Friday, February 26, 2010

The Advent of the Book Dickie

Peter Robins wrote a piece on The Guardian's Book Blog questioning the need for dustjackets on books.  "What is the point of dustjackets?" he asks.  "The jacket remains an unnecessary and vulnerable encumbrance. That, at least, is how it has always seemed to me – and some in the book trade appear to be reaching the same conclusion."

Couldn't agree more, Peter.  In fact, I predicted this development ages ago (well, six weeks ago anyway).  It's the sixth of my 10 Predictions Plus 2 about the future of publishing:  "As a cost-cutting measure, publishers will reconsider the efficacy of the traditional wraparound book jacket."  But Peter, not sharing my astonishing prescience, you failed to grasp the true significance of this phenomenon, which is just a precursor to a greater, paradigm-altering development:  "An innovative designer will create a radically streamlined and much cheaper alternative: the book dickie."

The advent of the book dickie will lead directly to the fulfillment of my seventh prediction:  "Authors will inevitably complain to their editors that they don't like their dickie art."

How long before the rest of my predictions fall like so many dominoes into the realm of incontrovertible historical fact?  Let's hope it's a while before my final prediction is realized--it's a doozy.  Hoo boy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

All I Wanna Do

Earlier this week I learned that Sheryl Crow's breakthrough hit "All I Wanna Do" is based on a poem called "Fun" by Wyn Cooper.  This is probably common knowledge, and may even be taught in elementary school, but it was news to me and I was only too happy to feature it on my blog Classics Rock!, which explores the intersection of popular music and literature.

A few hours after the post went up yesterday, something cool happened:  Wyn Cooper left a comment.  In the glorious and esteemed ten-month history of Classics Rock!, this marks the first time a writer featured on the blog has left a comment.  For all I know, it's the first time a writer featured on the blog has read the blog.

I was particularly gratified (not to mention relieved) by the fact that his comment was positive:  "This is incredibly accurate," he wrote, "something I don't see often when my poem and the song that came out of it are discussed. Thanks."  Thank you, Wyn!  He also pointed me toward other poems he's written that have been set to music (including a musical collaboration with novelist Madison Smartt Bell), which will almost certainly be turning up on Classics Rock! at some point.

Authors, please follow Wyn Cooper's lead.  If you are fortunate enough to be featured on Classics Rock!, by all means, leave a comment.  Especially if it's complimentary.  On the other hand, if you're feeling snarky then please think twice before posting.

Oh, and Sheryl?  Love to hear from you too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anniversary Present

The present in question is a lovely item about yesterday's "Anniversary" post that appeared on Publishing Perspectives today.

It's written by Erin Cox, who is also coming up on a year since she left corporate life.  She seems to be making the most of it, and stands as another reminder that leaving a job is not the worst thing that's ever going to happen to you.  It may even turn out to be one of the better things that's ever going to happen to you.  There is definitely life beyond the 9-to-5.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


One year ago today, HarperCollins and I parted ways.  That was entirely their idea, by the way. The anniversary of my layoff seems like a good time to take stock.  Since that day last February, I have:
Been interviewed on national TV a couple of times.

Appeared in a national magazine or two, and a major daily newspaper.

Been featured on some high-visibility websites.

Started a couple of blogs that earn coverage in the trade press now and then.

Had some writing published in a number of outlets.

Started writing silly stuff on a regular basis for The Huffington Post (the latest one went up today).

Tricked a literary agent into taking me on as a client.

Got myself on the Twitter and the Facebook.

Found steady freelance employment.

Pulled my weight in terms of putting food on the table and kids through college.

Had some serious fun.
The only thing missing is a full-time job that I love.  They're a little scarce right now, but I know that's coming.

In short, I am doing better than OK--pretty well in fact--and am looking forward to what comes next.  I sincerely hope that the friends and colleagues who share this dubious anniversary with me can say the same.