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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: winter institute, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 12 of 12
1. Three Percent #27: The Night of a Million Books

In this week’s podcast, Tom and I talk about the ABA’s Winter Institute, which just took place in New Orleans. We also go on about World Book Night, which you should volunteer for by clicking here.

We also talked about my daughter and her “letter of hate” to the awful Dan Borislow, who, “ruined our summer of fun.”

(And in my defense for encouraging her to write this, there’s no amount of 8-year-old crazy that can approximate Borislow’s 50-year-old detached from all reality crazy. Just read the emails in the link above, and keep in mind that this jag ruined women’s soccer for tens of thousands of young girls in the most egotistical, asinine fashion ever. ChloĂ« is 100% in the right on this.)

To honor the song that conquered soccer, this week’s music is Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

As always you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by clicking here. To subscribe with other podcast downloading software, such as Google’s Listen, copy the following link.


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2. Keeping Up*

Umm.... I guess I'm on Facebook now. We recently created a Facebook page for McNally Jackson -- I admit I groaned a little at first, but it's becoming a neat way to spread the word about events, extend discussion beyond the bookstore, and share the love. I had to create a personal profile to administer the store page, and well.... there are just so many cool people out there (that I do, actually know IRL**) that I now find myself friending with abandon.

I think I'd avoided Facebook for a long time for the same reason I haven't read Harry Potter -- if everyone else is doing it, why should I? (In other words, I'm a snob, and it somehow seemed like something for kids with short attention spans.) And I still have my reservations about the procrastination potential, not to mention the idea that relationships can be maintained without face-to-face contact, and that "friend" is a verb... but I think perhaps I was just being stubborn by avoiding it altogether. Hopefully I can control the addictiveness -- and hey, I've already gotten in touch with an author for a potential event, so come on, it's totally practical.

And today, I discovered via the Facebook page of Kristin Gillian Vlahos of the ABA that there's a Winter Institute Flickr page! So I'm feeding my hunger for news from Salt Lake City by perusing the pics submitted. If you're there, help a sister out and post some great book and people pictures. If you're stuck at home like me, check it out for some vicarious thrills. Hooray for the intersection of the electronic and the traditional!

* Get it? Keeping up with the Facebook Joneses, keeping up on Winter Institute happenings...

** IRL = In Real Life. Like, totally LOL.

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3. Tuesday

So much going on there's just not enough time for everything!

I'm working some extra hours at the bookstore this week because some of our staff will be gone at the ABA Winter Institute. It looks like a fantastic program this year -- I'll be thinking of all of you who are there! (And if you're going and feel like writing up your experiences, I'd love to have some guest bloggers about WI3 on Written Nerd -- send me an email if you're interested.)

Wednesday evening is the awards ceremony for the Brooklyn Public Library's PowerUp! business plan competition -- the ALP and I will be there to hear the winners announced. I'm looking forward to seeing what great businesses are being planned in Brooklyn, and getting some feedback on my bookstore plan... so send some good vibes my way if you think about it.

I've got some new writing assignments lately -- I'll let you know when there's something to read, but I don't want to jinx myself by promising too much. Right now I'm feeling a bit too sleepy to imagine writing. I spent part of the morning at Old First with an incredible project for fighting homelessness in New York -- the staff and volunteers of Common Ground work 24/7, and the people they're helping don't always have the luxuries of hot showers and naps. It's good to put things in perspective, and better to try to help -- I don't know how much good my presence did, but I was there, and I'm hoping I can go again.

Hope you're having a good Tuesday, too.

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4. Link-Mad Monday: WI3 and "the reading business"

Welcome home from Winter Institute, booksellers! From all I've heard already, this year in Louisville was just as invigorating a session as last year in Portland. Here's where you can find out more:

The lovely Lori Kauffman of Brookline Booksmith was live blogging from WI3 on her blog, Brookline Blogsmith; check it out for some impressions of Danny Meyer's opening presentation on hospitality vs. service, Gary Hirschberg's bit on saving the world while making a living, some bookseller/librarian conspiring, and Lori's pick of the galleys. And I suspect there's more to come -- the intensity of the programming can make it impossible to find time to blog, so sometimes it's all about the recap afterward.

