812 authors with mainstream publishers were surveyed and here were the headline findings:
1. A majority of authors greatly respect their publishers’ editorial and design skills
2. A majority of authors have serious reservations when it comes to their publishers’ marketing skills and philosophy
3. Publishers are very poor at communicating with their authors
4. A clear majority of authors are unimpressed by their publishers
5. Authors generally love their literary agents
6. Authors feel poorly paid and poorly treated
7. Despite the above, authors aren’t leaving the traditional industry
If you want to see all the data, here’s the link: http://agenthunter.co.uk/blog/363/
I have to say, none of the above is a real surprise to me. In summary, publishers are good at producing a decent product, but generally terrible at selling it. That is largely because they still see it as the job of book shops and other book sellers to shift stock. Or they think: ‘If the book’s really any good, then it’ll sell itself’. Such thinking is of course very backward, since even the best product in the world can’t sell if no one’s ever heard of it. Yet authors still remain with these mainstream publishers. Why? Are these authors stupid? Maybe, maybe not. It’s more likely, however, that mainstream publishers still have something of a monopoly in terms of the publishing industry. Self-publishing? Pah. It only represents 17% of the entire industry. Be assured, traditional publishing is very much alive and kicking.
Saw Peter V. Brett today at Waterstones Deansgate (Manchester). I asked him whether he saw his work as ‘Grimdark’, whether it was a useful term and why it seemed to be a dominant type of fantasy at the mo. Bear in mind Mr Brett was a member of the ‘Grim Gathering’ that took place in Bristol a few days back, a gathering that included fantasy authors Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns) and Joe Abercrombie (The Blade Itself) to boot.
In reply, Mr Brett said the term Grimdark was mainly a way for book-sellers to categorise and sell books. Grimdark is something of a ‘joke’ term for books where bad things happen to the heroes and there is an unhappy ending. There was a trend in authors seeing how far they could take things, but that it was a pursuit of some dark ideal that could never really be attained. Mr Brett did not see his books (and I agree with him) as Grimdark. There is as much hope and celebration in his books as there is misfortune. Hurrah!
Peter V. Brett and A J Dalton
Yours truly being interviewed – the man behind the madness!
A busy day for bookings. Waterstones Leicester have now confirmed a ‘Book of Orm’ signing event for 30 May 2015. Goat-fighting trolls seem to be more popular than expected!
Now confirmed: I’ll be doing a book signing event for Waterstones Manchester Arndale on Saturday 2 May 2015, from 11am. It’ll be book launch of The Book of Orm. Orm, by the way, is a small (and weak) troll who is thrown out of Trollheim by the troll King. Raaaaar!
I really wanted this to be a good movie, cos I’m a fan of Gemma Arteton and cos the premise of the film is so promising (like the Supernatural TV series really). Sadly, the characterisation is less than two-dimensional and there are no moral dilemmas in the film whatsoever. What you see is what you get. Since we don’t really care about the main characters at all, the non-stop fighting is just dull rather than edge-of-your-seat. The whole affair has a whiff of misogyny about it too, which is very disappointing for a film starring Ms Arteton. Hmm. Any saving graces at all? Well, the show is stolen by a troll called Edward. Yes, an animatronic troll steals every scene. Says it all. It gets 4 out of 10 from me. They should have asked me and Matt to write the script, the fools.
Rejoice, rejoice! The Book of Orm launches tomorrow. Secrets of the cosmos are revealed. God’s livid, apparently. That’ll teach Him.