Home Forums General Books and Magazines Editorial- Something Smells in Publishing

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  • #187408
    Avatar photoJohn Treadaway
    Participant

    Wargaming’s great… 🙂

    No doubt. Any insights, as an editor, on the OP – the state of military history and wargames publishing?

    I was kinda ducking out on this one (perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything…).

    So no: nothing I could say here would be helpful, I suspect. Having ejected myself from another online forum before being pushed by the owner (no names but I’m sure you can all join the unsavoury dots) after voicing my opinions, I now try desperately hard not to have an opinion (in writing) on these matters as – in my experiece – it usually decends in to a back and forth, ping-pong style diatribe that does no one any favours. So…

    Wargaming is great: we should all do more!

    Catch me at a show over a cup of tea and I may well say other things…

    John Treadaway

    www.hammers-slammers.com
    http://www.hammers-slammers.com

    "They don't have to like us, snake, they just have t' make the payment schedule" Lt Cooter - Hammer's Slammers
    #187413
    Avatar photoGuy Farrish
    Participant

    Sorry John. Just teasing.

    I fully understand your circumspection under the circumstances.

    Make mine a black coffee and it’s a deal.

    #187529
    Avatar photoJohn Treadaway
    Participant

    That’s okay Guy 🙂 Nowadays I do virtuallty no social media (tempted as I am to sign up for twitter in light of it having rececntly changed hands): so that’s no discource servers, no whatsapp, no facebook messenger or indeed anything else.People can email me (I’m not hard to find) so I leave it at that. Comparatively old school.

    My time on “that other forum” (plus having had to trawl through some of the nonesence on Frothers) taught me that – even if I appreciated any if the (let’s call it) ‘cut and thrust’ involved – I largely don’t trust myself to keep my lip buttoned…

    John Treadaway

    www.hammers-slammers.com
    http://www.hammers-slammers.com

    "They don't have to like us, snake, they just have t' make the payment schedule" Lt Cooter - Hammer's Slammers
    #187635
    Avatar photoPhil Dutré
    Participant

    Book publishing ranges from “books for the masses” to “highly specialized academic books”. Books on military history are no different.

    Any decent bookshop has a smallish section on “military history”, usually covering WW2 , and then some topics specifically for the local country, but of course marketed for a mass audience. As a teenager I bought many of these books, still reading up on many of the topics I knew nothing about. But these days, I don’t really bother. How many books about Waterloo can you read? How many books about Hitler? How many books about (insert local battle here)? Sooner or later, you know it all, and you’ve seen all the photographs. If I still buy one of these mass-produced books today, it has to be a very good one. BTW, over the years, I also have reduced my personal collection very aggressively, for the same reasons. Esp soft-covers go away quickly, no reason to keep them all, I’ll probably never read them again anyway.

    So, do I still buy books? Yes, but mostly books that are on the other end of the spectrum. Might be a “definite” biography written by an academic who has spent a lifetime researching the subject, or a well-researched reference book. But yes, you pay money for those. Quality does cost something.

    At some point, you know so much about a topic that any additional info will not be found in books, and you’ll have to primary research yourself: dig through archives, go see the stocks in museum collections that are not on display, check all the facts about a battlefield by walking it,  etc. That’s when you have become the authority ans should write the final book on the topic yourself  🙂

    (It’s a similar feeling I had as an academic  a long time ago … at one point you realize you should be the one giving the courses at conferences or write the reference work outlining the current state-of-the-art … you have become the expert in your niche. And yes, I did write a book 😉 )

    #198302
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    Thanks Phil for that very worthy and unemotive outlay of perhaps what I was also meaning to write.

    A Reprise of Sorts?
    Nearly a year down the track I  think the umbrage taken, when no personal malice was intended, certainly no offense to the assembled cogniscenti…

    What IRKS me most [ thanks Sane! ], playing catch up- I admit my own fault, has been the stuttered publication of ‘series’. One would expect that contemporary subjects, or campaigns, would be produced efficiently and in a continuous manner, not spread over many months or even years.

    Well it appears poor Britain on whom we rely for our reading, modelling and whole-of-brain fitmess has suffered the pain of political, social, economic and ‘establishment’ calumny and crimes, causing not a little unrest in the ‘working class’ of all kinds.

