July 19, 2007

Viva las Divas!

Book Divas, the Sinuate Media owned marketing website is announcing their upcoming author visits. Hobson Brown, Taylor Materne and Caroline Says, authors of the YA novel The Upper Class will be on hand for a week long blog tour and people will be able to discuss and anticipate their novel, which is being released the first of September of this year. Current guest author is the great E.Lockhart, on hand until July 23rd. Other guest authors have included Cecil Castelucci, David Levithan, and John Green.

While you might mistake this as just another publishing-linked marketing blog full of hot-author-of-the-bestseller-list interviews and such, I was pleased to see that Book Divas is a bit more. Sure, HarperCollins has signed on for three additional Author Visits for 2007, and they pay, of course, but ten percent of the proceeds from all author visits go towards Book Divas' 'Writing Star' scholarship fund! The scholarship fund will assist in sending one high school senior with the intent in majoring in Writing or English to college in the fall of 2008. Which is why the site also has great links to things like grammar help, book discussions, reviews and writing tips. Future English Major Divas, unite!

Ooh, had you heard about David Lassman, the director of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, who, as an experiment, took a mishmash of Austen chapters and passed them off as a book of his own work? He was shocked to find that most of the publishers to whom he sent the work didn't recognize Austen's voice - or some almost word-for-word theft of the first lines from Pride & Prejudice. (Oh, NEVER has such a case been made for people to read the book. Ignore Colin Firth. He's not the best bit.) "It's interesting that there are these filters that stop work getting through," said another British Austen specialist. "Clearly clerks and office staff are rejecting these manuscripts offhand."

I'm guessing that the expectation is that people are going to read this and blush with shame -- and I would agree -- for the Pride & Prejudice lines, at least, editors employed in a publishing office should feel at least a moment's chagrin. But 19th century literature as a whole has a distinctive voice and feel of... dense antiquity. I'm sure many people sat and tried to dash through those first few paragraphs and said, "Wait. I'm not hooked by the first three pages. What is this tripe?" The rules have simply changed - whether for better or for worse is another question, and unless all publishing company mail room personnel and editorial assistants are now required to be English majors with a specialization in 19th c. lit, and/or British & American Literature as I was, and not, maybe, people just in need of work, or even marketing majors (which seems to largely be the trend), the shame-on-you finger-shaking here seems a bit... off. Thoughts?

Oh, hm. Apparently the New York Times has erred in treating the Deathly Hallows as just another book and have reviewed it before its release. Note: the SECOND link which includes the word 'reviewed' goes to that, if you don't want to read about the book until you read the book: Don't. Click. It. Though JK Rowling is apparently stormily displeased, most people can make the decision: to read or not to read. And look! The sky is still blue. (!)

As readers kick around the idea of what to do after the PotterPallooza, NPR has come up with a few suggestions. I'm sure there are others -- I have heard tantalizing things about The Spellbook of Listen Taylor and quite a few new things to which I am looking forward. What's on your 'Gotta have it' TBR stack?

When MotherReader does something, she does it WHOLEheartedly. We had a 'Tell an Author/Illustrator You Care' DAY, and she's managed to bring the love for a full week. That's totally one of my fave things about her. (She calls it an obsessive personality thing -- I say, "Nah!") Over at the site, she's had a lot of love over the past few days, and has ended with an author interview with Caroline Hickey, and a contest to get a copy of the fabulous sounding book, Cassie Was Here. Go on over and find out how to get in the running!

And now, back to work: two more chapters of the expansion/revision and then... weeks of packing. Incidentally, if any of you know what to do on a six hour layover in Chicago at Union Station between four and ten p.m., let me know some ideas!)


David T. Macknet said...

In the educational world, they have software to examine papers for plagiarism. If only publishers were in the electronic age, though, and would require (or even accept) ELECTRONIC COPIES of works, then they'd not run into issues of plagiarism. Wasn't there some chick lit author who ran into that, and had to, like, pay back a huge sum of money?

You wrote about it here and here. Heck, Mark Morford, of the S.F. Chronicle, wrote about it Here. It was a Big Thing. No changes in the publishing world, though, huh? Still back in the stone age, wanting things wrapped in peculiar packaging, sent via USPS, not UPS. Bah. Dinosaurs.

MotherReader said...

Aw, thanks for the mention. I'd love your Contest Alert thing to use today, but I can't figure out how to change the font size or color. Would you mind clueing me in?