Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Andrew Wyeth on Art, Work, Life, and America

If anyone can find more conversations with Andrew Wyeth, please holler. This conversation is gold. I love this guy's work, and don't need words to enhance that. However, hearing him talk about work is especially inspiring. My favorite line -- "....when you know something, and feel it and have a love for it. Don't let it go by."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My 2012 Body of Work

It's been a crazy start to 2013 here, so I'm only just now posting an illustrated list of my 2012 body of professional work, including covers for Brenda Cooper's THE CREATIVE FIRE, Ian McDonald's BE MY ENEMY, and the limited edition of Dan Simmons' HYPERION, as well as the first glimpses of my Loteria card set.

As noted by and most of your social media circles, the awards nomination season is upon us again (Hugos and otherwise). If you wish to reference this list for future consideration, please feel free to peruse and bookmark at your convenience. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Shiny New Future of Publishing

Just read a must-read post by Dennis Johnson of Melville House, outlining the very-possible closing-down of Barnes & Noble's physical bookstores. For many of my more radical ebook-loving friends, this is cause for cheering and applause. I do not agree with them. For me and several of my long-time publishing friends, it's the realization of something we've been watching and noting since around 2008/2009, like watching a massive train derail in slow-motion.

While I do not forget big-box stores' ruthless and myopic elimination of independent bookstore competition over the years (good ol' American capitalism, right?), I don't applaud the demise of any bookstore, even the big-box versions. And if you're a fan of anything that's written or drawn in published form, then you should pay attention to what's happening right now, because it's going to affect you, even if you're really happy right now with your Shiny New Future. And in fact, it already is affecting you, even if you don't realize it.

New York Times' David Streitfeld, in a recent report on ebooks: “The triumph of e-books over their physical brethren is not happening quite as fast as forecast.” Streitfeld floated the idea that this may be due to the “counterintuitive possibility … that the 2011 demise of Borders, the second-biggest chain, dealt a surprising blow to the e-book industry. Readers could no longer see what they wanted to go home and order.”

Result, according to Melville House's Johnson? "The closing of bookstores selling PRINT books may also be hurting the sale of EBOOKS."

Ding-ding-ding. Hi, folks -- that's Reality ringing your cultural doorbell.

My take: Culture is an ecosystem. Think balance. Think beyond the length of your own arm. Our current Shiny New Future of Publishing is built for short-term gratification, and long-term 'scorched earth' (borrowing Johnson's phrase). I think we can do better than that. We NEED to do better than that.

I offer this to anyone reading this -- you're not in charge of 'saving Barnes and Noble' or 'saving publishing' or 'saving culture'. That's missing the point. It's the wrong way to frame these events. You ARE in charge of deciding what kind of culture you want, and leaving a world of better choices than the one you were given. In publishing and in reading culture, we're not doing such a hot job lately. Stop choosing convenience over culture, people. You can have both, but when you choose the former exclusively over the latter, you lose. Ebooks are NOT the devil, but ignorance sure is.