publishing

/Tag: publishing

USSFF is a fucking mess.

I have Thoughts on This but, for now; what the culture wars of the US specfic publishing scene looks like to someone from the “outside” (in this case, a Sri Lankan author)…

2019-03-04T11:52:34+10:004th March, 2019|Tags: publishing, sff|

The Firewall.

From a while back now, but still relevant: J.W. Alden on his experiences with Writers of the Future.

(For the benefit of those outside of the SFF author community: the WoF is a well-known annual emerging writer’s award/anthology. It’s also run by the Church of Scientology and, as such, has long been… controversial. Alden’s post is a pretty good explanation of why.)

2018-08-28T10:58:46+10:007th February, 2019|Tags: publishing, sff, writing|

Different voices.

Author Kaelan Rhywiol shares zir experiences with writing and rejection while marginalized. This is a long interview and much, ah, meatier than a lot of these tend to be, although I don’t necessarily agree with everything Rhywiol says. In particular, I think xie is a little too fatalistic when xie says things like, “someone who writes as much diversity into my work […] is likely never going to find representation.” Obviously this is Rhywiol’s personal experience which is incontestable in that sense, but I don’t think it’s objectively true, if only for the fact that I personally know people who are marginalized on multiple axes who have found mainstream representation/publication.1

I also kind of wince at the, “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with my writing skill” line. It’s said semi-offhand in the context of believing in one’s work which, yes, is a critical component for anyone looking for any sort of publication2 but, like… craft is an ever-evolving skillset. And believing in your work is not the same as thinking there’s “nothing wrong” with it; most authors I know, starting with myself, struggle to go back and read things they’ve written two or three or more years ago for exactly this reason. I suspect this isn’t quite how Rhywiol intended for this comment to be taken, but… yeah. All the same.

Those two things aside, Rhywiol’s overall points (e.g. about preserving mental health in the face of rejections) I think are important, and the whole interview is well worth a read.

  1. For what it’s worth, I don’t usually publicly say this for a variety of reasons but, yes. This is technically true of yours truly. []
  2. In its most basic sense, it would seem unethical to expect people to, like, pay for something you made and think is garbage. []
2018-08-27T15:44:07+10:0030th January, 2019|Tags: publishing, writing|

Book printing.

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…

2018-04-16T08:37:55+10:0028th September, 2018|Tags: books, publishing|

Welcome to your authentic Hugos experience.

A couple of years ago, I was at an Author Event listening to a Big Name Editor talk. Let’s refer to the editor as “You”, just to be confusing.

So. You are a big name SFF editor, who publishes well-known, well-regarded annual collections of the “best of” variety. You have won multiple Hugo and World Fantasy awards, to name just a few. You are, for the most part, visibly a member of some, but not all, of the most privileged groups in society.

What I remember most about You speaking is the way You mentioned, quite offhandedly, that You never do blind or slush submissions for anthologies any more. You feel You don’t “need” to, because You have been in the scene for decades and You know it and are an identified tastemaker. Instead, when You’re putting together an anthology, You approach the authors You want to include. They rarely say no. I mean, why would they? You’re You, after all.

Like I said, this was just one little throwaway comment in a bigger, much longer and far-reaching conversation. Yet every time I think about things like diversity in SFF, or inclusion, or slates or cliques or whatever the Outrage Du Jour happens to be… I think of You, and Your comment. Because, here’s the thing. Those authors You include? The ones You choose to represent as the “best of” Your industry? These authors are, almost exclusively, already well-established big names. They’re also almost exclusively like You, demographically speaking.

Incidentally, I don’t read Your anthologies. After all, they’re always filled with the same handful of authors writing the same handful of stories. And they just aren’t my thing.

Funny, I guess. The way that goes.

2018-08-22T08:41:32+10:0022nd August, 2018|Tags: books, hugo awards, publishing, sff|

… no.

Okay, like. So I thought authors whinging about specific negative reviews on social media was The Worst but, no. Apparently publishers doing it is. And this wasn’t like a small press type publisher, either; it was from the account of a major big 5 imprint.

I just… publishers. Don’t do that. Don’t let your media people do that.

2018-07-31T15:47:13+10:0031st July, 2018|Tags: publishing, social media|

CSFG panel recap: Authors vs. platforms.

So as mentioned previously, last Wednesday I was on a panel at our local SFF writer’s group, talking about author platforms along with co-panellists Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Chris Andrews. It wasn’t a super-formal panel, and I didn’t take notes, but I’m sure some of the discussion will be of interest to some people, so I’ve done my best to recap the salient points below…

(more…)

2019-04-29T12:03:14+10:0022nd June, 2018|Tags: blogging, csfg, publishing, sff, writing, xp|