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Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
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Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
 Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter . Newsletter Subtitle 
September 26, 2003 
. . . . . . . . .
Greetings Everyone!

We'd like to apologize to readers who were expecting to read articles from our guest columnist's. Unfortunately techincal difficulties prevented us from posting them (not us.)

We haven't quite decided at this time, but we may be taking several months off due to upcoming scheduled appearances. It's not like anyone will miss us anyway! ^_^

in this issue
  • Sale or return (SOR)
  • Marketing to Libraries
  • Author Spotlight
  • Books to Film & Media Links

  • Sale or return (SOR)

    For those of you who are not familiar with how the "Sale or return (SOR)" policy was established in America.

    It came about during the depression as a means of indemnifying the bookseller and has been a feature of publishing ever since. It should be an incentive to the retailer to take risks and stock more unusual or unknown work, because if they cannot sell something, they can send it back to the publisher's warehouse.

    The great American publisher Alfred Knopf characterized this as "gone today, here tomorrow." Returns are a brutal fact of a publisher's life. In the US, the rate of return for most houses exceeds 40 per cent. In Britain, the rate among general publishers is more like 25 per cent, but the figure is rising, at least for hardbacks. These copies face either the pulping machine or the unsentimental hands of the remainder merchant.

    Precious are those Readers!

    Never forget that readers are doing you a favor when they read your books, not the other way around. Whether the readers you're dealing with are fellow writing group members or fans who walked into their local bookstore and ponied up seven bucks to read your novel, please remember that they're doing you a favor.

    As a matter of fact, there are readers reading this piece of advice.

    I atended plenty of book signing's and I can't count the number of times I've seen well-meaning readers get their heads bitten off for offering constructive criticism ... often criticism that the writers in question would have done well to listen to.

    Don't be one of those writers.

    Be kind to your readers. Feed and care for them properly. Otherwise, they will stop being your readers... and a writer without readers is no writer at all.

    Marketing to Libraries

    Libraries provide a significant market for publishers and vendors. According to Book Industry Trends 2001 (Book Industry Study Group, 2001), which examines acquisitions expenditures of public, school, college & university, and special libraries, over $4.2 billion worth of books, periodicals, audiovisual, and other materials were purchased by libraries in 2000, with nearly $2 billion spent on book purchases alone. Over one-tenth of publisher's net book sales are to libraries.

    The Bowker Annual: Library and Book Trade Almanac includes total acquisitions expenditures on print, audiovisual, microform, and machine-readable materials for public, academic, special, and government libraries, in all U.S. states and territories. It is currently published by Information Today, Inc. (Information Today, Inc., Attn: Customer Service, 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford NJ 08055-8750; telephone: 1-609-654-6266; fax: 1-609-654-4309; e-mail:; web site: Find out more, including pricing information, at the Information Today, Inc. American Library Directory web page.


    Libraries purchase books for adults, young adults, children, and special readers (emerging literates, large print, braille). They also purchase newspapers and magazines, reference sources, scholarly journals, electronic resources (CD-ROM and online databases, multimedia, computer software), audiovisual materials (film, video cassettes, music recordings in many formats, books on tape), and microforms.

    Sturdy, better quality books are an important selling point to librarians who are interested in books lasting for more than a few borrowers. Also, books printed on acid-free (alkaline) paper are more desirable because pages printed on acid paper become too brittle to use after 50 to 100 years.


    Two-thirds to three-quarters of book sales to libraries come from a jobber or wholesaler. Most of the balance is bought directly from publishers. When libraries buy is governed by when their fiscal year begins and ends. Most (but not all) public libraries are on a July- June fiscal year. University, college and school libraries for the most part follow an academic year calendar. A flurry of spending can occur as the end of the fiscal year nears and almost always just after it begins. In general, though, libraries make purchases throughout the year.

    For more information on this or other fact sheets, contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail:; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.

