A copy of Action Comics #1 – arguably the single most sought after issue in the history of the medium – recently sold at (eBay) auction for $3,207,852, the most money ever paid for a single comic book by a margin of about a million dollars. Its nearest competitor? Another, less pristine copy of Action Comics #1, sold in 2011 for $2,161,000. Only 50 or so unrestored first run copies remain extant, and at those rates, anyone who wants to read the first appearances of Sticky-Mitt Stimson, Scoop Scanlon the Five Star Reporter (perfect name for a reporter between the wars, A+) and some dude named Superman in their original form needs to have some serious capital behind them.
This is a guest post from Carl Pappenheim, owner of Spineless Classics about Working in Publishing (sponsor of BookMachine Oxford on November 6).
Publishing is comfortably the most glamorous and educational industry going (well, after tech support of course) but working with text can be a trial. Whether it’s a poorly formatted lengthy terms-of-business from a bureaucratic behemoth who want to give you a license, or just a poorly transcribed manuscript that was typed up by somebody’s myopic aunty on a Wordstar electric typewriter, at some point you’re going to be tearing at your elegantly coiffed hair with frustration at all the time you’re wasting filling in missing full-stops instead of getting into an event early enough to complain about the free wine. I personally find such misuses of my time very trying, so in a generous attempt to lessen the misery for others I present to you three things that have greatly reduced my stress of working in publishing over the past few years.
Credit where it’s due to Waterstones’ PR staff: following a potentially embarrassing incident last week, in which an American tourist had to tweet and post on Instagram for help (#nofilter) after being locked inside the chain’s Trafalgar Square branch for two hours when staff closed up without realising he was still there, they’ve spun what could be a clammy nightmare into a dream come true for a certain kind of book lover. Realising that being locked inside a bookshop for several hours isn’t necessarily so unappealing a prospect, the shop is this Friday hosting a ‘sleepover’ for ten guests and their plus ones.
If you haven’t already started affecting a veneer of cool disdain as a reaction to everyone else losing their minds, you may be mildly excited by the recent news that David Lynch and Mark Frost’s seminal TV show Twin Peaks will be returning to TV screens in 2016 for a third season, 25 years after the end of its second.
Though, predictably, Lynch has been the focal point of most coverage of the show’s return (given his far higher profile during its hiatus than that of his co-creator), Frost also played a key role in developing Twin Peaks‘ unique tone and – as if to reinforce that this isn’t just The David Lynch Show – has revealed that he is writing a novel detailing the lives of the town’s residents over the 25 years between episodes.
Host of November’s BookMachine NYC, Bree Weber, talks to speaker on the night Joe Regal, co-founder of Zola Books.
Grab your tickets for BookMachine NYC here.
1. How did your background as a literary agent lead to Zola Books?
What I saw as an agent was that with the rise of digital books, authors were stuck with a royalty rate I didn’t feel was fair – 25% of net – but the problem came not from publishers as much as a retail environment where publishers were being squeezed by an increasingly small group of increasingly powerful retailers, and the publishers were passing on that pain to the writers out of self-preservation. It seemed really clear that in order to continue to serve writers, I needed to become involved in an effort to bring more diversity to retail, so that publishers would have more outlets for their books, enabling them to continue to nurture writers struggling to start careers…or struggling to maintain careers.
BookMachine Oxford host Charly Salvesen-Ford talks to Beth Cox, freelance editor and consultant specialising in children’s books, and the star of our event on 6th November.
Grab your tickets for BookMachine Oxford here.
1) What is the best part of your job?
The variety. I love the fact that every day is different – one day I can be copy-editing a manuscript, the next delivering training, the next working on a book layout, the next planning an event, the next plotting how to change the face of children’s books with Inclusive Minds co-founder, Alexandra Strick! And that’s a minor snapshot of the range of things my job involves.
This is a guest post from Tahira Rahemtulla, a senior editor at Unambiguous Edit. Tahira graduated from City University London in 2012, with a Masters in International Publishing. She is now hosting a writing contest, That’s Write!, as a lead of Unambiguous Edit, in collaboration with TLAC Printing and Publishing, BookMachine, and Wildfire Studio.
Writers: you have 102 days!
What’s at the end of 102 days?
The close of the first That’s Write! contest submission!
What is That’s Write!?
That’s Write! is a fiction writing contest organized by four different collaborating groups from the publishing industry.
Grab your tickets for BookMachine NYC here.
1. What’s your background and how did you get involved in the publishing industry?
I’m an engineer by background, love to write and publish, and also love help other people publish. So, obviously, a natural fit for me would be to combine all three into my own company.
In a technological age we all have to think that little bit more about what we say, how we say it and where we say it. After all, what’s said on Google, stays on Google. Well mostly. That’s not to say technology is a hindrance, far from it. It has helped create a platform for voices to be heard and opened up more routes to market than ever before, across many sectors, especially within publishing.
The international publishing arena is a particularly broad, interesting yet intricate marketplace which has evolved greatly in recent times. There have long been many historic complexities to overcome and whilst some linger, technological advances have led to far more doors being opened than closed for publishers.
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: