This is a guest blog from Christopher Russell, author of Mockstars, a music novel inspired by his international tour diaries for rock/pop band The Lightyears.
As someone who has spent over a decade in the trenches of the music industry, when I migrated into the book world last year I was delighted to find that everyone in publishing is spectacularly nice to one another. By contrast, rock ’n’ roll is rather less cuddly – and in fact it’s largely for this reason that I think it has prepared me well for life as an aspiring writer.
With this in mind, here are a few of the transferable lessons:
This is a guest post from Toby Hopkins, Senior Account Manager at Getty Images (sponsor of next month’s BookMachine London).
“Does Getty Images have a social media strategy?” Sam Missingham asked me after one of her tour de force appearances at BookMachine or a similar event. Myself being new to Getty Images at the time, I couldn’t answer. So I talked to a woman who could. Jen Stanley, based in London, is a member of the global Getty Images social media team.
In this essay, BookMachine contributor, Glasgow native and holder of two hitherto useless degrees in Scottish Literature Chris Ward attempts to explain some of the factors behind the overwhelmingly positive show of support for independence from the Scottish literary community.
Many will know I have an unashamed love for Haruki Murakami. So when I heard that his debut work, which is almost impossible to find in English, will be translated and re-released next year my heart missed a beat.
Hear the Wind Sing was first published in Japanese in 1979 and released in English eight years later, translated by Alfred Birnbaum. It is no longer in print, and copies of the novella are said to be changing hands for huge sums online.
Of course the Murakami phenomenon is in itself a pretty rare thing in the publishing world. A writer who has become an actual celebrity in their own right is neigh on a miracle these days, forgive me J.K., especially when you see bestseller lists dominated by ‘celebrities’ turned ‘writers’ week after week.
This is a guest post from Mary Ann Kernan of City University, London. Interested in exploring a Publishing MA and UK/EU postgrad fee bursaries? Sign up for City’s Postgraduate Open Evening for 2014-15, 5-7pm on 10 September.
It’s great to be working with BookMachine this year to spread the word about City’s two top-rated Publishing MAs in 2014-15 (thanks, Laura & Gavin!). We’ve done a lot together since 2010, when City’s students ran a conference and networking event with BookMachine. Since then, our alums have interned with them, organised BookMachine events (keep an eye out for Tahira’s in Toronto?) and blogged (I especially enjoyed Emma Smith’s recent blog about Faber Factory). I also hosted a joint NY event with BookMachine in 2013, and enjoyed meeting some of the publishing community there; and we were one of the 2014 BookMachine event sponsors in London. (Time to plan for 2014-15, Bookmachiners?!)
In conversation with publishers, one sometimes gets the sense disintermediation – a cutting out or unbundling of publishers from the literary value chain – isn’t taken seriously. Publishers assume they’ll always be wanted and needed and that their imprimatur means any attempt to disintermediate will be at worst equivocal, at best footnotes in the grand history of the written word.
Such thinking is mistaken. Papyrus workers, scribes, rubricators, hot metal typesetters and even map publishers probably all once thought themselves relatively secure, yet they have all been rendered irrelevant by new technology. For publishing, digital technology is an ‘out-of-context’ problem: like the Conquistadors in America being technologically more advanced and following imperatives incomprehensible to the indigenous population. Even recognising the true nature of the problem isn’t obvious. It can’t be couched in the usual terms.
Last week, 10 outstanding authors presented their novels at CompletelyNovel and LiterallyPR‘s ‘One Big Book Launch‘.
Even the tube strike didn’t stop hoards of existing fans, and curious readers attending the event which gave the independent authors the opportunity to simultaneously launch their books.
Being read to is somewhat cathartic. When we read to ourselves, we are taken on a journey, but we dictate the speed and impact of the words. When someone who has written a novel or a play reads the text, as it was meant to be communicated; as a listener you have no choice but to relax, and take in the story.
So #OBBL was inspiring. It was moving to hear authors themselves reading through their own work. I was slightly in awe of the way each author took something so close to their heart; and read it to a room full of strangers – seeing their reaction to the final version.
