Blog Author Archive: Anne
The Sturgeon General Recommends is a digital anthology of short fiction and other writing with a humorous bent. There are five books in the initial release, from young up and coming authors Cait Harris who joins us on The Momentum Comedy Hour podcast, and also Geoff Lemon, Jack Vening, Adam Norris and Callum O’Donnell.
Writers and books mentioned in this podcast include:
Sam Lipsyte (The Ask)
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’ Diary)
David Foster Wallace (Consider the Lobster and other Essays)
Gerald Durrell (My Family and other Animals – Corfu trilogy)
Sloane Crosley (I was told there would be cake)
As well as the five Sturgeon General books we have another humorous book out this month, Sean Condon’s Splitsville. It’s a sharply funny book about a corporation that breaks up relationships – kind of like a dating service in reverse. Available for $5.99 from all good online book retailers.
Patrick: Chris Somerville – We Are Not The Same Anymore
Cait: Cheryl Strayed – Tiny Beautiful Things
Anne: Gerald Durrell – Marrying Off Mother and other stories
Joel: Tig Notaro
On this week’s Podmentum we talk to Steph Campisi from review site Read in a Single Sitting about reviews and book blogging, and we get to hear the audio debut of Koraly Dimitriadis‘ new poem, Fuck Off.
Momentum is the digital-only imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Established in February 2012, we publish high quality ebooks globally. Our website and blog is the hub of our operation, and we’d like to include as many diverse voices as possible. Our blog currently hosts opinions from Momentum employees, authors and other contributors, and now we’d like you to have the chance to have your say about the world of books, writing and reading on the Momentum blog.
We are looking for someone who is interested in books, specifically with an interest in genre fiction (predominantly romance and science fiction/fantasy).
What we want from you:
– 4-8 blog posts a month, with a minimum word count of 300 words each
– The posts can cover any topic that you think is relevant to reading, writing, book and storytelling culture and can be in the form of reviews, interviews, author profiles, recaps, catch-ups, re-reads and reader polls – creativity and audience engagement is the main aim
– Preference will be given to a blogger with a relevant social media presence (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
– Genre bloggers step to the front of the line. If you love romance, science fiction, fantasy and thrillers show us your passion for your genre(s)
What we are offering in return:
– An audience of readers and writers
– $20 per post (minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 posts per month)
– free Momentum ebooks
To apply, send a sample blog post, covering letter and brief resume to email@example.com by April 25th 2013 with the subject line ‘Momentum Blogger’ and be sure to include your name, city, country of residence and occupation. We welcome applicants from all over the world, but the posts must be in English.
Your sample blog post should be the type of thing you’d be posting on a regular basis (not a hokey introductory post). And of course, if we select you as our resident blogger then you will be compensated accordingly if you decide to use your sample blog post as your first post.
If you have any questions, feel free to email or ask in the comments below.
Terms & Conditions
- The winning applicant will be subject to a trial period of one month.
- Posts will be vetted by staff before going live.
- Posts will remain the copyright of the author, however, Momentum will retain an exclusive right to first posting for a period of no less than six months.
- The successful blogger will invoice Momentum monthly for posts within the previous four week period.
- The successful blogger’s contract can be terminated with two week’s notice.
- These conditions are subject to change.
You might find this book useful for 100 examples of what not to do (well).
Looking for something to read on the weekend? We have some suggestions for you, for less than the cost of a coffee. Cannot even deal with how good this is.
My Recovery: Inspiring Stories, Recovery Tips and Messages of Hope from Eating Disorder Survivors by Julie Parker is currently only $1.99
Baby Hands: Learn to Communicate With Your Baby With Sign Language by Jackie Durnin is currently only $1.99
Christine’s Ark by John Little is currently only $1.99
The White by Adrian Caesar is currently only $1.99
The Beginning of Everything and the End of Everything Else by Christine Townend is currently only $1.99
Willie’s Bar and Grill by Rob Hirst is currently only $1.99
The Raw Scent of Vanilla by Emilia Bresciani is currently only $1.99
Casting Couch Confidential by Bessie Bardot is currently only $1.99
The Fourth Passenger by Mini Nair is currently only $1.99
Ms Cellophane by Gillian Polack is currently only $1.99
Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle by Russell McGilton is currently only $1.99
Time to Declare by Mark Taylor is currently only $1.99
Dictionary of Architecture and Interior Design by Mary Gilliatt is currently only $1.99
The Bollywood Beauty by Shalini Akhil is currently only $1.99
Room With a View: Hot Down Under by Kylie Scott is currently only $0
Not Always to Plan by Colin Bisset is currently only $2.99
Kylie Scott has started writing a new series, and we need your help.
How can you help? We need a name for the band in the book. Give us your suggestions on Twitter (with the hashtag #stagedive), Facebook (in the comments of the competition post) or in the comments below.
