Friday, June 3, 2011

New Kids on the Block

There are new publishers popping up all the time. Traditional publishing isn't dead yet, and it might still survive in its current incarnation (maybe). But as New York tightens its lines and dumps long-standing midlist authors who just aren't increasing their sell-through like they ought, digital-first and POD publishing, and even self-publishing, are becoming hella more mainstream.This is a good thing, though others argue that the lack of appropriate, proven gatekeepers means doom and horror for all.


It's a new age. New technology means we have the ability to try out radical business models and give power back to the author. Not to mention readers who clamor for something New York just isn't willing to try.

When some folks I heartily respect announced they had opened the doors of their new publishing company, I perked up. These ladies are not fools, they're serious about the craft, the art, and the business of writing, and anything they do is bound to be exciting. I watched as they found some asses, kicked them, took a few names, and grew their reputation before they'd even released their first books.

I'm now an assistant editor for that publisher and couldn't be more excited. The business model is fabulous and very much in favor of the author. With the help of an advisory board, beautiful cover art, and a fabulous team of industry pros providing top-notch editing and publicity, this group is ready to give authors every advantage.

I can't wait to show you what we've got. :) Prepare for some pimping.


Donnell said...

K.L. Congratulations!

Vince said...

Hi K.L.:

In the brave new world of ‘anyone can publish anything’ what is most needed is an Independent Editing Seal of Approval. This could be like the UL seal of approval.

Now is the time for professional editors to create this organization. I bought what looked like a good eBook, with great cover art, and a real sounding publishing company – and it had 30 mistakes in the first 15 pages. (And this book had been reviewed without mention of all the typos!)

I would look for the IESA logo in eBook ads.


KL Grady said...

Donnell, thanks! :)

Vince, I'm all for some assurance of quality, but honestly, I've seen some NY published novels that clearly hadn't been edited.

I do believe that when the digital industry settles in, we'll see new gatekeepers emerge--probably blogs, reader community sites, and specialized digital stores--that give readers some assurance that the book they're about to read has met some quality standard.

In the meantime, I can tell you that Entangled's editing standards are high. Books go through multiple editing passes with at least two different editors. :)

Leslie Ann said...

Woo Hoo KL,
Sounds wonderful and exciting.

I'm entering this new frontier and I'm excited beyond measure to see what it's all about.

I can't wait to read more your group.

Entangled? Tell us more, please.


Leslie Ann said...

Hey Vince,
What was it about the cover art that drew you in?

I want to do a blog on Cover Art for Indie's.

Tell me why that cover worked for you.


Vince said...

Hi Leslie Anne:

Actually an author interview on a blog sold me on buying the book. It was an ‘eBook-only’ book and I am always suspicious of these books.

In this case, the cover art was used as a disqualifier and not to attract my attention. (It passed.) So many of the bad eBooks have stock covers that the publisher uses over and over again. These publishers will cut and paste parts of the cover art to make ‘new’ cover art. If the publisher is not going to invest even a little money in the cover art, then why would I think they would spend much on editing the book?

This book had original artwork created for this book alone. Of course, the author could have provided the artwork herself.

This is why I think eBook cover art is so much more important than major publisher cover art. This is even more important when you consider the fact that an author may have five books published that are all terrible! Unfortunately some of the worse writers are the most prolific.

I am very interested in cover art. I sure want to read your post.


Donnell said...

K.L. I know if you have your name on anything, it has quality and education behind it. Liz Pelletier has garnered a reputation for creating top notch organizations and has a *savvy* forgive me :) business sense about her.

We all have to start somewhere, and I think with the digital age exploding, she's seizing a brilliant opportunity.

Vince, as far as e-publishing, I think you also have to look at New York, small presses and e-publishers, alike now as far as quality. I think it boils down to the staff behind the book, including the author. The author's name is on that book after all. Authors must at all costs produce a thoroughly proofed product first and foremost, never taking for granted an editor or copy editor will *catch* something.

If you're self-publishing, and you want to be taken seriously, you better invest some time and money into your covers and not just slap something on there. First impressions and all that :)

That said, IMO, authors are being squeezed at almost impossible levels to get get books in. How often have you heard, I liked the first, but the second and third novels didn't hold up? -- Think I'm exaggerating. Ask an author on deadline how much sleep s/he gets.

Finally, I have to share this story ... I subbed at my mom's bridge group, and one of her lovely bridge partners brought me a book by a well-known author from a major publishing house. My mother's friend pointed out that the hero's name is XX in the first part of the book and changes to XX in the latter. The woman (an avid reader, well in to her eighties) was dismayed at what she read -- expecting better from NY.

She'd also highlighted every typo in the book of which I cringed because there were several.

I can only surmise that the author, who has great name recognition, and, no doubt, thousands of fans, must have been on deadline and the house she publishes with squeezed for product output as well. My mother's friend said she planned to write the publisher. I imagine she did.

Things are happening, and the digital age is making publishing the great equalizer.

My point. It's not just e-publishers, self-publishing, etc. Quality and proofreading and editing are (in some cases, definitely not all) appear to be lacking at all levels.

The Latin phrase, Caveat Emptor, certainly applies now more than ever when we're purchasing books.

I think we need a wake-up call to every person in the industry -- new kids on the block are kicking butts and taking names as the saying goes. Take pride in your work. If your name is on it, no matter what process you're involved in, make your role in that effort the best it can be.

Theresa said...

Congrats on your new job! I can't wait to fully research Entangled. What I've read so far sounds almost too good to be true.
The publishing industry is in real flux right now and it's the brave who have the foresight and chutzpa to take action who conquer the world.
Looking forward to investigating this!
Thanks for sharing!