Welcome back to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kat and Kate are here to give it all to you. Just, ya know, not in any kinda sophisticated sense or nothing.
In this week’s Buzz JK Rowling writes a short story featuring Harry and Gang in the future as 34 year olds *Drops mic*.
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.
JK Rowling Crashes Her Own Website
To the delight of Potter fans everywhere, JK Rowling released a “short story” in the form of a Rita Skeeter report, where she manages to dish on all the characters we love the most. The only problem? Rowling was utterly unprepared for her website’s sudden popularity.
While it’s unclear how long the story was live before bringing down the Harry Potter-themed fantasy and game-playing site, we can intuit a bit from the story’s URL, which notes that it was posted on July 8 and is titled something like “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites.” Harry Potter fans will recall that Potter enlists fellow classmates in “Dumbledore’s Army” (DA) for wizard training when the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry temporarily stops training them in “Defense Against the Dark Arts.”
According to Business Insider, which glimpsed the post before Pottermore succumbed, the story is written as a news post by fictional Harry Potter reporter Rita Skeeter and relates to a Quidditch game where former DA members are in attendance.
Daniel Radcliffe has already had to fight off rumours that this short story will become a Thing and that he’ll be playing Harry in the Thing.
“My inclination is to say ‘no’ because I don’t think it’s even a hypothetical at the moment. What she’s written – and I haven’t read it yet but I will – I understand it’s a very short piece. And he’s 10 years older than I am now.”
The short piece features a 34 year old Harry and his family attending the Quidditch world cup with threads of silver in his hair and a mysterious cut on his cheek bone.
Damn it, Rowling! Now I’m intrigued!
GRRM Is Not Allowed to Die, Mmkay
Stop Saying GRRM is going to die. I’ve only just started reading the books, but he’s not allowed to die because I need to know what happens in the end. Coincidentally, GRRM agrees with me.
“I find that question pretty offensive, people speculating about my death and my health.”
Quite frankly, I would too. If you were all talking about how likely I was to die, I’d be pretty annoyed.
Game of Thrones Wine. ‘Nuff said?
I’m really only posting this for the Cersei gifs, because nothing says Game of Thrones’ wine more than a Cersei gif.
But anyways, here’s the story:
Winter is coming…and after that, it’s spring, and time for Game of Thrones season 5 — along with a series of wines themed from Westeros and beyond.
The wines are a project of Sydney, Australia-based Common Ventures The twelve different varieties are all themed for a different group — the Great Houses Tyrell, Lannister, Stark, Greyjoy, Arryn, Martell, Baratheon, and Targaryen (LOL, nobody likes the Tullys — even House Arryn gets a wine and they don’t), along with the Wildlings, White Walkers, Night’s Watch, and Dothraki. There are both reds and whites, running the gamut from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz, all of which are going to retail for $20 in the US.
As with all Jezebel posts, the comments are almost more amusing than the story itself.
Targaryen is a Shiraz? Fucking REALLY? Come on now, should have been a Cab. At least they got Dorne right.
Then there’s this gem:
I feel like Targaryen shouldn’t even have been wine — it should’ve just been the most flammable liquid they could find, like gasoline or something.
Anyone that doesn’t drink wine but wants to collect these bottles, I WILL BE HAPPY TO DRINK IT FOR YOU AND MAIL YOU THE BOTTLES.
For a nominal fee to cover shipping, I/my people will drink LITERS of this.
(Kat, is that you??)
(Yes, of course that’s me! -Kat)
What Jane Austen Looked Like
Turns out she looked English. And pretty. And definitely not anything like Anne Hathaway (although I think even Jane would have wanted to smooch up on James McAvoy). Still, this is an interesting take by forensic artist Melissa Dring.
It has taken three years to create, with forensic artist Melissa Dring taking as her starting point the sketch done by Austen’s sister Cassandra in 1810, the only accepted portrait of the writer other than an 1870 adaptation of that picture. She then used contemporary eyewitness descriptions of the novelist to come up with her own likeness.
Austen’s nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, described his aunt as “very attractive”. “Her figure was rather tall and slender, her step light and firm, and her whole appearance expressive of health and animation. In complexion she was a clear brunette with a rich colour; she had full round cheeks, with mouth and nose small and well-formed, bright hazel eyes, and brown hair forming natural curls close round her face,” he wrote in his memoir.
