A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Progress report...

We are making progess with the proposals, you'll be glad to know. There are still decisions to be made, data to be entered, meetings to be negotiated. With luck, we'll be able to make announcements at the end of March - possibly a few days earlier. It's looking like it'll be around 20 books, from the 450ish proposals that we got.

In the meantime, here's a neat little review from School Library Journal of 33 1/3 Greatest Hits Volume 1:

Adult/High School—This volume includes selections from the ongoing series that pays tribute to pop-music albums. Some contributors discuss the production values and personnel on specific albums, such as Neil Young's Harvest. Others examine individual song structure and songwriting. Michaelangelo Matos's chapter on Prince's Sign 'O' The Times picks the album apart song by song. Still others describe personal experiences during which an album seemed to serve as the soundtrack. The authors are unabashed music geeks who take their obsessions seriously, and most chapters display journalistic rigor and flair. Musicians, journalists, professors, and others contribute their varied perspectives to the enrichment of the collection. Pop music is worthy of serious consideration, a welcomed revelation to many teens. There are plenty of books on rock music, but this anthology's focus on individual albums is unique. The music expands beyond the personality cults of rock superstars, and readers see all of the other people who contributed to the final masterpiece and the greater cultural and historical context from which it emerged. This is a collection of excerpts from longer works, and many pieces needed some rewriting to make them stand alone. The book includes this year's winning essay from the "Under 21" contest, a nice way of encouraging young writers to join the conversation.—Emma Coleman, Berkeley Public Library, CA

(The bit in bold is not true, by the way!)

16 comments:

Derek said...

I can't wait to see what new books will come of the proposals! there were so many that i'd love to see the light of day

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, David!

Let me ask you: will you be arranging meetings with the writers before you make the announcements here?

Thanks man!

David said...

Not sure about meetings, but I'll definitely be in touch with those people we'd like to offer contracts to, before making any announcements on here. (We need to make sure they still want to do it!)

Anonymous said...

Considering that your pool of proposals is sooo large this time: as you whittle down the pile, do you think you could post a list of the proposals still in consideration when you hit some milestone number, say 100 or 50? It will end the suspense for those no longer in consideration, and will let those proposers who don't make the final cut still have something to be proud of for having been seriously considered. If others disagree that there would only be positive effects from such a move, feel free to chip in.

Anonymous said...

considering how many proposals you got, will there be any holding of some of the proposals that didn't make it this time for the next time you need book ideas?

David said...

Good questions, both. I'm reluctant to post a list of "those still in the running" for some reason. I'll certainly try to contact everyone whose proposal is being turned down, soon. As for holding some proposals for next time (assuming there is a next time!) - yes, that's definitely possible. Some of them may even have the potential to become stand-alone books and I'll try to contact those authors as appropriate.

artie said...

David, the amount of work you and your cohorts are going through must be considerable, and we all appreciate your efforts. What I'd love to know is this: do you find the process of reading four hundred and fifty proposals to be a colossal pain in the bum? Perhaps it's a pleasure? A bit of both? What seems to be the reaction at Continuum to the sheer volume of proposals submitted? Most of us are worried about whether our own proposals are selected or whether the proposals we're rooting for get selected, but how do you and your coworkers feel about all of this? Just curious, especially since I am a part of this whole crazy, wonderful social experiment.

Anonymous said...

Hi David!

Thanks for update! Have you started contacting any authors on contracts you have already made the cut? Are there some happy folks among the group who already know their fate before 3/31? We're dying of anticipation here!

David said...

A couple of answers: no, we haven't contacted anyone yet. There are still some inter-company hurdles to leap before I feel safe enough to do that.

And as for the process itself, well...nobody here at Continuum thought we'd get so many proposals, so the plans I had in place very nearly cracked under the weight of it all. But several of us did read every single proposal, and finding a consensus on which were the best ones was less painful than I expected! The really tricky bit has been whittling it down from that shortlist to the final list of around 20. (And even that isn't quite finished yet...)

I do feel very nervous about announcing the list at the end of this month, though. Inevitably, I'm sure, some of the choices we've made might look a little odd. When the series first started, for at least the first 18 months, nobody was really watching or listening (to paraphrase Joe Pernice). Now, we have a lovely situation in which a handful of people really care about the series, and I genuinely want to sign up the best books that we possibly can. We'll do our best!

Anonymous said...

It makes sense to withhold the list till everyone on the list has been spoken to, and can confirm whether they are still able or willing to participate.

Anonymous said...

And yet part of the reason this series has caught on so nicely is precisely BECAUSE some of the album choices and approaches to writing about them have been daring and unconventional. In other words, the current wider readership is due, in good part, to the eclectic, risk-taking nature of some of the books. The series is successful because--not in spite of--the mix of conventional and unconventional approaches. It would be an unfortunate paradox if, now that the series has a wider readership, the very elements that attracted that readership were minimized.

Mike H said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the last message. What drew me in as a fan to this series was the eclectic and openminded musical purview - any canon that includes 'Zoso', There's a Riot Goin' On, Doolittle, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Dusty in memphis is A-OK in my book!! - looking forward to more hip-hop studies (esp. PE and/or De la Soul), but I'm sure I'll be pleased by the choices of David and co. - They even have me interested in how the Celine Dion CD will be handled (dont know if I'd be spotted purchasing it! thank God for Amazon.com

Mike

Anonymous said...

David,
Any thought of doing a 33third-esque series about film? I'd love read fans takes on their favorite films.
It would be a pain in the ass to curate, but I feel it would be worth it. What do others think?

Anonymous said...

The British Film Institute already publishes a series of similar books about films -- two series, in fact. One is called "BFI Film Classics" and the other is BFI Modern Classics." Good stuff, check it out. They are sold in the US through Amazon and can be found in some US book chains.

Anonymous said...

David,

How many(or what percentage) of the proposals that you and your team read would you say, have the potential to be 'stand-alone' books, and what are your criteria for such?

And most important, will you be posting those potential projects along with the 20 come month end on the site?

David said...

Stand-alone books: only a very small number, and they would need to expanded substantially to work as such. I won't post them on here, because it's way too soon to know if they could happen, but I'll contact the relevant authors and see if it's something they want to consider.