MediaBistro Rockets to Jupiter, The Publishing Contrarian Drydocks and the iLiad eReader Takes Tolstoy to the Beach!

I’m back. The streams are low. The fish are lying on their sides at the bottom of the river with their tongues hanging out. No self-respecting trout is biting. Whoops, ‘striking.’ I’ve hung up my waders until the fall.

So what did I come home to from Pine Creek in Pennsylvania? Mediabistro rocketing nonstop to Jupiter(Media), as well as scads of query letters and book review requests piled up. And a trendy new eReader to drive me mad with 90-pages of instructions.

MediaBistro Goes Corporate gets sold to publicly held JupiterMedia Corporation, a Darien, Connecticut-based, internet media company that sells photos and art. Laurel Touby falls into the clutches of Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO. Twenty-three-million dollars! (Cash? Stock? A combo? It’s enough to keep Laurel eating out every night at trendy Spice Market Restaurant in New York City. No more doggie bags for her!) And guess what? Laurel gets to stay on as a Senior Vice President at JupiterMedia. (Er, okay, Laurel, but maybe you should convert some of those dollars into gems and sew them into the bodice of your frock. That way you’ll have a protective vest on when the first volley hits you after the honeymoon period ends. I can’t think of many entrepreneurs who survive more than two years once their company is acquired. Can you?)

And guess who else JupiterMedia also gained? Yep, Galleycat’s Ron Hogan and Sarah Weinman. (Actually I would have thought that Reed Business Information, parent company to Publishers Weekly, would have snapped up when it became common knowledge in August 2006 that MediaBistro was looking for suitors. MediaBistro’s online job board and the Galleycatters’ daily following would have given a much-needed and immediate boost in the unique-visitors and page-views categories.) Ron and Sarah have a real following, including Grumpy Old Bookman in the UK and, of course, The Publishing Contrarian. What I like about Ron and Sarah is that they are all around town and about much more than just loving and recommending books. They are not afraid to take the occasional shot or poke at people, including authors and powerbrokers. I’m still laughing at the August 2nd crack Sarah made about Jane Friedman, CEO of HarperCollins: “…very smart in a terrifying sort of way….” Ain’t that the truth? Just the thought of being in the same room with Jane Friedman makes my hair stand up. Of course, I’m sure Jane Friedman liked the soft-focus headshot that knocked twenty years off her!

A Gmail Bundle of Book Manuscripts and Query Letters to Be Reviewed.

Crikey, all those backed up attachments among my emails. Usually, I routinely forward requests for book reviews to other people, but the stack was so high and a few had bounced back because the reviewer wasn’t interested in the book genre or because the reviewer was on vacation. So I broke my rule about reviewing self-published books and cherry picked a few in order to reduce the stack. And I’m glad I did—for two reasons:

First, I found some really good books that defy logic regarding why they shouldn’t have a traditional publisher. But when you’ve got that oft-repeated 180,000+ number of books actually getting published each year, you can only imagine the total number of authors deluging literary agents and editors in an effort to get published. A good book gets lost as easily as a bad book gets found. By the way, you should definitely watch for Eclipsed by Shadow by John Royce. And then there were those painfully written query letters coming over the transom from my GetPublished Web site. Yep, time to get back to work and remind writers that they should pretend literary agents and editors are morons, and adjust the pitch to do the thinking for everyone.

Second, I got my hands on an eReader demo—the iLiad—so it appears that there is some hope that I can bask in the sun at Georgica Beach in East Hampton while plying my trade at the same time. I plowed through the 90-page iREX online manual, complete with diagrams, and, suddenly, I was “in” the demo’s full-length version of that breezy beach read, War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, and “getting it” as I figured out how to page forward and back. Okay, okay, I had to email Jeffrey Paleczny, President of eReader Outfitters, a few times to help me get started, but his latest email provided me with instructions that will enable me to wield the slim stylus that slips into a sleeve on the iLiad and make notes that will appear embedded in the manuscript itself exactly where they are supposed to be. Everything will transfer seamlessly and in-position via email back to the writer if he or she just downloads some free software from iRex. I hope.

Surf’s up!!!

Note from the Wicked Witch of Publishing (TM): Ok, ok, to all of those who keep asking me about Terrible Ted, The Maine Coon Cat, here’s what he has been up to while I’ve been fishing:

18 Responses to “MediaBistro Rockets to Jupiter, The Publishing Contrarian Drydocks and the iLiad eReader Takes Tolstoy to the Beach!”

  1. V.S. Says:

    Are you kidding? Where have you been? I thought maybe you fell into a river and were sleeping with the fishes.

    Welcome back, Wicked Witch of Publishing. You have been missed.

  2. Bridget Says:

    I had noted the purchase and agree with everything you say. Laurel’s laughing all the way to the bank isn’t she?

  3. Frazer Says:

    Good to have ya back, Lynne. We’ve missed your curmudgeonry. The booksellers among us are finally emerging from Harry Potter hell. (Yes, frankly, I’m glad the whole thing is over, though I have my doubts about everything. I was a bit disappointed with the ending; I was hoping Voldemort would kill everyone and use Harry’s head for a Quidditch ball.) The publishers modestly declined to release anything else of note in July, leading to a pretty stark month before the Rowling deluge. God forbid people should read anything else new.

