publishing

/Tag: publishing

Book printing.

In economic terms the issue is not only one of fair apportionment but also of clarity of who takes the risk. I can already hear publishers and trade magazine writers shouting ‘The publisher! The publisher takes the risk’. Yes, certainly the publisher is taking much of the financial risk, and many of the smaller publishers are making very modest profits indeed as a result. However, they are not taking all the risk. By firing out huge numbers of books, placing marketing behind a few and leaving the others to sink or swim, the culture of large-scale publishing is pushing a huge part of the risk back on to the authors, whose remuneration is already low. On the face of it writers, as a producer of goods, have a low production cost – they work largely alone, at home, with minimal tools. And this is the way that the publishing industry generally views authors now – they are cheap producers. And if one gives up because they can’t make ends meet, there will always be another easily and cheaply obtained. However, if you are the established author who has committed decades to building a career as a writer, your next book represents 18 months of work for something that the publisher then might or might not support. Unlike our fashion designers who can expect their income to go up with experience and as they build a name for themselves, our authors and illustrators often find the opposite. They watch as ‘the next big thing’ is promoted over them even though they never fail to create something of a very high quality. Not only that, but because of those contracts they have also found it impossible to have control over their own work, often being shunted into heavy discounting arrangements with little say in the matter. The desire for a high volume of ‘new’ by the larger publishing houses as a reaction to this billowing market is irrational exuberance – and it indicates that the anxiety about missing out on discovering the next JK Rowling overshadows any concern about a market in which prices are spiralling downwards, and margins are getting ever-slimmer. These publishers are themselves adding to their own risk in moving so far away from a model of publishing in which a few books are chosen and worked on by talented editors, who then commit to and invest in the authors, that risks for both parties: the publishers and the authors, are being stacked up like a wedding cake. Would we call that publishing? Or is it merely book-printing?

Kanilworth Books on publishing.

This is a long, dense excerpt from an even longer, denser post, but the whole thing is worth looking at, particularly for authors and/or anyone who enjoys reading…

2018-04-16T08:37:55+00:0028th September, 2018|Tags: books, publishing|Comments Off on Book printing.

Conference Tips: Writer Edition.

Given that Conflux is apparently this weekend (yikes, where did the month go?), it seems portentous to have stumbled across this list of Hot Tips for Writers At Conferences

2018-09-27T07:31:07+00:0027th September, 2018|Tags: agents, conflux, cons, publishing, writing|Comments Off on Conference Tips: Writer Edition.

Welcome to your authentic Hugos experience.

A couple of years ago, I was at an Author Event listening to a Big Name Editor talk. Let’s refer to the editor as “You”, just to be confusing.

So. You are a big name SFF editor, who publishes well-known, well-regarded annual collections of the “best of” variety. You have won multiple Hugo and World Fantasy awards, to name just a few. You are, for the most part, visibly a member of some, but not all, of the most privileged groups in society.

What I remember most about You speaking is the way You mentioned, quite offhandedly, that You never do blind or slush submissions for anthologies any more. You feel You don’t “need” to, because You have been in the scene for decades and You know it and are an identified tastemaker. Instead, when You’re putting together an anthology, You approach the authors You want to include. They rarely say no. I mean, why would they? You’re You, after all.

Like I said, this was just one little throwaway comment in a bigger, much longer and far-reaching conversation. Yet every time I think about things like diversity in SFF, or inclusion, or slates or cliques or whatever the Outrage Du Jour happens to be… I think of You, and Your comment. Because, here’s the thing. Those authors You include? The ones You choose to represent as the “best of” Your industry? These authors are, almost exclusively, already well-established big names. They’re also almost exclusively like You, demographically speaking.

Incidentally, I don’t read Your anthologies. After all, they’re always filled with the same handful of authors writing the same handful of stories. And they just aren’t my thing.

Funny, I guess. The way that goes.

2018-08-22T08:41:32+00:0022nd August, 2018|Tags: books, hugo awards, publishing, sff|1 Comment

… no.

Okay, like. So I thought authors whinging about specific negative reviews on social media was The Worst but, no. Apparently publishers doing it is. And this wasn’t like a small press type publisher, either; it was from the account of a major big 5 imprint.

I just… publishers. Don’t do that. Don’t let your media people do that.

2018-07-31T15:47:13+00:0031st July, 2018|Tags: publishing, social media|3 Comments

CSFG panel recap: Authors vs. platforms.

So as mentioned previously, last Wednesday I was on a panel at our local SFF writer’s group, talking about author platforms along with co-panellists Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Chris Andrews. It wasn’t a super-formal panel, and I didn’t take notes, but I’m sure some of the discussion will be of interest to some people, so I’ve done my best to recap the salient points below…

(more…)

2018-06-22T14:02:23+00:0022nd June, 2018|Tags: blogging, csfg, publishing, sff, writing, xp|Comments Off on CSFG panel recap: Authors vs. platforms.

Literary fiction was, in all seriousness, established by the CIA during the Cold War—it belongs to the state. As such, an independent press with no ties to the state should inherently not be interested in “literary fiction.” Semantically!

M Kitchell on… conspiracies?

I think this is straight-up my new favorite “literary versus genre” argument.

2017-12-15T08:02:19+00:0019th May, 2018|Tags: publishing|6 Comments

Tales from the slushpile.

This list of the ten novels agents have already seen is mostly amusing, although it did make me raise an eyebrow at #7. Mostly because I think there are some rather sizable industries that would, in fact, disagree that “picture books for adults” aren’t A Thing…

2018-09-05T13:25:33+00:006th May, 2018|Tags: books, pop culture, publishing|Comments Off on Tales from the slushpile.

Respect, not hustle.

[Publishing] is a ‘transactional’ environment – sometimes it feels like other writers only want to know what you can do for them. In that sense it reminds me of my days in Foreign Affairs, where I was surrounded by diplomats who wanted to know what aristocratic school you went to, who you knew in the diplomatic or political elite, and whether you could help them get posted to New York.

In publishing, people want to know if you went to Clarion, if you know any famous authors who can give them a book blurb, and whether you can recommend them to a New York agent.

I’m 0/6, if you’re wondering.

Which is to say: when you find someone who gives a shit about your writing, no strings attached, treat them well. They are a rare beast indeed.

T. R. Napper gives advice.

I admit that the “hustle” is my least favorite part of publishing. Partly because I’m not good at it—being Australia, being a woman, being extremely shy—partly because I morally and economically object to it,1 but mostly because I really, really don’t like being on the receiving end of it, and like even less the idea that people might think I’m trying to do it to them. Which has the bummer side-effect of meaning I tend to avoid approaching writers whose work I do like, because of the fear of being seen as That Person.

Thing is, though? The Hustle works. That’s the depressing part. So it’d be nice to think there’s a happy medium between being That Person and being, er. Well. Me. Haven’t quite found it yet, though, so it’s a work in progress.

Which, y’know. Is maybe kinda the point…

  1. In the same way I object to all “gig economy” nonsense, although that’s a rant for another time. ^
2017-11-09T10:47:24+00:001st May, 2018|Tags: publishing|Comments Off on Respect, not hustle.