Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Quick Overview of the "Big Five" Publishers

As most people are by now aware, we are down to a "big five," along with a number of smaller presses. The latter, of course, get far less attention from booksellers, reviewers, and traditional marketing/promotion outlets (e.g., radio talk shows), but they remain part of the "traditional publishing" route, as opposed to the self-publishing options (digital and hard copy via Amazon, Ingram/LightningSource, Lulu, et al.). 

The "big five" are the following: Penguin Random House (Penguin, Dutton, Putnam, Random House, Alfred A. Knopf, Doubleday, Crown, etc.), Simon & Schuster ( S&S itself, plus Poseidon, Pocket, et al.), HarperCollins (which includes also Harlequin and others), Macmillan (along with St. Martin's Press and more familiar houses), and Hachette (Little, Brown & Company and other imprints). Details about these are explained in this marvelous graphic:

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Another interview published: Anais Chen (baroque violin)

This "news" is actually rather dated by now, but Stay Thirsty Magazine published "A Conversation With Violinist Anais Chen" several months ago. She is a remarkable talent, and I very much enjoyed chatting with her! Here's the link:

Monday, April 29, 2019

Is This the Last Word on Literary Fraud?

The following article ran in the BBC News on 26 April 2019. Of course, some of the gender-fluid pronouns render the text somewhat problematic. For example: << Knoop says not: they claim to be naive about what they were doing. “At the time I don’t know if I understood it as being performance art,” they say, though they admits that “performance is very adrenalising and it becomes a thing where you go out and look for that feeling." >>

Yes, you read that correctly. It's political correctness vis-a-vis gender identification, although only selectively, even within the same sentence[!]; "they admits," since "they" is [presumably??] singular, but the preceding verb is conjugated as plural within the same sentence: "they say"!

Notwithstanding my editorial reservationsI think the last paragraph offers a great summary of the "literary" world today. Here's the link:

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Fiction, Alternate Personalities, and Related Topics

I have recently stumbled across some interesting entries on the blog of Kenneth A. Nakdimen, M.D. The first (19 February 2019) asks, "Do Fiction Writers Have Alternate Personalities," and cites a study by Marjorie Taylor: The same site also has a five-part series (through 20 February 2019) on Aldous Huxley's "Personality and the Discontinuity of the Mind." 
On a related and not altogether dissimilar note, I have had dreams in iambic pentameter. Indeed, the entire story-line of my one-act version of Hamlet came to me in that manner, along with some of the verse. Perhaps more intriguing is the vast amount of musical material that his been similarly "dictated" to me during dreams. Of course, I do not believe this is a manifestation of multiple personality disorder. . . .

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Another Interview With Joshua Bell

Earlier this month, Stay Thirsty Magazine released "A Conversation with Joshua Bell about the Virtual Violin." Here is the url:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Publish or Self-Publish: Another Perspective

Ros Barber offers a sobering, less optimistic view of publishing and self-publishing. She correctly notes that in order to self-publish successfully – i.e., work via Kindle, CreateSpace, et al. – one must devote far more time to promotion than writing. Indeed, she points to a potential 90:10 ratio. On the other hand, she is also one of the lucky few able to get contracts from UK publishers. Interesting reading: 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Recommended Fiction

I have recently read two wonderful works, Paul Beatty's The Sellout and Robert Coover's Huck Out West. I enjoyed both so much that I felt obliged to post brief five-star reviews on Amazon.

I sincerely hope Beatty's splendid effort does not slide into the "Black literature" category. It is truly wonderful "literature," above and beyond the ethnicity of the author and most of the characters. The author even mocks political correctness; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn becomes The Pejorative-Free Adventures and Intellectual and Spiritual Journeys of African-American Jim and His Young Protege, White Brother Huckleberry Finn, as They Go in Search of the Lost Black Family Unit, while the "N-word" morphs into "little black euphemism." Suffice it to say things only improve from there, and not before we are instructed by one more choice adage: "People eat the shit you shovel at them"!

Coover breathes new life into the saga of Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Becky Thatcher. We can almost hear him channeling Twain's voice through Huck's sympathetic portrayal of the plight of the Native American peoples. He also develops a new character twist, as Tom clearly succumbs to the notion of "manifest destiny," which Huck simply refuses to swallow. As I note in the Amazon review, there is an ugly irony in the timing of this book, since the Trump administration will clearly ignore the rights of the Lakota. Lovers of Twain will be delighted by Coover's opus, while those who have yet to discover that giant should feel motivated to read his greatest works.