In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Stephen King has revealed that his latest project – no, not the TV adaptation of 11/22/63, the other thing. No, not his musical with John Mellencamp and Neko Case either, the other other thing. No, not his forthcoming sequel to The Shining, his other other other… look, the man keeps busy, is the point – anyway, King’s next book will bypass digital editions completely for the foreseeable future and be available exclusively in print. Upon its publication in a fortnight, the crime novel Joyland will commit wholly to its pulpy roots and be printed in paperback alone by Hard Case Crime, with a limited run of 2,250 hardback copies to follow a week later.
Earlier this month, we travelled to Bristol in order to try out a new kind of reading experience – a project that intends to fully integrate the physical with the digital. Pioneering the frontiers of storytelling and gathering media attention, These Pages Fall Like Ash is an AHRC- and REACT-funded project worth investigating…
As with every new digital development, there is a tendency to wax lyrical on its boundary-pushing, experience-enhancing, multi-layering and super-innovating qualities. And this project was no different. However, as I mentioned previously, this time it seems as if they have hit upon something with real significance – a diamond (albeit one slightly in the rough) amongst the lacklustre onslaught of uncreative ebooks. It is a part-treasure-hunt, part-interactive, location-based, cross-platform serialised story. I make no apologies for the use of hyphens: it seems entirely appropriate for this kind of mash-up media (there I go again).
This is a guest post from Laura Palmer, the extremely talented Editorial Director and co-founder of Head of Zeus.
When I tell people I work in fiction publishing, the first thing they want to know is whether I spend my working day reading novels. I wish I could say yes. But the truth is that if you work for a small Independent start-up, like I do, you spend a lot of time doing important-but-boring things (proofreading ISBNS, maximising discoverability by optimising territory metadata encoded in ISBNs) and not much time doing important-but-fun things (reading great scripts, schmoozing agents to persuade them to send you great scripts). The result: your isbns are perfect. Your chances of finding the next bestseller are not. When you are squeezing your search into snatched evenings, weekends, and morning commutes, it makes it all the more exciting when one falls into your lap.
Having taken the inaugural award in 2000, Howard Jacobson has this week won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for the second time, garnering top honours for his novel Zoo Time. The Bloomsbury-published title beat Joseph Connolly’s England’s Lane, Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods, Michael Frayn’s Skios and Deborah Moggach’s Heartbreak Hotel. It now only remains to be seen what Jacobson is going to do with the traditional prize, seeing as, having won previously, he presumably has a set of the complete works of PG Wodehouse going spare. Maybe he can mull it over over a glass of the Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée that also forms part of his winning haul, possibly musing aloud to the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig that will now be named after his triumphant novel.
This is a very basic introduction to XML (extensible markup language). If you think that XML is exclusively for techie people or you don’t really know what it is at all, this post is for you.
Timo Boezeman is the Digital Publisher for De Arbeiderspers, one of the largest publishers in The Netherlands. He is involved in creating enhanced e-books, apps and hybrid projects (books + apps). Their recent launch, Earned Attention, has done just that – earned the Dutch publisher lots of attention. Being nosy, we wanted to find out more …
1. Your multi-platform title launch is getting a lot of attention; why did you decide to publish across all available platforms rather than testing each as you went along?
The whole idea was to create a platform which exists of a diverse range of product types, to: a) make all the content we had available to the reader, and b) to do this in the best possible way for each type of content. This resulted in a print book for the complete story from A to Z, an iPhone app for all the complete audio-interviews of every interviewed visionary (complemented with complete profiles) which is a great addition have beside you while reading the book, a blog with new developments, stories and interviews with new visionaries (because the story never ends, and this is a topic that is still in development), and an iPad app that combines all of these in one (the complete book, including its design, the audio-interviews and profiles of the visionaries, and a lot of extra links to additional content, interviews or a more in-depth analysis of something that is only touched briefly in the story, elements made interactive, creating Post-it like notes and a lot more).
In what is either one of the more leftfield viral marketing ploys in recent memory or a typically shameless Buzzfeed attempt to ride the zeitgeist to maximum page views, evidence of Dan Brown’s mythical pre-literary career as a
bestselling author soft rock musician has surfaced online in concordance with today’s release of his first novel in four years, Inferno. Since there’s no way of not talking about it, we’ll get it out of the way upfront: Said evidence includes a song from 1993 about phone sex, which is exactly as subtly, insinuatingly seductive as you’d expect of a song from 1993 about phone sex written and performed by the author of The Da Vinci Code, i.e. yes, there is a blaring sax solo. Is everybody naked yet?
Note from the editor: If you’re free on Thursday 23rd May, please do join us at BookMachine Unplugged, as our top speakers discuss collaboration and what they have learned from the projects they have worked on in publishing. Tickets are here.
Publishing gets a lot of stick about being an incredibly old industry, being fusty and insular and old fashioned. Maybe the young up-and-coming tech companies are about a million times cooler than we are, with their boardrooms that double as pool tables, desk garnish that looks like a rainforest, and cocktail Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays. But in our heritage and lives something incredibly powerful – international relationships. While I feel it would be wrong to compare publishing to the mafia, fact is we are a network of likeminded people, a lot of whom know each other perhaps a little too well, with a common goal. I say we should tap that network a little more often.
Believe it or not it is 40 years, give or take a week, since the first mobile telephone call was made. Martin Cooper, a former Motorola employee, is said to have rang the boss of a rival manufacturer to inform him that he’d lost the race to develop the first portable, hand–held device. I imagine it was a short call. The weight of the phone used to make that call was about the same as a bag of sugar (2lb) and the brick–like battery required, which allowed a talk time of just 30 minutes, took 10 hours to charge.
In what is proving to be quite the week for spotting otherwise reclusive authors in the wild, the cultishly adored Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has appeared in public in his native land for the first time in eighteen years. Turns out all you have to do to tempt him into plain sight is to be a noted Jungian psychologist with whom Murakami can empathise from the very depths of his heart, die at 79, then hope that a few years later someone will name a literary prize after you and that Murakami will turn up to aid its launch. Bully for Hayao Kawai then, who did just that, having died in 2007 as a professor emiritus at Kyoto University and a former head of Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency.