Alternative CBC Bookie Awards

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bookies-annual

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) which to its credit has the most vigorous media presence in the entire country when it comes to the written word through CBC Books, Canada Reads, Canada Writes and a boatload of other book related events online (not to mention two, count ’em TWO radio shows … The Next Chapter hosted by Shelagh Rogers as well as  Writers & Company hosted by Eleanor Wachtel) has a fun little contest about nothing going on right now. It’s the CBC Bookie Awards. No cash value but winners get a golden beaver in the mail. (I covet this, by the way.)

It’s a pretty good collection of books assuming you don’t read a lot of zombie apocalypse, horror, urban fantasy, dystopia … self pubbed, paranormal romance, romance …. I could go on and on. CBC did include erotica, though … good for you CBC!

At any rate, there’s some solid reads on there – from Robert J. Sawyer to Corey Redekop … but there’s a ton of books that weren’t listed. (Yeah, mine’s not there. Meh.) I’ve long been a strong advocate for the CBC to promote books that aren’t literary fiction and there’s a few in their list, but nowhere near enough. (I know … CBC didn’t pick the list, but still.) With that in mind, I’m going to use my website to do an alternative CBC Bookie Awards because I know that readers of my blog read the kind of stuff I read and there’s some freaking fantastic genre-writing talent in this country that consistently winds up getting passed over. So … I’ll throw it out to you. Email me your favorite books by Canadian authors in the following categories and I’ll make a shortlist. In a couple of weeks, I’ll give readers a chance to vote and we’ll see who the winners of my alternative Bookie Awards might be.

The categories are:

Best Canadian Urban Fantasy

Best Canadian Paranormal Romance

Best Canadian Science Fiction

Best Canadian Young Adult

Best Canadian Middle Grade

Best Canadian Crime

Best Canadian Self Published Genre Novel

Best Cover Art on a Canadian Genre Book

Favorite Canadian Genre Author

So email your choices to info AT sean DASH cummings DOT ca (and any categories I should add).  Let’s celebrate Canadian Genre Fiction!!

What I’m hoping is to contact each winner and do an interview with them promoting their book on my hand-dandy little blog here. So … anyone interested? Let’s hear what you have to say about great Canadian genre reads!!

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The blog posting about cats

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My mum is turning 79 on the 26th of April. She’s a big cat lover and I guess I am too. (Not to the point of spending my spare time making LOLCAT pictures of my two fuzzy friends. No … wait. I do make the occasional funny picture and post it on my 22 yr-old son’s Facebook page.)

Mom would prefer that I put a cat in every single one of my books and I’ve tried … there’s a cat in POLTERGEEKS at the start of the story and there’s a cat as a main character in my novel UNSEEN WORLD. Both are Siamese cats – I had one growing up. He was basically my best pal until he died of feline leukemia when I was twelve. I’m not going to talk about my many cats over the years, but I would love to hear about your favorite cats in the books that you’ve read. In celebration of all things feline, here’s a quick sample from my book UNSEEN WORLD. It’s where Walter the Cat is described by his owner, the 40-something superhero named Marshall Conrad. Oh … and there’s the start of a May-December romance thingy. Enjoy!

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AmazonaGoodreadasaurus Rex

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It was only a matter of time.

There, I said it.

As an author, I tend to gravitate from a visceral hatred of Amazon and what its buying power has done to the publishing industry over the past decade not to mention how its self-publishing arm has flooded the ebook market with metric tonnes of books that wouldn’t past muster with an agent in this galaxy thereby making it harder for published authors like myself to have their works noticed by the book buying public … to sheer wonder at how this corporate behemoth is the now world’s defacto book store. I’m sort of where author Chuck Wendig is on the whole thing:

Let’s be very clear – Amazon exists to make money.  By purchasing Goodreads, they see a place where 16 million potential book buyers hang out to socialize about their favorite thing in the world – books. That’s 16 million people who might have access to 16 million credit cards – if they buy one book a month, just one … holy, crap, over. That’s enough revenue to pay off the national debt of Cyprus over and over and over again.  Now, the reaction I’ve read online to the news since it was revealed to the world yesterday is mixed, I think, but I will offer this much: Amazon, whether you love or loathe them gets it. They have transformed the publishing industry in ways that have left most industry watchers breathless and traditional competition like Barnes & Noble choking on their dust. Amazon is planet Earth’s bookstore.