Dan Cullen of the ABA was also live blogging on the ABA blog, Omnibus, and has posted exhaustive coverage of the whole thing, Thursday to Saturday, plus lots of pictures. Dan humbly admits the difficulty of finding time or a single perspective on a weekend that includes "24 educational sessions, 12 rep picks' sessions, 3 keynote addresses, an author reception... and a closing reception", but he also does a killer job of capturing a weekend of "flow", that state of concentrated bliss when you're working so well on the work you love that time doesn't seem to exist. (Here's one of my favorite pictures, of three of my Emerging Leaders Council cohorts: Susan Weiss, Sylla McClellan, and Sweet Pea Flaherty. I know Megan Sullivan was also there; can't wait to hear all about it, guys!)

And of course, today's Shelf Awareness has the first in a series of articles recapping the experience and lessons of WI3, written by John Mutter and Susan Weiss. Looking forward to vicariously absorbing those lessons through them.

(And yes, incidentally, there is a little bit about yours truly and my terrific Wednesday night in there too... thanks for the mention!)

Again, I'd love to get a bookseller or two to write here about Winter Institute: their overall experience, a specific session or topics, or even the people you met. Send me an email or leave a comment if you'd like to be a guest poster.

In the meantime, I was surprised and gratified to read an article in the New York Times this weekend that actually rebutted the "no one reads anymore" opinion -- in an article reviewing the Amazon Kindle. Apparently about two weeks ago Steve Jobs of Apple made an already infamous statement when asked about the Kindle and whether Apple would be looking to get into the e-reader business:

"śIt doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

In the Times piece, Randall Stross politely but thoroughly demolishes this absurdity, and ends with a challenge for those of us in what we now call "the book business". Here's the passage -- I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

To Mr. Jobs, this statistic dooms everyone in the book business to inevitable failure.

Only the business is not as ghostly as he suggests. In 2008, book publishing will bring in about $15 billion in revenue in the United States, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association.

One can only wonder why, by the Study Group’s estimate, 408 million books will be bought this year if no one reads anymore?

A survey conducted in August 2007 by Ipsos Public Affairs for The Associated Press found that 27 percent of Americans had not read a book in the previous year. Not as bad as Mr. Jobs’s figure, but dismaying to be sure. Happily, however, the same share — 27 percent — read 15 or more books.

In fact, when we exclude Americans who had not read a single book in that year, the average number of books read was 20, raised by the 8 percent who read 51 books or more. In other words, a sizable minority does not read, but the overall distribution is balanced somewhat by those who read a lot.

If a piece of the book industry’s $15 billion seems too paltry for Mr. Jobs to bother with, he is forgetting that Apple reached its current size only recently. Last week, Apple reported that it posted revenue of $9.6 billion in the quarter that spanned October to December 2007, its best quarter ever, after $24 billion in revenue in the 2007 fiscal year, which ended in September.

But as recently as 2001, before the iPhone and the iPod, Apple was a niche computer company without a mass market hit. It was badly hurt by the 2001 recession and reported revenue of only $5.3 billion for the year. This is, by coincidence, almost exactly what Barnes & Noble reported in revenue for its 2007 fiscal year. In neither case did the company owners look at that number, decide to chain the doors permanently shut and call it quits.

Amazon does not release details about revenue for books, but books were its first business. And Andrew Herdener, a company spokesman, said that Amazon’s book sales “have increased every year since the company began.”

The book world has always had an invisible asset that makes up for what it lacks in outsize revenue and profits: the passionate attachment that its authors, editors and most frequent customers have to books themselves. Indeed, in this respect, avid book readers resemble avid Mac users.

The object we are accustomed to calling a book is undergoing a profound modification as it is stripped of its physical shell. Kindle’s long-term success is still unknown, but Amazon should be credited with imaginatively redefining its original product line, replacing the book business with the reading business.