    Author Spotlight

    A Gentleman's Tale
    Author: J. A. Short

    Available at: Imprintbooks

    ISBN: 1591095425

    Number of Pages: 70

    "It's London that holds the future". Frank's words will echo in our hero's mind many times throughout this tale. Author- J.A. Short takes the conflicts of modern youth and brilliantly entwines them with the essence of Victorian England.

    Our hero, having lost the only two people he has ever loved, finds himself faced with a decision whether or not to leave his home. Frank is all Jacques has left in this world, but does Jacques want to leave his lifelong home and all that is familiar? Later, Jacques struggles with a promise made to his deceased lover and a growing, undeniable passion for someone new. Andrea Barolini, young and innocent, but with a fiery determination is quite the challenge for young Jacques. Andrea's father, Armadeus Barolini, with some secrets of his own, goes from sponsor to antagonist in the course of "A Gentleman's Tale." The wonderfully faithful servants provide the necessary allies in this romantic, yet captivating story.

    Music lives in the fiery soul of the impoverished, uneducated Jacques. He waits only for a chance to free it from the chains that bind. Will the trip to London be his golden opportunity or is it just false hope? Will London society applaud him or laugh him off the stage, amused by the simple country boy's attempt at music? Shorts own love of music is reflected in Jacques' musical passion and the intense emotion he feels while performing.

    The author's historic reference to the Enclosure Movement places our time frame in the mid 1800's. The Enclosure Movement was a time when open fields and common grazing lands were divided into privately owned plots, as government and nobility denounced the lack of profitability of common ownership systems. This privatization greatly affected the commoners and provided more land acquisition for nobility. It led to large- scale conversion to livestock farming and the closure of many small family farms. The story exposes the upper class prejudices and depicts the lengths to which Victorian aristocracy will go to secure their social status.

    The plot is easy to follow with several twists and turns to hold the readers interest throughout the story. Character descriptions are strong and we come to know each character's strength and weakness. The ending leaves the reader anxious to know more.

    This story is similar in style and setting to the many, very successful novels by British writer, Catherine Cookson. We are transported to a time of arranged marriages, male dominance, and the ever-prominent social order. This reviewer was captivated by the author's style and flair for setting the scene and the intensely descriptive dialogue throughout. I would highly recommend this book as an intriguing and easy flowing read for all ages.

    Reviewed by Shirley Roe.

    Shirley Roe can be contacted at:

    Books to Film & Media Links


    By Dan Lux

    Books have always played a major role in Hollywood screenplay development.

    And despite the often-heard criticism that "the book was better than the movie," many authors and independent publishers dream of having their books picked up by a Hollywood movie executive who deems the work magnificent and offers to turn it into the next blockbuster.

    So how can you get your book made into a big screen film? The standard answer is simple --- write a bestseller. Once you've done that, you'll have producers throughout the country calling for the film rights to your novel. A bestseller has many built-in components that appeal to Hollywood executives. For one, much of the hard work has already been done. Within the covers of a bestseller exists a well-crafted, compelling story that is fully fleshed-out with three- dimensional characters, detailed plot lines, conflict, and suspense. In addition, there's already an audience of hundreds of thousands of readers, as well as millions who would like to read the book but "don't have the time." All the studio needs to do is bring in a screenwriter, hire a big-name star, roll the cameras, and watch the box office tally skyrocket. Right? Not necessarily.

    Although this formula does work, there just aren't enough books that meet these criteria to supply all the movies made in Hollywood. In addition to movies made and released by the major studios, there's also a big market fueled by independent films, the broadcast television networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and FBC), and, more recently, the cable networks. Increasingly, cable networks are producing their own movies. Some now making original movies include HBO, Showtime, TNT, USA, TBS, MTV, Lifetime, The Disney Channel, F/X, VH- 1, Fox Family Channel, A&E, Encore, E!, ESPN, Court TV, and PAX. As you can see, the scenario outlined above certainly simplifies the development process and reduces the risk, but it can't possibly meet the demand. So producers and development executives turn to resources outside of bestseller lists to find novels they can adapt to the screen, both big and small.

