A gentle newsflash

I’ve now read around 450 of the proposals, so only another 150 to go. At this stage, it’s looking like the shortlist will consist of around 140 possible books… Your patience is greatly appreciated. Once we’ve got the shortlist finalized, we’ll send an email to all those who *didn’t* make the cut, and then we’ll post the remainining contenders on here. I suspect it’ll be another couple of weeks.

In the meantime, if you like sunshine, you ought to love this:

My wife was given one for Christmas, and it’s really a splendid thing. Sunlight, in a jar. Sunshine on a rainy day. And so on.

25 thoughts on “A gentle newsflash”

  1. Before the REAL shortlist gets posted, i finally tabulated my wish-list picks.55 shortlist choices (by sheer title aesthetics)(… does the following mean I’m way eclectic? Too curious for my own good? Just deranged? My own proposal is included on this list, of course. No, don’t try to guess.)Top 10, in order: 1 Pussy Galore – Exile on Main Street 2 Billy Bragg and Wilco – Mermaid Avenue (a bigger deal to me than all the other separate BB and Wilco titles, but I’d read those, too, if chosen)3 Various Artists – Reservoir Dogs soundtrack (just to finally get a good analysis of Tarantino’s musical tastes)4 Uncle Tupelo – Anodyne (for the looming breakup story – I consider it their ‘White Album,’ in that sense)5 Jimmy Cliff (et al.) – The Harder They Come6 Half Japanese – Sing No Evil (An act too-long-overlooked)7 Betty Davis – Nasty Gal (Please, unravel the mystery better than the Oxford American did)8 The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle (and it’s about time!)9 Uncle Tupelo – March 16-20, 1992 (for the Peter Buck/John Keane/traditional folk song stories)10 Various Artists – Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures Vol 1 Also:Drive-By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera George Harrison – All Things Must Pass Jellyfish – Spilt MilkREM – Fables of the Reconstruction (since ‘Reckoning’ and ‘New Adventures in Hi Fi’ weren’t proposed) Phil Spector – Back to Mono (1958-69) (I’d almost cherish it for the Christmas album alone!) The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree (it was hard to choose just one TMG album to favor) Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything Beck – Sea Change (for the themes, although ‘Mutations’ has powerful charm) The Bee Gees – Bee Gees 1st (I love the early Bee Gees)Karen Dalton – In My Own Time (another mystery to unravel) The Knack – Get the Knack (oft-derided, but I consider them pure pop standard-bearers) Leon Russell – Carney (one of my all-time favorite albums since about 1972. I’m so glad someone wanted to give it the 33.3 kind of love!)The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (my fave of the Stones LPs proposed) Alexander “Skip” Spence – Oar (a true underground classic)Jeffrey Lewis – 12 Crass Songs (Ditto. even for this project, though I prefer Jeffrey’s original songs. I’d hope this is effectively a two-fer as a critical bio.) Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) X – Los Angeles (really, ANY X title on the list)Beat Happening – Beat Happening (I’d read anything about BH.) The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us (ditto) The Raincoats – The Raincoats (ditto) Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (double ditto) Robyn Hitchcock – I Often Dream of Trains (d-d-d-ditto) Galaxie 500 – Today (ditto ditto) The Mekons – Fear and Whiskey (triple dot ditto)Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (… maybe as part of a limited-edition box set, with ‘Metal Box’ – think of all the metal fans who would buy this!) Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw Joe Jackson – Night and Day The Clash – Sandinista! The Dream Syndicate – Days of Wine and Roses Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East (and I’d buy a copy for my son) The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (as the star-making album, although I’d also love reading about the recording of ‘Elephant’…) The Who – Quadrophenia Wilco – Being There (the YHF saga having been covered ad nauseam) Townes Van Zandt – Townes Van Zandt The Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II (another classic, directly prefiguring alt-country) Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Gospel TrainThey Might Be Giants – Lincoln Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town Camper Van Beethoven – Key Lime Pie Bill Fox – Transit Byzantium (count me among the newly converted – this is my first comment about it) The Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes Johnny Cash – American Recordings Little Feat – Sailin’ Shoes New York Dolls – New York Dolls Phil Ochs – Rehearsals for Retirement— I have, uh, 96 more on a secondary list. I will stress that I’m pulling for Graham Parker and a Leonard Cohen choice as well.)Now I will go back to counting down with the rest of you…

