publishers

James Patterson paid for a full-page ad in The New York Times criticizing Amazon, Scott Turow talked about the “nightmarish” future that Amazon will bring and Stephen King signed a petition decrying the Seattle online retailer.

They do this as if they are fighting for the little guy.

They aren’t.

The ‘1 percent’ mega best-selling authors side with giant publishing corporate entities because they make a lot of money from them. The rest of us don’t.

— 

Frank Schaeffer, “The publishers, not Amazon, keep authors down

WOAH, HOLD THE PHONE. I had never even considered this before and it’s an amazing point. Amazon has been made out to be this big evil entity, but we should all remember that it’s Amazon vs. publishers, not Amazon vs. writers!

Wow, I just love reading perspectives like this that totally change my own.

It has become fashionable in some circles to deride book publishers as out-dated, out-classed dinosaurs ripe for digital disruption. They are Old Media in a world of New Media, the claims go. They are holding authors back, ripping them off for a too-large percentage of the price of each book, offering little in return. For these crimes, they deserve to be sentenced to death.
— 

What Use, Publishers? — Barry Lyga Dot Com

Do publishers matter any more?

Literary publishing’s uneasy relationship with fan fiction has been complicated by the realization that fandom is a huge potential market—one already stocked with both prolific authors and enthusiastic readers.  But how to tap that market is a dilemma that few publishers seem quite prepared to engage.

In which I look at publishing’s love-hate relationship with fan fiction, and how folks like Big Bang Press are challenging and subverting that.

I really, really want to write a crunchy breakdown of how gender relates to both the popular dismissal of fan fiction and Howey’s emergence as the poster child for legitimizing digital publishing, which strikes me as having some uncanny parallels to John Green’s oft-discussed status in YA.

I also worry that a) no one will ever want to publish as many articles as I am dying to write on intersections of fan fiction, gender theory, and new publishing economies; and b) that maybe I actually just want to write a (likewise probably unpublishable) book on this stuff; but that’s neither here nor there.

Submitted by sjeckert

Don’t even talk to me about this. Trying to match my old copies of books with the remaining matching books is impossible. It isn’t even publishers sometimes. I went to finish my collection of the Gone books by Michael Grant last week? Totally new covers. Disgraceful. Also, Artemis Fowl, I’m glaring at you. 

Your actions to raise the prices of our books, place banners touting books that ‘are similar but lower in price’ and saying that our books will ship in 3-5 weeks when they are in stock is not only a disgusting negotiation practice, but it has made me tell my readers to shop elsewhere — and they are and will.
— 

Nina Laden, as quoted in David Streitfield and Melissa Eddy’s NYT Piece Amazon Escalates Its Battle Against Publishers

Way to be sketchy, Amazon!

We are always asked about how writers submit their work to publishers and agents. We found this great post on the Scottish Book Trust website, and they have kindly allowed us to share their advice with you. You can also explore their other writing advice, competitions and opportunities for writers.

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Five golden rules for submitting your work to agents or publishers

Have you finished writing your novel? Is it in the best shape possible? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then you’re ready to submit your manuscript. Don’t waste time by sending out vague ideas or a half-finished novel. Aside from anything else publishers and agents need to know that you have the commitment to complete the book before they take it on. Check your manuscript carefully for spelling and punctuation errors.

1. Read the submission guidelines carefully

Make sure your submission meets the publisher’s requirements. Each publisher will have different preferences so don’t assume that one approach will fit all. Make them aware that you’ve paid attention to their requirements and backlist. Sending irrelevant work not only wastes your time but it may hamper your chances of success.

2. Do your research
Don’t rely on sending your manuscript out on a whim. Research prospective agents or publishers carefully and decide where your work will sit best. Research the backlist of titles or authors they’ve represented and demonstrate this in your cover letter. If you don’t know where to start, research the publication history of an author whose writing you would compare your own to. Find out who their agent is and continue your research from there.

3. Don’t turn up unannounced
Never be tempted to ‘drop in’ to see if a publisher or agent has read your manuscript yet. Not only is it invasive, but it’ll also make them far less likely to pick up your submission from the pile.

4. Don’t rely on one submission
If you pin all your hopes on a single submission, you will be disappointed. Instead, research the market carefully and submit your work to as many relevant places as possible. Keep track of your submissions to avoid confusion or repeat submissions.

5. Be patient
Publishers are very busy and receive so many manuscripts each week that it will take time to respond to your submission, if at all. Some publishers may give you an idea of how long it will take to respond, while others may specify that they only reply to the submissions they want to follow up on.

Source: Scottish Book Trust

All of our comics feature lesbian, gay, bi and trans characters and storylines, but there’s something in our catalog for everyone: young readers, adult readers, academics, adventure-seekers, people inside the LGBT communities and outside them. Comics should acknowledge the diversity, complexity. and beauty of the real world and make every reader feel welcome. Northwest Press is doing our part!

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But that’s the great thing about libraries: They don’t make those judgement calls — nor should they. If it’s in the zeitgeist, it should be in the library.

Except that they do. Go to your local library and say to the librarian there, “what should I read next?” And they’ll tell you. I’d wager few would suggest Fifty Shades before many, many other titles.

So, on the one hand, it’s not for librarians to decide what they offer. On the other, it is for them to suggest what you should read. And buying a lot of copies of something is a way of doing that.

— 

There are a few things in this article that I disagree with, but it’s these three paragraphs that are at the crux of it. There’s an abrupt segue here where collection development is suddenly equated to readers’ advisory, and I am not okay with that, because that assumption forms the basis for much of the rest of the article. Buying a lot of copies of something can be a way to suggest a book—but that does not mean that it does

I’d argue that, when it comes to the finite book budgets of libraries across the nation, good collection development is occasionally at loggerheads with good readers’ advisory, and this is one of those times. Good collection development involves being responsive to the requests of the community, whatever you or any other interested observer thinks of the legitimacy of those requests. Good readers’ advisory involves being well-read, keeping recommended books in the library, and, incidentally, answering the question “what should I read next?” not just with a book handed across the counter, but with a conversation and a list of titles that very probably are not related to the librarian’s personal reading habits. 

When a situation like this leads to a tie, in the sense that you’ve got X dollars and you have to figure out the best way to spend it, my feeling is that the tie should go to the patron. It’s not our money. It’s their money, and we are the stewards of it. When I see people say, “Well, I wouldn’t spend $23k that way,” I feel they’re missing the point. Personally, if I had $23k to spend on books, I’d buy 23,000 copies of Stoner by John Williams and use them to construct a small hut in the middle of the Library, where I would take power naps throughout the day, and occasionally throw a dance party. But I don’t have that money; the Library does, and it was given to us by our patrons, who as a result ought to have some say in how it is spent.

We are trusted to spend that money on books that we have professionally evaluated and decided should be in the collection, but we are also trusted to provide items that people are asking for. If demand is high enough for a book that in a system of over half a million cardholders, 300 ebooks are needed to meet it, then that’s where the rubber meets the road in the library business, as my boss would say. 

I appreciate that this attitude resonates with Greenfield, but it does more than resonate with me—it is my attitude, and it is how I do my job. (Not just because I actually believe it, by the way, though I do—but also because the collection development policy of my workplace requires it.) Ebooks being accessible in public libraries is a complex issue. There are many ways to improve it, and I agree that libraries will need to change a few things in the process, but it’s beyond the reach of very simple advice.

Dear Publishers handling diversity...

I love you, I truly do, but I ask a few things from you regarding diversity in fiction. You want to pat yourselves on the backs, that’s true… but I have a few things to say to you.

1. Can you please stop treating diversity as a “trend”?

Stop calling it a trend. For many of us who live with the diversity day in and day out—it’s not a trend, it’s a lifelong mission. Stop treating the majority as a default please. Stop saying that diversity writers will suddenly disappear, as if we are aliens. We are not aliens. We are not unicorns. We are not yetis. And most of us will continue to write diversity for our entire lives. Because it’s not a trend to us. It’s our lives.

The lack of diversity is something to be solved, not made into a fad.

If you are truly only doing it because you think it’s a trend, then please, for our sakes, quit. ‘Cause I, as a writer, don’t want to be treated as a possible novelty that may one day go out of fashion by your publishing house. I want my publisher to be invested in supporting diversity in books for the long haul, not just when it’s so-called fashionable.

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The Feminist Press is an independent, nonprofit literary publisher that promotes freedom of expression and social justice. Founded in 1970, they began as a crucial publishing component of second wave feminism, reprinting feminist classics by writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and providing much-needed texts for the developing field of women’s studies with books by Barbara Ehrenreich and Grace Paley. They publish feminist literature from around the world, by best-selling authors such as Shahrnush Parsipur, Ruth Kluger, and Ama Ata Aidoo; and North American writers of diverse race and class experience, such as Paule Marshall and Rahna Reiko Rizzuto. They have become the vanguard for books on contemporary feminist issues of equality and gender identity, with authors as various as Anita Hill, Justin Vivian Bond, and Ann Jones. Their seek out innovative, often surprising books that tell a different story.

You can follow and be part of this amazing project! The Feminist Press is on Tumblr and there are many ways to participate.

Check their lists of published books, authors, recent releases and forthcoming releases and prepare to watch your reading list grow!

Learn more about how to support this project and also about taking an intership with them.

In their blog you’ll find book reviews, instesting articles on the lastest in gender and sexuality issues and much more.

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Let’s be honest here: The intelligentsia is focused on Amazon not because it sells pinto beans or toilets, but because it sells books. That’s their business. Amazon is changing the book industry in ways that threaten to diminish the role of publishers and traditional ways of publishing. Its battle with Hachette is a battle over control. It’s not terribly different from the forces that ultimately disintermediated the music business.

As an author, I’m rooting for Hachette. The old system — in which the writer gets an advance, and the publisher markets the final product — works for me, as it does for most writers of serious nonfiction.

But, am I going to stop using Amazon? No way. I’m betting you won’t either.


We are Fantagraphics. We are comics.

Since 1976, we’ve published the world’s greatest cartoonists and thanks to you were are still here. Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing. Thanks for being you.

Left to right: Tony Ong, Janice Lee, Gary Groth, Jen Vaughn, Jacq Cohen (holding Wanda), Kristy Valenti, Steph Rivers, Mike Catron.
Back row: Keeli McCarthy, Jason T. Miles, Marc Palm, Daniel Johnson (intern), Steph Olczyk, Mike Baehr
Not pictured but sent their out of the office love: Eric Reynolds, Mike Dean and TJ

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