Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down: Latest From the Writing World

Congratulations to Victoria, British Columbia author Esi Edugyan for winning the $50,000 Giller prize for her novel Half-Blood Blues. I was listening to a piece on CBC Radio this week, and heard Edugyan referring to 2011 as a year of miracles, as she also gave birth to a daughter two months earlier. Don’t we all dream of miracle years! Her novel has also been nominated for several other major prizes, so this could just be the beginning of things for her.

And speaking of miracles of a different kind, self-published author (until she signed with a big-six publisher) Amanda Hocking has now joined an elite group of authors who have sold one million copies of their ebooks. Authors John Locke, David Baldacci, and Stephenie Meyer also belong to this club. Latest stats show that twelve Kindle Direct Publishing authors have sold 200,000 copies or more, and thirty have sold over 100,000. This is still a tiny fraction of the authors who have ebooks out there, but it’s good to know that lots of people are buying books.

Now for the thumbs down news. Publisher, Little Brown has pulled the debut spy novel of Q.R. Markham from their shelves over plagiarism issues. An article in Associated Press states that the author took passages from other contemporary and classic spy novels. When this was discovered (and it’s not clear who, exactly, discovered the blunder) Markham’s contract for a second book was cancelled. What’s strange about this story is that the editors didn’t recognize any of the familiar passages until after publication. Clearly, the publishing staff weren’t sufficiently well versed in the genre to figure this out after reading the manuscript in the first place. You can read more at

There’s been growing debate, and even animosity, over self-published versus traditionally published authors. A flame war erupted when author Michael A. Stackpole recently referred to traditionally published authors as “house slaves”, among other things. A number of authors—most notably J.A. Konrath, Barry Eisler, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Rusch have been touting the benefits of leaving traditional publishing behind and taking control of one’s publishing career. However, traditionally published authors are beginning to take offense and fight back with their own rather colourful words, which I won’t repeat here. I’m not taking sides on the issue, as I’m still learning publishing pros and cons from both sides. If you’d like to read more on the debate, however, go to

THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, now available for iphones, iPads, and iPodTouch at Also available in paperback at

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