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A couple of months ago, I was listening to an interview on NPR with someone who was talking about the death of mass marketing and mass media. I can’t really do justice to the man’s arguments — I didn’t hear the whole thing, and besides, I was paying more attention to the thoughts inside my head, some of which I may write up someday as a post about the future of book publishing.
The other part of my thinking had to do with marketing for my book, which — now that the book is wending its way toward actual publication, past the editing and desktop publishing process — has been taking up an increasing share of my mental attention, as to my dismay I realize all over again that publication notwithstanding, Books Don’t Sell Themselves.
Since I’ve been making a concerted effort to read more LDS/Mormon books and since I’ve started reviewing them and recommending them, I’ve realized something important: I have a litmus test for Mormon literature. I have one overarching criteria that defines all of my Mormon literary experiences–whether it’s a book, the scriptures, or a General Conference talk. Continue reading “A Litmus Test for Mormon Literature?”
Publisher’s Weekly reported yesterday that most new titles produced each year are now produced using print-on-demand or short-run methods, according to industry service provider R. R. Bowker. During 2008, the number of new titles printed using traditional methods fell by 3%, to 275,232, while the number of new titles printed using print-on-demand or short-run methods rose by 132%, to 285,394. Overall, the number of new titles rose by 38%, to 560,626 titles.
Add to the perennial question “What Makes a Book Mormon?” another: “What Makes a Publisher Mormon?” A look at Agreka Books, of Scottsdale, Arizona, may help us at least decide what is not a Mormon publisher.
When I was a student at BYU some enterprising student published a hardcover guide titled The Mormon Media Market, which followed the model of the Writer’s Digest annual guide Writer’s Market (now the subject of numerous spin-offs and copy-cat works). I thought at the time that this was a good idea, although it was clear from the content in the book that there wasn’t much of a market.
That has changed in the more than 20 years since that guide was published, and WindRiver Publishing is proving it, with the second (2010) edition of its LDS Writer’s Market Guide – 2010.
In the wake of last week’s news about Deseret Book taking Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books, I started thinking again about what alternatives there might be to Deseret Book’s dominance of the LDS market. There seems to be little question that many more sophisticated books, although apparently some are books that make the most sensitive or religiously conservative uncomfortable, and as a result those books are mostly shut out of LDS bookstores.
I was surprised the other morning to see that LDSReview.net was closing up shop. I can’t claim to have been a regular or detailed reader of the service–to be honest, they didn’t review the kind of books I read. But I thought that they served an important role.
Historically, reviewers have served an important role in book publishing, both to let the public know about books and to serve as a check on quality. But it is also clear that the role of reviewers is changing radically.
As a result, I wonder whether or not we should mourn the loss of LDSReview.net.
LDS publisher Windriver Publishing has purchased another LDS publisher, Mapletree Publishing, according to a message posted on the websites of both companies. The merger consolidates two smaller publishers active in the LDS market, and borders on creating a new medium-sized publisher.
On one of the Mormon email lists I follow, a list member made a formal announcement recently that he had submitted his manuscript to Deseret Book for their consideration. The announcement included details like the title and subject of the work and its length. The announcement seemed kind of odd to me. Normally I only see such announcements, when I see them at all, after the book has been accepted for publication!
Even more unusual, the book seemed to me like something that should be aimed at a national audience, something that Deseret Book has no strength in whatsoever.
Occasionally I have been challenged in my posts here and elsewhere when I talk about LDS culture, LDS books and LDS authors by those that bristle at the distinction–what difference (they say) does it make if an author is LDS?