Amy Schumer’s Got Some Good Luck

In 2012 she signed a book deal with HarperCollins for $1 million. Back then she wasn’t the star she is today. It was set to be a book of essays that never really transpired. She ultimately decided to return her advance to the publisher to cancel the contract last year.

Fast forward to 2015. There was recently an auction for her book and guess what it sold for? $8 million. Yikes. She’s had quite a bit of success in the last two calendar years and now she’s on everyone’s radar. The reason for originally canceling the previous contract was that she was simply too busy to focus on it. She wasn’t trying to play some game with the publisher, although she did get them to match another offer. She wasn’t even betting that she could get a larger sum of money. Now this auction happened.

I’m honestly not a fan of hers and have no idea what her Comedy Central show is like, but I do know her name. And I imagine many people know much more than that. So good for her. Not that she needs any money, but she’s gone about the whole thing pretty well if you ask me.

Are you familiar with her work? Interested in her forthcoming book?

Places in Books

Do you read stories mostly set in one city? I don’t. If I had to guess I’d say I’ve read the most books set in Boston. Followed closely by Los Angeles. They could be switched. I’ve also read books set in Chicago, Michigan, New York, Atlanta, and Alaska that I know off the top of my head.

This isn’t about where the books you read take place. I’m wondering if you’ve ever read a book set someplace you’ve never been and wanted to visit after your reading. I pretty much want to go everywhere imaginable. But no books are the reason for that. I’ve just been stuck in one place the last (almost) 24 years.

Ever read a book and felt the need to book a trip shortly thereafter?

I Bought my First Writing Book

Not On Writing. But one that looked pretty detailed and informative. I don’t think it’s going to make me Michael Connelly anytime soon, but this is a good sign. Somewhere inside me I’m still thinking about resuming my writing at some point. And maybe this book will help a bit with that. Especially since I know absolutely nothing. I just go with the flow right now. Ha.

I’ve already written about writing books before. So I won’t be asking specifically what you think of them or if they’ve helped you. But don’t you think just about any book with good information would help someone like me?

The Most Anticipated Week of the Year has Arrived

Which is that? Banned Books Week! Duhh.

First off, I never wrote my post back in April when 2014’s most banned books were initially announced. So here’s the list:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

And Tango Makes Three by Jason Richardson and Peter Parnell.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley.

Saga (comic book series).

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

These were the most challenged books last year. And I’m sure you recognize most or all of them. The best part about Banned Books Week is that events are going on all over the country in support of these books and others that have been challenged.

I haven’t been reading lately, so I won’t say I’m going to read one of these this week. But I think it’d be great to show your support for these books and authors in some way this week. Read a book. Tweet something. Write a blog post. Something.

What are you doing for Banned Books Week?

If you Could Only Recommend one Book…

What would it be? Think of a world in which you could only recommend a single book to others for the rest of your life. Then tell me what it is.

I’m not doing this because I’m looking for new books. I’m really wanting to see which ones are repeated. I can probably think of 50 that I’d expect to see here. But I know mine without having to think about it.

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

There are so many things to be learned from this book, and it’s one of two I’ve read that I believe appeal to any person with a conscience. Recommended it today to a coworker, actually.

So tell me the one book you’d recommend to anyone regardless of their reading tastes or preferences.

Books Aren’t Scary

Books aren’t scary. Fact. I know some of the top authors today are horror writers. But that doesn’t mean the work is actually scary.

Watching a movie is rarely a frightening experience. Which means reading a book is less so, in my opinion. You’re lying in bed or you’re sitting on the couch reading. What’s scary about that? I’ve cried reading books. And I’ve been on the edge of my seat. But I’ve never been frightened. That’s just weird. It’s a book. There’s no one lurking in your closet. Unless there is, then oh well.

I think horror stories could easily be described as something besides scary. But what do I know? Have you ever been frightened while reading a book?

Wrong Again

Not me, of course. But many others. How many times have you heard about the decline of the book? Or that people aren’t reading anymore? Or that eBooks will put an end to print books?

New sales numbers just released prove otherwise. EBook sales are down year over year roughly 10 percent. Paperback sales are up more than 5 percent. The Kindle hasn’t killed anything. And Amazon hasn’t killed or taken anything over. People are still reading. And it appears that the ridiculous prices of eBooks are turning people off of buying eBooks when the paperback version is almost certainly cheaper, and the hardcover version is just about the same price.

What do you think about eBook sales now stalling for multiple years in a row and a relative resurgence happening with print books?

Oyster Has Shut Down

You know what Kindle Unlimited is, right? And maybe even Scribd? They’re book subscription services. They’re really the only players in the business at the moment. And I imagine it staying that way for some time.

Oyster was the third player, and now they’re no more. Which isn’t surprising when you really think about it. Are people really clamoring to read the books available in these subscription services? I don’t think so. And the Big 5 contracts they did have only allowed for them to list older titles. Quite frankly, I think the idea of a book subscription service is pretty dumb. I’m not into reading current titles, but I know SO many people are. They want to read books released in the last year or two. Not something from 1997. Once they couldn’t get significant deals with the major publishers, they should have realized what would ultimately happen. How many people does it take to see that Oyster was doomed from the start? I don’t have an answer.

There is a positive. The founders are headed to Google. So there’s that.

What do you think of Oyster shutting down? I’ve expected it to happen since I first found out about them. The service just isn’t something I think people want.

On this day in 2014 I published Take Your Pick: Hardcovers v. Paperbacks.


Some Good and Some Bad all at Once

I’ve written before about McDonald’s giving away books in their Happy Meals, and now they’re doing it again. This time in the UK. So now you know the good. But there’s also some bad.

The books are some of Roald Dahl’s most beloved titles. Not the full books, but short excerpts. So why do I think this is bad? Well Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of the worst books I’ve ever read all the way through. It was terrible. I’m not ashamed to say that I pretty much hated every part of it. And now 14 million kids will be reading his words over the next six weeks.

Why not throw in some Potter excerpts? Rowling would have been my choice if it were up to me. But of course I have no say in the matter. Props to McDonald’s for once again promoting literacy, but I really wish they’d have picked another author. Oh well.

What do you think of another book giveaway by McDonald’s? Or more importantly, what do you think of Dahl’s work?

On this day in 2014 I published Read a Banned Book This Week.


Would you let Someone Title Your Book?

Ever heard of an author named Christian Platt? No? Me neither. But he’s doing something interesting at the moment. He’s asking people to name his new book. Anyone can submit a title. What’s your incentive? You get a credit in the book and you get $100 worth of books. But not by way of an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card, he’s giving you his previous books that he says are valued that high.

On the post I only saw eight comments. So I think he might be just as much of a nobody as me. But if you really want people to take this kind of thing seriously, then I’d say there’s gotta be real incentive. And in this case there isn’t.

But back to my original question. Would I do this? No. Not ever. Is it supposed to build hype or give other people the chance to feel “involved” in the process of making this book a reality? I don’t know. But book titles are the first thing people see when they come across your book (unless you’re immensely popular and they only see your name.) Letting just any person do it doesn’t seem like the best decision.

Would you ever let someone else title your next book?