Today’s Wall St. Journal has a piece on Simon & Schuster’s newest marketing strategy — an Internet book channel, Bookvideos.tv, to be hosted on YouTube and other sites, on which authors will talk for two minutes (“about as long as you can watch something on your desktop before your boss catches you,” says the chief executive of the corporation producing the videos) about their lives, how they became writers, and other such behind-the-scenes topics. The channel will focus on only Simon & Schuster authors, though the company seems open to expanding in whatever direction viewers take the most interest.
The channel will launch next month and has committed to 40 author videos, with featured authors including bestselling authors from Sandra Brown and Mary Higgins Clark to Ursula Hegi and Marianne Wiggins. You can check out the videos here as well as on the Simon & Schuster web site.
For any of you who may feel as though you’re too old to become a successul writer, check out this AP story about a man who began writing his first book at age 93 and now, at age 96, is a published author.
Harry Bernstein’s memoir, The Invisible Wall, about his childhood in northern England, grew out of the loneliness he encountered after the death of his wife. As he says in the article, “You know when you get into your 90s like I am, there’s nowhere else to think except the past. There’s no future to think about. There’s very little present…So you think of the past.”
But now he has quite a lot of future to think about. A Random House editor in London picked up his book and couldn’t put it down, and now, in addition to being published in England and Sweden, it will be released in Germany, Italy, Finland, and Norway. Bernstein is already at work on a second book, slated to be published in the U.S. by Ballantine.
I think all writers can learn a little from Bernstein’s wisdom. He reports that he writes when inspired rather than forcing deadlines, and he also says, “I’m not satisfied until I finish what I start. And I will not be satisfied until I start something new.”
The New York Times ran a story last week on the Bellevue Literary Press, which will publish its first title next month. The article calls attention to Bellevue Hospital’s former reputation as a psych ward for the “criminally deranged,” which indeed sounds tough to overcome. Yet neither authors nor publishers seem worried about the past.
Bellevue Literary Press grew out of the success of the Bellevue Literary Review, founded in 2000 and described by the Washington Post as “a journal of humanity and human experience — a well-regarded magazine featuring fiction, nonfiction and poetry by Bellevue’s doctors and well-established writers.”
Yet, like most small presses, Bellevue Literary Press is all about the love, not the money. Financed by private donors, the imprint’s first four titles are medical or scientific books written for a general audience, and editorial director Erika Goldman told the Times that authors would be paid advances in the $5,000 range, adding, “We’re in it for love and art.”
Which sounds perfectly sane to me.