Thursday, September 27, 2018

Convention dictates

Perhaps we've strayed off the actual page since a book convention is a thing, as is a book conference. I always think it requires agents - in the particular meaning of someone driving, compiling, scribbling - and books are inanimate objects whatever their attributes. Books only write themselves in metaphor.

Unless they're filled with photographs or illustrations, writers of some kind are needed. But it might be some other factor that causes their ongoing success and viability. A familiar name, a well worn trope, a snappy title.

Shredder worker and journeyman can go to festivals all they want but they won't be for them or their trade

Because a conference is about getting down to business, there are ones where copper wire is discussed in great technical detail.
Tinned copper wire is used in a leadlight workshop.

Most of the other events that work for books only take us to literal panels where copper wire is used. Conventions - as I noticed when looking up other terms - relate to the gauge and tensile strength and so forth of the wire. You could see whether compacting operators gather for any reason; the suspicion is they don't.

Arthur Hailey is remembered, if not had his work set in English exams; because he sold somewhere between 150 and 170 million copies of his books. He wrote thrillers which helps in the popularity stakes. The same fame and acclaim is not bestowed on the best copper wire salesman or their regional manager.
A wire and cable manager doesn't do the job for exposure so he wears a hat and a hi vis vest.

Statista tells us  "Total global copper production from mines amounted to an estimated 22.5 million metric tons in 2016. Major producing countries include Chile, China and Peru."

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

By convention

When we look up writers conventions they're all in a mix with writers conferences so perhaps there's no discernible difference. They can always piggy back on an editors convention. You can find references to a booksellers convention if you really look hard and publishing of a kind.
There are library conventions but be aware they may not be talking books.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Conference Call

Publishers and merchants frequent book fairs, agents and editors go to festivals. The opportunity to mingle with the writers and readers who drive the industry is all too inviting. I get the feeling though that conferences are for each occupation according to type.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Workshop eat and play

The usefulness of writer workshops at this stage of my career is severely limited. I can use all the ancillary lessons you can give about procuring an agent, getting published, being booked for festival appearances, making a living at doing what I love and do best. But the writing part I've got down pat.

If I ever get the idea to write that novella about a copper technician I'll give you a call. Until then, I have enough to be going on with.

For the poet starting out, workshops are a different proposition. Even then, I think there's a difference between those fellow versifiers scrawling their first couplets and folk who have a sufficiently romantic notion of poetry as to want to 'learn how to do it'

To side with the muse I think you require an elitist attitude because you don't believe the source of your inspiration is in tips from established writers. Experiences may, and probably do, vary. I just know that working through all those stages of growth as a writer, to realise that you've found the magic formula or hit the key register or however else one explains that ability to keep pumping it out, means you really don't need writer prompts.

In this environ, for another writer to give value, they must needs show how what they learned  and where they succeeded can be applied to your situation. Otherwise it's better to stay out of each other's way. They'll have plenty of neophytes to keep them busy.


As with panels, attendance at workshops by literary agents, editors and publishers can be helpful.

We can't get Mickey Spillane to host a panel but perhaps there are workshops on writing in the hard boiled Mike Hammer style. What is the ongoing utility of this though? Black Beauty is a classic but are we wise to emulate the style and characteristics of a book written in 1877?

Panel beat

What do writer panels or book panels accomplish? Are they a diversion? A key feature at all good literary events (I did read one proposition that using the term 'literary' excluded authors who don't meet the criteria but still sell lots of books. Where do you draw the line?)

I've little doubt that writers festivals and book fairs can do without their presence; they do take up a lot of room as well as distracting from the displays.

If it's a choice whether to have a panel at these public events, I haven't been to enough to compare with/without panel. I've been to events solely because a certain author or even publisher was playing a part so I can vouch for that as a draw card. I think other attendees might be more entertained by the live panel. I'm happy to meet the scribe and maybe get a photo taken. Or see some work that you don't often find even in the specialist shops or large book stores.

This may sound strange coming from someone who was on the high school debating team but I'm not as enthusiastic about the profusion of panel shows on tele as other viewers clearly are. Do I want to trudge through a field for the experience? And, yes, if Garth Ennis or Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman (though I've seen him up on stage) was at the other side it would make a difference to me. Everyone will likely have their own idols or literary giants.

I have a photo with Stan Lee so I'm set. The related field of comics meant more to me growing up in any case.

Do they have panels based round The Tale of Peter Rabbit or on the works or life of a substantial writer such as Jeffrey Archer?
read: man with a substantial readership

or is it always and ever about current authors and immediate bestseller trends? An excuse to hawk wares under the guise of earnest exchange of ideas. One of those sites I've linked to carries an author's thumbs up as far as profile building goes. I can see how, if you're entertaining or incisive in person, people in attendance might want to read your book.

