Day: April 11, 2006

East & West, Constantinople & 1453 and Roger Crowley

It may seem an odd post but I was struck by two very different takes on the same book perhaps some of you will be as interested as I was.

I am currently reading an excellent book by Roger Crowley which to me (and other Europeans) is called Constantinople: The Last Great Siege, 1453. It’s a really well written account of the build up to and the climax and outcome of the siege of Constantinople (now Istanbul) that brought an end to the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453. You can see the author profile for the book with publishers Faber & Faber here.

The American edition is pitched in an entirely different light however. When you search for the same book on Amazon.com you get this: 1453 : The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West and if you look at the US publishers Hyperion’s site you can see that the author is very obviously the same man.

It’s hard to know why the change sin title were made and to be fair both versions how up on amazon.co.uk when you search the authors name but it certainly seems odd.

Or perhaps it’s easily explained by marketing to the time and place that’s right for your audience. It just struck me and I thought it might strike others too.

Commissioning or Editing?

I once had a meeting with an author who mentioned that his work load (he was an engineer) was now 75% accounting and often times it seems the same in publishing. Weekly, monthly and quarterly sales reports need to be compiled, Royalty payments need to be monitored, stock numbers checked, returns agreed to and banks statements checked, not to mention expenses. I do not mind working with numbers to be honest, in fact when I have the time they are fine, it’s just that I rarely have time to dedicate to it so they seem always to be done to deadlines!

That is on top of more mundane matters, like stationary and light bulbs, new computer hardware and software, desktop printers couriers and the rest. With all the admin sometimes getting stuck into a deep piece of editing is an excellent escape. Some people in the industry love that side of it but not me. I enjoy it don’t get me wrong but I am much more at home on the road meeting with people and agreeing contracts and book ideas.

I wonder what the split is industry wide. Would most desk editors rather be out commissioning or would many commissioners rather be editing? I am lucky enough to have a balance where I work but I’d love to know how everyone else feels.