Friday, February 15, 2013

I came across, at number 36 of the magazine Letras Libres, 2004, an article as a chronicle of Beatriz de Moura, founder of the publishing Tusquets, called How to make an editorial in which he speaks, from its experience of how literature can be a publisher. There has five parts in the hypothetical story of a boy who undertakes a publisher, since he conceived the idea and the decision until, some twenty years later, the company has consolidated.Among other interesting points to a catalog of basic qualities (that link from the blog about interesting issue as the original document is in pdf) that has this budding editor, then describes some arguments that this hypothetical is editor of the trade, one of which says: "[i] n so that the office of the editor in his capacity as producer, he very briefly summarized to himself is essentially, and broadly into two functions: first, to decide, after learning of the work that is offered, if it enters into their editorial and then evaluate the cost of producing the same as their budget at all times. "
Later he says, on how to fix the retail price (RRP): "[b] ut how PVP is fixed? After much asking, concludes that overall costs are obtained by multiplying by an average of 9% or 10% of it, because it must take into account not only overhead, copyrights and profit margin may allow you to continue with more books, but especially the percentage that will be the distributor for your job. So if finally fixed the PVP in, say, ten euros copy, minus the percentage of the distributor and the author, he would be between 30 and 35% of each copy of the book " .He also speaks of some mistakes to avoid when the going gets tough, and gives, in order, a series of useful tips (we assume, coming from a man come), and we recommend its entertaining reading.In the picture, Beatriz de Moura, taken from here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A suggestion of a comment by Leroy Gutierrez previous post, I looked at the articles Letras Libres The beginnings of a collection, counting Panorama source of narratives (with the usual reference to the miracle Kennedy Toole), and Mark editorial and password, which advocates the importance of independent publishers (which will be discussed in a future post), both of Jorge Herralde, founder and director of Anagram. The two I found interesting and I recommend it. However, while searching for the random items I took in the same journal found three others, one's own and two always Herralde Gabriel Zaid keen on fixed book prices in Mexico, from the proposed law, discussed and accepted in Congress, and later, in the term-limit vetoed by President Fox, shortly before leaving his government last year, and found it interesting to bring up the subject.The fixed price for the book, as Herralde notes in his article, is a proposal that was born in France under the leadership of Jérôme Lindon in the seventies, which culminated in the call Lang Act, in force in that country since 1981 . Is to eliminate self regulating book prices by the market, allowing the state to the editor to set a single price for each of their titles, which is to be paid by buyers at any point of sale state that secures the law, regardless of the discount that the publisher to bookstores. This eliminates the possibility that they will compete for the price of the books, which favors the existence of small bookstores, which, in turn, benefits the publishers, who have as much exhibition space and therefore -most likely-generate greater sales volume which may gradually reduce their prices without reducing profits (unlike, increasing them in so far as sales volume grows), ultimately benefiting the consumer, who will have more libraries and minor prices to choose from. This, of course, in the best case and in a medium or long term or. For critics of the fixed price, however, it is an attack on consumers, which allows publishers to shoot their prices with the consent of the states.In Latin America, two of the three major markets of the book: Brazil and Argentina, have a fixed price, the other big market, Mexico, was about to have it. In the first of two articles on the subject Zaid, called Libraries and fixed price, and published in August 2005 (when the law was a proposal), Zaid A brief history of the price of the book in Mexico, ranging from a old fixed-price no-through regulations, with low turnover in bookstores, through Spanish dumping, the price volatility and the disappearance of bookstores and, therefore, the hardening of the business. Zaid hopeful concludes the passage of the bill, which would allow "the desert green again." But the law was passed and Zaid himself published in the same journal article Towards a country without libraries, in December 2006 (when he had vetoed the fixed price), in which a diagnosis fierce current state reading in Mexico and the consequences of not having a fixed price policy (applicable, otherwise many Latin American countries).The debate, which in many of our countries has not even generated-is very important and should be on the agenda of all Chambers Book and guilds and associations of editors. For now, (re) put the issue on the table and invite you to review the number devoted to the theme of the book Think magazine, CERLALC, in August 2006.