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Cardiff gets horrifically horrible with Scardiff
October 20, 2014 | 3:34 pm

The Welsh capital received an horrific visitation last weekend in the shape of Scardiff, " the first Cardiff horror expo," and a celebration of "all things horror: books, comics, movies, cosplay, the works." And according to attendees, Cardiff Masonic Hall was overrun by a zombie-like horde of attendees, foaming with rabid enthusiasm for the events and attractions. The program at Scardiff included "horror-themed cosplay comps with prizes and custom-made trophies," an SFX scareoff, tabletop gaming, a low-budget filmmaking workshop, and - last but not least for budding horror writers - "a live pitching session for budding novelists, led by Scott Harrison...

On fandom and fanfiction
October 20, 2014 | 2:05 pm

fanfictionThis article started out as a response to a comment on this post, but it quickly grew beyond a comment. The comment was a question about the recent quotes by Benedict Cumberbatch regarding fan fiction. His comments about Johnlock fiction upset a number of people in the Sherlock fandom and spawned, among other things, this great article in response. Let me preface this by saying that I have been writing fanfiction for more than 3 decades, and I have written slash stories, including a pre-slash Incredible Hulk story when I was 13 and honestly had no clue what I had written. I...

Quote of the day: “What happens when The Guardian lets an author gloat about stalking a blogger”
October 20, 2014 | 10:25 am

Plagiarism or not, second-hand reporting or not, I can't do better than to simply repeat and link to the above headline. Here's The Guardian, defender of free speech and woolly thinking, running in full the ruminations of author Kathleen Hale on how she tracked down the perpetrator of a one-star review of her book - to her real-world address, in person, face to face. Admittedly, The Guardian doesn't take sides, simply giving the author's account, without implied endorsement even in the subtitle. But commentators on the story soon did, both for and against. A good many who weighed in on Kathleen Hale's side...

Morning Links: Why TV networks are ready to unbundle. Polish eBooks on the rise
October 20, 2014 | 9:00 am

tv networksLove it or Hate it, Common Core Should Include Journalism Education (Media Shift) Launched in 2009, Common Core is a set of national standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy intended to enhance college and career preparedness as well as bring all states in line with international benchmarks. *** Never Say Never: Why TV Networks Are Suddenly Ready to Unbundle (GigaOM) Not so long ago, people argued that HBO wasn’t going to unbundle anytime soon, or ever. So what changed? *** The Polish eBook Industry is on the Rise (GoodeReader) The Polish eBook industry is starting to see some significant gains and rose 23% in 2013....

Q&A with Michael Kelly on crowdfunding the Year’s Best Weird Fiction
October 19, 2014 | 2:28 pm

Michael KellyAfter reading Michael Kelly's posts about the organizational work needed to reward the contributors to the crowdfunding campaign behind the critically acclaimed anthology Year's Best Weird Fiction Vol. 1, I contacted him for his comments on his work as series editor and on the complications of crowdfunding an anthology in the ebook era. Here are his replies. TeleRead: Are physical books still an important reward for crowdfunding campaigns? What does this say about the enduring status of print? Michael Kelly: The majority of people prefer a physical book, to be sure. But that gap is closing. Two-thirds of the contributor's to the Year's Best Weird...

Weekend Links: iBooks Author updated. Importance of Pseudonymous activity
October 19, 2014 | 11:39 am

iBooks AuthorOn the Importance of Pseudonymous Activity (Dear Author) On Saturday, author Kathleen Hale was given a platform on the Guardian, one of the most venerable book outlets in the English speaking world. Using that platform, she chronicles a months long stalking campaign to a Goodreads reviewer who Hale charactered as her number one critic. *** Kobo President Lambastes Amazon (GoodeReader) Newly appointed Kobo President and Chief Content Officer Michael Tamblyn took to Twitter today to post a rambling diatribe on why Amazon might not be the best call for indie authors to self-publish with. *** Amazon's Elite Reviewing Club Sabotaged my Book (The Passive Voice) PG...