For another smart (if slightly cranky) refutation of the "decline of reading civilization argument", I'd recommend Ursula Le Guin's piece in Harper's Magazine -- it absorbed me for most of an evening I should have been doing more practical things at the bookstore, but I feel like I've got more arrows in the quiver for arguments about why things are not now worse than they have ever been. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it all!

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5. What I'd Like To Do, When I Have Time

- Read the complete results of the latest ABACUS Survey from the ABA -- those stats from indie bookstores nationwide were a big factor in my business plan

- Read bookseller Tova Beiser's account of WI3

- Catch up with my Brooklyn blog reading! I just met Myka of MotherSister Brooklyn this weekend (look for a chronicle of meeting with the amazingly wonderful Fort Greene Association soon), and I think I have a lot of back posts to read. There's always Louise Crawfords indispensible Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, which will also lead you to almost every other Brooklyn blog worth reading (and she also had a supernice congrats on my PowerUp win). And I've recently discovered Brooklynometry, and specifically the write-up of a new Brooklyn bookstore practically in my backyard that I didn't know existed: Babbo's Books on Prospect Park West. Exciting news!

- Post book reviews! Here's what I read in January but haven't yet found time to write about (and they're all GREAT, in different ways):
THE BOOK OF OTHER PEOPLE, edited by Zadie Smith
A GOLDEN AGE by Tahmima Anam
THE ESCAPISTS by Brian K. Vaughan
LAIKA by Nick Abadzis
and currently reading MUDBOUND by Hillary Jordan, which has now officially made me miss a subway stop -- the sign of an irresistibly great read.

- tell you lots of details about the TitleWave event I've beeen working on putting together that BookStream is hosting on February 27, with Richard Price, Steve Toltz, Hillary Jordan, and sales rep extraordinaire Ken Abramson. If you haven't heard the details in Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, Bookselling This Week, the NAIBA and NEIBA newsletters, or the blogs, then email me or Carolyn Bennett and we'll tell you all about it. Remember, it's free, but you DO have to RSVP!

- find out if I can vote in the primary on Tuesday even though I'm registered as an independent... when my sweet mom, who's a Republican from California, and New York City bookish type like me can agree on a candidate, it's clearly a good time to vote.

What's hanging over your head, dear readers? There are always too many books to read -- but that means we'll never run out!

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6. Link-Mad Monday: Watch out when we get together...

* As the world of indie booksellers knows, this coming weekend is the eagerly awaited Fourth Annual Winter Institute! Due to the uncertainty of my own plans months ago during registration, I won't be there in person... but I'll be jealously following the schedule of every educational session, party and rep picks meal throughout the weekend. If anyone is live blogging, let me know...

* And if you're at WI and of the under-40 persuasion, don't miss the Emerging Leaders Reception, Friday night at 9 PM in the charmingly titled Deer Valley room. Your intrepid Emerging Leaders Council will be meeting throughout the weekend to plan upcoming projects and programming, but on Friday night they'll do what they do best: drinking. I mean, networking with fellow booksellers, of course. The event is hosted by Unbridled Books, an emerging up-and-coming publisher itself, and will feature two of their promising new authors. The winners of the Emerging Leaders scholarships from Ingram and the ABA will also be recognized and cheered, and I expect a good time will be had by all. Toss one back for me!

* The NEXT weekend, already, is the also eagerly awaited New York Comic Con! I managed to score the highest prize for a comics geek: a press pass to the Con, courtesy of Shelf Awareness (where I'll be reporting on the festivities) and the illustrious Lance Fensterman and his crack convention staffers. The ALP and I will be wandering the show floor, snapping pictures and reporting on the madness and excitement from the bookseller's perspective. I'm also going to try to catch some of the programming for Thursday's ICV2 conference, in between my bookstore work schedule. Let me know if you'll be there too -- maybe we can meet up and share stories of our favorite costume sightings.

