Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Publishing Landscape

I was thinking about where we place the black dog list, what are some of things that drive the list, and where publishing in this country is going in general. As a publisher we want our books not only to entertain but inform. We want the reader to finish a book thinking something new, to be surprised, to have their world view shifted - at least a little.

The Twilight and Harry Potter series entertain, and they've led thousands of children to reading, which is a great thing. But I don't think they inform. They reinforce preconceptions rather than alter them. They entertain by not challenging the reader. We want to do something different at black dog. Carole Wilkinson's Dragonkeeper informs the reader of what it is to be like to be nameless and illiterate, without an obvious talent, yet find the strength within herself; Sue Lawson's After (August) will alter a reader's view of being cool. Karen Tayleur's Hostage (October) will illuminate the reader's view on deceit.

The landscape of publishing is changing - the licks are getting bigger. The mid-list is disappearing. The demand on marketing budgets is increasing. The short-term is strengthening over the long term. The independent booksellers are under pressure. Does that leave us with a less diverse, less interesting publishing and literary landscape?

Are we less willing (as retailers and consumers) to support ambitious writing?


Robyne said...

Hi Andrew,
I read "After" at the weekend. The story pulled me in and didn't let me go. As the mother of two now grown men, I remembered their teenage days, and, when things didn't work out,or they put themsleves in danger,that need to protect them.

Sue's work takes us into the mind of the teenager, and their capacity for self loathing - even when they are good people, but also reminds us about family. They can annoy the hell out of us, but can also be what saves us.

Congrats to Sue and all at Black Dog. "After" scores both on entertainment and information with no sign of the sledgehammer.


Andrew's black dog blog said...

Thanks Robyne. Your comments are much appreciated.