A Little Circle of Kindred Minds: Joyce in Paris is a commendable introduction to the cultural scene and, most importantly, to the now virtually mythical stories that have been told about these modernist artists. Although not always exact as literary history, the stories are told with a contagious passion.
A Dubliner and former editor with RTÉ, Fennell has an enthusiasm for Joyce and other Irish writers in Paris that is apparent on every page. The anecdotal sketches are a pleasure to see recounted again and should encourage readers to pursue the memoirs and biographies that form the foundation of Fennell’s book. One could quibble with some of the facts, as well as with the generalisations and summary statements, but that would be to miss the point of the book, which is a broad exploration of some of the characters that helped make Paris “the centre of English-language Modernism”.
Category Archives: Publishing
July 16, 2011 – 11:34 pm
May 24, 2011 – 8:27 pm
I’ve a new post over on my Personal Blog:
The tidy chain discussed at the start begins to look, and will be in real life, a whole lot more complicated. Instead of a publishing value CHAIN, we have something more akin to a value WEB. Different actors can work together on different projects depending on their needs at a given time. And that means title-by-title projects, agents taking on roles more akin to producers (or publishers or retailers or maybe all of them doing so but not on every title).
It’s about the publishing value chain, see what you think,
March 23, 2011 – 1:35 pm
Most small and medium-sized publishers who haven’t YET decided to act on digital publishing wonder where to start. They are especially cautious if they have been in business for some time and have a backlist they are worried about converting. That’s a significant up-front cost for small publishers if they only have PDF copies of their titles.
In their minds backlists look like a cost sink rather than a potential digital profit centre. That’s because depending on who you talk to a backlist conversion from PDF to epub or .mobi will cost about €150-€250 and what’s more, it’ll be even more for a high-design title.
If you’ve been publishing say a modest 10 titles a year for ten years, then you’ve a back list of 100 titles and even at the most reasonable quote that might cost you €15,000 to convert. For a small company that’s a chunk of change equivalent to publishing a few new titles a year in cost terms.
Well to my mind, the first thing ANY publisher needs to do, even if they don’t have immediate plans for digital publishing, is stop making that backlist issue bigger and I’ve a pretty sensible strategy for how they can do that AND start preparing for digital publishing.
1) Stop only holding PDF files
Simple enough really, but if you are using in-house design programmes like Indesign or Quark, make sure you hold onto the Quark or Indesign files of your titles AS WELL as holding on to the PDF. If you are using out of company contractors, make it a condition that designers supply original files to you when they deliver the final files. Doing this means that you have files that are easier to convert then PDFs and will thus cost considerably less money when you decide to explore digital publishing and ebooks.
Cost to you: Nothing
2) Convert all new titles yourself
Many of the best in-house design systems offer conversion tools that publishers can use to create epub and .mobi files themselves. There are other programs that allow you to create them from word files too, so this isn’t as difficult as it might sound. What’s more it future proofs your business going forward against the conversion fees I highlighted above. If you use an external contractor, make them convert the files at source and deliver the resulting files, this should not take them TOO long and for a modest cost at the time of origination you will be ready to sell ebooks.
Cost to you: Nothing to very modest
3) Audit your backlist
So you’ve stopped making the problem bigger and you’ve created files that can easily be converted to ebook formats of your choice. It is time to see just how big the problem is on the backlist. Go through your titles and find out what files you actually have for them. PDF, Indesign, Quark or Word. From an ebook creation perspective Word files and original design files are actually fairly easy to convert (with a little knowledge) so if you have those file types AS WELL as PDF files for your title, you are in a good place. Sort titles into two groups, those with ONLY PDF files and those with Word or Indesign/Quark files.
Cost to you: Time and frustration
4) Convert the easy titles
As I mentioned in 2 (above) in-house design suites will generally have plug-ins that enable you to convert your Indesign/Quark files and there are cheap commercial products that will convert word files. You can make headway in creating a digitzed backlist by converting the files in those formats before worrying about the PDF files. Likewise, external designers will charge MUCH less for converting those files then a PDF, if they don’t, they are probably over-charging you.
Cost to you: Nothing to modest
5) Start selling them
Of course this section requires some thought and strategic planning* before you forge ahead, but once you’ve done that and chosen the right path for your company, you actually have files in formats that can be uploaded to major ebook retail sites. Create accounts, add metadata and start selling them, or sign up with an ebook distributor who will do that work for you. Once the converted titles start to pay back some cash, use that to convert the tricky or PDF-bound titles.
Cost to you: Nothing to modest depending on the sales channel you chose
And there, in five easy steps, is a simple strategy for small and medium-sized publisher looking for somewhere to start on the digital publishing market but worried about their backlist problem.
*Which Green Lamp Media will be happy to help you with. We can provide strategic advice and planning, operations support or we can provide digital publishing services, depending on your needs.
March 7, 2011 – 12:16 pm
People sometimes forget the practical, less flashy tips when it comes to publishing start ups, this post does a good job of boosting them and changing that balance!
2. Spend a lot of time on the creative vision of the company and all design matters.
As mainstream publishers are forced to churn out more and more titles and ape the covers of successful books, design suffers. There is a lot of opportunity in this to stand out and define yourself in an overcrowded market. Also pay a lot of attention to the typesetting of your books – it will make a huge difference to how readers respond to your work.
3. Listen to people.
This process will change your life, and certainly affect your relationships with all those close to you. In the time spent researching and preparing your venture, talk to as many people as possible to get feedback. You’ll certainly find out who your friends are, but you will also get valuable advice, possibly saving you time and money when you take the plunge.
Publishers Take Note | From some perspectives, we are tipping right now and publishers’ metrics will show it – The Shatzkin Files
February 23, 2011 – 11:49 am
Mike Shatzkin talks about the impressive/scary growth of ebooks in the US market:
Michael Cader of Publishers Lunch reported you have to subscribe to use the links that BookScan numbers show a drop in unit sales of printed books of 4.4 % from 2009 to 2010.
But don’t take that number to any bank. It is already out of date. Cader did a further analysis of more recent BookScan data shortly thereafter showing that print book sales have dropped by over 15% compared to the prior year over the first six weeks of 2011! And the share of print sold online keeps rising, so that almost certainly means that print sales in stores has fallen even faster. Could print sales in stores have dropped 20% or 25% from a year ago? They certainly could!
Sales of iPads, Kindles, and Nooks exceeded most expectations for Christmas 2010. Dominique Raccah, the head of independent publisher Sourcebook, a company with a diverse trade list, reported on her blog that dollar sales at her company in January were 35% digital!