before.

Moderator Kirsten Hess, director of events and marketing at R.J. Julia Booksellers, kicked off Wednesday afternoon’s panel acknowledging, “2-3 years ago, social media was not important enough to bring up in a business plan.” In 36 months, quite a lot changed, as social media accounted for the social portion of Being Social: Reaching Your Customers and Community. Deemed a 24 hour job, the panelists – including Twitter’s Andrew Fitzgerald and Ingram Group Content’s Amy Cox Williams – varied in their preferred method of social media. Unanimously, each agreed booksellers and authors should understand the viral forums before attempting to navigate them. The Booksmith’s Amy Stephenson noted, “Different platforms have different cultures. Learn the cultures first.” Fitzgerald, an obvious advocate of Twitter – and Vine – forums, said, “Twitter is a platform you can experiment with because it’s in real time. It gives booksellers the opportunity to interact and engage with customers in and out of the store.”

I’m going to take this even deeper and state that I think those who are running small e-presses should be actively involved in all avenues of social media now. You’re not too grand; you’re not above it. Authors do this routinely and it’s become a way of life for us. I happen to enjoy social media, so it’s never really a chore for me. I love the interaction, but there are limits to what I can do, where publishers can take things to another step. I have noticed that almost every single one of the small e-presses I work with have failed to figure out how to use social media in an effective way. And those small e-presses who have figured it out seem to be doing far better than those who don’t do social media.

In other words, get out there and work it a little. Your authors are doing their best to support and promote your books, and you should be doing the same thing. If you don’t, you’re short-changing your authors and your readers. I don’t want to know about your family outing or your vacation to the islands on facebook. I want to know all about your newest releases and all the fine and wonderful things you have planned for your readers.