Nor do reservations about the worth of writers panels negate the possible benefit of agent panels, editor panels and publisher panels. We need those guys and its helpful to know how they're thinking. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

See how your book fares at Book Fairs

Ribbonfish provide a list of the seven best book fairs, by size or length of event or am I extemporising? Anyway we could leave it at that as we had fifteen festivals but if you find a couple flung in
Image result for a message to garcia book fair
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
BookExpo America (BEA)
Frankfurt Book Fair
Guadalajara International Book Fair
The Hong Kong Book Fair
London Book Fair
New Delhi World Book Fair

The Paris Book Fair follows the London one; convenient for those responsible for packing and shifting displays.
Bloody Scotland is on now.
So is Lviv International Book and Literature Festival in Ukraine.

For those who insist on a book fair being called a book fair to avoid confusion with the other literary events, how about Lisbon Book Fair or the Indonesia International Book Fair which was on last weekend?

Friday, September 21, 2018

First of all, the Festival

Is that Wilk? I haven't seen him in thirty eight years and there was no trace six years ago. Perhaps he succumbed to the inevitable and joined Facebook after that. The mouth looks similar and he could be bald.

Anyway, to take these things in turn, I like the fact that it's a Writer's Festival as it is a kind of focus on the author as star rather than privileging the book, which may entail a series editor, publisher, sponsoring body.. I'd like to get a handle on the differences between the different events - when it's a festival and when a fair and so forth.

Nowadays we have all kind of festivals: dance festival, music festival, food festival. Genres that are inclusive of authors and books can also feature the other media, including spin-offs from the book.

Writers Festivals of note

Image result for hubbard writers festival

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Book event: fair and write

As we've seen, a book signing is often simultaneous with a book launch but of course authors can be at other literary and cultural events to sign various printed versions of things they've written.

When was the first book fair? What was the line-up at the first writer's festival? Who was on that first book panel?

Where is the largest writer's conference?

Who has signed the most books?

Although I write a lot of lyrics and verse, I have only ever shared a mock book launch with Mike Wilk(inson). When I say "mock", we came up with this absurd plot that spun from our pulp fiction title 'Long Dork Larry Strikes a Blow'. I believe there was even intent to carry on with this nonsense; with several other puns for our protagonist to endure.
Being the early eighties the production was old school with us photocopying and stapling the 'book'. I don't know if I still have a copy myself and Wilk has long fled under the anonymity of his name.

All this is recounted in my post of 17th May 2012. I've encountered the cyber footprint of Christine Kershaw, Phil Spillman and his little brother Brendan, still no Wilk.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Launching pad

We're not skipping past the book launch. While I doubt a reference work on copper wire would attract the punters, a collection of short stories, one of which prominently features a copper splicer, might. As could a novel about a copper winder.

I am interested in book launches; not as a way of getting free wine and cheese and mooching up to people, nor as an obligation if one wants to be in the industry. I mean, how many book launches are held each year? Which are the most popular and has that changed? Does a good book launch make a difference to the book's sales and the author's profile?
Can it help in novelty value or general service to the writer and reader communities to hold a joint launch? Where is the best venue: a hall if you're in the country, the room of a pub, a bookshop, library, book club meeting, someone's living room?* Do you give away sample copies or does that defeat the purpose?

Is there a difference in tone if the book launch is a collection of verse or a memoir?

What was the book launch for The Curse of Capistrano like? Did Robert Ludlum hold a book launch for all forty books that have gone on to sell between a hundred and ten and two hundred and ninety million copies?

*not to mention cafe, coffee shop, tea house.. 
** book fairs, festival, panel

Friday, September 14, 2018

Write wing

Having explored every facet of books and their production without studying them, let's see if we can go through the process in a desperate attempt to uncover the way to get my second career going (third if you separate records management from administration) if nothing else.

Our hypothetical writer in this case is inspired by the news that, with the change of government in late 2013, fibre to the premises national broadband network (NBN) is being replaced by boxes in the street that will then use copper wire to take the signal from there to the houses. Fibre to the node as it's called. There's also fibre to the curb and people who have it probably want to kick it to the kerb
Anyone who is versed in niche marketing knows to look slightly beyond the obvious so our topic here isn't broadband Internet of whatever potency. Author wonders instead whether there's been much written on copper wiring; in all its uses.
S/he then decides either to research the market or dive straight in to mapping out a book and doing the necessary reading to help with this structure and content. This may quickly extend to interviewing those who work with copper wire to get their insights.

Once the project is underway, the budding author has to find an agent who will take the finished work to prospective publishers or pitch to them prior to completion so there's a contract already lined up. The writer may use a proofreader and then the publisher who accepts the manuscript may have an in-house editor whom they will also work with.
So it's published, there's a book launch and it goes into the shops. Libraries decide that copper wire is not going away; in fact a recent report spoke of something being many times faster again than the troubled rollout. Using copper wire. Or was that sapphire wire?
They purchase a copy for their shelves.