To give you an idea of what kind of name we’re looking for, this is how Kylie describes the band she has created for the new book:
The band is four guys who started a garage band back in their high school days and made it big in their early twenties after years of being the warm-up act. In my mind they’re an Eskimo Joe, Kings of Leon, The White Stripes mash up.
Kylie’s favourite band name will win, and your prize? The inclusion of not just your band name in the new book, but also your very own name on one of the innocent bystanders in the book (we’d say you’ll be ‘red-shirted’ but you likely won’t be fictionally killed), and a copy of both Flesh and Skin ebooks.
You can enter as many times as you like, up until 5pm next Thursday, the 28th of April. The winner will be announced the following week.
On this week’s Podmentum Joel and Mark talk about world building with authors Nathan M Farrugia and Nina d’Aleo, and then Joel, Mark and I talk about how we got started in publishing, with some tips for those looking for a job in the book industry.
In the first segment Nathan and Nina discuss how they approach creating fictional worlds in their writing, and Mark and Joel join in to discuss their favourite world-building writers. A really interesting conversation for sci-fi and fantasy fans, with lots of culture recommendations (including the ubiquitous China Miéville, of course).
Then we talk about how we all came to book publishing, and Mark reveals something terrible that will make everyone hate him.
In the interests of diversity we all recommended something futuristic and science-fiction-y. You’re welcome. (Next time I’ll demand we all have something romance-based to recommend.)
Mark – Redshirts by John Scalzi
Joel – Strata by Terry Pratchett
Anne – Omens by Russ Andersen (article in Aeon magazine)
This week’s Podmentum was brought to you by Nathan M Farrugia‘s The Seraphim Sequence and Allison Rushby‘s Keep Calm and Carry Vegemite. You can buy them now from all good online retailers, just click on the covers to choose your favourite.
On this episode of Podmentum we have two topics and an unprecedented number of guests.
Then since the Oscars were announced recently I’ve given in to Mark’s pleading and we’ll be talking about the awards. Special guest Samantha Sainsbury joins us to talk movies and Oscars fashion. Sam is a editor at Pan Macmillan and works with the likes of Di Morrissey, but she’s here in her capacity as chief fashion critic of Macmillan.
Writing credible tech in fiction
Dan recommended Charlie Stross as an author who gets tech writing right. (As well as our own Nathan M Farrugia, and I promise Nathan was not holding a gun to Dan’s head when he said that. The guns only came out later.)
Mark, Joel and Sam knowledgeably discuss the Oscars ceremony, choice of host and give opinions and background on movies and the industry, while Anne has to have everything explained to her slowly. So if you know nothing about movies, this may be useful to you. Then Sam gives us some Oscars fashion background.
Sam’s fashion picks
Jennifer Lawrence (well-played, Dior)
Samantha – Furious Love by Sam Kashner
Yesterday we ran a competition to receive a copy of Stalin’s Hammer: Rome by asking what you think John Birmingham drinks while he’s on deadline. John’s actually on several deadlines at the moment, so I was hoping for some pretty spectacular answers. We had an early favourite with Michael T on Twitter;
But a winner appeared at the very last minute on Facebook. JB also offered a very special prize of his own, and while the above runner up will be receiving a copy of Stalin’s Hammer: Rome, the winner (below) will be receiving both a copy of the book and he will be “redshirted” in one of JB’s upcoming books. (Best prize ever, omg.)
So without further ado, JB’s carefully-selected victim is:
Congratulation to the winners, I’ll be in touch to get your books to you.
On this special episode of Podmentum we talk to Macquarie Dictionary Publisher Sue Butler about the latest Word of the Year and various other word nerd topics.
The 2012 word of the year was recently announced, and the winner was “Phantom Vibration Syndrome”. Sue talks about why they chose this particular “word”, and why they refer to a collection of words as a “word”. Cleared things right up for me.
Sue’s recommendation was for the dictionary she has been working on most recently, a Student Dictionary app. You can check that out here.
On this week’s Podmentum we talk about the idea of reselling used ebooks, bingeing on books and television, and then the Macquarie Dictionary publisher joins us to talk about the Word of the Year.
Topic 1 Amazon second hand ebook patent
Amazon has received a patent for a system for selling “pre-owned” digital files, opening the way for a secondary market in ebooks
“Amazon’s business model has long been dependent on resellers of used books and other merchandise. But a U.S. patent that Amazon Technologies in Reno, Nev., received last week indicates that the mega-retailer has its sights on digital resale, including used e-books and audio downloads. According to the abstract, Amazon will be able to create a secondary market for used digital objects purchased from an original vendor by a user and stored in a user’s personalized data store.
Boston-based ReDigi opened the first marketplace for pre-owned digital music, which it launched in late 2011, redigi.com. Once a lawsuit that Capitol Records filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan over the way it handles music downloads is behind it, ReDigi plans to expand into e-books and other digital items. In a press release issued yesterday, ReDigi commented that “the Amazon patent is further proof that the secondary market is the future of the digital space and that there is no turning back.”
