- How long have you been in book publishing? I have been working in publishing for 19 years. When I started my career, the retail side of the business was undergoing great change. The independents were closing and losing market share to the chain stores. Now, it is the chain stores going out of business and losing market share to online retailers. It will be interesting to see what the future will bring. I hope that books will be available everywhere including independent bookstores, chain bookstores, online retailers, wholesalers, mass merchants...anywhere that a consumer can discover the pleasure of reading a good book.
- Tracey, you’re involved in creating e-books. Tell us what you do? I work with creative teams to convert content to ebook formats. It's so much more than that, though. I work with publishers, editors, managing editors, production managers, designers and vendors, all to make these new products. Publishing is undergoing a transformation and there is a great amount of experimentation going on within the books themselves as well as with the length and types of books being published. In short, I help make that content available in digital format.
- What do you love about being in book publishing? The people. Publishing attracts intelligent, creative and passionate individuals who believe very deeply in what they do. Developing authors, bringing their works into the hands of readers, it is a mission as well as a job.
- What is the future for e-books in terms of how they will look? Good book design is about presenting text, words, narrative in a clear and meaningful way to the reader. That will not change. Books, digital or otherwise, will be well organized with easily searchable and navigable content. Already we see enhanced ebooks filled with additional content. The goal is to add to the experience, not distract the reader from the story.
- What do you think the reading public likes/ dislikes about e-books? I know what I like. The portability of stories. I can bring five books with me on vacation and not worry about stuffing them all into a suitcase. Many consumers continue to prefer the printed product. The smell of a book, feel of a page, lack of glare, the ownership of an object that can proudly be displayed on a shelf are lacking in an ebook.
- How will e-books co-exist with printed ones – or will they replace them? I believe that there is a place for both digital and print books in the future. I think that consumers will have greater choices not only about which format they prefer, but also the amount of additional content they wish to purchase within the book. For example, the consumer may have an older device or prefer just to have narrative while another may want video demonstrations along with recipes.
- As a book critic, what do you see your role to be? My role is to read books and write my opinion about the book. I write what caught my attention about the book, what need I feel the book fills, how I feel the book satisfies that need (if at all), and what about the book I feel reached through the pages at touched my life or psyche (if at all). Having had a reading comprehension disorder until I was thirteen, the way I read (and have read successfully since then) is different from the process used when most people read; at least I have been told. Part of that process is why I receive two review copies from publishers, publicists (and authors) who request I review a certain book. One of the copies stays clean (for other purposes related to the show) and the other I write in heavily with thoughts that come to mind as I am reading the book. After reading it once, I write the book review. Then, I read the same book again while reading my written thoughts throughout the book; after which, I revise the book review.
- What is THE INSIDE VIEW SHOW? THE INSIDE VIEW SHOW is a literary review show; a platform through which I interview authors whose books for which I’ve written reviews. Salvador, what do you love the most about the book publishing industry? I love that, by books, a certain acceptable telepathy is happening between the author and the reader. Authors, whose inward to outward outreach and style lends to masses of readers being eased into this craft, get to be participles to meeting people’s needs to release their minds of expectations from everyday life in one way or another.
- Where do you see it heading? Where is the book publishing industry heading? Hmmm. No one has a crystal ball. However, the short answer is, If I take my gut feeling to count for anything, the need for escapism (from one’s own expectations and the expectations imposed by other through typical day to day living) by reading a holdable book with holdable pages to turn, is perpetual. What does, however, bring me angst is that less people who have much to show through the written word, do not because of their situational time restraints due to the design of society and the minimal time the working class get after a day’s work. A mass of creativity is stunned (by little time left in their day after work), and I suppose by design each Government has less otherwise unruly people to govern when more people are at work. Governments would have more people to else wise control the actions of if society had no necessity for a workday—because by the work occupation, people are pre-occupied. Mankind or humanity is still in its infancy. My answer would not be complete if I were not to include how what period I’ve lived through will impact beyond my lifetime. Where is the book publishing industry heading?
- What can we each do to increase the level of literacy in America? Delve into the difference between knowledge and understanding, and then —and only then —teach about comprehension from reading. Illiteracy, as a word, spans across an array of never-ending spectrums from technological illiteracy (use of new devices, products, and applications) to illiteracy as in a person being unable to read or lacking reading skills. Nevertheless the aforementioned statement about not aiming for comprehension by percent first, is as much a gapping hole in application to the masses as a failing writer who only writes to plots instead of situations from which circumstances develop into plots the more the each next word written reveals the direction it wants the writer to take.