I’d like to go to more events like #OBBL, more events where authors get to ‘go on tour’ and get the kind of publicity that can only be achieved by an event of this scale.
I took home The Clean Collection by Sabrina Mahfouz. A collection of plays and poems that Sabrina eloquently and expertly read from at the event. Not something I would have normally picked off the shelf as I tend to read non-fiction, but I was influenced by the sheer impact of hearing the spoken word.
Well done to all the organisers. It was a great evening and there’s plenty to think about in terms of raising the profile of independent authors.
Photo © BookMachine
The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014 shortlist was announced in style at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens. The party was buzzing with creative and passionate women including Kate Mosse, Mary Beard, Helen Fraser and Sarah Walters. It was a beautiful event to celebrate excellent writing from the following female novelists:
- Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
- Burial Rights – Hannah Kent
- The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
- A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride
- The Undertaking – Audrey Magee
- The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
The winner will be announced on 4 June 2014.
The first day of the fair saw a giant choccywoccydoodah cake, the SYP seminars How to get into publishing & How to get ahead in publishing and the announcement of another shortlist.
I announced the Kim Scott Walwyn shortlist at the beginning of our second seminar. This is an award that celebrates exceptional female publishers:
- Melissa Cox – Children’s New Titles Buyer at Waterstones
- Lindsey Dalladay – Community Manager at Penguin Random House
- Sarah Hesketh – Freelance Project Manager at The Poetry Translation Centre
- Hellie Ogden – Literary Agent at Janklow & Nesbit
- Anne Perry- Editor at Hodder & Stoughton
The winner will be announced on 13 May 2014.
The place to be was BookMachine pre-drinks at the fair and then the rockin Kobo party at Underbelly in Hoxton Square.
A few of us from the SYP went along to The Bookseller drinks — I had a Q&A in Tuesday’s LBF Daily and wanted to celebrate my newfound fame.
After a fabulous week, I was well and truly ready for bed! Instead I went out in Soho with a friend I met interning a couple of years ago. #TGIF
So, you may have heard, BookMachine have teamed up with Kingston University Press to publish a collection of blog posts. It’s called Snapshots: Bookmachine on digital, discoverability and collaboration and will be available in print and as an ebook. The blook was edited, designed and produced by a small team of students with next-to-no experience in book production, and they had just 7 weeks do it in. Sounds like a tall order? This is how we did it …
Lecturers Anna Faherty and Judith Watts from Kingston University’s Publishing MA course instigated, organised and have overseen the process. Without their round-the-clock dedication this project wouldn’t have even made it out of the pipeline.
They appointed an editor and project manager from the course (myself) to contact the 46 authors and contributors, collate the manuscript, brief the students and communicate with everyone (a lot).
Entrusted with content from some of the biggest names in the industry, what the student production team achieved in the given time was no mean feat. They took the basic manuscript and copy-edited, designed, typeset, proofread and converted it into an ebook – all the while juggling their other deadlines, internships and jobs.
And the result? We now have a professional-looking product that will sit proudly on our bookshelves (and e-readers) for years to come, and the practical knowledge and experience we need to fuel our future careers.
So take two amazing tutors, a dynamic and future-focused client and students with buckets full of enthusiasm, and you can get a lot more done than you might think.
You can read more about the blook here, or meet the team and get a sneak preview at BookMachine’s event at The London Book Fair.
As the holiday season picks up, New York does not forget the gift of words. Check out these bookish December events.
December 2: The Half King Reading Series
Featuring: Jeffrey Lewis, “The Inquisitor’s Diary”
Jeffrey Lewis is the author of Meritocracy: A Love Story, The Conference of the Birds, Theme Song for an Old Show, and Adam the King—four novels that comprise The Meritocracy Quartet, to be published as one volume in 2013 by Haus—and Berlin Cantata. He has twice been the recipient of the Independent Publishers Gold Medals for Literary Fiction and has won two Emmys and the Writers’ Guild Award for his work as a writer and producer on the critically acclaimed television series Hill Street Blues.
Where: The Half King, 505 w. 23rd Street