* And on Saturday at 11:00 at NYCC, in Room 1A18 at the Javitz Center, I have the additional awesome privilege of moderating a panel of heroes of the medium, discussing nonfiction in comics. Here's the actual panel description from the NYCC website:

"Telling A Story With Imagined Pictures: How can there be non-fiction comics when every image drawn is representational? This panel examines the non-fiction comic, looking at photographs, non-fiction prose works, and non-fiction comics as each is uniquely able to portray different aspects of non-fiction. Four creators will discuss how the element of representation and construction continually present in non-fiction comics work impact the stories they tell."
The illustrious panelists are Mike Dawson, creator of the fantastic memoir of Queen and adolescence Freddie and Me; Sabrina Jones, creator of the forthcoming biography Isadora Duncan on the groundbreaking dancer; Dan Goldman, co-author of the Iraq war satire Shooting War and the forthcoming presidential campaign memLinkoir 08 (also, his webcomic on Obama and the singularity is fantastic); and George O'Connor, creator of Journey into Mohawk Country, using a 17th century traders' journals as text for his true adventure story. It's an amazing group of folks to talk about the potential and challenges of telling true stories with the comics medium, and I can't wait to hear what we talk about. Props are due to comics girl-about-town Gina Gagliano of First Second Books for bringing us all together. Check it out, along with the rest of NYCC's fascinating programming.

* And if you're not going to any of these gatherings, despair not: the illustrious Kelly Amabile of the Independent Bookstores of New York City has compiled a list of 25 fantastic happenings at bookstores throughout our fair city this month. Most of them are free, and all of them sound intriguing (Scott Pilgrim midnight party, anyone?) Check it out, and enjoy getting together with your fellow booklovers!

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7. The Death of the Laugh Track?

Sometimes I wish I had a laugh track, especially when my blogged jokes fall flat.

But according to a couple experts, we digital writers need to prepare for a world without the good old laugh track. 

Over at Reel Pop, Steve Bryant is meditating on what makes a web video funny. After linking to some of the funniest web video makers in the business, he delivers some surprising insight about the future (or lack thereof) of the laugh track.

What do you think? Will the pace, delivery, and quickness of new media kill the laugh-track? Are hundreds of studio audiences out of work? What will happen to the thousands and thousands of reels of canned laughter that will be useless in the 21st Century?

Dig it: 

"Ah, tweens: Weened on internet vids, social networks, and other forms of interactive entertainment, but here we are trotting out the same old tricks. We're 'sposed to be so damned media savvy, so do we still need artificial sweetener? Do we still need the laugh track? Nah. Exhibit A: Smosh. Exhibit B: KevJumba. Exhibit C: SoPedestrian."

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8. "The Little Taught Disgorgement Method" : How To Draft Your Novel

I Love You, Beth Cooper

"Heathbar was neo-Georgian, meaning it had red brick on the front. It was otherwise a 6,000-square-foot conglomeration of awful architectural ideas throughout history executed in 21st-century Vulgarian; chief among the offenses was a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bay window that cantilevered out like a bodybuilder who spent way too much time on his abs." 

That's Larry Doyle describing an obnoxious suburban McMansion in quasi-Victorian terms in his novel, I Love You, Beth Cooper.

Doyle has written for The New Yorker, The Simpsons, and HBO, and this week he sharing some writing advice with us.

Welcome to my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions. In the spirit of Jack Nicholson’s mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web publishing.

Jason Boog: 
You wrote this novel in a whirlwind. How did you budget time and outline the novel so carefully? Any advice for fledgling writers looking to get more organized about their fiction writing process?

Larry Doyle:
I'm probably not the best person to ask about organization and budgeting time.  It took me thirty years to write my first novel...

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9. "The humor came first and the emotional blood-letting came second" : How To Structure and Revise A Memoir

The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life"I hate being paralyzed. I hate every minute of it. Everytime it dawns on me that I can't do something like swing on a passing tree limb or take Blaine or Max down for a three count in the backyard, it's like a stab in the gut."

That's a vivid couple sentences from Allen Rucker's memoir about his paralysis, The Best Seat in the House. The book takes an unexpected, often entertaining, look at a tragic subject, avoiding all the clichés that rule the memoir genre.

