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Linking Small Press.

For those of you who keep track of debates through the blogsphere, here's a set of links to conversations about the small press, and the roles of publishers, editors, and authors:

The first comes from Deborah Layne (mme_publisher), who runs Wheatland Press, and she wrote:

However, the way in which various small presses do those tasks varies greatly. And that’s what this post is about. I have very deeply held convictions about what my responsibilities as a publisher are. As I said to someone lately, I don’t pay big advances, but what I can give to the writers is to conduct myself as a professional. Small doesn’t have to mean semi-professional or unprofessional or minor league.

So, I send out tons and tons and tons of comp copies, beginning with ARCs. These go to reviewers, editors of Year’s Bests, other editors who I think might be interested in the writers whose work appears in Polyphony, ALL Award judges for which any piece in the book might conceivably be eligible, other publishers, some agents, other writers who I would like to get stories from, and finally, the great big category called: people I like. Some comp copies I send out without any expectation of any value for me or the writers or Jay or anybody. They are gifts.


The second is from Russell Farr (punkrocker1991), who runs Ticonderoga, and he said:

In my mind, an editor's best interests lie primarily in getting their product out and secondly in promoting their publication: a well-promoted publication should have many flow on effects including more (and a better selection of) submission, more recognition for the writers, and in many cases the possibility of generating revenue. To the editor, the publication is more than a sum of its parts, more than just the fiction, columns, reviews and so on it contains, it's a whole entity, and the editor (or editors, as many publications have more than one) is the one who puts this together and guides the publication's direction.

...

In Australian indie press, most of the time the editors do everything from structural edits and line edits, to making their own cups of tea and opening their own mail. At TiconderogaOnline I'd love to be able to get someone in to help out with some of the secondary tasks -- the "icing on the cake" tasks, those that aren't as "exciting" as the actual editing but are just as important in promoting the zine and making it look good. Things like filing, printing and laying out stories to send off to awards panels etc, writing press releases, sourcing advertising, some basic coding, small, unsexy but worthwhile stuff.


And Sean Wallace (oldcharliebrown), from Wildside Press, and who is responsible for the Prime imprint, as well as magazines such as Fantasy Magazine, talks about editors:

Something that has been bugging me for years since I've started publishing, editing, (and even earlier, when I was reading) is in the way people in the field handle or don't handle the appearance of impropiety. Even early on when I read either an anthology or magazine it always tipped me off that something was off and not right was whenever I saw said anthology or magazine editor (or their staff) with a story in their own publication.





And if you want to find the argument that I'm in that both Farr and Layne are listing, it is here. My irritation comes from the fact that a conscious decision was made to not send the stories and then a conscious decision was then not made to tell the authors of this. That gets a little lost there in the commentary, but it's worth reading, if you care for these things. There's a lot of commentary in Wallace's post as well.

Comments

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drjon
Jul. 30th, 2006 09:04 am (UTC)
On an tangential issue, where would I go to read a history of small-press in Oz? And which is the oldest surviving outfit?
benpeek
Jul. 30th, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)
i have no idea. russell farr would probably know if such a thing existed, i imagine, so you might ask him. magazine wise, i think the oldest would be aurealis, but these days, i think maybe mirrordanse is the longest running press of books. i wouldn't take my word over this, however.
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