Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: The Bookseller

#Novels & #Novelists

#Novels & #Novelists Warning

This post is more like homework than a news broadcast…

I’m dealing with complete uncertainty about the status of family members in Florida (…due to hurricane Irma…).


Instead of pulling excerpts from the articles I had planned for today, I’m going to show you the articles and only sketch-out the connections between them

You get to read them and make further deductions—perhaps you’ll leave your thoughts in the Comments


The first two articles are both from Aeon and the titles alone should give clues to why I’ve associated them here:

I Am Not a Story ~ Some Find It Comforting to Think of Life as a Story. Others Find That Absurd. So Are You a Narrative or a Non-Narrative?

Indescribable You ~ Can Novelists or Psychologists Better Capture the Strange Multitude of Realities in Every Human Self?

The third article is from The Bookseller, the publication’s title being a clue for a possibly narrow perspective:

Authors Question the Novel’s Future in Face of Declining Attention Spans

I really would like some Comments, even if all you do is scan the articles, grab a few ideas, and sum-up what looking at all three of them means to You
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Improper Government Searching of Books?

I’ve written here before about attempts to control what we read in What’s To Be Done About Banned Books?

Today’s post is related but different

There’s a publication called The Bookseller.

They recently had an article called, Security staff begin checking books at US airports.

And, before I share excerpts, I’ll ask folks in countries besides the United States of America to share in the Comments anything happening in their countries that might be similar

So, a few excerpts:

“Security staff in US airports have reportedly been demanding passengers clear all the reading material out of their hand luggage into a separate bin during safety searches so that staff can search for items made of paper.”

Here’s where this “pilot program” has already begun:

“…searches have taken place in Missouri and various other airports including Los Angeles, Boise, Colorado Springs, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Boston Logan, Lubbock, Munoz Marin in Puerto Rico, Las Vegas McCarran and Phoenix Sky Harbour.”

The reason for it?

“Transportation Security Administration officials said the new process is because carry-on bags are getting so full that screening agents at x-ray machines are struggling to see what is inside and so cannot search for items effectively.”

The real reason?

“A senior policy analyst of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project added: ‘Books raise very special privacy issues… there is a long history of special legal protection for the privacy of one’s reading habits in the United States, not only through numerous Supreme Court and other court decisions, but also through state laws that criminalise the violation of public library reading privacy or require a warrant to obtain book sales, rental, or lending records.'”

I’m not yet believing this is something sinister; though, in the current political climate, one can easily start seeing things that aren’t really there

And, if this does get worse; and, if I were to take a plane and have some books on me, even though I’d abhor doing it, I’d smile and say, “Sure, take a look at my books.”

But, that’s what I believe would be proper; and, it might just let me keep my books, when throwing a public fit about it might get me arrested…

Still, let’s all hope this and other programs like it stay non-tyrannical………
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If You Write for a Living (or, even if you don’t do it for a living), Should You Be Paid to Speak at an Event?

I’ve been following a story… 

Paying Authors to Speak

Image Courtesy of sanja gjenero ~

Not one I’m intimately involved in—I don’t count on being paid as a writer (even though being a writer is my main occupation...)—the United States government pays me a military pension—though, I am looking for an alternative income that could exceed the pension and afford me more freedom of mundane decision :-)

But, it is a story I’m intensely interested in

I first caught wind of the issue in The SpectatorWhy English writers accept being treated like dirt.


concerning the Oxford Literary Festival not paying authors they invited to speak…

“The worst literary festivals prey on their [authors] hope of recognition like conmen preying on lonely old ladies’ hopes of company. If only they could talk to potential readers, writers think. If only they could get them in a room, sit them down and persuade them to give their damn book a chance.”

“In English literary culture, and I suspect the literary cultures of many other countries, middle-class taboos play their part in keeping writers servile.”

