Monthly Archives: August 2012

The State of Literature: Death of Diversity?

This is part two of a Fuze newsletter article that reflects on a recent New Yorker piece entitled “Paper Trail,” by Ken Auletta.  Read the previous Fuze article

If Amazon continues to steer the publishing ship towards lower prices for consumers, you might ask–what’s the big deal?  Even the Department of Justice found Amazon faultless for offering lower-priced ebooks to consumers, since they did so at their own expense.  The problem is that moving one or two of the cones shifts the whole playing field, and Fuze fears that the ramifications of Amazon’s choices will adversely affect all of publishing, literature, and readership.

The rise in popularity of ebooks brought a decline in bookstore shopping.  Borders has closed.  Other chains and independent stores remain on shaky ground.  Consumers are going online, and to amazon, to buy their (cheaper) books.  In The New Yorker, Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild, points out that  “in bookstores, readers are open to trying new genres and new authors….it’s by far the best way for new works to be discovered.”   By contrast, on Amazon, readers are faced with almost every book in the world, yet linked by algorithm only to books that resemble those they purchased previously.  Consumers no longer pick up a book outside of their genre because of an attractive cover, or an interesting title. 

If consumers aren’t discovering new books, according to John Makinson, C.E.O. of

Penguin, it matters a great deal.  “Once you lose the ability to display a book and you have to rely on a consumer to discover a book, then publishers are not going to be able to publish anything like the range of books we do today.”  For established writers with blockbusters, this isn’t an issue.  “But breaking out the new author,” Makinson says, “becomes a virtual impossibility.”  Imagine only being able to shop at Walmart for all of your clothing needs?  This kind of limited range is what may be the future of publishing, if Amazon’s growth remains unchecked.  

Not only does the diversity of authors and stories feasibly accessed by a reader diminish along with Amazon’s growth, but so does the quality. Many of you know that Amazon has become a publisher, some speculate more out of spite for traditional publishers than any real interest in literature.   In fact, the Amazon Publishing imprint helps would-be authors self-publish their books.  That sounds like a good idea.  But when you consider that there is virtually no editing and shaping of those books, books which could, with the input of an editor, tell wonderful stories but instead remain incomplete or not quite there–it’s a sad story of neglect, not progress, which serves neither author nor reader.

How all these parameters will play themselves out in the next five to ten years remains to be seen.  Our hope is that hybrid publishers like Fuze, represent a new vision for the future of publishing, where diversity and quality are not sacrificed in the interests of greed and unlimited growth.


The next time you go to amazon to search for the book title you’re interested in, consider going direct to the publisher or author for the book. 

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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Forbes Predicts Hybrid Publishers The Wave of the Future

Last month, Forbes contributor Nick Morgan gave his take on the publishing industry in the article, “What Is The Future of Publishing?”

  He spelled out the usual doom and gloom report for traditional publishers–is anyone out there starting to feel sorry for these guys?  However, Morgan also identified the exception to the downward spiral– publishers who make a point of developing a relationship and connection with their readership.   “[Traditional] publishers make deals with authors and pay attention to distributors,” Morgan says.  “About readers they know next to nothing.”  By contrast, presses like Harvard Business Publishing–and, of course, Fuze–who connect with readers regularly via blogs, magazines, and enewsletters, understand what readers want and create business models based on those demands.  

The news continues to be good for companies like Fuze, whom Morgan says use a “smart hybrid model that will be the other winner in the future.”  Hybrid companies offer some of the benefits of traditional publishing.  For example, Fuze properly edits author manuscripts and develops strategic marketing plans geared to today’s world.  But hybrids retain some of the empowering aspects of self-publishing in that authors typically enter into a business partnership with hybrid publishers, both of whom work towards the success of the book.  This new model isn’t beholden to archaic contracts that serve only the most successful of authors, and often forgoes distributors that take a large portion of the profits.  It’s a win-win! 

Read the entire Forbes article.

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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Entering the Blue Stone Helps Reader Cope with Loss

After Jeannie Green read Entering the Blue Stone, she was so moved by Molly Tinsley’s memoir about her parents passing that it stimulated memories of her own mother’s dying moments.  She wrote Molly a letter to share all that had emerged in response to readingEntering the Blue Stone.  Here is an excerpt from her letter, which readers may find, in full, on the Fuze blog

 For Molly Best Tinsley, in response to reading her memoir, Entering the Blue Stone.

