Archive for January, 2010

Erg to Amazon. Just when I was getting happy.

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

So, I finally get a serious nod in The New York Times Book Review and Amazon & my publisher are in some hot dispute!


Imagine my puzzlement when someone emailed me Friday evening complaining that my book wasn’t available on

I checked it out myself: Indeed, it was listed, but no buy button. You could purchase it from a third party, but you couldn’t even pre-oder it from Amazon. It looked like it was out of print.

I emailed my editor and publicist and they responded that they were totally miffed–that they would try to get to the bottom of it. I guess no one told them, just as no one told me, that all books from Macmillan, one of the largest publishers in the United States, had vanished from Macmillan’s imprints include Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martins Press and Henry Holt.

The disappearance, it turns out, is the result of a disagreement between Amazon and book publishers that has been brewing for the last year. Macmillan, like other publishers, asked Amazon to raise the price of electronic books from $9.99 to around $15. Amazon said no. Macmillan pushed the point, and Amazon responded by removing Macmillan books–and not just the ebooks.

According to Publishers Marketplace, all of Macmillan’s books–including bestsellers, top releases, and Kindle editions–were removed from Amazon’s site. Macmillan Kindle titles all lead to pages that read, “We’re sorry. The Web address you entered is not a functioning page on our site.” It’s the first shot across the purchasing bow in big publishers’ efforts to reset ebook pricing above the loss-leader $9.99 price point and retake control over that pricing by moving from the wholesale selling model to an agency selling model.

Kindle customers further reported on Amazon forums that any Macmillan books that were on their “wish lists” disappeared from those lists with no explanation, as apparently did Macmillan sample chapters that had been downloaded previously.

Macmillan has answered only with a paid announcement in Publishers Marketplace addressed to its authors: “You are a vast and wonderful crew. It is impossible to reach you all in the very limited timeframe we are working under, so I have sent this message in unorthodox form. I hope it reaches you all, and quickly. Monday morning I will fully brief all of our editors, and they will be able to answer your questions. I hope to speak to many of you over the coming days.”

It’s a wild development in book publishing and book selling, and of course disappointing and deflating for me as an author to have my book caught up in it…


Moral: Shop your local independent.

Other moral: The publishing industry sucks.

Is writing worth anything? In the age of digital media, do words and ideas have value–or is paper the only thing that has value in the marketplace?

Does Amazon have the power to set all the rules of publishing and book selling? Should they? Is their unannounced action on a Friday evening fair play?

Where do you buy your books?

(Lots of folks have been writing saying they want to boycott Amazon but can’t beat their prices. Here is a place to get books cheap: Strand Books

Feminist Review on Bluebird

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

This short but meaningful book is a smart combination of self-help, memoir, and academic study. Gore does not surmise a remedy for the blues, she does not use her life as an anecdote to overcome defeat or as a guiding light toward beatitude, nor does she use statistics and theory to expose her education. Instead, Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness is a collection of wise womanhood, the crannies of optimism that are too often ignored.

With eloquent emotional pacing, Gore forms a convincing argument that happiness, particularly among women, has been historically understudied and oversimplified in her academic field. She asks, “How is it that psychology— once envisioned as a great healing art—has gotten to this place where our neuroses are considered so much more valid than our resiliences?” Gore bravely takes on the secret of joy by combining her personal memoirs with history, science, and first person accounts of real women experiencing real happiness. Her words have the contagious effect of positivism without the obnoxious, evangelistic ethos found so often in the self-help aisle.

read more…

the generosity of happiness

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Some folks worry that happiness is selfish. My grandmother taught me otherwise. Read more…

BLUEBIRD—New book drops January 19

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Praise for Bluebird
Ariel Gore is one of the best feminist writers of our times— perhaps the most eloquent and sensitive of all. In her latest book, she expertly filets the plastic bluebird of happiness to reveal its faintly beating heart.
—Susie Bright

Appealingly personal and genuinely interesting.

The New York Times Book Review

Can a woman be smart, empowered and happy? The answer is yes — but Gore must go on a fascinating journey into the history of women, science and psychology to find out.
—New York  Post

Thoughtful, funny, and inspiring, Gore is a down-to-earth guide to the elusive human quest for happiness.

Bluebird is the eclectic, funny, and honest chronicle of this empowering feminist quest for bliss.
Bust Magazine

Evidence that no one gets bullied into fake cheerfulness more than American women.


Bold and whip-smart, Bluebird offers a striking, often defiant take on how modern women find joy.


Bluebird:  Women And The New Psychology of Happiness is an excellent book for any woman, as well as for men who care about women and society.  It should definitely be a must-read for those psychologists who continue to ignore the possibility of a healthy, free reality for women.
—Lone Star Ma

Female readers of positive psychology books will like this one, and the many fans of Noelle Oxenhandler’s The Wishing Year and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love will enjoy Gore’s personal narrative.
Library Journal

Everybody, it seems, wants to know why women aren’t happy. But Bluebird suggests that maybe that’s the wrong question. In reframing the age-old, exasperated query of what women really want—from themselves, their partners, their jobs, and their families—Gore’s exploration of happiness offers a probing, inspiring, and deeply humane alternative to the powerful positive-thinking industry. Bluebird is radical in the truest sense—and as a recovering pessimist, I’ll be keeping it handy.
—Andi Ziesler, editorial director of Bitch Magazine

It’s time to register for the Spring writing class – CLASS FULL

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

This is best writing class I have ever taken! Almost painlessly you got us to write, write, write. And for me got at some new great material.

–Kitty Torres 

Eight-week class runs February 20th – April 20th
Taught by Ariel Gore

This class is the creative jolt we all need — for writers wanting to work on either memoir or fiction — we’ll make time to write, create new material with weekly deadlines, and improve our craft with practice and critique. Appropriate for writers working on longer projects as well as those who want to write to assignments and produce short essays and stories. The pace is quick and energizing–you won’t even have time to worry about creative blocks.

Class combines online discussion/critique, email, and telephone conference call. Class size is limited, so please sign up early. $275

Email arielgore at earthlink dot net with questions.

$90 deposit saves your spot – balance due when class starts

CLASS FULL – waitlist only – do not pay