Monday, October 25, 2010

Variety Is the Spice of Blogging

• This strikes me as a pretty blatant rip-off. Ever since early March of 2007, blogger Marshal Zeringue has been asking fiction and non-fiction authors to write about page 99 of their latest works, on the theory--expressed by Ford Madox Ford--that one can “open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” The project has drawn hundreds of writers, and earned a substantial following. But now three unaffiliated entrepreneurs have launched a Page 99 Test site of their own, inviting wordsmiths to do almost exactly the same thing Zeringue has been undertaking over the last three and a half years. The only difference, it seems, is that the contributors are invited to upload their page 99s, but not to comment on them, leaving readers to vote on whether they would turn to the next page or not. I think I’ll stick with Zeringue’s original blog. At least presently, it’s more interesting.

• Following coincidentally after my rave for the new PBS-TV mystery series, Sherlock, blogger Nicolas Pillai tells me that he is planning at least a couple of weeks’ worth of posts about this popular BBC One program, “taking a broad look at its impact and its position in British crime TV. I’m going to try to keep it spoiler-free for PBS viewers too!” Pillai’s introductory post on this subject appears here.

John D. MacDonald on the limitations of first-person storytelling.

• If you’ve never seen Lee Child speak, then check out this video segment from this last weekend’s edition of CBS Sunday Morning.

• We’re still waiting for an announcement of as to which of three books has won the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

• News broke last week that Hard Case Crime has found a new publishing partner, following Dorchester Publishing’s sudden switch to e-book production. Dorchester’s move has angered many readers and writers. But one of the latter--Sandra Ruttan, who had worked with Dorchester to bring out her Nolan, Hart, and Tain thrillers--has penned a very thoughtful defense of Dorchester in Spinetingler Magazine.

Where does production on the 23rd James Bond film stand?

• This is odd, indeed: a surreal short-fiction contest.

• One of the subjects discussed during a panel presentation I sort of moderated at Bouchercon (imagine trying to herd cats, and you’ll get the picture of my predicament) was the apparent ineffectuality of using movie-like trailers to sell new books. Yet such videos continue to be produced, often because the results are so much fun. For instance, take this new trailer for the recently released anthology, Beat to a Pulp: Round One, edited by David Cranmer and Elaine Ash. It certainly gives one a sense of the collection’s gritty attitude. This trailer is credited by Frank Bill, one of the book’s contributors, who also serves as the on-screen talent. (Hat tip to Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine.)

• Speaking of book trailers, the third annual Book Video Awards competition concluded recently, with the excellent video promo for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman picking up the win. You can watch that one-and-a-half-minute trailer here.

• And related to all of this is “an informal survey,” conducted last summer, showing--unsurprisingly--that blogs, author Web sites, and social-networking sites “are among the least likely media to influence the decisions of book buyers.” What does drive book-buying decisions? More than 68 percent of respondents  said it was because “I’ve enjoyed the author’s previous books.” Learn more about these findings by scrolling down this page in the latest Southern Review of Books.


Bill Crider said...

The moderator of the panel I was on said it was more like herding bobcats.

Yvette said...

Well, all I know is: the last few books I've bought (as opposed to just library-picking) were based on bloggers' recommendations. I can't imagine that book bloggers are the least likely influence. Nope. And I KNOW I'm not the only alone out here. That must be one skewed survey.

Eric Beetner said...

As one of the cats you had to herd I want to thank you again for moderating. We got rushed out so quickly and since you had to stay behind I never got to say a decent thank you.
I had several people approach me later in the bar about how much they enjoyed the conversation about the business of books.
I say a good moderator knows when to let the conversation flow. So, well done to you sir. And for all you do here at The Rap Sheet.

pattinase (abbott) said...

But what gets them to read the first book the author wrote, I wonder.