Tag Archives: Publishing

Writers v celebrity ‘authors’

6 Oct

(Originally posted to the Literature section of MyMedia)

While there are some famous people who can write well, and who have an avocation for writing, there are many more who slap their names (and often their faces) into something someone else wrote, and then go around selling it.

Publishing in the 21st century is more challenging than ever, for many reasons; the advent of self-publishing, which is so much more agile in following market trends and satisfying existing demand by offering the diversity and variety that traditional publishing is, still, too risk-averse to try.

However, those same publishers who will declare novels like say, The Martian, un-saleable*, will often latch onto a recognizable name, and be happy to offer ridiculously large advances to them, in the hopes that those sales will shore up their flawed, and flagging, businesses.

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“Unrealistic expectations”

7 Sep

(Originally posted in the community section at MyMedia)

I’ve said it before, here and elsewhere: genre romance is the single most lucrative branch of publishing, and has been for nigh a century. In these days of shrinking profit, genre romance *still* bails out ‘literary’ fiction, by a mile.

Yet, it still gets shit on, constantly, everywhere. The media is generally shitty towards genre romance, with very few outlets even hiring someone half-conversant with the genre to write the ubiquitous ‘think’ pieces around Valentine’s Day, or during the June wedding season, or even to recommend summer ‘beach’ reads.

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Traditional publishing, and the risks thereof

26 May

Originally posted to the Literature forum at MyMedia.

I’ve written here, more than once, about genre romance being the single most successful genre in publishing. Not too long ago, genre romance accounted for about 40% of income for traditional publishers.¹

Since the late 70s/early 80s, romance sales have floated other fiction at pretty much all the big houses. To this day, many of the big advance names in so-called literary fiction never earned those advances back–while romance writers of the same caliber routinely do.

Those literary books may earn all the important prizes, and get lots of review space in the big papers, while romance is generally dismissed as pabulum and ‘mommy porn.’

But everyone in publishing knows that the money comes from genre fiction, and that genre romance brings in the lion’s share of the revenue.

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Writing diversity: sensitivity readers

23 May

Originally posted to the Literature forum at MyMedia. I have imported a few
of those posts here under the Publishing tag, if you are interested.

While it may seem, particularly when reading the “classics”¹ and the ‘great literary fiction masters’¹ that there is a default in characterization (heroes are straight able bodied white cis males, and most often, of Anglo Saxon descent), the reality is that people come in many more flavors than that.

In the past few years, readers who do not fit this ‘universal’ characterization, have started seeing themselves represented in the fiction they pay good money to read, in still small but increasing percentages.

All good, right?

Except, not all representation is good representation.

If the one homosexual/non-binary/non-gender conforming character in the work is written as a deviant.
If the one person of color is either a criminal or a victim.
If the one immigrant speaks broken or no English.
If the one female character with speaking lines is there exclusively to either be killed or rescued.
If the one neuro atypical person is either a savant or an idiot.

In short: if whatever diversity is there, consists of clichés, that representation is more harmful than the outright absence of anyone who doesn’t conform to the white, straight, male characters of yore.

Enter sensitivity readers.

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