Motherboard article that so angered Joel (tell us why)
Topic 2 Serialisation
With the Netflix series House of Cards being the talk of the entertainment world for the past couple of weeks, we thought we’d take the chance to talk about how the consumption of content is changing. While TV used to be serialized and consumed in episodic chunks, the trend is now to binge-watch whole series. On the other hand, where we used to read a whole novel in a sitting, publishers are now experimenting with serialized novels in the time-honoured tradition of Charles Dickens.
John Scalzi – The Human Division (episodic narrative) 13 episodes
Alison Rushby – The Heiresses (new adult serial with St Martin’s Press)
“‘An e-serial is a series of digital-only discrete dramatic novella-length “episodes” that advance an overall “season” narrative arc through 4-6 installments, published at regular intervals at a low price. We are conceptualizing e-serials as a loose bridge between a full length novel and a TV show. An e-serial episode is analogous to a one hour drama, one installment of a season of dramas.’
In other words, think Downton Abbey, but in serialized digital book form! Yay!”
Mark Z. Danielewski – serial novel The Familiar (beginning in 2014) 27 volumes, first 10 to be published by Pantheon in 3-4 month increments
“’Volume’ speaks to it being a little different from a standard trade paperback book,” Danielewski said by phone Monday. “I can’t write something that takes months and months to read if we’re releasing one every three or four months. It’s possible that [our publishing] schedule could be accelerated. We’re constantly open to new ideas — where will we be in 2014? Maybe digital releases every week, every few months a trade paperback or hardcover. The novel is designed to accommodate, anticipate various platforms.”
The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year for 2012 was announced last week, and the winner was “Phantom Vibration Syndrome”. We have the Macquarie editor Sue Butler in to have a chat with us about the dictionary and how they go about naming their word of the year.
Mark – The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Joel – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This episode of Podmentum is brought to you by Kylie Scott’s Skin
It’s now a week out from Valentine’s Day, and we’ve been trying to think of the best present to get our readers. So here it is, our Valentine to you: some Skin, and some free Flesh. We are all about the romance here at Momentum.
We don’t want your money honey we want your braaaaaaaaains.
In this episode of Podmentum we talk to author Nathan M Farrugia about his books, his intrepid research techniques, martial arts, being handcuffed to a bunch of sweaty dudes in Texas and writing tools.
Nathan M Farrugia’s first book The Chimera Vector was released in May 2012, and his second book The Seraphim Sequence will be out in March 2013. It can be pre-ordered now for the special pre-order price of $2.99.
While Nathan does give a brief explanation of Systema on the podcast it might be more helpful to check it out on Wikipedia.
Mark – The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey
Joel – Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War from Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed Triptych
Anne – The Blue Ant series by William Gibson
Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia
189 Days Post-Apocalypse
In the end they took a vote on whether or not to trade Roslyn to the stranger at the gate. They even gave her a say, demonstrating that democracy was not dead, even if civilization had gone belly-up six months back, when the virus first struck.
All nine survivors had gathered on the school steps. No one would meet her eyes. The weak winter sun above them did little to combat the bitter wind. Roslyn’s marrow was ice and her teeth chattered. She wanted to wrap her arms around herself, huddle down into the green school jacket she’d purloined from a student locker. But she didn’t. Spine straight, shoulders back. Her father would have been proud.
She cleared her throat. They couldn’t do this. She would explain why in a sensible and rational manner, using small words. “I know we’re running low on food, but there’s no reason we can’t make a trip into town to look for supplies. If we just make a plan—”
“Let’s get on with it,” said Neil, former head of the Math department. Still pissed she had refused to put out. Never had she met such a pretentious, unattractive git. “Please raise your hand to vote ‘yea’.”
Her gaze skittered around the group.
Six people raised their hands.
The world slid sideways and she locked her knees, breathing hard. Holy fucking hell, they were really going to do this. How could they? How could this have ever happened? The world made no sense.
Directly across from her, Janie hesitated. The girl’s elbow jerked back and her fingers folded. Hope blossomed warm and deep in Ros’s gut.
Neil harrumphed and dealt Janie a stern look, brows drawn tight. It was the face reserved for particularly painful students and staff who dared cross his path. Janie caved. She reached for the sky, pale blonde hair flying in her pretty face. Her eyes were shiny-bright and she blinked furiously, trying not to cry. The damn teacher’s pet.
No point blaming Janie. Not really. The stranger at the gate wanted a woman and Mrs Gardner, formerly of the Home Economics department, was well past sixty, with an arthritic hip. That left Roslyn or Janie, and Janie was young, a trainee admin officer. They’d found her on day two, huddled behind a filing cabinet, a bloody letter-opener clutched to her chest. Apparently, she’d driven it through the Principal’s eye socket when the virus got the better of him. For months the girl had woken up screaming in the middle of the night.
