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LibriVox is looking for volunteers to read and record public domain books for their audiobook library.
The non-profit site selects chapters of books that are in the public domain to read, then releases the audio files for free online. Check it out:
Volunteering for LibriVox is easy and does not require any experience with recording or audio engineering or acting or public speaking. All you need is a computer, a microphone, some free recording software, and your own voice. We accept all volunteers in all languages, with all kinds of accents. You’re welcome to volunteer to read any language you speak, as long as you can make yourself understood in it.
If you think you’d make a good audiobook reader, take LibriVox’s 1-Minute Test to see how you sound.
We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending February 08, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.
(Debuted at #3 in Hardcover Fiction) Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman: “In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well ‘Black Dog,’ a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.” (February 2015)
(Debuted at #6 in Children’s Illustrated) The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat: “This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.” (April 2014)
(Debuted at #7 in Children’s Interest) El Deafo by Cece Bell: “Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers!” (September 2014)
Tennessee politician Jerry Sexton is pushing to make The Holy Bible the official state book.
The Tennessean has the scoop: “It’s unclear how the proposal would meet a provision in Tennessee Constitution that states that ‘no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.'”
Tennessee is not the first state to consider The Bible as its state book. Last year, a Louisiana politician introduced a bill to make a specific copy of The Bible its official state book. The bill was withdrawn after a couple of weeks because apparently the bill became a “distraction.”
It’s a bittersweet time for me as an author. As STRANGE SKIES, my sequel to BURN OUT, is getting ready to launch into the world on April 28th, my publisher Egmont USA is closing its doors. I learned so much from the awesome team there, especially my fabulous editors Greg Ferguson and Alison Weiss. I feel quite lucky that my release date was moved up so that my book will still be published, and am excited to share it with my readers. There are other Egmont authors in my same situation and we’ve banded together to support each other as our books release. We are the last ones—the last authors published by Egmont USA, a publisher that gave many of us our start. The awesome Sarah Cross started a Tumblr site dedicated to Egmont’s last list, and I wrote the introduction over there, so come check out Egmont’s entire Spring ’15 list over at Egmont’s Last List.
I will also be giving away an ARC of STRANGE SKIES to one lucky newsletter subscriber in the next two weeks, so make sure to sign up on the sidebar. Finally, YA author, Aimee Henley, tagged me to write a Top 7 post, so that will be up later this week!
Thijs Biersteker has given the idiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover” a new meaning.
The Dutch artist has invented The Cover That Judges You. The book cover is designed to detect how a reader is judging it based on a scan of the reader’s face. Using a camera, the Nxt software identifies the reader’s emotional state from their expression.
“My aim was to create a book cover that is human and approachable-hi-tech,” explains Biersteker in his artist’s statement. “If you approach the book, the face recognition system picks up your face and starts scanning it for signs of ‘judgement’. If you’re over excited or your face shows a sceptical expression, the book will stay locked. But if your expression is neutral (no judgement) the system will send an audio-pulse to the Arduino and the book will unlock itself.”
Usually I hate February. It’s a dark, bleak little month. Rain dances through the days and frost greets every morning. You have no money and little motivation. Additional weight gained at Christmas still hangs from your waist like a guilty secret and the resolution to take regular jogs feels like a long forgotten joke.
Yep, it’s usually a month I enter with fear and loathing. It’s usually the month I put a big black cross through, before rushing back to bed and reading myself through it.
Except this year! This year was different.
February 2015 would be significant for me in many ways.
1. I would leave my job
2.I would run my first Author visit
3.7 Days would finally be published.
Leaving my job was the first positive more. It was a tiring and stressful job that was no good for me in the long term. A job where I would go home and feel mentally and physically exhausted, barely able to think, let alone type. Resigning was like a strange release and I already know it’s the best thing I could’ve done. Yeah ok, we’re poorer. But I’m calmer and that has to be a good thing, right?
Next was a thing that filled me with fear. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger right? That’s exactly how I felt about stepping out of my comfort zone and entering a brand new school as an author.
