Thursday, November 16, 2006

The National Book Awards (or, This Ain't No Quills)

Once again, the National Book Awards have delivered up five nominees that have garnered weak sales on their own (except for one). Courtesy of Publishers Marketplace, the Bookscan data is as follows:

Mark Z. Danielewski, Only Revolutions 14,000 units (Amazon rank: 1,743)
Richard Powers, The Echo Maker 4,000 units (Amazon rank: 982)
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document 4,000 units (Amazon rank: 215,013)
Jess Walter, The Zero 3,000 units (Amazon rank: 25,449)
Ken Kalfus, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country 2,000 units (Amazon rank: 41,823)

I've reviewed (several) POD titles on this blog that have sold more than all of these, except for Danielewski's. Granted, some of these titles have only been released for a few weeks. Of course, the real benefit is now that the nominations have been made public, all of these will probably sell at least 50,000 units.

Also important to note is the Amazon rank of each (from a few hours ago), further indicating its unreliablility.


Also, check out
this article over at Independent Publisher (home of the IPPY awards) which touches on the recent issues within the commercial publishing industry. A snippet:

Granted, these days we also see books published by the major houses in which editorial assistance seems to be lacking and/or spelling and typographical errors occur. In other cases we see books published by the majors in which one must ask whether the cause of Literature might have been better served if they had saved the paper. Scan the stacks of remaindered books in the aisles of bookstores in any city, and especially those of the big box stores. Just as an MFA does not guarantee the quality of the writing, publication by a major publishing firm does not guarantee the quality of the writing or its success in the marketplace. Furthermore, the notion that a book published by a major firm guarantees the authenticity of its content is undermined by the claims of plagiarism and falsification made against some of their better-known authors.


And for all my whiney commercially published friends (like me), check out Jason Pinter's blog. His latest entry is about the books that did become successful after [lousy advances] and helped change the publishing landscape. Make sure to read the comments for more examples.

Want a chance to be one of the members of RiotLit? Well, here's your chance. Please, for the love of all that is holy, try to become a member of something meaningful in the publishing industry (aka not ReganBooks; the best part of OJ's book is that James Frey can finally get his life back).

And for all you Science Fiction authors who are looking for reviews . . .

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

300 (but who's counting?)

Contrary to what you've heard, 100,000,000 Bon Jovi fans can be wrong; in fact, it's certain. However, 993,673 POD-dy Mouth fans can not be wrong! We're celebrating today's post--the 300th--here at POD-dy Mouth Industries. That's right, we're opening a second can of Schlitz and it's never tasted better (it couldn't taste worse). I thought I might last 50 entries into this project but here I am, 300 posts and some 103,000 words later, still trying to find free time to do this--but still enjoying it. We've had just shy of a million visitors since this blog's inception back on March 1st of 2005, and it has been profiled/covered in no less than 14 newspapers across this great nation.

Shucks, I'm flattered.

What has all this time and attention proven? That I could have written another novel with the energy spent on this blog. But more importantly (I suppose) is we've shown that there are some dynamite books hidden in the ether, never to land in a dusty corner of B&N. I've had countless emails from folks writing of how they loved a book that I'd reviewed--or even how it changed their lives! No one has ever sent me, the author, such an email.

Way back (18 months ago), going POD (and digital format) seemed like a foolish course to follow. But the landscape is changing daily. And it is tough for an industry as low-geared as publishing to make adjustments in a timely fashion. Look at the most recent post at MJ Rose's blog. Here's a snippet: ". . . the playing field between the bestseller and the midlist book is being leveled."

So, raise a glass (if that's orange juice in your glass, throw a shot of vodka in there) and down one with me. Cheers.



Over at the PubGuy blog, there is an interview with commercially-published author (and actress) Harley Jane Kozak, where she touches on the same items as Nicholas Sparks (from my previous post).

If you haven't been to Five Chapters yet, then put down that screwdriver and type the URL with both hands! Great new writing by great (commercially-published) authors. Check out the archives for some great stuff, too.

And best of all (and totally fun), check out the Warner Books POD page. It's a great place to get books released by Warner, Bulfinch, and Little, Brown while paying PublishAmerica prices. Please note: POD titles are not returnable (*rim shot*).