Roslyn couldn’t have sent her out there. But why the hell did that mean she had to go?
The answer: because the shelves in the school canteen were bare and the cowardly, lazy bastards wouldn’t dare a trip into town. Nobody at the school had ventured beyond the stout stone walls of Lowood College, and none of them were planning on attempting it anytime soon.
“Nay,” Ian, the former groundskeeper, said forcefully and raised his hand high. Mrs Gardner did likewise. Roslyn’s eyes fogged up.
Her own vote to the negative was a foregone conclusion.
The end tally stood at six for, three against.
She was outvoted.
Her empty stomach spiraled. The material of her pilfered gray school uniform clung wet beneath her arms.
They were going to trade her to the stranger to be used for God-knew-what perverted sexual purpose. She stood there slack-jawed at the horror of it. She wanted to wake up from this nightmare, safe in her own bed. Wanted all of it to have been a warped dream she told her girlfriends about after one too many glasses of wine at the pub.
God, how many times had she wished for her old life back?
The man waited at the gate, lounging against the side of his panel van. It was apparently loaded to the brim with goodies. Perhaps it would turn out to be a Trojan horse, packed full of ninjas. He’d drive it through the gates and kapow! Bad guys would attack in a flurry of action. Game over.
It would serve them right, betraying bastards.
Well, some of them.
Janie cried openly now, blubbering into a thick wad of tissues.
Someone stamped their feet and another coughed, bored or cold or a combination of both as Neil blabbered on. The wind howled around the grand old stone buildings and shook the leaves in the gum trees. Her insides felt hollow. They had actually done it.
Roslyn rubbed at her temples, willing her brain back online. Her hands shook with fear and frustration. What fuckery was this? The whole world had gone mad.
Meanwhile, Neil still droned on.
“He said you’d be treated decently.” Neil studied his sturdy, brown shoes. The wanker.
Something inside her broke. Roslyn balled her fist and swung wild. Giving it everything she had left in her.
Neil’s steel-rimmed glasses flew and blood fountained from his nose, splattering the concrete vibrant red. The color was stark and beautiful against the dull gray.
Mrs Gardner nodded.
Roslyn’s hand throbbed but satisfaction slid through her. She’d never hit anyone before. She abhorred violence, normally. Though this … wow, this was all good.
“Gaanhh!” Neil grabbed Janie’s bundle of soggy tissues and stuffed them beneath his nose. He bared his teeth at Roslyn like an animal. An animal in a worn tweed jacket and mission brown slacks. When he spoke his voice was muffled, heavy. “Exactly what I’ve been saying! You’re out of control. No group-mindedness.”
Right. Time to go.
Roslyn shoved a hand into her pocket, reassuring herself that her reading glasses were there. There was nothing else she needed from the storeroom she’d called home. It was one of the few small, enclosed spaces with a lock on the inside—partly to keep out the infected and partly to keep out Neil. If group-mindedness involved sacrificing herself to him, forget it.
Huh, he was really bleeding.
She smiled, pleased on one count at least.
Roslyn turned and took her first slow steps toward the gate, nursing her hand to her chest. The pain proved to be a useful distraction from her rising fear.
The gates were old and ominous. They’d always reminded her vaguely of where the Addams Family lived.
What was left of the world outside?
Neil raged on behind her. Soon enough the cold wind carried his voice far, far away.
The man at the gates watched her progress with eagle eyes. Roslyn averted hers and studied the cracked asphalt driveway. Already weeds were growing through. Wouldn’t take long for Mother Nature to reclaim what she’d lost.
Heroines in books always held their heads high, but it took her a while to find the courage. When she finally looked up, the man straightened, pushing off from the van. He was built solid in a way that did nothing for her nerves. Getting away from him might just be a bit of a problem.
No. She’d manage.
Never say die.
Behind him the town lay sprawled out, slumbering. No signs of life. It looked like the southern side of town had burned down. She remembered the sky had been full of smoke. This would be the first time she had stepped outside since the morning of Christmas Eve. She hadn’t known where else to go and she hadn’t been the only one. All roads heading west had been choked with cars as people tried to flee. The radio news reports had been full of crazy carnage and chaos. A lab somewhere in Asia had apparently cooked up the bug and accidentally released it. Within days it went global. No one could have prepared for this. Principal Barry had made the decision to lock the gates, sealing them in. No one had protested. At the time it seemed the only course of action. They hadn’t known Principal Barry had already been bitten.
Her car still sat around back in the staff parking lot. It would be there for a long time to come.
“Is your hand alright?” he asked as she slipped through the gap in the gates. He had a deep, smooth voice, deceptively warm and friendly. Light brown hair fell over his forehead. He had dark eyes and a neatly trimmed beard.