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A few days ago, in a comment to How is a publisher, a reader of the blog suggested that publishers speak of Peru, which promised to do so. Then, in a comment to the value of symbolic capital for independent publishers, another reader said that in Peru almost nobody reads and repeated a common misconception and, in my view, unfortunate in Peru: that 'read' is' read books 'and that this amounts to' literature books', sometimes even 'good books for literature'. That reminded me of the post promised that I meet up.Peru is not a country of great publishing tradition. Since the first printing press installed in Lima in 1584 until today have not developed large families of printers or publishers (nor of booksellers and distributors) have formed guilds either publishers or have ever had high levels of export of books, many of key authors of the twentieth century (and earlier centuries) have never been translated, published even in Peru.Not enough space here to explore the reasons for this lack of publishing tradition. But he can score some features of our issue (knowing that everywhere are baked beans, if you, the reader, not what I say Peruvian is familiar, welcome to the club), given that in recent years have appeared a group of publishers willing to create the tradition nonexistent or recover lost tradition (according to some). This phenomenon, which some called mini-publishing boom, has crossed national borders, as written or Patricia Herralde Jorge de Souza, before the books of their own editors.The salient features of the book publishing in Peru are: 1. The disproportion between the publication of literature (especially poetry) and other materials; 2. the large number of newcomers and young authors, 3. scarcity of translations of foreign authors and publications in general; 4. the large number of stamps that disappear before posting the fifth title 5. almost no export of books and of course 6. Editorial concentration in Lima. Earlier, two other salient features were: the low quality of the books published graphic and reduced effort by publishers distributing their books. These two elements have greatly improved, which, coupled with the recent international awards obtained by Peruvian authors as Alonso Cueto (Herralde Winner 2005), Mirko Lauer (Winner Juan Rulfo 2005), Santiago Roncagliolo (Alfaguara Winner 2006), Daniel Alarcón (Finalist PEN / Hemingway 2006), Ricardo Sumalavia (Herralde Finalist 2006), Carlos Calderon-Fajardo (Tusquets Finalist 2006) and Blanca Varela (Reina Sofia Award, 2007), and the string of invitations in honor Fairs Book for Peru (Bogotá 2004, Guadalajara 2005, Santiago de Chile-LIBER 2006 and Barcelona 2007), have been on the books Peruvian cabinet, creating a climate of hope for local publishers. But is hopeful in what sense. What editors look for Peruvians?The natural market a book is its language area. That is, a book published in Spanish, either in Spain or Paraguay-aspires (or should aspire) to be read in all Spanish-speaking countries. But this requires a good distribution and an interesting catalog, seductive (for the first international distributor for local booksellers and then finally to the reader, which is the last to decide). For this it is essential to have some thematic variety (not so many foreign distributors may interest many Peruvian publishers dedicated to publishing the latest generation of Peruvian poets and storytellers). This leads to the problem that I consider central Peruvian publishing system: finance publications.Most Peruvian publishers (who are young and small almost) call themselves 'independent'. Which should mean that they are independent of market requirements, which published his editors what they think best, regardless of sales volume they can get. In Argentina and Mexico, usually independent publishers, to be that luxury, wealthy boys belong to, or are the result of a risky investment by minority, which is successful. In Peru, however, most of these publishers 'independent' rely heavily (often completely) the money to authors who publish. As published authors who can finance the publication of his books, mostly writers (mostly poets), debutantes, young, and settled in Lima or Lima.This does not mean that these publishers to all those who have the money to pay his edition, no editorial boards that select, but rarely does a publisher decide to rescue from oblivion a work or a great book translated into Spanish or pose unprecedented co-publications with editorial foreign, by distribution problems, not otherwise come to Peru. Under these conditions, the absence of any risky investment editor, not particularly interested in exporting it publishes (often the author must provide for the distribution of his books), can not dare to translate and publish foreign, not risk with nonfiction books and therefore does not generate a significant editorial catalog or can live editing so sooner or later, or open a printer that allows you to live, maintaining the prestige imprint (local) achieved, or leave the profession altogether.To change this situation (and this seems a good time to change), the publisher must seek urgent change financier: recourse to savings, bank loans or family or auspices, extend your theme (no sin post cookbooks or architecture, carpentry manuals also much less scientific books), embark on translating and publishing foreign authors (the works of Cervantes and Proust, as well as those of Galilei and Hegel are in the public domain), and tempt the domestic market (currently lacking in bookstores and covered with pirates and old books) and export of books. Only then can we speak of a professional national edition, editors, aware of their role as cultural agents, not lose sight of their role as entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To the writers seeking literary agent or publisher:In our agency, a literary agency small-receive each day five to six requests for representation. Our job is to represent writers, so to receive this amount of proposals is the best thing that can happen. But as you can understand, we have no ability to read five or six manuscripts per day, in addition to meeting all daily work for the writers we represent. A similar, but magnified, happens in publishing: is that the number of proposals and manuscripts they receive, they can not even consider.Many writers do not know how to contact an agent or editor in a convenient manner. Therefore, we would send some considerations and suggestions on how to submit proposals to an agency or a publishing house. We believe that, with the specifics of each writer, knowing them is essential.This letter is intended to offer what little help we can give. The experience is that 95% of people thanked us shipping, and 5% responds with irritation and discomfort for our position. This letter, which is just an opinion of many others, is directed to the first 95%, with the best intentions.Sincerely,The Agency.
