People send me interesting stuff, but it usually sits around while I'm answering people's questions, so today I'm trying to empty the random non-question stuff in my box…
–The good people at Library Journal have just released their list of the Best Books of 2008, and in the religious fiction category are two friends of mine: Lisa Samson's wonderful book Embrace Me (about a group of people with deformities who earn their living in a carnival sideshow) and Claudia Mair Burney's Wounded (about a struggling woman who find peace and stigmata). Both of these are great books, from writers with talent and depth. Congrats!
–A couple times I've mentioned marketing guru Rob Eagar's Wildfire Marketing research on CBA. In his most recent report, he offered one fascinating fact: The e-book version of Rob Bell's Jesus Wants to Save Christians has outsold the print version on Amazon. Now that's interesting…
–The folks at www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com blog have posted a cool thing: "50 Useful Google Applications for Writers." It's free — check it out. Correction: The full address is: www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2008/50-useful-google-apps-for-writers/
–Terry Whalin's website, www.right-writing.com, has just posted a free e-book entitled Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author. Like most of the things on Terry's site, it's worth a look.
–While I'm mentioning resources, the folks at ECPA have revamped their www.ChristianManuscriptSubmissions.com site. The proposals can now be screened by literary agents, which is a good thing. I've not always been a huge fan of the program, but this is certainly a positive step.
—Bad news for the industry: Random House made some more staff cuts this week. So did Macmillan and Chronicle. I don't have the gift of prophecy, but with all these cuts going on at houses that have already contracted books, I'd like to predict that people in publishing next year will either be (A) very busy, or (B) looking for a job.
—On the good news side, Wiley, Scholastic, and Harlequin have all stayed in the black, and Hachette had such a good year they actually are paying Christmas bonuses.
–A few months ago, HarperCollins made a big announcement that they were starting HarperStudio, which would create and sell nonreturnable books (a model publishing has to move toward). Retailers didn't exactly jump up and down with excitement, since that means the pressure to sell is now on them. But some good news: earlier this week Borders announced they would be working with the new imprint. Now if we can just keep Borders in business…
–People are beginning to wonder how this lousy economy is going to affect BEA and ICRS (and, to a lesser extent, the new Christian Book Expo scheduled for Dallas in March). My guess: We're going to see more publishers follow the example of Mike Hyatt, the Prez at Thomas Nelson, and pull out of the trade shows. I've heard some people say they don't think the new CBE is going to work, but I happen to think they're wrong — it's appeal is to readers, not retailers, and it's a model that has worked well in several other cities. I'm pulling for it to be a success.
–Can I pitch you on a really cool new book that has just released? Zondervan has done A Faith and Culture Devotional, which offers daily readings on theology, history, philsophy, science, literature, art, and contemporary culture. The writings were done by great thinkers (Os Guinness, Francis Schaeffer, John Stott, R.C. Sproul, John Eldredge, etc), and the whole project was put together by Kelly Kullberg (author of Finding God at Harvard) and Lael Arrington (a radio host and author of several titles). A lot of people are talking about this one — I just saw a copy, and it's great. Honest. While bookstores are bragging about The Intellectual Devotional, this book offers better content and actual HOPE. Take a look.
–A couple months ago, I told you that a novelist I represent, Jennifer King, had her feet displayed in a national advertisement for bath rugs. Knowing your never-ending need for celebrity details, Jennifer's face now appears at www.frontgate.com, modeling cashmere pajamas. If you go there and search for them, she's the brunette…and if you need a great gift idea, the pajamas and robe sell for a mere $800. The cashmere slippers are an extra $119. What's stopping you from dropping a thousand bucks on pajamas? Cheapskate!
–Speaking of cute things, actress Robyne Parrish wrote to me and said not only does she read my blog, but she came up with a name for it: "Chip Off the Old Blog." Okay, so it's not brilliant, but it's cute.
–And a question of my own to ask you: What's the best novel you read that released in 2008? Leave a comment and let me know.
I'll be back with publishing questions in a day or two. Have a merry Christmas!