Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Author Barry Hannah RIP

I had the good fortune of meeting Barry Hannah a few times when he was teaching at Clemson University. I then managed to get a signed copy of his first novel Geronimo Rex, which he had just published. He was a Faulkner-styled Southern Gothic writer with quite a gift for short fiction. Geronimo Rex was a National Book Award nominee and William Faulkner Prize winner; his short fiction collections netted him the PEN/Malamud Award.

Here is an oft-quoted bit from the 1972 New York Times review of Geronimo Rex, the review written by writer Jim Harrison of Legends of the Fall fame. Harrison said that Hannah was a writer

“brilliantly drunk with words [who] could at gunpoint write a life story of a telephone pole.”

This quote was in each of several articles I read about Barry Hannah's death, including the excellent one in Vanity Fair. Hannah struggled with cancer and drinking, the former one finally winning.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

SFWA Weighs In On Amazon-Macmillan Battle

FFO covered the Amazon-Macmillan distribution battle. At issue is the price that Amazon wants to charge for eBook versions of new publications. Amazon wanted to charge $9.99. Macmillan thought that was too low. This precipitated a battle in which a new sales model was invoked by Macmillan and "Buy" buttons for Macmillan volumes on Amazon were yanked.

Here are the issues:

  • Macmillan thought the eBook price was predatory and would hurt their print book business.
  • Amazon sees eBooks as a loss leader to drive traffic.
  • Authors want to sell their books and make a living.
  • Buyers want cheap books.

That's not a simple set of issues to solve to everyone's satisfaction. Now, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA.org) has considered the issues (with their members' best interests in mind, presumably) and weighed in on the Amazon-Macmillan battle, supporting Macmillan's case through appeal and through the replacement of Amazon.com links on SFWA's website for their members' books with links to other vendors.

The issues listed above are represented in the many public comments attending SWFA's article.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger RIP

There is probably nothing written about J.D. Salinger the does not mention The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger has died at 91 of natural causes. His one book even gets top billing in this Washington Post obituary, entitled, 'Catcher' author J.D. Salinger dies.

Salinger has been in the news lately with his lawsuits to prevent the publication of a sequel to Catcher, and a biography. He also shunned some big-gun producers for movie rights to Catcher.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Robert B. Parker, RIP

Robert B. Parker, prolific American crime writer, has died at the age of 77. He has published about 60 books and has two in the pipeline with publishers. He is perhaps most notable for this Spenser-series of books which inspired a television crime/detective series. Here is Robert B. Parker's personal web site.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

K.C. Ball Approved as an SFWA Member

I usually think good thoughts toward anyone who receives professional recognition from the SFWA, but K.C. Ball's was special because her third qualifying sale is At Both Ends, which we published here in June. Congratulations, K.C.!

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E-Book Backlist Publishing Rights and Challenges

Who owns e-book publishing rights to older backlist books, the author (or author's estate) or the first publisher? Here are two articles about this topic and a third article on challenges to e-book publishing.

In this NYT article, author William Styrom's family is asserting their e-book publishing rights to his books (Sophie's Choice and others). Similar battles are ongoing for Joseph Heller's Catch 22 and for many other authors. Styrom's family believes they retain the rights since the books were published prior to the onset of e-book publishing. In this PW article, Styrom's publisher, Random House, disagrees. Random House chairman Markus Dohle's letter to agents states that Random House

...believes the “vast majority” of its backlist contracts “grant us the right to publish books in electronic formats,” while older agreements “often give us the exclusive right to publish ‘in book form’ or ‘in any and all editions.’

In a related article, Stephen's Lighthouse blog gives ten challenges for e-books, including price, perceived poor quality, a lack of richness and others.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

SF Author Interviews and Essays

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Free Download: Shimmer #10

You've gotta love Shimmer. No, really, you do. It's a law.

To help you avoid violating the social contracts you signed as an embryo, Beth and the Shimmery People are giving away issue #10 as a free PDF download.

The magazine is run by a great team. We published Editor-in-Chief Beth Wodzinski's The Human Clockwork in our second issue, and Shimmer's Art Director Emeritus, Mary Robinette Kowal, was nominated for a Hugo and is the secretary of the SFWA. Other members of the crew have sold to Analog and IGMS or won the Writers of the Future contest. These are seriously good people dedicated to a great small press magazine of dark-ish speculative fiction.

Here's the line-up for issue 10:

Blue Joe, by Stephanie Burgis
The Carnivale of Abandoned Tales, by Caitlyn Paxson
A Painter, A Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor, by Nir Yaniv (Translated from the Hebrew by Lavie Tidhar)
One for Sorrow, by Shweta Narayan
The Bride Price, by Richard S. Crawford
Jaguar Woman, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Firefly Igloo, by Caroline M. Yoachim
The Fox and the King’s Beard, by Jessica Paige Wick
Interview with Cory Doctorow, by Jen West
River Water, by Becca De La Rosa
What to Do with the Dead, by Claude Lalumière
The Spoils of Springfield, by Alex Wilson
Counting Down to the End of the Universe, by Sara Genge

Good stuff. Go get it!

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Claim Your Author Page Now at FiledBy

FiledBy has a new web site service for authors. The name suggests a linkedn sort of service but it seems more Facebook-ish. They've preloaded it with published authors through data-mining, mostly. So if you are an American or Canadian published author, you might already have a page that you can claim somehow and correct/improve. (This seems nightmare-ish to me, verifying that someone claiming the web page is the actual author and not some digital vandal.)

Otherwise, unwashed authors can create a new page. There are free and premium services, of course. Their About page seems to be the only source of information and is useless, but this business-venture article from Nashville where the service began has more information. There is a bit about it on Publishers Weekly, too.

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