“'People have forgotten this truth', the fox said. 'But you musn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed. You're responsible for your rose.'”—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (via bookmania)
“I understand that it is advisable, nay, vital that your knees never touch each other. If you have managed to obtain a seat on the subway, somehow persevering against the swarms of greedy, seat-grubbing women of the pregnant and elderly varieties, then I know how important it is that your knees be as far apart as possible. I am sure that there are numerous studies that demonstrate the connection between touching your knees together and an elevated risk of stroke, heart disease, testicular cancer, and feminism.”—
I remember Michigan fondly as the place I go to be in Michigan. The right hand of America waving from maps or the left pressing into clay a mold to take home from kindergarten to Mother. I lived in Michigan forty-three years. The state bird is a chained factory gate. The state flower is Lake Superior, which sounds egotistical though it is merely cold and deep as truth. A Midwesterner can use the word “truth,” can sincerely use the word “sincere.” In truth the Midwest is not mid or west. When I go back to Michigan I drive through Ohio. There is off I-75 in Ohio a mosque, so life goes corn corn corn mosque, I wave at Islam, which we’re not getting along with on account of the Towers as I pass. Then Ohio goes corn corn corn billboard, goodbye, Islam. You never forget how to be from Michigan when you’re from Michigan. It’s like riding a bike of ice and fly fishing. The Upper Peninsula is a spare state in case Michigan goes flat. I live now in Virginia, which has no backup plan but is named the same as my mother, I live in my mother again, which is creepy but so is what the skin under my chin is doing, suddenly there’s a pouch like marsupials are needed. The state joy is spring. “Osiris, we beseech thee, rise and give us baseball” is how we might sound were we Egyptian in April, when February hasn’t ended. February is thirteen months long in Michigan. We are a people who by February want to kill the sky for being so gray and angry at us. “What did we do?” is the state motto. There’s a day in May when we’re all tumblers, gymnastics is everywhere, and daffodils are asked by young men to be their wives. When a man elopes with a daffodil, you know where he’s from. In this way I have given you a primer. Let us all be from somewhere. Let us tell each other everything we can.
For Doug Dorst: How do you hope people will approach the book? Is there a certain way you want them to move through the layers, the inserts, and the marginalia?
There are a few pieces of ephemera that I think need to be read when they’re referred to by Jen and Eric in the margins. Apart from that, though, I don’t want to recommend any particular way of reading, for a few reasons:
(1) Everyone’s wired differently, and there’s a lot to absorb—so the best way is whichever way your brain is best going to absorb it.
(2) If you happened to come across a book like this particular copy of Ship of Theseus, in which two people you don’t know are writing back and forth to each other in the margins, you wouldn’t find an instruction manual for other readers. They’ve written what they’ve written for each other, not for you. You’d have to go through and piece together their story for yourself, and
(3) Figuring it out is (or can be, if you’re interested enough) part of the fun.
I have a feeling people don’t quite believe me when I tell them this, or that they think it’s a glib and condescending non-answer. I really do believe it, though. [DD]
This month’s Writers Digest is particularly useful, I think. An outstanding piece by Chuck Wendig on the long game of indie publishing. A really useful primer on the ebook market from Jeremy Greenfield. And a fun Top 10 list of publishing people-resources. The last feature, compiled by …
“I have too much respect for books,” said interior designer and author of Fifth Avenue Style Howard Slatkin. “There is nothing that gives a house more warmth and personality. But when people take books and arrange them by color or stack them and put objects on top and treat them as mere decoration, I find it offensive.”—
There’s been a bit of an argument over the bookternet about this. Many agree that shelves arranged by color is blasphemous or offensive or what have you. I get very defensive about this because I am an avid book lover who also happens to have color coded shelves. So, here is my reasoning. I like that I have to remember something about the physical book itself to remember where it is. It’s like a little game. I have an ereader, but I love physical copies. I love their texture, their weight, the matte finish or the shiny finish, and so on. And if I forget what color the spine of the book is, my “punishment” is having to look through my whole collection? That’s a punishment I happily accept.
“Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear. Hemingway highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow highlight, shorten the sentence or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red. Adverbs are helpfully shown in blue. Get rid of them and pick verbs with force instead. You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one. Mouse over it for hints. Phrases in green have been marked to show passive voice. Paste in something you’re working on and edit away. Or, click the Write button to compose something new.”—Hemingway
Andrew just sent me this and my whole world is exploding
To many book professionals, Amazon is a ruthless predator; recently, the company has even started publishing books. A monopoly is dangerous because it concentrates so much economic power, but in the book business the prospect is especially worrisome: it would give Amazon more control over the exchange of ideas than any company in U.S. history.
Important things to know about Amazon:
“(Few customers realize that the results generated by Amazon’s search engine are partly determined by promotional fees.)”
“Johnson, who remains one of the few people in publishing willing to criticize Amazon on the record, contacted reporters, and Publishers Weekly ran a story. By the next day, the buy buttons had disappeared from Melville House’s titles on Amazon.com. ” (emphasis added)
“Sargent said that Macmillan wanted to switch to the agency model for e-books, and that if Amazon refused Macmillan would withhold digital editions until seven months after print publication. The discussion was angry and brief. After twenty minutes, Grandinetti escorted Sargent out of the building. The next day, Amazon removed the buy buttons from Macmillan’s print and digital titles on its site, only to restore them a week later, under heavy criticism.”
“What are three things someone looking to move up in the publishing world can do to get ahead of other applicants?
1. Be better at the tech surrounding media/publishing. Learn HTML and WordPress. Know how to put together an EPUB. Know how to capture decent audio or video. Understand best practices of social media.
2. Attend every possible publishing-related event you can, even if it costs you money, to broaden your network, meet more people, and have more connections. More connections means more opportunities at jobs.
3. Treat people well. Your reputation will precede you, and if you become known as difficult to work with, you’ll encounter barriers.”—Brand New You: An Interview with Jane Friedman | Publishing Trendsetter I interviewed Jane Friedman of Scratch Magazine about how to make a personal brand for yourself as a young person in publishing. Give it a read and get yourself ahead.