What’s happening with Dr. Seuss?

This morning when I opened Twitter I read multiple articles from different sources about Dr. Seuss. What’s being reported is that several of his works will no longer be published because “they portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong”.

One might think this is just cancel culture at its best, but this is coming directly from the company responsible for his catalog of work. This isn’t the internet or the media. The decision is a good one, but one must wonder why Dr. Seuss is so revered at all when you look at his work prior to becoming the household name we all know. Spoiler alert: it isn’t pretty.

This is a decision that should be applauded, but of course that won’t happen from everyone. What do you think?

Debut novel sells for how much?

First, it’s always great for a debut author to be given the chance to publish their work. It’s not a chance many are given.

Last week it was reported by multiple outlets that TJ Newman had agreed to a publishing deal for her debut novel and an additional book. It isn’t often that this would be newsworthy. But the difference here is it was a 7 figure book deal. Before a single reader has read a page (the first book is forthcoming) a bidding war began for the right to adapt the debut novel. Not one copy has been sold. Not one review written. But an unproven author gets this kind of money and media treatment. My curiosity took over. I looked her up on Twitter. Less than a thousand followers, so no one can say she has a large following expected to increase sales.

When reading about the author it made me wonder if any of this happens for the same person who is Black or Hispanic. I think we know the answer. Publishing has been one of the slowest institutions to improve diversity among its ranks. It’s great that this author will experience the joy of her books being published. The idea of an unknown and unproven author getting this type of publishing deal just doesn’t make much sense. But what do I know?

Is This a Good Thing?

The consolidation of the publishing world continues. Recently it’s been announced that Penguin Random House, which is owned by a German conglomerate, will buy Simon & Schuster.

One may think, “so what?” Just a few short years ago Penguin and Random House were separate publishing companies, as in within the last decade. And now the behemoth that’s Penguin Random House is buying another large US publisher.

To attempt to answer my own question, I have no idea. There are reports that the new combined publisher would publish a third of all books in the US. That’s one part of it. But another aspect is for the readers and writers. Is a so-called mega publisher actually good for either group? Just being bigger doesn’t inherently mean better. Many times these types of mergers also talk about profitability. Again, profitable doesn’t always mean better.

The other aspect would be the employees. In most merger talks there always seems to be discussion about what happens to the existing workers. Often some guarantee is made, but history tells us these guarantees sometimes do and sometimes don’t work out.

I have no idea if this new merger will be good for publishing, authors, readers, or even shareholders. But it does indicate that the consolidation of the industry continues.

Lee Child Just Did What?

Lee Child is the author of the immensely popular Jack Reacher series. You probably know Tom Cruise was cast as Reacher in two movies, but I hope you also know he doesn’t fit the description of the character.

The series has been ongoing for more than 20 years. It’s high quality writing, but I’ve only read the first two in the series. Reacher never pulled me in like others in the genre.

But the author has jumped ship. He claims he’s done writing. Now Reacher will continue on, but written by the author’s younger brother.

This seems, well, odd. No one says Lee Child hasn’t earned the opportunity to stop writing. Other authors who have written long, popular series typically don’t just stop writing them. There are several recent examples of authors who continued writing until their death. But let’s say Lee Child is the exception. He’s done. Okay.

In mentioning the previous authors it goes without saying that if the series is still being written at the time of their death, then there is no conclusion to it. That’s what I find most annoying about this. If he no longer wants to write the series, why not finish it over a final book or two. Wrap things up nice and tight for the millions of readers he’s amassed? Oh, right. Money.

The other issue I have with this is that the mystery genre seems to be the worst at this very thing. Authors will write a series for decades and never actually finish it. Sometimes they die and sometimes it gets passed along to someone else forever and ever. Young adult series, though often much more popular than mysteries, are always finished. Literary fiction, same. But mystery, nah, let’s keep this thing going for eternity.

I hate when series or characters are continued after the author’s death. It’s never about anything other than money. I imagine the publisher fought tooth and nail to continue the series once it learned of Child’s desire to retire. I know the counter is that the series continues for those readers I mentioned, but it isn’t the same. It’s never the same.

Bill O’Reilly Lost More Than A Job

By now you’re aware that Bill O’Reilly is no longer on Fox News. I imagine you’re also aware that he’s one of the most prolific authors writing today. That may soon be changing.

