Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday morning quick hits

It is hard to top yesterday's wedding videos (which I'm still laughing at) but here are a few of the things that are getting our attention this morning.

Publicists: have you checked out Twittorati?

The tagline is "where the blogosphere and the twittersphere meet" and while that may not wow you, the site is actually very useful for PR types.

Much like Muck Rack, which provides a real time stream of journalists' tweets (along with their titles), Twittorati provides a real time stream of top blogs on Twitter. It also provides a ranking of the Top 100 blogs (which we're curiously absent from) and a list of each tweeter connected with those blogs.

For example, Huffington Post is #1 and on the site you'll see links to the handles for five of the editors and a stream of recent Huff Post tweets: Glenn Beck meltdowns, get the idea.

We are fans.

Speaking of Huff Post, are you reading Carolyn Rubenstein?

Arianna's newest blogger has been providing very cool content on perseverance.

Conveniently, she has a book due out from Tor/Forge in a few weeks on the same topic. How's that for timing?

This is an amazing book that we're honored to represent and, frankly, we're not sure if we have an author that has a schedule more packed than Carolyn.

Ready for this?

She blogs regularly for Psychology Today, Huffington Post and herself.

She Tweets. She Facebooks. She newsletters.

She runs a nonprofit organization, “Carolyn’s Compassionate Children” (CCC), a group that began as a pen-pal program for kids with cancer that now provides scholarships and support to childhood cancer survivors.

She wrote a book and is in the middle of a very time-consuming publicity campaign.

Oh, and while she's doing all of this she's also a full-time student, pursuing her PhD program in clinical psychology at Harvard University.

Her publicity team really appreciates her.

I should note that we're having a blast with this campaign because in addition to getting to work with Carolyn, Ben and the fabulous publicity team at Tor/Forge, we're also getting a chance to work alongside super-publicists Angela Hayes and Grace McQuade at Goldberg McDuffie, who are working with Senior Publicist Amy Currie to line up some very impressive opportunities for the book.

Keep an eye out for Carolyn this fall and head over to Huffington Post for a good taste of her work.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New media continues rise, begets old media coverage

If you haven’t heard by now, circulation at print media outlets is on the decline and new media is making a significant uptick. But, landing coverage from more traditional outlets is still coveted by anyone looking for exposure. Understandably so, traditional media offers authors credibility that new media is still working to earn. As if the writing wasn’t already on the wall I’d like to make two cases for the changing face of media content:

Case one:
As newspapers are forced to lay off reporters due to budgetary problems, where will they go? You guessed it: new media. This recent post by Michael Arrington at TechCrunch discusses how 1,500 writers are now working for Arrington says hundreds of them are former writers for media elites like BusinessWeek, New York Times and USA Today, to name a few. Why should you care? Well, that means new media just got a whole lot more credible. Journalism isn’t dead, it’s just changing.

Case two:
I mentioned earlier that traditional media is still important. It has a stamp of credibility that authors and experts want and need. However, the way we’re seeing traditional media garnered is changing. In the not-so-distant past reporters and producers would respond to great ideas offered by way of a pitch. While there’s still a place for traditional pitching, there’s an obvious shift to an environment where journalists want to find their own experts and/or content. Why should you care? This means a larger focus on online outreach may be the key to garnering the traditional coverage that most experts are looking for.

Here’s an example. This YouTube video has been splashed across network television, mentioned on morning radio, and the like. What started as a video of a wedding party dancing down an aisle has become a national sensation. Not only has it landed the couple on “TODAY” but has even been spoofed by fellow YouTubers.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Age of the memoir

There was an interesting article this weekend in The New York Times about the boom in popularity of memoirs following Frank McCourt’s successful 1996 book, Angela’s Ashes. A storyteller at heart, McCourt had shared tales about his “miserable Irish childhood” in Limerick aloud for years during his time as an English teacher at New York’s Stuyvesant High School. It was only natural, then, that when he finally published his memoir, it would become a beloved book that captured the imaginations of readers everywhere.

However, in the spirit of “Hey, I can do that...,” pretty soon everyone thought they had an interesting life story to tell. Memoirists started coming out of the woodwork to capitalize on the popularity of the genre, and still do today. Now, with books like Eat, Pray, Love landing Oprah spots and movie deals, many hopeful authors are under the impression that their spiritual journey, too, is exactly what the bestseller list is missing. (Just ask THE INTERN.)

The memoir has become, as the article states, “an easier route to fame and fortune than the novel.” And if your experiences aren’t exactly fascinating enough to captivate audiences, well, then, you might just add a little something here and there to make it spicier—or least less insufferably mundane. (Just ask James Frey.)

In all fairness, having that nonfiction element to offer the media when publicizing a book is often what makes a strong literary campaign—which is why it’s often what publicists and publishing houses encourage from authors. (And also why it’s easier to get a memoir published than a novel in the first place!)

But the industry may have created a monster by indirectly encouraging authors to write about their real life experiences, rather than the fictional stories they might have written instead. Not only has it led to blatant fabrication in some cases, but in others...well...let’s just say not everyone writes memoirs like Frank McCourt.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spanning the world … well, the literary world

A few things popped out at me this week, and I thought I might share with all you aspiring literati types. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these tidbits of literary news and musings:

Eat, Pray, Love … for best results, rinse and repeat
Earlier this week, PW discussed the Hyperion deal with Michael Cooper, ex-husband of Eat, Pray, Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert. His new memoir, Displaced, will offer the flip-side to Eat, Pray, Love. Is it just me or does this at all sound like: “The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All”? For best results, rinse and repeat. I wonder what Ms. Gilbert thinks of this.

All aboard!
In case you haven’t noticed, the social media train is here. Check out this PW article on the changing literary landscape and how social media is fueling the changes. This is a must-read.

Move over Kindle, there’s a new kid on the block
Plastic Logic, Barnes & Noble and AT&T have partnered up to create what could be the Amazon Kindle’s biggest competitor yet. With access to B&N’s massive book library and AT&T’s 3G system, the Plastic Logic e-reader will certainly give Kindle a run for its money. Some differences between the two:
- The Plastic Logic e-reader has built-in Wi-fi, unlike the current crop of Kindles
- AT&T's Wi-fi hotspot network also seems to be part of the deal
- U.S. owners will be able to get online for new books in many more locations
- For business-related documents on the web, the e-reader supports PDF and Microsoft Office format documents

The INTERN speaks out
Ok, I’ve saved the best for last. If you’ve ever been an intern you completely understand the grunt work that comes with the territory: hours of filing, licking envelopes, getting coffee. I could go on. We stumbled on this blog of wonderful hilarity and just had to share. This intern and blogger, known as THE INTERN, works for a publishing house and gives the inside dish on the publishing house floor. Special thanks and a shout out to THE INTERN who brought a smile to our day. Enjoy!

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vive le Twitter

For a few lessons on Twitter this afternoon, let's look to the Tour de France, where we're just a few days away from that famous ride down the Champs-Elysees.

Austin is Lance Armstrong country. From his bike shop, Mellow Johnny's and the coffee shop, Juan Pelota, to SIX, his bar/nightclub and the new Lance Armstrong Bikeway, icons of Lance's success are a part of our city's landscape. Look down, you're even likely to see one of the many faded "Go Lance" street paintings reminding us of his 1st, 2nd, 3rd...7th win. When he won the last TDF, he threw a free concert at Auditorium Shores featuring his then-girlfriend Sheryl Crow (and played drums). So you got the picture - cancer advocacy, community investment and athletic talent aside, Lance is steeped in Austin's culture.

But Lance's celebrity status reaches far beyond Austin City Limits, thanks in part to social media. On Twitter, @lancearmstrong has more than a million and a half followers. The seven-time TDF champion is clearly passionate about social media and it's easy to see why it's working for him. Just take a look at his loyal fan base and his booming nonprofit organization, LIVESTRONG, with which Lance uses the 140 character updates to connect with us in such a way that just by following him, we feel an exclusive part of his inner circle.

Lance is a great example of the power and possibilities of Twitter. He uses it frequently (at least a dozen updates a day) to break stories related to racing, the bike industry, and cancer research. He tweets video and snapshots from his "office" (usually something along the lines of a mountain road out of Aspen - jealous!) and allows all of us to peer into his world. From news of his new son Max [6 week old @maxarmstrong1 has almost 7,000 Twitter followers - WHAT??!] - to his favorite training routes to post TDF-stage thoughts, his Tweets make us that much more endeared to him.

