Month: October 2008
Fanfic Makes Proulx Regret Writing “Brokeback Mountain”
Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Proulx has complained before about the misery "Brokeback Mountain" fanfic has caused her and now she's doing it again, this time on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.
her home five miles outside town, looking out enormous windows onto the
river and the limestone cliffs that define her property.
Not because of the people of Saratoga, a town she doesn't think much
of. Not even because the word "brokeback" has been misappropriated, as
in, "Hey, you're not goin' brokeback on me, are you?"
It's all the manuscripts, screenplays and letters sent to her by men
who rewrite or serialize her story, adding new characters, endings and
even successive generations.
Her frustration has been building for a while. She told the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago that "Brokeback Mountain' has had little effect on my writing life, but is the source of constant irritation in my private life."
She lamented that "remedial writers" are constantly sending "ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the
story to me, expecting me to reply with praise and applause for
'fixing' the story…they know nothing of
copyright infringement, that the characters Jack Twist and Ennis
Del Mar are my intellectual property."
Boston is Back
I haven't heard much about Boston Teran in years, but in the last few weeks he's been back in the news. Teran is a nom-de-plume for a secretive author, perhaps already well known under his own name. His first book under the Teran moniker, "God is a Bullet," got a lot of attention and an Edgar nomination, but his follow-up novels never generated the same heat. That could be changing.
Variety reports that his as-yet-unpublished western "Creed of Violence" has been bought by Univeral.
Story, set in 1910, revolves around an estranged father and son
trying to thwart an arms smuggling ring bringing weapons to Mexico.
novel caught fire among studios after the Natasha Kern Literary Agency
submitted it to book publishers. Universal, which hasn't yet assigned a
producer, made an aggressive offer and took the book off the table.
Several foreign territory publishing deals have already been made, but no U.S. publisher has been selected.
A few weeks back it was reported that hot screenwriter Ehren Kruger was adapting "God is a Bullet" for a feature film that he might also direct. Is Boston Teran set for a comeback?
(the portrait of Boston Teran is from www.danielpeebles.com)
Sybil Meets Monk, eh?
Canadian broadcaster Canwest announced four new pilots that they are putting into production, including a one-hour drama called "Shattered," which is described this way:
recluse, solves crimes with the help of his unconventional forensic
squad – who just happen to be facets of his
This latest in a long-line of "Monk" rip-offs sounds more like a "Saturday Night Live" spoof of a police procedural than an actual TV show.
Analog to Digital Yucks
David Simkins shared this hilarious clip from Spike Feresten — it’s a fake public service announcement about the coming switch from analog to digital TV signals. You’ll enjoy it.
A “Fantastic” Book
IAMTW member Steven Savile's book "Fantastic TV: Fifty Years of Cult Fantasy and Science Fiction" is now available for pre-order on Amazon in advance of its December release. The book also features contributions from many other members of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.
French Connection Deux
CinemaRetro has an excellent post on the making of THE FRENCH CONNECTION II, which took
place in France. In the midst of production, director John Frankenheimer called reporter/novelist Pete Hamill to do an emergency rewrite on the script:
try to get there within two days. "Why not one?" he said, and laughed
nervously. I never asked why he called me. Someone hand-delivered a script to
my place in New York and I read it on the plane. John, at that
time, had a major problem. He had already shot nine days of the existing script.
He had developed a reputation for going over budget, so had no flexibility. He
couldn't re-shoot what was already in the can. That gave me a
problem too, since I had to write around the existing pieces, which, as always,
had been shot out of order. It was like working on a jigsaw puzzle.
It's not a very good movie, certainly not compared to THE FRENCH CONNECTION. Years ago, I read the FRENCH CONNECTION II novelization, which had a very different ending than the movie.
In the movie, Popeye Doyle runs along the Marseilles waterfront, trying to keep up with the bad guy, who was escaping on a yacht. Popeye eventually gets a clear shot and shoots the bad guy on the boat.
In the novelization, if I recall correctly, there's a convoluted ending involving a powerline and the bad guy getting electrocuted in a bus.
Is the New TV Season DOA?