Publishing is like anything else, a business. It’s about money. While at Fox News he had millions of people to promote his books to. He was able to sell a great number of books this way. But that could be changing. After it became publicly known that his employer had paid out millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment allegations made against O’Reilly he was taken off the air.

His book sales saw an immediate downturn. His forthcoming book has not been pulled, though one can only wonder how much longer his publisher will be willing to release new books written by him if the financial numbers are no longer there.

The topic of his publisher standing behind him after the allegations came to light may surprise some, but not me. It’s all about the money.

Amazon is Still Causing Heartache for Publishers

We’ve all used Amazon. Some of us more than others. I imagine most of us are aware of the site’s option to buy with 1 click, right? I never use it, but I know it’s there. Now Amazon is allowing third party sellers to bid for the buy with 1 click option. Which isn’t new at all. Amazon has allowed this for other products but had excluded books. No longer.

What this means is that a third party could potentially be the first option to buy on the product page rather than the copy of the book Amazon purchased from the publisher.

My problem with this whole thing isn’t with Amazon. It’s with book publishers thinking they’re so much better than every other business. I’ve bought so many different products on Amazon when the first option is a third party seller and there was an option to buy from Amazon too. Publishers publish books to make money. THE END. Let’s not be fooled by their crying over not being the first option on Amazon.

How come publishers aren’t attacking Half Price Books? Their books are being sold by the hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions, and they aren’t seeing a dime from those sales. But Amazon is the bad guy. Like always.

NY Review of Books’ Founding Editor has Died

Robert Silvers was the founding editor of one of the most known book reviews. He stayed in the position of editor for more than 50 years.

I don’t know him, but I know the importance of book reviews. I’m not the biggest fan of writing or reading them, but that doesn’t mean the importance is any lesser. Books, like any form of entertainment, need reviews. The entire idea behind Goodreads is to give the everyday reader a chance to share their thoughts on books.

Take a moment to recognize how important book reviews are, and then how important it would have been more than 50 years ago to start a book review. 

President and First Lady Obama Just Signed a Book Deal for How Much!?

This was inevitable. Everyone knew President Obama would sign a massive book deal once out of office. But my goodness! The reported numbers are astonishing.

Reports indicate the Obamas’ joint book deal is worth $65 million dollars! I’ve never heard of such a lucrative deal. Not for presidents or politicians or celebrities or anyone. And people wonder why first-time authors struggle to even get a publishing contract. The majority of their profits will be donated to charity.

Penguin Random House has proven that publishing deals aren’t always about what they’ll be able to make off of it. But then first-time authors will still get an advance of $2000 and no marketing. But eh.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever heard come out of publishing?

They Pulled it!

Who pulled what? Let me tell ya. Simon & Schuster has decided NOT to publish Milo’s forthcoming book Dangerous. I can’t believe it.

Over the weekend a recording surfaced of Milo speaking about homosexuality and pedophilia, among other things. He later tried to backtrack his own statements but it wasn’t sufficient in the eyes of the publisher.

I’ve heard part of the recording and it sounds as bad as you’d imagine. He can blame poor word choice but we shouldn’t accept anything that even remotely appears to be in favor of sexual abuse.

He was also uninvited to speak at CPAC.

I’ve only heard of a book being pulled from publication or from store shelves once. This is big.

A Second Book Idea?

Could it be? Have I finally thought of a new book idea? Yes.

A little back story here. I self-published my book more than three years ago. I didn’t come out of college with the goal of securing a good job or traveling the world, I came out with the single goal of writing a book. Some of you will recall the original name of this blog as Write me a Book, John!.

After I published my book I immediately began work on book 2. Cause I’m obviously a prolific author. I soon realized the second time around was different. The drive simply wasn’t there and the story itself wasn’t clicking. I made it about 30,000 words into that first draft of my second book when I abandoned it. My memory tells me I wrote myself into a corner I couldn’t get out of.

Early yesterday morning I came up with a new idea. And who knows, maybe I’ll get started on it sometime soon.

There are plenty of writers out there better than me. Better stories. Better ideas. Better writing backgrounds. Which means I have plenty of room for improvement. Leggo.

What do you do when you’re discouraged with your writing? I did nothing and it’s cost me nearly four years.