- Gisela, what do you love about being in book publishing? I love reading, period. So being able to read as part of my job is a luxury and a huge perk. I also love the fact that no day is ever the same with my job. The books we work on, the authors we meet, the deals we make-that changes daily.
- What do you think are the challenges and opportunities confronting book publishing today? The answer is the same on this one: adapting to technology and e-book publishing efficiently is both a challenge yet a huge opportunity that is opening new doors for our industry and for new authors.
- How has the process of selling subsidiary rights changed over the years? The process has been streamlined, thankfully, making the submission process more efficient and personalized! We now have databases to keep track of deals and track submissions domestically and worldwide.
- Which countries tend to buy up American books? Which genres work best overseas? We are fortunate enough to sell our titles/authors worldwide. However Europe in particular loves American books. St. Martin’s sells both fiction and non-fiction titles and we sell both categories strongly, however fiction is a little more in-demand. It really depends on what genre has become popular at the moment, and that tends to change in waves. Right now in the genre I sell, YA fiction is in hot demand, but a strong women’s fiction book will always be popular.
- What are some of the bigger books you’ve worked on? How many books are you negotiating the sale of rights at any one time? I hesitate to answer this question as I consider all the books. I work on special. I put so much effort and hard work into getting deals for our authors, that they’re all equal in my book. But some examples of the Bestsellers I’ve worked on have been P.C. Cast, Lora Leigh, and Robert Jordan. We have multiple deals going on at any given time.
- You are also involved in manuscript acquisition. What do you look for in a book or author that convinces you to risk your company’s name and capital? My involvement is limited to a voice and an opinion, editorial and the higher-ups decide on what gets acquired. But readability, sell-ability, and reader feedback all influence the acquisition.
- You earned a degree in psychology. Does it help to get into people’s minds when dealing with them? No, the only way my background helps me is that it allows me to be more open-minded and helps me empathize more with a client or author. Being honest, straightforward, affable, ambitious, and knowing your product—that is what makes you successful in publishing.
- As the assistant editor at Paths of Glory Publishing, how do you collaborate with authors to make their books better? In regards to Paths of Glory Publishers, bear in mind it is a start up publisher and like anything in this economy it is still having teething issues. The editing process is the least of our worries. Our first book should be due out the end of this year or beginning of next. Until its official launch I can't really discuss much about the editing process per se, but I can share with you its strategy in the evolving industry, which may give authors an insight into the problems many publishers have had.
2. What do you love most about being a part of the book publishing industry? I am a self-confessed book nerd, so I really love all facets of the publishing industry. I love to write books, read books, as well as collect them. I have worked in sales and marketing, media and communications, as well as editing and writing, so any aspect of the publishing process suites me fine. My tastes are somewhat eclectic.
3. Where do you see it heading? I don't think anyone truly knows where the industry is headed, although I am sure many think they do. Obviously e-books are going to be a big part of it, especially with the big boys pushing it so hard. Call me a Luddite, but I don't think the printed book will go away.
4. Will e-books be the industry's savior or its apocalyptic pill? Why? Apropos of e-books: yes to both alternatives. E-book technology is the hot new thing, with manufacturers and big-box retailers pushing it very hard and there is a large segment of the consumer public that always rushes to the latest fad, so I do see it dominating the market for the next few years. On the other hand, I see e-books as similar to the internet: they are essentially a "hot" medium, (to borrow Marshall McLuhan's phrase) versus the printed medium which is "cool." Typically, online articles tend to be short in length (unlike this interview) and peppered with pictorial content. That's fine, and when one reads a series of short pieces on a kindle or online there's no problem; but are you really going to read War and Peace on what is essentially a small computer screen? Some will, but I suspect that after the novelty wears off, most avid readers will find paper books more comfortable to cuddle up with on a cold winter's night.
5. Which genres do you see having the most growth potential in the next year or two? As to genres, again it's anybody's guess. Who knew that vampire teenage romances novels would grow to fill whole rows of aisles in a bookstore? I do think the on-demand technology will allow smaller publishers to be able to successfully capture niche markets that hitherto were of only marginal profitability. An illustrated quilt history book, for example, will never make the Times bestseller list, but it can make a profit if production costs are kept in control; there are any number of very specific interest groups that can be marketed to-if a publisher can make a profit doing so. Hopefully the new technology will be a plus and not a minus in that regard.