Evolution, head to toe

More on my favorite topic, human consciousness and how it developed. Not to mention gastronomy, marathon running and language articulation.
Daniel Lieberman tracks the evolution of the human head. | Harvard Magazine Jan-Feb 2011


Writer’s Digest - The Evolution of the Literary Agent

Writer’s Digest - The Evolution of the Literary Agent: Snippets from an article by Jane Friedman recording a roundtable discussion among four top agents. Here I've quoted Wendy Keller, Keller Media, kellermedia.com and more briefly Scott Waxman, Waxman Literary Agency, waxmanagency.com/diversionbooks.com. In the first snippet, Keller responds to Friedman's question, "What’s the most important change happening in publishing right now that’s impacting the future of the agent-author relationship?"

Keller: The most important change is not the format in which books are being published. The most important change began with the fact that a million books published in 2009—and 774,000 or so of them self-published. That many “unsupervised” books will definitely tip the ship in the reader’s favor. When all the people who have written and self-published books that don’t sell—and when all the junky books publishers have thrown against the wall using the old “see if it sticks” model have been exhausted—then there will emerge from this desolate landscape a new breed of books that are excellent, well-thought-out, well-formulated, actually useful to the reader (inform, educate, inspire or entertain). In other words, the pendulum will have completed its full swing, back to quality over quantity. Like publishing was before any of us were born, when the last American “classics” were published. There’s just no bleedin’ way for the marketplace of readers to absorb 1 million titles annually. Things must change and I am part of that change, as are you, the hopeful author who is reading these words right now. Quality over quantity is what will emerge from this debacle. But for now, the best, brightest marketers will win the skirmishes.

What’s your advice to authors who might be thinking about publishing or distributing their work digitally through a service like Amazon DTP or Smashwords?

Waxman: In these cases, you really need to have a strong social network online to sell books. Otherwise, you’ll be drowned out by the masses.

Keller: If you know what you’re doing, are willing to hire any of the brilliant recently fired editors to help you edit the thing, and most of all if you have a cogent, smart, dynamic marketing plan, do it. Even self-publish, something I used to abhor. And if you don’t have your own personalized marketing plan and the enormous drive and focus to enact it, then don’t do it. It’s black or white. Save your money and time. 


Marketing the sultan

I just discovered that my book is available at Powell's and Barnes & Noble in addition to Amazon. I discovered this when I updated by home page in the Red Room, which automatically posted these other buying links. Gee, I hope somebody writes a comment or review at those sites, too.

Reading in Vera

Susana snapped this shot of me reading from A Gift for the Sultan in the "Espacio Lector" ("Reader's Space") of the excellent bookstore Libería Nobel in Vera, Almería. If you are in our area (southeast coast of Spain), you can purchase the book there.

We had a good crowd at the reading and a good time, and even sold some books. A great many of our English and other friends were there, and I'm grateful for their support.

There should soon be a note on the event and the book, A Gift for the Sultan, in the local English-language weekly Levante Lifestyle.

(You can also find A Gift for the Sultan on Amazon, with customer reviews and a link to my author page, where there is a video discussing the book.)


PIGS Vs. APEs: Debunking myths about Spain

This is an engaging, amusing 3-part essay, not convincing in all its acerbic barbs, but clear at dismanteling some of the stupider and most common myths about Spain as compared to other European countries. I think you'll enjoy reading it, even if you want to argue with him over some points. Luis Francisco Martínez Montes is described here as "the adviser to the Spanish Deputy Minister" (presumably Ministry of the Exterior).
PIGS Vs. APEs: Living on an Animal Farm by Luis Francisco Martínez Montes - The Globalist

Introducing the APEs: Anglo-Protestant Economies by Luis Francisco Martínez Montes - The Globalist

Spain — A Country Built on Sand? by Luis Francisco Martínez Montes - The Globalist

Famous all over town

This has been a busy week for sultan “Yildirim” Bayezid. His image, paired with mine, was plastered all over Carboneras, Mojácar and all the way to Vera, to announce my readings from the novel about his last great adventure on earth, A Gift for the Sultan. If he is watching from Paradise, it will no doubt seem less than his magnificence deserves, but it is more attention than he has received in Spain in the past six centuries.

For our Spanish friends in Carboneras, Susana and I translated the introductory scene and another chapter to present in the town's library. The place was packed for the reading Thursday night, S.R.O., more people than the library had hosted for any other event in memory — just shows you how people still care about old Yildirim ("Thunderbolt"). Now they want a Spanish translation of the whole book; I do too, but I'm not about to do it. It would be a big and challenging job.

Then on Friday, the sultan filled the presentation room of the Nobel bookstore in Vera for a reading in English to folks who don't require translation, and several of them bought the book.

All this in the same week that I was interviewed by that Turkish radio program in San Francisco. 

Do you remember this book? The young Chicano who wrote it turned out to be a 72-year old non-Chicano playwright, Daniel Lewis James, but that's another story, a sad and funny one — sad because James had been so damaged by being blacklisted from the theater, which was his life, that when he years later dared to take up the pen again, he could manage only under a pen name. Funny, because after years of community work in East Los Angeles, he got the voice of the young Chicano so right that he fooled all the critics. In the novel, the young hero — frustrated by being treated as a nobody all his life — finally makes himself famous all over town by writing his name in big letters on all the billboards. And Daniel James did it by writing as Danny Santiago.

I was thinking of Danny and Daniel as our friends Hazel and David Jones (many thanks, from me and the sultan) put up those posters all over Carboneras, Mojácar and Vera.