A followup to yesterday's post about how Amazon had nuked the Kindle edition of A Long Time Ago, Gib Van Ert's memoir about growing up with Star Wars, citing nebulous and incoherent trademark issues.
The Kindle edition is back. Amazon PR person Brittany Turner wrote, "Wanted to let you know that this book is now available in the Kindle Store." Ms Turner didn't offer any further explanation.
Presumably, it was a dumb mistake to begin with, but one that couldn't be corrected until there was enough publicity to get senior people to look in on the issue.
Ryan "Dinosaur Comics" North writes in with the improbable tale of his amazingly successful Kickstarter for a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style adaptation of Hamlet, which has made him a fortune and prompted him to release the whole thing under a Creative Commons license:
There's a little under two days left on the project for my chooseable-path version of Hamlet called To Be Or Not To Be. (Like a choose-your-own-adventure book, but that is trademarked, so I will say that in this book Adventures Are Being Chosen By You and leave it at that) You can play as Ophelia, Hamlet, or Hamlet's Dad, but if you choose him you die on the first page and play as a ghost. And instead of a play-within-a-play there's a book-within-a-book where you read ANOTHER choose-your-own-path book. I'm really excited for it.
All the endings will be illustrated by some really talented artists like Noelle Stevenson (Gingerhaze), Kate Beaton (Hark A Vagrant), and Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie) and the book will be released with a CC BY-NC 3.0 license. I was asking for $20k and we reached that in 3 and a half hours, and now in the last day of the project it's above $400k, making it the most-funded publishing project on Kickstarter ever which is nuts!
The coolest thing about it is the contrast with traditional publishing: nobody would want to print this book in full colour and with all these illustrations, but because Kickstarter lets you contact the audience directly, we've been able to do that and to move the book from black and white to colour, add more illustrations, as well as have a mini prequel adventure too.
To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure
Today's post brought quite a treat: a box containing (among other things), Seth Godin's massive new book, called "This Might Work/This Might Not Work," which he launched via Kickstarter. At 800 pages and 19 lbs, this book is ridiculous. In a good way. I'm not sure if this is an article of commerce at this point, but when (if?) it is, count this as a strong "buy" recommendation.
This might work (my new book)
Tobias Buckell's "How I used Kickstarter to reboot a book series, and my career (and maybe my life?)" is a fantastic, detailed postmortem on his experiment with continuing his commercially flagging science fiction series by raising money directly from his fans on Kickstarter. As always, the most important part is the mistakes made/lessons learned:
I launched the project at noon. Because I was writing and fixing things that morning. So I set it to go live. Rookie. That meant I missed four hours of first day, the biggest day, of word-of-mouth and fundraising. The momentum was slow from day one. People love piling onto a winning project. Mine did not come out the gate strong for The Apocalypse Ocean. Next time, I set it to go live at 7am.
I set the eBook price too high. $25. It worked, because fans backed the project and jumped aboard. I think I could risk focusing harder on a $10 eBook. Then maybe a $25 trade paper, and then move up.
While I got backers their eBooks as fast as I could, roughly by the deadline, I vastly underestimated how long the project management of creating a print book would take. Physical copies had to be mailed around. Proofed. Schedules had to be lined up. It was all… fiddly. I thought August/September I would have books delivered. Instead, it ended up being early December.
This is a must-read for anyone contemplating a similar audience-funded artistic project. Here's the book, which, knowing Toby's work, is bound to be excellent.
How I used Kickstarter to reboot a book series, and my career (and maybe my life?)
