The BackList

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Project Publish

The New York Times reports on a new initiative called Project Publish that's organized by Media Predict in partnership with Simon & Schuster.

Basically, Media Predict website visitors have the opportunity to vote on their favorite book proposals, those they think deserve to be published. Simon & Schuster will select one of the book proposals based on these rates. I guess a pseudo online American Idol for books?

Maybe not. Here's how NYT described it:

Media Predict is soliciting book proposals from agents and the public, and posting pages of them on the site. Traders, who are given $5,000 in fantasy cash, can buy shares based on their guess about whether a particular book proposal is likely to get a deal, or whether Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will select it as a finalist in a contest called Project Publish. If either happens within a four-month period, the value of the shares go to $100 apiece; if not, the share price falls to zero.
Hmm, okay. Still confused. But hey I'm all for creative ways to get folks published.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Book Publishing is a Crap Shoot

Here's a great article from the NYT about the unpredictability behind bestsellers. The article peeks into the antiquated publishing business model which includes rare direct contact with readers. You would think by now that publishers would question the system more often, but even in reading this article, there's a "well, that's just the way it is," type of response from insiders.

Here are some great excerpts:

Eric Simonoff, a literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit Associates, said that whenever he discusses the book industry with people in other industries, “they’re stunned because it’s so unpredictable, because the profit margins are so small, the cycles are so incredibly long, and because of the almost total lack of market research.”

IT’S the way this business has run since 1640,” he says. That is when 1,700 copies of the Bay Psalm Book were published in the colonies. “It was a gamble, and they guessed right because it sold out of the print run. And ever since then, it has been a crap shoot,” Professor Greco said.

Some experts wonder if book publishers might uncover more books like this if they tried harder to find out more about their buyers and what they want.

“The Newspaper Association of America has a staggering amount of data on people who read newspapers. The book business has, basically, nothing,” said Professor Greco. “They’re not going into the marketplace and doing mall intercepts and asking people, as they leave the bookstore, ‘What did you buy? Did you find what you’re looking for? What motivated you to choose that book?’ ”

Book publishing is a strange business.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Grants Database

The good folks at Limachips (shout-out to Orlando) have launched a grants database. A great resource for writers looking for monetary help as they pen their masterpieces.

Find it at: