Four Hundred and Eighty Three

Beat Generation News Publishing
1. I caught a TV news report about the Writer's Guild of America writer's strike. They showed a demonstration near Rockefeller Center in New York City where folks like Tina Fey were chanting this old chestnut:

"What do we want? More money!
When do we want it? Now!"


With all that writing talent, shouldn't they have been able to come up with something better? (Note: this joke was written by Caryn.)

2. Rock 'n' Roll, the latest drama by Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead playwright Tom Stoppard to open in New York, is about a Czech intellectual obsessed with music. According to the New York Times, the play also features a Pan-like character named "The Piper" based on Syd Barrett. Here's more on the play from The Complete Review and The Guardian Unlimited.

3. Pan-like Beat poet Ira Cohen's mylar-based artworks are being exhibited at the October Gallery in London.

4. I've recently asked why bloggers and literary critics so often evaluate writers and books (not to mention other bloggers and other critics) but so rarely comment upon the way books are produced, marketed and sold. Since this is something I feel strongly about, I'm going to try to call attention to other venues that do cover the publishing industry with a critical eye, like GalleyCat, which has been investigating the way editors interact with agents. Harper's Magazine has published some very succinct statistics about book sales, noted at Conversational Reading. Four hundred and eighty-three ... wow. Finally, if you like your vitriol straight up, Paul Toth's video blog is titled "Drop F Bombs on the Publishing Industry: Revenge of the Corporate Guttersnipes Killing The Novel". I guess F-bombs are better than H-bombs or A-bombs, but I still hope we can work out our differences peacefully.
2 Responses to "Four Hundred and Eighty Three"

by deemikay on

The novel's dying, they say?I've been reading your posts over the past few months with lots of interest. They've been very informative and I've learned a lot about the industry. Thanks! I meant to write saying this some time ago, but never got round to it -- well, I have now. :)I'm in the slightly odd situation in relation to it all in that a) I'm the UK and b) I can't remember the last time I read a "new" novel. I generally aim straight for the poetry or numerous non-fiction sections. (Poetry books have never sold in great numbers -- the last time I knew of a poetry book in the UK bestseller lists was when Ted Hughes was still just about to die.) So I've been looking at it from the outside, really, and it's been a fascinating look. Bad marketing results in poor sales, seems so obvious. But comments from authors -- that's awkward. As an outsider, I'll ask: could authors' complaints about the "death of the literary novel"* be nothing more than jealousy? "Why should I be poor when JK Rowling/Dan Brown/Alice Sebold/et al are rich?" *Obviously not true, at least in the UK -- I walk through shelves of them! And they're squeezing the poetry shelves significantly thinner ...

by Billectric on

It's dead, man! DEAD! Can't you smell it? OH GODno, wait, that's just my leftover fish. i'm sorry.