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A thing meant to be: The work of a book editor

In my senior year of college, having discovered that I generally liked working on other people’s prose a great deal more than my own, I confided to a professor that I was thinking of trying to become an editor. “Pretty thankless job,” she said. The truth is, despite its moments of frustration and overwhelm and failure, I have never found the job thankless.

More than anything, there is this: the sublime moment—and it never stops being sublime—when you get to attend, as beautiful, meaningful, and original work emerges in the world. When I gave birth to my daughters, one of my sisters-in-law said, “It is one of the rare experiences for which ‘miracle’ is not an overstatement.” It’s not an overstatement for the birth of art, either. What’s most miraculous is the “let there be” of it—the way a new and unique something yet again emerges from the wordless deep.

The sense is that the book is trying to communicate what it wants to become, how it wants to incarnate itself. Masha Gessen recently spoke of this process in an interview: “I know what my objectives are and I know what the topic is, and then I’m just reporting. I walk around for a bit, literally, bike and walk, and then suddenly, I get an idea of what it should be, what the structure is. I can’t tell you how I came up with this.” Peter Matthiessen thanked John Irving for his comments on the sprawling early draft of what would become his monumental Shadow Country back in “the book’s cretaceous days, when the whole was still inchoate, crude, and formless.” And when Matthiessen died, just before we at Riverhead had the precious honor of publishing his final book, Irving mourned the loss of “a friend I dared to show what I was up to, when I was still unsure of what it was.”

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India’s potential wealth of translation: Many languages, uncharted

India may have 22 officially recognized languages, but as many as 122 languages are spoken throughout the vast country.

And when the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) organized a debate on what this means for publishing today in India, it brought together four key experts in the factors impacting the industry there today:

  • Ravi DeeCee, CEO of DC Books, one of the leading book publishers in India in Malayalam; he also runs a chain of bookshops and is president of the Kerala Publishers and Booksellers Association
  • Subrahmanian Seshadri, an education and publishing consultant with a long career in the publishing industry as executive director of Dorling Kindersley, India, regional director of Oxford University Press, India; Seshadri also launched Lonely Planet for the Indian traveler
  • Tina Narang is the publisher of the children’s list of the one-year-old children’s imprint, HarperCollins India; prior to HarperCollins she was at Scholastic India
  • Esha Chatterjee, CEO of the family-run independent English-language publishing house, BEE Books; that house also provides content support for the International Kolkata Literature Festival and Chatterjee is one of the curators of the festival

FICCI’s senior director, Sumeet Gupta, was on-hand to moderate the session, “Translation: Trends and Opportunities,” held on the “middle morning” of London Book Fair earlier this month

As the program reflected, each of India’s languages has its own literature, and much of this literature remains available for translation into other Indian languages—and for foreign publishers to discover.

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Looking ahead to Taipei International Book Exhibition: Interview with director James Chao

‘The Power of Reading’ is the message to Taiwan’s consumer base at this year’s sprawling Taipei International Book Exhibition, while Frankfurter Buchmesse’s professional program there examines changes in business, markets, and sales.

The Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) is an important event for Taiwan and a measuring stick for the country’s publishing industry over the coming year, according to director James Chao. The TIBE “predicts the performance in sales for the year and reflects the confidence of the publishers,” Chao told Publishing Perspectives in an interview.

Opening Tuesday (February 6), the TIBE is a six-day book fair which this year features Israel as its guest of honor, an international rights center, and a Frankfurt Publishers Training Program opening on Monday, the eve of the exhibition’s public launch.

Directed by the Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Katharina Ewald, this year’s Publishers Training Program (February 5 and 6) highlights publishing markets in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Thailand. Speakers include:

  • Richard Nash, US-based entrepreneur and consultant in publishing
  • Jackie Huang, Andrew Nurnberg Associates China director (read our interview here)
  • Jerome Su, chairman with Bookman Books and BK Norton, Taiwan
  • Amy Ho, founcing CEO of CW Education Media & Publishing Company, Taiwan
  • Sarah Sohlemann, online marketing lead with Verlagsgruppe Random House, Germany
  • Gerald Cai of MXRi and SnapLearn, Singapore

As well as working as the director of TIBE, Chao is also the chairman and president of China Times, said to be the only publicly traded publishing company in Taiwan. We’ve opened our interview with Chao by asking whether the TIBE is more a trade show or a consumer-facing book fair.