I’d done events at my own schools, but this was new and alien. I walked into the building, clutching my bag and trying to ignore the gnawing feeling in the pit of my tummy. BUT it ended up being the best. The students I met were so lovely and engaged and so interested in both 7 Days and my work as an author. I left feeling both inspired and accepted. I realised the buzz I’d gained was a totally new and refreshing experience. This was good for me.
And finally, February was when 7 Days was let out into the big bad world.
And it was a lovely day. I had cake mid-morning (why not). I treated myself to a dress. I received lots of wonderful tweets from supportive followers everywhere. I chatted on-line to other fabulous authors who were being published on the same day. We were all doing different things, but we all felt the same mixture of excitement and anticipation.
Then in the afternoon, I received a wonderful bouquet of flowers from my publisher that so far I have managed not to kill (a new record I feel).
Later, I went for a meal with my husband. I had a lovely cocktail and a delicious Caribbean curry and toasted the start of an amazing year.
Because it will be an amazing year. This will be the first year I can actually admit to myself that I have ‘done it’, I have accomplished a dream. And whatever life throws at me, whatever the new ups and downs – I need to remind myself of this one moment.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers plans to publish a children’s book starring the YouTube sensation, Tiny Hamster.
Here’s more from the press release: “Tiny Hamster Is a Giant Monster will have a photographic treatment and feature images from the video. When Tiny Hamster accidentally eats some mad scientist goo, he turns into a giant, Godzilla-like hamster, stomping through the city and eating everything in sight. This adorably monstrous story is sure to delight readers of all ages. The Tiny Hamster videos, including ‘Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Burritos,’ are created by Denizen Company.”
Joel Jensen, Joseph Matsushima, and Amy Matsushima, the co-founders of the Denizen Company, will collaborate on the writing for the forthcoming picture book. A release date for both the book and a new video with the same title has been set for June 2nd. Follow this link to check out a playlist of videos featuring the celebrity rodent.
Cassandra Clare will collaborate with three fellow young adult novelists, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. The four writers will be working on a new novella series called Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy (similar to The Bane Chronicles short story collection).
According to Clare’s blog post, each of the ten novellas will come out on a monthly basis as eBooks. Once all ten novellas have been digitally published, they will be compiled in a print book.
Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, will release the first one, entitled Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy, on February 17th. Clare announced on her Facebook page that Devon Bostick, an actor on The 100 television series, has signed on to narrate the audiobook edition of this book.
Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature will partner together to create a website for bibliophiles called Literary Hub. The launch date has been scheduled for April 8th.
More than 65 partners ranging from publishing houses to literary journals to bookshops have signed on to provide content for this venture. Some of the large publishers who will be participating include Knopf/Vintage (an imprint of Penguin Random House), Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins), and Little, Brown & Company (an imprint of the Hachette Book Group USA).
Here’s more from the press release: “Literary Hub will showcase publishing and literary news, as well as partner content including author interviews, features, excerpts, and essays. The site will also offer diverse original content curated by Editor in Chief Jonny Diamond, Executive Editor John Freeman, Contributing Editors including Roxane Gay, Rebecca Wolff, and Alexander Chee, and nearly a dozen correspondents from across the country.”
First off, I have a disclaimer. I wrote "TRADITIONALLY" up there because I currently have no idea how to be a self-published author. I'm sure someday I will know how to be a self-published author, but I am honestly:
1. Not organized enough to be a self-published author 2. Way too cheap to hire people to edit, copy edit, design, and market. Seriously. I am so cheap that I am having a hard time justifying conditioner even though my hair is currently a tangled mess. I also need a haircut. But again. I am cheap. It's kind of a problem. I grew up super poor so I always worry about running out of money. Being a writer for a living has not helped with this issue.
Back on Track: Also, I think a lot of the steps are similar because whether or not you are a tradionally published author or a self-published author you have to write a book. Right?
1. You Have to Want It
Seriously. You have to want to be published enough to devote time to it. Talking about writing does not equal wanting it. Writing words down somewhere? That equals wanting it.
