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The Authors Guild

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a letter to a friend in 1881. The author was happy about a book he was working on. “If this don’t fetch the kids, why, they have gone rotten since my day. Will you be surprised to learn that it is about buccaneers. . . That it’s all about a map, and a treasure, and a mutiny, and a derelict ship . . . and a seacook with one leg, and a sea-song with the chorus ‘Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum’ (at the third Ho you heave at the capstan bars), which is a real buccaneer’s song, only known to the crew of the late Captain Flint.”

Stevenson admitted: “It’s awful fun, boys’ stories; you just indulge the pleasure of your heart, that’s all.” The quotes about the creation of Treasure Island (1883) are courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Dan Burns, Julia Dahl, Stacey D’Erasmo, William Dietrich, David Fuller, Elizabeth Gunn, Nigel Hamilton, Steven James, Fred Kaplan, Garrison Keillor, Sandra Tsing Loh, Susan Lurie, Scott Martelle, and Phyllis Rose. Titles under the jump.

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What is the “Authors Alliance?”

Authors Guild board member T.J. Stiles sent a note to the San Francisco Writers Grotto yesterday about the Authors Alliance, which launches next week. We thought you should see it.

May 15 note from T.J. Stiles to the San Francisco Writers Grotto:

I would like to pass along a warning about a new group that is trying hard to attract members, calling itself the Authors Alliance. In a recent interview in Publishers Weekly, founder and executive director Pamela Samuelson presented the Authors Alliance essentially as a counterweight to the Authors Guild. As an Authors Guild board member you may consider me biased. I have read the Authors Alliance materials, am familiar with the work of its directors, and met with one of them and developed a pretty good picture of what it’s all about.

If any of you earn a living as a writer, or hope to, I strongly urge you not to join the Authors Alliance. If you think authors should be the ones to decide what is done with their books, then I strongly urge you not to join.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes numerous prizes for poetry as well as a multi-genre competition. Deadlines range from June 15-30.

The Barrow Street Press Book Award is given to the best previously unpublished manuscript of poetry in English. The winner will receive $1,000 and book publication by Barrow Street Press. Poets may submit a 50-80 page unpublished manuscript for consideration. Entry fee: $25 by mail, $28 online. Deadline: June 30, 2014. For more information, visit the website.

The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Competition is currently accepting submissions for an unpublished manuscript of poetry. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Manuscript must range between 48 and 80 pages in length and be written in English. Translations do not qualify for this award. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: June 16, 2014. For complete submission guidelines, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

No writing teacher would allow it. Editors would turn pale.  But Roz Chast’s new memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, is written “in capital letters, underlined words and multiple exclamation points,” wrote Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times.

The memoir and the review are illustrated with Chast’s cartoons, “scribbly people go from looking merely frazzled and put-upon to looking like the shrieking figure in Munch’s “The Scream” – panicked and terrified as they see the abyss of loss and mortality looming just up the road.”

A small Chast drama between a mother and child also plays out on the cover of the May 12th New Yorker. That’s the Chast way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Only Chast could wring laughs from such subjects.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Alison Baker, Mary Beth Baptiste, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Eileen Brady, Ava Chin, Rebecca Coffey, Michael Cunningham, Peter Eichstaedt, Ellen Feldman, Peg Kehret, Susan Lurie, Susan Oleksiw, Denise Lewis Patrick, and Douglas Preston. Titles under the jump.

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Amazon v Stephen Colbert? Amazon Slow-walks Books by Gladwell, Colbert, Others in Spat with Hachette

In an apparent dispute over sales terms with big five publisher Hachette Book Group, Amazon is slowing delivery of select Hachette titles, The New York Times reports. Among the affected titles are James Patterson’s “Alex Cross, Run” and Stephen Colbert’s “America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t,” according to the Times. Amazon has used similar tactics in the past, including removing “buy buttons” from nearly every Macmillan title in 2010 over disputed e-book sales terms.

Amazon is in some cases delaying sales by format. All English language trade paperbacks by Malcolm Gladwell, for example, ship in two to three weeks, while Gladwell’s hardcovers ship immediately.

The availability of the titles Amazon delays appears to shift from time to time. “Alex Cross, Run” is listed as in stock this morning, while Amazon is still slow-walking “America Again,” which is available in two to three weeks in hardcover.

Self-interest protects certain formats: all titles appear to be available in Kindle editions.

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes poetry, nonfiction, and a multi-genre contest. Deadlines range from May 31-June 2.

The seventeenth annual Boston Review Poetry Contest is now accepting submissions. The winner will receive $1,500 and publication in the November/December 2014 issue of the Boston Review. Poets can submit up to five unpublished poems, no more than 10 pages total. Entry fee: $20. All submitters will receive a complimentary half-year subscription to the Boston Review.  Deadline: June 2, 2014. For more information, visit the website.

The Pressgang Prize is now accepting submissions for a book-length collection of stories, essays, or some other prose. Pressgang is the small press affiliate of Butler University. The winner will receive $1,200 and publication, and will do a reading at Butler University. All entries will be considered for standard publication as well. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: May 31, 2014. For more information, visit the website.

The Southern Indiana Review will once again be offering their Thomas A. Wilhelmus Editors’ Award for Creative Nonfiction. The winner will receive $2,000 and publication in a future issue of Southern Indiana Review. Essays may be up to 35 pages. Entry fee: $20 ($5 for each additional submission. Deadline: June 2, 2014. For more information, visit the website.

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

In March, 2,300 Americans were asked to name their favorite books and the Bible was No. 1. The results were posted on the Harris Poll Web page. Gone With the Wind was No. 2 and No. 3 was the Harry Potter series.

Next, were To Kill a Mockingbird, Moby-Dick, The Catcher in the Rye, Little Women, The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby. No surprises there.

But over the years, this list has changed in interesting ways. In 2008, it included novels by Stephen King, Dan Brown and Ayn Rand.

“In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others,” Andre Maurois wrote in 1963.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by  Betty Bolté, Henry Chang, Allan Cole, Doreen Cronin, Melissa de la Cruz, Erin Duffy, Maria Faulconer, Shaman Elizabeth Herrera, Susan Mallery, Don Mitchell, Sharan Newman, Kevin Powers, Sukanya Rahman, Yvonne Ventresca, and David Wolman. Titles under the jump.

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