Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2021

There’s way too much focus on the supposedly inflated pricing, but this little trade-rag opinion piece on how the comic book industry marginalized itself is thought-provoking:

On the surface, giving the best customers what they want makes sense. However, convoluted stories that required encyclopedic knowledge of series and higher prices pushed casual fans out of the clubhouse. Comic books had made their best customers the only ones.

The lesson of the comic book industry can also be illustrated in a March 2006 article from www.searchcrm.com. A pipe distributor used activity monitoring software to determine that the customer that generated the most revenue was not the most profitable, thanks to all the extra work that went into pleasing it. Repeated site visits and last-minute orders were just two of the ways this customer was costing the company money. Just like in the comic book example, what was best for the minority of devoted customers was not best for the company.

And, since as I write this I’m watching the Anaheim Ducks wrap up their first-ever Stanley Cup, I can’t help but note how interchangeable the word “hockey” is with “comic book” in this example (contrary to popular belief).

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/06/2021 09:28:29 PM
Category: Business, Hockey, Publishing
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Tuesday, June 05, 2021

It’s official: Success in today’s publishing industry means going gay:

Over the past 10 years, ad revenue for all consumer magazines grew at a compound annual rate of 4% versus an 11.8% pace for gay-targeted media.

“This year’s report confirms how, in just one decade, gay and lesbian consumers have gone from an overlooked niche to an audience that Fortune 500 companies are working overtime to reach,” said Howard Buford, president of Prime Access, in a release accompanying the report. “The numbers make it clear that corporate America recognizes and values both the spending power and influence of gay consumers.”

More than 180 Fortune 500 brands bought into gay media last year, up from just 19 in 1994, with popular categories including travel, financial services, automotive, fashion and entertainment.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/05/2021 11:48:19 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Publishing
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Monday, June 04, 2021

My first impression of the trend of magazine publishers providing in-house production services for advertising clients, thus bypassing the traditional third-party agency is that it constitutes some sort of church-state division.

That’s not really accurate, of course. Editorial is under no more pressure by having the ad-creation people down the hall than when they’re across town/country. If anything, it’s more like a breach of the state-state division: The business side of a publishing house appropriating another business function that’s ordinarily outsourced. And worse, offering it as a bundled value-added part of the ad buy:

Meredith 360 charges for its services, while Condé Nast and Hearst charge for costs only when they create custom programs for advertisers, executives at those companies said. (Condé Nast also makes a profit from events like Fashion Rocks.) The rate structure means that Condé Nast can often beat ad agencies on price, [Condé Nast Media Group president Richard] Beckman said.

“We don’t have to make money from our creative, because we make money from our media,” he said.

So where does this go? Do in-house agencies retain clients even if those clients stop buying pages in their companies’ publications? How proprietary is the creative — can it be used in rival magazines/outlets? Right now, there are too many questions to form a clear opinion.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/04/2021 11:38:48 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Publishing
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Sunday, May 20, 2021

Nothing says “share our joy” — nuptially speaking — like being invited to Gwynn Paley’s and Dave Maguire’s pre-Columbian theme wedding amongst Peru’s Andean ruins.

You will awaken at 2 A.M. (it’ll be too cold to sleep anyway) and llama it down Pachatata and then up Pachamama (Earth Mother). We should arrive at the peak between 4:30 and 5:30, depending on bandits, in time to witness the first light of the Solstice, at 5:58. The Incas believe that if you stare into the sun as it rises on this day you will be Reawakened to the Ancient Knowledge of the Cosmos. Hopefully this will distract you from the sound of the seven llamas being slaughtered. (Some of you will have to walk back. Sorry.) Following a brief sacrifice to the Dragon Fertility Goddess (don’t tell Dave!), we will enjoy a traditional breakfast of potatoes and mate de coca, which is basically boiled cocaine and which I’m told puts Starbucks to shame.

Unfortunately, the blessed event was not meant to be. And even more unfortunately, at least for Gwynn: The whole thing was just a big joke.

On the plus side, the National Professional Paintball League gains a new competitor in Dave.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/20/2007 10:45:11 AM
Category: Comedy, Publishing
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Friday, May 18, 2021

I’ve come across a Web archive of one of my favorite alternate history scenarios: Michael B. King’s “Hinge of Fate”, from the February 1993 issue of National Review.

In a nutshell, it posits what would have happened had Nazi Germany remained neutral toward the United States after Pearl Harbor, instead of declaring war in support of Japan (which, under treaty terms, it wasn’t obliged to do). The end result is German victory in Europe, American victory in Asia, and the subsequent commencement of der Kalte Krieg.

Well-structured counterfactual throughout, with the crucial (for me) divergence off a single, rational historical turning point. But the best part is the global socio-economic impact:

In some ways, this postwar world is quite similar to our own. An alliance led by the United States confronts a totalitarian empire whose leaders, while not willing to take the all-or-nothing risk of a nuclear assault upon the alliance, engage in brush fire wars in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. However, this postwar world is much poorer than ours. There is no Bretton Woods, GATT, or EEC. Germany pursues a policy of autarky, while Britain resists ending imperial preference discrimination against America (claiming it must build up internal resources to be an effective partner in the struggle against Germany). America still experiences a boom in the late Forties and Fifties, based on the same internal market that fueled the postwar boom in our world. That growth peaks much earlier, however, because external markets are not available, and stagflation is the order of the day by the mid-1960s.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/18/2007 08:36:14 AM
Category: Creative, History, Publishing
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Sunday, May 13, 2021

The publishing world is slightly atwitter at the recent congregation of best-selling novelist to comic book projects.

And the authors are certainly taking the right approach:

[Suspense writer Greg Rucka] believes the medium shouldn’t matter, as long as the story is good.

“There has just been so much snobbery that has existed with comic books,” he said. “We’ve got to prove that these things are equal.”

And yet, the stuff that Rucka — and Stephen King and Jonathan Lethem and others — are producing in the graphic novel format don’t do anything to dispel that snobbery. If anything, it’s reinforcing it.

All of these authors are working on the same standard superhero or science fiction/fantasy storylines that have dominated comic books for their entire history. And, as I’ve argued, that’s severely limiting:

Unfortunately, the built-in societal preconceptions about the comic book format gives the impression that such work is nothing more than a dumbing-down effort of more complex subjects (or, as usual, a medium for children or those with lesser comprehension skills). That dismisses comics as a medium with its own merits, independent of comparisons with books, movies or any other media. As usual, a reminder is required about comics being a medium of expression, and not a genre.

A big reason for this genre/medium mischaracterization is because American comic books have been dominated, in fact, for decades by a single genre: Superheroes.

That’s been both a blessing and a curse, for both the genre and the medium. The blessing has been the development of a thriving intellectual property industry and pop cultural repository. The curse? A medium that’s largely restricted itself to a narrow audience: Males from adolescence to young adult, mostly fixated on superheroes and the related science fiction/fantasy fields.

This left few options for potential readers who are interested in other genres and story material. If you didn’t like the costumed characters, you pretty much had no reason to pick up a comic book.

While the participation of celebrity authors should signal a shift in genre/medium transposition, it’s pretty clear that it hasn’t. If anything, the efforts of King and Michael Chabon feel more like slumming exercises. They’re doing comic books about comic-book material because, well, it doesn’t make sense to do anything else in the sequential-panel layout.

For instance, take Jonathan Lethem’s foray into comics. He’s doing it to fulfill a nostalgic fix for the old (and all but forgotten) Marvel title “Omega the Unknown”, an offbeat superhero take from the 1970s. Great platform for some innovative storytelling — but still, about superheroes. Why doesn’t Lethem bring something comparable to his most recent novel, “You Don’t Love Me Yet?”, to the comics pages? A story that doesn’t rely upon fantastical elements at all, but is about everyday (if quirky) real-world life — in other words, like most works of fiction?

The answer is that comics/graphic novels still haven’t reached a point where they’re considered a neutral medium — i.e. appropriate for a wide range of storytelling. I’ll trot out the same comparison I’ve made before: Suggesting that all paperbacks must be mystery novels, or that all movies must be documentaries, would get you laughed out of the building. But accepting that all comic books must be about some form of fantasy/science fiction is a given.

Years ago, Alan Moore said that he was looking forward to a time when the publishing landscape would afford him the opportunity to write a graphic novel about a bricklayer and his wife, who lived ordinary lives and perhaps went through experiences that would make for a poignant narrative. No superpowers, no outer-space scenarios — just slice of life. In comics form. If you can believe that.

