Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Profit and Loss Love, Newbie Blogs, and the Eyeliner Controversy

Ana Louise continues to break down the Profit and Loss statements for books (link from Agent Kristin). The comment about Trade vs. Mass Market (with Trade appealing to younger readers) I found very interesting. I’ve had long conversations with some of my suppliers about how we feel some books should be duel released (Hardcover and Trade), while others should just be released as Trade originals. Of course, I’ve never seen the numbers worked out for these sorts of situations, and I know some collectors prefer hardcovers over trades.

Episode Soldier is the newest bookselling blog on the block and the product of Aubrey who works at Arches Book Company in Moab, Utah (link via Written Nerd). Not only does she mention William Heat-Moon (Blue Highways rocks) in her first post, but she gives the working definition of “episode soldier.” I can’t wait to read her thoughts on the book world.

Both Booksquare and Big A little a highlighted this article from the NY Times about product placement in children’s books yesterday, and I wanted to know your thoughts on it from the writer’s point of view. Booksquare points out that product placement has been going on—for free—for years, but does this represent a lazy writing style on the author’s part or an attempt to ground a book in the present reality?

Speaking of children’s books, more specifically Young Adult books, how does one go about getting on the lists to be sent ARCs for review? She’s a rabid YA reader and very much a product of her generation (hipster lovin’ 22 year old), and having stumbled into getting free books myself, I have no way to direct her. Some help would be greatly appreciated.


Jane said...

First, the profit and loss articles have been FASCINATING and I am still figuring out how to incorporate them into a blog post.

Second, I read the whole thing about the product placement and it makes me leery, particularly with the large amount of product placement in chick lit books. Would Alison Pace's book better if it was If Levi Strauss Had A Girlfriend and Ian was a . . . jeans designer. Makes me cringe. I guess I should put up my blog post now instead of waiting until Monday.

Third, I am sending you an email re the last thing on your list.

Kelly said...

Hi there!

Your friend should start a blog reviewing YA books. If it is any good, she'll get more ARCs than she'll know what to do with!

Christine Fletcher said...

The product placement makes me uneasy, as well, if for no other reason than books are one of the very last ad-free bastions left. Our ballpark is named after a utility company, kids get ads along with their educational TV in school...everything, it seems, comes with a tag attached.

In this instance, the company didn't pay the author but is promoting the book. How soon before a company does pay a YA author? After all, you want to get these kids loyal to your brand young, right? Worked great for Joe Camel.

If this works well for Cover Girl, why wouldn't it catch on? It would probably be relatively cheap for the companies. And as far as authors, how many of us would resist the kind of money and promotional opportunities a big company can offer? Would we tell ourselves, as the writers in this article did, that it's not a big deal, it's not changing the story?

Maybe not. But it sure as hell changes the reading experience. To me, there's a big difference between "gunmetal grey eyeliner" and "eyecolor in 'Midnight Metal.'" The first is good, detailed writing that evokes a visual image. The second pulls me out of the reading to wonder what Midnight Metal might look like. Instead of a clear visual image, it evokes an aftertaste of shopping mall.

It's the same difference between the Civic Stadium and PGE Park. One belonged to the city residents. The other is bought and paid for, and you'd better not forget it.