Someone Let Tyra Banks Write Something Again…
Oh boy. Not since her deliciously weird book Modelland have I heard of anything so interesting coming out of Banks’
pen laptop iPhone brain. This time, Banks “penned” an article for the Wall Street Journal. Wait, WHAT? The WSJ is really going downhill these days, isn’t it? I mean, Tyra Freaking Banks is writing for them now? Yeesh.
So what does the fashion “expert” have to talk about? She’s seen the future, and let me tell you, it’s super pretty (pretty creepy, I mean). There are some rather outlandish predictions.
1. Plastic surgery will be as easy and quick as going to the drugstore for Tylenol. Emphasis will be on how unique and interesting one can look, as opposed to a cookie-cutter look. People will be vying for that cutting-edge, distinct look in the way that today celebs reach for baby names that defy convention.
2. There will be no hair extensions. If one wants longer locks, a hair-growing serum is applied to the scalp, and the length and thickness of the hair will increase in 24 hours. The popular hair texture of choice will be curly.
So… I’m gonna take a pill and it will give me plastic surgery? And I’ll have super long hair in 24 hours. I predict hair stylists will be making a KILLING in the future!
7. Advertising for the beauty industry will have shifted. Since beauty will be easily attainable, models will be as relevant as a horse and buggy. Robot/avatar models with features that look totally different from the golden-skinned everyday people will represent and sell products world-wide.
Honey, you had me at “robot/avatar models”. Obviously, the future will be bright.
American Gods picked up by Starz
Man, Starz, you are on a freaking ROLL this year. Picking up everything from Outlander series to Chuck Wendig. Now, we’ve added Neil Gaiman to the list.
The premium cable network and writer-producers Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (The River, Heroes) have boarded FremantleMedia North America’s adaptation of Gaiman’s urban fantasy novel American Gods. Starz has handed out a script-to-series commitment to the project, with Fuller and Green attached to serve as showrunners and exec produce alongside Gaiman.
HBO actually passed on this? What were they thinking? SMH.
ANOTHER Fantastic Mockingjay Teaser
Is anyone else besides me frothing at the mouth to get their eyeballs on this new movie in the Hunger Games Saga? Seriously, bring on the trailers and teasers, people!!
Thankfully, Panem (and district 13) have heard my prayers and I present to you the newest in the series of President Snow PSA’s. Enjoy, and may the odds of seeing this movie soon be ever in your favor!
Malcolm Gladwell Confronts new Amazon VP of Fulfillment
In what is probably one of the most amusing versions of the war’s commentary, Gladwell illustrates the pitfalls of this dispute in this new video. And we meet Dave Hill, coffee shop lounger, band member, and boss of “not getting things done”.
Amazon Hachette Wars: The Amazon Empire Strikes Back
It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although they recently purchased Perseus, Amazon troops have driven the Rebel Hachette forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.
Evading the dreaded Amazon Imperial Starfleet by making themselves the masters of spin and the supposed champions of the lowly author, a group of freedom fighters led by Roxana Robinson has established a new secret base on the remote world in the absolute middle of the two warring factions.
The evil lord David Naggar, obsessed with corrupting Robinson and the authors she represents, has dispatched an offer that may have authors turning toward the dark side…
As the negotiations with Hachette drag on, Amazon says it is “thinking of proposing” a path that would alleviate pressure on Hachette authors.
David Naggar, VP of Kindle content and independent publishing, sent a letter to a few Hachette authors, literary agents and Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson over the weekend suggesting that “for as long as this dispute lasts, Hachette authors would get 100% of the sales price of every Hachette ebook we sell. Both Amazon and Hachette would forego all revenue and profit from the sale of every ebook until an agreement is reached.” The idea, seemingly, is that that loss of ebook revenue would “motivate both Hachette and Amazon to work faster to resolve the situation.”
The promises of the Empire are always tempting. But Amazon deals lead to the dark side. Or something like that.
Has anyone else noticed Amazon completely negates the fact that Hachette would be giving up the majority of the profits on this one?
Hachette said that it welcomed Amazon withdrawing the sanctions it had “unilaterally imposed,” and that “the best outcome for the writers we publish is a contract with Amazon that brings genuine marketing benefits and whose terms allow Hachette to continue to invest in writers, marketing, and innovation.”
Amazon then responded to Hachette’s statement, saying: “We call baloney.” The e-tailer went on to say that Hachette, as part of a “$10 billion global conglomerate,” can afford the proposal Naggar floated and that the publisher is making it clear that “they absolutely want their authors caught in the middle of this negotiation because they believe it increases their leverage.”
The Guild’s Roxana Robinson responded to Naggar’s letter, in the The New York Times, saying that it “seems like a short-term solution that encourages authors to take sides against their publishers. It doesn’t get authors out of the middle of this–we’re still in the middle.”
Authors beware. Yoda will totally come over there and kick your asses if you take the easy road.
Tune in next week, for The Return Of The Jedi.
Harper Collins To Sell Books (Didn’t They Do That Before??)
Harper Collins has finally gotten the message that self-published writers have touted on every “How to Publish Your Books Online” guide the internet has to offer: DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE METAPHORICAL BASKET.
I say metaphorical, because I have chickens (8 adorable black hens-and a little black rooster named Pepe-that come when I call them) and it would be a COMPLETE pain in the ass to put all of their eggs into different baskets before I bring them in. But I digress, because for this example we actually WANT all the eggs in different sales baskets. Or Harper Collins does anyway.
HarperCollins has relaunched its website and, in a way, its business.
The company is now selling all its book, ebooks and audiobooks directly to consumers through HarperCollins.com.
“We are excited to be able to offer an e-commerce solution to our authors, ensuring their books are always available to their fans,” said chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi in a statement. “As a publisher, we want to offer as many paths to the consumer as possible.”
Her comments may be in reference to the current dispute between Amazon and Hachette, wherein Amazon has taken steps to make it more difficult for readers to buy Hachette titles. Should HarperCollins be able to develop this new retail channel, it would make it less reliant on other retailers like Amazon.
Her comments may be in reference to the dispute between Amazon and Hachette??? No, they absolutely ARE in reference to that. And good for them. (Does this mean that any of the ebooks you sell online would mean a bigger royalty cut for your authors? Since you’re cutting out that annoying middle man and all.)
So, Publishers, You Say Your Writers Are Important…
And as if the news today couldn’t have gotten any crappier, we have new numbers out for author earnings.
- In the UK, 2013 professional authors’ typical annual income from writing: £11,000 ($18,800)
- That’s down from £12,333 ($21,800) in 2005
- This puts the 2013 income at £5,850 ($10,000) below the Minimum Income Standard of £16,850 ($28,878) set by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
- Only 11.5% of professional writers surveyed for ALCS said they earned their income solely from writing in 2013
- That’s down sharply, from 40% of professional writers who said they earned their income solely from writing in 2005
We may never have been this close to actually seeing just how badly a writing career can pay.
Even the recent angry in-fighting among authors, themselves, takes on new context when you consider how truly hard their path may be. However unhappy the news from the ALCS surely seems, if we are to claim an authentic commitment to the arts and letters of our culture, we cannot turn a blind eye to either the difficulty we have in understanding how our authors are paid — or not paid — or to the dreadful evidence coming in anew of almost preposterously bad remuneration.
Liz Lemon, if I could get some help here?
The initial information from ALCS includes these lines:
In contrast to the sharp decline in earnings of professional authors, the wealth generated by the UK creative industries is on the increase. Statistics produced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2014 show that the creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion ($122.2 billion) per year to the UK economy (over £8 million / $13.7 million per hour) and the UK is reported as having “the largest creative sector of the European Union” and being “the most successful exporter of cultural goods and services in the world,” according to UNESCO.
For all our focus on the digital disruption of publishing, it seems we may need to stop, get out of our battle gear, have a seat, and start talking about not the newest but the oldest issue any professional creative endeavour can encounter: the money.
ACLS asks the right question in titling its survey “What Are Words Worth Now?”
So… what you’re saying is, authors get paid less now than ever (oh, right, ebook royalties are abysmal), Amazon and Hachette are screwing authors over with their power grabbing, and less authors than ever are making a living at writing? Do we want books to survive, people? Because we have to actually PAY authors for their time, so they can keep writing them. I think this tweet said it best:
Something has gone very wrong if we'll pay $5 for a greeting card, $3 for gift wrap, but resent paying more than $2.99 for a book.
— John Connolly (@jconnollybooks) July 4, 2014
Here’s all the stuff we were either too lazy to write or didn’t have time for. -Kate
In my case, I was just waaaaay too lazy to write this stuff. But I did do my nails! – Kat
What are you doing your nails for? Buzz needs to be done! *cracks whip* – Steph
Oops – Kat