The Fuse Is Lit

Hey, cool. I was mentioned this morning at one of my favorite blogs, A Fuse #8 Production.

And, well, yes. Complimenting Elizabeth Bird on her blog is like going to traffic court, ticket in hand, and praising the judge’s new hair style.

It’s hard not to seem self-serving.

In today’s rapidly changing world, we’ve seen a tidal shift in information delivery systems. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Kindle, Book Trailers, etc. For those newish readers (and that’s funny, you don’t look newish), I direct you to this brilliant three-minute short by Dennis Cass. At the same time, I recently received this offer from Kirkus Reviews: “A one-year subscription and complete access to for only $199!”

Yipes, no can do. Sure, I realize I’m not an institution and not their target audience. But even institutions have budgets. And I effortlessly surf the kidlitosphere to read thoughtful reviews, interviews, business news, artists’ thoughts, and classroom experiences as I click, click, click. For free. The world is changing, and the future of publishing — of books themselves — is in jeopardy. The old ways are increasingly out-of-sync with today’s world. We’ve seen it in music. We’re seeing it in the automobile industry. We’ll experience it with books.

So that’s the subtext for Fuse #8, and the influential, increasingly important Elizabeth Bird. Is she becoming one of the most powerful voices in the business? Oprah-esque? This little blogger who could? So, again, here I am in the position of asking the traffic court judge if she has been, by any chance, working out lately. I realize it might appear indecorous. But I regularly read Elizabeth’s site. I am informed by it, inspired by it. Besides her obvious devotion to children’s books, Elizabeth has really mastered the blog format, striking a balance between the pithy and the complete, between “fast” and “slow” blogging, between sharing links and offering Deep Thinks.

I always think of visiting a blog as a decision to hang out with that person. And I’m saying, Elizabeth Bird can hang.

A quick thanks to Shannon Penney at Scholastic who first steered me to Fuse #8.

Now Judge, about this ticket . . .

ADDENDUM: Back to the business of publishing, we all know about Black Wednesday. Yesterday I came across a related item on, sent to me by a writer friend who also publishes with Macmillan. The piece included the text of a recent memo from John Sargent at Macmillan to all employees. Here’s the first paragraph in what represents, relatively speaking, Good News (read: he didn’t fire anybody):

“Since I spoke to you a month ago about the economic crisis and its impact on our company, I can’t say much has changed. We are now clearly in a recession and there is still no clarity on how long or deep it will be. What is clear is that retail book sales are down, advertising revenues are down, and even countercyclical businesses like education are struggling in many cases. We are not immune to these forces, and our business continues to be soft. So the time has come to take action for next year.”


  1. Doret says:

    Your hot this week What’s better being mentioned on Fuse 8’s blog or the Met’s signing K-Rod?

  2. James Preller says:

    Yes, Fuse 8 was nice, because I read and enjoy that site. It’s nice to become part of the Grand Conversation.

    I liked signing K-Rod; I loved trading for J.J. Putz.

    Surprisingly, the one thing I’ve written that has by far — BY FAR — generated the most response has been my “Open Letter to President-elect Obama.” Those goldendoodle fans are fiercely loyal. Or maybe just have a sense of humor. Or both.

    Come on, Obama! Bring a Doodle to the White House!

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