It fills a spot for those in the industry or related endeavour not covered by radio broadcast, TV program, website, message board, social media, blog or whatever other form of communication between writer and reader there is. Wanting information on copper wire and its uses no longer means you'll grudgingly go and buy the book from a technical book store. You might browse through the one in the library and remember the bits to look up later.
Given that there are still a number of technical books published, there's probably no cause for alarm yet.

Depending on the finished output, working title Conducting Ourselves, it might find its way into class reading lists

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Book lubbers

I think of book clubs now as being more about the social club aspect but perhaps there is enjoyment in sharing opinions or insights over tea and cake.

I was in two book clubs: the first was formed by Graham Kershaw who has gone on to write two novels of his own and won some poetry prize. The second was a group of strangers who lived in the area. Both clubs were in Perth and must have been in the nineties as I remember Graham's one, the Black Skivvies, being held at Valentine avenue when it was my turn. I unwisely chose The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier based on my enjoying her short stories of the macabre or unusual or whatever those paperback collections were that I devoured. I got a drubbing and it got a drubbing with one clubber (though it seems wrong to call them that) opining with archness on the 'Bottle marked A and the bottle marked B'

The other was run by a woman named Deborah, and that's about all I can remember, and once had Kim Scott as a special guest and I must have been doing my weird twenties affectation because he commented on my reactions or whatever it was I was doing or not doing.

I'm really on one book at a time. Astrid has a comprehensive collection and I have several myself so there's few trips to the library. But, even with all my free time, I think I'd not want the pressure of reading a book not of your choice and taking notes for next book club meeting.


Book clubs tend to be based on communities for the convenience of travel though there would still need to be some common interests in literature or bestseller. It does provide a key topic to discuss without the conversation drifting off onto idle chat.

I imagine if you were going to specialise in a book club for readers of Louis L'Amour westerns you'd need to live in a populous area rather than the plains the stories inhabit. Jin Yong in Hong Kong.
Image result for the alchemist book club

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Slo mo ScoMo promo

We interrupt this reading for an announcement. Our new Prime Minister is Scott Morrison, a happy clapping clod who did a terrible job as Treasurer, following in Joe Hockey's footsteps and is typical of the kind of Liberal who puts his arm around your shoulder only to stab you in the back.

His deputy, who has been in for a while now and nobody knows his name, Nationals leader (as is the arrangement) Michael McCormack.

Last forty polls have predicted a wipe-out which may explain why Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull are hiding out in their New York apartment.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Hiding among the reads

It's probably been said at book clubs and writers festivals; in gatherings at bookshops and libraries, the reader is the most important link in the chain. Even though readers can be notoriously fickle or only ever source their reading from street libraries and community centres, ensuring the author and the publisher get nothing for their trouble, without them there is no book market. Whatever the literati think of naked commerce, it too is a bottom line unless the book in question is a vanity project or in house publication.

Readers are like writers in that they can be found wheree'er there are words. We profiled authors not writers for this reason, but if writing a fax or reading an email are too workaday to be considered, writing a postcard or letter now a lost art, in books we are on a surer footing. Ignoring the unread books on the shelf that are used for effect or picked up at jumble sale, where there are books there are readers. No readers and the writer is soon scratching for work and the publisher out of business.
As with all the arts, it is the enthusiasm of patrons that propels the work and keeps the authors in hot meals. A created buzz or snob purchase unaccompanied by any real enthusiasm will only take the crew behind such a book so far - better to have fans.
Image result for readers

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Book review

We bypass ambiguity by taking the most likely meaning which, in the case of the title of this blog post, is a review of a book but you could be booking a review of nickel supply or (if this is in earshot rather than written down) a revue that's coming to town.

Then we invest our own quirks and understandings to the text. What extra do we gain by first reading the opinions of others? I would bet a lot of other readers are like me and read book reviews but incidentally in a waiting room magazine or the weekend arts section of the paper; we don't feel we need to get some idea of what is going to be in a book before we commit to reading it. Or, at least, not a full blooded summary with recommendation.
It's enough to know which genre we're looking at and whether the author's style appeals to us. Though even this is an inexact science as anyone who has enjoyed one story or book by the author only to be disappointed by the next can tell you. Never mind the landmines that exist if you stay too long in a popular genre. The temptation to participate in a field they're not particularly suited to is there for science fiction and thriller, criminal procedure, medical drama. Among the mumbling memoirs and autocratic autobiographies, there are countless talents who were undiscovered. Such is the market.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Lit crit hit

 Image result for literary criticism