Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 28, 2012
S&S and Author Solutions Launch Archway Publishing
Simon & Schuster and Author Solutions are together launching Archway Publishing, a self-publishing service with a focus on fiction, nonfiction, business and children's books.
Under the Archway Publishing umbrella, Author Solutions will offer editorial, design, distribution and marketing services to self-published authors. Archway Publishing titles will be listed on Edelweiss, and Archway will offer a speakers' bureau, video and book trailer production and distribution services and a "concierge service," allowing authors to work with a publishing guide who will coordinate each step of the book production process. Some of its services are among the priciest for self-publishing authors, ranging as high as $25,000 for the "outreach" program for business book authors.
S&S and Author Solutions quoted Bowker data on self-publishing, saying that 211,269 self-published titles (based on ISBNs) were released in 2011, up more than 60% from the previous year.
S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy commented: "Through Archway Publishing, Simon & Schuster is pleased to be part of the rapidly expanding self-publishing segment of our industry. Self-publishing has become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers, including Simon & Schuster. We're excited that we'll be able to help more authors find their own path to publication and at the same time create a more direct connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to traditional publishing."
One unusual aspect of the deal: in July, Penguin Group parent company Pearson bought Authors Solutions and combined it with Penguin, which is merging with Random House. According to the New York Times, S&S and Author Solutions were already working on a deal before the Pearson purchase and "decided to go ahead anyway." Author Solutions divisions include AuthorHouse, AuthorHouse UK, iUniverse, Palibrio, Trafford Publishing and Xlibris.
Parnassus Books at Age One
Highlights from a USA Today profile of Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., and owners Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes, on the store's first anniversary:
Patchett works in the store a few hours every other day and does a lot of handselling. She described her approach to the booksellers' art this way: "I don't look at someone and think, 'I'm going to make a sale.' I look at them and think, 'I know a book you're going to love.' "
Recently she handsold a book to R.A. Dickey, the New York Mets pitcher who just won the Cy Young Award and is the author of the memoir Wherever I Wind Up, published earlier this year. A resident of Nashville, Dickey was in the store to autograph copies of his book and browse. Patchett asked Dickey what kind of book he was looking for. He said, "Coming-of-age stories about boys, with happy endings." Although she might have recommended his own book, she gave him a copy of This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff.
The store's No. 1 bestseller, with 995 copies sold, is The All of It by Jeannette Haien. Patchett wrote the introduction to the 2011 reprint of the 1986 novel.
The store had sales of $2 million in the last year, with an 18% profit margin. Patchett has invested $150,000, to be repaid over 10 years. "Community founders" contributed another $30,000.
Chuck Palahniuk Signed Books Moving to Waucoma Bookstore
St. Helens Bookshop, St. Helens, Ore., which is closing, is turning over its business selling signed copies of Chuck Palahniuk's books to Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, Ore.
Under the St. Helens Bookshop program, Palahniuk funneled requests for signed books through the bookstore and every 6-8 weeks, he signed copies of his titles for the store, and inscribed them as fans ordered.
Obituary Note: Susan Jeffers
Susan Jeffers, author of the 1986 global bestseller Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, which sold 15 million copies "and spawned a mini-industry of workshops and merchandise," died last month, the Guardian reported. She was 74.
Two of Our Favorite Things: Book & Bar
Portsmouth Book & Bar, Portsmouth, N.H., is opening this coming Saturday, December 1, and will sell 15,000 used books and a range of food and drink, Seacoastonline.com reported. Located in 2,800 square feet of strikingly renovated space, Portsmouth Book & Bar will focus on literary fiction, poetry, YA, philosophy and art books.
Store owners David Lovelace, John Petrovato and Jon Strymish have substantial bookselling pedigrees. Together the three owned Montagne Book Mill, Montague, Mass. Petrovato owns Raven Used Books in Boston and Cambridge, Mass. Strymish's family owned the New England Book Fair for more than 50 years. In addition, chef Amy Mehaffey owned the café inside the Eric Carle Museum of Children's Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass.
NPR: Indie Booksellers 'Find Their Footing'
In an NPR All Things Considered segment headlined "Independent Bookstores Find Their Footing," Lynn Neary spoke with three indie booksellers about the holiday retail shopping season, noting that after years of gloom and doom, this year "the mood seems to be lifting, and a lot of booksellers are feeling optimistic."
"People choose to come to this store to do their Christmas shopping on a regular basis," said Steve Bercu, owner of BookPeople, Austin, Tex. "It's a place you can bring your family; it does not have the overwhelming intensity of a shopping mall; it's a single store. And it's just part of the season here in Austin."
In the age of e-books, sometimes print editions require a little more handselling, according to Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.: "I think the key is to convince them that this is one that's a keeper. We're seeing some wonderful, physical books, especially in hardcover, that are just beautiful, and we'll make a case for that. We'll kind of have a customer weigh a book, put it in their hands, and say, 'Look at the quality of this paper... that book won't be yellowed, and it won't be brittle. That book will look great in 10, 20 years.' "
Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner of Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore, said, "I think the smarter publishers are realizing that the way the physical book matters is in the design of it." She cited the store's new First Editions Club as a way customers can build their personal libraries with help from booksellers who "select new titles--fiction or nonfiction--that they think are great and might be valuable in the long term."
Book Trailer of the Day: Pow!
Pow! by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt (Seagull Books), the new novel from the Nobel Prize-winning author.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Sean Carroll and the Hunt for the Higgs Boson
Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27, 9780374203030).
Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Newt Gingrich, co-author of Victory at Yorktown: A Novel (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9780312607074).
Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Late Show with David Letterman: Tony Bennett, author of Life Is a Gift: The Zen of Bennett (Harper, $28.99, 9780062207067).
Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Sean Carroll, author of The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World (Dutton, $27.95, 9780525953593).
TV: Lehane Joins Boardwalk Empire; Blackwood
Author Dennis Lehane will be a writer and creative consultant for HBO's fourth season of Boardwalk Empire. The Boston Herald reported that a "funny thing happened after Boston best-selling author Dennis Lehane wrote a book about bootlegging: HBO called."
"My guess is that someone at HBO read Live by Night and thought it would be a good fit," said Lehane. "I'm a huge fan of the show so it worked out nicely." He will join George Pelecanos, who will executive produce Boardwalk. The Herald noted that the two authors worked together previously on HBO's The Wire.
MTV is developing Blackwood, a drama from Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Productions based on the YA book by Gwenda Bond. Deadline.com reported that DC Comic book and television writer Peter Calloway (Brothers & Sisters) will write the adaptation.
Books & Authors
Awards: Royal Society Prize for Science Books
James Gleick won the £10,000 (US$16,033) Royal Society Prize for Science Books for his book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, which chair of judges Jocelyn Bell called "an ambitious and insightful book that takes us, with verve and fizz, on a journey from African drums to computers, throwing in generous helpings of evidence and examples along the way. It is one of those very rare books that provide a completely new framework for understanding the world around us. It was a privilege to read," the Bookseller reported.
Book Brahmin: Dana Gynther
Dana Gynther's debut novel, Crossing on the Paris (Gallery Books, November 13, 2012), is set in the early 1920s and chronicles the intersection of three women's lives as they embark on a transatlantic voyage. Gynther has a B.A. from the University of Alabama in political science and French and an M.A. in French Literature. She and her husband, Carlos, are teachers and translators, and live in Valencia, Spain, with their two daughters.
On your nightstand now:
I almost always have novels next to my bed, but at the moment I'm reading nonfiction because I'm writing a fictionalized biography of the model/photographer Lee Miller. I have piles of material about her and her times all over the house. The books currently wedged between the alarm clock and the lamp are: the highly entertaining Kiki's Paris: Artists and Lovers 1900-1930 by Billy Kluver and Julie Martin; the museum catalogue "Man Ray and Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism" by Philip Prodger; and Paris Was Yesterday: 1925-1939 by the incomparable American journalist Janet Flanner. A New York Times crossword puzzle book is perched on top.
Favorite book when you were a child:
As a pre-reader, I loved looking at the pictures in the books What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday to You! because there was so much going on there; some of those illustrations are still etched in my memory. Like most kids, I loved Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis, but I have a special fondness for Charlotte's Web by E.B. White because it's the only book I clearly remember my father reading to me. At the end, when Charlotte dies, he got choked up and had to pause, which, at age six or seven, left me dumbstruck. Now, after having lost my father almost four years ago, just seeing the binding can make me teary-eyed.
Your top five authors:
I think favorite authors are always changing, depending on the reader's age, mood and circumstance, as well as the author's output. In the last 15 or 20 years, however, I have consistently gone back to certain 19th century-ish writers (Dickens, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Thomas Hardy and Wilkie Collins) to reread or further explore. There are also many authors I love in the land of the living, like Zadie Smith, Paul Auster, Bill Bryson, Nick Hornby, Jonathan Franzen.... But top five authors? Impossible.
Book you've faked reading:
When I was getting my Masters in French, I loved almost all the reading, from medieval poetry to 17th century theater, to Baudelaire and Balzac, and so on, until I got halfway through my 20th-century novel class. I just couldn't read experimental novels by authors like Alain Robbe-Grillet and Nathalie Sarraute; they were serious, story-less, nonsensical texts to me. I bluffed my way through those two or three weeks of class and then wrote my final paper on Jean Cocteau.
