Any writers?

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by MelissaAnne, May 19, 2006.

  1. Pompidou

    Pompidou One Too Many

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    Unfortunately, a publisher needs no higher motivation than money to appease the shareholders. They can make more money hopping trends than by focusing on quality.
     
  2. Samuell

    Samuell New in Town

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    Hello guys...!
    I am working on a computer programing book....Its really informative for programmers....!
     
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Precisely what's wrong with publishing today -- it's gone corporate. The days are gone when someone like Bennett Cerf can start a publishing company like Random House and immediately make a success out of it based just on the quality of the books he chose to publish. In 1927, publishing firms were small family businesses -- today they're "media corporations." And the march to Idiocracy continues.
     
  4. martinsantos

    martinsantos Practically Family

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    Mybe the biggest problem in not only with the publishers. Of course only a few really read a lot. But probably as a business with high risks, they choose only what really can sell quickly and easy. People don't read much, I think. The few publishers still publishing different things are those smaller, with a market very specific and low number of copies.

    The same argument about bookstores. I knew some little bookstores where you could talk a lot about literature with the owner - and he tried to select from publishers the books his clients would like. This kind of business was just put out of road by a few big bookstores. Where the point is, again, to sell quickly.
     
  5. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    martinsantos, I do remember small bookstores with a single owner.

    There was one in particular store in Des Moines that was packed away off the street next door to a vacuum sales shop. You walked into this 10x20 room where books were stacked from floor to ceiling, no labels, no prices, no organization at all. The owner left you alone to browse, but if you said, "I'm looking for Moby Dick," or , "I really liked Catch-22; what else is there?" He would raise his glasses, hop of his stool and proceed to talk your ear off.

    Places like that have vanished for a number of reasons, such as:
    1. The convenience of consistency (store hours, lighting, "clearance" items, staff, etc)
    2. Volume of "new" product
    3. Location
    4. Readership

    On one hand, you can argue that the eccentric but knowledgeable staff at a small store are more valuable in your pursuit of literature. On the other hand, you can't deny the sheer buying power and variety of a big chain location. In the end, a more "refined" but less satisfying version of buying has blotted out smaller stores. That's the obvious.

    Now as Lizze pointed out, readership has more or less made descent into a realm of visual over intellectual. As members of a modern society, we're constantly bombarded with information and if we choose to partake in even the most mundane aspects of "normal" life, we must necessarily interact with all of this information. Thus, I believe the modern Western mind is devolving* into what could be described as a small engine with 100 gears and a top speed of 25mph. We can shift from one piece to the next, briefly analyze it for its pleasure value and then quickly move to the next bit. Thereby, we're able to consume all of this information routinely, but unfortunately, we cannot seem to grasp a bigger picture, or appreciate any intellectual ramifications, without someone else (usually some pundit from the entertainment industry) pointing out what we should have always seen. It's not to say we're stupid, we're simply too busy to care.

    As a result, we are entirely focused on a particularly narrow band of pure information (of which typically only pertains to our own lives) and anything outside that band is simply irrelevant. Facebook, twitter, text messaging, prime time, sports and the occasional news/dramady broadcast from CNN/MSNBC/FOX are literally all most people can handle in a day. So why read a book which requires some pool of reference, reference which many do not have time to find, when you could indulge in 18 minutes of bright, flashy, colorful dramady and 12 minutes of bright, flashy, colorful dramady advertisement?

    Print is bleeding out; it's value will soon rest in the hands of the fringe as nothing more than a tool. I give print 15 more years before it finally sputters and dies.

    *devolving - used in its obsolete form, to fall downwards; hey, give me some poetic license here!
     
  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Actually, I think the more common definition of de-evolution is even more accurate. Failure to use a muscle causes it to degenerate and atrophy and eventually become completely useless. We're going thru that process as a society, in just the manner you point out. And eventually we really *will* be that stupid.
     
  7. martinsantos

    martinsantos Practically Family

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    Agree with you, Undertow.

    Remembered my preferred used bookstore here in São Paulo. A dark, not very clean room, so many books that you couldn't walk freely. The owner (an old man - in late 90s he was almost 80, I think), always smoking the cheapest cigarrettes in market, was more interested about talking with clients about books than really selling them. I get in touch with several interesting books by these long talks.

    I think all this just beautiful; but I'm minority about...

    But I would add that, if people wanted to read, they could easily. The time we have to wait in buses; waiting at the bank or public offices; etc. Places where a book and a reading moment can be very good! But the isn't the usual, I think. The reading isn't seen as a pleasure but as a obligation - a tedious task for students. The campaigns about reading don't look very sucessful about trying to invert this. And I'm afraid they won't get this, anyway.






