Oh happy day

I think it just may be my lucky day. Not surfing too heavy and I found some great stories by way of a very fine site that is definitely my "Find of the Month" for May (se follow on post).

In any case my reason for happiness is an article in Slate by John Barlow called:

I Coulda Been a Pretender: How I didn’t end up like that Harvard sophomore accused of plagiarizing her novel.

Two tastes will suffice:

Book packaging is not a new phenomenon. It involves getting a book concept together, thus saving the publisher the trouble of finding writers, illustrators, editors, etc. Then a finished concept is sold to a publisher as a fait accompli. 17th Street is currently the most successful packager in the world when it comes to teen literature and the targeting of "Generation Y."

That seems dry but believe me there is plenty of gold in this article as the quote below shows:

We had agreed, previously, that I would write the thing as naturally as I could, and the people at 17th Street would filter out the unacceptable elements. So, I did just that, leaving in the text a modest fistful of shits, craps, a bastard, and several fucks. I even told them so when I mailed the finished text. Did they filter? Did they read? No; they gave the manuscript straight to the 8-year-old son of the company president. Little Timmy saw a shit and a fuck. He cried. He read the word bastard and needed counseling. It was a catastrophe.

Now go read it in full.

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Links of Interest (At Least To Me) 24/05/2006

It has been a while since I have had time to surf the web to find links of interest but these four caught my eye today despite my busy schedule.

A very thorough and simple explanation of the value and uses of RSS.

Self Publishing seems to be attracting attention so I thought this resource site might be of use.
Here and Here and Here

Very interesting follow on (including some prior chat from Inside Google Book Search) to the recent article by Kevin Kelly which I mentioned last week.
Here and Here

Some fascinating discussion on the short lives of modern bestsellers.

Editors are not your friends??

I struggled at first with the idea that the Author and Editor have an atagonistic relationship. Here is an excellent example of how many authors view the likes of me. I have gotten used ot the idea that most author's view you as a hindrance to their work.

In truth the role is far more interesting and multidimensional. There are numerous reason to publish books, some of them involve good reasons to self publish others involve great reasons to use a publishing house. If an author is working with a publishing house for the right reasons than the editor is much more of a friend than the antagonistic relationship suggests.

Publishing Change – Text-editing in . . . (insert the non-english speaking nation of your choice/dreams)

A former colleague of mine works in Oxford University Press and has mentioned before the trouble that can arise when copyediting work is done in a non-native English speaking environment. My own personal feelings are beginning to form only recently as I have previously not encountered the scenario.

However with the increasing drive to perform as many tasks as possible in the lowest cost environment the practice is becoming more and more likely and in some cases reality. My principle thoughts are commercial. Will it cost me less and allow me to commission and sell more titles with greater ease and so increase revenue and profit?

I suspect that it will in general do so, certainly outsourcing design and layout functions has freed the Irish arm of Nonsuch to commission more titles and (When we get the time) to promote our titles a little more with the help of our sales agents.

One problem with text editing is that even in England Irish sayings and phrasing may not be comprehensible so how on earth could we expect someone from a country where English is a second language to understand?

I suspect that though I am all in favour of this necessity a very small part of my brain is resisting change as might be expected. The new and the different are often a challenge for the best of us. But just because we find it a challenge doesn't mean it will stop.