Category: BEA 2014

BEA 2014; Futuristic Condoms; Maya Angelou Sex Work History

BEA 2014

This article states that floor traffic has been heavy at BEA 2014, and it’s the most active, the most popular, and the best BEA ever to hit the face of the planet. I almost expected to read that a choir of literary agents stood up and sang Let It Go. This information also comes from the VP of Publishing Strategy at St. Martin’s Press. I’ve heard other versions.

The one thing that remains consistent from everything I’ve read and everything I hear from people at BEA this year is the Amazon-Hachette dispute is a big part of conversation. James Patterson offered a few interesting words:

When Patterson was announced for the award, he received a standing ovation for the support he has shown independents with his million-dollar grants. A second ovation at the end of his talk came for his remarks, which opened with, “Hi, I’m Jeff Bezos.” He added, “All we can ask of people is that they try to do the right thing, the best thing.”
 
But according to Patterson, it also means taking a stand. “There is an evolution, revolution going on and it affects everybody,” he noted. “Every publisher is feeling a great deal of pain and stress. I’d like the press to think about this: publishers are not terribly profitable.” If publishers don’t make money, he said, they won’t be able to support good literature.
 
Once again, Amazon must be doing something right. I’m still rooting for publishers. I really am. I just wish that kind of thinking would go away. Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been slamming Bezos with snark and telling us something we already know. Jobs would have been eating him for breakfast.
 
You can read more here.
 
Actually, I’ve been doing searches for interesting things to share about BEA 2014. I’ve asked people I know who are there to let me know if anything interesting happens. But since nothing earth shattering seems to be happening at the biggest publishing event of the year and at the most exciting time in the history of publishing, I won’t bore readers anymore with future posts about BEA until next year.
 
You would think just one publisher, just one, would grand stand in at least one hugely significant way with a major announcement that really means something to readers and authors. Something about the future of publishing that would rock everyone sideways. Like maybe lowering the prices of digital books because they literally cost a fraction to produce compared to print books.
 
Futuristic Condoms
 
At least someone is worrying about the future, the future of penis caps that is. There’s a guy who invented a new scaled down version of the condom that he thinks will improve sex. It’s a cap for the tip (head) of the penis. I’m not sure if it comes in different sizes, though.
 

California native Charlie Powell claims to have invented a new kind of condom that he is calling the “Galactic Cap.” Instead of a latex sheath covering the full length of the penis, Powell’s condom encases only the tip. That way, semen is trapped without dulling sexual sensation, according to Powell.

Just one problem: It may not be as good as conventional condoms at stoping STIs.

This invention was spawned through a competition sponsored by Bill Gates and his wife. But the guy didn’t win any funding from Gates and now he’s turning to crowdfunding at indiegogo. Of course I have about a million questions about this penis cap. But I’ll refrain for now.

There’s more here, with a video and a more in-depth explanation of how the penis cap is actually used. It’s very well presented and interesting.

The comment thread is a real gem this time.

Maya Angelou Sex Work History

Ever since news broke about the death of Maya Angelou there have been hashtags, articles, and so many things trending it’s hard to keep up with them. But according to this next article no one has bothered to mention that Maya Angelou was a sex worker. It is by no means a negative article, and it in no way, shape, or form judges or slams Angelou. If anything, it supports what Angelou spoke about openly.

We can, once again, boil it down to respectability politics and stigma. I am angry about it. I find myself ruminating, considering, wondering: If her work had been talked about as much as her dancing with James Baldwin or even her considerable, commanding and lovely height of six feet, what would the sex work community look like today? If we had talked about her wonderful compassion for sex workers, how she never looked down on them, and her refusal to be intimidated by invasive and obnoxious questioning about her sex working past, what would sex workers around the world be saying today in memory of her life?

There’s even a quote about this from Maya Angelou. Angelou spoke about her past openly and never hid it from anyone.

It’s a good article about respectability politics and how the facts are often distorted in one way or another after someone dies. 

There’s more here.





 

 
 

Gay Marriage Continues; BEA 2014

Gay Marriage Continues

I think this is one of the best articles I’ve read that talks about how gay marriage is gaining strength everywhere thanks to last June’s SCOTUS ruling.

“With each one, it becomes harder for states to argue that these bans should be upheld, and it becomes harder for courts to uphold them,” says Camilla Taylor, marriage project director at Lambda Legal, one of several gay rights groups juggling multiple court cases. “No court wants to be the one court that got it wrong and upheld the discrimination.”

It becomes a legal issue, not a religious or moral issue, which is exactly what it should be.

You can read more here.

This comment is interesting:

“The test of success is not whether you win every single ruling in every single court,” says Evan Wolfson, who launched the advocacy group Freedom to Marry in 2003. “The test is whether you have the right answers, whether you have a critical mass of victories and whether you are conveying to the judges and justices that the country is ready.”

