November 14, 2010

Lazy Sunday Thoughts on Publishing from a Reader's Point of View

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What do I know about publishing? Nuttin' Honey. But various publishing stories have been making news the last couple of days which gets me thinking. Thinking leads to opinions. Opinions lead to blog posts so beware: Opinions Ahead!

*Gaspereau versus the Giller. If you don't know Gaspereau Press, they make pretty books in an old-timey way and it takes time to make them. One of its writers, Johanna Skibsrud, just won the Giller and there have been many, many articles written on the scarcity of the book. It's been a topic that eclipses Skibsrud and her win. I wish they would give it a rest. Supposedly, it's a good book, it won the Giller so why can't people wait to buy it? Why do they have to have it noooooooooow?! It will still be a good book tomorrow. It ain't going anywhere. I have yet to read last year's Giller and I read a lot so keep your panties on, Giller groupies.


From Gaspereau's website:
At the core of our philosophy is a commitment to making books that reinstate the importance of the book as a physical object, reuniting publishing and the book arts.
I assume Skibsrud read this and was okay with that. If she expected to win the Giller, she might have re-thunk that decision to have them publish it but that was the decision she made at the time. No one has a working crystal ball that I know of. Gaspereau (at this time) was refusing to compromise its morals and I respect them for that. We're a throw away society where everything is mass produced, it's nice to see someone swimming against the current.

PS- Kobo sells e-book versions of The Sentimentalists.

*Amazon and That Book. You know that book, the How-To Guide for Creepy Bastards. Lots of thoughts on this so here they are in numbered fashion:
  1. The guy got more attention for his book than it ever deserved.
  2. Boycotts. I feel about boycotts like I do about peaceful protesting, it's your right as a citizen. I might not agree with you or understand why but I respect your feelings. I have my own personal boycotts and I know people who won't shop here or there because of this or that. That's your prerogative. I've never had anyone tell me to boycott some place because they do. I've listened to their reasons but those are personal. I still respect them and vice versa.
  3. Amazon are you a publisher or what? Any weirdo with a printer and a stapler can stand on a street corner and give out copies of their rantings. Should these 'books' be published? I don't think so. Lots of writings shouldn't be published and not just because of the material, some books are terrible. Amazon allows everyone with a computer to upload their writings. To my knowledge, they do not edit, discuss improvements, make fancy covers, or promote books like traditional publishers do. And this is what will get them into trouble. A publisher will decide whether or not to publish a book based on a number of criteria including its own principles. What are Amazon's principles? Other than making money? They also stand behind the author because they believe in the work. I still believe in old fashioned publishing, that someone is standing between me and the sludge that is out there. Amazon makes the money off the sales but that's it. I'm still confused about what Amazon is- is it a bookseller? Or is it a marketplace?
*James Frey. No it's not 2006 again. Frey is up to new tricks. In a New York Magazine article, Suzanne Mozes reveals that Frey is running a fiction factory which creates books for young adults (I Am Number Four), with the idea that they can easily be turned into movies and merchandise. Frey wants writers to write these books after they sign a rather questionable contract. No one has been found chained to a typewriter yet but it sounds to me like he's taking advantage of desperate people who need to have more confidence in their talents. So you aren't the prettiest girl in high school, that doesn't mean you should make out with any doofus under the bleachers. Have some self-respect, you can do better.

Hopefully Frey isn't considering hiring Annie Wilkes to keep his writers in line.

4 comments :

  1. I did not know that about the Giller prize winner. I think it is actually very interesting that they have such an approach to publishing and as a bookbuyer I respect it. It does mean you get a more "special" product, even if you have to wait a while.

    As for Frey's publishing venture.. The contract does seem horrible. However, I think I was most shocked by their approach to publishing: only bestsellers, only books that might be made into movies and whic could produce merchandise. I know, I must've been in denial before, I just don't want to know that this is how the world works for some publishing houses.

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  2. That whole Frey thing just irritates me. I don't respect him after everything that happened before, and this whole debacle just makes me angry.

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  3. Iris- It is pretty shocking. Hollywood is bad enough. We don't need that attitude in literature too.

    Allie- There is so much about it that is wrong. He treats writers like manufacturers and not artists.

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  4. My website was built for my writing by the Horton Foote Society, so I have to say that I'm very impressed that you know how to change your lovely "title page".

    I don't!

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