What the hell did he want with her?
Bad question. She didn’t really want to know.
Her chin rose but her knees knocked, shaking from more than the winter winds. “Worried you’re getting faulty merchandise?”
He gave her a curious look, but said nothing.
Maybe he had been hoping for Janie.
Maybe he’d return her, demand a full refund. God knew she wasn’t anybody’s prize. Average height, average weight, average pretty much everything. But she was old enough to be comfortable in her own skin.
Maybe looks didn’t even matter anymore.
What did he want, and why her? Was there no one else left out there?
The man’s gaze drifted over her, in no rush at all, beginning with her red, home-cut hair. She resisted the urge to shove a hand through it, and attempt to calm the crazy. Screw him. She’d hacked the bulk of it off a few months back, mostly for practicality’s sake. Making herself less attractive to Neil had been part of it, though not something worth admitting to. It hadn’t succeeded, on account of Neil being a letch, but maybe it would work with this guy. She had to make a ridiculous picture, a grown woman with a shitty haircut wearing the remnants of a school uniform.
She rubbed the toe of her battered black sneaker against the drive. Shoes courtesy of the Lost and Found bin.
Maybe he really would call the whole thing off. Or maybe he’d turn around and demand Janie.
No. That wasn’t something she could live with.
Roslyn braved a smile. His eyes widened, looking startled, if anything. It soon gave way to skeptical. Fair enough. Dewey decimal 791, Public Performance: she sucked at it.
Up close, the man was even more intimidating. A black AC/DC shirt drew tight across wide shoulders. The colors were faded, like he’d worn it a hundred times. He stood half a head taller than her, his body built lean but solid. He had to be about half a decade older than her twenty-eight. In no way did his face look boyish, despite the twinkle in his eye. The rifle strapped to his back spoke of serious things, its muzzle sticking up beside his head.
She would still get away. There had to be others out there. Rational people. Trustworthy.
Her knuckles throbbed, the back of her hand swelling and darkening. Any escape attempt involving punching him was right out. Sneaky would be her best bet.
“I’m fine,” she said. “Let’s go.”
The man tipped his chin, turned toward the van and pushed back the side door. No ninjas, but lots of supplies: canned goods and blankets, a couple of guns, some knives, and one shiny aluminum baseball bat. Her hands itched to wrap around the smooth handle and exorcise some fear and frustration.
He reached inside for a backpack, threw it over a shoulder. His gaze returned to hers, assessing. The corner of his mouth rose and little lines deepened beside his eyes. Ah, she’d apparently amused him. Her scaredy-cat shaking hadn’t stopped. She clearly wasn’t kidding anybody with her evil eye.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said.
And for once, Roslyn didn’t say the first thing to come to mind. Something along the lines of his shoving a can of soup up his ass to keep his false words company. Nor did she start in on the hundreds of questions sitting on the tip of her tongue. Instead she sucked in a deep breath, let it out slowly, and lied to her new arch-enemy. “Alright.”
“What’s your name?”
“Roslyn Stewart. Yours?”
“Nick,” he said. “There’s a pickup we can use just down the hill. Let’s get a move on. Sun goes down soon. The infected’ll be coming out.”
Find out more and buy here.
We have three topics for today. The first will centre around book piracy, the second on Amazon’s new autorip service for music and what this could mean for book bundling, and finally we’ll be talking about novels written in record times.
Pirated ebooks, file sharing and data security
Kim Dotcom, who is currently still involved in a legal battle over his initial uploiading service Megaupload, has just launched a storage service called Mega, which offers 50 megs of file storage with an encryption system that means no one, not even Mega, can see what you’re storing or what you’re doing with it. So they can claim, without blinking, that they have no idea if peer to peer file sharing (ie piracy) is going on via their service.
They save space on their servers by only keeping a single copy of each file uploaded, so that does pose the question, if they don’t know what you’re storing with them then how do they do that? It is a technique also practiced by Apple and Amazon with their data storage facilities but they’re not claiming any ignorance.
Wheel of Time author Robert Jordan died in 2007 while writing the final book in the series, and Brandon Sanderson undertook to finish writing the book. Publisher Tor and Sanderson have faced a backlash for releasing the hardback but delaying the ebook release, purportedly at the request of Jordan’s wife Harriet.
Backlash includes the review bombing of the title on Amazon and other book seller websites
Various end users have threatened to download a pirated ebook unless the official e-book was available at launch
When I googled Tor Robert Jordan ebook the first result was a torrent link, and three of the top ten results were torrent sites.
Question: Why a delayed ebook release for A Memory of Light?
Answer: This is not my decision or Tor’s decision, but Harriet’s. She is uncomfortable with ebooks. Specifically, she worries about ebooks cutting into the hardcover sales. It isn’t about money for her, as the monetary difference between the two is negligible here. It is about a worry that her husband’s legacy will be undermined if sales are split between ebooks and hardcovers, preventing the last book of the Wheel of Time from hitting number one on either list. (Many of the bestseller lists are still handling ebooks in somewhat awkward ways.)
