Questions about the Publishing World
December 16, 2009 | Written by admin
A bunch of quick questions and answers on the world of publishing today…
Mike wrote to ask, "Would you recommend an aspiring writer attend a seminar like 'Story' by Robert McKee?"
Absolutely. I think attending a good writing seminar or conference is one of the best investments a newer writer can make.
Tim wants to know, "What do you make of Kirkus Reviews closing down?'
Hate to see it. If you haven't heard, Nielsen Business, the owner, is not only shutting down Kirkus Reviews, but selling off Adweek, Billboard, and The Hollywood Reporter. Kirkus has been around since the Great Depression, and while it had a reputation for savaging a lot of books, it was also an influential source for writers and publishers. But reviews have moved to the web, so that's the place to go if you want info on books these days.
Wanda asked this: "Are digital books going to ruin the book publishing business?"
Nope. They're just the latest form of books. I would note that this week some of the big publishers (Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Thomas Nelson) announced they would delay some of their e-books until after the hardcover has had its own sales season. Some reviewers saw that as a mistake, as though publishers were caving into author and agent demands. Baloney. They're doing it to try and bring perspective back to the industry. Amazon does everything in secret, demands exclusivity, and has been no friend to authors with its financial demands. Everyone is waiting to see what happens when Apple releases their e-reader next year, since word is they're going to be much more publisher-friendly.
Marvin asked, "What is the best website you read?"
There are several, and I've mentioned them in the past (Mike Hyatt, Rachelle Gardner, NovelJourney, Writers Digest, Absolute Write, Publishers Marketplace, etc). But let me steer you in another direction… If you come to this site and you've got a church background, by all means check out Stuff Christians Like. It's one of the ten-most-read religious websites in the country, and it's a hoot. The author, Jon Acuff, has a book coming out with Zondervan next spring, and people have already ordered thousands of copies… for a book that is five months away from being printed. Amazing stuff. Funny and insightful, and the author is being asked to speak at conferences everywhere. Check it out at www.stuffchristianslike.net
Amy wants to know, "Is the market glutted with YA fantasy right now?"
There's certainly a lot, and most of it fueled by TWILIGHT (for a market that, in my view, was begun by the success of the Harry Potter books). So, yeah, there's a lot of YA fantasy right now. A glut? Depends on your perspective. As long as it keeps selling, there's not a glut.
Timothy asked, "Does the movement of traditional publishers into self-publishing mean that the publishers are all destitute?"
No. But this economy sucks, and books, which traditionally have been recession-resistant, have been hit hard. Publishers are in business to make money, and the technology and distribution of books has changed significantly in recent years. So some of them (notably Thomas Nelson and Harlequin) have announced they're opening up a self-publishing division. (And, in case you're wondering, MacGregor Literary is in business to make money as well. If I saw an idea that could produce good income, and I thought it fit with my skills and the vision of my company, I'd have to explore it as well.) Correction: Michael Hyatt, the president at Thomas Nelson, wrote to say they are NOT delaying the release of e-books.
And some notes from the world of publishing…
–I think it's cool that David C Cook Publishing is starting a debt-relief plan to help out small Christian retailers. You don't see THAT sort of ministry-minded thinking in this business very often, so it should not be overlooked.
–The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is number 6 on the Kindle bestsellers list… which is amazing since the book was one of the first novels ever released by Abingdon Press, the book publishing arm of the United Methodist Church. Library Journal just named this novel from Joyce Magnin as one of the top five Christian books of the year, so Abingdon is giving it away FOR FREE. If you've got a Kindle, drop by Amazon.com and download it. (If you don't own a Kindle, they've even got a free software download that will let you put it on your computer. How sweet is that?!)
–And as long as I'm bragging about the authors I represent, I want to add that Ann Tatlock's The Returning also made the LIbrary Journal list. So TWO of the top FIVE Christian novels this past year are books we represented. Time to celebrate!
–Wayne Pollard is a cartoonist who creates a funny world where people discuss books over their coffee cups. If you're unfamiliar, check it out at: http://boscafelife.wordpress.com/
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