There are writers who are convinced they have been rejected in more than one publisher, but his work is read. And it's true. Publishers often refuse-without looking-the vast majority of the materials they receive, and this is due to the enormous number of manuscripts that come every day, without the author has taken the trouble to prepare the information in a way may be convenient to consider the.Many of the unpleasant experiences of rejection, are largely a result of not knowing how to present a project or a manuscript to a publisher. Finding an agent or a publisher, it is sometimes difficult, is something that can be resolved by writing. Our own experience shows that the most effective ways to achieve it, are all written. Knowing how to sell a project or a manuscript, the chances of reaching an agreement and published considerably increase. It is important to use standard procedures in the international world of publishing, to submit a proposal editorial.It is common to believe that without a personal recommendation not get anything. And often not the case, indeed, the "personal recommendation" is a resource that is abused so that publishers do not take into account. Publishers are always overworked. When a writer who wants to publish get a personal interview with an editor through a recommendation, is taking damage himself. Because the publisher will receive for commitment who recommended him, and pass up that opportunity writer talking about something the other does not know or is interested in listening. Finally I let a manuscript-in most cases-, will go to a discard pile. In the best case, it will be returned a few weeks later with a letter more or less kind of rejection.
Why it is difficult to publishIt is not difficult to understand why it is difficult and frustrating search for a publisher when shoddy. One big publisher, receives more than a thousand new editing proposals per year (six per working day). They sent spontaneously by writers whom no one's asked for foreign publishers, and literary agents worldwide. Of these 1,000, the publisher will hire 20 or 30, as the rest of the books are published works that publishers have commissioned, that come by hiring international headquarters, or are new works of authors who publish in the house .When the prestigious American publisher Doubleday decided, several years ago, no longer accept manuscripts that are not the authors of the house, or that come from literary agents recognized, was receiving 10,000 unsolicited manuscripts a year: 45 per day.Receive, read, and eventually return evaluate five or six daily proposals requires the work of two or three full time editors. Today no publisher is able to take on this task. When someone does in their free time, usually one who is just beginning, just the person least prepared for this type of evaluation."Publishers are often overworked. All day receive numerous phone calls from authors and agents, advertising departments, marketing and production facilities; attend meetings to make decisions on roofs, new acquisitions, production schedules, interview, hire and fire assistants , negotiate the purchase with the direction of those who wish to publish books, promotional budgets for these books, and salary increases and promotions for themselves. The result of all this is that much of their editing and usually most of his work is relegated to reading evenings and weekends that are never enough, especially when you consider the huge amount of manuscripts that continually accumulate on them. They have to spend most of the time on projects already contracted, to books that your company has already invested a considerable amount of effort and money, an investment that has to be nurtured and protected by the editors, who strive to help the author to ensure that the book is presented in top condition. All this leaves very little time editor or strength to devote to a new author, unless the author is what this is really wonderful. "Albert Zuckerman, How to write a bestseller.A written proposal, done well, is much more likely to gain acceptance, and coming to a publishing contract. "The Proposal" and "The Proposal Editorial" ("Editorial Proposal" in the international world of publishing), is the name which the writer sends the prospective agent or editor, to interest for a manuscript or project. The proposal consists of a series of key information about the author, the work and the audience it is directed, not have to take too many pages, and whose production is not a challenge for anyone who was able to write an entire book.The submission to a literary agency or a publisher, has two stages:1. The Letter of Introduction2. Editorial PropositionThe cover letter is the first written submission to one page, introducing yourself and your book or book project, which asks the agent or editor if you are interested in receiving a larger proposal.The cover letter saves a lot of time, frustration and money. If an agent or publisher does not respond to it, you will have saved a complete copy of the manuscript and mailing costs as sending it would not have received attention.