This television and film writer brought a whole new toolkit to the memoir, and today he tells us how spice up our own non-fiction. Rucker is our guest this week in my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions.

In the spirit of Jack Nicholson's mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web writing.

Jason Boog:
Your memoir has this amazing sense of organization, encapsulating each step of an overwhelming journey inside thematic chapters. How did you take this utterly bewildering event and shape it into a coherent written story? How did you craft (and revise) deeply emotional events into such easy-reading, humorous prose?

Allen Rucker:

The story had an obvious “inciting incident,” to use screenwriting jargon – I woke up one day and was paralyzed. Continue reading...

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10. Jeffrey Yamaguchi Explains How To Write A Funny Character

"[The holidays] are not the time to take your sick days. This is actually a really good time to be going to the office. The reality is, you've gots lots of personal stuff to take care of, and the best time to get that stuff done is while you're getting paid for it."

That's a little corporate holiday cheer from Jeffrey Yamaguchi, author of the new anti-business handbook, Working For The Man--showing creative types how to beat the mind-numbing monotony of a dayjob. Besides the book, Yamaguchi runs the friendly artsy-craftsy site, 52 Projects.

Welcome to my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions. In the spirit of Jack Nicholson's mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web writing.

Jason Boog:
This whole book depends on your highly-tuned sarcastic, wild, and imaginative persona in this book. How did you develop this persona? How did you learn how to write in a voice that is dramatically different from your blogging and personal voice? Any advice for someone looking to inject some humor and attitude into their own writing?

Jeffrey Yamaguchi:

I honestly think it comes from the very dark places about how I feel about the workplace. Continue reading...

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11. How To Outline A Humorous Book: Jeffrey Yamaguchi Breaks It Down

There are writing handbooks for almost everything--novels, short stories, memoirs, etc.; but as far as I know, nobody has ever explained how to write a humorous book.

Reading Jeffrey Yamaguchi's mocking look at corporate working environments, Working For The Man, I saw the rare opportunity to find out how to write a humorous book. 

Yamaguchi runs the happy-go-lucky blog, 52 Projects, highlighting crafty projects on the web, including the community memory archive at StoryCorps, his own writer-centric Influences Project, and the creative writing MFA Handbook.

he's our special guest on my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions--teaching us how to outline a long-form humor book without going crazy.

In the spirit of Jack Nicholson's mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web writing.

Jason Boog:
How in the heck did you outline this book? It's a handbook, there's no plot, no solid characters (except your writing personality). Any advice for a writer looking to outline and write this kind of humorous handbook? Who are the writers we can read for inspiration in this genre of Humorous Handbooks?

Jeffrey Yamaguchi:
Outlining on paper was not too hard, but once all the material was written, actually organizing the material in this book was very difficult. Continue reading...


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12. The Andy Warhol Dr. Seuss Clown Cubicle: How To Revise Your Humorous Book

"This is about taking the crazy cat person's enthusiastic aesthetic...you should do something very cool and totally overwhelming with your cube space. Make it the biggest something--whatever it s that you're into: stars, Bollywood, Charles Bukowski, UFOs, Sophia Loren, Dr. Seuss, surfing, Andy Warhol, knitting, Nikola Tesla, fancy hats, expensive boots, clowns."

That's Jeffrey Yamaguchi describing the most obsessive, anti-social ways to decorate your cubicle in his new book, Working For The Man. This week he released a series of office-related videos for the handbook, including this cringe-inducing feature :

Yamaguchi's book teaches creative types around the corporate world how escape the mind-numbing monotony of a dayjob. This week he's our special guest on my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions.

In the spirit of Jack Nicholson's mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web writing.

Jason Boog:
I'm sure this kind of book requires a special kind of revision. I'm sure your first draft had a much lower joke and comic ratio than the final product How did you revise your first draft into the hilarious final product? How did you add the layers of jokes and cartoons on top of your original draft?

Jeffrey Yamaguchi:
The humor, I don’t know – there were not painstaking revisions to the jokes. I think maybe because this book was written in pieces over many years, that probably helped. Continue reading...


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