But let’s talk about it! What if? What if we changed things or at least considered changing things?
Posts Tagged: Publishing
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?
Amazon uses the BS Machine to sell us sweetened fat to live on, so we begin to think that’s what literature is. I believe that reading only packaged microwavable fiction ruins the taste, destabilizes the moral blood pressure, and makes the mind obese.
The strange case of the “Literature Litterbug”—a mystery perp who’s been dumping used books along a Colorado highway for a year or more—has come to a close, bringing with it a pun-filled police report and plenty of finger-pointing. Glenn Plasden admits that the littering citation was “by the book,” and explains that he simply couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the huge stock he acquired when a Boulder bookstore went out of business eight years ago; he’d been dumping them a few at a time from his moving car, figuring nobody would notice....more
If anything, other people’s success should only encourage me: if they did it, so can I. But that’s where the self-doubt steps in and says, They can do it BUT YOU NEVER WILL BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT A REAL WRITER. It’s the same voice that tells me submitting to writing contests is a waste of money.
The Writing the Future report . . . found that the “best chance of publication” for a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) writer was to write literary fiction conforming to a stereotypical view of their communities, addressing topics such as “racism, colonialism or post-colonialism as if these were the primary concerns of all BAME people.”
When literary gatekeepers and publishers continue to overlook the vast diversity of writers, the special few who make it into elite spaces are constantly compared to one another in both flattering and troubling ways.
Over at Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth shares a fantastic long form piece on the rise of the Harlequin romance novel, and how the brand became synonymous with a wildly lucrative if critically dismissed genre. From the original formula for woman-centered, alpha-male page turners to Harlequin’s relentless advertising tactics to the question of exactly how much sex sells best, Faircloth presents a sociological study....more
For all our worrying about essay-writing robots, it’s easy to overlook the Fordist production models already in place in the publishing industry. Over at Flavorwire, Jonathon Sturgeon considers the implications of literature that is ghostwritten and consumer-driven:
Under automation, fiction loses the power to alter what we think is possible.
Guernica speaks with literary agent Chris Parris-Lamb, who built a career around selling Chad Harbach‘s debut novel The Art of Fielding for a reported $665,000. Since then, he has sold novels like Wolf In White Van and coming later this year, City of Fire, a 900-page tome for a rumored seven-figure sale....more
Many of us choose to pursue MFAs; many of us are also plagued with doubts about the value of a degree in creative writing. Former teacher Ryan Boudinot shares his thoughts about programs, publishing, and the unlikely chance that you’re the Real Deal:
I think the instant validation of our apps is an enemy to producing the kind of writing that takes years to complete… If you’re able to continue writing while embracing the assumption that no one will ever read your work, it will reward you in ways you never imagined.
Television is a great way to sell books. Oprah’s Book Club is the best known example, but Edan Lepucki‘s bestselling debut California certainly owed some of its success to the Colbert Bump. But The Colbert Report has ended, and Jon Stewart, another populist book advocate, is leaving The Daily Show....more
(v.); to think out, devise or invent; to study intently in order to fully comprehend; from the Latin ex (“out of”) + co (“together”) + agitare (“to turn over”)
“Many authors dream of a happy ending in which, having delivered their magnum opus, they sit back and enjoy an endless stream of royalties.
Two years ago, it seemed the publishing industry couldn’t get enough of the XXL novel. But now, the trend may be shifting towards something smaller: the novella. Over at io9, Charlie Jane Andrews speaks with science fiction publisher Tor.com about their list of upcoming novellas:
For our readers, time is the precious commodity they invest in every book they decide to purchase and read.
Prospects for your serialized proto-fictional new generation adaptation of The Hunger Games are bright. As fan fiction solidifies its status as a literary genre in its own right, publishers are catching on:
…what was once viewed as either uncreative, a legal morass of copyright issues, or both, is now seen as a potential savior for a publishing industry still finding its moorings in the age of digital media.
I wonder if readers of Fifty Shades of Grey will now feel uneasy knowing that someone knows exactly which scenes they return to, and reread over and over?
As Francine Prose writes over at the New York Review of Books, new e-reader devices allow e-books retailers to fetch and analyze a user’s reading data....more
Rejection is an essential part of editing and publishing, but also a source of criticism of the industry. Over at Slate, Daniel Menaker comes to the defense of the publishing industry’s gatekeepers, explaining the importance of professionals in guiding the production of literature:
The modern, often online and anonymous, neo-Levellers who object to the “elitism” of publishing arrive at their position from the other side, the populist.
Though copyrights on creative works are automatic, those protections get complicated quickly, especially when it comes to publication. Howard Richard Debs breaks down the basics of copyrights for writers, explaining over at The Review Review some of the elemental concepts like First North American Serial Rights....more
Daniel Handler’s (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) recent racist joke at the National Book Awards exposed an uncomfortable truth about the American publishing industry: its overwhelming whiteness. For the industry to survive, it must embrace diversity. Over at the Guardian, Carole DeSanti points out that regardless of changes in the business of publishing, what matters is the content:
…any gains in the format and pricing wars are going to be wiped out if content is less and less relevant to the way people live, who we are, and what we aspire to be.
Amazon and Hachette have, for now, resolved their dispute. But their protracted battle over pricing has made Hachette’s Chief Executive Michael Pietsch something of a hero to many in the literary community—in Distinction, Pietsch discusses his journey from a small Boston publishing firm to leading the charge against Amazon:
My first job in publishing was as a dogsbody at a small firm in Boston.