Bret sez, "Ellen Datlow is using Kickstarter to fund an unthemed, all original anthology of terror and supernatural fiction called Fearful Symmetries for Toronto-based ChiZine Publications. Ellen has won multiple World Fantasy, Locus, Hugo, Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, and
Shirley Jackson Awards for her editing, and was recently honored with the Life Achievement Award given by the Horror Writers Association. She's been working in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror fields for over 30 years. Ellen says, "The business of publishing is rapidly changing. It's always been hard to sell non-themed anthologies, but in today's publishing climate, it's especially difficult. This project is close to my heart, which is why I've decided to appeal to the public through Kickstarter in order to fund it." Ellen also plans to have an open reading period for Fearful Symmetries to give a chance to new talent. The money she and CZP are asking for will go toward paying professional rates to the contributors and the production team. Of course, her feline companions and she have to eat, too. Ellen and CZP are really excited about Fearful Symmetries and hope you'll support its
Fearful Symmetries: An Anthology of Horror
Jenny and Charles are making their own wedding program, and to do so, they made their own printing press. From a set of IKEA drawers. Because they are awesome.
The printing press is made of an Ikea Kullen chest of drawers, several pieces of wood, and several iron pipes... The cabinet is upside down, but with a drawer placed facing upwards. The drawer slides back and forth, and there is a piece of plywood attached to the back side of the drawer with a hinge, so it can swing up and down. The paper being printed is placed on this piece of plywood.
On the back of a cabinet is another piece of plywood which is attached to the sides of the cabinet. This back piece holds the engraved printing plate, which is inked to create the impression.
(via IKEA Hackers)
This January sees the first cohorts of books whose authors can terminate their contracts with their publishers under a 1978 law that lets authors kill their old deals after 35 years. Given all the interesting stuff happening with backlists and ebooks, expect to see a lot of authors being courted by, say, Amazon with big fat advances for their profitable backlists if they yank their books and make them Amazon-exclusive. And this is going to happen every year from now on.
The law in question is Section 203 of the 1978 Copyright Act which allows authors to cut away any contract after 35 years. Congress put it in place to protect young artists who signed away future best sellers for a pittance.
“People have had 2013 circled on their calendar for a while,” said Andrew Bart, a copyright lawyer at Jenner & Block, in a phone interview...
The 1978 law also means a threat to the back list of titles that are a cash cow for many publishers. The threat is amplified as a result of new digital distribution options for authors that were never conceived when the law was passed — these new options mean authors have more leverage to walk away from their publishers altogether.
Publishers brace for authors to reclaim book rights in 2013
(via Making Light)
Rob sez, "Hugo award winner Seanan McGuire (author of the Toby Daye, Newsflesh, and Incryptid series) is trying something new: her latest book Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots started life serialized on her LiveJournal and she's still writing more there, but due to fan demand she struck a deal with a small press to do a hardcover collecting the first few stories."
WHEN WILL YOU RISE and VELVETEEN VS. available now!
When Will You Rise: Stories to End the World
Martin sez, "Neil Clarke over at Clarkesworld SF blog/magazine is ill and just lost his job.
John Scalzi has called for uniform support by subscribing to Clarkesworld magazine.
It's a highly regarded mag for up and coming sf authors and might need some attention."
I agree with John's assessment. Clarkesworld is a fabulous publication, a labor of love, and something that makes the world a better place. It has been a launching-spot for numerous wonderful writing careers, and deserves your support (and Neil Clarke is a first-class mensch). I just subscribed. You can also donate.
Clarkesworld is an excellent magazine, and it’s also a story market that pays more than the SFWA minimum for professional-level sales, meaning that it’s a good market for writers, too. You can read its content for free on the Web site, but there’s also an option for you to subscribe to the magazine as well, and have it delivered to your e-reader, or to donate to the site to support it.
Today is a Good Day to Subscribe to Clarkesworld Magazine
I did an interview with The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, which they've published in both text and MP3 form. We talked about Pirate Cinema, Rapture of the Nerds, the Humble Ebook Bundle, the future of publishing, the Disney/Star Wars merger, and lots more:
Wired: Do you ever get letters from kids who have been inspired by your books to become hacker anarchists?
