Monday News: age & publishing, Marvel’s Black Panther, self-publishing non-fiction, and translating Dracula
Hachette’s new order – An interesting piece in The Bookseller on the way in which UK publishing appears to be trending downward in the age of its executives, while US publishing continues to trend older. Why the difference, and what does it mean? Does age necessitate experience, or does it signal an outdated approach and understanding of current trends? Hachette UK’s new CEO David Shelley apparently the youngest chief executive in UK publishing. Philip Jones suggests that this shift means that Hachette UK is looking forward and realigning its goals with new market realities. We’ll see.
The move suggests, as does The Bookseller’s piece this week, that youth now has the edge over experience – and that will disappoint some who we spoke to as part of the analysis. Agent Clare Alexander of Aitken Alexander for example told us: “I am very aware that my peer group in UK publishing is disappearing. Some are going to three–day weeks, some are retiring, some are being pushed. Why is vibrant US publishing not pushing people out, and British publishing is?” In America, she says age is still seen as an asset, citing Knopf’s 70-year old chairman and editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta.
Hachette is keen to dispel such talk. It used to be true that age brought with it experience, but not any more, I was told today, “Experience brings experience”. It is also the case that it is not only chief executives who wield the power within publishing groups, with Hachette employing two of the most senior editors in the business—Hodder & Stoughton consultant editor Roddy Bloomfield, who is in his 80s, and Maclehose Press publisher Christopher Maclehose, in his 70s. – The Bookseller
Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Demise of ‘Black Panther & The Crew’ – Oh, Marvel. Apparently the comic book publisher is cancelling Ta-Nehisi Coates’s and Yona Harvey’s Black Panther & The Crew series for “poor sales.” But they’re totally committed to diversity, right? Series readers will find closure in its final (sixth) issue, but this is hardly cooling the hot water Marvel found itself in a few weeks ago:
Io9’s Charles Pulliam-Moore wrote that whatever reasons Marvel has for pulling the series, “cancelling the only mainstream comic book featuring an [sic] majority-Black team of heroes just weeks after Marvel’s VP of sales blamed the company’s drop in profit on books featuring women and characters of color is the definition of a bad look.” He compared “Black Panther & The Crew’s” cancellation with Marvel’s recent promotion of “Secret Empire“—which Snopesnotes faced criticism for protagonist Captain America’s leadership of Nazi-affiliated Hydra—with t-shirts bearing the villainous organization’s shield. “Even though it’s been plagued by accusations of glorifying Nazism and fascist regimes by way of Hydra, it’s clear that Marvel cares about ‘Secret Empire,'” Pulliam-Moore writes. “It’s difficult to say whether the same was ever true of ‘The Crew.'” – Colorlines
How to Self-Publish Your Non-Fiction Book – This article proceeds from the very important premise that fiction and non-fiction require different steps and/or approaches to self-publishing. Jamie Lendino offers a number of tips from his own experience, encompassing everything from layout to promotion. I don’t know how solid or universal these tips are, as I’ve never self-published a non-fiction book (or fiction, for that matter), but the market seems to be growing, so maybe we’ll see more of these.
For this guide, I’ll share what I learned while writing and publishing my first book, Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation. Some of this advice is distilled from Guy Kawasaki’s excellent APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, with an emphasis on non-fiction and the state of self-publishing today–which has advanced considerably in the five years since that book was written. If you want more detail, I recommend ordering a copy of Kawasaki’s book as well as reading this guide.
Going in, I’m assuming you’ve got a handle on the writing of the book itself, and that you’re debating how to proceed as a self-publisher. For my book, I used Scrivener, Microsoft Word, Amazon’s CreateSpace service (for print), and Kindle Direct Publishing (for the Kindle version). Here’s what I did; I learned many of the below tips the hard way. – PC Mag
ON DRACULA’S LOST ICELANDIC SISTER TEXT – So this is pretty fascinating. The Icelandic version of Dracula differs significantly from the English version, and in ways that suggest a collaboration between Stoker and the Icelandic translator, Valdemar Ásmundsson. But because no one actually compared the versions, those differences have been long unknown and ignored. Until a few years ago, when Hans Corneel de Roos began to re-work an essay on Dracula and went back to the original Icelandic serialization, implying Google translate and noting the many differences.
Certainly the most surprising and intriguing Dracula-related discovery of this still-young century is the unearthing of the novel’s Icelandic sister. Its title, Makt Myrkranna (Powers of Darkness), has been known to Dracula experts since 1986, when literary researcher Richard Dalby reported on the 1901 Icelandic edition and on its preface, apparently written specifically for it by Stoker himself. Ever since Dalby published an English translation of this foreword, it has been the subject of literary speculation, as it mentions the Ripper Murders—although Jack the Ripper was never described in the 1897 English edition of Dracula. . . .
How can one be sure that Ásmundsson did not create Makt Myrkranna alone, with or without Stoker’s consent? Several textual clues lead me to believe that this is highly implausible as well. Seven separate plot elements, which were included in Stoker’s early preparatory notes but never made it into Dracula, appear in the Icelandic version. The names of the new characters seem to have their roots in Stoker’s personal and professional life rather than being invented by Valdimar, who never traveled to Europe. If we calculate the chance that all these congruences would occur by sheer coincidence, we arrive at one in a million—or less. – Lithub