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Field Trip Friday: March 25, 2011


- NYT best-seller Barry Eisler reportedly turns down a $500K deal from St. Martin's to self-publish (and explains his logic here); St. Martin's then signs a $2 million plus deal with self-pub darling Amanda Hocking.

- In a "stunning setback," the Google Books Settlement was rejected this week.


- Ten inspirational videos on idea execution and the creative process, from 99 Percent (via @molly_oneill).

- Author Roni Loren has a great list of 9 writing woes and the how-to books to fix them.

- "When you’re writing, not only should you strive to match your writing and syntax to what you’re describing, but you should also put yourself in the situation in a physical, emotional, and, above all, logical way." Agent Mary Kole on mimetic writing.

- Leslie Greffenius at Beyond the Margins has great tips for banishing writer envy. (I use the "shut up shut up shut up" method myself.)

- Step one: Don't jump off a bridge! Author Jill Hathaway on writing a synopsis. 

- What are your writing rituals? Kirsten Hubbard describes hers at The Contemps, and Sarah Darer Littman has a great suggestion in the comments. 

- Get great writing advice on Twitter: Editor Cheryl Klein and agent Donald Maass are both tweeting periodic tips for tweaking your MS.

- The WSJ featured an article from author Aric Davis, whose opinions on sex, violence, and profanity in YA were not well-received by the YA community.

- Should you revise for an agent who hasn't offered representation? Agent Diana Fox weighs in on her newly revamped blog.


- Fun idea from the New York Public Library: The Webster branch covered books in brown paper and labeled them with only a tagline. If you unwrap it, you have to check it out and take it home!

- The Washington Post weighs in on the gender divide in kids' books; states matter-of-factly that "boys tend to recoil from an image of a girl on a book cover," but neglects to suggest that society working to change that issue might help.

- Agent Sara Megibow's on how romance novels can be feminist.

- Our girl Kody Keplinger writes about the ways book character blaming reinforces victim blaming.

- Remember Elizabeth Berkley, who played Jessie Spano on Saved By the Bell? Of "I'm so excited" fame? She's written a non-fiction book for teens "that's... surprisingly good," according to EW.

- I love this quote from author Phoebe North, guest blogging on Sex Positive YA:
"I can't help but think that, in universes where the impossible is possible, where teenagers can have superpowers or magic at their command, then their sexualities should be at their command, too--that teenage girls should decide when to keep it or when to lose it as part of a mutual, respectful dialogue and not have the decision made for them by their supernatural (and usually supercondescending) boyfriends."


- Why is publishing centered in New York? Nathan Bransford explains.

- Author Saundra Mitchell shares her roller coaster ride through three separate covers on Melissa Walker's blog, while agent Kristin Nelson shares the story of an illustrator apologizing for late cover art-- because she's stuck in an evacuation camp in Japan.

- Author Jessica Verday pulls out of the Wicked Pretty Things story anthology in protest of their refusal to accept a gay storyline. Then Melissa Marr reports her name is being erroneously used in the anthology's promotion.

- An explanation of subsidiary rights from agent Sarah Davies.

- Author Jay Asher has advice for dealing with reviews.

- When does an agent give up on a project? Interesting answer from Rachelle Gardner and discussion in the comments. 

- The Intern (she's back! hooray!) breaks down the KOrtizzle's query stats in pie chart form.

- Your manuscript is on submission but it's not selling. Caroline Tung Richmond has a list of reasons why.

- A commenter at the DGLM blog thrashes agent Jim McCarthy for urging authors not to write to trends.

- Funny post from Brooklyn Ann about Monty Python and the holy grail of publishing.

- Publishers Weekly reports from SXSWi, with fascinating information on the future of publishing and social media, transmedia, teleportal author readings and more. One intriguing idea: Attract readers with a video game created in your book's world.

- Microsoft files suit against Barnes and Noble for copyright infringement; Apple sues Amazon for improper use of the term "app store."

- What if your agent hates your next book? Jennifer Laughran has some guidance.

