Posts Tagged ‘publishing’
There’s a new player in the ebook publishing industry. Draft2Digital has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged Smashwords to a duel. Not really but it sounds good. What Draft2Digital actually say is that they fill a hole in the market that Smashwords doesn’t fill.
Smashwords is a publisher of ebooks. They are there for the author and they have an exacting process whereby you have to work through a series of steps to get your ebook published but at the end you have full control of your ebook and then how it sells is up to you as you do the marketing. Draft2Digital seems to have staff onboard who do all the donkey work so you fill out some forms, upload your draft and they do the rest.
There’s problems with both and most of those are to do with proofreading and editing. If you haven’t taken the time and put the money into having someone else proofread and edit it then it could easily be a dreadful book that is likely to sink (except for 50 Shades of Grey type books which fill some kind of need). There are vanity presses who will take your draft and publish it, printing as many copies as you want, their processes also don’t have proofreading or editing involved as they don’t employ the staff for that. And as an aside, if you want your book published by a regular publisher then it’s best to ensure the you’ve done the proofreading and editing before you send it in as it means they have less to do and it’s more likely to get further through the slush pile process.
Also, traditional publishers will dismiss a book that is obviously tripe and won’t publish it whereas with vanity publishers, Smashwords and now Draft2Digital there is no medium to say this book is total rubbish and shouldn’t pass muster. I foresee a lot more ebooks which should never see the light of day…will mine be one of them? Stay tuned to find out.
Three things that have come across my computer this week I feel moved enough to talk about.
The Royal Society of Literature enrolls its fellows using a special pen. Traditionally they’ve used a quill once belonging to Charles Dickens but that is beginning to wear after only a century and a half of use so they’re retiring it (do you think it’s old enough to be retired? What could be the retirement age for a quill?) and replacing it with a pen once owned by TS Eliot given him by his mother. How awesome it would be to become a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and have the chance of using these great mens’ pens/quills.
It used to be that a tragedy would be written about some time after all the fuss and bother was over, or at least that’s what it looked like to me. The Oscar Pistorius story is in the process right now, South African Eyewitness News reporters Mandy Wiener, author of the bestselling Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed, and Barry Bateman have been given the go ahead to write the Oscar and Reeva story. The good news? It won’t be published until after the trial is concluded but it still seems very money grubbing to me. I understand it means they’ll be able to attend every day and do their own research behind the scenes to come up with a story so they won’t have to piece it together after the event but it just feels dirty.
I found this discussion on academic etextbooks. They feel etextbooks won’t take off, I beg to differ. Books are made out of paper which are made out of trees and there are only a finite number of trees in the world so it just makes sense that we should turn to ereaders and stop cutting down trees, stop destroying the forests and animals’ homes in order to read our books. I truly believe we will all be reading books on ereaders in the future and that printed books will be a luxury. There are a few problems still to solve though. The article talks about the researcher only reading up to 100 pages of a book and then never referring to it again so being able to rent/borrow books for a certain period of time makes some kind of sense. And how do you highlight passages in an ebook? One self help book I read recently had the author talking about reading self help books and making notes in the margins, it’s a little harder to do that in ebooks, but if we could then it’d make it easier to read a book for any kind of writing or to read books and refer back to individual passages later on.
Just a few words about book type things I’ve found this week. I’m running late and I’m sure you’re expecting a really good oval up because of it but you’ll be wrong. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins then on no account pick it up as you’ll have great trouble putting it down, I finished it this morning when I should have been writing; and I also had a visitor.
If you’re in the book industry then attending conferences is a must. Here’s one in London in April. As it’s in the UK it’ll be big, there’ll be workshops, authors, publishers, agents and lots and lots of people. An event I’d love to attend.
Agent Orange talks about publishing being a dying industry. I think they’re right, publishers seem to have forgotten that they need authors in order to have books to publish and it’s so easy nowadays to self-publish and then sell your books that publishers really need to have a good hard look at themselves and see what needs changing.
Paragraph looks great. I’m a big fan of short stories, they’re not always easy to read but they’re short and can fill in time quite nicely. Many people have made a useful amount of money from short stories over the years and produced some top quality fiction. I’m looking specifically at pulp fiction magazines such as Analog and ASIM.
I don’t know what to think of this. MacDonald’s will be giving away free books with Happy Meals. On the one hand it’s great for getting kids to read, on the other hand it means parents will be giving their children junk food.
Do you remember those days of learning by heart? I recall trying to learn my times tables by rote and not succeeding, but I don’t recall having to learn poetry. I think this effort is good as memorising helps the memory, it creates new neurons and makes things easier when you get older.
Just a little wander around the internet this week gives a few links for you.
This little article talks about pop up shops and it reminded me of one I saw the other day at Brandon Park. I don’t recall the name of the shop but it sold books and the lady had no idea how long they’d be there. I saw one a few months ago at Chadstone for soup, they were advertising for staff but I declined to apply, I find it challenging to sell something I can’t eat.
This one is lovely. You can buy a DVD of crime writers and crime experts. They were there for CSI Portsmouth 2012 and with the recording you can pretend you were actually there and know everything about everything to do with crime; or just do what I’d do, put it in a drawer meaning to watch it some day and never manage to find the time.
“The name is Bond, James Bond.” I find that the silliest sentence in spy history and so many agree with me, so why are they writing a new James Bond book. William Boyd has won the prize and you can read more about his thoughts on the book here. I hadn’t actually heard of him before but a smidgeon of research shows he created a work of fiction presenting a painter as a real person, David Bowie was in on the joke and read excerpts of the book at the launch.
If you’re an afficianado of Mark Morris you’ll want to know the Gollancz Gateway Project is publishing a back list of his works. You can see the list of titles here or not depending on your level of interest.
This one I found interesting. If you’re into poetry then you’ll want to know about it. Some of the world’s top poets have founded a poetry magazine called, get ready, POEM! I might make fun of the name but it’s going to be an exciting publication even for plebians like me who don’t like poetry.
I figure that’s enough for today. I could go on for ages but I won’t, I promise.
You heard it here first!
Suz’s Space will be the first to write a book on Pluto. Being published in the year 3000 it will consist of bon mots, double entendres and words that don’t exist in the word world today.
Add your comment here and sign up to be the first to own this fantastic little book. I’ll be taking payment as soon as I get through all the paperwork. Each book will cost a paltry $1,000 and I’ll only be charging $50 for each signature, but for friends I promise to only double those charges.
Yesterday I wrote a few words about publishing and the slush pile being like the piles of books in Fahrenheit 451, if you want you can read it all here and then click back to this tab for the next link in the chain.
Today I looked around to see what I could write about and found the article I really wanted to write if I’d had all the information. This article talks about publishing and how things have changed over the decades. The author, Mike Shatzkin, speaks from a higher position of authority than I do as he has actually been in publishing as was his father before him. I suggest you read it carefully as it indicates a total change in publishing behaviour.
I’m going to assume you’ve read the article. If every publisher stops publishing new books and relies totally on sales of their backlist then the industry is going to get stale very quickly. Of course, that would never happen as people want new books by their favourite authors and then they find new authors and, funnily enough, want new books by these authors too. I was going to posit a society where this had actually happened and therefore publishing companies had a minimum of staff with no slush readers, no editors and really only enough staff to manage the printing and sales of old books or even just enough staff to publish their backlist into digital format. If they went entirely digital then at some point in time they would only need one person to staff the entire organisation. It would be an interesting supposition if this did happen that at some point someone wrote and published a new book, what a furore that would cause.
I’ve been looking at my time recently and wondering when I’d next have the time to write. I’m in the middle of an article I’m writing for someone else and I have to finish that so I can get paid. I have a plethora of books going from my To Be Read pile into my To Be Reviewed pile, it’s not that I’m reading a lot but more that I’m reading steadily. While pondering it last night and transferring listings to my new website I happened to do an eBay search and didn’t like what I saw.
I’ve heard about these listings from friends who have complained mightily about them, but hadn’t actually seen them myself. They’re books created from Wikipedia pages. The one I saw is Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers by Lambert M. Surhone. I don’t know who Lambert M. Surhone is and I won’t know if his book is any good as I don’t intend to spend that amount of money on it. It was $108 on eBay and $69 on another website. The description on the other website infuriates me…to be honest the whole thing infuriates me.
Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online. High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles!
I would like to know when Wikipedia articles became High Quality Content. Yes, I do use them as sources occasionally, but I do try to back up that information from other sources. I believe if you’re writing a thesis you’re not allowed to use Wikipedia at all.