BEA 2014

Here are a few links for what’s happening at this year’s BEA (Book Expo America) in New York. This one is about debuts and breakouts. It also talks about advances, which many authors have been wondering about for the past few years.

One title where the advance became an early story is Matthew Thomas’s We Are Not Ourselves. Simon & Schuster’s Marysue Rucci plugged the debut novel, which she had acquired for a rumored seven figures at the 2013 London Book Fair, on the panel. While Rucci did discuss the author’s appealing rags-to-riches backstory—he worked on the novel for a decade and was living in a one bedroom apartment with his wife and twins when he sold the book in a splashy deal—she focused on the work itself. Calling the novel, about three generations of an Irish American family, “transcendent” and “one of the most beautiful and moving” books she has “ever read.”

It’s hard to comment on that without reading the book. But seven figures? And frankly, most writers have rags-to-riches stories, at least most of the writers I know do. I wish I could get more excited about this.

This next article is a little odd, too. There’s this guy who comes from old money who decided to live like the common folk live. I guess because he was tired of money and he wanted to struggle like everyone else…like those who don’t have the choice?

He tells Show Daily: “I wanted to write a comedy about money. I think it’s one of the few taboos left, and it’s an important subject. The decisions people make about money are really philosophical choices that affect lots of things.”

He traveled the world, went from terrible job to job, and returned to write a book about private clubs. He took a sabbatical from old money…I guess.  He allegedly writes about the private clubs of the most elite where they don’t even talk about money openly. I guess he’s trying to market this to those who don’t have mortgages, and those who don’t have to deal with finding affordable health insurance?

In any event, this is what he plans to do at BEA:

“As for Book Expo, I intend to eat up the whole place.”

No comment. It might be the best book ever written, or that ever will be written. I just hope he’s figured out a way to “eat up” the vipers on Amazon and Goodreads.

Now this article talks about something interesting for a change. I’ve mentioned my brother (the gay one) who lives in New York and in this building, which is only blocks from the Javits Center where BEA is held. The article talks about the High Line, which isn’t far from the Javits Center. I was there a few times recently with Tony and my brother and loved it. The photo above was taken by me and the high line is not far from there.

Step outdoors and you’ll see a massive construction project unfolding in the new district known as Hudson Yards. It embraces 360 acres, stretching north to 43rd Street and extending from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River, but its beating heart is the rail yards that wrap around the northern end of the High Line. Michael Bloomberg called this patch of real estate, which is twice as big as Rockefeller Center, Manhattan’s “last frontier.”

 And, of course, here’s a BEA related article about those big old meanies, Amazon. It mentions the recent issues between Hachette and Amazon, and questions whether or not anyone will ever be able to compete with Amazon.

Research conducted in March by the Codex Group found that in the month Amazon’s share of new book unit purchases was 41%, dominating 65% of all online new book units, print and digital. The company achieved that percentage by not only being the largest channel for e-books, where it had a 67% market share in March, but also by having a commanding slice of the sale of print books online, where its share in March was estimated at 64%.

It’s hard to comment on it because Amazon must be doing something right. I truly wish big publishers would get their acts together and stop looking so backward and antiquated.

This last piece I’m linking to about BEA talks about two panels that discuss YA and Middle Grade books.

Ehrenhaft will share his enthusiasm for a debut novel by an author who has often been in a different spotlight. A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and a multi-Grammy winner, Cynthia Weil has written (along with Barry Mann, her writing partner and husband) such classic songs as “On Broadway,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” Set in 1963 Manhattan, her novel, I’m Glad I Did, tells of a young songwriter who must untangle a sinister web of hidden identities and dark secrets surrounding a legendary former nightclub singer.

Some of the titles look very interesting. I’m actually a huge fan of reading YA and Middle Grade crossovers. YA author Michael Northrope is one of my favorite authors. I’ve also read Nathan Bransford’s first Middle Grade book and loved it because of the writing. The problem now is that there’s so much competition out there with indie authors who are absolutely relentless in their quest to sell books. It’s become a vicious nightmare for the honest author who is only trying to get his or her book our there to readers. I’ve seen some of these indie vipers and what they are capable of, and this also includes many authors with some of these sleazy start up digital presses who have a cult-like appeal. I’ve seen them tell their readers they have cancer and two days later claim is was all a huge mistake. Praise the Lord I’ve Had a Miracle! And the readers believe them…they do, indeed actually buy all of it. I’ve seen them flock together and work their readers to the point where I often wonder if what they do is legal.

At first I used to think that these bottom feeder indie authors would just disappear eventually. And actually most of them do vanish in time. But the problem is that when the old vipers disappear a whole new breed of aggressive snakes take their place it the cycle starts all over again.

I really feel for the new honest author out there…indie or trad pubbed…who has to learn how to deal with the ethical decisions that come up almost daily with book promotion. But even more important, I worry that we’re losing a lot of good authors because they just don’t want to deal with the subterfuge anymore.


PW Self-Publishing; Porneia; "Taint" NOT Taint

PW Self-Publishing

It seems that Publishers Weekly is now getting into the self-publishing forum. It’s a collaboration with another tech firm that has a more complicated name that no one really needs to know to live a happy life. The new self-publishing site will be called BookLife. And, of course, it will go live at BEA (Book Expo America) in a quasi dramatic move that completely ignores the fact that self-publishing isn’t all that new anymore…as you can see from the last part of this post about bestsellers.

As a blogger I follow a lot of these things and this is one I normally wouldn’t even bother publishing because there’s so little about it yet. And frankly, I’m not fond of the things I’m reading.

BookLife, which will go live on May 29, 2014 at BookExpo America, will focus on three main subject areas: book creation which includes editing and cover design; publishing which is all about the physical manufacturing of a book; and book marketing, which will include information on distribution, publicity and sales.

“Self-published books and authors are having more and more impact on readers and the publishing industry,” stated Carl Pritzkat, the president of BookLife and VP of business development for PWxyz LLC.

First, there’s no mention at all about e-books. And while I’m sure there are some indie authors out there doing something with physical print books, from what I read and hear the majority who are doing the best are all finding their sales through digital publishing.

Second, it’s not inexpensive to self-publish a print book. It is in expensive to indie publish an e-book.

Third, the book marketing thing is way too ambiguous for me, especially since so many brick and mortar bookshops are shuttering their doors because they can’t compete with online retailers anymore…not to mention the fact that so many indie authors have already cornered the market, so to speak, with book promotion in many ways that often fall short of being duplicitous.

Indie authors have been having an impact on readers for a while now, especially in genre fiction. So I honestly don’t know why this is supposed to get us all excited, and I think it’s a good reason why I hear so many negatives about BEA off the record, from industry professionals.

In any event, here’s the link. There’s also a link to the PW site for indie authors.

I’m not against anything new that’s going to help indie authors. But I would just like to see one company complete against the leading vultures in a more pragmatic way.

I’ll follow up on this after the site is launched. My biggest question is how much will this baby cost indie authors.

Porneia

I learned a new word and thought I would pass it along. Once again, you’ll live a happy life without knowing it, but I thought it was interesting from a purely technical POV as an erotic romance writer.

Porneia is a word about which not everyone agrees. But it is sexual in nature. Here are a few basic definitions.

From wiki, which is really the definition of fornication. I was redirected there from porneia:

Fornication is generally consensual sexual intercourse between two people not married to each other.[1][2] For many people, the term carries an overtone of moral or religious disapproval, but the significance of sexual acts to which the term is applied varies between religions, societies and cultures. The definition is often disputed. In modern usage, the term is often replaced with a more judgment-neutral term like extramarital sex.

From Urban Dictionary, my go to source for most of these terms:

Porneia is sexual behaviour that is thought to be ‘wrong’, ‘bad’.

Porneia -Noun pawnia The discourse of manipulation of reproductive organs ,in a natural or perverted way, via hands, mouth, anus or any bodily extremity by said person or an accomplice.

Taint NOT Taint

I’m not talking about the “taint” area now. I’m talking about a new self-published bestseller I read about over at GalleyCat that’s titled, Taint. I once got slammed a little for stating on a comment forum that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using the taint area in an erotic romance. Other authors preferred a more technical term. I don’t do it often. In fact, maybe just once in over 100 books and stories. But I like knowing that I can without judgment.

This is the definition of “taint” as many of us already know it. For those who don’t, here’s the Urban Dictionary definition…I’m linking so you don’t think I make this stuff up.

The area between the nutsack and asshole that prevent a man from shitting on his nuts. See durf.

UD has such a way with words.

In any event, “Taint” is now extremely popular with readers…the book, not the body part. This is from the Amazon list of self-published bestsellers this week:

1. Taint by S.L. Jennings: “If you enrolled yourself in this program then you are wholly aware that you’re a lousy lay. Good for you. Admitting it is half the battle. For those of you that have been sent here by your husband or significant other, dry your tears and get over it. You’ve been given a gift, ladies. The gift of mind-blowing, wall-climbing, multiple-orgasm-inducing sex. You have the opportunity to f*ck like a porn star. And I guarantee, you will when I’m done with you.”

Well, there you are.

You can read more about Taint (the book) here.

I feel a short story coming on now.