“As a well brought up Englishman, it has taken me years to overcome my instinctive nervousness at asking to be paid. It felt sordid, not the sort of thing nice people do. Certainly, when I raised the grubby subject of money, the festival organiser replied in the pained tones of a bishop who has just heard a fart ricochet around his cathedral. I agreed to work for nothing, then resented the festival organisers and despised myself for going along with them.”

That’s a very personal-view-article and, if you’re a writer, you should consider reading the whole thing—if you know a writer, you might consider passing the link to them

The next article I saw about the issue was quite different—in The BooksellerAuthors rally behind festival boycott campaign.


Beginning with reference to an open letterA call to boycott festivals that don’t pay author fees

“‘Twenty years ago there was a glorious cottage industry feel about the festivals but now they are much more professional events. ‘Special Advisors’ are handsomely paid to organise prestigious sponsors to foot the bill for pompous dinners – it has always seemed to me that having minor royals round a dinner table would be much more suited to a food festival or a British Legion event. Somewhere some literary festivals have lost their way. Wonderful events happen – but often the organisers don’t even know. They were busy changing for dinner! Hopefully the spirit of celebrating writing and the sometimes subversive spirit of creativity can return.'”

Then, a few days later, again in The Bookseller, I saw this—Oxford Literary Festival looks to start paying authors.


from a statement from the Festival (which other articles have disputed…)

“We have of course been aware of the debate regarding author payments for some time, but given the limitations of the tight budgets we run to (the Festival’s last audited accounts show a loss of £18,000 in 2014) paying each speaker would require an additional 15% in costs or £75,000 for the 500 speakers across our 250 events planned for 2016. However, once April’s Festival is over, we will meet with all interested parties to discuss how to achieve payment of fees for all speakers while safe-guarding the presence of our record-levels of unknown writers for 2017 and beyond”.

Then, the last article I’ve seen (though, as with most issues surrounding authors and pay, there will probably be more…), from The GuardianLiterary festival boycott could trigger writers’ block.


“Last week you carried a news item (Report, 14 January) in which prominent authors called on publishers and writers to boycott festivals that don’t pay them. If they mean events where no writers are paid, I wholeheartedly support them. If, however, they want a boycott of festivals where some writers are paid and others not, all they will achieve is a decline in the number of opportunities for established and new authors to present their work.

Philip Pullman states that ‘only the authors … are expected to do it for nothing’. In most cases, this is patently not true. Those who actually do it for nothing – indeed often contribute financially – are the organisers and supporters. If an author has a ‘name’, they are bound to attract an audience, which means that relative unknowns are able to enjoy an equal degree of publicity on the strength of their colleagues’ prominence. It is only fair to pay the well-known authors more since, without them, there would be little or no audience at all.”
~ Ed Tonkyn

So, whether you’re a publisher, writer, or the dearly-loved reader, do you think all authors should be paid to speak at gatherings and events?
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The Gift of Reading

December 25th, for many people, is a time of gift-giving… WorldReader

It seems most folks who give gifts on this day give them to family and friends

Some take the time, and in some cases sacrifice a bit of money, to give gifts to people they don’t know

I came across an article in The Bookseller called ‘Data-light’ in the deep field with Worldreader.

It’s by Danielle Zacarius, director of content and publisher relations with Worldreader.

There are many reasons I’d encourage you to read that article; but, if you don’t, please try just one thing.

If you have a mobile phone, go to your browser and open to see what over a million people in 69 countries use to receive the gift of reading.

You can also find out why those people in all those countries consider Worldreader as a gift-giver with certain apps:

“Worldreader Mobile is a single place to discover, read, and collect free e-books in a variety of languages, from different parts of the world. Find storybooks to read to your children, access textbooks to help you with your assignments, or look up important health information you’ve been curious about. Worldreader Mobile is available on any internet-enabled mobile phone, including on the simplest feature phones.”

