Thursday, January 29, 2009

Google Acquires Plaxo, LinkedIn, Facebook & MySpace

Mountainview, California—January 28, 2009

In a move sure to surprise markets tomorrow morning, Google® announced this afternoon that it has acquired the following companies:

• Plaxo®
• LinkedIn®
• Facebook®
• MySpace®

The four companies will be rolled into one to be known simply as Goo®. Google assures users that it will do all it can to make being a part of Goo a rewarding experience. Immediate changes that will take place include the following:

1. All users’ personal and professional information from all four services will be immediately cross-referenced, cross-indexed, “crawled,” and published to the web. Simply putting anyone’s name into Goo will immediately result in their home and work contact information, résumé, educational background, net worth, sexual preference, fetishes, kinks, and STD status.
2. “Status” updates need no longer be manually updated. Cell phones equipped with Goo software will automatically track your longitude and latitude to the closest square foot, allowing Google Earth to place your location online whether you are at work, at home, the gym, or elsewhere. Thanks to new Google Heat Signature software, Google Earth can now provide real-time images of your location and show where you are by tracking your body heat signature. Google warns users that this may not work if you are in the shower or making hot love to your honey. However, in conjunction with Goo’s new Personal IP® program, where users are implanted with their own RFID chip with a Personal IP, location status should be discernable even in the hottest background. Contrary to many rumors floating about, the RFID chip implantation will remain voluntary until students reach school age, at which point they will receive the chip along with their whooping cough vaccines.
3. “Friends” will now be automatically connected by any association whatsoever. Everyone in your high-school or college graduating class will automatically be your “friend.” That guy or girl you met on Match.com? Yep, you’re connected. That friendly teller at the bank? Yep, he’s your new best friend. And the cable guy would like you to join his rotisserie league. Best of all, Goo will be uploading nationwide adoption records, making that search for baby’s momma or daddy a simple point-and-click exercise.
4. Thanks to Goo Banking software, Direct Deposit has new meaning. All of your accounts will be immediately linked upon opening to all other accounts. And there’s no need to worry about budgeting or bill-paying ever again! Goo will do it for you. By automatically linking all of our accounts, money will flow freely from your employer’s bank to your bank to your credit card company, all without your intervention. Goo thanks the Federal Government for inspiring it in creating this service. After all, why should anyone want control over how his or her money is spent!
5. Photos will now automatically be updated to your account from your computer. No need to pick and choose. Goo will do it for you! Simply log on and Goo will seize control and locate every single .jpg file on your computer and upload them. Users who wish not to have their images posted are advised to turn off their computers, disconnect them from their internet connection, and cut the plug off the power cord.
6. Google has announced a new slogan for Goo: “Wherever you go, wherever you hide, we will find you.”™
7. The many applications developed for use with Facebook, LinkedIn and other services will now be rolled into a separate shopping site for such services, known as GooGoo. Google has paid a licensing fee to the GooGoo Dolls for use of their name in this product and will sponsor a worldwide tour for the band. The band’s new album and tour will tie into the new Goo slogan and is entitled simply, NO PRIVACY™.
8. With Goo, authors, song writers, filmmakers, and artists need no longer actually publish or release their work. Goo will automatically locate all manuscripts, artwork, photos, films, and other potentially copyrighted works on users’ computers, immediately uploading it to the public domain. As a part of the new GooWiki, users will be able to rewrite, redraw, revise, and comment on all such works, making them truly collaborative projects for which all can claim ownership.
9. Spinning from Google’s YouTube® division is the new GooYouVote, in which registered voters will be able to vote along with Congress on each and every bill offered for consideration, bringing true democracy to America. (Please note that an RFID chip and Personal IP are required to use GooYouVote.)
10. Last but not least, Goo has announced that it has acquired naming and branding rights to the Earth’s Moon, which henceforth will be known as “the Goon®”


(c)2009 by Andrew H. Zack

Monday, January 26, 2009

One Publisher's Wish List

Recently, one publisher I work with sent me the following "wish list." Their wish is my wish. If you have a project that fills the bill, I'd love to hear from you.