The Letter of IntroductionThe main challenge is how to get the attention of agents and publishers who are over-defendants, lacking time, and they receive a lot of proposals, besides his own.While there is no recipe that guarantees success, experience shows that it should do and what not. Lori Perkins, a successful New York agent, makes some very specific suggestions for writing a Letter:· Never send a letter more than a page. Two hundred fifty words must be sufficient to introduce yourself and your book. I've sold over 2,000 books and never sent a letter to an editor of more than one page. If I get more extensive, the rescribo. · Look for a clear and simple cause first impression. Type the imperative.· Do not send handwritten letters, that make reading difficult. Type in a readable font, in size 10 to 12, nor less nor more, without frills or colors. They are all amateur gestures do not impress any editor.· Do not try to be original or funny, unless you are offering a book of humor, and this is part of your presentation. You are looking for a professional relationship, not an exchange between friends.· Do not tell the agent or editor who does not even know how much he respects and admires. The unwarranted praise not help with serious professionals.· Do not forget to add your contact details: name, address, phone, e-mail and time to receive calls. You'd be surprised the number of writers who forget to include your information in the letters, and it is impossible to respond.
The cover letter for a work of fiction and non-fiction, not too different. In general, the non-fiction should provide more information about the author and his background are usually definitive for achieving recruitment.When an agent or author presents a novel to a publisher when the publisher introduces her to their editorial boards and when the publisher has to booksellers, the more synthetic presentation is better.Peter Rubin, literary agent, says the best synopsis of a novel is a long sentence, because it shows that both, the author and the novel, are well focused. He adds blunt: "If a writer is unable to describe his novel in one sentence, this book will probably miss a lot of work."In short: Never send manuscripts. Start by sending a letter to those interested as an agent or editor. Be prepared Proposition send it immediately, if requested. If interested say no, or do not respond in one to two weeks, continue sending the letter to all agents or publishers that you think may be interested. If you prefer to send several agents and / or publishers while clearly in the letter that is making a simultaneous submission to varios.La letter should contain:1. Recipient by name right.2. A short presentation of the author (significant data as a writer, not his personal history).3. A paragraph description of the topic or argument.4. Any public mention of the book is written (never place "for all age groups," because it does not exist, and the editor will think you do not think readers).5. Any estimate of "the market". ("There are 5,000 students in Argentina film", or "the novel on a similar theme as thirty thousand copies sold", etc..).6. Information relevant for the promotion of the book ("I have a chair of 1,500 students," or "I write every day in several newspapers of")7. Your name, address, telephone and e-mail. If you do not have email, it's time to have it, get one free. A writer who does not use this technology will be considered as a stranger in an editorial.
