Thursday December 02, 2010
In an attempt to simplify my life, I am currently in the process of streamlining Encyclopedia Hanasiana—my blog since the heady blog days of 2004—and moving it to Tumblr. Looks pretty good so far, I think.
If you subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail not to worry. In the next few days I’ll be switching the feed over so you’ll continue to get updates. If you arrived here via bookmark, however, please point your browser toward jimhanas.com, where the new, Tumblr-based blog will live. You can also subscribe there via Tumblr if that’s your thing.
I’m hoping this change will allow me to blog more and fiddle with my antiquated blogging software less. We’ll see.
Tuesday November 16, 2010
Excited that the story I wrote to go along with this wire basket—and which ultimately inspired the title story in Why They Cried—will appear in the forthcoming Significant Objects book. Rob’s been great to work with and I’ve wanted to be in a Josh Glenn book ever since my friend Pat gave me a copy of Taking Things Seriously.
Tuesday November 09, 2010
“Much of the conversation around e-books has revolved the question of invisibility—that is, how easily the device can disappear, leaving just the human reader and the text. Since Hanas writes with a swift clip, deploys images so judiciously and vividly, and demonstrates real insight into the way we live now, I imagine most readers will be able to forget their devices and fall into these stories, either after overcoming a first impression or, more likely, right away.”
—From Glenn Lester’s review of Why They Cried at The Rumpus
The best part of last week’s Why They Cried giveaway? This great gallery of crying people contributed by the entrants. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winner, Robin Salant.
Tuesday November 02, 2010
One of the problems that comes up when you’re promoting an e-book is giving promotional copies away. How do you do it? Goodreads has a system for giving away physical books, but no structure for e-book promotions.
But the hot-off-the-presses news that Amazon now allows you to give gift cards via Facebook gave me a bright idea. So here’s how (at least) one lucky reader can win a free Kindle copy of my short story collection, Why They Cried.
1. Join my Hanas Digital Projects Facebook group.
2. Post a picture on the wall of someone — anyone — crying. I don’t care where you get it.
3. At 5pm EST on Friday, I’m going to put everyone who posted into a hat and give the winner an $8 Amazon gift certificate via Facebook — the amount it costs to buy my book.
4. If there is a lot of interest, I may even award more gift certificates. In fact, let’s just say that I will give away one for every 10 entrants, up to a total of 5. So if there are 20 entrants, I’ll draw 2 names. 30 entrants, 3 names, and so on up to 50 + entrants and 5 names. So spread the word!
Wednesday October 20, 2010
Even before I read this piece by Richard Nash, I had a note-to-self on my desktop that reads “The Case for De-hanced E-books.” After Richard’s piece, this is barely worth a tumble, but I do have something to add. And here it is:
The same split happens again and again whenever media technology improves dramatically. The world divides into people who want to use these improvements to make glossier products that cost the same and people who want to make the same products we already have, but deliver them more cheaply and efficiently. Digital video brought us both Hal Hartley’s later films and Avatar, after all.
The rush to create enhanced e-books—and at a familiar price point—is no surprise, then. What is surprising is that these discussions almost never include the other side of the dialectic (don’t kids read Hegel anymore?), or “de-hanced” e-books.
No such thing? Actually, that’s exactly what the other big story in long-form reading, Instapaper, offers—reading material stripped of enhancements. And it’s so popular—with actual users—that it’s gone from hobby to startup based on demand alone. Now which of these sides usually gets all the hype? And which side usually wins? Or, put another way, if you’re an e-book futurist, who would you rather be? Second Life or Twitter?
(I know, I know. The correct answer is probably Facebook, the inelegant synthesis. Damn you, Zuckerberg. And you too, Hegel.)
Friday October 08, 2010
I have to admit, I have been surprised how often people ask me—now that I have an e-book out—how I’m going to sign it. I never thought of signing as that central to writing and publishing, but it’s often the first question that comes up.
Recently I complained that musicians don’t do signings, and nobody frets about that. My friend Charles immediately noted that that’s not entirely true.
But now that both Rod Blagojevich and Hanson are doing it, the moment for this sort of thing has probably passed. It would make a nice conceit for a book trailer, though, if I had the time, money, or had ever watched a book trailer all the way through.
Then I received inspiration from an unexpected source. Since my Brooklyn neighborhood is known for being full of both writers and babies, Sarah Palin might have the right idea.
I’ll think about this if I ever have an event at the Park Slope Barnes & Noble, although you’ll have to leave your strollers upstairs.