2. You Have to Write
Words have to make their way onto a computer or a notebook or something. You can't publish The Book of Awesome without writing The Book of Awesome.
3. You Have to Read
Reading is studying. We learn the craft by immersing ourselves in the tools of the craft. That means stories and sentences. Words are just symbols of images and objects and actions. It's cool to see how other authors use those symbols, arrange them, pick them out. That's how we learn! Repeat after me: Learning is fun.
4. Do Not Freak Out That You Suck
Everyone sucks. Everyone is brilliant. And almost everyone thinks that they suck and that they are brilliant and that they suck. It's like a cycle. You can't get hung up on how good The Book of Awesome is ESPECIALLY on the first draft. You just have to write and write and write until you get to the end of the first draft because that's where the fun starts.
5. Global Revision is Awesome
No. I am not lying. Revision really is awesome. It's like making a collage. You cut things up, add things in, smell some ModPodge and laquer that whole thing up into something beautiful, something with layer and meaning, something that makes sense. Revision is what saves us all from the suck that is our first draft, and if you think about it as putting a puzzle together or solving THE MYSTERY THAT IS YOUR PLOT or THE MYSTERY OF HOW TO MAKE EVERYONE NOT HATE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER, it's super fun.
Revision is not about hating yourself. Revision is about loving your story enough to step up and make it shine.
6. Line Edits
Okay. Line edits are where I pretend I'm one of those writers that are in movies. You know the kind, right? They worry over every word. They hook-up an IV line of scotch because they use the word "cringe" 87 times in a 1,000 word poem. That sort of thing. Line edits are like when you pretend to be an evil editor, red-lining words out, deleteing images, and all that stuff. It's kind of hot in a sadistic way.
7. Write a Query
This is the part where I used to cry. That's because the writing side of awesome has suddenly turned into the business side of getting noticed. I am a flamboyant person when out in the world, but I am sooooo super shy and soooo horrifying self-deprecating. Like I have a hard time admitting to the fact that I am a best-selling author because it seems braggy to me. I know. I have issues.
Anyway, I hate this part but it is super necessary to getting published.
A query is a letter to an agent or publisher telling them why he or she wants you and your book. It's like speed dating in 300 words or less and you don't get to wear a cute skirt or lick your lips or anything.
Queryshark is the best resource for this. It's Janet Reid's site. She's an agent. queryshark.blogspot.com
8. Hello? Hello? We Should Be a Couple
Now that you have a query letter, you have to start searching for an agent. An agent represents you and your book, helps you find a home for your book, negotiates contracts, rights and takes about 15% of your earnnings as his or her agent pay. You want an agent who loves your work, tolerates you, that you feel respected by, that communicates with you, that advocates for you.
Basically, you want your agent to be kick ass in a way that doesn't intimidate you but instead compliments you.
Remember to keep track of what agents you send stuff to! Also, do not stalk them.
Just like there are good cops and bad cops, good cheese and bad cheese, there are good agents and bad agents. A nice place to sort through them is pred-ed.com, which is Preditors and Editors.
A good way to find them is agentquery.com
9. Shove Your Baby Out the Door
Now that you have: 1. A book 2. A query letter 3. Agents to send it to
You have to shove your book baby out into the big world. Do that.
Remember to: 1. Follow the agents' guidelines about how many pages of your book that they want with the query letter. 2. Not seem like a stalker, but seem like you know a little something about the agent's other clients, or likes. 3. Be detail oriented. Follow all those guidelines about submissions that the agent has posted out there. Really. This is not the time to be a quirky cupcake by writing YOU WANT ME AND YOU KNOW IT WE BELONG TOGETHER as teh subject line in your email query.
10. Wait Forever
You will probably have to wait forever to hear anything from your potential Best Agent in the World about the Book of Awesome. This is normal. This is annoying. Try not to stress. Realize that when you do stress it is normal to stress.
Write while you wait.
11. Accept What Happens
Sometimes your Book of Awesome will not find a Best Agent in the World. This does not mean you suck. Repeat after me: I do not suck.