As the last books have all hit number one, she doesn’t want to risk one of these not hitting number one, and therefore ending the series on a down note. (Even though each Wheel of Time book has sold more than its predecessor, including the ones I have worked on.) I personally feel her worries are unfounded, and have explained that to her, but it is not my choice and I respect her reasoning for the decision. She is just trying to safeguard Robert Jordan’s legacy, and feels this is a very important way she needs to do so. After talking about the issue, we were able to move the ebook up from the originally planned one-year delay to instead come out this spring.
Amazon’s autorip service for music goes live – books next?
While much of the current tech coverage is focused on the latest in streaming music, including both radio services like Pandora, as well as on-demand options like Spotify, Boom says people still like to buy physical music. “It’s almost 50 percent of the music market in the U.S.,” he says. “Only in 2011 did digital overtake physical in the United States, and in many countries, physical still represents 70 to 80 percent of music being sold.” At Amazon, both the physical and digital music businesses continue to grow, he adds, but declined to provide specific numbers.
The hastily written novel
Australian writer Graham Simsion’s debut novel The Rosie Project has been the subject of discussion at the news that it was written in just 50 days, sparking The Age’s Jane Sullivan to examine other books that were written in record time, including A Clockwork Orange (3 weeks), A Christmas Carol (6 weeks) and As I Lay Dying (also 6 weeks)
Mark – Wool by Hugh Howey
Joel – Locke & Key
Anne – Parade’s End
Ninja Sex Party – Dinosaur Laser Fight
I’ve been thinking about the names of book series recently, as we have sequels to two of our most popular books coming out in the next couple of months.
The sequel to Kylie Scott’s Flesh will be released on the 1st of February, and she has a third volume in the series planned for release later on. The books are erotic romance novels set in a post-apocalyptic world populated by “infected” humans (basically zombies), and the protagonists of the books are survivors of the zombie plague.
The second and third books in Kylie’s series will be called Skin, and Bone. We’ve been calling the series the Flesh series, but in the process of collating the metadata for the new release I wondered whether it needed an umbrella title along the lines of a series like His Dark Materials, or if going with the name of the first book a la Twilight was acceptable.
I think calling Kylie’s series the Flesh series might work, but other suggestions have included the Infected series (although I don’t know if it then starts sounding like an STI) or the Body trilogy, but we do want to leave the door open in case Kylie wants to write more stories set in the Flesh world.
Conversely, I do think we need an umbrella name for Nathan M Farrugia’s series, the first of which was The Chimera Vector. Below is an excerpt from an email from Nathan where he considers the question, and I think he is on the money for the most part.
Ooh, I haven’t thought about that. I did notice The Seraphim Sequence: 2 on Amazon and iTunes. What is the 2 for? I mean, I know what it’s for but it doesn’t make sense. It reads like the sequel to The Seraphim Sequence.
Anyway, I did some quick brainstorm synergy manthink and here is what I’ve come up with:
- Sophia series
- Chimera vector series
- Chimera series
Could use Project GATE series, but it’s not a recognisable name (it’s integral to the series but it’s hardly mentioned in Book 1 or 2) and I don’t see the point in obscure series titles. What do you think? I like the simplicity of Sophia or Chimera. And Chimera sounds a bit fantasy-ish so I’m leaning towards Sophia at this point.
Also bear in mind I am interested in following Book 3 with a mini-series of Damien and Jay novellas, so they would need a different series title like “Damien and Jay” or “Manlove”.
Calling Nathan’s books the Chimera series could be misleading for straight fantasy readers, but I really want him to okay calling it The Fifth Column series, after the evil world government corporation in the books. The argument has been made that we shouldn’t call a series after the bad guys, but I’d point to William Gibson’s Blue Ant series as an argument for that type of naming.
Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments – particularly if you have any brilliant ideas for the names of the Kylie’s and Nathan’s book series, but I’m also interested in which series you think has the best name.
On the last Podmentum of 2012 we discuss blockbuster movie franchises and their relationship to gourmet burgers, and then do a round up of the year in book publishing: the year of mummy porn.
Topic 1: Gourmet burgers
Topic 2: Yearly round up
PW’s annual accolade, for “shaping and, sometimes, transforming, the publishing industry”, has never gone to an author before: winners in the past include Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, and, last year, Penguin US’s chief executive David Shanks. But citing the huge sales of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy – they have sold more than 35m copies in the US alone and brought in over $200m (£125m) in revenue to publisher Random House – Publishers Weekly said that James had exerted a comparable influence. “Because the success of the series continues to reverberate throughout the industry in a number of ways – among other things, the money it’s brought in helped boost print sales in bookstores and turned erotic fiction into a hot category – we have selected James as the most notable player on the publishing stage this year.”