Book you're an evangelist for:
I often recommend Paul Auster's The Book of Illusions and am shocked if people aren't as enthusiastic about it as I was. I've also tried to get all my friends to read Pat Barker's Regeneration, but I think my mother was the only one who was game (Go, Mom!). That was the book that got me interested in World War I, which ended up playing an important role in my novel Crossing on the Paris.
Book you've bought for the cover:
The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. It wasn't just the cool design, but the title, as I'm a sucker for Sherlock Holmes. And when I glanced at the back cover (which I almost never do, as the synopses are often such spoilers) and saw that A. Conan Doyle was a character in the book--with faithful sidekick Bram Stoker!--well, I couldn't resist. And I wasn't disappointed.
Book that changed your life:
Countless books have, in subtle, nearly imperceptible ways. One that I could put my finger on, though, would be Life in a Medieval City by Joseph and Frances Gies. At a youngish age, this book made me realize how fascinating history is (despite what I was being taught in my lethal social studies classes)--the essential first step for anyone to write historical fiction.
Favorite line from a book:
Favorites? Not really, but I'm often blown away by a line in a book and scribble it down for no real reason. Not long ago, I read a paragraph in Kurt Vonnegut's Deadeye Dick which really struck me:
"We all see our lives as stories.... If a person survives an ordinary span of sixty years or more, there is every chance that his or her life as a shapely story has ended, and all that remains to be experienced is epilogue."
Since I'm now writing a novel about a real person's life (and have chosen the "novelistic" years, discarding her last few decades [!]), it has made me feel a bit guilty... and also that I need to get out there and seize the day--I'd like to think my life story is still being written!
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I would love to read the whole Harry Potter series again--without knowing anything about it and without seeing the actors' faces in my head. Such rich, imaginative fun!
Books you hold controversial, unorthodox views of:
On the Brontë sisters: I love Jane Eyre and don't understand why most people think Wuthering Heights the superior book. I think Cathy and Heathcliff are insufferable idiots, and I don't give a damn about their undying love. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch? Creepiest children's book ever. Okay. There it is. Out in the open.
author photo: Claudia Garcia
Children's Review: This Moose Belongs to Me
This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel, $16.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 3-up, 9780399161032, November 13, 2012)
Turning the themes of his previous picture book Lost and Found around, Oliver Jeffers's tale of a boy and moose stars a child, Wilfred, who must meet the animal on its own terms.
The penguin sought a friend in Lost and Found. Here Wilfred claims ownership of a moose that's its own master. Yet the boy finds a way to make the friendship work. On a white background, blond-haired Wilfred, sporting bow tie and suspenders, makes a kind of "ta-da" gesture toward a four-legged spindly-legged moose with generous-sized antlers: "Wilfred owned a moose." The moose came to the boy one day, and "he knew, just knew that it was meant to be his." Standing on a chair, the boy attaches a tag labeled "Marcel" on the furry fellow's right antler. Wilfred explains "the rules of how to be a good pet," but Marcel rarely follows them. Since the moose likes to go his own way, and the boy has a poor sense of direction, he takes a ball of blue string to find his way back, which trails off the sides of the pages.
Jeffers creates thought balloons to depict the boy's fantasy of a tuxedo-clad moose serving drinks from a tray, and the two riding together over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The author-artist superimposes images of his boy and moose heroes atop stunning landscape paintings of the Grand Tetons, Mt. Hood and Wyoming's Jackson Lake (credited to Alexander Dzigurski on the copyright page). On one particularly long walk, Wilfred makes "a terrible discovery.... Someone else thought she owned the moose." A blue-haired lady in a red dress exclaims, "Rodrigo! You're back!" Wilfred thinks it only proper to explain, "This moose belongs to me!" When a dejected Wilfred rushes home to sulk and gets tangled in his blue string, who comes along to save him? Marcel. It turns out he can follow rule 73 to a T: "Rescuing your owner from perilous situations" (of course it helps that Wilfred became entangled under an apple tree).
Children will be thoroughly entertained as they detect more than Wilfred does about the ways of animals in the wild, and also enjoy the book's gentle lesson that true friendship involves give and take. --Jennifer M. Brown
Shelf Talker: Oliver Jeffers's delightfully quirky tale of friendship between a proper boy and a wild moose pays homage to nature and the importance of give-and-take in any relationship.
Top-Selling Self-Published Titles
The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com.
1. Guinness World Records 2013
2. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
3. All In by Raine Miller
4. Naked by Raine Miller
5. LEGO Ninjago: Character Encyclopedia
6. Fade into You by Kate Dawes
7. Checkmate by R.L. Mathewson
8. The Proposition by Katie Ashley
9. The Unwanted Wife by Natasha Anders
10. Fade into Me by Kate Dawes
[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]