If you glance back up at the image of the world (click it to see a larger map), notice that the light blue countries are where Worldreader mobile is available; and, the dark blue countries also have access to the mobile site but, in addition, have the bounty of e-readers full of books (given away by Worldreader)

I’ve talked about Worldreader before on this blog and I hope you take that last link—if not, try the Worldreader blog

If you’re reading this post, you must consider the ability to read a fabulous Gift—Go Here to give the Gift to others
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New #Publishing Periodical for #Writers & #Authors ~ The Hot Sheet

If you’re a writer (author) looking to be published or striving to understand the publishing-world, you may want to spend around $US 2.27, biweekly, for an email periodical from two industry powerhouses—Jane Friedman and Porter Anderson.

Here’s a bit about Jane:

Jane Friedman “Writer and professor Jane Friedman has more than 15 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer’s Digest, where she ultimately became publisher and editorial director; more recently, she served as the digital editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review. Jane specializes in educating authors about the publishing industry, and is known for thought-provoking talks on the future of authorship. She currently teaches digital media and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly.”

And, a bit about Porter:

“Journalist, speaker, and consultant Porter Anderson is Associate Editor for The Bookseller’s The Porter AndersonFutureBook in London. A former news anchor, correspondent, editor, and producer, he now focuses his coverage on publishing. His analysis is read at New York’s Thought Catalog, and he programs conference events for IDPF, Frankfurt Book Fair, The Bookseller, and Novelists Inc. He has worked with CNN International,, The Village Voice, Dallas Times Herald, Publishing Perspectives, Rome’s UN World Food Programme, and Copenhagen’s INDEX. He is a Fellow with the National Critics Institute.”

Here are the basics about the periodical from their site:

Why did you start The Hot Sheet?

“We wanted to create a way to help authors understand issues that affect them, but without drama and hype. With a biweekly schedule, we’re not interested in delivering breaking news, but perspective on stories that are likely to retain importance or meaning for your long-term decision making. Thus, we hope to provide distance and nuance on complex issues.

“We hear frequently from authors that they’re confused about what’s happening in publishing, or they wonder who’s ‘right’ about controversial issues. The Hot Sheet helps you sort through the noise. You’ll understand reactions and opinions from across the publishing spectrum, and you can decide for yourself where you stand. We think this helps reduce anxiety, increases the knowledge and power of authors, and helps us all work better together.

“Without fear of missing out, you can stop looking through comment threads or social media channels in which everyone is shouting at each other, and focus on your author career.”

Is it for traditionally published authors or self-published authors?

“Both. Changes in publishing affect everyone. We take a neutral perspective on how authors publish, and deliver information about stories, developments, publishers, retailers, and services without any specific agenda or bias.”

Is it for unpublished writers?

“If you’re interested in keeping up with changes in the publishing industry, sure. You’ll be able to understand it. But this newsletter isn’t about how to get published.”

So that $US 2.27/biweekly ends up costing $US 59.00/year and they call that an “Introductory Rate”

They offer a “30-day free trial” but it ends up that you need to pay for a year; but, they don’t charge your credit card during the first month and you can cancel anytime for a prorated refund

You can use PayPal to subscribe but they don’t spell out how the first-month-free works for that

I’m recommending this periodical purely on the reputation of Jane and Porter—I can’t imagine them doing something that’s just hype or producing something that isn’t of great value

So, if you’re interested, go grab The Hot Sheet :-)

Here are a few more reasons, from Jane & Porter, to try it:

  • Do you worry that you’re not keeping up with marketing strategies other authors use? When it comes to PR, are you on thin ice?
  • Do you get exhausted trying to find information about something “somebody said on some blog the other day”—and you don’t even know if it’s important?
  • Have you ever tried to figure out how changes in the publishing industry affect your next book? For that matter, do you know what most impacted your last book?
  • Can you tell if the latest overnight success story is an outlying case, or if it represents something you need to add to your long-term goals?
  • Are you so focused on your writing that you don’t have the industry context to assess issues? When you look for answers, do you find only gossip?
  • Are you looking for a competitive business edge—to be a smart and informed author in today’s shifting business environment?


Perhaps I’ve given you enough to encourage you to, at least, go visit The Hot Sheet site?
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