Interesting, Fun and Work

Eoin Purcell

That is my work is interesting and fun
And when we get reviews like this one, how could it not be:

If it’s humorous accounts you’re after, then stick to Tony Hawks’ ‘Round Ireland with a Fridge’ but for a one-stop-shop guide to the best action adventures in Ireland, this is it.

And then there are the new authors
The ones who are going to go on to big things. In this case, Susan Connolly. In fact, about 3 years ago, I met Susan on a Luas having not seen her for a while. She told me she had written some stuff, I said, “Send it on!” and she didn’t!

Damsel finally came to me more as her friend then as a potential publisher. So when I suggested we make an offer for it, I think she was surprised. Nonetheless we persevered and with a help from the lovely Faith O’Grady at Lisa Richards we agreed a deal for Irish Rights.

Susan has a great future ahead of her and I’m glad Mercier will be part of that.

Writing lots of new title notes

PS: Padraig Woods has a fantastic selection of Flickr images here.

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t annoy me!

Eoin Purcell

The Irish Times signs deal with Collins
Read this evening that our national quality daily signed a multi book agreement with Collins (as in HarperCollins):

Collins has signed a deal with the daily newspaper the Irish Times to publish a series of specially branded books. The publisher will release around four titles per year in areas like sport, quiz books and history. The first title in the venture will be released in September when Collins publishes the Irish Times Universal Atlas of the World. The hardback atlas will retail for £50. It will be presented in a gift slipcase and will contain special Irish content.

I think this is a big deal. I may not seem like it, but it is. The reason why it’s a big deal is that it is yet another example of the complete and total penetration of the Irish market and culture by foreign controlled publishers. I’m not oppossed to competition, in fact, I welcome it, but it is this type of market dominance that makes my job harder as every day goes by.

Slightly depressed,

The Irish Blogosphere Criticism and Elites

Eoin Purcell

Teacups threatened by Storms
The Irish Blogosphere is small and shallow. Its readership is growing, as is the total number of participants. The growth and success of the Irish Blog Awards indicates that the arena is widening but, as it stands, there are only a few thousand bloggers and in total they get only a few hundreds of thousands of visitors a day.

That in itself is impressive but hardly earth shattering. What is more, the bulk of these visitors swarm about some leading lights, as one might expect in any media/publishing landscape*.

Which is why I was very surprised by the recent kerfuffle (Good survey post on Rick O’Shea’s blog) about this little post. Here is the worst of it:

I can only assume that the A-listers of the Irish blogging world are lovely, lovely people because to be frank, some of them are shit-awful writers. I shouldn’t need to point out (but I will anyway) that this is intended as a critique of the blogs themselves, and not of the bloggers. There are an awful lot of people out there who need to get themselves a good editor, or whose blogs need a harsh fucking review.

Both sides are a little overwrought
For one thing, elites often look talentless and undeserving to those left outside them. We seldom see the complex networks, the years of hidden slogging or the subtle appeal to others that ensures such elites their position. That doesn’t mean they are entirely without merit.

On the other hand, elites deserve the odd lobbed grenade into their comfort zone and a decent rigorous review would be welcome. The strong reaction against this post was to my mind, unwarranted. It suggests that those criticised remain insecure about their position within the Irish Blogosphere (a misplaced insecurity given the targets of criticism I assure you).

Elites Form
The truth is that either because they were first movers or because they were already well connected with existing bloggers or because they have exclusive access and content. It’s a little like Power Laws.

The A list of Irish bloggers has formed by a variety of methods. Some of them have exclusive content, insider positions or name recognition. Others have posted and worked hard to get where they are. Some succeed for reason I cannot even begin to imagine, but then complex systems as I said above, are often beyond the comprehension of most humans.

To boil it down, criticism is good, elites have a function (and are in any case, largely avoidable). We should all accept both those facts and move on with it.

Enjoying Sunday morning Radio,

* And lest we forget, the blog is simply a publishing platform.

Paperless Proofs: the way forward?

Eoin Purcell

I was in Edinburgh on Wednesday
At the Scottish Publishing Centre for a training course in proofing. I really enjoyed the course as I needed the direction. The tutor was Barbara Horn who was incredibly friendly, very good at what she did and very efficient too. I really learned a hell of a lot.

The reason I bring it up is because, during our lunch break, Barbara showed us an very very exciting new program called Paperless Proofs.

The basic idea is to take the paper out of the proofing process and make the entire editorial workflow, digital. I like what it has to offer and I thought it worth posting about.

My only concern is that if one is going to proof online, why not cut out the unnecessary stages altogether and proof in Indesign or Quark and actually make the change. Using Paperless Proofs, at least record is created though and can be filed for tracking, even if in doing so you institute a whole extra level of process.

Still, it struck me as an interesting move forward.

Ahh the weekend,