This post is brought to you by Heather Pilkington. Pilkington is currently penning a novel and is one of the writers who submitted queries for my $100 offer for guest bloggers. She has worked in internal security audit, risk management, incident response, change management, server administration, application support, and even help desk. Pilkington maintains a blog here.
Chris Katsaropoulos is a poet, an author, and an editor with his finger on the pulse of technology in the publishing industry. He has been described as:
“An emerging fresh literary voice
not to be overlooked.”
His latest book, ANTIPHONY, was released yesterday. You can read more about his work, including a collection of his poems, here.
Katsaropoulos compares what we see today in book sales with Amazon and the Kindle, to Apple and the role of iTunes in the revolution of the music industry. He shares a lot of optimism about what this means for writers. But, he indicates that current roles may evolve rather than simply replaced: “Publishers have always provided value by selecting high-quality content, packaging it in a thoughtful way, and marketing it effectively to the right readers.”
If you know someone you’d like to interview, you’re welcome to be a guest blogger. Read more details here.
200 Words with Editor/Author Chris Katsaropoulos
(In this guest blog post Heather Pilkington is Write Naked!)
Write Naked: Tell us about your writing process.
Chris Katsaropoulos: I may spend a year or more developing a novel before I begin writing. Though I don’t map out the entire book, I have a very strong idea about the central themes and characters of my books before I start writing, and I have very specific visual images for how the novels begin and end–then I let the story in between flow from there. I spend a year or more writing and revising the manuscript, crafting each scene of the book and letting it evolve into the final product.
WN: Do you have advice for prospective authors?
CK: Don’t listen to those writers, editors, or agents who tell you how difficult it is to get published–to be part of the “club.” Choose your own path and find the best way for you. Don’t wait and don’t be discouraged. Get your book out there and work in new ways to connect with your readers. Your readers are out there–you just have to determine who they are and the best way to reach them.
WN: How do you identify the market for your books?
CK: Every novel has a general readership and a readership that’s tied to the topic of the book. For example, Antiphony has a general readership interested in literary fiction, and it also has a readership that’s interested in the confluence of physics and consciousness, the ultimate theory of the universe, and spirituality and science. For general readership we target readers of literary magazines and reviews, blogs that review literary fiction and other types of keyword advertising and web presence geared to literary fiction. And for the topical readership, we target blogs and magazines and web sites that discuss those particular issues.
WN: When we spoke before, you mentioned that electronic media distribution and time to market impacts (especially on non-fiction research) would mean that publishers in general would need to re-think how they operate. Where do you think publishing is going?
CK: Ten years ago free file-sharing sites such as Napster forced the record labels to change their pricing models. Then Apple, a tech company outside the music business, figured out the right way to price, package, and download music. Listeners and musicians have adapted, and the music world has opened up so that small, independent record labels are springing up and providing more distribution points for musicians and listeners to connect. The book world is now undergoing the same kind of transformation.
I think there will be a blossoming of new, small independent publishers that will provide more platforms for authors and readers to connect, and will not be tied to the “blockbuster/bestseller” business model many of the largest houses are now operating under, which is more similar to the way Hollywood studios do business than the way publishers once operated. Smart publishers will be able to fill that gap by publishing what used to be called the ‘mid-list,’ solid titles that sell a few hundred or a few thousand copies and do well for both authors and publishers.
WN: Amazon recently announced that it would be “cutting out the publishers” by contracting directly with authors. Do you think this will work? And will it be good or bad for authors? What about for the industry as a whole?
CK: I think Amazon and Kindle are playing a role similar to what Apple has done in the transformation of the music world–and don’t count out Apple and Google as players in the book world as well. Controlling the means of distribution through well-thought-out devices and pricing models is rapidly replacing the old bricks-and-mortar world the traditional publishers have dominated.
This can be a good thing for readers as well as authors, reducing the number of gates a book has to pass through to get to its readers. But smart publishers will figure out ways to provide this value no matter what the distribution channel is.
WN: Lastly, your James Lipton Question: What profession, other than your own, would you most like to do or attempt?
CK: A buddhist monk or concert pianist!
Excerpt from ANTIPHONY:
If he’s working at home here late at night, he’ll send himself an email message that he can open the next morning and copy to a document on his desktop computer in the office. This way, he has the assurance that he has preserved whatever work he has done on the Institute mail server where the email message is stored. The words feel strange to him as he types them into the message, as if they have been sent to him by another person, another version of himself.
There is a unity to everything, from the largest forms to the smallest. The spiral spinning of a galaxy is the same form embodied in the twist of light that comprises the most minuscule particles of matter. And the spiral is a two-dimensional slice of the three dimensional form of all matter, which is a torus encompassing the central point of emission . . .
It doesn’t take long to get it all down in the email. A couple of minutes, and he is at the end. He is about to send the message, but he pauses and stares at the strange equation he has written—written and crossed out. It is absurd. But he types it in anyway, searching for the special symbol code for infinity in the equation app the institute has added to the email program for its scientists to use:
0 x ∞ = 1
Zero times infinity equals one. Absurd. He stares at it for a moment longer, then clicks the button that says SEND.