This cover is just so freakin’ spectacular, though?
“Write X many books and you’ll make five digits!” When? In a year? That’s not that impressive. In a month? In a lifetime? What’s the time frame here? It’s never explained and yet the formulaic approach, the idea that it’s just a matter of numbers and not talent or connections or luck, is a very attractive one to some people. It was to me.
C.M. Stone on indie magic.
This is about oversupply and burn-out in the indie publishing scene, specifically in the romance genre. And also, semi-tangentially, about Cockygate which if you missed it, is mildly amusing in a WTF sort of way (although, it should be noted, was devastating people hit by it).
New additions to Mt. TBR:
- Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis and Other Stories. Mostly I liked this book as a physical art object; it has those inside-cover-flap things, as well as deckle edged pages, which I know some people loathe but personally I am 1000% here for.
- Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body & Other Parties. Oh, hey! I found where the bookstore keeps its short story anthologies!
- The Prose Edda. I’ve read various bits and pieces of various translations (and not-translations!) of this before, but have never actually owned a physical copy. Well… now I own a physical copy. (Though, minor disappointment that this is only the English text, not a side-by-side with the original.)
- William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch. A “classic” I’m probably going to hate but keep meaning to read anyway…
I confess I do like the logo for non-fiction in the new version of iBooks…
In economic terms the issue is not only one of fair apportionment but also of clarity of who takes the risk. I can already hear publishers and trade magazine writers shouting ‘The publisher! The publisher takes the risk’. Yes, certainly the publisher is taking much of the financial risk, and many of the smaller publishers are making very modest profits indeed as a result. However, they are not taking all the risk. By firing out huge numbers of books, placing marketing behind a few and leaving the others to sink or swim, the culture of large-scale publishing is pushing a huge part of the risk back on to the authors, whose remuneration is already low. On the face of it writers, as a producer of goods, have a low production cost – they work largely alone, at home, with minimal tools. And this is the way that the publishing industry generally views authors now – they are cheap producers. And if one gives up because they can’t make ends meet, there will always be another easily and cheaply obtained. However, if you are the established author who has committed decades to building a career as a writer, your next book represents 18 months of work for something that the publisher then might or might not support. Unlike our fashion designers who can expect their income to go up with experience and as they build a name for themselves, our authors and illustrators often find the opposite. They watch as ‘the next big thing’ is promoted over them even though they never fail to create something of a very high quality. Not only that, but because of those contracts they have also found it impossible to have control over their own work, often being shunted into heavy discounting arrangements with little say in the matter. The desire for a high volume of ‘new’ by the larger publishing houses as a reaction to this billowing market is irrational exuberance – and it indicates that the anxiety about missing out on discovering the next JK Rowling overshadows any concern about a market in which prices are spiralling downwards, and margins are getting ever-slimmer. These publishers are themselves adding to their own risk in moving so far away from a model of publishing in which a few books are chosen and worked on by talented editors, who then commit to and invest in the authors, that risks for both parties: the publishers and the authors, are being stacked up like a wedding cake. Would we call that publishing? Or is it merely book-printing?
Kanilworth Books on publishing.
This is a long, dense excerpt from an even longer, denser post, but the whole thing is worth looking at, particularly for authors and/or anyone who enjoys reading…
Ten of the most hated books of classic literature. There really won’t be any surprises here—if you’re thinking of a book, it’s probably on here—but… still.
For the record, I’ve only read one of these books, and… yes. Yes it is, indeed, one of My Most Hated Books, for exactly the reasons described in the article.