Well. Here we are again! I’ve been busy and productive, but not here. Which would normally lead me directly into the next topic that challenges a writer: time and project management.
Yet I haven’t shared my San Diego Con experience! So I will do that first, reserving t&p management for next time.
In case you’ve never attended or read about the San Diego Comic Convention, let me explain it. The largest on the West Coast, it is a yearly gathering of those who participate in the comic book industry. However, now the convention has grown to include the movie, TV and video gaming industries. It has increased massively in size and morphed into a Pop-culture mecca. The good is that the large fantasy publishing houses continue to attend. The bad is that the number of specialty booksellers has plummeted in numbers, as well as the size of their booths.
The first booth I located and approached was the Simon & Schuster booth. As a child, when my mother could not determine if a book was suitable for my consumption, she would look to see who had published the book. If it was a reputable publisher, the book was allowed. It’s the only way I managed to score “The Vampire Tapestry” by Suzy McKee Charnas. So I was in for a bit of a shock when they informed me that S&S does not publish Fantasy. They use Pocket Stars and Gallery Books to publish Fantasy. Color me crushed. I never introduced myself as an up and coming writer; my mind was stunned and my feet were on “leave now”.
So I learned about imprints the hard way. The on-line Oxford defines it as:
A printer’s or publisher’s name, address, and other details in a book or other publication.
- a brand name under which books are published, typically the name of a former publishing house that is now part of a larger group:the group will continue to market its products through its established imprints
Alack-a-day. I’ve never heard of Pocket Stars or Gallery Books. A rude awakening, that, like every other industry on the planet, publishing is slowly consuming itself too.
Next I found myself in front of the Del Ray booth. At least I knew they published Fantasy, and I wasn’t merely being drawn in by a remote overlord stalking goat. Dramatic, I know, but I was still feeling betrayed and crestfallen. I did introduce myself as a writer-in-progress; they were very nice about it, when you think about how many times they must hear that throughout the duration of the convention. Since Del Ray is very established, I wanted to ask them about e-book technology. Specifically, page embellishments. They brought their a-game to the Con. The man I was speaking to did not know, but he knew who to bring over. The result of the conversation was enlightening. A big publisher is only going to create one e-book. That e-book has to run on the majority of readers out there. In other words: lowest common denominator.
The industry standard for electronic publication is the EPUB format. The older EPUB 2.2 is what current books are being sent out in. Available is EPUB 3.0, with many more features. Bottom line? No, I may not have page embellishments yet. Good news? If you are currently working on a book project, by the time that project is coming to press, you most likely will get your embellishments. I was very pleased since I’m looking at a year to year and a half time-line before my book is finished, let alone picked up for publication. Smiles all around as I left the booth and wishes of luck.
The last publisher I visited was a favorite stop of mine ever since I got into online gaming. McFarland & Company, Inc, Publishers. They always brought with them their latest in emergent behavior of online gaming communities. This year was no exception. I browsed; then when asked if I needed any assistance, introduced myself as a writer working on her first novel and did they publish Fantasy? That was easy: no. No? No. Trying to eke out a bit of writer goodness at a pop-culture convention was turning out to be rough.
I thanked them and wandered off. Two aisles down I realized, as a blogger on writing, who cares if they are not a candidate for my work? Perhaps my reader is writing non-fiction! Back I went. I explained to them the situation and in return learned about a totally different channel for non-fiction publications: the educational circuit. Ingram is their main distributor, but you can find their titles on Amazon; local libraries as well. Where you won’t find them is in a traditional brick and mortar store. They have quite a catalog, well suited to finding reference for your novel. You can find them here: McFarland.
That was it for the publishers, the only time I had to spend for myself was up. I learned a wide range of things and got some time in the saddle presenting myself in my current profession. I confide, it has whet my appetite for a convention that is geared to writers.