Tag Archives: publishing
The woman who is trying to create a Netflix for books
By Neelam Raaj
Chiki Sarkar hates being called a disruptor but that’s exactly what she’s doing to the opaque, incestuous world of Indian publishing. Along with Durga Raghunath, who brings the digital smarts, Sarkar has co-founded Juggernaut, a digital publishing house. She spoke to Neelam Raaj on why she wants to use tech to give dead-tree books a new lease of life.
You’re pitching Juggernaut as India’s first phone publisher. Did you have to rethink the book for the small screen?
When the idea of Juggernaut first came to me in December 2014, I thought about what the phone can do that the book can’t, and I thought Sunny Leone – delicious stories on the screen. But we’re also turning her stories into a physical book. The idea is – Can the physical and digital talk to each other? Can I take the knowledge of who is going to buy our books on the phone and sell them other books?
Sunny will be appointment reading – one story on your mobile at 10pm every night for a week. But there’s a range of reading on the app, including short works of non-fiction, long serialized forms, and a set of short stories that you can buy one of. The cost will be around half of a physical book’s.
What will be your physical vs digital mix?
If we bring 100 books to digital, about 30 or 40 of those will have physical copies too. It will depend mostly on the book and the writer. When we publish authors Arundhati Roy, Prashant Kishore, Twinkle Khanna, Svetlana Alexievich, we’ll publish both physical and digital. But young authors will be tried and tested on digital first. On the phone, we think, people will come for areas around love, sex and romance – stuff you want privacy for. Crime and fantasy tend to naturally move to electronic so it will be a big part of our list. And there’s always going to be a big component of celebrities. Also, I think the only way to get great books in India is to make them up – I did that in Penguin (she was editor-in-chief) too. For instance, I knew I wanted a book on Aarushi so I went in search of a writer.
Do you see yourself as a disruptor in publishing?
I hate this word. Like any other publisher, I think of only one thing – how can I sell more books? Physical books will never die but can I add another way of thinking about publishing books, and can I use it to get more people to read more of my physical list? I’d be very happy if my physical sales go up because of digital.
But I’ll admit I have become increasingly impatient with the status quo. I’m 38, and not 60. I don’t want to be a copout. India is full of people who have good ideas and are following them. Thirty years down the line, I would kick myself silly if I didn’t do this.
Why would an author publish with Juggernaut and not self-publish with Amazon?
The question you should be asking is: why is an author coming to me and not, say a Penguin, Harper or a Picador? We’re not competing with Amazon; we’re a traditional publisher who is asking interesting questions about digital.
How did you get Sunny Leone to write erotica?
We wanted her to write on sex. She told us, ‘Look I don’t want to go all the way erotic. I’ll be sexy, but not pornographic.’ So we kept Fifty Shades of Grey as a marker but we wanted the stories to be empowering for women.
Her stories have a wife asking her husband for sex and being turned down; an overweight girl who fancies a guy who ignores her but things change when she loses weight, and then she changes her mind too.
What is more exciting now – Indian fiction or non-fiction?
Non-fiction, and it’s been that way for the last 6-7 years. We’re in that stage in the life of the country that we want to tell stories about ourselves. The more interesting fiction is coming from Indian languages, Gujarati, Marathi and Tamil.
Anthony Horowitz to copy editor: “I’M NOT CHANGING THIS.”
The full article at: http://www.mhpbooks.com/anthony-horowitz-to-copyeditor-im-not-changing-this/
by Kirsten Reach
Nobody wants his conversation with a copy editor made public, but there’s a galley floating around from Harper at the moment that contains some accidental gems. Anthony Horowitz, author of a new Sherlock Holmes novel and the next James Bond novel, had a conversation in the margins of Moriarty that mistakenly made it into the advanced reader’s copies.
Sarah Lyall‘s report in The New York Times gives you a sense of her own reading experience as well as the dialogue between author and copy editor. What’s so brilliant about her telling is the way she manages to rationalize the notes at first, as some sort of meta-commentary:
“Moriarty’s” narrator, an American detective named Frederick Chase, is laying out the background to the story – how Holmes and Moriarty came to be at Reichenbach Falls and what is believed to have happened next. All of a sudden he switches to capitals. “NO NEED TO COMPLICATE THINGS HERE, I THINK,” the text announces. “WHAT I’VE WRITTEN IS BROADLY TRUE.”
Can the narrator be offering some meta-commentary on his own text? At first it seems so. But then it happens again. In a spot where Chase and a Scotland Yard inspector have found an important clue that seems to be an excerpt from a previous Holmes story written by Dr. Watson, things suddenly veer off-piste again. “IT MAKES NO SENSE FOR FREDERICK CHASE TO HAVE READ THE SIGN OF FOUR,” the text declares.
Of the six annotations, the highlight is one firm line from Horowitz: “I’M NOT CHANGING THIS.”
So what happened?
The rest of the story at: http://www.mhpbooks.com/anthony-horowitz-to-copyeditor-im-not-changing-this/
[Editor’s note: Thank you Ashlie for the link to this article.]
The otherworldly and utterly Portland Ursula K. Le Guin
by Sue Zalokar
“Well, imagination is based on experience. The way everything in the world is made out of the elements combined in endless ways, everything in the mind is made out of bits of experienced reality combined in endless ways. So a child’s imagination deepens with living, with wider experience of reality. And so does a writer’s.”
–Ursula K. LeGuin
Ursula K. Le Guin started writing when she was five and has been publishing her work since the 1960s. Throughout her career, she has delved into some of the most insightful, political, ecological and socially important topics of our time. She has created utopian worlds and utopian societies. She boldly challenged gender barriers by simply doing what she was born to do: write.