Wikipedia is an open source website and anyone can amend and insert information. I understand they have instituted some form of control with talk pages to discuss changes and moderators to make changes, but anyone can go in and make these changes. You don’t need qualifications or even accurate information. I haven’t asked his permission so I can’t use his name, but a popular author was complaining a while back about things on his Wikipedia page which he never knew he’d done.
Basically, you’ve got people who’ve probably done absolutely zero original work, may not have even read the books and are publishing books using other people’s research, information or misinformation. Why are publishers allowing this to happen? They’re probably self published, or even more likely, print on demand. This means anyone can go into Wikipedia, take the information, formulate it into a book and then send it off to booksellers who will order a book from a Print On Demand publishing house when they have the money. Why are otherwise reputable booksellers accepting these books for selling? I don’t know, but it probably has something to do with money.
The other thing that infuriates me is why do they think people are so stupid as to want to buy something that they can access for free. Generally people are not stupid and readers are anything but, so I just don’t get it.
Not only but also. I did a search for the ‘author’ of this book on that reputable booksellers website and came up 307,500 results. Even if he’s only selling a couple of copies of each book he must be laughing all the way to the bank. Made the ‘mistake’ of putting his name into Wikipedia and it opens up a whole new wealth of information which I don’t have time to rant over now, but the essence is still here.
Print on Demand is a whole new post and one I have very little information about.
Anyway, I’ll probably be back when I’ve cooled down and made lots more progress transferring listings, I’ve only got about 1,100 to go. This always assumes I don’t get annoyed with Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry and write a few words, I’m of the opinion it’d actually be a perfect time to open a bookshop.
Whenever something disastrous happens we always play the blame game. Borders and Angus & Robertson have gone bellyup and now everyone is trying to blame everyone else. This happens all over the place, when the price of petrol goes up you can find many blogs blaming this, that or the other.
When the big retailers weren’t making quite as much money as they expected they blamed people buying from overseas using the internet and insisted buyers should buy from them and that the government should lower the import duties amount. They didn’t think they there could be anything wrong with what they were doing it had to be other people.
I see the blame game happening with Borders and Angus & Robertson. They’ve blamed the parallel import laws, buyers for not buying, some people blame the exchange rate…you know, it’s an endless round of blame.
What’s really hard is that we still need to support our local publishing industry despite the internet making it so easy to buy from overseas. We have our current authors who need our support and we also need to support future authors, making sure they have somewhere who can publish their books and also to have places their books can actually be sold. We already have such a small market here compared with overseas and this doesn’t help to get our authors seen overseas. It works the same way as the entertainment industry. Just look at the number of Australian actors who have made it big overseas, there aren’t that many of them. So it becomes more important to support our local people and then raise our voices in social media about them in order for our friends overseas to want to try them out. Let’s make the internet and social media work for our industry.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now but it keeps getting put on the back burner as I have photos to put in and it all takes time. I’m planning for it to be about Indie Press, those fabulous people who commit themselves to publishing, those dedicated people who read slush piles hoping to find something good they can publish and they do all of this in their spare time as they generally have full time jobs as well. Here they are, in no particular order:
Tehani Wessely heads Fablecroft Publishing, she is dedicated to writing and you can read all about her on her blog. She has recently returned to work after completing maternity leave. Her dedication to writing and publishing never wavered and I met her at Aussie Con 4.
I’ve just pinched this from Twelfth Planet‘s website. Twelfth Planet Press is part of the changing face of Australian publishing. Blending print and electronic formats, Twelfth Planet Press aims to foster, develop and promote quality speculative fiction writing in fresh, exciting projects. You can see Alyssa in the photo. They are publishing one book per month in 2011, you can look forward to some quality reading.
Russell of Ticonderoga is one of those committed people and I won’t endeavour to speculate on the meaning of the word committed with him. He has a full-time job and publishes books in his spare time. I believe he has a Sara Douglas book coming out some time next year. (Edited to include the url mentioned in the comments.)
Aurealis publishes quality Australian Fantasy and Science Fiction. I took advantage of Aussie Con 4 to sign up and now receive their magazine in the mail. It’s one of those I don’t have to go out looking for as it arrives on my doorstep in perfect condition, choc-a-bloc with fabulous fiction.
Anyway, there will be more another day, but I think this is going to be long enough.