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Working It Out: How to be a published author?

By Siddhartha S

I have intentionally added the word ‘published’ to the title of this article. I wish for all the aspiring authors to not only write but also get published. As a published author, I often get asked how to be an author so I take this opportunity to share everything I learned about publishing over the last decade. I believe writing is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with your creative faculties. Even as I write these lines, I am excited because I have no ideas of the words which will follow. A published book is the best example that the intangible becomes tangible if you are willing to invest time.

Believe that you can be an author: Writing a book is definitely a long term effort. No matter how much impressive they sound but never sign up for workshops that offer to make you a published author in a month. Try to deliver a baby in month and chances are high it will be healthy of fully developed. There might be few exceptions but generally I believe that it takes a minimum of one year to write a good book. Read more

Source: The Indian Express

 


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The Ups and Downs of Children’s Literature in China

Despite the prevalence of adult titles and themes in bookshelves across China, children’s books remain a dominant force in the country’s publishing industry. The rising demand in such literature has paved the way for children’s books to become key players in book fairs throughout China. Continue reading


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Publishing in India: ‘We Don’t Sell Authors, The Authors Sell Us’

Rupa’s chairman R.K. Mehra on the big changes and challenges in the publishing industry: The Outlook

‘Originality of idea, continuity of thought and a clear target market. Yes, Chetan Bhagat is one of the bestselling authors, but there are many such under Rupa’s banner. And what is important for us is not just big names; we ensure we take on everyone we think must be read. We don’t sell authors, authors sell us! Of course, we facilitate media interviews and book signing and other interactions, but that’s not much. Also, social media has a big role in book promotion.’

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Hachette India is looking for interns

IMG_9399According to a statement by publishing house Hachette India, they are looking for interns for their Publicity Department.

The ideal candidate should have a good command over English, a flair for reading, a penchant for design and should be well versed with social media. “We are especially on the lookout for candidates who would like to get some experience of the publishing industry,” the statement noted.

For more details, please write to shobhita.narayan@hachetteindia.com.


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Reading the future in China

2015 Beijing book fair foretells literary and publishing trends. Xing Yi reports.

A new chapter in China’s literary legacy can be read from the thrust of the 2015 Beijing BookFair.

New works, new trends and new media have emerged at one of China’s main literary events,which is viewed as a crystal ball divining the publishing industry’s near future.

The three-day event closed on Saturday. Continue reading


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How Amir Muhammad redefined Malaysian publishing

AmirMuhammad230314Established in 2011 by writer and independent filmmaker Amir Muhammad, Buku Fixi has become a rare success story in the publishing industry. Its Malay-language urban contemporary novels are a fixture on local bestseller lists. Written in the pulp fiction, noir, horror, crime and thriller genres, many of the novels are brimming with slang and bahasa celupar, making Buku Fixi a distinctive brand of books.

Since its inception, Buku Fixi has branched out into other aspects of publishing, with several other labels under the Fixi umbrella. These include Fixi Retro (which publishes out-of-print Malay books), Fixi Verso (translations of bestsellers), Fixi Novo (English language books) and Fixi Mono (non-fiction).

Amir tells me that he was inspired to create Buku Fixi after attending a local book awards ceremony. According to him, nine out of ten of the Malay fiction nominees had either the words ‘rindu’, ‘kasih’ or ‘cinta’ in their titles. Continue reading


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Amazon vs Hachette: readers and authors take sides in publishing dispute

The tussle between Amazon and the publishing conglomerate has been raging since spring. Here’s an update on the fight: The Guardian

A corporate boxing match broke from the ring and swelled into all-out rumpus last weekend, as readers and authors took sides in Amazon and Hachette’s fight over the publishing industry’s future. Continue reading