Still Young At Heart, episode #302

Episode #2                         “Still Young at Heart”

Broadcast July 22, 2013, at 9:30 pm on NYC Life, Channel 25

Book private investigator Frank Debonair realizes that to become a young adult author all you need is to be young at heart. He talks about his discoveries unveiled at Book Expo America.

Host Frederic Colier interviews NERDS series writer Michael Buckley (The Villain Virus), Michelle Tea (Mermaid in Chelsea Creek), and special effects designer Mark Woods and his charming monster, Gugor, from The Creatures Department, book written by Robert Paul Weston. He also learns everything about the Ice Age with Relic author Heather Terrell.


In Book World, Acacia O’Connor from the National Coalition Against Censorship talks about banned children books in schools and libraries.

The Pick of the Week segment includes several young adult authors, including: Jessica Verdi (My Life After Now), Tyler Whitesides (Janitors), Holly Goldberg Sloan (Counting by 7s), and Laurie Boyle Crompton, the author of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains).

Season Premiere, “American Voices Standing Up” #301

Episode #1                        “American Voices Standing Up”

We are back with a new season, great authors and books.  Tonight at 9:30 pm on NYC Life, channel 25.

What’s new and different?  First, we are introducing the new Book Case TV’s private book investigator, Frank Debonair.  He talks about his investigation about New American Voices.  He manages to discover some of them at the yearly Book Expo America, new voices coming from all different horizons and changing the face of the publishing industry.

AT BEA, host, Frederic Colier interviews romance writer: Bella Andre, “The Look of Love.”  Social Drama new comer: Koethi Zan, “The Never List.”  Erotic writer: Lisa Renee Jones, “Being Me,”  and Sci-Fi sensation: Hugh Howey, “Wool.”


For the Book World segment:  Steve Gottlieb from, a platform dedicated to live events online takes the stand.  He shows and explains how the platform works.  The host takes a test drive with Mary Higgins Clark live.

The Pick of The Week segment focuses entirely on first-time novelists: Stuart Nadler, “Wise Men.”  Erin Morgenstern, “The Night Circus.”  Louisa Hall, “The Carriage House.” And Iris Smyles, “Iris Has Free Time.”

Don’t miss it!

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Looking forward to your feedback

The Book Case TV Team

Should We Worry About the Big 6?

Should we worry about the survival of the six main publishing houses? This question has been occupying lots of minds, given the massive change in technology and arrival of new players. After reading Mark Coker’s blog, which featured a compelling analysis of the pricing of e-books, I felt equally compelled to opine on the matter. Mark is the founder of, a smashing online company, which helps individuals self-publish their works, in e-book format, through all the standard channels (except Amazon). The post is packed with useful information: notably that e-buyers prefer books that are over 100,000 words, and that $3.99 seems to be the price tipping point for volume sales. But Mark also makes some predictions about the future of the printed book, at least his tone implies it. He predicts that within five years most books will be sold to be read on a device, which intentional or not, appears to be a warning to the main publishing houses. I’m skeptical, because whether printed books disappear or not is irrelevant. Big behemoths know how to survive, and history teaches us that the biggest chance of survival lies in their camp.

Talking about history, I have lived through three technical and cultural revolutions, and I’m still in my 40s. Even though, the upheavals were in different industries, their progression towards change reflects the same pattern. When markets behave irrationally, their trends carry a definite logic. What is happening to the publishing industry is not that different from what happened to the music and film businesses.

I recall clearly the 80s when the four-track home recording studio landed like God’s gift to hordes of frustrated musicians. Suddenly, there was an explosion of garage bands, all types of bands, making records, creating record labels. Some of these homegrown labels became important players. Remember Rough Trade Records in the UK or even IRS Records in the US? But how many of these indie houses still exist today? How many of the bands of this era survived? A handful: the Police, the Clash, Duran Duran, I dare say, being the only ones still  playing . . . Not much for posterity given the amount of ink poured out. What happened was that the small fish were gobbled up by the large ones. Today the music business is ruled by just three main companies, mainly the result of its failure to adjust too late to new technology.  Nonetheless, after all the commotion, the fears, stability has returned. The industry is controlled by even more powerful players. Of course it will never be like the good old days, but consolidations, mergers and acquisitions helped the big guys to survive. The music market contracted and corrected itself.

