28 October 2009

Ever Heard of "Grey"?

Non Sequitur, 27 Oct 2009

The theme today appears to be overgeneralization...

  • At GalleyCat, there's yet another whinge about problems with the short story market. The major difficulty with this particular whinge is that it has an exceedingly narrow view of what constitutes a "short story": If it's material that might conceivably have a dragon, or a spaceship, or a detective, on the cover, it doesn't count. It also focuses on periodicals as the "natural" form for distributing short fiction, while neglecting the economic and technological (not literary) origin of periodicals... that has, in the 170 years or so since they became viable at the mass level, changed so radically that it's no wonder that profitable periodicals are no longer an effective means of distributing individual pieces of short fiction to large audiences.
  • Lee Goldberg also makes a similar error of omission in his discussion entitled "The Cons and Cons of Self-Publishing" — only in this case, the error is far less of a problem, and his analysis is far more on target. There are certain niche categories for which self-publishing is a viable option; implicitly (and correctly), Goldberg is asserting that fiction — at any length — is not included. Because Goldberg is primarily a fiction-writer (both for TV and for print), his article unfortunately assumes that his own experience extends across the entire field, to include other niches like technical and instructional manuals, poetry, and cookbooks.
  • In the "coffee-snort overgeneralization" category, an editor asserts that "Kensington Publishing Corp. is the last remaining independent U.S. publisher of hardcover, trade and mass market paperback books." Again, this is an almost-understandable overgeneralization, as it appears on the Novelists, Inc. blog... the problem is that I can name at least fifteen independent US publishers of hardcover, trade and mass market paperback books outside of trade fiction, including a former employer of mine that isn't exactly struggling for revenue.