So much happening out there, one can hardly keep up. Fear not, here’s your correspondent reporting from the front.
Firstly, the gradually evaporating myth of a trad v. indie publishing war. Here’s an extract from my guest piece for Words with JAM:
Far too many online spats and vitriolic entrenchment regarding the trad v. indie debate. Not pretty and neither side comes out unscathed.
Naturally, the media loves mud-slinging and muck-raking, and will stir that cauldron with a large wooden spoon. Understandable. Good news about positive initiatives and mutual support are nowhere near as attractive as a damn good row and a couple of insults.
What puzzles me is the disconnect between these ‘stories’ and reality. For years, I’ve worked as a journalist … I’ve interviewed publishers, agents, authors of every persuasion, publicists, translators, fantasists, artists, architects, politicians and anarchists.
Not one of these individuals was looking for a fight. Each was looking for the best way to bring two things together: the reader and the story. Each has her/his own agenda and might measure success differently, but the ultimate aim is the same. Story + Reader = Result.
The Guardian started its Self-Publishing Showcase by asking readers to recommend self-published books they thought deserved attention. And they kicked off with an interview with Polly Courtney, who launched her book, Feral Youth, last night. Polly is a great champion of the independent route and took the time to talk to me about her choices.
Writers and Artists’ Yearbook has also begun a series interviewing self-published authors and offering advice from the experienced and savvy Roz Morris.
And agent Andrew Lownie is doing incredibly well with his Thistle Publishing imprint, proving that flexibility and marketing nous can mean success for author, agent and reader.
Closer to home, Triskele Books has been raking in the reviews, accolades , interviews and awards. The Trisky blog is the place to go for illuminating interviews, a writers’ toolbox and our bookclub, discussing stories we love. Today and next week, we have an insider scoop from our favourite print-on-demand company. David Taylor, CEO of Lightning Source answers our questions and introduces new initiative, IngramSpark.
For far-flung sorts with a penchant for place, I’ve begun a new column at Displaced Nation, talking to writers about use of location. By way of introduction, I took my own medicine. If you have any books/authors you think use setting to best effect, please do tip me off.