Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Industrial Smart Things (with a side of link salad)

I'm home with a sick boy today, so the most imaginative thing I have time for is cut & paste. With that in mind, I provide a smattering of Smart Things, with a (loose) focus on the publishing industry:

If you want to know how your book might be marketed, how sales and advances are determined, and the general nuts & bolts of what goes in to a publisher marketing your book, Pimp My Novel is a gold mine of a blog. A few choicer items I have been reading there of late include:

Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of how publishers figure Profit and Loss statements for a book. (Yeah, it sounds dry, but this stuff helps determine whether they make an offer on your work or not.)

A brief overview of the state of how Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical, Romance, and other genres (check the sidebar on the site) are selling these days.

A two parter on how book chains (and others) determine how many copies of a given title they will buy.

Literary agent Nathan Bransford has some thoughts on how to respond to an editorial letter/critique. As I am expecting to go through this myself for the first time in a week or two, I will post back later with my observations on the matter as well.

Dr. Syntax (a.k.a. Peter Ginna, editorial director of Bloomsbury Press) makes a case for a greater rate of failure in publishing. He doesn't go into details, but I can see where the basic premise can be argued. Heaven knows something will have to change in the near-future.

Just because I can't seem to leave the topics alone, here's an excellent post by Max Dunbar as to why "self-publishing" isn't; and a post by afore-mentioned Dr. Syntax as to what we risk leaving behind if we move to e-readers.

And finally, I just plain need to link to this book trailer because it's so freakin' impressive.

Now, off to check a young lad's temperature and get on with whatever I manage to get on with for the day. Cheers!


Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

I'm at home with a sick boy today too. :( I never knew toddlers could barf so much. Where does all that barf come from?

Douglas Hulick said...

Christy --

Sorry you have a sick-o at home today, too. Mine is at least on the rebound and was busy "helping" me clean (while wearing a Spiderman costume, of course -- super cleaning!).

Wait until you have two of them, and they are tag-team barfing on the same night. Hell and a half.

I'm looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow -- assuming we don't end up having a snow day, that is. :/

Shawn Enderlin said...

i find it interesting that so many of the people (like mr. dunbar) who write about how self-publishing is so awful, do so in the context of vanity publishing.

and yes, vanity publishing IS awful.

true self-publishing, where you own the copyright, creative control, publishing control, etc. IS an alternative to traditional publishing.

true, there are serious drawbacks to self-publishing and i wouldn't recommend that anyone go into it blindly, but then i wouldn't recommend anyone go blindly into a contract with a major publisher either.

Douglas Hulick said...


I liked a couple specific things about Mr. Dunbar's piece:

1) The effective debunking of several of the vanity publishing myths, including some we don't always see.


2) Pointing out that the definition of success for many self-published folks is to get picked up for a traditional book/media deal.

Now, I am not saying that S-P is bad in and of itself, nor that people should not do it. As you say, as long as they enter it with their eyes open knowing what to expect, then it's an appropriate route for some people. However, I *do* appreciate him calling out the "I want to retain copy right/intellectual control" argument that seems to be quickly put aside when a regular publishing/media contract is suddenly dangled before some faces.

I also tend to agree that, for 95% plus people who self-publish, "exposure" of their work is not a realistic goal/rationale for using the medium. With the ever increasing amount of content available in various forms, the chance of exposure will only diminish as the level of media noise increases.

Self publishing works extremely well for certain subjects and kinds of works (there are some self-published rapier treatises I have that are well put together, had outside editing, etc., but were done via Lulu since the number of publishers interested in that material is limited). However, there are far more self published works out there, both fiction and non, that could have greatly benefited from an outside eye or twelve.

So, in other words, while I think self publishing is a viable alternative for some people, I don't think it is the "alternative" to traditional publishing so many bill it as. There's no (level) comparison between one market where you are expected to meet certain professional, quality and marketing standards to publish, and another where all you need is a check book. It's apples and oranges -- the only similarity is that both paths produce letters on paper, bound together in a codex.

Shawn Enderlin said...

You might be surprised to hear that I mostly agree with everything you just said. :-)

Having said that, I do think there is a is a way to make self-publishing "work."

But I think that will be a future post over at The Scribblerati blog.

I'll make sure to link from here. Stay tuned! :-)