A class action against James Patterson?
October 18, 2014 | 10:25 am

James PattersonWhen not engaged in dissing Amazon, endowing lucky bookshops, or otherwise positioning himself front and center before an attentive media, bestselling $350 million-net-worth $90-million-a-year-earning author James Patterson is indulging in business practices that make me wonder whether there is a case for a class action against him. On grounds of consumer fraud. Because, as the Celebrity Net Worth website (the Hello! Magazine of money junkies) outlines, "Patterson works with a variety of ghostwriters and co-authors, such as Maxine Paetro, Andrew Gross, Mark Sullivan, Ashwin Sanghi, Michael Ledwidge, and Peter De Jonge." When you're reading James Patterson, how do you actually know...

The celebrity self-published author signing is the Next Big Thing? Ingram thinks so
October 17, 2014 | 4:25 pm

gI_116797_IngramContentGrouplogo.jpgI have to confess that even as a supposed savant of self-publishing, I hadn't heard of Barbara Freethy, though she "is the author of 40 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction," and "was recently named Amazon KDP’s bestselling author of all time by Amazon," according to the original press release. However, it appears that Ingram Publishing Services rate her achievement as a self-published author so highly that they now are willing to showcase her as an instance of what may be a new phenomenon: The celebrity self-published author/service provider signing. "Ingram Content Group Inc. today announced...

Mintel research shows ebooks encourage reading
October 17, 2014 | 2:25 pm

eBooks should be more expensiveA just-published research study from Mintel, the London-headquartered consumer market research organization, demonstrates that ebooks are driving up reading levels in the UK. "One in four (26%) consumers who have bought an e-book in the past year say that they read more than they used to because e-books cost less than paperbacks, rising to as many as four in ten (38%) 16-24 year old-book owners," states the Mintel preamble. Cost seems to be one of the key grounds, as "over a third (36%) of UK book buyers buy both e-books and print books and 42% of these say that they...

WH Smith figures suggest better performance for UK high street book chains
October 17, 2014 | 12:25 pm

KoboProphecies of doom for the main street book store may be a little exaggerated, if the latest financial figures for WH Smith plc are anything to go by. The UK high street book and stationery chain has recorded a 9 percent uptick in its profit for its financial year as at end August 2014, and an 18 percent increase in its diluted earnings per share. Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive of WH Smith, said: "The distinct strategies for each of our businesses continue to deliver good profit growth. We had another record year in Travel, with profits up 11% to £73m ,...

John Grisham testified for his friend who downloaded kiddie porn: Reports
October 17, 2014 | 10:25 am

Grisham.jpegIn the wake of the coverage of John Grisham's comments around lighter sentences for consumers of child pornography, as well as Grisham's own public apology, we have had some commentary "in defense of John Grisham," insisting that "the invective he’s receiving right now is both misinformed and wildly over the top," and asking that his remarks be put into context - of his work on criminal justice reform, on racial parity in sentencing, and age of consent laws in the U.S., etc. Well, here is some more context. The Daily Telegraph, not slow to follow up on the scandal it facilitated in...

Morning Links: Apple introduces new iPads. Are publisher advances critical?
October 17, 2014 | 9:00 am

ipad mini vs ipad airApple Introduces New iPads, Macs (USA Today) Apple offered few surprises but plenty of new hardware and software on Thursday. *** iOS or OS X? It Doesn't Matter... (GigaOM) Apple signaled this change a few years ago and now you can see the fruits of its labor: It matters less if you use a low-cost phone, mid-priced tablet or expensive computer to get things done thanks to hardware, software and the cloud. *** Are Publisher Advances Truly Critical? (The Digital Reader) The argument against Amazon seems to rest on the proposition that if trad-pubs aren’t awarded excess returns, over and above the actual free-market value of their...