Her first major work of science fiction, “The Left Hand of Darkness,” is considered epoch-making in the field for its radical investigation of gender roles and its moral and literary complexity. At a time when women were barely represented in the writing world, specifically in the genre of Science Fiction, Le Guin was taking top honors for her novels. Three of Le Guin’s books have been finalists for the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and among the many honors she has earned, her writing has received a National Book Award, five Hugo Awards and five Nebula Awards.
In Paris in 1953 she married Charles A. Le Guin, a historian, and since 1958 they have lived in Portland. They have three children and four grandchildren.
After some correspondence, Le Guin invited me to her home to talk. I arrived bearing fresh-picked berries from Sauvie Island. She took me into her study and showed me the view she had of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980.Urusula K. Le Guin: It was the biggest thing I’ve ever seen and I don’t want to see anything that big again. It was just inconceivable. It was kind of overcast in the morning, after the eruption, but (before that) the clouds were burned off and there was this pillar of – it looked like smoke – but it was really mostly dirt being blown upward by the heat of the eruption. I think it was 80,000 feet. It was awful and beautiful and it went on and on. The column, it moved very slowly. You could see it sort of swirling and there was lightning in it, striking all of the time. It was something else.
Sue Zalokar: I can only imagine. I don’t know much about the history of the eruption. Did you have much warning?
U.K.L.: There was lots of warning. The mountain had been rumbling and shaking and dumping black matter on her snow all spring. It was really bad luck. They thought she’d gone into a sort of a quiet phase and so they told people they could go that weekend to their cabins, run in and get their belongings out. Well, that was the weekend she blew. So that’s why there were 60 to 70 people killed. You can’t predict a volcano.
I got really fascinated with the volcano. About a year and few months after the eruption, the whole mountain was called “The Red Zone.” You could go part way up and then above that, you had to have a permit to go in and the only people that were going in were loggers dragging dead trees out. The roads were destroyed, there were just logging roads. Me, a photographer and an artist, got a permit to go in (to the Red Zone) as a poet, a photographer and an artist.
U.K.L.: How about that? I hardly ever pull strings, but we pulled a few and we got a day pass into the Red Zone. We drove around in this awful, unspeakable landscape of ash. Nothing but ash and dead trees. And the trees, just like grey corpses, all pointing the same direction where the blast of the eruption blew them down.
Well, imagination is based on experience. The way everything in the world is made out of the elements combined in endless ways, everything in the mind is made out of bits of experienced reality combined in endless ways. So a child’s imagination deepens with living, with wider experience of reality. And so does a writer’s.Twenty-five years later, a few years ago, I went back to that same area, which they thought would take at least 100 years to come back and regrow. It’s all green. There are trees coming up and flowers blooming like mad, birds, deer, elk. That mountain, she makes herself over and over. It’s quite a story.
S.Z.: Was there a specific piece of writing that came out of that experience in the Red Zone?
U.K.L.: Yes. I wrote poems called “In the Red Zone” and I wrote a piece with the same title.
S.Z.: What distinguishes experience from imagination in writing and is one more essential to the process of writing than the other?
The rest of the interview at: http://news.streetroots.org/2014/08/14/otherworldly-and-utterly-portland-ursula-k-le-guin
Another view of the Amazon vs. Publishers battle
Amazon: Hey Publishing, we just invented a new thing that we think you’ll like. You know how after you make a book you have to pay a buttload of money to get it all printed and shipped and stuff? We figured out a way that you could not have to pay all that money and still sell lots of books.
Publishing: OMG NO WHAT IS THIS WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DESTROY PUBLISHING
Customers: Hey! These ebooks are pretty cool! I can carry a bunch with me all the time and it sucks less when I have to move!
Publishing: NO THEY ARE NOT COOL, PAPER BOOKS FOREVER, WE KNOW YOU JUST WANT TO STEAL OUR CONTENT OFF OF THE INTERNETS. CAN WE TRIPLE THE DRMs PLEASE
Amazon: Hey Publishing, we want to buy a buttload of books from you and we aren’t even going to return a bunch of unsold books like other bookstores do, and in return do you think you could give us a good deal since you’re going to make a lot of money? And also because like, every other industry that we work with works with us at a wholesale discount since we spend so much money with them and all.
Publishing: OMG NO WE DO NOT WANT TO SELL YOU A BUTTLOAD OF BOOKS WE HATE YOU. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DESTROY PUBLISHING
Amazon: Hey just FYI we are also going to publish some books by people because we think it looks like a neat business to get into. Competition is awesome right? I mean, it’s mostly celebrities and authors that are doing all the work themselves anyway.
Publishing: YOU ARE MURDERING US TO DEATH STAHP. NOBODY SHOULD BUY BOOKS PUBLISHED BY AMAZON BECAUSE ONLY WE ARE ALLOWED TO PUBLISH.
Bookstores: We hate Amazon too because nobody else should be allowed to sell books, especially if customers like going to them better. We will not sell Amazon’s books even if customers want to read them.
Publishing: YEAH WE HATE YOU AMAZON
Bookstores: Do you still love us, Publishing? We promise that we will only sell paper books and not any from Amazon.
Publishing: YEAH YOU ARE MY BOO.
Amazon: Hey Publishing, since it only costs you like a fraction of a percent actually to
For the rest of the play go to: http://insatiablebooksluts.com/2014/06/27/publishing-vs-amazon-play/