I repeat: Amazon is planet Earth’s bookstore. Period. End of story.

And in buying Goodreads, I believe Amazon is taking a fairly massive risk that if it works, will payoff in ways that Amazon shareholders can only dream of. That risk is this: Goodreads is for readers.

It’s not for authors.

It’s not for publishers.

It’s for readers.

It’s well established among bloggers and regular users of the site who’ve rightly jumped down the throats of authors with the peculiar habit of usng venue as a location for an epic public meltdown against bad reviews that Goodreads is for readers and readers only. And here’s the thing: reviewers don’t like their reviews being f#cked with. Like, ever. Herein lies the challenge for Amazon as it takes over the site – are they going to let it continue in its current incarnation or are they going to mess with the very simple formula that made Goodreads the massive success that it is already? My hunch is they probably won’t, but then again, Amazon has had some spectacular public relations cock-ups over the past few years, most recently the one where authors can’t review other authors books in a bid to clamp down on fake reviews and gaming the system. Who knows, really?

A lot of questions remain unanswered, though.  Like, will Goodreads reviews become integrated with existing reviews on Amazon’s main site? Will new tools be developed that will allow authors to promote their books on Goodreads? Will the site itself become an eyesore of flash widgets advertising books? Will it cost more for publishers to advertise on the site? It’s early days still – who knows what this is going to look like twelve months from now. Who knows if Shelfari is going to wind up getting shut down and who knows whether an anti-Amazon backlash will form in the weeks and months ahead.

Will there be a new Goodreads emerging in the not-too-distant future – one that isn’t owned by Amazon and one that allows reviewers to enjoy social networking about books free of the all-seeing eye of Amazon?

Yes.  I just can’t see how there won’t be. The reason for this is simple: I think people want an independent venue to do social networking about books. I’m not predicting an exodus of Goodreads users when and if this new site emerges, that will depend entirely on whether or not Amazon/Goodreads messes with people’s reviews.

So, there you have it. My two cents. Amazon continues to blow the traditional concept of publishing out of the water. They continue to define the future of books and traditional publishing looks more and more like a Norman Rockwell painting – something quaint and from a bygone era.

But by God, Amazon gets it. They totally get it.

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A 1000 followers, a 1000 thanks and some SWAG!

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I finally hit a thousand Twitter followers yesterday – hi new followers! In celebration, I’m giving away a copy of my novels, SHADE FRIGHT, FUNERAL PALLOR, UNSEEN WORLD & POLTERGEEKS. To sweeten the deal even more, I’m giving away the POLTERGEEKS audio book!  Have a listen, won’t you?

 

I needed about twelve more followers yesterday afternoon so I’m picking one of the twelve who answered the call on Twitter. (Thanks to everyone who did retweets!) And the winner is …

Courtney McDonald @shesthelittle1

So, Courtney, send me an email to infoATseanDASHcummingsDOTca and I”ll send you some serious bookage! Thanks to everyone!!

 

 

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Wherein I save Barnes & Noble/Chapters-Indigo & get a Knighthood

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Further to a posting I did a couple of weeks ago where I suggested that ;book bloggers (and book forum members) can and should be the salvation of the book section in your local newspaper, I’ve decided to save big box booksellers.

Amazon is killing you. Solution? Turn your websites into a social networking hub. Tap into the power of the blogosphere. Bloggers and book forums have a built-in social network whereas you, dear big box bookseller, don’t. Some of you are trying to reinvent the wheel and I’m simply saying that you don’t have to. Bloggers blog and review for the pure love of books. It is their passion. Call me crazy, but that’s a fairly solid framework from which to build something.

Have blogger events in-house, too! They will share EVERYTHING within their social network – they’ll live blog, live tweet, record on an iPhone and post onto YouTube. Are you getting me yet big box chains? No? Here, I made you a pretty picture:

 

So what do you think? Personally, I say they’re nuts not to. Also, I technically don’t qualify for a Knighthood because Canadians can’t get them anymore. Dammit.

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