Following yesterday's tour stage, Lance mentioned an upcoming 'announcement' about next year's Tour de France lineup, so you can imagine the buzz that brewed until today's big reveal. We all scoured the web to investigate. And by last night, the crafty Twitterati had it nailed - Lance would announce a 2010 team sponsor - RadioShack Corporation. It wasn't until 11am today that Capitol Sports & Entertainment with RadioShack made the official announcement with a release on the wire. Acting on their game, CSE rolled out the Team RadioShack website and Twitter account right on cue. Four hours later, the team already had almost 5,000 Twitter followers. If Lance's 2010 teammates are as fast as his behind-the-scenes entourage, we'll be looking at another Maillot Jaune.

Allez Lance!

So there are two things that we in publishing and publicity can take away from Twitter, Lance and the Tour de France. Today, twitter is a legitimate source (and the fastest news-spreading tool) for breaking headlines, and more than ever, it is an invaluable when it comes to building and maintaining a personal brand.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BOOK GIVEAWAY meets far too many puns: Name your favorite frappuccino, win "A Cold-Blooded Business"

Do you know what today is?


I know, I know. It's only 9:47am CT right now, and we're sure you're already munching your complimentary cranberry scone. But it's summer, which means there's a good possibility you're also enjoying....a frappuccino.

And who do you have to thank, in large part, for the bottled frappuccino? Why, that would be Mark Mangelsdorf, friends. The killer featured in Marek Fuchs' new true crime book, A Cold-Blooded Business.

Why exactly is a successful corporate star - from a Bible Belt town, a Harvard MBA, who helped introduce the world to grocery store frappuccinos and was praised in Howard Schultz's Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time - now sitting in jail for a 20+ year old cold-case murder?

Wouldn't you love to know.

Simply respond to this blog post, or join us on Twitter (find us at and Tweet your favorite frappuccino flavor. The winner will receive a copy of this fascinating tale from The New York Times' Marek Fuchs. You MUST use hashtag #acoldbloodedbusiness to enter, and we will select a winner by 4pm CT today. RT'ers ("retweeters") of the contest may get special consideration...

As for us? Mocha frappuccinos all the way!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 20, 2009

So you want to write an op-ed…

It’s no wonder so many authors covet a spot on the opinion pages of top daily newspapers—not only do many readers today turn directly to the editorial section, but a well-written, controversial op-ed featured in the likes of The New York Times or The Washington Post can create a lasting national buzz. A successful op-ed can thrust a relatively unknown author into the national spotlight; and, unlike feature stories, you control the article’s content and message. But before you decide to give America a piece of your mind, there are a few things to consider to ensure your op-ed submission is a success:

1. Know the news cycle
Before you even sit down to write an article, do some research and brainstorming for topics. What are people talking about today? Keep in mind what news topics and social trend stories are hot at the moment, and how you can add to the debate. Just because they’re called the opinion pages, doesn’t mean the editors who choose the content don’t want newsworthy articles.

2. Compliment your credentials
What is your expertise? If you’re an author of a new diet book, you’re going to have a hard time placing an op-ed about 401(k) legislation. But write an article about a new study on the benefits of retirees lowering their cholesterol, and you just may have something. Remember, don’t write the article about your book. Mentioning your book title in an opinion piece is a big no-no—this is what we call an ad-itorial rather than an editorial. Instead, center your op-ed on hard news and relate it to your book’s subject matter. The opinion page editor will include a short bio at the beginning or end of the op-ed that will mention your book title along with your credentials.

3. Stick to a reasonable word count
Many opinion page editors say they prefer a piece to be no more than 750 words. Though this may not always be the case, it’s a good idea to keep your word count somewhere between 700-750 so you don’t discourage the interest of editors who might otherwise want to run the article.

4. Roll with the punches
No two opinion page editors work the same way. Some, especially the top dailies, will request an exclusive, while others will not. Some will simply decline an op-ed they don’t like, while others will work with you to make it better, offering suggestions for how to improve it. If you receive feedback from an editor, use it! These are valuable insights certain to benefit any future op-eds you create; and if you make the suggested changes quickly and re-submit, it may even influence the editor to feature your revised version.

5. Keep it simple
You’re not writing a dissertation, you’re writing what is essentially an opinionated news article. Read the paper and check out news sites online to get a feel for the language journalists utilize in their stories. Don’t say in 20 words what you can easily say in 10. Also, reporters begin their news stories with a “lede,” a tightly-written paragraph or sentence that tells the reader exactly what the story is about, before launching into other details and context. Model your op-ed in this way, and you’ll be sure to catch an editor’s eye—otherwise, if you bury your lede, they may get two paragraphs in and simply stop reading.

6. Source your assertions
Though this is an opinion piece, it doesn’t give you free reign to make wild assertions with nothing to back them up. Make sure to support your argument with recent statistics and research by either citing a study in the text, or providing a separate source document. This will make your piece more credible to opinion page editors and their readers.

Once you’ve written a stellar op-ed, submit, submit, submit! Opinion page editors receive hundreds of article submissions a week, so don’t be discouraged if your first choices don’t respond, or decline—if you’ve kept these simple tips in mind, your op-ed is sure to grab the attention of a top daily.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ding, dong old media’s dead … or is it?

Can you almost hear the munchkins cheering “ding, dong old media’s dead,” as the whole world declares the proverbial bucket of water has been dumped and old media is “meeelllttting, I’m melllting” – I digress. Think again. According to a recent article on “Fast Company,” researchers at Cornell have found that traditional news outlets still lead the blogosphere by 2.5 hours when it comes to breaking news. That’s almost light years by web standards. So, before we get ready to dump water on old media and watch it melt away, maybe we should take a step back and look at how old and new media are and will continue to work together. Here’s a breakdown of the Cornell study:

- Instead of examining a few case-study pieces of news and making behavioral conclusions from limited cases, researchers used a powerful algorithmic search. 1.6 million mainstream media and blogs were analyzed in real-time
- Specific phrases were sampled from each site and compared to how they appeared elsewhere – kind of a text-based fingerprint
- By comparing where these “fingerprint phrases,” or memes, first surfaced, and then watching for them to pop up elsewhere online, the Cornell team has uncovered how news propagates online
- The main result: It's still the traditional news portals that tend to break the news. Blogs followed up the stories an average of 2.5 hours later
- In 3.5 percent of the cases news broke on blogs first, before later being picked up by the news sites. Indicating an increasingly professional blogosphere

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Study: Who is online, and what are they doing?

The Austin-Based New Media Lab gave us some food for thought yesterday. As book publicists, we are always trying to figure out who is online and who isn't, and we were surprised at some of the findings. For example: less than 20% of my fellow Gen Xers are blogging? What? Maybe it was it all that Nirvana and directionless youth stuff we grew up with?

More from the report:

Myth #1: The Internet is for Teeny Boppers

False! Extrapolating from the data:

- 5% of people over age 62 create web content (blogs, podcasts, etc). That means that in a room of 20 people aged 62 or over, at least ONE posts content to the internet.

- In a room of 17 senior citizens, at least one has joined a social network.

- One of every nine seniors you know actually comment on blogs and post critiques and ratings. Which actually makes sense, if you think about it: Who's more opinionated than Grandpa? You try adjusting the thermostat.

Myth #2: Tech savvy behavior is totally mainstream

False again!

- Only 30% of GenY and 19% of GenX create content.

- No age group uses RSS readers at a rate over 18%. (Odds are YOU reading this don't quite understand RSS readers either.)

- 19% more GenYers than Young Teens join social networks. This implies that the highest rate of social networkers is in the college category. This one will be a demo to watch closely, it WILL change over the next three years, according to NML.

So what can we learn from this, book publicists?

-Don't assume senior citizens are anti-internet. "Interwebs, is that The Google or something? You kids and your crazy machines!!" Dismiss that stereotype, and accept your grandmother's Facebook invite.

-Do pay attention to Millenials (i.e. Gen Y). Only 30% of them are creating web content, but that number will probably grow. Pitch accordingly.

-Do learn how to use an RSS reader (like your humble blogger did a few years weeks ago).

To read the rest of NML's interesting report, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From page to screen

You can’t throw a stone in the blogosphere this week without hitting a post about the latest Harry Potter volume to make it to the big screen, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

From initial reviews, it looks to be an excellent translation from book to film—but this isn’t always the case. Filmmakers are charged with transforming a beloved text to something palatable for the screen, which often means taking a hatchet to many readers’ favorite parts.

So in celebration of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and our love of books on film, I did an impromptu poll around the P&P office. Here’s what a few of our publicists had to say about their favorite—and least-favorite—book-to-movie adaptations:

Hit: "Pride and Prejudice" (The six-hour BBC miniseries version, of course.)
Miss: "The Last Unicorn" (“It totally freaked me out as a kid! Although that probably has to do more with me being 5 than it being inherently flawed. But I loved the novel.”)

Hit: "X-Men: The Last Stand" (“I don't know if it counts, but I'm a huge comic book-to-movie fan!”)
Miss: "Fahrenheit 451" (Apparently not a fan of Truffaut...but with those dated 1960s special effects, I don’t blame her.)

