Friday, August 21st, 2009

Author interviews – you ask the questions

Each month, we conduct a few exclusive interviews with authors and then publish the interviews in LibraryThing’s monthly State of the Thing newsletter. We’re going to try something new—crowdsourcing part of the interview, and using questions from members in addition to our own questions.

How it will work
I’ve created a group: Author Interviews – you ask the questions

In the forum for that group, there’s a topic for each author I have lined up for an interview. Got questions? Ask them in the thread for that author. Then I’ll pick my favorites and send them to the author along with my own questions. The author will answer everything, and we’ll publish the interview both in the State of the Thing and on the author’s page on LibraryThing.

To start with, I need questions for Audrey Niffenegger! Add your questions for Audrey here.

Looking for inspiration? Past interviewees include Elizabeth Strout, Lisa See, David Ebershoff, Ayelet Waldman and more…

And an added twist
While I do have a slew of authors slated for upcoming interviews, there are many more out there we’d love to have. So, you can also add your own thread for an author we haven’t signed up for an interview yet. Make the author’s name the subject line, followed by “wanted”. For example, the subject could be:

Neil Gaiman (wanted)

Then add questions you have for that author. When we have a bunch of questions, I’ll write the author/publicist/publisher, begging for an interview.

Questions? Know an author who might want to be interviewed? Email abbyAT

Labels: author interview, authors

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Author chats upgraded

Author chat gets a makeover! In one of his last projects before he leaves us (goodbye!), Luke gave author chats a facelift. Previously, you could only find out about author chats (current and upcoming) by going to the Author chat group.

We now have a module for the homepage, which shows current and upcoming chats (you can customize how many you want to view at once).

You’ll also see links to current, past, and future chats on all the relevant author and book pages.

Labels: author chat

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Hugos for two LT Authors!

The 2009 Hugo Awards (LT page) included awards for two LibraryThing authors—authors who are also members, and in this case ones with really serious LibraryThing collections!

  • Elizabeth Bear—member matociquala , with 1001 books cataloged—won “Best Novelette” for her “Shoggoths in Bloom.” Bear won “Best Short Story” in 2008 for “Tideline.”
  • John Klima—member johnklima, with 1,601 books cataloged—won “Best Fanzine” for his Electric Velocipede.

Congratulations to all the winners. The others include the social-media-savy Neil Gaiman, whose The Graveyard Book, won “Best Novel.” We’ll get him one day!

Labels: hugo awards, librarything authors

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

August Early Reviewer Books

The August 2009 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 64 books this month, and a grand total of 1,585 copies to give out.

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:

The deadline to request a copy is Wednesday, August 26th at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France and Germany. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Knopf Canada HarperCollins B&H Publishing Group
Conari Press Weiser Books The Permanent Press
Scribner New American Library Scholastic
St. Martin’s Griffin South Dakota State Historical Society Press McBooks Press
Seren Barbour Books Bloomsbury
Delacorte Press St. Martin’s Minotaur The Overlook Press
Broadway Books Dorchester Publishing Picador
Tilbury House Random House Kensington Publishing
Souls of My Sisters Citadel Press Dafina
Other Press New York Review Books Minted Prose
The Little Bookroom Aquila Polonica W.W. Norton
Little, Brown and Company Candlewick Spiegel & Grau
Chin Music Press Henry Holt and Company Hyperion Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Authors abound

This month’s State of the Thing newsletter several exclusive author features, which you can now see on the site, even if you don’t read the State of the Thing.

Interview with Author David Ebershoff.

David is the author of The 19th Wife—the story of Brigham Young’s 19th wife, Ann Eliza Young. In his interview with LibraryThing, David talks about his own personal library, his research process, and the book.

Reading lists
On the search for something to read? Authors Steve Luxenberg and Mary Jane Clark, gave us two very different “summer reading” lists. The books they suggest are pictured below, but see their pages for their reasons why.

Steve Luxenberg’s creative take on a summer reading list

Mary Jane Clark’s summer reading list

Steve and Mary Jane are also doing author chats on LibraryThing right now, so stop by to ask them a question!

Author chats

Authors stop by LibraryThing to answer questions from members, talk about their writing, and more. These three authors are chatting right now, and check out the schedule of upcoming chats for what’s up next.

Labels: author chat, author interview, authors, state of the thing

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

$1,000 Indie bookstore spree for a Maine-based PHP hacker

As LibraryThing learns again and again, hiring hackers in Maine is hard. So we’re renewing our offer—find us an employee and get $1,000 worth of books. 

