The impact of Instagrammed selfies on publishing

In the run up to BookMachine Week (23 – 27th February), we have been thinking about images and publishing.

On a typical day you probably gaze over hundreds, perhaps thousands of images. It’s pretty standard to start the day by watching TV, reading a paper or switching on a phone – images are everywhere. They are used to entertain us and inform us, meanwhile clever advertisers use them to turn our intentions into actions which result in purchases.

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Commissioning Editor

3 Questions every Commissioning Editor should ask

This is a guest post from Melody Dawes. Melody has over 15 years of education publishing experience. She has a successful background in content acquisition for print and digital formats, and expertise in all editorial workflows from concept and strategy to the nuts and bolts of demonstrably effective product development. Melody is currently Managing Director of Just Content, a freelance services consultancy working mainly with education publishers.

Good commissioning is so often about the groundwork and experience has taught us that transparent conversations between author and editor are needed from the outset. Authors are busy people with an incredible amount of work to do, and very little spare time. As those of us practicing the dark art of editing know, there is no guarantee of a return for our authors. So what three questions are crucial to getting the project off on the right track?

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Comics and publishing

An interview with Tim Pilcher ahead of BookMachine Brighton

This is a guest interview with Tim Pilcher. Tim has spent over 25 years working in comics and publishing at DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Comics International, Penguin, Dorling Kindersley and Ilex Press. He is the current chair of the Comic Book Alliance and is the author of over 18 books. He is the editor of Brighton: The Graphic Novel, and the forthcoming, Brighton’s Graphic War. He is currently Humanoids’ UK liaison and has lectured on comics at Trinity College, UCL, Imperial War Museum, ICA and The British Library. Follow @Tim_Pilcher or sign up to BookMachine Brighton on Monday 23rd February.

1. How do you think that comics are going to evolve in the next 3-5 years?

Well, digital comics are constantly evolving and there are more and more online portals setting up. Comixology is the daddy (and now owned by Amazon) but Sequential are a fast-growing company to watch, who provide tons of non-superhero comics online. But I think where comics are really going to evolve is not so much in delivery platforms, but more in the breadth of topics that the medium explores. In Japan non-fiction manga is well-established, but that’s an area that’s just starting to grow with titles like Darryl Cunningham’s Science Tales and Supercrash: How to Hijack the Global Economy. Reportage is another area for growth, thanks to the work of Joe Sacco (Footnotes in Gaza, The Fixer, etc.)  I think the comic book “memoir” has become an overcrowded market and I’d like to see more creators actually approaching the graphic novel as a NOVEL, that is contemporary fiction drawn in a sequential manner. The best recent example of this is Glyn Dillon’s The Nao of Brown.

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Poetry featured heavily in new BBC arts slate

Less than a month ago, Robert Harris used his position as head of the Costa Book of the Year Award judging panel to rail against the lack of airtime given to literature by the BBC’s televisual output. Whilst probably not a direct response to Harris’ particular grievances, it is, however, hard to feel that the Corporation’s newly announced slate of arts programming isn’t delivered in a spirit of recalibration, bringing as it does a poetry season for BBC Four and the latest iteration of the erstwhile Late Review.

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Children's Publishing

Monday musings: 3 things that make working in children’s publishing better

This is a guest post from Fiz Osborne. Fiz is Senior Editor on the Illustrated Publishing list at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, commissioning both authors and illustrators. You can follow Fiz on Twitter @FizOsborne (photo credit: Lucy Hunter)

1. Sharing

I really like listening to people talk about publishing! If they pique my attention, I will soak up their words like a sponge and love them for it. Bloomsbury sent me on a brilliant course at the beginning of 2014 – then it was called the Publishing Fusion Workshop, but this year they re-named it Creative Entrepreneurship – which pulled together a great mix of inspiring people to give talks. By the end of it every single person on the course was buzzing. I like following people like Chris McVeigh on Twitter because of his just do better attitude and whenever I go to a Bookseller conference or a BookMachine event I leave feeling galvanised.

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Newly discovered Dr. Seuss book to be published in July

In what has already been quite the month for new books from authors most thought we’d never hear from again, Random House has revealed that on 28 July it will publish What Pet Should I Get? – a ‘new’ book by Dr. Seuss. The manuscript for the book was rediscovered in 2013 by Seuss’ widow, Audrey Geisel, and his secretary, Claudia Prescott, in a box at his San Diego home, having originally been set aside shortly after his death in 1991. Also present in the box was enough unpublished material to sustain at least two further books.

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book designs

10 tips for better book designs

This is a guest post from Thomas Bohm. Thomas studied graphic communication, and now works for book publishers and businesses, whilst running User design a graphic communication design, illustration and production service. Thomas writes, researches and occasionally publishes. He wrote Punctuation..? (2nd edition, User design, 2012) a fun and fully illustrated book on punctuation. Has won awards from the following competitions: British Book Design and Production Awards, 3×3 Magazine and European Design Awards.

Here are 10 tips for improving book designs, they come from my own practical experience and observations. There are many parts, processes and people involved in the production of a book, decisions are usually not down to one person alone, but a group of people each with their own requirements, understandings and style preferences. Subsequently a successful and open minded editorial/designer/client relationship is essential for good results.

1. Make the gutter as wide as it needs to be

Text in books is often hampered by the arch of the open book and falls into the gutter, which causes text which is hard to read and annoys readers because the text on the inner right side and inner left side bends into the gutter. One reason why this happens, is because the designer has failed to make the gutter wide enough.

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Editorial Assistant

On being an Editorial Assistant [part 2]

Last week we interviewed Norah Myers on being an Editorial Assistant. This week she is back with some advice. Norah studied publishing in London at City University and worked for Picador and Bloomsbury before returning to Canada. She worked for a boutique literary agency before moving to an independent publisher of fiction and nonfiction. She loves yoga, books, and endless cups of tea. @bookish_norah

1. Strengthen your administrative skills

Either take a short course concerning office administration or spend some time working in an office. Be prepared to do a lot of administration; work on your efficiency and attention to detail and presentation. You have to be both fast and accurate.

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Book Fairs

Why Americans Don’t Read Foreign Fiction [Discussion]

This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License.

Before Christmas I wrote about some of the issues surrounding books in translation, especially within the English Language markets. I will not go any further into my Hasselhoff effect theory but will many challenges remaining for international publishers to break down these boundaries it was with great interest that I stumbled across a recent article entitled – ‘Why Americans Don’t Read Foreign Fiction’.

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7 Steps To Growing and Maintaining Your Blog Readership

This is a guest blog post by Jaime Tung. Jaime is the author of Angloyankophile, an upbeat take on life as an American expat in London, with a focus on food and travel. Her blog was recently shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards 2015 and she can be found tweeting at @angloyankophile.

1. Write each post as if you were writing an email to a friend.

Ever hear people say, “Just be yourself”? Or, “Write in your own voice”? But what does that actually mean? To me, it means writing each post as if I were writing an email to a friend. My favourite bloggers are those who write as if I’m the only one reading their blog – even if I’m one in 10,000. Ask a question. Invite feedback. Spark a conversation. Your readers will instantly feel more connected to you.

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