Editor Jonathan Karp of the imprint Twelve (he only prints 12 books a year so that he can give undivided promotional attention to each book a month) weighs in on the "disposable book" in the Washington Post:


Do you agree? Do you think that authors should be spending more time (more than two years) in writing their books?

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Golly, I hope that the paper format never goes away, but I suppose at my age I will not live long enough to see e.books and e.zines take over. I still like the printed page. The sunlight does not keep me from reading--I just move to the shade or sit on the glider inside my "great pains" room--took great pains on the knees to put down the ceramic tiles. It can be beastly weather outside (lots of deer, birdlife, etc.) and I am cozy. All puns intended.
I skimmed this. He only publishes 12 books a year? Does this keep his company afloat? Or does the promotion assure him the sales? Interesting question. I have always maintained that publishers should cut back and concentrate on the books they really want to succeed. At the moment, they toss evrything at the public in hopes that the public will pick out the winners.
There is enormous disrespect for books in this country. We also have fewer readers of fiction as people seek their vicarious entertainment elsewhere. Reading takes a bit of effort and a minimal vocabulary.
A book takes as long as it takes. Some take 6 months, some take years. Clearly, though, if the author has to turn them out as fast as possible to make a living or to fullfill contract obligations, the result will be mediocre.
I'm not too concerned about what he projects, if only because the first part of his essay is devoted to announcing that no one in publishing really knows what's going on.

I take issue with his prediction of the demise of genre fiction. If the current system deteriorates as he describes, people will be more likely to read what they're comfortable with. To expect the average reader to concentrate only on what is "new and different" goes against everything experience has taught us. There are people who want something completely different from each book they read, but they do not make up the bulk of fiction readers.
Where does he say that no one knows what's going on?
Actually, it was farther down where he said, "Unfortunately, these attempts at producing consistent results don't work particularly well in an endeavor that is only slightly more predictable than a game of blackjack."
Well, he is not the first who sayid that you cannot predict whether a particular book will be successful or not.

As a publisher you can influence the probability but nothing more, it is still a gamble.
we're also in the era of disposable writers, so not a surprise that disposable writers write disposable books.


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