Mark: Stephen King’s The Wind Through the Keyhole
Joel: Wild Cards series by George R R Martin
Hannah: Daniel Handler’s Adverbs
Okay people, listen to me: Christmas is almost upon us. You have about a week, tops, to nail down this whole gift-giving thing.
Now if you’re like me, you’ll just inform your loved ones that Christmas this year is cancelled and shut yourself away for a week. If you choose to do this, well done, you’re a hero and your medal is in the mail.
Just kidding your medal isn’t in the mail because who in their right mind would visit a post office at this time of year?
If I were the Christmas joy and light gift-giving type, there is only one way I’d do it this year. And that is through the wonder of the internet.
A friend gave me a book for Christmas yesterday, and I have now decided that books are the best way to show your friends and family that you love and respect them. The right book says “I have put a significant amount of thought into what I think you would enjoy and I have chosen this one book out of millions because it is The Book For You.” It tells your loved one that you value their intelligence and want to share in their intellectual pursuits. There is no better gift than a book.
Let’s face it though, you’ve only got a limited amount of time now, and paper books PLUS wrapping paper and ribbons and a card is basically an environmental disaster. Really the only answer is to give ebooks. So I’ve put together this handy Ebook Gift-giving Guide. You are welcome.
There are two routes you can go down with giving ebooks. You can buy a gift card from an online retailer and let the recipient choose their own book. Don’t do that. Freedom of choice and gift-giving are not friends. Force your will on the ones you love in this small way.
First find out what type of device your intended recipient uses. If they don’t have a Kindle, or you are unsure as to whether they have an ereader at all, you can still buy from either Kobo or Amazon. Part of Amazon’s evil genius is that any of their books can be read on most devices through the Kindle app. Unfortunately neither the iBookstore nor ReadCloud allow you to give a specific title as a gift, but stay tuned.
Kobo’s official gift-giving (or “gifting” as they call it) guide is here, but basically you just find the perfect book for the person you want to
force your will upon shower with intellectual love and affection. then click the magical “Send As Gift” button.
Amazon’s official guide is here. They make it far too easy. Again, the hard part is finding the exact right ebook for the person you’re attempting to subjugate. Once on the book page in the Kindle store, to the right hand side of the browser you’ll see the below panel. Click the Give as a Gift button.
Then simply fill out your details, and purchase your ebook gift. You can either schedule the book to magically appear in your recipient’s inbox on Christmas Day, or send it to yourself for safekeeping pre-December 25. Just remember that Amazon runs on US time, so factor that into your scheduling.
So there you have it. Buy the love and respect of those around you with an ebook this Christmas. Look, just do it. No, do it. Go now. Buy ebooks.
Like these ones, for instance:
From the books to the movies, we talk favourite Bonds, Bond telemovies, villains, torture scenes and Ian Fleming’s predilection for… well, you’ll hear.
Chris also tells us how Fleming influenced his writing, particularly his villain in the latest book in the Intrepid series Hunter.
iTunes link is here for your subscription needs, hint hint.
This picture reminds me so much of Chris Allen. Not just because of his Bond obsession, but that’s a part of it. I swear I’ve seen Chris make this face before.
If you haven’t listened to Chris talk about Bond on the latest Podmentum, what are you waiting for? We’re releasing the Bondcast this week, so catch up now.
Listen and subscribe to Podmentum on iTunes here, so you’ll get each new podcast as soon as it is available.
Print-on-demand formats of both books are available to order now. Or you can just get copies the traditional (Momentum) way, as ebooks.
Joel sent this cover to me on Friday to upload but I only got around to looking at it this morning. And now I need some time to recover. So, in the meantime, enjoy some Skin.
Here are the opening lines, just in case you missed them last week:
In the end they took a vote on whether or not to trade Roslyn to the stranger at the gate. They even gave her a say, demonstrating democracy was not dead even if civilisation had gone belly up six months back when the virus first struck.
All nine survivors gathered on the school steps. The weak winter sun above them did little to combat the bitter wind. Her marrow was ice and her teeth chattered. She wanted to wrap her arms around herself, huddle down into the green school jacket she’d purloined out of a student locker. But she didn’t. Spine straight, shoulders back. Her father would have been proud.
She cleared her throat. No one would meet her eyes. They couldn’t do this and she would explain why in a sensible and rational manner using as many small words as deemed necessary. “I know we’re running low on food, but there’s no reason why we can’t make a trip into town to look for supplies. If we just make a plan-”
“Let’s get on with this,” said Neil, former head of the Maths Department. Still pissed she had refused to put out. Never had she met such a pretentious, unattractive git. “A raise of hands for ‘yea’.”
Her gaze skittered around the group.
Some hedged, but the hands were definitely there, six of them.
