Consider Booklife for the Holidays!

Dear Reader:

It’s now been a year since my writing strategy book Booklife came out, and it’s received lots of praise, leading to an interview on National NPR, among other opportunities like speaking at MIT and the Library of Congress. I’ve even had artists and musicians tell me they picked it up and found that the advice in it worked for them as well.

I know there are more of you out there, so if you’ve enjoyed Booklife and/or reading new content on this website, it would be wonderful if you’d be willing to blog about it this week, recommending the book as a holiday gift. (Or tweet or facebook if that’s more your style. Or even re-post something you wrote when the book came out.) Monies from sales will be directly reflected in my next couple of royalty statements and help off-set the cost of a couple of important projects my wife Ann and I are taking on gratis.

If you do decide to blog, here are a few possible links to include:

Booklife at Amazon

Booklife Kindle edition

Booklife at Indiebound

Booklife at Indiebound (ebook)

Booklife at Powells

Direct from the publisher, Tachyon

As importantly, I’m interested to know how Booklife was of use to you (or, even, where you wished it would’ve been of more help), and will write a follow-up post here and on Booklifenow that links your post. If you tweet or facebook post, consider echoing into the comments thread here.

Finally, thanks for considering Booklife as a holiday gift for the creatives in your life!

Nick Mamatas on Approaches to Reading

Nick Mamatas, who always does a good job talking about creative writing, has an excellent blog post that boils down, in part, to a discussion of ways of reading in workshops.

That is, my workshops I’ve been in and in workshops I’ve taught, the “conservative” objections against “incendiary, sexual, and/or disturbing pieces of work” come not most often from political conservatives, but from people who just can’t read well enough to tell the difference between portrayal and advocacy, and in the case actual (or close seeming) espousing-of-the-disturbing lack the sophistication to approach a text as text. Basically, the struggle in the classroom is the cosmopolitans versus the conventionals. There are right-wing cosmopolitans—Celine and Gene Wolfe aren’t exceptions to some broad and otherwise universal rule, and there are many left-wing conventionals. Plenty of people who identify themselves as some species of “left” involve themselves in linguistic activism—my own first workshop experience in my MFA program involved a good Hillary Clinton-supporting liberal denouncing a story I workshopped and soon after published, even going so far as to suggest that no woman should read the story. (The several women in the class didn’t object to this man declaring my story off-limits to them, interestingly enough.)

Many on the left worry about being “offensive” and indeed worry even more when other people are being “offensive.” Many on the right—conservatism being a sort of machismo these days—are pleased to offend, of course. This doesn’t make them any good as readers or writers.

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Friday’s Links: readers need communities, Borders woes and websites for book lovers

  1. The Rejectionist blog interviews Paul Constant, books editor for The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative newspaper.
  2. The New York Times reports that conservative television and radio personality Glenn Beck is rivaling Oprah Winfrey when it comes to influencing the sales of novels in the thriller category.
  3. In a guest post at, Fauzia Burke of FSB Associates argues that readers are looking for more from publishers than just books, they want a sense of community.
  4. The Rumpus reports that the American Book Association is moving forward with a request to the Justice Department to look into the “predatory pricing” practices of retail giants like Target and Walmart.
  5. Publishers Weekly reports that Simon & Schuster has launched a new e-galley service for reviewers called Galley Grab, a sign of the e-reader’s growing acceptance among the book industry.
  6. Publishers Lunch is reporting that Borders will be closing another 200 mall-based outlets in January.
  7. Tomorrow marks National Bookstore Day. Independent retailers around the United States will mark the event with raffles, signings and more.
  8. Eleven top authors share their tips With the Wall Street Journal on writing a great novel.
  9. Printers Row suggests websites for book lovers.
  10. Magazine and newspaper publisher PGA announces plans to “sell beyond the page” by extending branding efforts to multimedia platforms, including television and digital formats.

n653213921_1671825_1056996Matt Staggs is a literary publicist and the proprietor of Deep Eight LLC, a boutique publicity agency utilizing the best publicity practices from the worlds of traditional media and evolving social technologies. He has worked in the fields of public relations and journalism for almost a decade. In addition to his work as a publicist, Matt is a book reviewer and writer whose work appears in both print and web publications.

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