It just means what then?
It means nothing, honestly. Publishing is weird and slow and subjective. A book nobody notices can become a international bestseller in a couple years.
So... if everyone says no, you must just keep writing. Query a little more, but in the meantime write another book. If you want to write as a career, you have to treat it as a career, and keep producing words, refining your craft, practicing your trade. If you are already working on other Books of Awesome, it makes it much easier to deal with Book One of Awesome being rejected.
If an agent asks for a FULL, this means she wants to see the whole entire Book One of Awesome. Send it. If they like it they will probably call you. Try to be cool about this. It will be hard.
If an agent asks for a full, calls, and then offers to represent you...
1. Do a happy dance. 2. Do the happy dance silently so the agent doesn't hear whooping noises. 3. Tell them you'd like a little time to think about it. 4. Think about it or at least pretend to. 5. Keep dancing. 6. Accept offer. 7. If you have queries out to other agents, send them a quick note saying you've accepted representation somewhere else and thank them for their time and consideration. 8. Dance more. 9. Wait while your agent send out Book of Awesome to publishers. 10. Try not to stress. This is called Being on Sub (submission) and it is super stressful. 11. Keep writing. 12. If you get an offer from a publisher - Boom! You are golden. Your agent will craft that offer with you and - Booyah. You are traditionally published.
Please remember to be nice throughout the whole process. It's stressful. Life is stressful, but try to be kind even when you are in the pits of rejection despair. It's super important.
Yay! Good luck!
I will try to write more blogs about writing instead of just posting pictures of my dogs and snow, but posting pictures of my dogs and snow is so much more fun. Less helpful though, I know.
We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending February 01, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.
(Debuted at #6 in Children’s Interest) I Was Here by Gayle Forman: “When her best friend, Meg, drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her.” (January 2015)
(Debuted at #7 in Hardcover Nonfiction) Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder: “The Pa of Pioneer Girl is still a selfless provider, Ma is a skilled homemaker, Mary a prim playmate, and Laura a good-hearted tomboy. Their stories may have been tidied up on the path between nonfiction and fiction, but their characters remain reassuringly intact.” (December 2014)
(Debuted at #8 in Hardcover Fiction) Private Vegas by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro: “Las Vegas is a city of contradictions: seedy and glamorous, secretive and wild, Vegas attracts people of all kinds–especially those with a secret to hide, or a life to leave behind. It’s the perfect location for Lester Olsen’s lucrative business. He gets to treat gorgeous, young women to five-star restaurants, splashy shows, and limo rides–and then he teaches them how to kill.” (January 2015)
Andrew Pillsbury served as the editor. Daryl Cagle wrote the introduction. All of the proceeds generated from book sales will benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists organization.
Here’s more from the press release: “International artists represented in the book include Osama and Emad Hajjaj from Jordan, Michael Kountouris from Greece, Frederick Deligne of France, Angel Boligan from Mexico, Matador from Columbia, Joep Bertrams of The Netherlands, and Paresh Nath from the UAE. The book also includes the work of Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonists Steve Sack, Michael Ramirez, Steve Benson, and Mike Luckovich…Editorial cartoon syndicates supporting the project include Creators Syndicate, Cagle Cartoons, and Universal Uclick. Consumer preorders and purchases will be handled via Gumroad, the Kleiner Perkins-backed online commerce platform. In addition, Gumroad will make the book available for in-tweet purchases.”
Chronicle Books and Tumblr have teamed up for their third annual book search contest. The Great Tumblr Book Search Contest is looking for Tumblr blogs that could potentially be turned into books.
This year, Chronicle has expanded the scope of the contest and is not only looking for humor titles but is also accepting books on art and food & drink. The contest will award 3 grand prize winners from each category. Winners will get a review session with a Chronicle Books editor, $300 worth of Chronicle books, as well as the chance to be published. Submissions close on March 2nd.
Rather than submit a book proposal, bloggers are encouraged to submit their Tumblr pages to the contest. Past winner include: Sh*t Rough Drafts, which waspublished spring 2014, and Droll Pranks for Rich Boys, which comes out this fall.
Roger Sutton, Paul Zelinsky, and George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law’s apartment; photo by Elizabeth Law
…to the sad news that George Nicholson, whom I had first met at an ALA, more than thirty years ago, has died. I first knew George when he was publisher at Dell; he later moved over to Harper and then to a successful second career as an agent, at Sterling Lord Literistic. He was a very kind man, scarily well-read, deceptively soft-spoken, and had great hair. Those Yearling and Laurel-Leaf paperbacks you grew up with? Thank George. Leonard Marcus interviewed him for us back in 2007; go take a look.
The Epic Reads team has revealed the cover for Claudia Gray’s young adult novel, Ten Thousand Skies Above You. HarperTeen will publish this science-fiction book, the sequel to A Thousand Pieces of You, on November 3rd.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has amended its bylaw to accept self-published and indie press credits for Active and Associate memberships within the organization.
“Writers write. Professional writers get paid a decent amount for what they write,” explained Steven Gould, president of SFWA. “For the past five years it’s been apparent that there are ways to earn that decent amount that were not being covered by our previous qualification standards. Though these changes took a substantial amount of time, I’m grateful to everyone who worked toward this end.”
The organization will post its new membership standards on sfwa.org by March 1st. The basic standards are likely to go something like this: $3,000 for novel or a total of 10,000 words of short fiction paid at 6 cents a word for Active membership. SFWA will begin accepting applications from small press and independent publishing qualifying members on March 1st as well.
Have you ever written a novel? For those looking to take the next step, author Kate Hart created an infographic flowchart called “How to Get Published.”
Those who go through this flowchart will encounter questions such as “do you have reliable critique partners?,” “have you researched agents?,” and “does your agent like to help with revisions?”. We’ve embedded the full infographic below for you to explore further—what do you think?
Hey guys! I’m so excited to share this guest post with your from Danielle Barthel, a literary assistant from New Leaf Literary. She offers her own personal experience and insight for breaking into the publishing industry–which I’m sure many of you know isn’t the easiest thing to do.
I’m so happy to be doing a guest post here this week!
I recently read a comment on Alex Bracken’s “You Tell Us: What Do You Want To See” post asking us to talk about hard lessons we’ve learned. For me—and I don’t think I’m alone—one of these lessons was the importance of following my passions. This was most relevant to me when I was trying to find a job in publishing.
The truth is, this is not an easy industry to crack, and there were times that I felt like it was never going to happen. What kept me going was the simple fact that I’ve wanted to work with words forever. I remember the first time I finished a full length book all by myself—one of those big hardcover Disney books that were based off the movies. Remember those? I was so proud of myself.
Books were just my thing. Growing up, I was the kid who got in trouble for reading at night by the light of my yellow American Girl flashlight-lantern (it looks a little like the one here, but I couldn’t find the exact picture).
When I reached the age that I no longer got into trouble for staying up late reading, and I still wanted to do it even though it was no longer “forbidden fruit” (and this was about as rebellious as my conscience let me get), I knew that my obsession with books wasn’t going away.
I actively realized that this was more than a passing rebellious phase, but instead a passion for something greater, when I left for college. I went to undergrad at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. It was five hours from home and the biggest leap I had ever taken outside my comfort zone. My fears about homesickness, not making friends, and being unhappy battled with my desire to learn about all things book related. Now loving books was more than just a passion—it was moving me towards a career.
I majored in English and took entire classes dedicated to Shakespeare, American lit, British lit, and young adult lit—I couldn’t believe it was a requirement to read Harry Potter in a real college class!
And it turned out that Brockport had one of the best study abroad programs around. I could wax nostalgic about my love of England, and specifically the town of York, for hours, but I’ll spare you. Instead I’ll just say I hope everyone has the opportunity to do something that scares them (like finding your own way in a foreign country without Google Maps) at least once in your life. Because it’ll bring even clearer into focus both who you are, and what you want out of life. Or at least it did for me.
