jcomeau's blog

"Try it before you buy it," as a book publishing model?

I have a new book out called Bible Camp Bloodbath, and I published it using a print on demand service. I wish I could say that my choice to publish it myself was due to some noble fascination with digital technology, or some futurist embrace of a post-publisher world, but to be honest I just got too excited. When I finish a book, I want to show everyone. I want to put it up on the internet and read it over the loudspeaker at the mall. My publisher, ECW, wanted the book. But they wanted to publish it in 2012. I could be dead by then. Everyone could be dead by then! I want to see what people think! I want to have it banned from libraries THIS year, not in 2 years.

Evil can be fun! An interview with Derek McCormack.

Derek McCormack is a Toronto writer, and the author of one of my favourite novels, The Show That Smells. His previous works include The Haunted Hillbilly, Christmas Days (with the comic artist Seth), and Grab Bag, which collected his two short story collections. I think he is the best writer in Canada. (Photo by Chris Reed)

5 talented writers who are terrible people.

Sometimes an author does or says something so terrible that it is difficult to enjoy their work anymore.

1. Orson Scott Card is a homophobe and an outright idiot. But I love Ender's Game, and I think it is one of the great Science Fiction novels of all time. It would be a stupid loss if nobody read it, just because it was written by someone whose idea of logic is saying that if gays wanted to get married, they could. They just had to marry someone of the opposite sex. Wikipedia says that he has, "described homosexuality as an acquired characteristic linked to abuse or molestation in childhood." That's just swell. So, while it'd be a shame if nobody read Ender's Game, I sure am hoping they buy it used.

iBooks is so popular! OMG

iPad users are downloading the free app iBooks more than even Twitter or the Facebook app! Wow!

Nevermind that when you first connect your iPad to the app store, one of the first things it asks you is, "Would you like to download your free copy of iBooks now?" This is a type of promotion that Facebook and Twitter, and no other app has access to. One that reaches all users who connect to the app store, and which portrays iBooks as a free perk of the device itself.

But that's a bit of nitpicking! I mean, if we expected stories about Apple products and software to have more specific numbers and context, then we'd probably have way fewer stories worth reporting!

eReaders vs Real Books.

The arguments against eReaders and in favour of books are just extensions of the argument against amazon.com and in favour of independent bookstores. The points that people raise about the value of physical books are not incorrect, just as the points they raised about the value of brick and mortar stores are valid ones. The problem isn't that people don't think bookstores (and books) are valuable. The problem is that the tradeoff might be worth it.

5 "favourite books" that are a warning sign on dating profiles.

There are a lot of warning signs on dating site profiles. Some of them are right there in the bio, not so subtle, like:

NO LIARS. NO FAKES. I WANT A REAL MAN WHO DOESN'T HAVE ANY BAGGAGE. ARGHHHHHHH NO WOMEN WHO WANT TO LOOK LIKE PARIS HILTON OR GIRLS GONE WILD WHORES PLZ I WANT A NICE PERSON

But sometimes the warning signs are more subtle, hidden away in the "Favourite books" section. These are some titles and authors to watch out for:

1. Anything by Ayn Rand. Unless you want to have about a million fights down the road where you wind up feeling like a crazy person for having feelings instead of being logical. I guess this book might be a plus, though, if the person is under 22 and you are looking for someone really impressionable to take advantage of.

comics can be about friendship

This is a good example of why I think Beartato comics are the best comics about friendship in the whole world. I didn't even know I wanted to read comics about friendship. Here is another example! and another one! Oh my goodness.

Also, there is a Beartato book! That is all I have to say about that.

Goldberg Variations 2: The revenge.

I've been thinking about my post from the other day. When a movie aimed at kids and teens comes out, often you'll see the novelization, the YA novelization, the sticker book, all kinds of different formats, to reach different audiences.

(william gibson + buzz rickson) > (douglas coupland x roots)

William Gibson's novel Pattern Recognition's main character, Cayce Pollard is essentially a cool-hunter, and in the book cuts the tags and labels out of all her own clothes.

One of the pieces of clothing talked about in the book a lot is a black Buzz Rickson flight jacket. (Gibson + Rickson) brought out a version of that jacket, together with a line of actually pretty cool plain black designs. There's a restraint and aesthetic simplicity to these that is really appealing.

The Goldberg Variations

Are there many authors who rewrite their works, later in life? After a lifetime of experience, the work would turn out very different, I think. Glenn Gould re-recorded Bach's Goldberg Variations 25 years after his first recording, and they're different, very different. It's a real pleasure to listen to the one and then the other. I wonder why more novelists don't return to a world they've created, and write it again. I can't think of many examples. It would be like a director remaking his own movie, which would almost certainly be better than hiring music video directors like the current fashion.

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