Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Balticon '09

This past weekend I went to Balticon. For the uninitiated Balticon is one of the better sf conventions in the DC/Batimore area. While many sf conventions seem to focus on t.v. and movies Balticon focuses on the book side of the industry. In the years I've attended it I've heard talks and readings by James Morrow, Catherine Asaro, Brenda Clough, Neil Gaiman and tons more I'm just not thinking of right now.

The panels were all pretty strong; I took in talks on diving into an author you might not fully understand, new publishing trends, ways to rejuvenate your blog, religious themes in modern sf.....and an absolutely fantastic reading by Gene Wolfe. I felt kind of bad for him, because counting his wife there were only 15 people in attendance for a guy who published some of the best novels I've ever read. But the intimacy was fantastic and he approached it all with the right humor.

But really the thing about this year that really hit me was how many people are just getting their work out there no matter what. Having trouble finding a publisher for that novel? Well, do an audio version and put it up as a podcast. Can't find anyone interested in your short stories? Make them available in an ebook format. I met three authors this year who used methods like these to build up an audience and used that as a selling point to get a publisher for a new project. One of this year's guests of honor, horror author and podcaster Scott Sigler, did this as well. The overall feeling is that if you have a good idea, get it out there. If you like it someone else probably will, too.

I'll be digging through all the fliers and notes I took over the next few weeks. As I find real gems I'll do my best to share them here.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Cover to Cover

Yesterday at work we were pulling books for a book club----their choice for the upcoming month is the wonderful short novel by Thomas Mann entitled Death in Venice. Something about the cover was bothering us for some reason. It looked familiar but we couldn't figure out why.


Later in the day, one of my co-workers said, "Here it is!" He was holding a completeley different book, Cross by James Patterson. Cover that looks startlingly similar.


Now we are used to seeing books with similar covers, but they are usually part of the same series or at least by the same author. But we've never seen anything quite like this.

My first thought was that they are by the same publisher and that publisher owns the rights to the photograph used on both covers. But the Patterson novel is from Little, Brown while Mann's is by Harper Perennial. So I have no idea, unless this image is in the public domain. Today I'm going to try to find out more info on the photo and where it comes from. It's supposed to be nice today, so I'm expecting it to be a bit slow at work. Having a harmless mystery like this will help the time go by.