Leipzig Book Fair interviews, sexualized urban fantasy heroines, lost exchange students, blogs and e-book prices – yes, it’s a linkdump

Since I’ve been busy building up the Buhlert Web Empire and lending some moral support to a relative in a difficult situation, today’s post is a linkdump. But then, the Internet has been serving up some very tasty links of late:

I love the two big German book fairs in Leipzig and Frankfurt respectively, although I have never visited either. However, the public TV stations always offer extensive coverage of the book fairs, including a plethora of author interviews. And since we’re living in the age of streaming video, those interviews are also available online (only in German, obviously):

Here are some video highlights from the Leipzig Book Fair:

Writer and singer Sven Regener on blogging.
I am a big fan of Sven Regener, not just because he’s a local boy who sang about Delmenhorst and wrote about Neue Vahr Süd, but also because he’s incredibly entertaining. This interview is an excellent example. Watch out for the Austrian, i.e. landlocked, interviewer explaining what a ship’s log is. Sven Regener, who was born and grew up in Bremen (hurrah!), of course knows this. Come to think of it, Sven Regener’s Hamburg Heiner reminds me very much of Jeff Vandermeer’s Evil Monkey.

Since it’s so rare to see an SFF writer interviewed, here is an interview with German SFF author Wolfgang Hohlbein and a bonus reading from his latest novel Infinity.

There are loads more of author interviews at the 3sat site.

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Here is a lovely rememberance by British writer Esther Freund about going on a school exchange to Germany, having to deal with people speaking Schwäbisch and getting lost in an unfamiliar town. Found via Bookslut.

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YA author Elana Johnson has some tips for successful blogging.

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Cheryl Morgan wonders about the tendency of male writers to write about prostitutes and asks whether strong female characters must always be sexualized.

I agree in principle that portraying female characters solely in the context of their sexuality is problematic. But – and that may well be a case of cultural disconnect – I have never really had an issue with prostitutes and strippers as protagonists or heroines going undercover as a prostitute or stripper. In fact, I’ve written stories about undercover strippers and kick ass prostitutes. Several of them in fact. And I am quite obviously not a man.

Of course, if you become like Frank Miller and never have a female character who isn’t a prostitute or stripper, then you do have a problem. Though I always took Sin City as a parody of the noir genre with its sexualized femme fatales and as a parody it’s brilliant. But the occasional prostitute or stripper heroine does not bother me.

What really irks me about that post, however, is that leather-clad kick-ass urban fantasy heroines are equated with prostitutes. Because yes, those urban fantasy heroines are portrayed as sexy (on the covers, the character inside the book is often quite different). And yes, some of them do wear skintight leather and many of them have a healthy attitude towards sexuality. But none of that makes them prostitutes. In fact, I can’t think of a single urban fantasy heroine who is a prostitute, though there are one or two who are strippers.

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Finally, here are some e-book links:

Thriller writer Barry Eisler forgoes a 500000 dollar advance in favour of selfpublishing his latest book and discusses his decision with Joe Konrath. This is not a decision I would have made, but Eisler is big enough a name that he should sell very well in either case.

Dean Wesley Smith discusses Barry Eisler’s decision here.

Meanwhile, Amanda Hocking seems to be going the opposite route, from indie to traditional publishing, and has been offered an advance of a million dollar. That’s great for her, since she seems like a genuinely nice person.

At the same time, there’s also a heated discussion about e-book prices going on, since many indie publishers sell full length novels for 99 cents.

Charles Tan offers an extensive essay about the question of e-book pricing.

Catherynne Valente disagrees with those who believe that all e-books should be priced at 99 cents.

Historical romance author Courtney Milan points out that one book is not like the other and that therefore one cannot expect them all to cost the same. She also has a really good post discussion whether different publishing modes are a business model or a religion.

Indie paranormal romance author Zoe Winters, who actually priced her books at 99 cents for a while, talks about sustainability and wonders whether 99 cent e-books don’t attract the sort of customer who only cares about low prices and tends to act entitled.

Chuck Wendig has suggestions how readers can support their favourite writers, if book prices permanently drop to 99 cents, as some think they will.

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