    Many books that haven't climbed as high on bestseller lists, or are no longer there, are also being discovered by Hollywood. A few examples are K-PAX by Gene Brewer, (1995) which Universal Pictures is making starring Kevin Spacey; The Huntress by Christopher Keane (1996), which became both a movie and now a dramatic series for USA; Shot In The Heart by Mikal Gilmore (1995) is being developed into an HBO film; the children's book How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell will be produced by Ron Howard; Chain of Evidence by Michael Detroit has been picked up by Walt Disney Pictures; The Human Stain by Philip Roth was purchased by Paramount; Danny DeVito's company has acquired the 1993 novel On Mermaid Avenue by Binnie Kirshenbaum; Tom Cruise's production company bought Celia Brayfield's yet-to-be-released novel Heartswap, in which Nicole Kidman will star; and the out-of-print book The World of Ted Serios by Dr. Jule Eisenbud will be directed by Chris Carter ("X-Files" creator). The list goes on and on.

    So, how does Hollywood get their hands on this material? Many producers still rely on agents to submit material to them. It's a passive approach that is quickly changing as aggressive executives turn to more intelligent methods of finding material, beating out their competitors for the coveted "green light." Some of the more popular resources that Hollywood executives turn to in their search for material are trade publications like Publisher's Weekly and ForeWord magazine, which provide reviews on upcoming titles. The Sunday book review section of major newspapers like The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times are also good sources to find books. And there's always the long-established method of paging through press kits, catalogs, and directories distributed by the major publishing houses.

    While all of these methods are helpful to executives skimming through a large number of books to find those titles that might meet their development needs, there is an important caveat to consider: most books reviewed in these sources are new or soon-to-be-released books, thus excluding past great titles from consideration. Furthermore, because this information is in print form, there is no efficient way to search for a specific type of story other than browsing through each and every listing. As the competition in Hollywood becomes more intense, being the first to find that great story becomes ever more important.

    The Internet is quickly changing how Hollywood does business. As young, Internet-savvy executives rise through the ranks of the studios and production companies, more and more are turning to the Internet as a resource for stories. When they meet with an actress, actor, or director who is looking for a specific type of story, they can quickly search for certain genres of books through online services, from the Library of Congress to, and many other sites that can locate out-of-print books. But none of these services provide information on these books' film rights. Often, weeks go by waiting for a response from the sub rights department of major publishers, or the actual rights holder can never be found. Still, Hollywood is able to access books that were formerly tucked away on a shelf or out-of-print. New Internet services are arriving almost daily to help eliminate inefficiencies and bring down the barriers that previously kept buyers and sellers apart.

    So, with all these books getting produced, why isn't your book being considered? It could be nothing more than your book is not available to development executives, agents, and producers. As hungry as Hollywood is for great stories, you need to take an active approach to getting your book noticed. With the numerous art-house films being made, you are bound to generate some interest in your title if it truly is a compelling story.

    Keep your eyes and mind open to new and innovative ideas that will provide access to your material. Whether you gravitate to traditional methods of finding an agent or manager, or you align yourself with a publishing group or association, or you send emails to development executives, the important thing is that you do something. Turning to the Internet for exposure is one of the quickest bets for your novel. Look into some of the inventive services that cater specifically to these markets, like storyXchange. The important thing is to make noise and do whatever you can to find a producer for your material. In the long run, a hit film based on your book will be worth the time and effort you invest now.

    Books Recently Purchased by Film Industry

    Crisis Four, could provoke criticism at a time when the film industry is steering clear of disaster movies following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. A REMARKABLY prescient novel, which has Osama bin Laden behind a plot to blow up the White House in Washington, is to be made into a Hollywood feature film by Miramax. McNab's publishing house, Corgi, said it was "not simply another novel which had been bought by a film company for development. The deal has been done and it is currently in production, which means the process is several stages down the line," said a spokesman. McNab said the contract was being signed and the script in the process of being written.