  2. Not related, but just wanted to say that I’m currently reading the first book in the series, on Dusty Springfield, and it’s REALLY good. I don’t think many entries could get away with being that idiosyncratic (I’m almost done, but I can’t say that I know much more about the record than I did before), but the story that Zanes is weaving is fantastic. He’s a really good writer, and I’m liking the book a lot. However, I kind of wish these little books were longer…

  3. Shoebiz: good question. I’ve read almost 500 proposals so far, and I wouldn’t say there are any that absolutely scream “YOU WILL PUBLISH ME!!” Just a heck of a lot of very, very good proposals. How we’ll decide between them, I do not know. Last time around, there were in fact three proposals that jumped out at me instantly as 100% definites – for the books by Carl Wilson, John Darnielle, and DX Ferris.

  4. Is anonymous one person, or are we all the same person?Is this all part of the 33 1/3 conceptual zeitgeist, or are all these anonymous lottery goers an essential part of the 33 1/3 audience?If I write a 2000 word proposal what are the 3 essential elements to be included in said proposal (and what do I do with it after its been rejected)? OK, after spelling, grammar, and style what part does professional experience, public profile and industry connections have to do with the final selection process?

  5. This is really exciting! David, I’m interested in knowing whether any you’ve looked through so far are really outstanding, like, total goer’s? Have you read any so far that are way above the others in terms of quality, making you think, ‘that one’s not just for the shortlist, that’s an absolute definite’? I don’t expect you to name names, but you could say a ‘yes or no’!:)

  6. if a committee is reading my proposal, I’m screwed. I was hoping for the idiosyncratic loner in my corner.Of course, I’d gladly submit more info or something more like a concrete outline if asked.I still like 1 in 8 better than 1 in 597… though I feel sorry for you with multiply proposed topics who will be shortlisted. oh, the angst!

  7. What will be expected of those on the shortlist? Nothing, really! A handful of us here at Continuum HQ will spend more time reading through the shortlisted proposals – if we have any specific questions, we might email you about them. Otherwise, we’ll just carry on making our decisions, until we’re agreed on the proposals we like the most. As for the odds, if you’re on the shortlist, you’ll have about an 8-1 chance of being offered a contract. Medals would be good, too! Or brownies. Mmmmm, brownies.

  8. What happens after the shortlist is Shortlist v.2, even more likely to lead to Antacids and Xanax (haha) because your expectations have been raised, but the odds may still be 100+ to 1! Win or lose, you’ll need to be intoxicated to mark the event. I think the runners-up should get a medal or something …

  9. A couple of quick responses:Best way to contact me for something like that would be my regular work email address – david at continuum-books.comJamie and Anon: I think when I send out the mass rejection email (and just typing that phrase makes me feel grim), it’ll say something like “I can’t respond to hundreds of queries, but if you’re really really curious about how your proposal could have been improved, or a reason it didn’t make the cut, feel free to write back, on the understanding that it might take me quite some time to respond – but I’ll try.”

  10. David, can I follow up on something Jamie has touched on? If some of us are unlucky with our proposals, can we come back and ask you for some tips on where we are going wrong with our writing? I’m a first-timer but would like to be a writer full-time some day and so feedback of any kind would be very helpful. Of course, if it’s too much given the sheer number of proposals you got I would understand.

  11. Ever the optimist(!) I feel mine will be one to fall at the first hurdle. In preparation, I just wondered whether the emails will be a brief “thanks but no thanks”, are a more detailed critique. I understand doing the latter is improbable.Thanks.

  12. David, I actually just heard from the artist I wrote my proposal about saying that he is pretty sure he would be willing to participate. Is it worth letting you know about formally? If so, what would be the best way to contact you? Thanks. Cheers!

  13. I also think (and again, it might not be an idea that floats but does seem to go hand in hand with the whole album/book thing) – box sets! Small boxes of say 5 titles that thematically go together – so you could do a selection of the fiction 3 1/3s, say, or punk 33 1/3s or soul 33 1/3s or…Should I just shut up?

  14. I’ve been kicking this ridiculous idea around for a bit, but I haven’t completely thought it through, and I also know that, practially speaking, it might not work, but I’ll post it here anyway. Since this series is about music, albums, bands, etc, how about doing a short run of books marketed as b-sides/rarities/bonus tracks, containing snippets of the proposals that almost made the cut but that didn’t quite get there. Again, I realize that such a project might not make any practical or economic sense, but it seems to fit the theme of the series. And who knows, people might really want to buy it, particularly if their proposals show up in it.

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