Editorial Proposition comprises:1. Author and book title.2. A synopsis of the novel (2-3 pages) or the book you want to write is non-fiction (often these books are written when there is already an interested editor). This text has to give an overview of his work.3. The index, especially if it is a non-fiction book.4. A writing sample: a chapter or two, no more than 15 pages in total.5. Relevant information about you and your previous work, if you have already published. In this case, it add a copy.6. Books comparable. Show that you know what has already been published and have something similar to what you propose, and explain why your book is different. (1 page).7. Information "market" (1 page). This refers to who the buyers of his book. If it is a non-fiction book, on the Internet you can get lots of information (eg how many journalists in the country, the number of members of any professional organization, how many people per year traveling to Brazil, etc.) If is a novel, describe what kind of reader you are going, who they are, what other books read, etc..8. Useful information for promotion (one or two paragraphs), eg your media contacts if you have them, or the number of students, or groups or organizations to which it is linked, both at home and abroad.9. Press: If you have had press releases, reviews and interviews published, add four or five, no more. Choose the most representative. A moderate criticism of a great newspaper is worth more than a eulogy lower half.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In a previous post I mentioned not stopping Mark editorial and password, Jorge Herralde article, founder and director of Anagram, published in 2000 in the magazine Letras Libres, which advocates the importance of independent publishers. This time I promised I would talk about independent publishers in an upcoming post. I fulfill the promise.In his article, Herralde focuses on the importance of building a 'brand editorial' (which, in terms of Rafael Martinez Ales, ex-director of Alianza Editorial we call 'symbolic capital'): "A sharp image, while predictable and surprising. Creating an 'aura' that 'protects' unknown writers who inspire credibility. " Give some examples irrefutable: Sudamericana and Losada in Argentina, Siglo XXI in Mexico, ancient or Alianza Editorial Seix Barral in Spain, to which should be added the very Anagram.This mark or symbolic capital is not the exclusive property of independent publishers, but in the case of these is, often, the most capital. Herralde a projection of the publishing situation in the coming years, taking into account the increase of online publications, the emergence of e-books, the proliferation of desktop publishing, etc.. His conclusion is that, in this new context, multiplication and proportional reduction of supply channels to offer it, "the publisher must be based on knowledge of their environment, in their smell and their ability to raise brand harmoniously, in becoming a brand marks. [...] in the case of independent publishing career by definition, the compass indicates that in the dual culture and business, that makes editing, the north will always culture. Y must fight for your brand a password is so visible in the real world and the virtual one, and that his catalog, his novel-river is lush and surprising, but also structured and 'readable'. "The creation of a brand as symbolic capital is not simply the intelligent management of the catalog. One that allows the reader to guess what kind of book we will be in front, knowing if it was published by Anagram, Alianza Editorial or Planet. It is possible that our failure intiución less before an anagram book before one of Metro and that is precisely the value of symbolic capital for an independent publisher. While Planet can solve the doubt with a large advertising campaign, a lower price or a better distribution, an independent publishing house (which is almost always manages girl and few resources) only has the backing of his books already published.Therefore it is vital catalog management. The independent publisher allowed-economic problems, or worse, for friendship-publish books that are not part of his novel-river, violates his own symbolic capital, says Oliver Cohen Herralde citing "an editor should not be judged by the good books unedited but ill who published ". It is preferable to build a catalog slowly lose the compass in trouble. Among the most recent examples of intelligent management of the catalog publisher must mention the Mexican publishing, now with Spanish branch, Sixth Floor, which has built in just five years and fifty books symbolic capital that has allowed the recently published comic adaptation of Swann's Way, made by Frenchman Stéphane Heuet. One risk of this type fits into what Herralde described as a "sharp image, while predictable and surprising." I confess to having seen the French edition in Delcourt, editorial dedicated to comics and illustrated books (not particularly interest me), and did not pay any attention to the book, published in Sixth Floor, however, guess that makes me a book that deserves to be searched and read. A form a symbolic capital, a brand, and of strong, independent publisher should aspire to look all his books exist in the increasingly difficult map of the books in the world.In this regard, I recommend the book by Gill Davies Managing editorial projects. How to order and hire books (Mexico, Libraria-Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2005).