    Buenos Aires (EFE)- U.S. actor and director John Malkovich is working on a project based on the novel "Sobre heroes y tumbas" (About Heroes and Tombs), by Argentine author Ernesto Sabato. In comments to the Buenos Aires daily Clarin, Malkovich described Sabato's book as "beautiful and surprising," but acknowledged the complex novel would be difficult to transfer to film. Concerning his relationship with Sabato, Malkovich said that while so far they were just exchanging letters, he had already bought the film rights to "Sobre heroes y tumbas." " I'm going to Argentina in March or April because that's when Sabato is on vacation and I don't want to bother him when he's working, so it's very possible I'll see him then." Malkovich himself is helping edit the screenplay for the movie, which he says, "is far from finished." He said he planned to start auditioning actors "soon," but added that financing was still up in the air.


    David Nicholls was an actor before moving into script writing on the film Simpatico and writing half of the third series of Cold Feet. His first novel, Starter For Ten (Hodder & Stoughton, £10.99), is about Brian, a student in the 1980s who wants to appear on University Challenge to impress women. The film rights have just been bought by Tom Hanks.


    Miramax has bought the film rights to a character who they hope may be the next Bridget Jones. Kate Reddy, created by journalist Alison Pearson for a weekly Daily Telegraph column, is an investment banker juggling the responsibilities of work, marriage and motherhood. The column has been a hit for the newspaper and has even produced a postbag from readers who appear to believe that Kate Reddy is a real person. Now Miramax has paid £700,000 for the film rights to Pearson's forthcoming Kate Reddy novel.


    The production company behind The Lord of the Rings will make Whitbread Prize winning author Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy into a film. New Line Cinema has bought up the rights to the His Dark Materials trilogy following the success of its first Tolkien film according to industry paper Variety. The Amber Spyglass, the final book of Pullman's trilogy, was the first children's novel to win the coveted Whitbread Prize, picking up the £30,000 cheque in January. Negotiations are underway to stage a play of the entire trilogy at London's National Theatre, to be directed by Nicholas Hytner in 2004. Pullman's novel I Was A Rat was turned into a TV mini-series starring Tom Conti in 2001.


    Media Links

    It's easier to get on national TV than you think ... as long as you know three critical facts:

    1. Who at each show is in charge of picking guests.

    2. How to reach that person (including phone and email)

    3. What kind of "pitch" will make them eager to book you

    * Newsweek's Web Site has introduced an Arts & Opinions' section. The new section will include essays and reviews on art, films, and books, and will include a column by Newsweek art critic Peter Plagens, a column by novelist Darious James, and one by Eric Banks, who was a senior editor of ArtForum, and is now the new editor-in-chief of BookForum. While the new columnists do not maintain offices at Newsweek, the best way to get in touch with them is through Newsweek Interactive, 251 W. 57 St., New York, NY 10019, (212) 445-4000. The best way to reach Banks is at BookForum, 350 Seventh, New York, NY 10001, (212) 475-4000.

    Female Entrepreneur Magazine

    * Female Entrepreneur Magazine is a new 100,000 circulation magazine addressing the unique challenges women face in today's business world. Their articles will provide insight on the latest technological advancements, strategies on how to raise and manage cash flow, human relations and government regulations, and advice, trends and strategies in marketing, sales, public relations and advertising. Their regular features will include:

    Boss, a monthly interview with female entrepreneurs to find out what works and what doesn't; health and fitness topics; book reviews; coaching and success; humor; women's rights; and fashion and image. The magazine debuted with the March/April issue. Reach the magazine at 783 S. Boulder Highway, Ste. 250, Henderson, NV 89015, (888) 663-2400, ext. 85. Keli Swenson is the editor. Their Web Site is available through:

    CNNfn's "The Flip Side"

    * CNNfn is planning to make a number of program changes.