Coming home, I knew with certainty—books, words, and the people who worked on them were inspiring and I wanted to be a part of it. So I went to the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute, where I spent an entire month learning more about publishing. It was eye-opening and informative, and when I returned to New York, I set up a ton of informational interviews with wonderful, willing agents and editors to learn even more, before someone I will be forever grateful to suggested that I look into internships.
Even though it might sound like things happened quickly, they didn’t. I spent a few months doing interviews, both informational and for actual jobs/internships. I had this intense Excel grid of people I had emailed for interviews, what they were for, when I met with them, if they responded…
When I got my first real job rejection (for something I had been feeling so good about), I was pretty devastated. Wasn’t I doing everything right? English degree, Denver Publishing Institute grad, interviewing up a storm. Why was I still jobless?
Something I didn’t understand until after I’d been applying for jobs left and right is not to discount things completely out of my control, like being in the right place at the right time. I applied for an internship at Writers House, one of the biggest agencies in New York, after a recommendation from an informational interview. The Writers House intern coordinator initially called me because I was a Denver grad. I got the internship because of a mix of networking and timing and because I fit what they were looking for. All those factors together jump-started my career.
I’ve now worked in the industry I love, at a company I love, for three years as of this January. And after everything that’s led me to this place, it always goes back to my love of books.
So my lesson is this: follow your passions. Do what you love just because you love it. Don’t let those terrifying “what ifs” control your life. Thrive on challenge. And be open to the fact that you don’t have all the answers. That’s okay too.
Following her completion of the Denver Publishing Institute after graduation, Danielle began interning at Writers House. While there, she realized she wanted to put her English degree and love of the written word to work at a literary agency. She became a full-time assistant and continues to help keep the New Leaf offices running smoothly.
In her downtime, she can be found with a cup of tea, a bar of chocolate, or really good book…sometimes all together. Follow Danielle on Twitter!
Literary superagent Bill Clegg labored over his debut novel Did You Ever Have a Family for seven years, unsure anyone would bid on or buy it.
As he told the New York Times, he’s secured mega-deals on behalf of other writers, but gauging reaction to his own novel was difficult.
\"It doesn’t make you any more confident — if anything, it makes you less confident. I represent great writers, and I couldn’t carry their glove on the field. When the bar is set that high, it’s daunting.\"
According to Alexandra Alter at the Times, four publishers bid on his book, and one–Gallery Books’ Jennifer Bergstrom–was so sold on it she offered a two-book deal. She also approached Carolyn Reidy, who is president and chief executive of Gallery’s parent company, Simon & Schuster, asking to create a new literary fiction imprint. Reidy agreed and Clegg’s will be the lead fall title for the imprint, Scout Press.
Bergstrom said, \"Because Bill’s book was the impetus for the imprint, it’s also the epitome of what we want to publish. It’s literary but very accessible, not precious, not fussy, not esoteric.\"
Clegg’s novel centers on a woman whose family was killed and home destroyed in an accidental explosion.
\"So much of my day job is occupying the ambitions of other people’s writing,\" Clegg told the Times. \"To just occupy my own feels almost brazenly selfish.\"
Today we published the 2014 Bookfinder.com Report which features the 100 most sought after out-of-print books in America. The big surprise this year annual report was that after years on the throne the Queen of Pop (Madonna)’s photographic escapade "Sex" was finally knocked off the top of the list, and the book(s) that took its place may surprise you. There were in fact two, and you can read about them here. What I wanted to talk about on the blog, however, are some of the usual suspects there were some interesting additions and subtractions to this year’s list.
Avid readers will notice that A.C.H Smith’s Labyrinth novelization is noticeably missing from the top end of the report; the book has been a part of the BookFinder report since 2010 and was finally re-published in April as Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and contains updated cover art. I’m not sure the books target age group would have any idea who David Bowie is anyway. According to reviews the books both stay quite close to the movie’s plot line however the novel replaces Bowie’s musical interludes with additional dialogue; and Smith also draws out the dialogue in a number of scenes.
