What good is a blog if you can’t use it plug stuff? And it’s even relevant!
I’m currently doing an internship with The Lifted Brow, the one and only biannual attack journal of arts, letters and sciences. They have a great (and big – 200+ pages!) mix of material: short stories, creative non-fiction, poetry, art and more! The last issue came with a double CD of great music from artists like The Lucksmiths to Neil Gaiman (yup), and the current issue includes a cd-length epic journey of science-fiction, rhyming couplets and radness. That’s not to mention the new maths column, which comes with a free piece of string!
I heartily recommend that you check it out, buy a copy, subscribe and tell them what you think!
Second, have a look at Blemish Books. This is my friend from Canberra’s new publishing venture and it looks like he’ll be doing some great stuff. If you’re inclined to write poetry or creative essays and see them published in real books (none of this digital publishing which is surely just a passing fad, like fridges), then send them your best stuff! Hey, there’s a reviews section on the website too, so I guess you can stay digital.
I wonder sometimes if independent publishers like the above will eventually migrate into ebooks, or if they will continue to produce works of quality and beauty in print. Zines have persisted as a viable format, even with the rise of blogs. Likewise, maybe ebooks and books will coexist, with each playing a role that is unique to the medium. I’m excited about the possibilities of ebooks, but surely there are some things that make print worthwhile: the tactile, the collectable and maybe more. And you can’t download a piece of string for an ebook!
I saw The Lifted Brow newest edition coming out of the Salvadore Dali exhibition and was very excited about all the science fiction and poetry you guys have been cramming in there.
I’m always wondering how independent publishers manage to make their profits or break even when they publish the specialised ahem, *quality* literature they do. I fervently hope that people will continue to see books as a collectable item rather than an easily disposable product like newspapers. My prediction (or rather, hope) is that ebooks will never be free like the online versions of newspapers and magazines, because of the cost of rights and permissions, and the fact they don’t carry adveritising. And because ebooks won’t be free, people will continue to buy the real thing! I’m not so excited about the possibilities of ebooks – I think it will have demoralising effects on publishers and editors who may no longer be able to see their hard work in physical form.
But maybe ebooks are the stimulant publishing is waiting for – book sales are down, publishers are struggling. I’m more curious to see what will happen with print-on-demand technology…
I didn’t know they were sold at the Art Gallery Shop! That’s cool. Looks like their distributor is doing good things.
A lot of independent publishers survive thanks to arts grants and the like, but many of the smaller ones don’t do much more than break even that way. It’s a labour of love, a lot of the time. But some of the more enterprising ones do eventually get wider recognition and profit, like Aduki or Sleepers. That’s not to mention the bigger independent publishers like Text, Scribe and Allen and Unwin.
The Lifted Brow has decided not to be grant-funded at all. But it has some advertising, and runs big launch events and such. The editors even went into their own pockets, and sold cupcakes to get the first issues off the ground! Plus there’s unpaid intern labour like mine…
But I’d definitely be interested in looking at an actual balance sheet at an indie publisher though, to see where all the money comes and goes.
Some authors (like Cory Doctorow) are giving away their books as free downloads, and there’s solid evidence that for some, it boosts paper book sales. I think a varied and mixed market of books and ebooks is the future for a long while yet. It’s just the details that are yet to be worked out…
As for print-on-demand, I hope it moves beyond the demon-photocopier-transformer behemoth they have at Angus and Robertson on Elizabeth St. I went to check it out, and it’s all fenced off, and you feel like the staff don’t even want you near it. Not exactly an appealing way to get a book…
Music by Neil Gaiman? Consider my interest piqued.
Technically I’m pretty sure he just wrote the lyrics and got a woman from The Magnetic Fields to sing it and another dude to arrange it, but still!