Strange times for authors

More and more, book authors today seem to be flying without a net. For many there are no more book tours, little or no advertising, and – in some cases – no cash advances. However, there is always social networking.

Instead of a cash advance, author Deanna Zandt agreed with Barrett-Koehler, her publisher, on a deal that included "a more author-friendly royalty structure." But that left her nothing to live on while she wrote her book, "Sink or Swim: Making Waves of Change in a New Social Media World."

So, according to Publishers Weekly, Zandt sent out a fund-raising letter to 500 potential backers. “I hope you'll forgive my chutzpah, yet I want this to happen so badly I can taste it. It's a dream come true,” Zandt wrote in her letter, asking for money to cover expenses, travel, and research.

According to PW, Zandt's goal is to raise $15,000.  Donations totaling $6,558 have come in so far, with $4,558 raised through her e-mail/Twitter campaign and $2,000 in a matching fund set up by large donors. A New York pizza chain has contributed $100 a month in pizza.

At the same time, making a very different use of Twitter, is author Matt Stewart, who, in honor of Bastille Day (July 14), will be publishing his entire novel, "The French Revolution," in 3,700 tweets, one every 15 minutes.

You can read about Stewart's project at mediabistro.com's Galley Cat in a blog entitled (of course): "It Was the Best of Tweets, It Was the Worst of Tweets."

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