Sunday, February 10, 2013

In the current discussion about the book offers some key players: authors, publishers, distributors, booksellers, and readers state. To each ascribed various responsibilities and, among them, reading comprehension, is a subject that corresponds to the state (through the education system) and, to varying degrees, the reader.However, thinking as editor, it strikes me that the issue concerns us directly, mainly through editorial design.I remember about Stanley Morison, one of the most important printers and scholars in the twentieth century (who designed the famous Times New Roman), who in his classic Fundamental principles of typography are defined as: "the art of arranging correctly printed material according to a specific purpose: to place the letters, distributing the space and organize the classes in order to provide maximum assistance to the reader in understanding the text. "Morison typography understood in a broad sense, which is consistent with the definition of Emilio Torné in his article "The look of the typographer", which defines the type design as: "[...] that parcel [design] that deals books and manifested, first, in what [it] in French as the mise en page (the choice of format, paper, binding, setting the box, the column margins, the design of the cover and the title page, the placement of artwork, etc.) and, secondly, of what, in French is called mise en texte (the font inside the book, the uses of round, italics, small caps, bodies, interline, paragraphs, indents, footnotes, indexes, ladillos, etc.). ". That is, editorial design.A well designed book would be one in which, from choosing the size of the book to the spacing, were based on utility, not beauty, uniqueness or production costs. This, of course, a number of mechanisms developed by the typographic tradition over centuries, a desktop publishing program can never replace.Thinking about it, and suggest those interested to read the texts mentioned, I wonder if the responsibilities of the State in improving reading comprehension would not include the training of printers that allow books that, after overcoming all-get current obstacles to reach new readers, I provide the path to the pleasure of reading and understanding of the reading. I leave the question.Morison, Stanley. Fundamental principles of typography. Barcelona, ​​Bronze Editions, 1998 (1st ed. In English 1929).Torné, Emilio. "The look of the typographer." In: Journal Litterae. I. Written Papers on Culture Madrid, 2001.Image of Stanley Morison, taken from here.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A few days ago Iván Thays surveyed in Literary Moleskine, with the question "Do you agree on the use of photocopies for 'democratizing culture'?" From Knowledge-goods article published by Rocío Silva Santisteban in Lima newspaper La República and reproduced on his blog. At that, Silva Santisteban reflects on the origin of printing (cheaper and therefore democratize access to books, ie, learning), and on the current state of book prices, converted into knowledge-commodity to conclude in a eulogy to photocopy democratizing contemporary method. Which reminded me that one of the central issues for Latin American publisher is hacking and, within it, the illegal reproduction, ie the unauthorized photocopying. It is clear that the illegal reproduction is a form of piracy for copyright violation, although, unlike the pirated editions, who 'pirate' the book to photocopy it, market it seeks not only benefit from reading (this is valid for reader, but not for those who own and / or photocopying books working in Latin American universities, for example).On the general subject of piracy in Latin America, I think it is interesting to review the second issue of Thinking CERLALC book, I hope comment extensively on another occasion, and the impact of illegal photocopying in the publishing industry is an interesting Paper presented at the last Book Fair of Bogota, but back to the important discussion raised by Rocío Silva: photocopy democratizes access to reading?With regard to photocopying of books and reading democratization would make us a series of questions: Who photocopied books? What books are photocopied? and, mainly, why are photocopied books? I think that, in general, those photocopied books are university students, researchers, students, ie people with some training as readers, most of which are photocopied books to specialized books difficult movement, made for minorities (scientific community) and that, finally, are photocopied because they are in public libraries or bookstores, or are very expensive, but they are necessary or important to the reader that the photocopy. So far, the photocopying of course, plausible. No photocopied readings is missing important training. The problem is that those affected by the illegal reproduction are editors, ie fund managers and disseminate such books, usually scientific or independent publishers. Therefore, it will be increasingly difficult for them to edit these kinds of books, which, when published will be increasingly less expensive and circulate, etc..In summary, it appears that not photocopy books democratizes access to reading in general, but a reading specialist. About photocopied books and reading. It may be true that, as Silva Santisteban: "Peruvian children are in the highest range of people who do not understand what they read and, as claimed by one of the most conspicuous black harbingers of postmodernism, Giovanni Sartori, they will be turning in homo videns, unable to develop critical thinking. sheep for dictatorships and mythic truths-late capitalism ", however, does not seem to them that benefits the illegal reproduction (although other types of piracy).The apparently illegal reproduction originate in a problem of access to scholarly literature, many readers photocopying resolved at the expense of publishers. Criminalizing illegal reprographics not benefit publishers (because readers would still access the books currently photocopied) but hurt the readers. In between, are the owners of photocopiers that benefit the business while out on the roadside, the State ignores the problem, when it is their responsibility, not criminalize the photocopy, but facilitate photocopiable books are available to readers, whether through public libraries and / or university, or in bookstores at affordable prices, or both. Or encouraging, as in some countries and it would be great to happen in Peru, the proper functioning of reprographic companies, institutions devoted to regulate the use of photocopying of books so the reader has access to the necessary books and the editor (and the author) receive some royalties for it.I leave this link to one of the most interesting companies I know reprographic: Kopinor, and this other CEDRO, the Spanish Reproduction Rights Center.