Doctorow: Yeah, all the time — at least to become hackers, and political activists. My first young-adult novel Little Brother had an afterword with a bibliography for kids who want to get involved in learning how security works, learning how computers work, learning how to program them, learning how to take them apart, learning how to solve their problems with technology as well as with politics. And the number of kids who have written to me and said that they became programmers after reading that, I couldn’t even count them. I’ve had similar responses to my second young-adult novel, For the Win, and I’ve also heard from kids who’ve read Pirate Cinema. In fact, we published an editorial by one of them on Boing Boing — an anonymous reader who makes her own movies out of Japanese anime, and who talked about what drives her and how the book resonated with her.
With Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow Grows His Young Hacker Army
Mary Robinette Kowal sez,
At the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto this weekend, as much as we were talking about fantasy, we were talking about our friends and colleagues who had been hit by the storm. Some of them had to evacuate and had no idea when they'd be able to go home. One editor joked barely -- that his slush pile was actual slush now since his office flooded.
A lot of authors and editors could not make it because they live in New York. Many of those who did make it headed straight for their rooms and had their first hot shower in a week. A lot of them said that they had been unable to see images of the storm damage because they had been without power and so were seeing some things for the first time.
To help raise funds for relief, I'm auctioning off a manuscript of my novel WITHOUT A SUMMER. This is book 3 in my series and isn't out until April 2, 2012. I'll mail the winner a signed manuscript of the book five months before it's in the stores.
If the fundraiser goes over $500, I'll also include book 4, VALOUR AND VANITY, which won't be out until 2013.
If it goes over $1000, I'll tuckerize the winner into the series. Note: depending on your name, you may or may not be a character but your name will be there. The books are set between 1814-1818 so I do have to be cautious about committing to character names.
Over $1500, and I'll include a manuscript of a book that we haven't even announced yet. All I can tell you is that it is also historical fantasy.
If it goes over $2000, I'll think of something cool.
All the proceeds will go to American Red Cross in Greater New York.
Mary's Regency-plus-magic series is a delight. Here's my review of book one, and here's my review of book two.
Hurricane Sandy relief auction -- Signed manuscript of WITHOUT A SUMMER
Image: Chris Anderson, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from joi's photostream
Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson is leaving the magazine after 11 years to lead the robotics company he founded, 3D Robotics (blog).
He broke the news at an all-hands Wired staff meeting in San Francisco today. He’ll remain at in his leading role at Wired until parent company Conde Nast finds a new editor-in-chief.
More: Venturebeat, NY Observer.
As Dylan Tweney notes,
3D Robotics has a Facebook page, Twitter account, and domain name (3drobotics.com), but currently no website. Currently, that URL redirects to DIY Drones, another company Anderson founded, which sells kits and parts for people making their own unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — robotic aircraft, essentially. It appears that 3D Robotics is an outgrowth of that company.
The new company is billed as an "amateur UAV superstore," and is reported to have facilities in San Diego, California and Bangkok, Thailand.
Read the rest
Joanna Cabot's An Open Letter to E-Book Retailers: Let’s have a return to common sense
is just what you'd hope for from a post with a title like that: three commensensical points about ebooks, licensing and DRM that I generally agree with (though I quibble a little here and there). 1. If your button says "Buy this ebook," then I own it. 2. Ebooks are read by households, not devices or the users to whom they're registered. 3. It's not piracy to share the kids' ebooks you buy with your kids.
Lowering the Bar has a copy of Herman Meville's publishing contract for Moby-Dick, made 161 years ago between Harper and Brothers of the city of New York, Publishers and Melville. Melville got 50% of the profits (which seems fishy to me, given that the publisher has near-total leeway in accounting for its expenses-before-profit on the book), which apparently amounted to $556.37 (~$16K in inflation adjusted 2012 dollars).
HarperCollins posted this on October 18, which was the 161st anniversary of that certain work entitled "The Whale" but commonly known as "Moby Dick." The contract provided that the said Herman Melville would get half the net profits from the sale of said book in the United States for the next seven years, although once the publisher had recovered the cost of the plates used to print it, Melville could have the terms changed so he would get a "sum certain" for each copy sold.
There She Blows! 'Tis the Contract for Moby Dick!