Obviously, that time hasn’t arrived. I would tack on a “yet” to that previous sentence. But with the crush of historical precedent and persistent perceptions, I’m not sure it belongs there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/13/2007 10:22:18 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Publishing
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Thursday, May 03, 2021

I know Fortune Magazine likes to convey itself as the more accessible, almost pop-culturish business magazine in the market. Which isn’t hard to do, when you’re stacking up against the likes of stodgy Barrons and only slightly-less-stodgy Forbes.

I guess it’s really pushing that image by hosting a blog written by the magazine’s Asia editor, Clay Chandler. The name of his blog?

Chasing the Dragon.

Clever allusion to the dragon as a symbol of East Asian economic vitality. But it’s an even more clever pun on the drug-culture reference for smoking heroin:

It usually involves placing powdered heroin on foil and heating it from below with a lighter. The heroin turns to a sticky liquid and wriggles around like a Chinese dragon. Fumes are given off and are inhaled sometimes thorough a rolled up newspaper, magazine or tube.

A quick perusal of Chandler’s posts don’t indicate that he’s been doing any of that sort of dragon-chasing. But he does like to refer to himself as “The Dragon Chaser” — so if his writing starts to get all Hunter S. Thompson-like, we won’t have to wonder why.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/03/2021 10:38:52 PM
Category: Bloggin', Business, Publishing
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Wednesday, May 02, 2021

I’m not sure why it took so long, but the New York Times now has a regular small-business section. It should offer plenty of opportunity for both ad sales (focusing on underserved small business merchants is the latest goldmine in B2B) and readers.

Included in the inaugural coverage is a handy start guide, with plenty of resource links. It does include the longstanding sobering statistic about mortality rates:

“If you’re new you have about a 50-50 chance of surviving five years,” said Brian Headd, an economist with the Office of Advocacy, which tracks small businesses and examines the impact of proposed regulations on them.

Basically the same odds as having a successful marriage. So enjoy the crapshoot, whether it’s down the economic or emotional path!

Not that anyone’s asking me, but I’ll take this opportunity to impart some helpful advice I got many years ago, regarding fundamental approach when going into any business (presumably small start-up):

Distinguish the purpose of your entrepreneurial endeavor. Are you doing it for the experience of making a livelihood out of your vocation, or is the experience of simply being your own boss — regardless of line of business — the motivation? As an example: Are you an auto mechanic who wants to start a business, or a businessperson who wants to get into the auto repair game? That strategic determination is key.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/02/2021 11:19:37 PM
Category: Business, Publishing
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Sunday, April 29, 2021

hope you guessed my name
The above image is a crop of the October 2006 cover of German Vogue. What you see are two alluring, dark-haired beauties, striking a pose.

But look closer, and you’ll see a devil in the details:

In addition to it being a provacative, seething image I really love how the O and G in Vogue make devil horns on the girl on the left.

Feel free to fire up Laibach’s cover of “Sympathy For The Devil (Who Killed The Kennedys Mix)”, with its jarring use of female vocals, to get a fuller overall effect.

Was that sly bit of graphical manipulation intentional? I’d guess yes, even if it was only on the designer (vs. editorial) level. I’m wondering how many others, in Germany and beyond, noticed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/29/2007 10:17:19 PM
Category: Fashion, Pop Culture, Publishing
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I’m going to have to pick up a copy of Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union”, just on the strength of this synopsis:

For the book, Mr. Chabon dug into New York’s underworld slang, filling in at spots with his own linguistic creations. A latke is a beat cop and a sholem is a gun — a bit of wordplay, as “sholem” in Yiddish means peace, and “piece” is slang for gun in English. The powerful local mafia is made up of Hasidic Jews with payess, long curling sidelocks. Along with the rest of Alaska’s Jews, they are part of what Jews living in the rest of America call “the Frozen Chosen.”

“The Frozen Chosen” might have come about had the King-Havenner Bill, a 1940 piece of Congressional legislation proposing an Alaskan homeland for Europe’s persecuted Jewry, come into law. Chabon’s book runs wild with this alternate history exercise, presenting a scenario in which 3 million refugees poured into Alaska Territory. In addition to transforming isolated towns like Sitka (chosen as the novel’s setting because Chabon thought its name “sounded Yiddish”), this counterfactual apparently took the Holocaust out of the equation during the Second World War; consequently, the establishment of Israel was never deemed necessary.

