Posts Tagged: Publishing
From award-winning indies like Graywolf and Copper Canyon, to the fresh crop of young presses like Yes Yes Books and Topside Press, every press begins with just one book. It can start at a kitchen table or at a pinball machine.
Books make being an editorial assistant seem pretty glamorous. Meghan Daum discusses the unromantic realities of being an editorial assistant in book publishing, in an excerpt from the new reprint of her essay collection My Misspent Youth:
To the dewy eye of the editorial assistant, there is something about this mythos — the stiff patent leathers tromping around Madison Square, the particular literary drunkenness that seemed obtainable only from the taps of the White Horse Tavern, where Dylan Thomas met the shot glass that killed him — that feels lost, abandoned in nostalgia’s inevitable recycling bin…Nonetheless we persevere, dreaming of the day when we’ll become an assistant editor, and wondering how we’ll survive the ensuing years until that fabled associate editor position is dangled before our eyes.
One of the things I run into surprisingly often is people saying to me, ‘I’ve never heard of you before’… Yet I’ve been publishing in ‘mainstream’ journals and my book won [the Pulitzer] prize, so what is it that is making me invisible?
AmazonCrossing, the Amazon.com publishing arm that deals with works translated into English, will dedicate $10 million to expand its efforts over the next five years. This move will most likely position the publisher as the largest of translations in the US:
Even without exact numbers, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that AmazonCrossing has found a level of success.
Does anyone go on book tours anymore? Should they? Over at the Atlantic, Noah Charney makes the case for preserving the institution, if only for the three people who showed up to your reading:
Tours are often the only chance for writers to spend time with the actual people who read their books.
The birth of the ebook has been a source of fear among literary consumers for years now, but it seem, based on current sales trends, print is making a comeback. Flavorwire puts up an argument for both, asking authors and publishers what medium they prefer, and where they think the future of books is headed....more
Alexander Chee writes for LitHub on Elena Ferrante’s pseudonymous, social-media-free existence and the choices other authors have made to dis/engage with social media at points in their careers:
Ferrante’s anonymity is something of a feminist project, also. No one is able to talk about her appearance.
But between publishers’, readers’ (audiences!), editors’, writers’—and, it turns out, MFA students’—definitions, the term “immigrant fiction” has become a muddle, a catchall phrase to describe anything that appears “non-American,” foreign in some way.
Bix Gabriel writes for Guernica on what we categorize as “immigrant fiction” and the limitations of under-defined genre....more
The works of prolific writers are often viewed as less-than-literary, like the largely forgotten books of mystery novelist John Creasey, author of 564 books. Even serious novelists like Joyce Carol Oates, author of more than fifty novels, can write so much they lose the critics’ interest....more
No matter how many times you tell them not to, people will judge a book by its cover. This Italian publisher has capitalized on our weakness for pretty things with iconic cover art that toes the line between literature and fashion:
Italians have always known the importance of making una bella figura.
Over at the Ploughshares blog, Cathe Shubert discusses the historic nature of sexism in the publishing industry, and urges her readers to keep searching for an early canon of women writers:
Despite the many gains we have made in including women in our understanding of the history of literature, many students graduate with the false understanding that women did not really write until the nineteenth century–that they just couldn’t.
The process of selling writing can do funny things to people, like the male authors writing under female pseudonyms. Catherine Nichols went the other way, taking on a male persona to sell her novel:
I sent the six queries I had planned to send that day.
Independent Irish publisher Tramp Press requests that writers submitting manuscripts list their influences. Co-founder Sarah Davis-Goff had a suspicion that she was only seeing male names among the influencers, so she tallied up the influences of 100 submitters. Only 33 percent of the listed influences were women writers....more
For Electric Literature, Adalena Kavanagh has a conversation with poet Elisa Gabbert on Google Chat about how to advise white male writers to publish ethically. Their conversation also explores topics related to power structures in the publishing industry, and the implications of white authors writing from the perspective of a different race:
There is a long tradition of male novelists writing female characters, and that doesn’t feel *necessarily* problematic to me.
These days, a trade nonfiction title that manages to sell probably does so by trafficking in broad questions and big ideas, often explored through pop science or panacea:
From William Carlos Williams’ notion of “no ideas but in things”, we’re moving towards “no things but in ideas”.
But let’s talk about it! What if? What if we changed things or at least considered changing things?
The percentage of literature in translation put out by British and American publishing houses is pretty dismal. Hispabooks, a new publishing company in Madrid, wants to bring the richness of Spanish literature to a wider audience through English translations....more
When the Chinese government created a China-themed pavilion at this year’s BookExpo America, several writers protested the event. Writer Andrew Solomon argued that the Chinese government used that expo as a platform to present their “approved literature to the world.” Now, for the New Yorker, Christopher Beam shares his experience visiting the controversial China pavilion, and explores why Chinese publishers struggle to attract American audiences:
The problem, from what I could tell, was that publishers didn’t seem to know what American readers wanted….
Jami Attenberg: I feel like I could talk to you about vaginas all day, Judy.
Is there anything you wish you could change about publishing? Is there anything where you think, god they’ve been doing this forever, why can’t they just figure it out already?