The Death of the Gentleman Publisher

10/12/2011 § 1 Comment

This week, publisher Hachette circulated a memo articulating the services it offers to authors. According to a copy reprinted on a website called Digital Book World, the memo said Hachette, and publishers in general, do four main things:

1. Curator: We find and nurture talent.

2.Venture Capitalist: We fund the author’s writing process.

3. Sales and Distribution Specialist: We ensure widest possible audience.

4. Brand Builder and Copyright Watchdog: We build author brands and protect their intellectual property.

Reading the memo caused me to think back to the spring, when I had lunch with a friend who works as an senior editor with a large New York publishing house. I’d asked him to make a similar case – to convince me why authors should market their work to traditional publishers – and he had offered a similar list. In addition to finding and nurturing talent, he provides his authors money (what he called “a banking function”) plus marketing, distribution, and legal muscle.¬†It was a slightly uncomfortable conversation because I wasn’t convinced. « Read the rest of this entry »

Meanwhile, in Egypt

01/12/2011 § 2 Comments

I came back from Libya with some video footage. I was curious to see what I could do with it. In the end I didn’t use it. Most eReaders can’t handle video yet. That will change, and some reasonably well-known experiments with direct-publishing multimedia journalism already exist. « Read the rest of this entry »

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