Another graduation was In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting by Ray Garton who’s book has been on the BookFinder.com Report since 2008. The fact that it was republished December 31st 2014 left me on the fence as to whether I should remove it from this year’s list, but considering precious few of you would have gotten to read an in-print copy in 2014 I decided to leave it on this year. In 2009 the book became the basis for the hit film The Haunting in Connecticut (starring Virginia Madsen).
Another new, and timely, entry to the list was Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman. The books author, who has been singled out by Forbes as one of the most successful hedge fund managers of recent years, was quoted numerous times this year after his 2013 year end investor letter was leaked online. In the letter he preaches caution and warns of today’s stock markets being too bubbly, and that today's investors should take warning. The fact that his track record for posting huge growth has remained in tact all these years has lead to his 1991 out-of-print value investing opus to fetch four figures, when you can find it.
Every year I find stories about these books buried within the list, and every year I also miss some amazing stories. Read the full list and let us know any of your interesting stories about the books within.
Sir Jay Tidmarsh, 82, came across the long-forgotten copy of Ashenden by W Somerset Maughan as he cleared out his shelves. The former businessman opened the cover and spotted the stamp of his old school inside, which he had left in 1949.
This is the 8th New Year's post I've written since starting my blog to chronicle my publishing journey. Coincidently five years ago I also skipped posting in the month of January and wrote my traditional New Year post on February 2nd, 2010. Know why I was late that year? I'd spent the previous twelve months being a mom to TWO kids, a situation previously undeveloped in my first two years on the blog. Somehow January just slipped through my fingers.
Also coincidently I'm late this year for practically the same reason. While the two children in question are of the paper, watercolor, and imagination variety they demand almost as much time, although they don't argue in the back of the car as much. And when I say two children, that's almost a misnomer for The Little Kid's Table which encompasses a whopping 13 characters. I like to think of The Little Kid's Table as being the Type A overachiever child - so many things to say, so many things to do, so many things to be right about. Kooky Crumbs, whose detailed sketches were just approved last week, is the quieter, artsier child. Right now it stands in the shadow of The Little Kid's Table on the drawing board, but as that one's deadline draws near Kooky Crumbs will get its time to shine.
Here are a few random pics that I snapped during the first year of raising The Little Kid's Table:
Character sketches and initial thumbnail layouts
close up of my initial thumbnail layout. Some of these stayed the same, some changed
My stack of discarded sketches
One of my favorite spreads
The line up. I kept several illos taped over my drawing table for character reference.
This one and the one above were some of the first illos I did. I was trying to get the kids characters developed.
Finally let's have a look at my resolutions for 2015. I really struggled with these for the first year ever. Usually my resolutions revolve around professional goals but 2014 saw many years of professional resolutions bear fruit. After several weeks of letting resolution ideas soak in my brain I realized I kept coming back to work/life balance. I need to remember that just because I'm not dragging a pencil or paintbrush across the paper doesn't mean I'm not developing as an artist. So here's what I resolve for 2015:
1) stop thinking of chatting with friends on social media as "wasting time." Many of those same friends are illustrators or writers just like me, blessed with an abundance of ideas and projects, cursed with a lack of time and working in solitude constantly. Chatting helps.
2) In that same vein, stop thinking of sitting in my idea chair with a cup of coffee and a good book as wasting time. Reading good books is what gives me good ideas. Ditto on reading good books to my kids.
3) Make time to have coffee with friends that I haven't in a while, even if I'm on a deadline. A couple of times recently I've seen the theme of having an interesting life outside of the studio as being essential to being a great artist. All work and no play dulls the pencil. Seems like the universe is trying to tell me that I can't always rest on the excuse of "I'm on a deadline, I don't have time."
4) this one is the real kicker - don't feel guilty about keeping these resolutions.
Islamic State militants reportedly invaded the Central Library of Mosul last month, allegedly destroying books that “disobey” Allah.
The Boston Globe has the scoop:
Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded about 2,000 books — including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy, and tomes on sports, health, culture and science — into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.
Apparently the group, broke into the library and stole these texts and later destroyed them.