Death and the Penguin

Mellville House is publishing Andrey Kurkov’s crime-fiction, including one of my favorite books of all time (see title of this post). Hot. And they’re having a celebratory Adopt-a-Penguin program. What’s not to love? The details:

We will adopt a penguin in the name of any bookstore who successfully sells 25 copies of either book (combined or single title) in the series, which includes Death and the Penguin, or Penguin Lost. The contest will run from now until December 31st.

As a reader all you need to do is head down to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of either book. If your local bookstore hasn’t heard about the promotion let them know about it by sending them to  If they are already participating, well then buy a book and help save a penguin.

Best typo ever.

Susan Andersen apologizes for a hilarious editing mistake in her new romance novel Baby, I’m Yours:

"I apologise to anyone who bought my on-sale ebook of Baby, I’m Yours and read on pg 293: ‘He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he shitted on the ground’," says Andersen. “Shifted - he SHIFTED!”

And don’t miss the three-armed woman on the cover of someone else’s romance novel!

Lessons learned from submitting writing for publication.

A thoughtful list from Blake Butler over at HTMLGIANT. I like:

6. Deletion is holy.


9. If you really want to publish a book one day you will publish a book. The time that you spend getting there is kind of wonderful. Don’t cut it short. The emotional range is valuable.


18. Want to restate: this submission/publication thing is ephemeral. Yeah it’s nice and fun that it exists, and to get somewhere you need to go hard. But keep your head on. No one on Facebook cares. Keep it yourself most of the time, the struggle. Eat the struggle. It’s meat.

(The bold is my doing. Because I like that bit quite a lot.)

Pick an indie publisher!

Although small presses give less money upfront, their model is more viable for a lot of fiction. The same book that disappoints by selling only 10,000 to 15,000 copies at one of the big six is a big hit at a small press, and that, many small press publishers noted, often leads to a happier author. At Akashic, for example, the author gets a bigger split on royalties to make up for the small advance, and this means, Temple noted, that when a book actually sells, the author starts to reap the benefits.


Many indie press publishers and agents also think they’re seeing an influx of debut literary fiction. While literary fiction has always been a tough sell at the big houses—as one editor put it, “debut and literary are the two scariest words in our industry”—many interviewed for this article believe the big houses used to take more chances in this arena. Ethan Rutherford, marketing and publicity manager at Milkweed Editions, said he doesn’t think the press would have gotten John Reimringer’s debut, Vestments, years ago. The book, which Milkweed published in September, was an Indie Next selection in October and landed on PW's best books list for 2010. “[The big houses] seem more tentative about the debuts they’re signing up, and they seem to be passing on quite a bit of beautifully written, smart, literary fiction—which is exactly what we’re looking for at Milkweed.”