The option of being presented with an Arctic wasteland as refuge — a restricted, temporary one, at that — might seem like a backhanded form of salvation. But it wasn’t the only one floated before and during the war years. Madagascar, then a French colony, was also proposed as a dumping ground for Europe’s Jews, mainly for its isolation and distance from the Continent. The oddest one I heard about: In the 1930s, the Nazis actually considered working with Zionists to engineer a forced exodus of German Jews to Palestine, not only to uproot them, but also to establish a guaranteed export market for Germany in the face of European economic boycotts.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/29/2007 06:47:39 PM
Category: History, Publishing
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Wednesday, April 25, 2021

Yes, the above is a fairly stupid headline. But it’s apt enough to describe how books targeted for stay-at-home-moms may get the mommyblogosphere buzzing, but don’t fly off the bookstore shelves.

Recent mommy books that have not lived up to the promise of their publicity include Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s “Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children,” which sold only 11,000 copies in hardcover and 2,000 in paperback, according to BookScan, despite the book’s appearance on “60 Minutes,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and the covers of Time and New York magazines.

And last year Caitlin Flanagan’s “To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife,” a collection of essays that said, among other things, that when a woman works, something is lost, generated a media and Internet frenzy, but sold only 9,000 copies in hardcover, according to BookScan.

It’s a case of the marketing blitz imparting enough teaser information to spark a reliable font of online reaction. Trouble is, all that second-hand user-generated content then mushrooms, to the point where the large casual audience gets its fill of the object of debate, without having to actually crack open the book.

In a sense, it’s the ultimate aggregation of content for a group that sees online media as the only outlet that fits their schedule. SAHMs don’t have much time to sit down and read a book, but they’ve got time to scan through a blog post that summarizes it. Whether or not the summary is based on an actual reading of said book is incidental — all that counts is that it’s from a trusted and kindred mommyblogger.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/25/2007 10:30:27 PM
Category: Bloggin', Publishing
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Who knew the late great Sassy Magazine was such a pacesetter for Girl Nation circa 1990?

Sassy was the antithesis of the homecoming queen, please-your-boyfriend culture. It published articles about suicide and STDs while Seventeen was still teaching girls how to get a boy to notice you.

Although Sassy folded in 1994, its readers remember it well. The generation of women that was influenced by the magazine went on to create a new batch of Sassy-inspired publications like Bitch, Bust, and Venus.

Actually, I think Jane Magazine is the most direct descendant. The edgy pubs cited above are for grown-up Sassystanis. Although even they would dig a look at the never-published “lost” last issue of the old mag.

Perhaps the final insult to Sassy: URLs for a modern incarnation currently point to an online babywares store and some lame school-approved Hawaiian teen journal. The Sass is out of gas…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/25/2007 10:06:31 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Publishing, Women
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To celebrate the paperback release of “100 Bullshit Jobs… And How to Get Them”, author Stanley Bing is putting half of it online.

Some occupations are no-brainers for this list: Construction-site flag waver, life coach, and of course, Donald Trump. Note that the “bullshit” designator doesn’t rely upon salary figure; the lowly crumber (crumber??) and the high-flying EVP New Media have equal standing on this dubious scale.

I note with pride that my two current gigs make the list: Consultant and blogger. Of course, I’m getting paid for only one (guess which), so I guess I’m bullshitting at only half-capacity.

Bing invites you to submit your own idea of bullshit employment. I’m tempted to send in “being Stanley Bing”, but I’m sure I’d be No. 52,893 or thereabouts.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/25/2007 08:42:01 PM
Category: Business, Comedy, Publishing
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Monday, April 16, 2021

big house pubAfter a two-year gestation period that inspired the right mix of anticipation and speculation, Condé Nast Portfolio finally has hit newsstands.

It’s as slick and advertisement-gorged as a Condé rag is expected to be. But along with the predictably glamorous portrayal of high finance, it provides the grittiest of flip sides for a potential fall from grace:

For those readers headed to jail, portfolio.com offers prison advice: get dental work done in advance and don’t talk to the press.

Talk about covering all the angles. I’m sure Portfolio’s shooting for the lion’s share of that highly-targeted big-house business reader circulation pie.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 04/16/2007 10:43:51 PM
Category: Business, Publishing
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Wednesday, April 11, 2021

As compelling as the entire theatrical experience offered by Grindhouse is, I just can’t see blocking out three hours to sit through it.

But gawking at Rosario Dawson and (especially) Rose McGowan, wearing nothing but strategically-placed bullet-belts, on the cover of Rolling Stone? Yeah, I can take some time out to for that. (No, not three hours.)

I am, as always, a sucker for brunettes. Not that anyone’s looking at their hair…

One thing: That cover tagline about Grindhouse being “the most violent chick flick ever”? Um. I’m thinking that’s not a particularly high bar to reach. Although I admit, I fully expected Steel Magnolias to erupt into a vicious bloodbath.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/11/2021 11:23:08 PM
Category: Movies, Publishing, Women
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Tuesday, April 10, 2021

Vator.tv: It’s basically a YouTube for tech startup entrepreneurs who hope that a video-presented beg for money will shake some funds loose from the big ol’ venture capital tree. (The key would be finding an investor as averse to reading business plans as the investee is to writing them.)

Doesn’t sound like much of a going concern, but Bambi Francisco is hitching her wagon to it. Not that she has a choice, since she gambled away her journalistic credibility by pimping Vator-backed companies on her now-former MarketWatch beat.

I’m guessing Francisco is envisioning an expansion of Vator, from the current video clips collection to an eventual business community hub, complete with lucrative subscriber rolls and juicy advertising space. That’s really the only way it’ll work. Now that she doesn’t have the MarketWatch association as a legitimizing channel, it’s questionable if there’s anything notable enough on the site to make it catch fire. Odds are Francisco will be back to getting a paycheck from business reporting within two years.

That’s if anyone gauges she’s worth the risk. The amusing part about the controversy behind her leaving MW is that there’s any controversy at all. Let me make it real simple:

Francisco abused her assumed status as a neutral reporter. She had no business providing free publicity that would wind up lining her own pockets. The moment you do that, the assumption is that you’re constantly on that same make, and you’re no better than an infomercial pitchwoman.

This isn’t trailblazing territory: For years now, business writers and analysts have been required to disclose their stock holdings when writing about the market, in order to avoid any questions of ulterior motives. Francisco was in the same position — the public-private company distinction is irrelevant. So, like I said, no controversy — her resignation (let’s face it, she was pushed out) was the only option.

The larger issue: Is there something inherent about business reportage that leads to this ethical quagmire? Maria Bartiromo’s whole “money honey” nonsense was a clear precursor. As usual, gazing too long into an abyss — in this case, a money hole — creates a void within you.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/10/2021 11:42:37 PM
Category: Business, Internet, Publishing
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Thursday, April 05, 2021

I know next to nothing about Steven Hall’s “The Raw Shark Texts”. This despite an auspicious pre-publication tour campaign for the first-time author’s new book.

But I think I’ll be picking up this novel. Not because it’s described as a “postmodern psychological thriller and love story”, nor because I’m fairly starved for a good read of late.

It’s because that title, “Raw Shark Texts”, is a wonderfully punny allusion to Rorschach tests, one of the more creative products to come out of the psychological field of study. Just as those inkblot tests produce fuzzy diagnoses, I now expect Hall’s book to provoke some indistinct mental stimulation.

I’d like to think that Hall was inspired to use the “raw shark” wordplay by way of a pivotal scene from Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 04/05/2021 07:51:03 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Publishing
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Wednesday, April 04, 2021

I’m thinking most people watch “Entourage” for the comedy, not the location scenery. Nevertheless, the authenticity of the Los Angeles cityscape depicted in the show is cited as one of the things that makes the series so great.

Many of the real-life locations are posh locales, out of the average Angeleno’s reach. Vincent’s agent Ari meets with the star’s buddy-turned-manager Eric at Koi, the pricey sushi restaurant and celebrity haunt. Eric makes a reservation for himself and his girlfriend at Beverly Hills’ Peninsula Hotel, where rooms start around $500 a night.

Other spots that the boys frequent, like the Shelter Supper Club nightspot, are off-limits for all but Hollywood’s most gilded youth.

But most locations are the sorts of everyday neighborhood joints that Los Angelenos get to know and love. They grab dogs at Pink’s flamboyant hot dog stand, line up for limited edition kicks at the sneaker boutique Undefeated and browse at Book Soup, ground zero for Southern California bibliophiles.

Yeah, I recognize a promo article when I read one. The new season starts this Sunday, so this is practically a paid advertisement. Still an entertaining one.

I was particularly entertained by the fact that I recognized every one of the examples put forth: The imported bagel-water on Fairfax Avenue, the Roe-DAY-oh vs. Ro-DEE-oh pronunciation, Johnny Drama’s San Fernando heat stroke — all of it. This, despite not having seen much of last season’s episodes, due to lack of HBO.

