The Weekly Links, Opinion and Personal Updates post
Links of Interest
In general, I am not a great fan of DIK (Desert Island Keepers), but I liked the post from Renee about taking reading breaks.
Carolyn Jean of the Thrillionth Page has an interview with Steve Savage on Urban Fantasy Heroines’ Debt to Star Trek.
Super Wendy is making a list of librarians in romance novels. Not to be outdone, I am making my own list: of philosopher heroes and/or heroines in romance novels. It is currently an empty set, but give me time.
Harlequin has launched Try Harlequin.com. In this publisher’s typical ingenious fashion, they are encouraging readers to try new lines by giving away free books.
M/m author Ann Somerville is finding herself arguing that free and self-published doesn’t mean inferior at her blog.
It’s funny about free books. I download free Kindle books regularly, but rarely read them. Why is that? I spent some time noodling around, and it looks like there are two theories about “free” as a marketing strategy (I don’t think Ann’s choice was strategic, but I think a lot of the free books are). Theory 1 says you are shaping consumer behavior. First you offer a good for free, then you offer a discount, and finally, when the consumer is good and hooked (or convinced of its value) you offer it for full price.
The opposing theory says that if you offer a good for free, you may not be marketing to your best clients. Such “buyers” may not value the good. They have no intention of ever paying money for it. In the book realm, the corollary might be “they will stick this in the bottom of their TBR and never get to it.” A lower percentage who own the free book might actually read it, compared to those who paid and are thus more highly motivated.
On the other hand, if way more people own it, as a result of it being free, then the total number of readers who try this author or this book might be higher.
Which do you think prevails in romance?
From Galley Cat, a discussion of whether writers should pay for reviews in Publishers’ Weekly, Kirkus, and ForeWord. I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular argument:
This GalleyCat Reviews editor called Sutherland to confirm her comments, and she added these thoughts: “In the literary world, free (poverty) seems to have been the only criteria for integrity. Yet, people happily pay doctors and lawyers for a diagnosis–plenty of conflict there to enourage [sic] clients to come back for more. What critics of our pay for service miss is what they accept about lawyers and doctors – namely that reputation means a lot to a professional–and the path to your door will grow weeds fast when you prove to be a sellout.” (Via Self Publishing Review)
I am not sure whether I oppose the practice of paying for reviews. But my gut reaction is that this is a total fail as an argument, in part because the payment for services is how the economy of medicine works, whereas ad and subscription revenue is what keeps PW etc. afloat (although I do not deny her claim that there is a dangerous incentive in medicine to treat more when it earns more). Second, the relationship of physician to patient bears little resemblance to the relationship between book reviewer or book review publication and author, and the comparison suggests an attitude towards writers that is problematic.
From the Awl, Drink or Die. One study shows that “proficient” drinkers live longer than teetotalers, maybe because they are more social. I don’t know exactly what it takes to be a proficient drinker, but feel sure I make the cut.
In the world of poetry, there is a kerfuffle over the New England Review‘s and Ploughshares‘ decision to charge a nominal fee for e-submissions. Steve Fellner critiques the practice. An editor of the NER (and my former classmate) C. Dale Young, responds.
Beth Fish Reads is starting up an Audiobook Jukebox, a clearinghouse for audiobook reviews.
As promised, Sunita posted a terrific article on the Harlequin Mills and Boon line over at Dear Author. And with 75 comments, many including suggestions for great titles, it’s a terrific resource.
Did you see the news about Obama getting an early copy of the new Franzen to read on his summer break? If you have ever wondered what presidents read in their first summer in office, here’s some interesting info.
Kerfuffles that could have been:
Erstwhile blogger Candy Tan showed up to write a terrific post on Scott Pilgrim.I parsed the comments for clues as to her past whereabouts and future plans, and here is what I can say for sure: Candy took up the accordion, became the leader of a new musical movement to fuse the polka with glam rock*, fell off the stage wearing platform heels at a show in a cantina in Mexico and woke up in a beach front mansion in San Diego, as the special (platonic) guest of a certain dot.com millionaire whose reading tastes ran from Deepak Chopra to Tony Robbins. It took several months of deprogramming to get her to stop deconstructing phrases like, “If you can’t, you must, and if you must, you can” and “It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know.” Beyond that, I really can’t speculate.
*Now defunct. But you can still find her rendition of “All the Young Dudes (Stole the Keeshka)” with vigorous Googling.
Sarah of MonkeyBearReviews ranted a bit about the hypocrisy of folks who have embraced the Kindle 3 despite swearing off Amazon in the past. Personally, I couldn’t be happier to have more Amazonians on board.
I went to Vermont for a wedding this past weekend. Truly wonderful. My favorite line was from one of the toasts or readings (can’t remember which) to the effect that marriage isn’t just about choosing the right partner, but about being the right partner.
I started teaching today. Love being back in the classroom. (Just remind me I wrote that when it comes time to grade something.) This semester it’s Contemporary Moral Problems, Biomedical Ethics, and Feminist Theory. I am also coordinating the department’s colloquium series (The power!!) … on a very small budget (The stress!!).
On the blog this week:
I am obsessed with Kristan Higgins. Am working on a theory that she is not really a romance writer. Stay tuned.
Also look for a review of that Atwood, and of a romance novel in which art work that depicts a dragon nearly raping a maiden is featured prominently.