Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Publishers - a view

Has everyone seen this: http://gu.com/p/35n8m/tw ? It's Anthony Horowitz on publishers - do we need them or not. It's really funny, but serious, too. When it starts, you feel he's turned against traditional publishers, but as it goes on you realise he hasn't, and he points out the value of said trad publishers. He also quotes from a "bestselling" self pubbed ebook, changing the names of the characters - and the gender of one. And I recognised it. After having this title thrust under my nose everywhere (not by the author, who follows me on Twitter) but amazon and general buzz, I decided I'd try a sample. I'm glad I didn't buy it.

The piece he quotes isn't actually bad, but he points out what an editor would do with it and it's a lesson to us all.Not that I'm saying anything against those of us who self pub - Susan Alison does an excellent job, and so, I'm sure, do many others, and the backlists everyone puts up have already had a thorough going over - but it does raise a point.

Also, despite authors having to be fairly hands-on with marketing and promotion these days, publishers do take a lot of the responsibility and, in the case of print books, do all that complicated stuff of distribution.

As someone who hates editing (mainly because I hate reading my own stuff) I'm glad someone else does it for me and points out all the crap mistakes (although some still get through). On the other hand, increased percentages are tempting, as is control over pricing. And for someone who has missed out on a traditional deal because they don't fit the preconceived ideas for their genre, it's an excellent way to prove that sometimes, the industry isn't always right.

Meanwhile, back at the coalface, Murder by Magic is treacling on. Poor Libby, Fran and Ben are being forced into even more ridiculous scenarios, which will hopefully be resolved in time for you to buy it June!

9 comments:

Rebecca Leith said...

Valid points, Lesley. I'm now intrigued ... xxx

Lesley Cookman said...

About the identity of that author? Tee hee.

Donna Hay said...

Excellent post, Lesley. I'd also love to know who that author is...

Henriette said...

Loved the Anthony Horowitz piece, and your follow-up on it. No, he hasn't turned against traditional publishers, and I think the reasons he gave were incredibly valid.

Having recently signed with a publisher myself, I'm looking forward to and half dreading getting my edits, because I've heard from published authors - even multi-published authors - how tough editing can be. Yet, I need an editor, I know that, and I will receive my (possibly tough) edits in the spirit they're intended: me and the editor working together to produce the best book possible.

Still intrigued to know who this author was whose book AH used as example. You couldn't just email me privately, could you :-)

Hx

Ellan said...

Interesting post. I, too, am intrigued.
And I'm impressed that AH follows you on twitter.
Best of luck with the 'treacling on'. [great phrase]
Elaine x

Lesley Cookman said...

AH doesn't follow me on Twitter, Elaine - the author of the book he quoted does!

liz fenwick said...

Good post, you tease...
lx

Jenny Harper said...

Great article by AH - and thanks for your blog too, Lesley. I'd love to do an interactive book, and I'm sure they'll come. I was at the sharp end of the desk-top-publishing revolution and loved it - but sadly, I think writing an interactive book may be a revolution too far for me to get involved in.

Lesley Cookman said...

Jenny, I didn't know that. My late dh worked for Which Computer (I wrote freelance for them) and became one of the very first Apple Trainers in this country. Can't believe it's thirty years ago now.