    True the multiple threats of Brexit and Covid created multiple complexities difficult to fathom, let alone ‘control’ or remediate.

    I note in the last few weeks multiple comments from those closer to the scene [ than far away here in the Antipodes.. ] instances of concern.

    One a fine German hobbyist and bookseller commented-

    “Just in time for the weekend, we want to introduce you to interesting books, novelties, which reached us in the last two weeks.
    We are also pleased that we were able to eliminate some bottlenecks, which passed over a number of months. This concerns, among other things, Pen & Sword. The publisher is struggling, like many other English publishers with the consequences of the Brexxit.”

    And with this clue, from the Helion stable an author writes-

    Coming in Autumn 2024: comprehensive revisionary review of the Grande Armee at Austerlitz.

    Slated to be the ‘end’ of the series in 2025, I wonder what brought this tome massively forward by a year and others to be pushed back.. till 2026 ?

    In production, hopefully for release in November this year… The changing nature of publishing, and how history is accessed has shifted greatly since I began writing. Podcasts, vlogs and other online media have replaced traditional printed medium.

    Even the prodigious Mikaberdze works have dried up. The ‘Bennigsen Memoirs Vol-2’ which was an original prompt for this not-an-editorial as the sarcasic would say.., have not seen a publicists word in over a year since. Disheartening with money burning a hole in my palm… at least they don’t ask for deposits!

    So as I write, nearly a year down the track, seems the economic unravelling of society and publishing grow in equal measures, rather denying all of us the interests we want to follow.
    Notwithstanding the slaughter of innocents going on where a book is perhaps the least of their concerns…
    ~d

    #198315
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    With pricing it is very difficult to know. The problem is that the model is broken. A lot of people who used to buy books are sitting with kindle’s stuffed with free downloads. .

     

    And there’s a reason for that.

    Book

    Eight quid. And the Kindle price is a bit on the high side for the information the book contains.

    Mal Wright’s three companion volumes on the Royal Navy are superb. This one, not so much. Why?

    Mal’s work include the Admiralty paint codes for all of the colour illustrations, with the usual caveats. There are colour swatches (of doubtful utility given colour reproduction in print, but nice to have) in the introduction section of every volume.

    The Kriegsmarine volume is much less specific, ‘dark grey’ isn’t a lot of use without the relevant RAL code, there were five Dunkelgrau used in WWII by the Kriegsmarine. Now, I understand that there is less information about the German navy, but I would still have been a bit peeved if I’d bought the physical copy.

    The one good thing is that with the Kindle reader app on a PC you can print the pretty pictures. Or rather you can’t, but there’s a workaround. Naughty!

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #198317
    Avatar photoPaint it Pink
    Participant

    Yes, as an author of a limited number of books, I can say with some reasonable certainty that publishing is a game for grifter’s and graft.

    I hired someone who I thought was a good proof reader, and credited them in my books, and I can tell you that any profit I have made from sales has yet to cover the cost of the proof reading.

    It’s a sad life, but it is my life.

    One is good, more is better
    http://panther6actual.blogspot.co.uk/
    http://ashleyrpollard.blogspot.co.uk/

    #198341
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    Yes, as an author of a limited number of books, I can say with some reasonable certainty that publishing is a game for grifter’s and graft. I hired someone who I thought was a good proof reader, and credited them in my books, and I can tell you that any profit I have made from sales has yet to cover the cost of the proof reading. It’s a sad life, but it is my life.

     

    Just to agree entirely with you. I have used a semi-professional editor and whilst I don’t think the books he edited ever covered the cost of his editing, frankly he taught me an amazing amount about how a book should go and how things should hang together, so I regard it as money well spent.

    The problem with proof reading is that it is very difficult to proof read your own work because you know what you meant to say. The best I’ve managed is leaving it for six months and coming back to it so it’s almost like reading something written by somebody else 🙂

    But yes, genuine high quality proof reading where they go through it line by line to pick up all the typos is hellish expensive. But then as an hourly rate, if they are doing it right, it’s probably not too unreasonable.
    But this explains why (and here I may be guilty of exaggeration) nobody, including a lot of publishers, does this sort of proof reading any more

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

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