Game Lost, but not the Season: A review of Ryan Woodward’s Bottom of the 9th

RyanEditedI’m a baseball fan. I go to games, watch games on TV and even follow what’s happening in the minors  a bit. I even follow Mormons in baseball and know how well Mormons are playing this year–ever heard of Mormon Baseball? Yeah, I’m that guy.

So when a friend told me about Ryan Woodward’s Bottom of the 9th, I bought the first episode. And today I finally got around to having a look. And while I generally liked what I saw, the app didn’t grab me and make me desperate for more. But, even though I’m not enthralled, I’d probably give a second episode a shot, if it were available.

Continue reading “Game Lost, but not the Season: A review of Ryan Woodward’s Bottom of the 9th”

I Will Praise Thee with the Psaltery & Lyre

Psaltery-&-Lyre

Psaltery and Lyre images from Wikimedia Commons

(Cross-posted here.)

In early June, Dayna Patterson launched a new poetry publication called Psaltery & Lyre. It’s housed under the auspices of Doves & Serpents, a group blog that, Dayna told me in an email interaction, “caters to [the] sort of open-minded/misfit Mormon crowd.” In fact, the blog’s byline is “With open minds and Mormon hearts,” a statement that wants to bridge the gap between mind and heart, faith and doubt, although I’m not completely convinced it does that; that, however, is beyond the purview of this post. What matters at the moment is how the relationship Doves & Serpents posits between mind and heart, faith and doubt translates into the cultural work Dayna hopes to accomplish with Psaltery & Lyre. As she comments on the column’s “About” page,

In the words of Canadian poet Anne Simpson, “Poetry dares us to locate the white heat in ourselves, but that isn’t enough: it dares us to translate that searing heat into language that can burn the page” (www.poetryfoundation.org [scroll down]).

In Psaltery & Lyre, we want to publish poetry that burns the page (or the screen). We want poems that push the borders of faith and doubt, sacred and secular. Above all, we seek excellence.

The monotheists of the Old Testament used the psaltery to accompany religious verses (think Psalms). The pagans of ancient Greece played the lyre while singing passionate love lyrics (think Sapphic odes). In Psaltery & Lyre, the sacred and profane share a bed.

So, while the larger blog project of which Psaltery & Lyre is a part is all about boundary pushing, Dayna wants the column to be, as she’s also told me, “just about good poetry. Period. No matter where/who [the poetry] comes from and no matter what [the poetry] is about.” Dayna herself is quite an accomplished poet and her sense of what makes for good poetry seems rooted in her own poetic practice and passion. I trust this means quality verse will take center stage at Psaltery & Lyre.

In my efforts to highlight the emerging faces and spaces of Mormon poetry and to provide a sense of Dayna’s editorial vision for Psaltery & Lyre, I asked her a few questions to which she graciously responded: Continue reading “I Will Praise Thee with the Psaltery & Lyre”

Video from Knopf Book Cover Designer

I came across this video from TED Talks today, and thought I’d pass it on to those who read this. I think Chip Kidd makes some great points about book and book cover design in a quirky way which, if you like it, might even make you laugh. If you concentrate on what he has to say about design (instead of what he says about technology), then there is a lot of good material here.

Continue reading “Video from Knopf Book Cover Designer”

Edition progression and the ebook disruption

When I began working in book publishing at Henry Holt & Co. in 1988, one of the first things I learned was that there was a pattern to when each edition of a work was published. Hardcover editions came first, and then, usually a year later, a paperback edition was published, if the hardcover had sold well enough. There were, of course, exceptions, but the pattern was generally understood.

The rise of the ebook has, of course, disrupted this paradigm.

Continue reading “Edition progression and the ebook disruption”

ebooks and the self-publishing bubble

nook-3gA couple of recent articles got me thinking again about the current revolution in ebooks and related subjects.

First, the New York Times in The Bookstore’s Last Stand took a look at Barnes and Noble’s attempts to stay competitive in the current environment, focusing on B&N’s creation of the Nook and on its current CEO, William J. Lynch Jr., who joined the company three years ago after working at IAC/InterActiveCorp, the parent company of the Home Shopping Network. Lynch ran both hsn.com and gifts.com there. Surprisingly, Lynch, who considers himself a technology guy and even claims that Barnes and Noble is a “technology company” told the Times that “the idea that devices like the Nook, Kindle and Apple iPad will make bookstores obsolete is nonsense.”

Continue reading “ebooks and the self-publishing bubble”

Sunstone’s Gift to Me and You

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Sunstone, quietly and without any fanfare that I’m aware of, has made it’s archives (save the few most recent issues) available for free online.

! ! !

Including the comics issue I edited! Which is primo content, I assure you.

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Sunstone has just provided an incredible resource which I encourage you to check out.

For free!

Although, speaking of money, Sunstone could use yours even if they’re being coy about it. Considering thanking them for the pdf bonanza with some lucre.

Poetry, asters to zeppelins

I started to comment on Tyler’s post, “Preach on, Sister Meyer.  Preach On.” But–look out–the comment mushroomed.  Adam G’s comment especially caught my attention. His question seems to be, is it possible to talk about poetry–especially in terms of hierarchies and other high-falutin’ standards for determining a poem’s worthiness–with language that doesn’t float above us like a leviathan, bomb-totin’, gas-filled bag of pretension?

If that’s his question, I think it’s a good one. Continue reading “Poetry, asters to zeppelins”

Deseret Book creates an app–but why?

0-a-mzl.msdqpioj.175x175-75Last week the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Deseret Book has produced its own eReader app to make its books available on Apple iPhones and iPads. Since its ebooks were already available on the Kindle, I’ve been thinking about why many publishers have decided to do this, and what it might mean for the future of publishing and for the LDS market.

Continue reading “Deseret Book creates an app–but why?”

Is Deseret Book the only LDS publisher worth publishing with?

Last week in a guest post on Dawning of a Brighter Day, Jana Riess suggested that Mormon novelists have a more difficult time getting published than those in the Christian market because Deseret Book dominates the LDS market so much. [I can’t resist pointing out that I’ve argued the same thing here on A Motley Vision, and that others have made this argument as well.]

But Riess went further, suggesting that novelists who can’t get a contract with Deseret Book should self-publish instead of going with any of the other publishers in the LDS market. Really?

Continue reading “Is Deseret Book the only LDS publisher worth publishing with?”

Publishing Economics I: The real costs come before you print

Over the past few years I’ve come across statements that show a misunderstanding of the basic costs and economics that book publishers and producers face. For example, there are regular complaints about the cost of ebooks in comparison to print books, generally suggesting that publishers have priced ebooks unreasonably high. Other statements imply that traditional publishers keep 90% of the profits of book sales, while giving the author just a small part. Still others assume that since the cost of producing each additional ebook is nothing, that ebooks will soon overtake print book sales and publishers will disappear.

As I considered these claims, I realized that they are often based on little or no knowledge of publishing economics. So I thought it might be useful to give a basic overview of the costs and economics of book publishing–something that might help those considering publishing their own ebooks, and that might help consumers decide if prices really are too high and authors understand why publishers don’t give them more money. I’m sure for some readers this is obvious–if so, then you likely agree with me about many of the complaints about publishers aren’t justified, or you will be able to tell me why I’m wrong.

Continue reading “Publishing Economics I: The real costs come before you print”