Hit: "The Shawshank Redemption" (It’s so popular as a film, you can actually take a Shawshank trail that traces places featured in the movie.)
Miss: "The Notebook" (“It alludes that they both die together to spend eternity in heaven together - but in the book, he lives she dies and spends the next years missing her dearly.”)

Hit: "Bridget Jones' Diary" (British fans were actually upset by the casting of American Renée Zellweger as the popular novel’s heroine—but the movie ended up a hit with audiences everywhere.)
Miss: "Congo" (“People walked out of ‘Congo’ because they loved the book, but hated the movie.”)

Hit: "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" (Or, really, just any of the Lord of the Rings films. They stayed true to the books, while also not being afraid to take some creative license for cinematic effect.)
Miss: "Queen of the Damned" (I don’t think they could have been more off-base with this one if they tried. Just terrible.)

Feel free to share your own picks in the comment section! Which are your favs and worst offenders?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tweet the Author: Susan Heim

What: Tweet live with award winning author, editor and popular mommy blogger, Susan Heim about her latest book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More.

When: Wednesday, July 15th, from 1-2 PM CST

Where: Twitter (hashtag #tweettheauthor)

How: As part of the "Tweet the Author" discussion, Susan Heim will be chatting/tweeting live on Twitter for the full hour to answer questions and chat with fans, readers, bloggers and others.

To join in on the live discussion with Susan, you will need to have a Twitter account. Assuming that you do, here are step-by-step instructions for joining the chat:

1. Log in to your account and type in #tweettheauthor in the right hand search column.
2. Hit enter and bring up the live discussion with Susan. At this point you will be able to view recent questions from readers and her answers.

3. To refresh the discussion, type in #tweettheauthor in the right hand search column again and hit enter or refresh your page.
4. To ask a question or make a comment, simply type out your tweet and add the #tweettheauthor hashtag to the end (this essentially identifies your tweet as part of this specific discussion).
5. Once you have tweeted your questions, update the page and it will show up in the live chat.
6. If you have any questions or issues joining the chat, please contact or DM us @PhenixandPhenix.

More about Susan Heim:
As an award-winning author and editor, popular mommy blogger, and mother of twin boys, multiples expert Susan Heim wears many hats both personally and professionally. In her latest role as co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, March 2009), Susan has collected 101 heartwarming stories from parents and siblings of twins and multiples, as well as adult twins, filled with time-tested advice and humorous tales.

After the birth of her fraternal twin boys, Austen and Caleb, Susan set out to create an interactive community and resources where parents just like her could come for answers. From her own website, where parents share tips, advice and stories about raising twins and multiples, to the pages of TWINS Magazine, Susan's expertise and real-life insights have helped thousands learn how to temper twin tantrums, find baby products for multiples, and spare their own sanity as they raise multiple babies.

In addition to her articles and online communities, Susan also is the author of four books on twins, multiples, and parenting. Her first parenting guide, Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year (Hampton Roads Publishing, 2006), won a Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Award, an iParenting Media Award and a Mom's Choice Award. More recently, It's Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence (Hampton, 2007) won the 2008 Gold Mom's Choice Award, and was a Finalist in the Parenting/Family category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News.

In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More, Susan and fellow parents - as well as grown twins - offer readers a peek into the playful, magical world of multiples.

"The stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More explore the many joys and challenges of being twins and raising multiples," Susan says. "The special bond they share, the challenges they face together, the trouble they get into, and the mysteries surrounding twins are all evident in tales submitted by twins, parents of multiples, and friends and relatives of these special siblings."

Susan has three additional books schedules for publication in the fall 2009: Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family, Chicken Soul for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women and Mom's of Multiples' Devotions to Go (Extreme Diva Media, Inc.). When she is not writing books or editing manuscripts, she is an online columnist for, and a parenting expert for,, and For more information about Susan Heim and her books, please visit, or her blog,

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Easy as 1, 2, 3: Rule of thirds makes social media a snap

As social media continues to be all the rage, I find myself―and the rest of our team―going to great lengths to keep a pulse on social networking trends and best practices. I was fortunate enough to participate in a great tele-seminar this afternoon, hosted by Heidi Sullivan and Jay Krall from Cision Global Media, on Understanding Social Media. There were many useful sub-topics discussed in the forum, but one bit of information I found particularly relevant and applicable to anyone using social media and trying to figure out not only if it’s needed but what to do with it. This is a must use, social-media rule to live by:

Rule of thirds:
So often, we see authors set up a social media account and then we get the inevitable: Now what? Here’s the 411 on how to come up with content:

1. One-third of your content can be promotional: Mention the great things that are going on―your book publicity, events, accolades, etc.

2. One-third of your content should be sharing oriented: What interesting, relevant articles have you read lately? Are you a health author? Share a great article on a new study that’s been released. You know that phrase you hear us publicists use again and again: news you can use.

3. One-third of your content needs to be conversation oriented: Social media is all about being, well, social. Converse with others in your network. Create a dialogue. The more online social capital you have the better off you’ll be.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tweet the Author Recap: The 3-hour tour

Today's highly anticipated 1-hour 'meet the author on Twitter' session became a 3-hour tour of all things Brandon Sanderson. Turnout was record-setting.

Okay, so we're only in our 2nd week of the new weekly series, but we've tested the waters and we're excited to know that the concept has been well-received.

It's doesn't hurt that today's guest was the author of a current NYT bestseller -- an epic fantasy mastermind with a seriously loyal following. Brandon's virtual author appearance went so well in fact, that Twitter just couldn't keep up - it locked him out after exceeding the number of posts allowed in an hour.

He kept a mean pace with the incoming "Tweet the Author" questions and under anther household account, kept chugging along. Last we checked, the party is still in progress at #tweettheauthor. For all you latecomers, it's not too late to jump in & get the scoop on his latest book, Warbreaker.

For a few of the 140 character highlights, read on:

Q: What is the most important part of writing that you have learned to be a successful author?
A: 1) Persistence. 2) Revision. 3) Characters with distinct viewpoints. 4) Use of concrete detail.

Q: Can reveal anything about the setting in Kings?
A: The setting with be the most unique I’ve done. Entirely new ecology.

Q: Now that you've published more, what order should people read your books in? Both Fntsy & non-fntsy readrs
A: Non fantasy readers I’d give Elantris to first. Fantasy readers I’d give Mistborn to

Want to catch up on the rest? Enter #tweettheauthor in your Twitter search box and get comfy. Again, big thanks to Brandon for joining us today!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Have a seat, Kindle: Barnes & Noble nabs #1 Books spot on "Top Free Apps"

We were excited to see on GalleyCat today that Barnes & Noble has taken top honors in the "Top Free Apps" category under App Store's "Books" category, just a little over a week from the release of their new B&N Bookstore App. We were also pleased to see that in addition to searching event calendars for author readings, the new app allows users to watch video interviews with authors (speaking of....we might know somebody who does author interviews......!).

But truth be told, like GalleyCat, we were downright shaking with geeky glee when we learned about the snap-and-search feature. As B&N explains, users can simply snap a picture of a book, and in seconds, gain product reviews, editorial reviews, and customer ratings - even locate it at the nearest B&N, and reserve it for pick-up.

I know book lovers - I know! Finally, we are getting as techy as the music crowd! Before you know it, Pandora will have swept in to generate reading lists based on our favorite books and/or authors! Oh wait, someone already has.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 6, 2009

James Frey, Jackie O, MJ and more...

Happy Monday! Here’s a brief round-up of some interesting book-related tidbits from across the web:

-Governor Mark Sanford’s book deal has been canceled for, um, obvious reasons.

-The U. S. Department of Justice is investigating a settlement involving Google Book Search for possible antitrust violations.

-TIME profiles a blog called Awful Library Books that—you guessed it—lists the cheesiest, dated books that can be found at your local library. I think I remember a few of these from the old card catalogue at the Ector County Public Library, myself...

-Also, this isn’t so much breaking news, but still makes me gasp in horror: Director extraordinaire Michael Bay has apparently acquired the rights to an unpublished James Frey novel about teenage aliens. Or something like that. We’re pretty sure this one is fiction this time.

-The Christian Science Monitor’s Chapter & Verse blog posted an entry about authors visiting book clubs as a marketing tool.

-Jackie O and Bobby Kennedy? Torrid affair? You be the judge. This falls under the “We Just Can’t Get Enough Kennedy Family Drama” category.

-Apparently a couple of Chinese writers threw together a biography on Michael Jackson in 48 hours, fewer than 10 days after his death. After all, who could be a better authority on MJ than two guys in China who "never met or interviewed Jackson" but wrote the book based on their "accumulated knowledge about the king of pop." Put my copy in the mail.

-And I agree with this post about keeping the sex out of Harry Potter films. Leave the steamy scenes and romance to Twilight!