TV critic Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks so:
NBC's "Chuck" and "Life" haven't exactly lit up the Nielsens – so much for all that Olympics hype – and ABC's entire Wednesday night line-up, from "Pushing Daisies" to "Private Practice" to "Dirty Sexy Money" was essentially DOA when it premiered last week. If it doesn't improve
substantially tonight – and odds are that it won't – ABC is going to be forced to either cancel series or drastically alter its schedule. That's not what you want to hear with the opening bell of the fall season still ringing faintly in everyone's ears.
of their favorite excuses – less people are watching television – since
more than 70 million watched the vice presidential debate last week.
The people are out there. Thanks to the financial crises cratering our
economy, those people are even at home. They're sitting right there! On
the couch! But guess what? They don't like the network leftovers. Hell,
they don't even like former hits, like "Heroes." The trajectory of that series? Down. How far down? Down.
James Poniewozik of Time Magazine agrees with him.
New shows are middling at best in the ratings, relaunched shows like
Chuck and ABC's Wednesday have cratered—even hits like House and Grey's
are not doing so hot.
[…]The conclusion? After the writers' strike, viewers didn't want a
"do-over." They wanted a clean slate. They wanted to forget most of
what they were watching before and see something brand-new, that would
remind them why they missed TV. They still want brand new. And it looks
like they will end this season still waiting for brand-new.
Speaking of "brand new," I saw MY OWN WORST ENEMY and thought it was a great pilot. I have no idea how they are going to pull it off as a series, but at least it wasn't a re-tread of a 1970s show, or a remake of a British program, or another grim procedural.
Can’t Get it Up
The Erotic Romance & Epublisher Comparison blog (EREC) takes a look at publishers' sales figures for a handful of erotic ebooks:
AVERAGE FIRST MONTH SALES
[updated September 28, 2008]
Ellora's Cave–715 copies (25 books)
Samhain–229 copies (18 books)
Loose Id–210 copies (49 books)
Amber Quill–203 copies (9 books)
Liquid Silver–189 copies (13 books)
Torquere–121 copies (14 books)
Cobblestone–84 copies (31 books)
[updated September 28, 2008]
Ellora's Cave–796 copies (25 books)
Loose Id–468 copies (49 books)
Amber Quill–684 copies (9 books)
Samhain–515 copies (18 books)
Liquid Silver–167 copies (13 copies)
Torquere–101 copies (14 books)
Cobblestone–252 copies (31 books)
AVERAGE TOTAL SALES FOR BOOK OUT FOR ONE YEAR OR MORE
[updated September 28, 2008]
Ellora's Cave–1206 copies (24 books)
Loose Id–765 copies (49 books)
Amber Quill–832 copies (9 books)
Samhain–586 copies (18 books)
Liquid Silver–533 copies (13 copies)
Cobblestone–485 copies (31 books)
Torquere–330 copies (14 books)
If I'm reading these figures correctly (I suck at math), then the average Ellora's Cave author in this sample is selling a mere 50 books a year, an Amber Quill author 92. If this sample is representative of erotic ebooks sales as a whole, and that's a big if, the figures are pitiful for authors looking to establish a readership or to make any money. Even so, EREC finds encouragement in these numbers, which they say represent a steady uptick in erotic ebook sales over previous years.
UPDATE: I'm an idiot. When I said I suck at math, I forgot to mention I also suck at reading comprehension. I apologize for my obvious ignorance. Here's an explanation of the first year erotic ebook sales numbers from a reader:
The "average" in question is an
arithmetic mean. So the average EC book is selling 796 books a year. I
thought that was fairly clear but I live and learn. Whether that is
enough for any given author is up to them once the info is made
And here's an explanation of the figures for ebooks out for a year or more from another reader:
EREC has received information on sales for 24 seperate EC titles.
Averaging out those sales for the 24 books (total number of all 24
titles sold divided by 24) equals, on average, an EC book sells 1206
copies in its first year.
Thank you both for the corrections. I stand corrected (and embarrassed).
That said, the numbers are still pitiful compared to even the worst selling print titles. Erotic ebooks have to go a long, longway before they are competitive with print or make much financial sense for writers (though ebook writers keep insisting that it's the "wave of the future," though the e-tsunami is sure taking it's time getting here from tomorrow). That's assuming, of course, that the writers of erotic ebooks want to make any money, which I suspect isn't as important to them as simply getting their work out there. But even on that level, 1200 people isn't much of an audience. If eyeballs are all those writers care about, they could reach far more people simply by posting their erotic fiction on a blog.