Sunday October 03, 2010
I’m excited to announce that Why They Cried, my new e-book short story collection, is now available for Kindle, in Apple’s iBookstore, and for the Sony Reader. It should also be available soon for Kobo and Nook. I’ll send a note out to my mailing list as soon as it hits those stores.
If you would like to purchase a version of Why They Cried that you can read on any computer or print out—the book is 153 pages printed—you can order a PDF directly from ECW Press. Your total cost will be $9.95 (the same list price as the above formats) and they will e-mail you the file.
If you’re still unsure which format to buy—or need any other help — e-mail me or call me at 347-WHY-THEY. If you want to read my book, I want to help you.
Also, tomorrow night’s Adult Education—a “useless lecture series” I help curate at Union Hall in Brooklyn—will being doing double duty as the launch party for Why They Cried. It will be a regular Adult Ed session, but the topic will be “The Future of the Book,” I will be one of the four lecturers, and I’ll be hanging around afterward. So even if you can’t make the show, come by for a toast. I imagine it will go until 11pm. Here are the details.
Friday September 24, 2010
YYZ Diary: In which Neil Peart and Michael Ondaatje make strange appearances. (And I just feel strange.)
Had a full day in Toronto, despite weird warm winds that blew at least one tree down near the University of Toronto, blocking traffic. Joyland proprietors Brian and Emily picked me up and we drove out to ECW Press, where I learned that they’ve also published a book by Rush’s Neil Peart. That’s right. I have the same publisher as Neil Peart, which suddenly converts all my Canadian-baiting Rush chatter from cliche into relevant anecdote, which is nice. The bookcase in the ECW conference room even had a trio of figurines of Getty, Alex, and Neil—like they were putting me on or something. (I warned Brian and Emily that I would probably begin making sweeping generalizations about their city in less than 24 hours. They did not object, in part, because not objecting is a great Canadian quality, but also because they know that I am in the midst of a deep, meaningful crush on the Canadian people now that their government has—in some vague part—subsidized the publication of my book. It comes from a good place, in other words.)
After ECW we went to Coach House Books, a press, publishing house, and Toronto literary landmark where some of Michael Ondaatje’s first work was published. Literally located in a former coach house, the cramped, rustic space could probably not be a foot smaller and contain all the functions it does, from typesetting to printing to binding. When people say they just love the smell of books, this is what they are talking about. The irony was not lost on me that my book will not be printed at all, yet I keep finding myself in the presence of printing technologies, from the Espresso Book Machines of Vermont to Coach House’s 1960s-era Heidelberg offset printing machines. The binding process of the EBM is, in fact, exactly what happens at Coach House, albeit in automated miniature. Here are some book signatures stacked before they are bound.
And here is the “Magical Sleeper Chair” in Coach House’s coffee room, which contains the press’s archives and historical photos of its changing staff over the years.
Now. On to the generalizations. Being in Toronto is odd, because it is exactly like being in the U.S., except it’s not. The money is a little different. Ladies don’t wear glasses this Scandinavian in New York (unless, of course, they’re from Scandinavia). The Provincial Lunatic Asylum—which, to be fair, is no longer the name of the place—sounds like a double insult to American ears. I like movies and stories that are naturalistic, but a little off. Rushmore is a good example. It’s made out of real parts, but they’re put together in an unexpected way. Narrative like that snaps you out of the everyday with its little surprises, and Toronto is like that for an American. Every maple leaf, every $2 coin, every “mum,” snaps you out of yourself and lets you see your abject Americanness from the outside, if only for a second.
Tomorrow I’ve got an interview to do for an assignment, then tomorrow night I will be hanging at Betty’s on King from 7pm on, talking about writing and publishing and e-books with anyone who will listen. I understand this place used to be call The Betty Ford Clinic. Should be fun.
Thursday September 23, 2010
Like Jimi Hendrix, The Stray Cats, and Lee Harvey Oswald, I was not (it seems) destined to find my first fans in my own country. Or so I tell myself (often omitting LHO), as I explain to person after person that my book is not only coming out as an e-book (only) but that it is being released by foreign concerns: ECW Press and Joyland, both of Canada.
But I won’t have to explain this—at least not the Canada part—this weekend. I’m flying to Toronto late tonight to be with my people. Tomorrow I will visit the folks at ECW Press and take a tour of Coach House Books and its historic print shop. Saturday night at 7pm, I’ll be parking myself at Betty’s on King with Brian and Emily from Joyland in the hopes of communing with e-literate Canadians. If you’d like to meet an actual e-book writer—or if we know each other from, say, Twitter—come on by. Then, on Sunday, I’ll be wandering the Word on the Street book fair, unloading the remainder of my “Coming Soon!” postcards.