    Hope you had a lovely vacation!

  4. Frazer Says:

    By the way, I met Jane Friedman at a Morrow dinner when BEA was in Washington last year. I was far from terrified; she was gracious and charming, and happy to converse at some length with a lowly bookseller from the South. Judith Regan, however…even the pictures of her on her catalogs scared me.

  5. Bonnie Calhoun Says:

    It’s about time…i thought you deserted us like Miss Snark did! Although I can’t fault you too much because as I write this I’m sitting in a hotel in Philadelphia attending a Writers conference for the week!


  6. Bernita Says:

    Missed you, Wicked Woman.

    Keep casting flies.

    It’s prodigiously entertaining to see what rises to the bait.


  7. DC Stanfa Says:

    Thanks for reeling us back in.

    I am also a Ron Hogan fan–having met him at Girlfriend’s weekend this year in Marshall, Texas. In addition to his Galley Cat fame, he has an awesome book out, The Stewardess Is Flying The Plane. It is a collection of photos and stories about films of the 70s. A great addition to your coffee table or martini bar.

    Speaking of bars, I have some photos of the Girlfriend’s weekend, including Ron (a production) on the tour photo page of my website

    Note from the Wicked Witch of Publishing (TM): I’ll check it out right now! Stole it!

  8. Andy O'Hara Says:

    “A good book gets lost as easily as a bad book gets found.”

    I rather like that.

    Welcome back, Lynne!

    Note from the Wicked Witch of Publishing (TM): Thanks, Andy! I got such a kick out of some of the emails I received over the past two months. One author actually thought I might have “gone back to work.” Work! Bloggin’ IS work! It’s like having a weekly column w/o $. I needed a vacation!

  9. Gregg Says:

    Who decides which books get press (Harry Potter) and which get censored? After all, censorship is becoming America’s favorite past-time. The US gov’t (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like “America Deceived” from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Imus and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Free Speech forever (especially for books).
    Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):

  10. Tom Clavin Says:

    Georgica Beach has just been bought by Jupiter Media, so that’s out. These are the dog days of book publishing, with all the agents and editors out east trying not to think about how electronic publishing and their own obsolete ways will put them out of business. How soon until the first book on the six “trapped” miners?

  11. David Thayer Says:

    Your return marks the end of the summer doldrums reminiscent of Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America where entire cities ( Pittsburgh, I think) are made of trout…”you are the Andrew Carnegie of trout.”

    Logic has been defied before and no doubt will be again.

  12. Gina Burgess Says:

    Does this mean I must get back to work, too?

    Note from the Wicked Witch of Publishing (TM): Hi, Gina! It is really hard gearing up!

  13. Mel Says:

    Welcome back, I missed you! I hope Laurel’s labor of love continues to have that tree club house feeling. In my opinion, it was one of the best on-line media communications resource vehicles available in the trade.

  14. Peter L. Winkler Says:

    Re: the iliad and the Sony dedicated ebook reader. Why do people keep trying to reinvent the square wheel, something nobody wants?

    The newest ebook readers aren’t significantly different from the Rocket ebook reader, which cost $300 and was even sold at Barnes & Noble stores.

    Outside of the entrepreneurs who sell them, the venture capitalists, and the geeks at WIRED and Boing Boing, nobody wants them.

    I already own an excellent book reader: my eyes.

    Note from the Wicked Witch of Publishing (TM): Always a pleasure to have you drop by, Peter!!! Yep, telling it like it is!   

  15. susan reinhardt Says:

    Hi Lynn: I just discovered your wonderful site. I’m the author in red pictured with DC Stanfa and Ron Hogan.
    I must agree with you on many points, one of which is this freaking blurbing business that takes up tons of time. I don’t mind doing it for people I know and respect, but others have come out of the streams of God-knows-where and more than a FEW have DEMANDED I blurb them. As if it’s going to skyrocket my own books sales. My books are “Not Tonight Honey Wait Til I’m a Size 6,” in its 6th printing (they probably only print 2 at a time) and the latest, “Don’t Sleep with a Bubba.”
    Enjoying all this information. Thanks for putting it out there!
    Susan Reinhardt

  16. DC Stanfa Says:

    Susan Reinhardt has been very giving of her time and her advice, along my crazy publishing/marketing journey! This cracked southern belle with extraordinary wit and wisdom, has become a very wonderful friend–and we have hooked up for some great PR (thanks to the Erma Bomeck writers’ workshop).

    Rather than treat each other as competitors, we have figured out how we can help boost book sales for one another. And I am paying it forward with other writers. Amen.

    And, Lynne, thank you for a wonderful forum for all of us.

  17. lattégirl Says:

    Why did you desert me, Oh Contrarian? Is it because I changed ISPs and didna notify ye? D’ya think? Please reinstate me on your blog-update mailing list,



  18. Devon Ellington Says:

    I finally get to go to one of the parties — and the company’s sold. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to watch and wait and go to as many parties as possible until it all hits the fan!

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