Z

Overall

  • ANYTHING INNOVATIVE, EDGY, CONTROVERSIAL, OR HILARIOUS

Biography/Memoir/Pets

  • Dog memoir with a unique angle
  • Horse memoir with a unique angle
  • Memoirs relating to East-West, Middle East, or current-day Russian issues

Business

  • Leadership/management guides based on extensive studies
  • Leadership/management guides connected to major universities
  • Personal finance titles from top-platformed authors with a unique angle for down economies
  • Innovative books based on interactive multimedia content
  • Annual or perennial titles with major brands or companies
  • Self-help-type guide to choosing or changing careers

Contemporary Issues/Social Studies

  • Alternative/speculative books from platformed authors (“What if?” or “World without Us”-type projects)

Cooking

  • Innovative cookbooks based on interactive multimedia content
  • Interesting, nichey cookbooks: college, diet-specific, restriction-specific, cool food/entertainment themes (football, Academy Awards)

Crafts/Hobbies

  • Innovative craft or hobby books based on interactive multimedia content

Education

  • New teacher guides, particulary ones with a bit of edge speaking to a 20-something audience

Health/Beauty

  • Definitve or innovative book on aging, with a top-tier or celebrity author
  • Teen beauty books connected with top-platformed authors or top brands and/or with innovative approaches to the topic
  • Teen beauty books connected with top-platformed authors or top brands and/or with innovative approaches to the topic
  • Bargain and do-it-yourself spa and beauty tips

History

  • Key Revolutionary Era or Civil War book from a top-tier author
  • Unknown or little-know dramatic Revolutionary Era or Civil War stories, with wide appeal
  • Unknown or little-know dramatic world history stories, tied to topics with wide appeal (war, epidemic, disaster, invention, etc.)
  • Collections of myths or misconceptions about historical events
  • Alternative/speculative history books (“What if?”-type projects)

Humor

  • Humor books tied to significant websites or with significant web tie-ins
  • Humor books connected to or based on TV shows or films
  • Comic-strip or comic book tie-ins with innovative or content-rich approaches (not just collections)
  • Political humor titles

Medical

  • Innovative medical books based on interactive multimedia content

Parenting

  • Baby name books with unique angles, big platforms, or result from extensive studies
  • Pregnancy books connected with top-platformed authors or top brands and/or with innovative approaches to the topic
  • Pregnancy books with significant web or interactive multimedia connection and/or with innovative approaches to the topic
  • New baby/new parent books connected with top-platformed authors or top brands and/or with innovative approaches to the topic
  • New baby/new parent books with significant web or interactive multimedia connection and/or with innovative approaches to the topic
  • Pregnancy cookbook with top-platformed authors or top brands and/or with innovative approaches to the topic
  • Parent’s cookbook with top-platformed authors or top brands and/or with innovative approaches to the topic (the next Super Baby Food or Deceptively Delicious)
  • Discipline books with innovative approaches to the topic
  • “Specialty” baby names book (ones with a unique and specific approach to the topic) connected with top-platformed authors or top brands
  • Sleep solutions book connected with top-platformed authors or top brands
  • Anything that brings an innovative or fresh perspective or format to long-standing parenting topics
  • Special-needs parenting from a top-tier author or celebrity
  • Baby Sign Language author with professionally produced baby signing videos and a national platform
  • “Teach Your Child to Read” book for the parenting shelf from a top-tier author or program
  • Parenting humor or a funny pregnancy trivia book
  • Journals (pregnancy, first year, etc.)

Philosophy

  • Philosophy books connected to or based on TV shows or films

Poetry

  • Innovative poetry books (new formats, approaches, or based on interactive multimedia content)

Politics

  • Key political titles from top-tier authors
  • Political books based on interactive multimedia content

Reference

  • Dictionary, thesaurus, or other reference books books connected with top-platformed authors or top brands
  • Innovative dictionary, thesaurus, or other reference books based on interactive multimedia content

Science

  • Collections of myths or misconceptions about science or scientific events
  • Alternative/speculative books from platformed authors
  • Innovative science books based on interactive multimedia content
  • Pop science book on the top 100 or so things you should know about: alternative energy, current meds, recent research and discoveries from all sorts of fields from archeology to astronomy, that giant particle accelerator on the France/Switzerland border, etc. In the mold of damninteresting.com.

Sports

  • Innovative sports books based on interactive multimedia content
  • Innovative approaches to golf instuction, with well-platformed authors
  • Key sports titles with top-platformed or celebrity authors

Study Aids and Test Prep

  • Any book related to college admissions or college survival.
  • Language instuctions titles with alternative, edgy, or innovative approaches, or with interactive multimedia content.
  • ACT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, or GED test prep titles or series connected to top-platformed authors or significant brands
  • Test-prep titles across all tests with alternative, edgy, or innovative approaches, or with interactive multimedia content
  • Books tied to significant websites or with significant web tie-ins
  • Books with interactive multimedia content

Travel

  • Guide to inexpensive travel (possibly roadtrips)

True Crime

  • Collections, trivia or other formats that are unique to the category (no single-story narratives)
  • True crime titles with interactive multimedia content

Answer Books (Q&A format)

· Answer Books: Sex (self-help and juvenile nonfiction versions)

· Buddhism

· Healthy brain

· Dog training

· Common Spanish phrases

Calendars

  • Obama/McCain political satires
  • Tie-ins with hit pop culture websites
  • Licensed tie-ins with top brands, TV shows and movies

Monday, January 19, 2009

Will the Tide Turn for Autism Research Dollars?

