Clearly, this is the kind of craft project that can interest only people who don't read books but like to "display" them. Among the legitimate questions asked by book readers and book lovers are: Why didn't Lauren Conrad cut up her own books? Why did she destroy brand new books? And why weren't those Lemony Snicket book spines even glued to the box in order of publication (shudder)?!
The best response to this crime against literacy was delivered by Mr. Snicket himself, as reported by The Huffington Post:
"It has always been my belief that people who spend too much time with my work end up as lost souls, drained of reason, who lead lives of raving emptiness and occasional lunatic violence. What a relief it is to see this documented."
Conrad has since removed her video from both YouTube and her website, but hasn't spoken publicly about this incident yet.
Moving on to less silly articles. (Or maybe not.) If you remember, last week Sue Grafton had some, no, a lot, of very unflattering things to say about self-publishing, even though she wasn't expressly asked about her opinion on the subject. We all have our feelings about self-publishing, some very negative, especially in the current climate of many "indie" authors behaving unprofessionally or plain crazy. However, we also know that not all of the self-published authors are hacks. Self-publishing is a legitimate, fast-growing, profitable business option, and many authors have taken and are taking financial advantage of it. In her later clarification, Sue Grafton proves that just like Shannon Hale a couple of months ago, she has many ideas about self-publishing without actually knowing ANYTHING about it. Hugh Howey, who himself has had a lot of self-publishing success, articulates what we think about Sue Grafton's position very well in his responses to both Grafton's original and backtracked posts.
The way we see it, if traditionally published writers took time to learn about self-publishing and put their prejudices aside, they could actually make significantly more money. For example, do writers with existing fan bases really need their publishers' help to sell and market (and get a huge cut of the profits of), let's say, e-specials - short stories, novellas, guides, etc.? Hm, don't think so.
The discussion about why YA is dominated by female writers continues. This week Salon argues that
the reason why women writers dominate young-adult literature is the reason why many guys avoid it - that is that YA as a category of literature lacks prestige and thus is easier for women to enter. While there is certainly some truth to it - YA is kicked by just about any white man who has access to writing for The Guardian, Washington Post, etc., this assertion doesn't explain why other openly prestige-less genres (like SF or fantasy) have always been and are dominated by men.
Another topic that keeps getting discussed, constantly, is the necessity of removing DRMs from ebooks, so that paying readers could read their electronic books on any device they wish to use. But of course that would not do for the corporate machine. Why, we have no clue. Some time ago Tor pioneered the idea of going DRM-free and started selling its ebooks without DRM protection. Now UK's Hatchett threatens Tor's authors to assure their contracts have stipulations that require all their books to have DRM protection, or else! This threat is delivered under the guise of desire to protect intellectual properties from pirating, but really, who thinks that people who pirate and upload ebooks online wouldn't know how to go around DRM? As Cory Doctorow says:
"DRM doesn’t stop people who scan books, or retype books. DRM doesn’t stop people who download widely available cracks that can remove all the DRM from an entire e-book collection. And DRM doesn’t stop people who are inclined to download the DRM-free pirate editions. All DRM does is punish legitimate users who had the misfortune to be so honest that they paid for the book, rather than taking it."
When will this fear of ebooks stop? Publishers, embrace ebooks, make them affordable and movable. This way you will have much more people willing to pay for these books rather than search and obtain them for free online. Why is publishing an industry so resistant to change?
But let's get wrap up this post with something less negative. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (a bad writing contest) announced its 2012 winners and runner-ups. And the winner is...:
"As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting." (Cathy Bryant, Manchester, England)
Make sure to check the contest site for more "gems"!