I read your fine, intimate recollection with feelings of recognition and empathy.  My mother’s final week of life and her death in April 2010, were in some ways quite similar to your mother’s transition. 

My sister and I were not prepared for the sadness and drama of Mom’s departure at age 93, nor for the difficulty of encouraging her to let go, although it was time.  Hospice workers told us she would leave soon, and we believed them. She hadn’t spoken in days, nor opened her eyes.  And so we watched her waxen face, hoping she’d hear us and know we meant to be of comfort.  If we could ease her passing it might answer our own near desperate need to DO SOMETHING—before it was too late.  We hovered by her bed, loving, determined to surmount our inadequacy.   She had never voiced thoughts about her own death, which informed us that the subject was not to be broached. But we thought she seemed anxious, although she’d had end-of-life doses of morphine and was assuredly not in pain.

We come from a family of talkers and sensed that Mom, always garrulous herself, wouldnot have wanted us to just sit there as silent observers. Instead of risking emotional talk, we reminded her we were there by singing her old favorite songs—in shaky harmony no less.   Like standup performers who’ve run out of joke material, we chatted, groped for subject matter, recalling family adventures and funny incidents.  We talked to her of times past and of the future, of grandchildren who were with us in spirit and would miss her sorely.  Of her great granddaughter, born the day Mom turned 90.   Her only response was feeble—the semblance of a frown.  She was not sleeping.  This was not restful repose.

Then something clicked as I observed Mom’s subtle reaction to bird song playing softly on a nature CD she had always loved…

Read Jeannie Green’s entire letter.

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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


“Woman Around Town” Features Natalie Wexler, Author of The Mother Daughter Show.

Earlier this month, Charlene Giannetti, creator of the popular online magazine, “Woman Around Town,” visited Natalie Wexler in her Washington, D.C., home to discuss the author’s  latest book,The Mother Daughter Show.

Though the book was a satire about an annual musical put on at the fictional Barton Friends private school, Giannetti assured us that Wexler went beyond “poking fun at private school parents; she wanted to explore mother-daughter relationships. On that score she succeeds admirably, portraying the generational conflicts that are inevitable yet surmountable with the right effort.”  Giannetti continues, “Wexler displays a talent for creating believable dialogue between mothers and teenage daughters as well as daughters and aging mothers.”

Wexler, who began writing the book while participating in an annual mother-daughter revue at Sidwell Friends private school in Washington, D.C., insists that the book is fictional, stemming from her own desire to, “write about mother-daughter relationships which are often so fraught…. I hope there is something universal in that.”

Read the entire article on Natalie Wexler.




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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Gift of El Tio Authors Take San Cristobal Native Under Their Wing!

Many who have read the wonderful memoir, The Gift of El Tio, will remember one of the characters, a doctor called Octavio in the memoir.  His son, Cornelio, met author Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans when he was just a child in the town of San Cristobal.  After Larry’s discovery of a massive silver deposit directly beneath the town, Cornelio witnessed the huge changes that ensued, catalyzed by the discovery.  What many don’t know is that Larry and Karen took Cornelio under their wing, inviting him to their town of Ashland, OR, where he attended Southern Oregon University.   Read on to hear the news directly from Karen Gans, co-author of The Gift of El Tio.

On Saturday, June 16th, Cornelio graduated from Southern Oregon University.  His father, whom we call Octavio in The Gift of El Tio, and pictured above with his son on his graduation day, braved the twenty hour flight (with connections in three countries) to join in the celebration.  Octavio had never traveled beyond Bolivia. He was “orgulloso” (proud) and “contento”(content) to be present at his son’s graduation.  He reacted to Ashland and San Francisco with wonder and disbelief and was a delightful guest, marveling not only at the Pacific Ocean and the abundant forests, but also at Walmart!

Cornelio also accompanied us to an Ashland book club, much to the delight of the members who attended.  He spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of moving of his town, as described in The Gift of El Tio. The club members insisted that Cornelio autograph their copies of the memoir–some even tried to have their Kindles autographed! This was rightfully so as Cornelio contributed much to the telling of our story.

Purchase The Gift of El Tio today!

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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized