Towse: views from the hill

February 3, 2006

Book Passage above the fold … a Davey and Goliath story

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:54 pm

Last week a friend from the least coast sent me an article from Publishers Weekly detailing the Davey and Goliath story unfolding up in Corte Madera.

Barnes & Noble announced on January 25th that it will be moving from Greenbrae to Corte Madera, expanding to a space three times larger than its current space, and moving in just down the street from Book Passage, one of the best independent bookstores around.

“I’m sure you’ve heard of this but just in case…” she said.

I hadn’t heard. I checked the Chronicle to see if I’d somehow missed the kerfuffle, but no word.

I shot a note off to Jon Carroll and told him he needed to cover the story or light a fire under someone at the Chron who could. Less than half an hour later, he sent a note back. “Done!” he said.

That was Thursday. On Friday there was naught in the Chron, but my note to Carroll had been after lunch on Thursday and I was sure he’d probably spiked Friday’s column long before that. No words in the Chronicle over the weekend.

Well? asked my friend.

I had to tell her that Carroll’s Monday column covered geese poop at Lake Merritt.

“Oh, I see…they’re waiting until the big stories die down…” she said.

Day … by … day … nothing.

And then today, FINALLY above the fold in the Business section, was the start of a multipage article.

With pics.

A serious tale of survival
Book Passage is battling giant Barnes & Noble — again

Pia Sarkar, Chronicle Staff Writer

The Citizens Concerned about Strengthening Independent Bookstores (CCSIB) has put together a very untidy Web site to garner support for Book Passage and spur local action to stop the shopping center managers from leasing the space in question to B&N. Trundle through the site. Loads of information there if you can get past the colors and fonts and CAPS.

This bit, though, should give you a feel for the uproar across the Bridge from here.

Council meeting Tuesday night. Book huggers are e-mailing concerns to the folks listed on the site. More actions are planned.

Davey killed Goliath with a stone and slingshot. There’s hope yet.

GoStats gone missing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:46 pm

I am like totally bummed.

GoStats has gone missing.

First, the stats were gone and there was a [missing image] in lieu of my numbers here and at Now the site itself is gone, gone, gone.

I am that close to having my 200,000th visitor to the writerly swarm of links and was going to celebrate the odometer ticking over.

Here’s hoping gostats comes back. If not, I’ll add a different counter over the weekend and start again from zero.

UPDATE: GoStats is back and I hadn’t remembered the upcoming milestone for the writerly swarm of links, obviously. It wasn’t 200,000 I was waiting for, it was 400,000. The hit counter stands at 384,900 hits since Nov 1, 2001. I should hit 400,000 in another couple months.

… — .-.. — -. –. Western Union STOPs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:05 am

Western Union STOPs their telegraph business.

(Those money transfers … those ‘ll keep rolling along. …)

So long, it’s been good to know ya.
So long, it’s been good to know ya. [nod to Woody Guthrie]

So long …

February 2, 2006

[WRITING] Folio Literary Management

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:32 pm

Folio Literary Management‘s site is up and running on all cylinders — agent bios and “what I’m looking for”s and “what I’m not looking for”s, authors repped, submission guidelines, plus a nice set of publishing resources.

  • A Step By Step Guide To Getting Published
  • Frequently Asked Questions for Agents
  • List of helpful books on writing
  • Publishing links

[WRITING] Jeff Kleinman on the non-fiction book proposal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:28 pm

Jeff Kleinman has put a step-by-step here’s-what’s-needed guide to non-fiction book proposals up on the Folio Literary Management site.

Still haven’t really made any new year’s resolutions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:20 pm

Too late?

Now I don’t have to.

[WRITING] Nick Mamatas, nihilistic_kid, on getting repped by Writers House

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 11:15 pm

Followed a link on Jennifer Jackson‘s blog — she’s an agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency — over to nihilistic_kid and read a blog entry about Writers House and the odds of being repped by them.

Seems Writers House receives twelve thousand (12000) submissions a year, forty a day. First reader is an intern. One of the agents is in charge of the slush and also reads.

Every “unexpected” submission, even those that are addressed to individual agents, go through an intern first, and sometimes the guy too. That’s why God founded Vassar. On winter break, he does it all himself.

Of those twelve thousand submissions in the slush pile, one or two writers will be offered representation.

