Posts Tagged: Publishing

21st Century Magical Realist

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Beyond the obvious fact of when it was written or published, what does it mean for literature to be contemporary? Is a work’s relevance determined by market trends and cultural currents? In her monthly advice column for Electric Literature, Elisa Gabbert allays a writer’s temporally induced anxieties:

Magical realism “has been done,” yes, but so has everything else.

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Women Writers Gain Popularity, But Men Still Lead Industry

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Women writing about women is popular right now in the publishing world—like Emma Cline, who recently released The Girls. USA Today runs through the many books about women, by women. But despite the rising popularity of these authors and the prominence of women within the publishing industry, top jobs are still held by men.

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What’s in a Name?

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If there are indeed an infinite number of universes, it’s nice to think there might be one where all of the books we have come to know bear their original, author-intended titles. For the Paris Review, Tony Tulathimutte pulls back the curtain on the process of book naming to reveal that the title we see is often not given by the author, but generated by a marketing team with a very particular set of conventions and concerns:

The history of writers fighting for their book titles is extensive and bloody; so powerful is the publisher’s veto that not even Toni Morrison, fresh off her Nobel win, got to keep her preferred title for Paradise, which was War.

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Ricochet Calls for Graphic Submissions

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Ricochet Editions is looking for your comics!

The small press, run by PhD students in the Literature & Creative Writing Program at USC, is accepting submission for graphic novellas and short story collections until June 1st. All manuscripts should be 50-100 pages, and should be submitted in the form of a black and white paginated PDF.

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The Long Lost Writing Life

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My only real want along the way was to illuminate something about the human condition in a voice and from a point of view that could belong only to me. And if a bid for posterity beats in the heart of every writer, mine is alive with the possibility that long after I’m gone, someone will discover an old paperback of my work and say, “What’s this?” But whether or not that happens is independent of the volume of work a writer publishes, so what’s done is done.

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CNET Publishes Crowdsourced Novel

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The technology news site CNET has begun publishing a crowdsourced science fiction novel. The project started with National Novel Writing Month, when CNET’s Erick Mack introduced the idea, calling it “MMOSFN: Massively Multiwriter Online Science Fiction Novel.” The novel, Crowd Control, will be published in installments.

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When Computers Choose Which Novels to Publish

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We’re used to Amazon producing recommendations alongside books we buy, but are we prepared for a world where computerized data also picks what gets published? Inkitt, an electronic publishing platform, has announced that they will be utilizing algorithms to pick novels to publish in the interest of “fairness and objectivity” that can’t be found in this world of “literary gatekeepers.”

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(Attractive) Debut Novelists Earn Millions

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Emma Cline received $2m advance for The Girls, due out in June, which puts her near the top of a growing list of first-time writers with advances in the millions. Last year, City on Fire earned Garth Risk Hallberg a $2m advance.

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Knopf’s Hidden Half

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For most of Alfred A. Knopf’s 100-plus-year history, Mrs. Knopf’s role in the success of her husband’s company has gone unrecognized. Now, though, she is getting her due:

Blanche Knopf probably had better taste than her husband. … It was Blanche who brought Gide, Camus, Sartre, and de Beauvoir into the fold, as well as Mann, whose relocation to America she helped arrange.

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Reading the Fine Print

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Traditional publishers provide many services for authors, including fact-checking and obtaining permission for intellectual property. Self-publishing platforms don’t provide these services, and because of a recent court ruling, aren’t responsible for mistakes made by authors. The National Law Review looks at the landmark case, and how it removes liability for the publishing platforms:

The ruling might also serve as a reminder for providers to reexamine user agreements and terms of service to ensure that certain author representations about the non-infringing nature of uploaded content are clearly worded and that electronic contracting best practices are followed to ensure enforceability.

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Does Commercial Success Hurt Literature?

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Publishers are offering big paydays to debut authors—that’s the good news. The bad news is that the books earning big money aren’t particularly literary. Tom Leclair at The Daily Beast takes to task Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s novel The Nest as too middlebrow to be considered great literature:

I understand the economic strategy: a novelist with no history (of mediocre sales) can be publicized as the Big New Find because the author has been given a Big Old Advance.

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The Art of Losing Isn’t Hard to Master

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Just as there is subjective rejection, there’s subjective acceptance—the editor who sparks to your characters, your plot, your manuscript because of their personal experiences—and you want someone who understands your story to be the champion it needs.

Let’s be real. Rejection sucks, especially if you’re a writer trying to get your work published.

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Take a Closer Look

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A survey by book publisher Lee & Low showed that 78 percent of the publishing workforce is composed of straight white women, causing headlines about how women run publishing. But that’s not the whole story:

Yet these attention grabbers glazed over one of the more subtle aspects of the data, which shows that while the industry employs far more women overall, the difference is smaller at the executive level, with “approximately 40% of executives and board members identifying as men or cis-men.” As the compilers of the DBS report note: “This reflects the reality that males still ascend to positions of power more oven, even in female-dominated industries.”

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