     
  8. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    There's a couple of really great used bookstores in my town that I love. Of course, the one independent bookstore that sold new copies died a few years ago, probably thanks to the two Barnes & Noble stores in town plus Amazon.com.

    I pray to God print doesn't go out. I couldn't stand not holding a real, actual book in my hands.
     
  9. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    You're absolutely right, Pompidou. My most recent attempts to find an agent for my WW2 novels were met repeatedly with, "World War 2 fiction doesn't sell."

    But hey, throw a few teenage vampires in, a reality show star, and maybe I could find a spot for it. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Pompidou

    Pompidou One Too Many

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    If there were enough authors of like mind, one option might be to work together and pool resources to open a small independent publishing company friendly to authors like yourselves. I can't tell you what it costs to do so, but I can say that whatever the costs are divided by whatever the number of founding members are might be easier to swallow. Any income from publishing could support your writing efforts.
     
  11. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Precisely. If anyone takes a bus, or waits in line at the Dept. of Transportation, or the doctor's office, etc. they could very easily bring a book to pass the time. But because reading tends to be an obligation (particularly because people can't find any personal bearing in the material), they flip open their cell phone and text message one another, or surf the web, or stare at the television in the office.
     
  12. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    That's an interesting concept: a collective of writers-turned-publishers working together through some kind of socialist principle. [huh] I don't see why it couldn't be done, although I would imagine it would be pretty trying.
     
  13. martinsantos

    martinsantos Practically Family

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    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Here is São Paulo all small, relevant independent bookstores closed in last two years (except for two or three with very specific markets, like law books). One with more than 100 years. Other, from the 40s, always in the same place and one of the best selections about sociology and philsophy, closed 2010.

    Amazon didn't get much efect here, because the language. Internet bookstores are run by the same large street bookstores we have here.

    The problem is more than the printing, I suppose. With offset any printing can be done easily and not very expensive. Biggest problem, I think, is the distribuition. New books are like candies - you must put them under the noses of the buyers the get their interest - and their wallets.

     
  14. Unfortunately, unless one has it done in China, offset at low runs is very expensive, and you have to set a retail of about $30 per unit if a publisher wants to make even a few bucks. It's a game of nickels and dimes.

    Marketing is, indeed, rough. I could go on about that, but, again, it would have to be in one of the forums that is non-searchable like the Ob-bar.

    Regards,

    Jack
     
  15. I'd like to write some time. I tend to write snippets of stories or have a general idea for one but can't flush it out well. I have a late 30's story partially written that takes place in LA and has to do with spies using blackmail and murder to force a civic leader to spy for a foreign power. Maybe i'll finish it sometime.

    I'd also like to get one of those screenplay writing programs t help pound out some of the stuff i have started.
     
  16. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Go for it, John. :)
     
  17. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

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    Jack,

    I got the book in yesterday and I started it, great read so far! I really enjoyed the "chopping down the mast" analogy, thanks for signing it as well (and your handwriting is better than mine!).
     
  18. Pompidou

    Pompidou One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,242
    Location:
    Plainfield, CT
    Replace yesterday with earlier in the week and I can ditto this.
     
  19. Whew! Glad I'm passing the test with you guys. If you hated it, I don't think I could show my face around here. Thanks for the support and patronage! I made enough sales to buy groceries for the next week. (I'm not kidding. As cliche as it is, I'm on the precipice of the whole 'starving writer' bit.)
     
  20. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

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    Got a technique question for you writers out there.

    "Said-isms," those self-important synonyms for "said," like "announced," "growled," etc., I have pretty much trimmed out of my work with the occasional exception, usually for comic effect or when really necessary to be clear. Dean Koontz, I believe, has written he uses nothing but "said," "shouted," and "whispered."

    I've written a "Man from U.N.C.L.E." fan story; actually my second, as the first is now online. The fanzine editor who printed the first one wants this one too. However, she is complaining about the use of "said," and wants me to use some other verbs and/or adverbs. (This, despite the fact that the first MfU story she took was written in the same style, a la Hammett and Chandler, and she had no problems with it.) Now I can rework some of the "said" usages into action tags --

    He rubbed his chin. "Maybe; maybe not."

    -- but am I wrong to rely on "said"? I've been told many times by pros that "said-isms" are a sign of an amateur, and adverbs often a sign of weakness in your prose. Thoughts?
     

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