Posted by


I glean links from all over the place to read – from Twitter, mailing lists I’m on, all kinds of other blogs (probably mostly The Bibliophile Stalker aka Charles Tan). A lot of writers write a lot of guide posts about writing, for and to writers. There’s a lot less out there for publishers. I’ve found it a really interesting journey looking for guidance and advice as a publisher. I’ve got a new sekret project which was intended to be launched before Worldcon but didn’t quite make it. But I think a regular round up of publishing links and news might fit in well with that.

  • Cory Doctorow writes about the changing role of publishers – he has a really interesting take on the breakdown of the traditional process of publishing and looks at how works can be distributed first and then published (where I take him to mean read by audience).
  • Readings. What are they good for? The Observer - No One Cares About Your Readings. I loathe readings. I hate being read to. I hate not having the control to pace my own ingestion of the words and story. Also, my mind wanders and as soon as that happens when someone is reading to me, I have no way of catching up on what the hell they are telling me. Fave quotes from his article:

While these turgid, awkward, too-often sexless events are an evil necessity, not enough people enjoy them to justify their existence.

But most importantly:

For most publishing houses, though, selling books at a reading is nothing but a pipe dream.

  • Is POD the future of publishing? Matthew Stadler of the Publication Studio says yes in Print-On-Demand The future of Publishing Part 1.  Not sure how I feel about this piece. I struggle to continue listening to anyone who likes to take a dig at the traditional big publishers as they talk about how they are deviating. I don’t think it’s an all or nothing game and there are a lot of big publishers who have been successful at what they do. Comments like:

Well, real readers matter to me, more so than do sales numbers.

I find it hard to believe that any writer (or publisher who wants to stay in business for that matter) would prefer to sell just a handful of copies of their work to a few really enthusiastic readers over hundreds or thousands. Sales numbers equate to payment and at the end of the day, isn’t the salary of a writer one of the objectives of writing as a career? And as a reader who has bought books from all kinds of publishers, big and small and self publishing, I actually resent comments like this:

The bigger houses were good at selling books, but didn’t do much to hook me up with real readers.

Am I not a real reader? Who are all these people buying books and what, not reading them?

Still the article is an interesting one. There is something both economically viable and environmentally friendly about only making books after they are already bought.

  • And they said that science fiction and fantasy wasn’t as serious as literary fiction! Tanith Lee’s short story “Snow-drop” published in Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling is at the centre of a political, gender and moral debate at the University of Cairo.
  • Salon asks Bob Stein (The Institute for the Future of the Book) Is there hope for Books? In short, he answers yes and no. Just as I thought.
  • The True Price of Publishing – so why are ebooks not free? This article does go some way to explaining why publishers can’t sell ebooks at the 99cent price point. The bit that gets lost in discussions like this is the element of publishing that I liked to gambling – that you throw a lot of darts and hope one or two hit the board and if they do, then you’re gonna be ok. In other words, that you gamble a lot on the projects you buy and you hope that one or two hit the big sell to cover the costs of the ones that are less successful or are more niche or are debut novels or experimental. I worry that in the push to remove that kind of model, which I believe is happening more and more, it will mean that the bigger publishers that remain will be less willing to take a gamble and to pick up newer or emerging writers. On the other hand, as a smaller player, this element does intrigue me in so far as – what does that then make possible for my publishing house?







Add a Facebook Comment


  • By Tansy Rayner Roberts on 16 August 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Some authors are brilliant at readings, and totally make the experience worthwhile. Unfortunately, I think they constitute about 5% of authors who *do* public readings.

    I recently heard Rob Shearman reading a piece at the launch of his new book (on the Big Finish podcast RSS) and it was everything an author reading should be.

  • By AlisaK on 16 August 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Rob Shearman is excellent in real life too. I heard him read at Swancon and that was my first experience of Tiny Deaths and I was a fan for ever after. But that would make my hit rate 1 writer out of ALL THE BORING READINGS I’ve had to sit through up to this moment in my life.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment