Exactly. You could as easily use this example to support an argument that talent will eventually find its way to success.Aconite said:There's a problem with his logic. He says that some "bloody good things" get "filtered out" by agents and publishers...and to illustrate that, uses the example of a book that was picked up by a mainstream publisher because it was good.
Based on the fate of iPublish and Inside Sessions, I'd guess that in this case good publishing will drive out bad. If they really are going to throw these books out there with little support and what amounts to a scarlet letter (does it make sense, if you're going to publish books you won't edit, to advertise that fact by grouping them in their own imprint?), I suspect that they will lose money even with the all-rights contracts (it's a lot harder to sell subrights if a book isn't a sales or critical success), or make a profit too small to justify keeping the program going. Since I'm a Sage, I feel justified in making a prognostication: a couple or three years from now, this program will quietly expire.ResearchGuy said:Is this a sign of a new type of Gresham's Law? Bad publishing drives out good? (Gresham's Law is the economic phenomenon that bad money drives out good. Should be a highly Googleable term.)
Yes, ultimately did get published, after he had committed suicide, alas, and after his mother invested years of effort attempting to get attention for the manuscript before finally catching the eye of Walker Percy, after which the rest is history. I don't think that the John Kennedy Toole story is anything but a one-off phenomenon. A Confederacy of Dunces, by the way, is unambiguously a work of genius. How that escaped recognition as long as it did is beyond me. But I am not persuaded that the fact that through his mother's diligent effort his book was published years after his death proves or disproves any thesis about what is in the slush piles. (See http://www.levity.com/corduroy/toole.htm for Walker Percy's introduction to Toole's book.)victoriastrauss said:...
This is always the logic problem with the "undiscovered geniuses in the slush pile" notion. The poster boy for this is John Kennedy [Toole]--who ultimately did get published, and thus contradicts the assertion he is supposed to support.
victoriastrauss said:This reminds me of Time Warner's ill-fated iPublish program (which was also, supposedly, a system to "give new writers a chance", and featured a really bad, exploitive contract)...
There were more outrageous scams before PA. Read Ten Percent of Nothing. And the whole vanity publishing thing has been going on for generations (Vantage, Dorrance ...).Roger J Carlson said:Good Grief! First there were outright scams (PA)....
I completely agree. But people who are convinced that large numbers of excellent writers are overlooked by the hidebound publishing industry often invoke him as the ultimate example of a talented writer who "couldn't get published".ResearchGuy said:But I am not persuaded that the fact that through his mother's diligent effort his book was published years after his death proves or disproves any thesis about what is in the slush piles.
Perhaps. But more likely, I believe, in the 1960s the publishing world was just not yet ready for Ignatius J. Reilly.DaveKuzminski said:What some folks fail to notice is not that Toole was a genius in his writing, but that he simply might not have possessed the same skills for submission use. If that was the case, then it's not completely a fault of the system that he was overlooked.
--KenToole sent his novel's manuscript to Simon and Schuster. After initial excitement about the book, the publisher eventually rejected it, saying that the book "isn't really about anything." Toole began to deteriorate rapidly after he lost hope of publishing his book, which he considered to be a masterpiece. He began to drink heavily and started taking medication for headaches; he also stopped teaching at Dominican and quit his doctoral classes at Tulane. (http://www.answers.com/topic/john-kennedy-toole)
Macmillan denies sharp practice. "I have been through over a thousand manuscripts, and, hand on heart, I haven't had a single author who has said it's unfair ... We are doing this with great integrity," Barnard said.
According to Barnard: "We won't be spending as much on marketing and promotion as on novels that have had big advances; but we believe we can find new ways of promoting and selling these books." He said the books would appear in the main Pan Macmillan catalogue and would be "very posh books" with ribbon markers, sold at £15. He expected them to become "collectors' items".
Scott Pack, buying manager at Waterstone's, welcomed the initiative. "I think it's a fantastic idea," he said. "When books are presented to me by publishers they prioritise the ones to which they have given large advances. But the bestsellers are not necessarily the ones that have had big advances. This creates a level playing field."
there is a minimum of communication between publisher and author.
He said the books would appear in the main Pan Macmillan catalogue and would be "very posh books" with ribbon markers, sold at £15.
I agree, and I suspect it will be this (as well as the discovery that publishing unreliably-edited, unsupported books isn't as profitable or hassle-free as they think) that eventually will put paid to the program.Nomad said:We'll see--it definitely cheapens the brand name, though.
Aconite said:Right. Because the thing that most determines whether or not I'll buy a book is whether it comes with a ribbon bookmark, which is just so damned posh.