- Hilarious: Author John Scalzi presents "The Electronic Publishing Bingo Card." Meanwhile author Catherynne M. Valente breaks down the logic of the 99 cent argument.
"The point is that the unit value of 'song' is not the same as the unit value of 'novel.' A song is a part of a whole. A novel is a whole. They do not equate. ... Ultimately, I'm a little tired of people telling me my work isn't worth very much. That we should accept Apple--APPLE--price points without hesitation or consideration, that all units are the same units, all art is the same art. Obviously, sculpture, paintings, murals, and jewelry should also all cost 99 cents each. Actors should only get paid 99 cents per performance. Dancers should only get 99 cents per dance. Architects should get 99 cents per building. Concerts should also charge 99 cents admission. It's all art--the units are all interchangeable, and should all be tied to iTunes pricing.

This is madness, to me."


- Publishing Perspectives looks at the good and the bad in book trailers, with tons of examples.

- Publetariat has ideas for online press kits.


- Plot bunnies abandoned you? Buy one in this adorable Etsy shop (which belongs to one of our Highway Cafe chatters!).

- Ten myths about introverts, from Shrinking Violet Productions.

- SLJ has a great profile of First Book, a nonprofit that gets books into the hands of kids that need them.

- ALA is hosting National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. YALSA has details on how you can help.

- Congratulations to two of our favorite people: Film rights to Veronica Roth's trilogy Divergent were acquired by Summit, and rights to Tahereh Mafi's trilogy Shatter Me have been acquired by Twentieth Century Fox!

- Discussion continued this week about the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in the Hunger Games movies. Shannon Riff at the Interrobangs says it's just a movie-- and that's the point; Katniss's ethnicity is vague and therefore the casting call should have been opened beyond Caucasian actresses. Malinda Lo thinks that based on Katniss's family's description, Katniss is probably white, but people are so conditioned to associate race with poverty that they've jumped to conclusions about the character's "olive skin and dark hair." S. Jae-Jones has some thoughts on the Katniss issue as well as a casting decision she finds far more objectionable. (There's a super hot guy in that last post. Just FYI.)


Photobucket - Check out the great contests at Teenreads: They're giving 5 winners a tote bag filled with Delirium, Darkest Mercy, Unearthly, I Am Number Four, and Death Cloud. Or enter to win one of 25 copies of Abused Werewolf Rescue Group and a pair of t-shirts! OR, fill out their survey to win a mystery book!

- Our friend Cory Jackson is having the best week month spring EVER (she sold not one, not two, but four books!). In celebration, she'd like to give you cupcakes and more, but today's the last day, so hurry over!

- You can vote for your favorite authors and illustrators at Book Week Online.

- Donate to a good cause and win a chance for a private screening of Breaking Dawn!

- Sarah Enni is giving away several of our favorite books, including Like Mandarin, Will Grayson Will GraysonAnna and the French Kiss, and more!


Good news: Microsoft Word now includes squiggly blue line to indicate when your word is too advanced for mainstream audiences. (At The Onion, obviously, via my male BFF who is a social media Luddite and therefore cannot be linked for credit.)

Check out this map of the world, drawn entirely by Facebook friend connections.

Fake Bob Dylan cover of Rebecca Black's "Friday" spawns amazing short stories in the comments.

Basset Hounds running.
Image Source
via Michelle Schusterman

Have a great weekend!

Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

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  1. I really enjoyed reading some of these posts which I would've otherwise missed. Thanks for the links! Great job, as usual.

  2. I'm ridiculously excited to be included in this post!

    Thanks, Kate!

  3. I'm really interested to see how Hocking's switch to traditional publishing works and if she'll be a big seller. I give her huge props for doing so much hard work and being wildly successful in that circle so I'm looking forward to seeing how this translates.

    The Jessica Verday-Trisha Telep thing still makes me rage, even a few days later. I'm still trying to figure out what 'alternative sexualities' means. I have a lot of respect for Verday for sticking to her guns on this issue.

  4. The fact that I'm at least aware of pretty much everything in this post, if not having already read it, just confirms that I spend way too much time on the Internet. :/

  5. Thanks so much for the mention! <33

  6. I love love love this feature so much and look forward to it on Fridays, so you can only imagine the utter glee to even be INCLUDED in it. Hello wonderful way to begin the weekend.



    That dress is holy wow.

    And that cause for a slow clap that builds into thunderous applause.


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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: March 25, 2011 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart