The Book Biz
Simon & Schuster will become the first major publishing company to dive into the booming self-publishing market, the Times reports.
Self-publishing has promised a lucrative future for book publishing, even as it seemed like the last resort for authors who have not been able to go through the traditional book publishing industry.
Ready for the National Book Awards aka just the Oscar’s of the publishing world. Have you read everything? Do you have well formed opinions that you can eloquently defend about what should and shouldn’t win?
Of course not. We all have busy lives. It’s hard to read everything–reading takes time. Or maybe you have read all the nominated books (in which case, great, but stop showing off) but still need a reminder because you read some of those books so very long ago.
Lines in the Sand
In the wake of the General Petraeus scandal–after he resigned as the director of the CIA because he had an affair with his biographer–The New York Times looks at the uniquely award relationship between scribe and subject. So, how close is too close?
Well, it’s a complex question. On the one hand, the biographers needs to establish trust and build a relationship. On the other hand, there needs to be journalistic distance so that the biographer can still be free to stab a knife in the back of the subject–or at least point out some flaws.
Last month, The Observer reported on the fire sale of short-prose author Tao Lin’s personal affects. Everything must go! And hey, we even helped him raise some money. Some of us may have even bought an “assorted collection of books” for $50, and then waited with increasingly doubt over its arrival.
But last night, we were rewarded for financial supporting the cause of making sure Mr. Lin’s Luna Bar supply was fully stocked. Why ever settle for an NPR tote bag when you could get this for your donation?
The Literary Life
The twenty finalists for the National Book Awards were announced this morning. Each finalist gets $1,000, a plaque and a burst for their book cover. The awards, given by the National Book Foundation in mid-November, are in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature.
Many of the finalists are not new to the literary prize circuit. Two recipients of the MacArthur “Genius” grant made the cut, as did five Pulitzer Prize winners, one National Book Award winner, three previous finalists and a recipient of a National Book Foundation lifetime achievement award.
Post-wunderkind New York literary staple Tao Lin has either spent or not received the majority of the $50,000 he was to receive from for Vintage/Knopf for his book Taipei, the Bret Easton Ellis-meets-Siddhartha novel that is due to the publisher any day now. And if you’ve been keeping track, the author has not been cut a check by Sarah Lawrence either, where he teaches classes on the contemporary short story. (No word yet on how much Vice is paying him to make Photoshops of drug-related imagery.)
This has left Mr. Lin broke and, for at least the second time in his career, desperate enough to sell all of his possessions. While the first round of self fund-raising in 2011 involved a Vimeo showcase of his eBay items, this weekend’s cry for cash was limited to a now-deleted tweet and a correspondence with The Observer over what he’s willing to part with.
Whenever we go home for high school reunions or run into college friends at bars, they always ask the same question: What’s it like working for one of the most prestigious salmon-colored newspapers in New York City, the media capital of the world? And it’s like, they don’t even know that it’s not all that glamorous: half the time when we’re not at movie premieres flirting with Jon Hamm or taking yet another lunch at Michael’s, we’re looking at random videos on the internet, the same as everyone else.
That’s how we stumbled on this trailer for Harris Wittels’s Humblebrag book, based on his addictive Twitter.
Notes From The Underground
The lights dimmed and mood music began to play as Salman Rushdie walked to the stage at PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo the other night as part of a week of events to launch his new memoir, Joseph Anton.
The title of the book is the pseudonym that Mr. Rushdie used while he was in hiding after Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling for the author’s death following the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1989. The book, which is written in the third person, focuses mostly on the period when Mr. Rushdie was in hiding before the fatwa was lifted in 2002.
Mr. Rushdie stood at the microphone in a slightly baggy, somewhat wrinkled gray suit and a blue shirt unbuttoned at the neck.
Last night, legendary Knopf editor Ashbel Green died while at dinner with his wife, Elizabeth Osha, and friends near their Stonington, Conn., home. He was 84.
Mr. Green, who was known as “Ash,” started working at the publishing house in 1964 and went on to edit over 500 books by a stable of well-known authors, political figures and journalists such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Vaclav Havel, George H.W. Bush and Walter Cronkite.
To many in the publishing world, Mr. Green was one of the last of the old-style gentleman editors.
“You could hear his typewriter from anywhere on the floor,” said Paul Bogaards, director of publicity at Knopf. “He was a classic editor with a red pencil.”
“He was an editor’s editor,” said Knopf editor Gary Fisketjon. “Those kind of people are rare in any generation.
In last week’s installment of her Vice column, “Amphetamine Logic,” Wild child blogger Cat Marnell announced that her time at the hipster web mag was coming to an end.
“I’m writing my last columns,” Cat Marnell explained when we reached her late Friday afternoon .“I almost feel addicted to them, like I could go on forever.”
However, Ms. Marnell, who celebrated her 30th birthday earlier this week, is ready for her next venture. She said she has become a perfectionist. “I’ve just got to do it right. When you are writing weird, it’s make it good or go home, you know?” Ms. Marnell noted she scrapped this week’s column because she wasn’t happy with it and missed her deadline.
“I miss my deadlines all the time, and my editor just has to deal with me like Jane did.” Ms. Marnell was the Beauty Editor at xoJane.com until June. Ms. Marnell said she still talks to Jane Pratt all the time, and they plan to have dinner soon.
“I love her, she’s the great love of my life,” Ms. Marnell said of her erstwhile mentor.