The same contortions have been underway in the film business. The arrival of the video camera gave birth to legions of filmmakers over the last ten years. Film companies and distributors were created overnight. An army of mushroom-like film festivals follow the demand in order to soak up the glut of film releases, leading obviously to the collapse of the minimum guarantee (the fee a distributor pays upfront) and shrinking theatrical windows. Today, it is virtually impossible to make a living as a filmmaker. The entire structure imploded under its own weight (supply and demand) and is nowhere near the light at the end  of the tunnel. But the best companies were acquired during their heydays, Shooting Gallery, New Line Cinema, and so on. If there is a sign pointing at the future, the big Hollywood studios are smiling. Having turned their backs on the independent films, they have never fared better in worldwide box offices.

So where does this leave us in terms of our six major publishing houses? Are the big guys worried about self-publishing? I doubt it as well. They may see a temporary lack of earnings, but the long-term scale unarguably tips in their favor. Great companies are like tankers. They can only be involved with large projects to make their time worthwhile. To bring a tanker cruising to a halt takes miles. Big players can only get involved with big momentum. Like everyone who was playing in the band 10 years ago, and was making a film five years ago, these days, everyone is writing a novel. Writing a novel is the new trend. Anyone can do it and publish it. But to make a living out of it? How many have the patience, the burning desire to share what they believe they have to say, and the spirit of entrepreneurship? Very few. Besides, not everyone is creative or knows how to sustain a creative career. The writer’s life is like free falling without a net. Few can withstand it. In the next five-10 year window, most of today’s new writers will have retired. The future successful writers will be those who will have invested much of their time building a platform and proven their writing competence. Think of the Jeff Kinney, Hugh Howey types, exceptions who can sell mass volume through their own efforts. Writing will remain a hobby for the majority. The big publishers can wait for the natural selection to happen on its own, to scoop up the most promising commercial talents. Does the name E L James mean anything?

Likewise, are they worried about new companies on the block: the likes of Open Road Media, Argo Nevis or Diversion Books? I doubt this too, because they must appear like irresistible candies. Who would not want a new company producing great titles, hunting high and low for back catalogues, leading with innovative marketing plans, and capturing market shares? The laws of jungle still apply to the book market however. With so much competition around, the growth these companies are experiencing is just not sustainable. While for the time being, the sky is the limit, over time, the weakest of these new companies will go bankrupt, and the most performing ones will either sell themselves or accept to be acquired for mouth-watering premiums. Good Read took the lead and accepted to be taken over by Amazon. Penguin is merging with Random, while Amazon is buying back catalogues from smaller publishers. Consolidation is happening now.

This trend is underway in the media front as well. Dreamworks taking over Awesomeness TV (a YouTube channel!), TWC buying a chunk of Hulu, Yahoo acquiring Tumblr, are no coincidence. Should the publishing industry panic? The horizon for the big publishing houses looks pretty bright. The savvy and shrewd business people know that this evolution is just temporary bad weather. Why risk millions of dollars in investments and human resources, when someone maverick is willing to take all the risks on your behalf, for free? Why start new time consuming ventures, when once the new company’s foundations have been laid and tested, you can simply buy it? The tendency is to jump on the bandwagon, afraid to be left behind or miss important opportunities. But there is wisdom in chaos. So whether print books disappear in the next five years is not important, because the new leaders will be annexed and consolidated along the way. And this is great news for Smashwords, because if the company keeps expanding drastically, it could become the lucky target of a much bigger fish, with Amazon or B&N ogling over, finding their business too seducing to resist. Shine bright and you will attract all the attention.

Frederic Colier

“Who Has a Voice?”

Who Has a Voice?

 What does it mean to have a voice, one that from the first line grabs you and remains with you long after the last one?  A strong, unique voice aligned with all the elements of life?  Such is the question I have been mulling over of late.  Are we born with it or does life experiences have a way to beat it out of us?  Rimbaud, Fitzgerald, Salinger, certainly make the case for the former.  While for the rest of us, depending how well we handle our journey, the answer points to the latter.  This is the Munro, McCarthy and Saramago schools.  Banal question, you may remark.  My interest is not devoid of recent cumbersome observations.  I’m having more and more difficulty spotting original and substantive voices.

I’m on the front lines to talk about the issue.  Books rain all around me.  Thanks to the nature of my work, I receive truckloads of books.  They originate from all walks of life, in all genres, styles, and formats.  I review them, talk about them on my TV program, and even get to interview their authors.  If you love the world of ideas and learning, you could say I’m a pig in a puddle.

This inspiring place has felt rather dry of late.  The voices I hear sound rather muted.  Have I grown immune to new literary trends by over-exposure?  Are my hearing and intellectual faculties dwindling without warning with the passage of time?  My doctor would claim that I suffer from an acute literary depression.  Was it self-inflicted?  Have my intellectual expectations gone too demanding?  Am I speaking in a language irrelevant for the age?  Crisis is perhaps that word that spring to mind.

I pondered over the word.  You would think, given the major technological shift in the publishing world, by opening the sluices for a tsunami of new self-published authors and original stories, that strong voices would gush forth.  The cover of this fairy tale, however, is not as bright as hoped for.  It is stained with the yawn of hackneyed déjà-vus.   Great voices stem from great writers and are as rare as ever to come by.

Having the ability and possibility to write a book does not endow anyone necessarily with a voice.  So much of what I read fits the perfect layout of writing mechanics: mellifluous flow of ideas, well-structured chapters and paragraphs, logical stories, cathartic moments, etc..  And yet, these books fail to hit my radar and leave me, frankly unsatiated.  Technology is not the culprit.  But the entrepreneurial spirit and the market’s demands appear to level the creative and originality efforts. Why was it important to write this story?  What is its theme?  What are you trying to say?  What is missing over and over is the voice.  And no amount of technological liberation can fake it.  I may be out-of-sync with the present, thinking that somewhere someone was plotting the next literary revolution.  Instead, it is all formulaic personal accounts using the liberation as a public confessional.

The widespread availability of writing instruments allows to circumnavigate the apprenticeship.  There was a time when becoming an artist would take time, illustrated by the anecdote about a wealthy woman commissioning Picasso a painting.  He sits down, draws three or four lines with a couple of strokes on a blank canvass, then turns round to the buyer and says: “That will be $500,000.”  The woman frowns at the price tag.  “But it took you only fifteen seconds,” she protests. “No madam,” answered Picasso, “it took me 40 years.”  The first draft of the “Old Man and the Sea,” was more than 400 pages long.  Only a well-oiled Hemingway with millions of miles in his creative engine could make his voice so unique in so few words.  Writing a novel because one can is not the same as writing because one has something to say, and in a way that no one else can.

Having a voice is not the same as having a style.  Many writers have a style, often with dazzling effects, which often come without a statement.  It seems this is what we are focusing on these days.  Mistaking styles for voices.  I’m always skeptical of twenty-something overnight sensations.  There is a hollow quality in mimicking past authors whose voices were shaped by the lives they lived.  Major literary award winners are not immune to this trend.  Pleasant strolls in the park where the grass is synthetic and the cabin air-conditioned.

All is not just bad brooding.  Below my educated sarcastic shell lays a humanist at heart.  So every morning I take my chill pill and read lots of moving stories, often thinking that they cannot possibly be real.  I try hard to make sense of them in a conceptual framework to see if I can detect a trend.  Instead of judging a book at a time, I should judge them by the truckloads, without discrimination.  This approach would make me realize what has become obvious in this permissive techno-social-media-revolutionary world.  Self-published or not, many books coming out these days seem to echo only one story.  They tell the story of how isolated and suffering we all have been in silence.  We are all screaming to be heard and seen.  I’m not immune to it.  Look at me!  I just spent the last ten minutes telling you about my problems.  “Oh humanity what a din!

News from BCTV, April 30, 2013

Dear Readers,

Book Case TV, as you know, has been on hiatus for the past three months (actually broadcasting on re-run four times a week since then), while our team took a break from the endless demands of our heavy shooting schedule.  It does not mean however that we have been supine, staring at the ceiling during all this time.  On the contrary, feet on the ground, we have been busy planning our new season, honing our program, whose new look, we hope, you will appreciate.  We got rid of some segments and created new ones.

For new season (the third one),  we have 18 episodes to produce between now and the end of the year (6 over the Summer and 12 in the Fall), and we need your help.  We want to hear about your authors and books.  Starting now, we are re-opening our submission pipeline and accepting submissions in all genres, fiction and non-fiction.  You can either contact us directly by sending your book along with the PR sheet, or  send us your catalogue(s) so that we can comb them very carefully.

I should have started with this: we have a brand new site. Much more detailed than our previous one, feeding form the production company Altered Ego Entertainment.  Now Book Case TV has its own.  You can access it by clicking HERE or on the bookcasetv tab above.  You will notice as well that we have incorporated new initiatives, such as the Book Case TV Awards, Book Case Engine, our new publishing arm, and Book Case Salon.  Lots going in the Book Case World.

On a general note, I would like to remind you that we broadcast via NYC Life on channel 25.   Our program has been moved to Sunday evening, which is a much better spot to gain exposure.  Once an episode is aired, it goes straight into VOD (for free).  According to NYC Life’s statistic, close to 1 million people tune in the channel on a weekly basis.  NYC Life has an exposure of 20 million viewers in the North East.  Our demo is mostly 28-49.  Also, bear in mind that at the moment, our program only focuses on US writers, with up-coming new releases.

I look forward to working with you again and promoting great literature

Frederic Colier, executive producer