Friday, July 1, 2011

Around the Word

The new age of agenting: Earlier this week we highlighted the news that Author that the Dystel & Goderich Literary Agency would be representing self-publishing authors as a sign of the e-volving times. Author Lee Goldberg uses his blog today to explore the broader implications of this new agent-ing model, which involves handling the management and business side of the publishing process in exchange for the same 15 percent commission. Among the natural questions: will this approach affect how hard agents will try and sell books to traditional publishers? Is this purely managerial role worth the same percentage of profits? What do you think? 

Did Hemingway get his mojo from mojitos? Flavorwire has a great summery slideshow up about famous authors and their drinks of choice, and just because many were bona-fide alcoholics doesn't make us want to emulate them any less. Hemingway beat the summertime heat by downing Mojitos, while William S. Burroughs kept it "super simple and super alcoholic" by choosing Vodka and coke. The slideshow also includes each writer's motto about alcohol. Our favorite comes courtesy of American poet Dorothy Parker with her cheeky quartet, "I wish I could drink like a lady/ I can take one or two at the most/ Three and I'm under the table/ Four and I'm under the host."

Public Speaking Protocol: Ever wonder how the public speakers we write for make their decisions about where and when to pontificate? Vital Speeches guru David Murray offers some helpful insight into this process through a recent conversation he had with C.C. Chapman, a prominent social media consultant and writer, about his criteria for accepting  speaking gigs. Chapman always requires that the conference pay his travel costs as well as his speaker's fee, though Murray gets him to admit he sometimes bends the rules and talks gratis. That may not be such a bad thing -- Murray advises the occasional freebie can more than pay for itself by widening your exposure and generating new business leads. Do you think Chapman's rules are broadly applicable? What kinds of arrangements tend to work for you?

"And the best speech is...": We just can't get enough of the Webby Awards' cheeky 5-word speeches. Last week we shared our friend Cindy Starks' speechwriter-centric review of the recent ceremonies. This week we offer another take of the highlights from Ragan. Our favorite from that batch was Jeopardy-playing supercomputer Watson, which accepted the Person of the Year award with this speech: "Person of the year, ironic."

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