Book Tidbits

Discussion in 'Online Classes - Be a Teacher!' started by Alkebulan, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Alkebulan

    Alkebulan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    the year 2006 saw 291,920 new titles released n the US, according to bowker, the world's leading provider of bibliographic information. the # of new titles increased slightly from the 2005 level of 282,500, but didn't reach the level of 2004, an all time high of 295,523. f these #'s sound a little different than last year, they are. bowker, n their news release of May 31, 2007, says "due to a change in methodology this year to more accurately track and report on these figures, the statistics cited in this news release differ from the statistics cited in previous years." 291,920 titles is still quite a few books.
     
  2. Alkebulan

    Alkebulan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    f the books were shelved side by side one would need four and ½ miles of shelving. f the books were stacked one atop the other, they would reach almost 15 times higher than the world's tallest building, the Taipei 101, which measures 1,677 feet. to transport one copy of each title, a vehicle would have to be capable of hauling 118 tons or 29 full grown elephants. Laying the books down in a straight line would require a little over 23 miles of railroad tracks.


    so, there's still hope 4 those of us who r unpublished yet. :spinn:
     
  3. Alkebulan

    Alkebulan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    a short interview w mark bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, a New York Times Bestseller

    does having a bestseller make you more excited about the writing process, give you more energy?

    mark's answer: no. i've always had a tremendous love for the work that i do. i did go through a period where i overextended myself because i got so many wonderful opportunities & i said yes to everything, & found myself, about a year after black hawk down made the best seller list, with such a pile of things to do. i felt overextended and frustrated. by all the work i had to get done.

    so you ask yourself the question, "i'm supposed to be successful. what does success mean?" & for me, what success ought to mean, is a working pace i like better, the opportunity to do my best work, and you have to learn how to seize control of your life.

    u have to realize you don't have to take every opportunity that comes along because you're not climbing the ladder anymore. n a commercial sense, you've already had a level of success and it sticks with you to some extent. so you concentrate on climbing the quality ladder.

    question: when u first got excited about the concept for black hawk down, & decided to forge ahead with writing it, did you have a sense it would be embraced by the market to the degree it has been?

    answer: no. that was never a motivation for me. my vision for my life as a writer was that i would make a living primarily by writing for newspapers, and that on my own, subjects that really interested me, i would produce magazine articles or book-length versions of those stories, & that i might build a certain reputation in my field at being good at it. i always knew this kind of success was possible. but i never expected it. it always seemed a remote possibility, especially after having written several books that I was very proud of, that didn't do well at all.

    i wasn't disillusioned, because i really enjoyed doing those books, & was proud of them. it's almost like being an artist. u love to paint; u aren't doing it because someone will give you a million dollars for your paintings. u're doing it because it's what you love to do.

    so when i began working on black hawk down, it was just a story that greatly interested me.

    ?: u enjoy writing in screen form as well as narrative nonfiction?

    i do. i'm writing an original screenplay right now, working with a director, making a film out of something that hasn't been a book. with writing a book, it is my creative product, but with a script, i have to sublimate my vision of the story to what the director wants to make of it. we'll see how that goes.

    as long as u don't let ur ego get n the way, moviemaking can be lucrative and fun. but it is collaborative, and it's important to allow other people to have their input.


    :em0200:
     
  4. Alkebulan

    Alkebulan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    getting a literary agent

    most aspiring authors begin their careers with little or no understanding of how to find a literary agent to represent their work. they quickly learn that most major publishing houses only accept submissions through literary agents. so, they begin sending query letters to agents and, usually, meet with a cool reception, or even hit a high, solid, impenetrable brick wall. here r the results of a survey of over 60 literary agents, from both large well-known agencies as well as smaller "boutique" agencies, to get a perspective on how authors can improve their chances of attracting an agent, and to find out the outlook for new authors trying to crack into the publishing industry.

    2 help writers find a literary agent, we asked the agents: how much competition does a new author really face? what is the most common reason u decline 2 represent a writer?

    n order to obtain the most candid comments possible, we told the agents their responses to our questions would not be attributed to them (and as a result they were even more candid than we expected).

    how much competition does a new author really face?

    unfortunately, the response was: a tremendous amount. the agents reported that they receive, on average, 90 unsolicited submissions per week. out of these more than 4,500 submissions that come in each year, the agents, on average, took on 11 new clients. this means that the typical agent agreed to represent a little more than 2 out of 1000 of the authors that contacted them with unsolicited submissions. regarding the 998 authors who did not receive a contract, we asked the agents:

    what is the most common reason u decline 2 represent a writer?

    poor writing 60%
    book was outside the agent's genre 17%
    agent's client base was full 10%
    writer's work and agent don't click 8%
    other 5%

    the good news is that the top two reasons given are factors that are under the writer's control. most authors develop and improve their craft over a number of years, and even bestselling authors say when they were first starting out their initial literary efforts left something to be desired. a dedicated writer certainly doesn't have to remain n that "poor writing" category.

    but what exactly is "poor writing"? n the decline letters they send to authors, agents often say they turned the author down because they aren't enthusiastic enough about the material. a favorite phrase used by agents in turndown letters is, "i simply didn't fall n love with the writing." this is probably the source of more author frustration than any other aspect of trying to get published. success or failure hinges on extremely subjective judgments, and once the judgment is rendered, it is final.

    talking an agent out of an opinion is pretty much impossible. think about your own reading experience. how often do you pick up a novel, read 10 pages, decide you aren't interested in it, and put it down? does that mean the writing was "poor"? not at all. it simply means you didn't connect with the story, for reasons you may not even be able to articulate. every individual's literary taste is different.

    1 frequently received type of rejection isn't really 'rejection' at all: the agent has all the clients they can handle at the present time, so they really have no choice but to send a decline letter to unsolicited submissions. the agent n this case was doing the author a favor; far worse it would have been to accept a new client that would not get the necessary attention from the agent. 2 often, though, authors interpret receiving a decline letter such as this as, "my book must not be any good." actually, the agent may not even had time to read your submission package.

    notice that the fact a writer was unpublished was not a significant reason for being rejected as a client.

     
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