Griffin Hansbury’s novel, The Nostalgist, runs the gamut. It is by turns a bildungsroman, a ghost story, a social satire, and a personal psychodrama. It is, however, most saliently a post-9/11 story. More than just a quest for post-traumatic catharsis, The Nostalgist is propelled not by shock or horror but by a mood truer to the period: anxiety.
The book’s protagonist, Jonah Soloway, is a dumpy, socially isolated thirty-something, who spends his days working a dead-end editorial job at an all-but-unread trade magazine. At night, he collects kitsch—in particular, radios—from bygone eras and works on a graphic novel. Jonah is haunted by the memory of a beautiful neighbor named Rose who died in the Twin Towers. The story is set in motion by a fateful lie: Jonah calls the phone number on a missing poster and tells Rose’s mother that he knew her. In fact, they had only one terse encounter over a dropped glove so brief and ambiguous that it’s unclear they spoke to one another.
Last spring, I was commissioned to design the cover for the novel. Shortly after the publication, Griffin asked if he could post a Q-and-A about the design on his blog. In exchange, it seemed only fair that I ask him some questions, for FA, about his novel. Continue reading
MobyLives, a must-read for anyone curious about the changes taking place in publishing, has an excellent post today about the cost of publishing ebooks. What’s more, today’s story led me to an earlier post about self-published author Andrew Hyde who learned the hard way that Amazon takes more than just a 30% commission from its Kindle Direct authors:
Amazon’s total fees ate away almost a third of Hyde’s royalty: The book retails on Amazon for $9.99, and under the 70% percent royalty plan Hyde imagined he would get $7. But Amazon charges $2.58 per download to deliver the ebook, with the author’s royalty being calculated on what’s left after the delivery fee is deducted.
One of the things Bezos and crew have done extremely well is convince readers and self-published authors that they’re on their side despite all evidence to the contrary. But what I’ve wondered for some time now is how Amazon plans to make its money publishing ebooks. After all, they’re now selling Kindles at a loss, and their business plan for ebooks has been to sell them at a loss as well. If the publishers’ settlements with the DoJ get approval, Amazon will be prevented from selling ebooks at less than what they pay the publishers, but that won’t stop them from maintaining razor-thin margins. Moreover, Amazon’s financial statements are notoriously opaque, rarely revealing which parts of its business are profitable.
So, how do you make a profit selling both ebooks and ebook readers for nothing? By screwing authors and charging them for the privilege.
- Matt Tanner