WARNING: There is a spoiler for Game of Thrones book 5 at 12-13m, so if you don’t want to know what happens at the end of this book just fast forward that bit.
First Podmentum of December! Who knew we’d make it this far. This episode includes discussion of endings in pop culture, spoilers and then we have a special guest who came in to give us all a dose of Bond culture, from Ian Fleming to Skyfall.
Topic 1 – Books and endings
There has been a bit of discussion recently about the endings of books, ignited by a column in The Guardian in which the writer expresses annoyance at ambiguous endings.
Happy endings – modern readers apparently aren’t big fans of sad endings, according to Salon. I disagree but having recently learned about the phenomenon of romance readers and their unbending penchant for a happy ending perhaps there is something in it.
Topic 2 – Spoilers
In the office we talk a lot about the pop culture we’re currently consuming, and the one thing Mark and I always clash on is spoilers. I’m quite happy to know what happens in a book, movie or tv episode before I see it, whereas Mark is vehemently against hearing about the outcome before he gets to experience it himself.
Turns out my way is better, according to NPR and Time magazine.
Spoilers might actually make reading stories more enjoyable, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego. They gave their subjects short stories they hadn’t read before, spoiling one group of readers but not others. So for example, when the assignment was Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” some readers were informed about its joltingly morbid ending. Others weren’t.
It turns out that most of the people for whom the story was “spoiled” reported enjoying it more than those who read it unprepared.
“It’s much more terrifying to know that something horrible is about to happen than not to know it’s about to happen,” – James Poniewozik, Time
Dan Kois: Spoilers: the official Vulture statute of limitations (2008)
Here’s why I’d first politely ask that you consider holding your tongue in terms of spoiling… well, anything within reason (and a reasonable amount of time, as set by John Q. Scalzi, Esquire): because it suggests that you’re the most important person on social media. I get it. You want to talk about what you just saw. But we all want lots of things. I want a pony. I want to punch people sometimes. I want to eat a gallon of ice cream and guzzle liquor every night. But I don’t. I don’t do a lot of things because it’d either be bad for me or bad for someone else. We don’t just follow our every id-driven impulse because: uhh, hello, selfish.
I’m just asking that you cool it on the spoilers.
Topic 3 – Chris Allen and James Bond
Chris Allen – Homeland
Mark – Infinitas Bookshop
Joel – Old Man’s War
Anne – Ablutions
Topic 1 – Why Publishers Hate Authors
HuffPo ran a piece by entrepreneur Michael Levin about his views on how publishers treat authors, including lines like
“It’s completely unfair, but destroying the options of a writer actually has some benefits for publishers. Which leads me to think that maybe publishers are actually happy when authors fail.”
She makes the point that a publishers job is to sell their authors, not themselves. I think we take a slightly different tack here at Momentum, in that we want to start a conversation around our authors that includes us, and is not simply facilitated by us.
Topic 2 – Tim Ferriss and Amazon Want to Reinvent Publishing
Barnes and Noble refuse to sell 4 hour chef because it is published by Amazon’s new publishing arm
“Our decision is based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent,” Barnes & Noble announced earlier this year. “Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content.”
Topic 3 – Who Wants to Read This Stuff?
Joel on book apps and storytelling in the digital age
Second podcast! We’re totally on a roll. In this episode we discuss the epic Genre versus Literature battle to the death in the wake of the inaugural GenreCon Australia, then we make fun of Joel for being such a gadget nerd. Also Mark outnerds himself in the recommendations. Enjoy.
Topic 1 - What we read: Genre v Lit
Arthur Krystal’s Easy Writers: Guilty pleasures without guilt in May in The New Yorker laid down the theory that the divide between genre and literary fiction is becoming less clear, and some genre fiction is now being afforded “literary” status.
Lev Grossman in Time April 2012 responded with an article entitles Literary Revolution in the Supermarket Aisle: Genre fiction is disruptive technology, challenging the idea that literary fiction should be regarded as “superior” to genre fiction. He basically lays down the theory that literary fiction is itself a genre with certain tried and true tropes that every book identified as such follows.
Krystal then responded to Lev Grossman with It’s genre, not that there’s anything wrong with that! in October, which had Joel absolutely apoplectic with rage, and convinced us that it was worth discussing.
Interesting look at horror in The Guardian recently with Horror: a genre literally doomed to hell?
*note – The Ian McEwan novel that was released the year before he won the Booker for Amsterdam was Enduring Love, not On Chesil Beach (which was actually released a decade later). To my enduring shame, I completely forgot about Enduring Love, which is actually one of my favourite McEwan books. Golf clap.
Topic 2 - Devices: how we read
Joel got his new Paperwhite last week and now that he’s had enough time to fall completely and utterly in love with it, it is probably time to talk about reading technology.
Mark’s Recommendation Star Wars Expanded Universe