writing & publishing

Conversation, Agent Lunch, Notes

Firstly, there is a very interesting conversation going on between Gav and Sarah (from Bookworm Blues) regarding City of Ruin and ‘issues’.

[An] Author’s only obligation is to tell a story that works on it’s own terms. Now that could be something as something as simple as sticking to the expectations of a ‘sword & sorcery’ or throwing in a mix that will make a reader wonder what will happen next, which is exactly what happened to me when Newton kicked down the house of cards he had created in the first half. But there are different ways of dealing with politics and socially inclusion and he does stand out for his willingness to put these issues front and centre. And in some ways it’s easier to do in fantasy where the conventional is whatever you have made it. The trouble is that most authors don’t take advantage of the power they have in their own books.

I guess the the evangelising isn’t distracting but it might put some people off – but then again those readers aren’t likely to read a story about a gay albino anyway. What has surprised and pleased me a lot is the positive reactions he’s been getting from readers and their acceptance of the circumstances in the characters.

Read the rest. All authors love attention and their bellies being rubbed, but it is particularly nice when books are able to create such a debate.

Had lunch with my agent, John Jarrold, in Lincoln yesterday, where we celebrated a batch of royalties. (An interesting aside – ebooks are a tiny percentage of my sales thus far, so the revolution hasn’t quite made it to Blighty yet.) These are always civilised affairs, but with notably much less alcohol these days. Once I got so drunk with him I pretty much passed out at the table.  When I was young and unpublished, lunch meetings were more about being young and bedazzled with the fact that I had an agent and that I wrote books and that it was rather cool. I was very much aware how these lunches have, the more books I write, become more industry focussed – a sign of maturity or paranoia or both. Now it’s more a case of interpreting royalties, discussing projects in more detail, state-of-the-industry gossip etc. Though it wasn’t without the odd whisky story, too: John worked as an editor on – and was featured in – Iain Banks’ whisky book, so there was a tale or two to be shared. (I can’t believe how much Banks spent on bottles of whisky!)

Finally, there will potentially be a disruption to blog service in the next week or so as I change web hosting. It’s in the lap of the tech gods (I’m pretty crap when it comes to such things) but it might mean the blog goes offline at some point and/or a few comments are eaten up in the system, or not. Hopefully more on that soon.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

2 replies on “Conversation, Agent Lunch, Notes”

I think the state of the industry info would fascinate me. I making a small assumption, but I would expect someone like JJ who has been in the industry for a long time can see what’s coming down the tracks before it gets here.

You mentioned e-books not being a big slice of the pie, how about audio books?

I’m not actually sure how many audio books I’ve sold, if I’m brutally honest. It’s a licensee of the US publishers, so it’s a couple of levels removed from the UK royalty statements. Perhaps I’ll find out in a few months or so – and I suppose I could always ask directly!

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