How, you may ask, does that work? According to the NY Times:
"Media Predict is soliciting book proposals from agents and the public, and posting pages of them on the site. Traders, who are given $5,000 in fantasy cash, can buy shares based on their guess about whether a particular book proposal is likely to get a deal, or whether Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will select it as a finalist in a contest called Project Publish. If either happens within a four-month period, the value of the shares go to $100 apiece; if not, the share price falls to zero."Yeah. I'm sort of horrified, to be honest. (Sort of? Let's try really horrified.) It's not enough that writers have to jump through untold hoops to get published at all (Oh, no, I used colored stationery and festive stamps on my query letter. It will get rejected in the mail room, no editor will ever see it!!), now it seems at Simon & Schuster, anyway, that American Idol has become a mindset in which people other than publishing professionals are... betting on my success or failure? Um, hello...? And people are upset with bloggers for daring to express opinions on books!?
I think I like the model - clunky and outdated though it might be - of editors reading book proposals and trying to base their decisions on their own opinions. It's not foolproof by any means, and it's based just as much on editorial quirk as true merit, which is hard to divine in any case, but it's better than the idea of a popularity contest. Even in middle school, I never won any of those...
Besides wishing I were a comic book artist, I've also occasionally wished that I were a sculptor, which is why I am endlessly fascinated with the creative use of books -- not only are books great as time machines and transport vehicles to spirit you away, they also make good...
clocks. And apparently also birdhouses.
You'll be glad to note than I am going garage sale scrounging for books to turn into some ...thing. A la This Into That, my project is going to be wildly creative and beautiful, will speak volumes (heh) to the world of art and literature, and will leave intellectuals breathless.
Of course, the greater likelihood is that I am going to be the proud owner of a bunch of really old books, but what the hey, huh?
I am still trying to wrap my head around recent news reports. Words fail. For insightful commentary, visit Colleen and CK's blogs.