    Their "Halftime Reports" show will be eliminated, and the network will replace it with "The Flip Side", a talk show that will air between 11AM and 12:30. Kathleen Hays, who was the anchor for "Halftime Reports", will anchor the new show along with Valerie Morris and Geri Willis, who is a new contributor, joining CNNfn from SmartMoney magazine. The current producer of the new show is Sean Yates, who is reached at (212) 714- 3660. The new show will have a talk show format, but will focus on the financial needs of the daytime viewer. CNNfn is reached at Five Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001.

    Fox News Channel's "Pat Sajak Weekend"

    * "Pat Sajak Weekend" airs every Sunday at 9PM on both coasts. The format is simple: one hour with one or two guests per show in a one-on-one format providing a venue for quality conversation. They are looking for top-flite names in all fields of endeavor: entertainment, business, the arts, etc. The talent booker-producer, and the contact for the show, is Scott Gorenstein, who is reached at Pat Sajak Weekend, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, 17 floor, New York, NY 10036, (212) 301- 5339; Fax: (212) 301-5250.



    All things considered, we'd rather be in Margaritaville. The pseudo population of a tequila-inspired pseudo nation apparently is pretty good at spotting pseudo relationships. As far back as July 4th, the populace of CuervoNation were laying odds that the next big celebrity couple to call it quits would be Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. In fact, two out of every five islanders contacted by market researcher Ipsos on behalf of CuervoNation said BenLo would be a bust. But hope springs eternal on the eight-acre Caribbean island, which has invited the Hollywood couple on an all expenses paid trip to CuervoNation in hopes of rekindling their relationship.


    McDonald's has a new man in their commercials. Pop star Justin Timberlake will be playing a large role in the company's worldwide branding campaign. The "I'm lovin' it," campaign is launching in more than 100 countries beginning this month. Timberlake will record the vocals for several commercials and appear in cameo roles throughout the new campaign. McDonald's also plans to sponsor Timberlake's 35-city 2003 European tour, which kicks off in November in Germany. Ads featuring vocals by Timberlake are already airing in Munich, Germany, with the U.S. launch slated for September 29. German agency Heye and Partners created the ads.


    Coinciding with students going back to school:

    Abebooks, an online marketplace for used, rare and out- of-print books, launched Textbook Central, a new area on its website created specifically for students and textbook buyers. The new area features a contest for students to win $2000 each semester to help pay their tuition. Winners are drawn twice a year from all students who have purchased books on the site. provides students with easy access to the Abebooks database of over 45 million used books, which are listed by 11,000 independent booksellers. The database includes millions of secondhand textbooks, reference books, literature, poetry, study guides, and nearly new bestsellers. Other benefits of Textbook Central include a student- focused "wants list," where students can enter the name of a book they need and Abebooks will email them when it's available.


    Nancy Reagan: One doesn't have to be a Republican to appreciate the courage that the former First Lady has in dealing with her ailing husband, Ronald Reagan. Being a caregiver for a loved one is difficult no matter how many staff members help with daily chores. Mrs. Reagan will be George Stephanopoulos' special guest on his Sunday morning news show when it airs on ABC September 21. They will discuss the publication of "Reagan: A Life in Letters," a collection of over 1,000 of Ronald Reagan's personal letters that were delivered to friends, actors, world leaders, politicians and other Americans. Mrs. Reagan will also discuss President Reagan's health. Ron Reagan will be on the show to read from some of his father's writings. It'll be a family affair that deserves attention.


    Dr. Phil: It should come as no surprise to anyone on this planet that the good doctor's newest self-help book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom," will debut at number one on the New York Times best seller list for the week of September 28. In less than one month, an astounding 2.5 million copies of the book had to be printed by Free Press in order to keep up with demands from retail outlets. Dr. Phil has spent so much time with Katie Couric lately on NBC to talk about obesity that his book would be a failure if it didn't hit number one. Free advertising from any established network is worth gold. Other authors should ask for equal time.


    Americans Grow Cynical Of U.S. News Coverage

    Only 14% of Americans believe U.S. news reporting has gotten better since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a survey released Wednesday by Harris Interactive. More than twice that percentage (36%) thinks news coverage has grown worse, while 45% believe it is about the same.


    Time Warner Expected To Disconnect AOL Prefix

    The AOL Time Warner board today is expected to vote to remove the AOL prefix from its corporate name.


    News Sites Loosen Linking Policies

    News sites that once staunchly refused to link offsite -- especially to competitor sites -- are now testing the waters with offsite links in blogs and e-mail newsletters.

    The New York Times on the Web has two email newsletters -- Drive Times (on autos) and DealBook (on business) -- that include blurbs and links to outside news sources.

    The Washington Post's site features two online-only columns -- Filter (on technology) and Media Notes (on media) -- that include quotes and links to outside sources.'s regional hubs and have gone blog-wild with Weblogs that have almost total freedom to link.

    And The Wall Street Journal Online has two regular features, The Daily Fix (on sports), and The Daily Scan (on health news), which regularly link outside the pay walls of


    Movie Reviews

    Once Upon A Time in Mexico

    Once Upon A Time in Mexico delivers on every level. El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) returns seeking revenge against General Marquez, the man who killed his wife (Salma Hayek) and daughter in a series of flashbacks that do not really catch the audience up to speed with the previous two movies in the series (El Mariachi and Desperado). Still, we get the gist none-the-less. He's one angry guy.

    Visually stunning, and chocked full of all the elements we love about movies, Rodriguez ultimately succeeds in the art of storytelling. This MexiCAN do it all.



    Cast: Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Mark Addy, Benno Fürmann, Peter Weller, Francesco Carnelutti. Written and Directed by Brian Helgeland.

    The Order is just plain confusing. Sure, the concept sounds intriguing and all that fun stuff, but nothing in this movie really flows.

    The Order gets "some" bonus points for at least putting most of the plot together for a sufficient ending.



    Cast: Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands, John Rhys-Davies, and Anthony Wong. Written by Gordon Chan, Alfred Cheung, Bennett Joshua Davlin, Bey Logan, and Paul Wheeler. Directed by Gordon Chan.

    Chan stars as another Hong Kong detective chasing another smuggler with a British accent (Julian Sands) this time with the help of goofy Interpol agent Lee Evans and the lovely Claire Forlani, whose character supposedly shares a romantic history with Jackie. Yeah, right. Not in this America.

    This movie literally looks cheaply made. The now defunct Tri-Star pictures had the nerve to dump this on there smaller division Screen Gems, probably because they know they're gonna score a hit with "Underworld." All I can say is, "I was robbed!" Jackie you're still a kewl dude, but age seems to have creeped up.



    Upcoming Movie Releases

    "Out of Time"

    directed by Carl Franklin. Starring: Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain. Washington plays the police chief in a small Florida town who finds himself accused of a double homicide and the hunt for the real killer begins. Washington and Franklin reunite after working on 1995's "Devil in a Blue Dress" together. October 3

    "The School of Rock"

    directed by Richard Linklater. Starring: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White. Laugh riot Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a hard rocker who gets hard up for cash. He becomes a substitute teacher at a stuck- up prep school and teaches the kids there a thing or two about how to rock. From the director of "Dazed and Confused" and writer of "Chuck & Buck". October 3

    "The Human Stain"

    directed by Robert Benton. Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise. Hopkins plays a professor who gets in hot water after he's accused of uttering a racial slur in his classroom. He finds solace with a local woman in town (Kidman), but trouble occurs when he finds out she is being stalked by her psychopathic ex-boyfriend (Harris) in this film from three-time Oscar winner Robert Benton. October 3


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