Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Spotlight's Glare

The world has begun to notice AuthorsAloud. First there was the Quill & Quire write-up. Then esteemed [places for writers] took notice: "Listen to Canadian greatness" it said. Thanks very much. While that was going on, Edmonton's SEE magazine gave us a nod:

Hamilton-based writer Trevor Cole is demonstrating that appreciation of pleasures literary need not have anything to do with paper at all. His website,, features audio files of Canadian authors contributing readings of their books to the website, which Cole organizes and archives for present and future listening.... Cole hopes to expand the number of readings rapidly.

You're right, See, and thanks. Back in the virtual world, over at online lit-journal Good Reports, Alex Good was good enough to link up to us (cheers, Alex) and that brought us to the attention of heavy-hitter BookNinja, where Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer wrote of AuthorsAloud:

We like. Trevor Cole has started a new Canlit web venture that showcases readings by all our very own pretty people, including Steven Heighton, Madeleine Thien, as well as, soon-to-be-Ninja-contributor John Terpstra reading a wonderful poem called “I Moved To Burlington In My Sleep” (writing down this title has produced a gut pain so profound, I have to rest now).

Kathryn has some history with Burlington, methinks. Anyway, we're very grateful for the attention. And it's not over yet. Something tells me the CBC's online lit portal Words at Large may be working up to something...

All this attention, of course, has alerted quick-thinking publishers and writers to the possibilities of AuthorsAloud, and the email traffic has been thickening daily with forays and plans for contributions. So look for the ranks of AuthorsAloud to swell before too long.


Monday, August 14, 2006

AuthorsAloud makes Quill & Quire

First we launched, and then we became real. On August 11, Canada's book trade magazine Quill & Quire ran an online news piece by Briony Smith that announced the presence of AuthorsAloud to the world. With the help of my friends at McClelland & Stewart, Briony tracked me down in the middle of Quincy Market in Boston, where I was travelling with my daughter. Even though I was bone tired from a day of whale watching aboard a New England Aquarium catamaran, Briony managed to make sense of what I was saying and produced a very nice piece.

In deference to Quill's copyright I won't reprint the entire article here, but I'll quote from it:

"The site’s current roster is an impressive start. Cole enlisted Merilyn Simonds to do a reading for the site, and her enthusiasm for the project spread the word quickly. The site now boasts readings by 10 authors, including Steven Heighton, Katrina Onstad, and Madeleine Thien. More authors’ voices, including Margaret Atwood’s, will be online soon. ... 'Readings let listeners hear the personality in the words that you might not get to see if you just pick up a book and read it. It gives you more of an insight into the author and the literature,' says Cole.

If you have access to Quill's website, you can read the entire article here.

So we're real, and we're growing. Thanks for listening, I'll let you know more soon.


Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Fussing over the cover

My editor, Jennifer Lambert, knows only too well how much I agonize over the covers of my books. Well it seems the same is true with web splash pages. In this case, there was reason for the agony. Early visitors to the site may know (I say "may" for a reason) that I had a lovely slideshow featuring the faces of our featured authors rotating over an audio mix of the music by Tiny Bill Cody and short clips from the author readings featured inside. Well the audio is still there, but the slideshow is scrapped, because while it worked well for browsers such as Safari and Firefox, it disappeared when visitors using Internet Explorer came by.

Since most visitors use Internet Explorer, most visitors were seeing a blank page. Nobody wants to see a blank page, so out went the slideshow. Sometimes, in the world of fiction and poetry, you have to be ruthless. You cut what doesn't work and move on.

At any rate, if you clicked through the opening without your speakers turned up, why not go back and have a listen? See if you can catch Tiny Bill Cody's old-radio-style introduction. I chose that specifically because I thought it made a nice comment on the nature of this site. It's all very clever.

By the way, if you happen to see something else on the site that doesn't look quite right, let me know through the comments or the contact form. Thanks.