Skills. We’re looking for a smart, capable, passionate hacker/programmer. We work primarily in PHP and JavaScript, with some Python thrown in. We use a lot of MySQL. We have a startup mentality.
I’ve given up on listing skills and requirements. We want someone who will kicks ass immediately or very soon after the hire. The rest is window-dressing.
We are only looking for someone in or around Portland, Maine. If you’re super-excited about working for LibraryThing from home, go ahead and send a resume, but it’ll go in a different pile.

$1,000 for an Indie. With southern Maine losing bookstores fast, we want the money to, well, keep ‘em here. So, the winner gets a $1,000 gift certificate to Longfellow Books, Books, Etc. or any other independent bookseller, new or used. If you’re not local, we’ll write the check to your local indie. 

Rules. To qualify, you need to connect us to someone. Either you introduce them to us—and they follow up with a resume and etc.—or they mention your name in their email (“So-and-so told me about LibraryThing”). You can recommend yourself, but if you found out about it on someone’s blog, we hope you’ll do the right thing and make them the beneficiary.

Small print: Our decision is final, incontestable, irreversible and completely dictatorial. It only applies when an employee is hired for a full-time salary job, not part-time, contract or for a trial period (which we often do first). If we don’t hire someone for the job, we don’t pay. The contact must happen in the next month. If we’ve already heard of or from the candidate, or the situation is otherwise unclear, we may split the money up. Void where prohibited. You pay taxes, and the hidden tax of shelving. Tim Spalding and his family are not eligible, but other LibraryThing employees are.

Labels: employment, jobs, maine, portland

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

HelpThing: Member-driven help

We’ve added a “Help” button to every page of LibraryThing. The button goes to “HelpThing,” a member-driven help system taking shape as we speak:

The idea is simple:

  • Every page on LibraryThing gets a HelpThing page
  • HelpThing is wiki-editable by any LibraryThing member
  • Members and staff collaborate to create a detailed, but accessible guide to LibraryThing

HelpThing started as a “stealth project” by LibraryThing programmer Chris (ConceptDawg). It took a while before I was convinced of the idea.

While I was ignoring the idea, however, members were busy realizing it, official sanction or no. Most of the content was written by LibraryThing member fyrefly98, with contributions from mvrdrk. A somewhat separate—but integrateable—guide to collections was produced by PortiaLong and Lquilter. These members, and the others who helped them, are simply awesome.

Well, now it’s your turn. From being a non-feature, then a Beta feature, it’s now available for everyone to edit. To bring some structure to it, and because, well, I’m still a little afraid of it, I started a HelpThing Style Guide, and fixed up a few pages.

Come and discuss the feature on the New Features post. Ongoing conversation can be had in the Common Knowledge and WikiThing group.

Three cheers for Chris and everyone who’s worked on it so far. Now let’s make it as helpful and compelling as we can!

Labels: HelpThing, new features

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters??

Quirk Books, the publisher responsible for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which has been on or near the top LibraryThing’s “Popular this Month” list since May) has announced a new title: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I haven’t read P&P&Z yet, but I know Sonya and Tim both enjoyed it…

Ben H. Winters, the author of the upcoming Sense and Sensiblity and Sea Monsters was interviewed in EW’s Shelf Life recently, where he said:

I feel like people who really love Austen get it. Her novels are so strong, so cleverly constructed, so smart and dry, they really lend themselves to over-the-top violence.

Were truer words ever spoken?

The books’ trailer

Meanwhile, the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame Smith, is now working on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for Grand Central. That one I can’t wait to read.

At any rate, we’ll have to see if we can get some copies for Early Reviewers.

Hat tip Speakeasy, a WSJ blog.

Labels: early reviewers, pride and prejudice and zombies, quirk books

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Congratulations to Mike and Rebecca

Congratulations to LibraryThing programmer Mike Bannister and his bride Rebecca Kilkenny Mullins—we wish you many joyful years together!

Labels: 1

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

LibraryThing at ALA

Tim and Casey tossing a rhinoI’ve posted the details of our attendance at this year’s American Library Association conference in Chicago over on Thingology. We have a booth in the exhibit hall, and we’ll be showing off new features for LibraryThing for Libraries.

Labels: ALA, conference, event, librarything for libraries, LTFL