Welcome to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kate is here to give it all to you. Just, ya know, not in any kinda sophisticated sense or nothing.
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: Me, Earl and the Dying Girl trailer is revealed, Amazon suing over fake reviews, George R. R. Martin’s working on a new TV series, the Hugo Awards have gone to shit and more!
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Tuesday post: Hot New Titles.
Trailer Out For Me, Earl, and The Dying Girl
The charming alternate of youthful cancer stories has a movie trailer now (which had Steph squeeeing all over the Twitter about it, hee): Enjoy! Looks good, but so sad…
George Is Working On Another TV Series? (*side-eyes George*)
Is George R. R. Martin trying to kill me? I mean seriously? In the worst news to happen to the Song of Ice and Fire series since we found out that the ending is going to be spoiled for readers, now we find out that Martin will be creating a new series called Captain Cosmos. BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH ON HIS PLATE, LIKE WRITING BOOK 6 OR ANYTHING.
The series will explore the life of a television sci-fi writer in 1949, the pivotal early period of television. The pilot episode will be penned by Syfy’s Z Nationwriter Michael Cassutt and examine the character’s fearless willingness to tackle stories left unwritten by everyone else.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my sobbing corner again.
Adult Version Coloring Books (But NOT the XXX kind, lol)
So I guess there is this whole movement where grown-ups get in touch with their inner child and take up some of their childhood hobbies. In one case, an amazing coloring book by Johanna Basford has claimed one of the top two spots on Amazon’s bestseller’s list!
The Guardian reported Sunday that the best-selling book on Amazon right now is, in fact, a coloring book targeted toward adults. In Britain, four out of the top 10 Amazon bestsellers are coloring (or colouring, as the Brits insist) books for adults.
Basford’s debut book, “Secret Garden,” has sold 1.4 million copies worldwide to date, according to The Guardian. It features intricate black-and-white drawings of the flora and fauna that surrounds the illustrator’s home in rural Scotland.
Here’s a page from the book. The illustrations appear more detailed and challenging than those in a children’s coloring book.
These are so pretty, I’m really tempted to get one myself, just for the fun of it.
Oyster To Compete With Other Ebook Retailers
Watch out, Smashwords, Scribd, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo! Oyster is coming your way with an ebook service of their own.
Oyster is expanding into selling individual books, with hopes of attracting new customers to its service.
Oyster says its efforts come at an auspicious time. In the past year, book publishers have begun setting prices evenly across the e-book market. With similar pricing, customers will choose their store based on something else, like the look and feel of a service and its ease of use.
No offense to the “Netflix of eBooks”, but I’m not entirely sure how they think they will viably compete in this market. They already admitted that their eBooks will most likely cost between $9.99 and $14.99. Not to mention they can only be read on iPads or other non-Kindle(excepting Kindle Fire) and non-Nook devices. So will they reach that core of readers who read book after book after book that way?
Amazon Sues Over Fake Reviews
About. Damn. Time. Have you ever gone to get a book on Amazon (or B&N) and tried to read the reviews? Either they’re fake angry and unhelpful: “ZOMG, this book is horrible and annoying and I hated it. Buy Sarah Mybook’s novel It’s Awesomesauce Because I Wrote It which is super awesome and got 180 5 star reviews.” or they’re fake happy and unhelpful: “This is the best book i ever red. FIVE STARS !!!!!!11!!1!!!”
Yes, there are some decent reviews, but not enough, IMO. Thankfully, Amazon has also realized this is a problem. And they’re coming out strong with an answer:
Amazon has filed suit against the alleged operators of sites that offer Amazon sellers the ability to purchase fake 4- and 5-star customer reviews of their products.
The suit, the first of its kind from the Seattle company, was filed in King County Superior Court against a California man, Jay Gentile, identified in Amazon’s filings as the operator of buyazonreviews.com. The site also targets unidentified “John Does” who operate similar sites: buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net and buyreviewsnow.com.
If you remember the John Locke scandal, where he basically admitted to using a review service to churn out THOUSANDS of reviews from people who had never read his books, you’ll realize how horrible this gaming of the system is. I’m all for five star or one star reads. Heck, I don’t even care if you get all your family members to review your books (who has a family in the thousands, anyway?). But buying thousands of reviews to move yourself up on Amazon’s view meter is scummy.
“While small in number, these reviews threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand,” the suit says. “Amazon strictly prohibits any attempt to manipulate customer reviews and actively polices its website to remove false, misleading, and inauthentic reviews.
“Despite substantial efforts to stamp out the practice, an unhealthy ecosystem is developing outside of Amazon to supply inauthentic reviews,” the suit adds. “Defendants’ businesses consist entirely of selling such reviews.”
