Tag Archives: Publishing

Rather Sad about Mad

It’s no secret that Mad, the steadfast satirical magazine that’s been on newsstands for the past 67 years is all but ending, as per these pieces in the Washington Post, New York Times, and a personal one from The Week.

What, me shed a tear?

I learned about it first from Mark Evanier’s blog, as he’s not only a pop culture historian, he regularly works with one of Mad’s most storied illustrators, Sergio Aragonés. Technically, Mad is not completely dead: the magazine will continue as a vehicle for reprints as per a message sent to contributors last Wednesday.

The New York Times piece especially touches on how big of a cultural impact Mad had: people thought of the Mad parody version of movies before they thought of the original film itself! I know one screenwriter who had the joy of finally seeing his film get made as a star-studded Hollywood production, but he felt he had really arrived when Mad magazine parodied said film — and he wrote Mad magazine to tell them so (Mad happily published his letter).

To boldly go– DAMMIT Mr. Neuman!

My one brother and I were especially fond of Mad’s Star Trek parodies which were uniformly excellent. Dick DeBartolo‘s pitch-perfect scripts combined with Mort Drucker‘s expert illustrations made for satirical synergy. And they were but one section of many equally distinctive illustrators and writers.

It could be that the wonderful continuity of talent which was such a plus was, in part, part of the minus that led to the current diminished state of Mad. Leastways, the corporate executives didn’t figure out how to transition to junior staff as had happened in the past. Longtime Mad writer Joe Raiola thinks this is both what happened with the move to the West Coast. Still, it’s not dead yet and it might get better from its newt-like state. Certainly the brand is still valuable which, in this day and age, is one of the most important things to corporations. As Evanier notes, someone –perhaps many people– are figuring out how to get the brand to make more money.

The Bookstore is Dead. Long Live the Bookstore!

One of the biggest issues plaguing independent entrepreneurial creators (authors, artists, filmmakers, etc.) would be how to find an audience — and even if that nut is well and truly cracked: how do you maintain or even grow it?

That’s a topic for many another post, but amid forums and social media I follow where people discuss the topic, there’s the inevitable discussion of what Faustian bargain should be made with Amazon, the everything store that wants to be your alpha and omega. I was reminded of that when I came across this Axios article from October musing about the slide of Barnes & Noble.

It’s all the more interesting because independent bookstores have apparently made a resurgence, as per articles found on NPR, CBS, and a huge compilation of articles on the American Booksellers Association page (an interested party to be sure, but still…).

A Look at the State Of Publishing: Traditional, Indie, and Self

I know author Kristine Kathryn Rusch mainly from her short stories in various science fiction magazines, but the truth is she writes across multiple genres and –apparently because sleep bores her or caffeine works particular wonders on her nervous system– she also edits, publishes, and shares all sorts of insights about said writing, editing, and publishing.

So when someone posted her thoughts about state of publishing in 2017, I thought it was worth a read… and you might, too.

The Nitty Gritty of Writing a Non-Fiction Book

As I mentioned last week, I’m giving a talk tonight for actors on mass auditions and indie casting. And I’ve previously written a lot on my company website about indie casting.

So, it probably comes as no surprise that I’ve thought about distilling and refining those thoughts into book form (and several people have suggested it — leading me to believe it’s a decent idea).

Enter Joanna Penn’s exhaustive article about how to write a nonfiction book. I especially like the time she takes on breaking down why one would want to write a nonfiction book and how that would translate into the audience one goes after. That’s one of those angles that can be all-too-easy to forget until you have 20/20 hindsight. I also appreciate the way she demonstrates how a book can factor into selling your overall brand or business, which should probably be part of one’s strategy.

It might be time to revisit the notes I’ve made about potential casting books…

 

I Guess It’s Too Late to Change the Site Name…

There is a theory that placing two coat hangers in a closet produces more coat hangers through some frenzied yet illogical process of inorganic reproduction that’s best left unexamined outside of a Philip K. Dick short story.

If someone suggested that placing two web articles in the Internet equivalent of a closet would produce an article about writing, I would believe them (whether or not the person suggesting it was Phillip K. Dick).

This may explain the overwhelming amount of articles about writing on the Internet — and despite their freakish origins, I read a lot of said articles.

So in the spirit of my focus earlier this month on business plans and planning, I wanted to share an interesting article by Kristen Kieffer in The Verbs that goes over some of the things one should think about as they plunge forward along the journey of being a full-time writer. I especially like the reminders about all the different avenues, back alleys, and overall channels writing could make some ducats. There’s also the important question of one’s “author brand.”

I admit, with working on getting Jabberwocky Audio Theater back off the ground and improving Stonehenge Casting, I haven’t given too much thought about my “personal brand.”

And clearly, I should have thought about what kind of pen name I should have and how that informs what kind of writing I write. I mean, when I think of Bjorn and writing, I think of  him:

Pictures of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson are invariably intense.

Admit it: you wouldn’t want to be caught in a dark alley in Tromsø with this guy. It’s like every Ingmar Bergman slasher film you’ve ever seen. Don’t quibble with me about the fact that Ingmar Bergman is Swedish and, also, has never made slasher films: you know it’s true!

I suppose it’s not that bad. I mean, if I want to tell bitterly realist stories that end in families crying — or perhaps take a turn at nihilist crime fiction, I’ve got the name for it. But what if I want a bit more adventure? Something that has a bit more action or, dare I suggest, swagger? Well then I probably need another name. Something like “Jack Stone” — or “Brick Gunderson” if I wanted to keep some hint of Scandinavia. Construction materials need to be involved.

I guess it’s too late to change the site name.