on publishing

By: Say Books Online  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Publishing

It has occurred to me that writing is a laborious way of collecting rejection slips. I got my first one in 1979 and publishers turning down my manuscripts still outnumber the times they have agreed to publish my work by a factor of ten or so.

Getting a rejection slip is a disappointment for any author. Here you are, pouring your soul or at least many hours into a project and some stranger says it’s not worth publishing. Feeling hurt, wronged or angry is normal.

I was musing again about Content Strategy and it occurred to me that there are two ways of looking at it.

There is what I would call the ‘Master’ view: the all-seeing eye that knows everything, plans everything and creates clear structures to realise a certain vision. This is most appropriate to the ‘Enterprise’ model, particularly for industries where compliance is incredibly important or for highly structured modular content.

The other is the ‘Darwinian’ view: life develops largely through chance, circumstance, and constraints, making use of minute building blocks (DNA) to combine and create new life forms in endless and unforeseeable combinations. And, likewise, the binary nature of digital (so simple that it’s either on or it’s off) makes content uncontainable, unconstrainable and endlessly combinable. This paradox is both a threat and an opportunity.

What’s your story?

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, but my parents are from Ohio and California. They never expected to stay in Memphis when they came, and they spent a lot of time keeping me and my brother away from the Southern accent. So I’ve grown up with an interesting mixture of Southern, Californian, and Northern heritage.

Laura Bontrager

I graduated with a degree in English, and then worked as a behavioural aide for a boy with autism, and my poetry was published in various magazines and journals. Currently, I work in the library of a boys’ private school in Memphis. And I write.

When did you start writing and why?

One of the reasons may be that much of the current language of content management uses the language of logic, with little attention to the lyrical or personal. The reason for this may be that most companies using CMSs up until now have been businesses outside the creative field. Within these contexts, the purely rational language of content management may be valid.

Confession: I’m a serious fan of the TV show, Castle,  which stars the ‘Geek God’, the witty Nathan Fillion, and the beautiful, and enviably multilingual, Stana Katic. What does this have to do with publishing, you may ask. Well, a lot it turns out.

I tweet about Castle under a ‘Castley’ pseudonym, and fangirl with the best of them (many of them teenagers, but also a fair smattering of English majors, doctors, teachers, film/media types, and of course, Firefly fans). What became increasingly interesting to me as I watched the show and followed fans on Twitter was the way the show crossed the usual boundaries of fandoms, media types and genres. I was particularly fascinated with how a show about a crime writer seemed to be encouraging young people to read long-form narrative that they might not have read otherwise, if they read books at all.

Keywords: Publishing

Other products and services from Say Books Online

05-Apr-2012

on production

The other is the ‘Darwinian’ view: life develops largely through chance, circumstance, and constraints, making use of minute building blocks to combine and create new life forms in endless and unforeseeable combinations. Given the rise and rise of EPUB, Print on Demand, and the increasing sophistication of HTML5 and CSS3 for print as well as onscreen, this seemed like the future of publishing.


05-Apr-2012

on writers

I tweet about Castle under a ‘Castley’ pseudonym, and fangirl with the best of them (many of them teenagers, but also a fair smattering of English majors, doctors, teachers, film/media types, and of course, Firefly fans). What became increasingly interesting to me as I watched the show and followed fans on Twitter was the way the show crossed the usual boundaries of fandoms.