Huge hurdles. Needed: short posts?
It’s been one of those weeks.
One issue after another has leaped out to stun.
Manic muses sleeping it off – oblivious to their disruption. (Weak excuse.)
So last week slipped by. It was an important one for writers and readers.
Leon Hale believes one small-minded group is saving the publishing industry.
Now I know Mr Hale is old – writing his 91st year – but as a published author, and long time columnist, it’s an astute observation with all the publishing mergers.
(and I have to speak kindly of him – being one of the screaming pack of neighborhood kids that drove him wild enough to complain to parents on the block in his much younger years….although we were sure he was quite ancient / bonkers. Who else would close their windows in the summer’s heat? Air conditioning, when finally available, was considered a miracle for many reasons.)
More and more it seems you have to be famous – or notorious to grab a publisher’s attention.
Really HarperCollins. A “fictionalized account” of Britney Spears life? (Would that be a cartoon? Back of a cereal box?)
Actors, out-of-control celebrities – even White House dogs – are a better risk than a new author?
Even if finally given the golden nod, the road from idea to book store can be a nightmare as author Victor Villasenor found.
He got a hefty advance – so they must have liked his story?
But the proofs came in: the title was altered completely.
Suddenly they called it “fiction” when it was his family’s story?
Sinking feeling. Could he grab his book back? (read his efforts here.)
He wasn’t the only one that got caught in the whirlpool.
Alex Haley had the same thing happen with Roots.
Fortunately there’s a few Don Quixotes out there not willing to surrender: struggling book by book.
Nicolas Kanellos is one.
The niche publishing company he founded gave Villasenor’s book a home (and it became a big seller).
While this small press might not be a fit for your book, Kanellos struggles are worth a read.
Long and short, small niche presses are out there and need to be applauded.
November 11-17 was University Press Week. In this age of publisher merges, that shouldn’t go unnoticed. (Sorry, this is a bit late – those Muses were not amused by so much last week.)
This is from the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) which is celebrating their 75th birthday.
“The breadth of university press activities may surprise you. Consider these facts, gathered by the Association of American
- AAUP member presses produce more than 12,000 works per year, in both print and digital form.
- The AAUP membership alone comprises 133 scholarly presses, found in places ranging from Abilene to Toronto, from Kalamazoo to Hong Kong. While almost every major research university has a scholarly press, so do many smaller institutions, and the collective range of topics covered is fascinating: everything from Christian thought to the geophysics of fracking, from forensic psychiatry to pre-Columbian history, and from poetry to the economics of food.
- University presses collaborate with each other, and with other institutions, in interesting and intrepid ways. Check out Project Euclid, a ground-breaking collaboration in mathematics; or the Archaeology of the Americas Digital Monograph Initiative, a joint project of six university presses; or explore the past (and present) through the Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement project”
Leon Hale emphasizes the importance of regional and university presses:
“Here in our state, writers produce good books that could never find a publisher up East, and the university presses have risen up to publish them. These are Texas books by Texas writers. Memoirs. Folklore. History. Fiction.”
Writing is like riding herd.
Realize it’s not exactly going from point A to point B.
Purposefully headed towards a goal with a little meandering here and there.
All those hurdles? Those that won’t be easily jumped, just skirt around?
Wandering among the post oaks,
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge