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Episode 60 — Making Publishing Safer

This week, after discussing Washington Post’s incorporation of Amazon’s proprietary data into their bestseller lists, we discuss what appears to be the onset of book publishing’s reckoning with sexual harassment and abuse. Similar to other industries, how can the book world do an honest and sufficient job of examining the structures of power that allow these things to take place? What can an industry that by all accounts would like to be a more inclusive and safe place for everyone do to...


Episode 59—The NBA Goes Worldwide

This week, we examine the fascinating decision by the National Book Awards to introduce a category for translated literature. What does this mean for our concept of a “national” award, and how might this category be used to extend literary “citizenship” to books and writing that readers in this country may have previously considered “un-American”? We discuss how adding the category changes the award in a fundamental way (for the better), and what it could mean for cultivating the canon...


Episode 58—Old Presses, New Novelists, and a Tactical Podcasting Vest

Folks, this week it’s a smattering of things: in light of being placed on a “best podcasts for first-time novelists” list, we thought it would be a good idea to, well, provide some advice to those people. We also spend a few minutes on the incomparable Ursula Le Guin, talk about that Alex Jones book proposal, and break down exactly why it’s such a big deal that the University Press of Kentucky might face shutdown from budget cuts (spoiler alert: it’s because we desperately need university...


Episode 57 — Power-Move Blue

This week, we take a look at the recent controversy surrounding the Midwest Writers Workshop, and make some suggestions as to how the national and regional writing communities might be able to avoid such things in the future. We tie it a larger misguided impulse by some in the writing/publishing world to make their spaces “apolitical,” an impossible task that often carries an underlying motive itself. To wrap up, a check-in on how last year’s changes to the NYT bestseller list have...


Episode 56—50 Shades of Loon

Happy new year! We ring in 2018 by discussing the many publishing details of the fervor surrounding Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. Success for publishers is always good, but a few things about this project have both of us slightly worried. And then, at long last, we finally pay off our bet from the 2017 award season, by reading some excerpts from the 50 Shades of Grey series. It’s . . . well, it’s something.


Episode 55—Wrap It Up

In our last episode of 2017, we take the time for some observations about the year that was, and make some predictions for what 2018 might hold for the book world. We also touch on the new deal for the author of “Cat Person,” beg to get invited to MN’s new literary festival, and present a new Harebrained Scheme of the Week. Join us, and then we’ll see you in January!


Episode 54—The Print Run Holiday Gift Guide!

Got a writer or book person in your life this holiday season? Then you’ll need the Print Run Holiday Gift Guide, full of terrific gift suggestions like a journal too fancy and expensive to ever use. We also introduce a new segment called The Hairbrained Scheme of the Week, and then discuss “Cat Person,” the short story in The New Yorker that went viral this week.


Episode 53—The One Where We Talk About the Bad Sex in Fiction Award

This week, we take a look at the truly tremendous contenders for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, clearly the most prestigious fiction prize in all the land. Then, in light of a recent heated discussion in online book circles about the relationship between small presses and agents, we try to answer: why might a small press dislike working with agents, and are those reasons good ones? (Spoiler alert: they almost always aren’t.) Join us!


Episode 52—MSWL, Manuscript Academy, and Where We Go From Here

After a quick recap of the National Book Award winners, this week’s episode features a detailed and passionate interview with one of the co-founders of MSWL and Manuscript Academy, literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer. We talk to Jessica about revenue dynamics in the industry, and how technology holds the capability to increase access to publishing for both writers and industry professionals. Jessica is one of the smartest people working in our field and we really think you’ll like what she...


Episode 51—Skip to the Good Part

This week we take a look at one of the more intriguing new innovations in publishing tech, Audible’s Romance Package. It’s an example of a company directly responding to the specific needs of a specific readership, and perhaps it’s a sign of cool new things to come. Also in this epi: the politicization of jacket blurbs, a look at 2017’s biggest book deals, and an FBI-themed writing prompt!


Episode 50—A Year of Slush

Now a year removed from the 2016 presidential election, most everyone is feeling distracted, addled, preoccupied, and often worse. No surprise, then, that this has extended to the sorts of books writers have been pitching over the last year. We discuss how a volatile year has affected our queries, and speculate on what an enduring “Trump novel” from this period might actually look like, years from now. Then, we discuss the AAR and proffer a tweak to its guidelines that could better reflect...


Episode 49—NaNoWriMo Begins

With November right around the corner, we set our sights on National Novel Writing Month, debating the “rules” of the crazed month of writing while offering up some of our own, along with a vision for the month that follows it. We also address Colin Kaepernick’s book deal, and make some stabs at book-themed Halloween costumes. It’s a regular cornucopia (seasonal image) of #content.


Episode 48—Back in the Saddle

We’re back! After three weeks away, we kick off season two of Print Run by catching up on all the book news from the past few weeks, including the embarrassing Amazon beauty pageant happening across America, the ongoing (and misguided) debate about white authors’ place amongst publishing’s push for diverse voices, the Man Booker, and much, much more. Also, Joyce Carol Oates still hasn’t logged off. She should, uh, think about that.


Episode 47—Better (fake) Awards!

We got a little bored of the standard literary award categories, so we decided to make up some new ones and hand out some hardware. Along with our fake award show, we also ended up litigating a copyright fight about baseball books, and recap a recent author reading Erik attended.


Episode 46—Awards Season (Again!)

It’s awards season in the book world, so this week we break down the longlists for the four National Book Award categories, as well as the shortlist for the Man Booker. What do award lists say about the year of publishing, in retrospect? We sift through all of it, and also point out that awards season means Print Run turns one year old! Thanks, dear listener, for joining us in our first year.


Episode 45—Titlerama

Most writers think of their book titles as a craft element, but is that how the publishing industry treats the names of its books? We talk about the many considerations that go into picking and tweaking book titles, many of which have nothing to do with what’s in the book itself. Trends play a factor; so do genres/categories, cover designs, and lots more. Join us!


Episode 44—Griftopia

This week’s show takes a look at one of the zanier schemes the book world has seen in a while, in which a book almost no one had ever heard of debuted at number one on the NYT bestseller list. How’d she do it, how did the scheme get discovered as fraudulent? There’s plenty to laugh at there, and same with our other featured grift of the week, the YA writer who faked nearly everything about his life including his ancestry, his writing credentials, and even the existence of agent.


Episode 43—Who Gets to Talk?

We recently heard it said as advice for writers: “be careful with your opinions online.” It raised our eyebrows, and so on this week’s show we debate whether or not this is a truth writers should take to heart, or whether it reveals certain political attitudes held by the publishing industry that need to be unpacked. We discuss why this sort of advice often gets delivered to writers, and why it can often be problematic. Also included is a quick discussion about a recent trip to New York...


Episode 42—Anatomy of a Bestseller

This week, we walk through the many junctures in the publishing process—both within a publisher’s control and not—that lead to a book becoming a breakout bestseller. Every book is different, of course, but what are the necessary steps to having a book reach true commercial success? Beyond that, we cover the strange case of a Russian publisher cutting an LGBTQ plotline in their edition of an American book, and a very, very special JP book of the week.


Episode 41—Criticism, Criticism

In light of Michiko Kakutani leaving the New York Times, we discuss the changing roles of print book reviews and the literary critical establishment in the modern age. We also talk about that time she roasted Jonathan Franzen, which is very cathartic. Also included: the new Comey memoir, a Fiction Author Under FBI Investigation of the Week, and more!


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