One or two.
Twelve thousand.

Of the submissions, most fall into two groups: talented writers with nothing that makes them unique or sets them apart, and writers with lots of creativity who can’t write.

It can take months to get an agreement for representation, but a rejection can be gained as soon as you want it. “Call me twenty times in twenty days, and everyone here will hear about it.” If people want a quick answer, the answer is no.

So don’t bug ‘im, eh?

Auntie K! This one’s for YOU!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:31 pm

Step right up and get your very own “Radical, Militant Librarian” Button

In recognition of the efforts of librarians to help raise awareness of the overreaching aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act, the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is offering librarians an opportunity to proudly proclaim their “radical” and “militant” support for intellectual freedom, privacy, and civil liberties.


Inspiration for the button’s design came from documents obtained from the FBI by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The request revealed a series of e-mails in which FBI agents complained about the “radical, militant librarians” while criticizing the reluctance of FBI management to use the secret warrants authorized under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Of course, in part because of the efforts of “radical militant librarians” arguing on behalf of their users’ right to read freely, without government interference or surveillance, Congress voted to extend its debate on the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act.

[WRITING] Book Publishing FAQ

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:12 pm

Lifted from Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Making Light post on The life expectancies of books,

Cader Books’ Book Publishing FAQ

Free advice on the ins and outs of publishing and agents and proposals and more. Worth far more than it costs.

8. How do I put together a good proposal?

Be clear, articulate, and to the point. You would be surprised how poorly presented, and poorly written, many proposals are. The same rules apply as with anything else in life: this is your sales presentation. Go all out to capture the buyer’s interest as quickly as possible, and hold it for as long as you can. How your proposal looks, and how professionally it is presented, is critical to shaping the attitude with which your proposal will be viewed. As a general rule, you should include the followin g:

* A one-page cover letter
* An introduction that sells your idea in two pages or less. Pretend that you are writing the publisher’s catalog copy for them; tell them what the book is about, what makes it unique, what the market it is for your book, and how it will be reached. T he more concrete you are, the more convincing you will be.
* A table of contents, annotated if necessary, to give an overall picture of your book.
* Sample material, enough to convince, and enough to give a sense of what they are buying.
* Information about the author–what makes you the right person to do this book.
* Marketing information and plans. How can you help sell this book, what special places and ways can it be sold, and what special ways can it be promoted.

Who or what is Cader Books? Cader Books is, among other things, a book packager.

Technically speaking, we are what the book business calls a book packager or book producer–which is essentially the book world equivalent of an independent producer in the movie business. We produce books in conjunction with other authors and institutions, and create our own original book projects, and sell those books to appropriate publishers. We provide a full range of editorial, design, and production services. Our specialty, though, is taking a good idea and giving it that great extra twist to make it into a terrific finished book.

Their list of “new books” includes

  • Bad As I Wanna Dress: The Unauthorized Dennis Rodman Paper Doll Book
  • Naughty Shakespeare by Michael Marcone (author of Brush Up Your Shakespeare)
  • The Most Important Thing I Know: Life Lessons from Colin Powell, Stephen Covey, Maya Angelu (sic) and more than 75 Other Eminent Individuals Compiled by Lorne A. Adrian
  • Stranger Danger: How to Keep Your Child Safe by Carol Sovel Cope
  • Strange Days #2: The Year in Weirdness by the Editors of Fortean Times
  • Junior Astrologer Series by Alexis Quinlan
  • Talk of Fame: Good Advice from Celebrities Edited by Jeffrey Zaslow
  • America Off-line By A.J. Jacobs
  • Brush Up Your Poetry By Michael Macrone

An Exercise in Comparative Literature

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:58 am

(via Maud Newton)

An Exercise in Comparative Literature
from Tim T., writing at Intersecting Lines

For decades, the debate has been raging amongst literary scholars: “Which is better? James Joyce, or a train timetable?”

On the one hand, there are the scholars who argue that we live in an everchanging, metatextual world, and that we should be prepared to let in all types of literature to the canon. On the other hand, there are the classical scholars who think we should just stick with the train timetable.

So what’s so good about James Joyce, anyway? Can it do something useful, like tell us when and where to catch a train?

In this essay, I propose to help settle this crucial philosophical debate once and for all by performing a comparative study.

A Study In Literary Quality

[...] and continues on …

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