One other useful bit of information from this article:

The show’s knowing references to real-life Los Angeles gives it a cultural resonance that other shows lack, said writer Adrienne Crew, a devoted watcher of the show who grew up in Los Angeles and is working on a novel that takes place in the city in the 1980s.

Forthcoming fiction set in La-La Land during the decadent ’80s? Dare I hope for a second coming of Bret Easton Ellis? Regardless, I’m tired of rereading “Less Than Zero”, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for Crew’s book. Besides, she seems to be blog simpatico.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/04/2021 11:06:33 PM
Category: Publishing, TV
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Sunday, March 25, 2021

These days, it takes more than rippling biceps and windswept hair to set aflutter the hearts of Harlequin romance novel readers.

Doesn’t it?

That’s the reading that the publisher of those schlocky potboilers is getting, anyway. Toward that end, Harlequin has put out a casting call for more down-to-earth “real men” to serve as a new generation of cover models for its paperbacks.

Until now, the publisher relied on modeling agencies to supply bodies for its concupiscent covers. But the readership — predominantly female and averaging 42 years of age — was upset when slight, young cover models clashed with the brawny, mature heroes described within.

“Some of the heroes are captains of industry, billionaires,” said Deborah Peterson, a Harlequin creative designer and a judge at the audition. “A lot of the models were too young, men in their twenties… and our audience likes men a little bit older, a bit bigger, than the runway models.”

The cover-art process in book publishing is notoriously assembly-line. For the run-of-the-mill books, it’s completely divorced from anything the author does. What results is a cookie-cutter book design, selected from a practical stock art collection. In Harlequin’s case, I’m sure a good bit of marketing basics went into this time-honored strategy: A flashy cover scene bulging with muscles probably prompts more impulse purchases than a “realistic” visualization. That they’re responding to their core readership indicates that the impulse-buy universe has shrunk dramatically, and so Harlequin is forced to be responsive to its bread-and-butter audience — despite retooling efforts in a post-Fabio era.

As for Mr. Goldilocks, he’ll always have his past body of work to stoke his memories.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/25/2007 03:31:52 PM
Category: Publishing
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Thursday, March 22, 2021

About a year ago, I highlighted the best potential use of a newspaper reporter’s blog:

Their utility as repositories for extra notes and sidebars that couldn’t/wouldn’t fit into a regular-section article. I find this to be a great tool for letting readers dig deeper into a story, affording a behind-the-scenes look into both the story and the newsgathering process. It’s like the extras you find on a movie DVD: It’s not necessary reading, but perfect for hooking the news junkies. Eric Deggans, the St. Pete Times Media Critic, routinely does this with this blog, most recently to supplement his story about the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s post-Katrina endeavours.

If a newspaper blog did nothing else but this, I’d be satisfied. The notion of remaindered content from the reporter, that didn’t make the newsprint cut but still saw life in digital form, is very appealing to me as the attainment of a more complete newspaper presentation.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t see this kind of blogging from journalists often enough.

Not that I always want/need to get extra bonus features from an article. For instance, I could have lived without the blog-delivered additional notes from David Pogue’s review of Apple TV and similar boxes that wirelessly bridge computer and television for digital media playback. I found the rundown interesting, but as I’m not particularly in the market for such a device, I got more than enough from the print version.

Still, I applaud Pogue and the NY Times for extending the story via the blogging channel, and I’d encourage more reporters to take the same approach. If nothing else, it’s surefire content to fill up the posts, and much more relevant than usual blog fodder.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/22/2007 06:41:02 PM
Category: Bloggin', Publishing, Tech
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Sunday, March 18, 2021

Have you read Jonathan Lethem’s “You Don’t Love Me Yet”?

Well, maybe you’d like to adapt it for the silver screen. To encourage you, the author will grant the movie option for free, in exchange for a slice of the filming budget and future surrendering of the ancillary rights to the public.

The intent is to widen the field of competition for imaginative pitches, and not have an aspiring filmmaker feel he has to have studio connections to have a credible shot. From Lethem’s side, I’m sure he’s looking to fast-track a process that, to date, hasn’t resulted in a greenlight for his other book adaptation options. Ideally, a mutually beneficial scenario will emerge on May 15th, when Lethem announces the big winner of this literary lottery.

It’s a novel approach to rights-management. What it winds up producing — a high-profile production, or a direct-to-video footnote — will go a long way toward influencing other authors.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/18/2007 11:03:27 PM
Category: Movies, Publishing
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