The defendants operating “bayreviews.net” use Amazon’s logo to advertise “a unique system that generates high quality 5 rating reviews to your Kindle eBook.” And the defendants at “buyreviewsnow.com” claim, “never has it been easier to get multiple 4 and 5 star reviews on your product page.”
Man alive I hope this practice gets quashed right quick.
Maya Angelou Quote? Nope, Says Author Joan Anglund
Hey, remember the John Green uses someone’s quote issue? Looks like it happened again. Probably (Except Maya Angelou is guilty of NOTHING).
A number of luminaries are expected at Tuesday morning’s unveiling ceremony for the new stamp honoring the late author Maya Angelou, among them first lady Michelle Obama. An 89-year-old children’s book author named Joan Walsh Anglund won’t be there. But her words will be: The quote on the stamp originated with Anglund.
According to the Washington Post, the original quote appears page 15 of the author’s book of poems, called A Cup of Sun, first printed in 1967. The Maya Angelou quote, which is almost identical to the original (we’ll go there in a minute) was in Angelou’s book called I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, printed in 1969. The original quote reads(emphasis mine):
A bird doesn’t sing because he has an answer, he sings because he has a song.
Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from “he” in Anglund’s original to “it” on the stamp.
When the post office realized the quote was someone else’s they stated outright that they will not reissue the stamp, but the ones that are out there are fair game I guess? The stamp has been made and issued along with Angelou’s picture and was presented on Tuesday.
This is a shame on two levels: 1) The poor author will now have her work “forever” (sorry for the pun) attributed to someone else. (2) Angelou deserves to have her own words on her stamp.
Hugo Awards Kerfuffle
So, the Hugo Awards are a prestigious and popular sci-fi award that dates back to 1953, when they were given out at Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this year two groups, the “Sad Puppies” and the “Rabid Puppies” took over the fan voting and managed to completely take over many of the categories with their nominations.
A majority of voters woke up April 4 to a nomination slate almost exclusively overrun by novels, stories, and related fan efforts promoted by a small group of writers who claim the Hugos are turning into affirmative-action awards catering to left-wing ideologies. Their efforts to influence the voting process are led by the novelist Larry Correia and the Internet personality Theodore Beale, who’s best known for his desire to deny women the right to voteand his firm belief that black people are “savages.”
These two groups, who are headed by self-labeled conservative SF/F writers—Brad Torgerson, Larry Correia, and Vox Day—have done this sort of thing for 2 years previous, but this is the first year that they’ve had any success. From Torgerson:
“Science fiction’s most prestigious award” lacks prestige, precisely because it’s an award for a “small” crowd with “small” tastes. The vast (and I do mean vast) majority of SF/F consumers don’t know about the Hugo, or if they do know about the Hugo, they don’t care about the Hugo. Or even (worse) the Hugo has come to mean something negative. Because “Hugo winner” or “Hugo nominee” has become code for: too boring, not adventurous or exciting enough, too little speculative or fantastic content, too much ideological preaching, and too little optimism.
These leaders and their puppy dog followers seem to believe that they’ve won the day this year and are openly celebrating. Writers and readers who object to their tactics and beliefs have come up with their own ways of striking back—ways outlined by George R.R. Martin himself in his intelligent and well-thought out (and really well documented) response:
The hardliners propose we vote NO AWARD for everything. Every category, even the ones where the Puppies have no nominees. Rather than letting them move into our house, we will burn it to the ground. “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” It worked so well in Vietnam.
All I’ve got to say about this idea is, are you fucking crazy?
The other approach is less radical. Vote NO AWARD in all the categories that are All Puppy.
That’s less insane than the “No Award For Everything” idea, but only a little bit. Sorry, I will not sign on for this one either. For a whole bunch of reasons. For starts, the Puppies are already proclaiming that “No Award” equals victory for them. Also, near as I can tell from reading the blogs, it appears that some of the Sad Puppy candidates never consented to joining their slate, and that none of the Rabid Puppies were ever asked if they wanted to be included.
In other words, not voting (1) punishes authors who never asked to be included in the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy slates and (2) will certainly kill the future of the Hugo awards. George’s suggestion? Vote your conscience this year and bring out the big guns next year:
I hate what the Puppies did. It was based on false premises, and though it was not illegal, it was mean-spirited and unsportsmanlike. So how about we do NOT prove them right by rigging the rules against Sad Puppies 4? If we want to defeat the Puppies, all we need to do is outvote them. This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn’t. Fandom danced the usual, “oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot,” and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don’t want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote.
Honestly, I don’t think any of the choices we have now are good ones. All roads seem to lead to perdition, but each of us will need to walk the one we think best. Attend if you can; if not, join as a Supporting member, just as the Puppies did. It is too late to nominate, but not too late to vote. The Puppies will be getting out their vote, you can be sure. We need to do the same, unless we care to see some poor guy hand Vox Day a rocket.