Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 26/09/2009

Eoin Purcell

It is nice to know that success in publishing is by no means ruled out for even for those who have passed on. Julia Child‘s Mastering The Art of French Cooking is storming the New York Times Best Seller Charts because of the movie? Who know why, but great story.

Daily Financelooks under the hood” of Jane Friedmann’s newish outfit and what she may be up to:

A publishing executive who preferred not to be quoted by name said that the wholesale consolidation and downsizing in the book business over recent years has created the perfect conditions for a venture based on snapping up and monetizing forgotten books. “A lot of editorial intelligence and institutional memory has been laid off or merged out of existence,” he says. “There’s a lot of owned intellectual property that’s radically underexploited.”

Rumour has it that Amazon is launching the Kindle in Europe very soon. I am not so sure.

Interesting thoughts on the future of the publishing industry from Douglas Rushkoff in Publisher’s Weekly. I’m not sure I agree with everything, but some of it makes sense:

Publishing is a sustainable industry—and a great one at that. The book business, however, was never a good fit for today’s corporate behemoths. The corporations that went on spending sprees in the 1980s and ’90s were not truly interested in the art of publishing. These conglomerates, from Time Warner to Vivendi, are really just holding companies. They service their shareholders by servicing debt more rapidly than they accrue it. Their businesses are really just the stories they use to garner more investment capital. In order to continue leveraging debt, they need to demonstrate growth. The problem is that media, especially books, can’t offer enough organic growth—people can only read so many books from so many authors

Mike Shatzkin floats some thoughts on debut pricing for ebooks and so does the Bait ‘n’ Beer blog. Both worth reading.

Several book purchases made today, 1, 2, 3, 4 in fact!
Eoin

Some Monday afternoon history links

Eoin Purcell

A quick round up of ten historical subjects that warrant a movie being made about them. This is fascinating stuff and the blog is well worth reading.

A fascinating Wall Street Journal article that is designed to calm newspaper executives nerves but I think is more interesting for those with an interest in History.

Military History books still selling in the US, despite the downturn! Good news I think.

Not a bad day today,
Eoin

Authonomy turns on the smarts

Eoin Purcell

Moxyland, by Lauren Beukes
Moxyland, by Lauren Beukes

I’ve dissed Authonomy a little in the past, but this really is a clever idea:

We’re giving you the chance to have your short story published in Lauren (Beukes)‘s next book, Zoo City. In order to enter, all you need to do is write a short story (up to 3000 words) based in the Moxyland universe, using characters, themes and settings from the book to create your own work.

They have more on their blog. Lauren is the author of the Angry Robot published novel, Moxyland. But the smarts start on Authonomy otslef, firstly it has an extensive book page for Moxyland and a faily decent author page for Lauren (though this could easily have had a video and some more features, given the competition). And then they use the power of HarperCollins’ Browse Inside toolkit to display the entire text. That is brave.

I’d be hard pressed to find an issue with this project (other than the minor one I’ve already mentioned). It’s not just that Harper are embracing Fan Fiction and encouraging it even, but they have added real value to Authonomy by doing this. They have used clever cross platform tools to bring a really worthwhile competition to the Authionomy community and have, I think, created one of the most compelling and engaging promotions so far this year. All told, praise if deserved.

I’m enjoying my last day of being 29, successfully made a very big Beef Bourguignon!
Eoin

I’m looking for a writer with a huge interest in Irish History

Eoin Purcell

Do you write about the Famine?

I need a non-fiction writer who knows quite a bit about the Great Irish Famine who can write 7,500 -10,000 words by the end of September 2009.

I can’t reveal the project yet, but anyone who is interested should drop me a line with a sample of your writing and a short 1 page cv @ eoin{dot}purcell{at}gmail.com

If you don’t write about the Famine, but do write non-fiction about Irish History, drop me a line anyway, there are several projects on the way that might suit. Ideally I’d have this locked down by the end of next week. Feel free to share this blog post as widely as possible.

Windy day today,
Eoin

Publishing success in Ireland, Part Two

Eoin Purcell

This is Part Two in a series (currently of indeterminate length but I suspect five) of posts. Read the first, Here.

The Categories
I promised at the end of my last post to offer up some analysis of the ICM in terms of categories and trends. The first thing to say about this is that I don’t think people will be surprised by the list in the image below. It reflects the top ten best-selling categories in the 2008 ICM. The image is small but clicking on it will take you to a google document that will have quite a lot of other data as this series moves ahead.

The Top Ten Best-selling Categories in the ICM Top 1000
The Top Ten Best-selling Categories in the ICM Top 1000

What strikes me as the most interesting part of this top ten categories is that the overwhelming winner is General & Literary Fiction. At 30.9% of the Top 1000 it is 3 times larger than the next biggest, Crime & Thriller, which is also fiction. If you add in Young Adult Fiction and Childrens Fiction to the mix, fiction makes up a solid 47.29% of the Top 1000. Impressive no?

Interestingly, Autobiography of all varieties makes a solid appearance in the top ten, which is not all that surprising when you consider that it includes titles like:

    Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything
    Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes
    The Diving-bell and the Butterfly
    Parky: My Autobiography
    Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up
    My Booky Wook
    Ronan O’Gara: My Autobiography
    Carra: My Autobiography
    Sonia: My Story

Yes readers, the celebrity publishing is alive and well in Ireland, just in case you thought we had a more literary bent here in Ireland.

What does the top ten not show us?
Well for one thing we miss the fact that the 11th most popular category was True Crime. I’m not surprised by this and I suspect most people would not be either. The rest of the top 20 is a bit more diverse. But the number of units and the percentage of the market these categories represent slide rapidly towards less than 1% of the whole ICM Top 100.

The Top 11-20 Best-selling Categories in the ICM Top 1000
The Top 11-20 Best-selling Categories in the ICM Top 1000

Which neatly brings me to the core message this category analysis exercise MIGHT suggest, that publishing fiction is a good route to success. After all fiction seems to account for the bulk of the Top 1000 sales. On the face of it that makes sense, but I’m not so sure about it. However I think I will leave the next post to explain why that is the case.

Two very interesting meetings today,
Eoin