One of the most notable conversations I've had with Dr. Paul Offit, author of AUTISM'S FALSE PROPHETS, is that he'd rather see the money that is being poured into "proving" that vaccines cause autism spent on other research, to find better treatments or proven causes. Now a player at a major autism organization has resigned, because she thinks it has been proven that the vaccines do not cause autism and wants the money spend on other things. See this story in NEWSWEEK:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/179998?from=rss

Z

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

AUTISM'S FALSE PROPHETS in NY TIMES

In case you missed it, AUTISM'S FALSE PROPHETS, by Dr. Paul Offit, was profiled in today's NEW YORK TIMES, in the Science section. The link to the article is http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/health/13auti.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink.

Z

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ghosts in the Machine

It used to be that I'd get queries and submissions to the wrong address because folks were using out-of-date guidebooks like the WRITER'S GUIDE or Jeff Herman's book. Not that these are always out-of-date, but if the year is 2009 and you've got the 2004 edition of either of those books, chances are people have moved.

Now, though, I get Google Alerts about me and my firm that show websites that are horribly out-of-date and you just know authors are using them and still sending queries out to my New York address. No doubt the gentleman who lives there now is sick of getting that mail. Thus I urge you to always use the latest primary resources, like my website, and not third-party websites or old guidebooks.

The other "ghost in the machine" I seem to be running into a lot is Plaxo. Plaxo, if you don't know, is a lot like Facebook, except that it also tracks pretty much anything you would track in your address book. The goal is to have one central phone book, really. If you are on Plaxo and you move, you update your info with Plaxo and then all of your contacts who are also on Plaxo will get an update that you moved. Great, right? Well, the problem is that Plaxo is now trying to be Facebook and stopped letting you send out requests for address updates. Now you can ask folks to "connect" with you, which means they have to join Plaxo. Okay, that may or may not be better than the Plaxo update requests. Depends on your viewpoint I guess. But this is what kills me. Well, two things:

1. People join Plaxo and input their info like they are a ten-year-old texting. Like this:

john doe
555 Anywhere st
new York, ny, 10029
2125558989

As opposed to:

Mr. John Doe
555 Anywhere St, Ste 305
New York, NY 10029-0567
+1 (212) 555-8989

Now why is this important? Because people who are actually using this information on a daily basis would like to not have to clean up your sloppy entries, just like editors don't want to clean up sloppy manuscripts. If I'm a businessperson trying to write you a letter, I would never use version one; I'd use version two. But if YOU PROVIDED VERSION ONE in Plaxo, am I to blame if I use it and you think it looks like crap? Garbage in, garbage out, folks. Keep that in mind if you are going to use these services.

Second thing is folks that don't update Plaxo when they actually move. There are apparently millions of Plaxo users. You likely know some of them. If you signed up for Plaxo then have the courtesy to actually keep it up-to-date. Otherwise, delete your account. For example, I know a very bright editor who took a much better job, but he never updated his Plaxo entry. I even sent him a reminder about it, because Plaxo is CONSTANTLY trying to change his info back to his old firm in my Outlook.

C'mon, Bruce, you don't work at S&S anymore. Take five minutes and put your Harper info in there, okay?

The point is, with all of the services out there from Plaxo to Reunion.com, from websites you voluntarily put your info on to those you did not (hello, anywho.com!), it has become up to us, the end users, to police the world wide web and keep our info up-to-date or private. Your choice. But if you get an email from me asking you for your latest info and don't reply, then by all means don't be surprised if you never hear from me again. I'm probably sending everything to the wrong street address!

Thanks.

Z

Monday, January 05, 2009

The December and Year-End Round-ups

In December 2008, we...

  • Received 28 queries and declined 31
  • Received 9 sample chapters and declined 28
  • Declined 2 manuscripts

We also...

  • Requested 11 sample chapters
  • Requested 5 full manuscripts

We have read all sample chapters dated before September 30, 2008. If you submitted to us before that and sent an SASE but did not hear back, you should contact us.

For the year 2008, we...

  • Received 606 queries and declined 403
  • Received 162 sample chapters and declined 95
  • Received 8 proposals
  • Received 22 manuscripts and rejected 11

As of January 5, 2009, we have on hand to read the following:

  • 31 sample chapters
  • 3 proposals
  • 8 full manuscripts or books from potential clients
  • 2 full manuscripts from current clients

We are also waiting to receive...

  • 8 sample chapters
  • 3 proposals
  • 4 full manuscripts

Z