Thursday 30 December 2010

Indie/Small Press YA publishers of genre

So I've been wondering for a while if there are many small presses that publish genre novels for a young adult readership. (By "genre" I mainly mean speculative and weird, or sci-fi/fantasy/horror, if you prefer.) My main interest is that I'd like TFF to move in the direction of reviewing children's and YA literature in addition to the material we currently cover, and we focus on the small and indie press. Others will have different uses for this information (if they're writers, readers, artists or publishers themselves, say). And that said, I don't know what we'll actually do with this list when we have it.

I should confess I haven't been looking very hard; I asked around on Twitter a few weeks ago, and I've done a bit of Googling and browsing Duotrope, so I bet I've missed plenty. (Not checked Litmags, Ralan or E-Zines, for example. Not looked at the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook.) But I thought I'd post the results of my first trawl to see what others can add.

Here's the preliminary list of small or indie presses who seem to have interest both in YA novels and in speculative/weird fiction (except where noted, I've not always yet been able to ascertain that they have published anything that is both at once; bolded titles seem the most focused on the combination in question).
We'd be very grateful to be told of any omissions from this list, or anything I've erroneously included. (I have consciously excluded any press that explicitly rejects any LGBT or "alternative" content, or that seems only or primarily to deal in religious/spiritual material.)

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Print ad for TFF Reviews

Any suggestions on improving the look or "impact" of this ad? It's currently designed for 300dpi at 2.5" x 4", but I can mess around with that for other versions.

Any ideas on print venues to place this ad? Our budget is limited...

Saturday 25 December 2010

Has a bad review ever made you buy a book?

Publishers often say that all publicity is good publicity; in a world where the economics of attention (how do you get noticed in a deluge of print, e-book, pro-, small- or self-published, promoted and even free fiction?) outweigh the economics of scarcity (make my product rare so I can charge more for it), I can see how this would be true. Anything that brings your product (in the case of publishers, the author) to the attention of the consumer (the reader) is a good thing, right? If you're in an airport wanting to grab a book for that flight, then a name you recognize, even if you don't quite remember from where, will get your attention before all the faceless authors on the shelf. I'm sure everyone who slated Dan Brown's writing style contributed to his blockbuster status, and no doubt Docx is delighted that so many intelligent and reasonable people disagree violently with his poorly thought out rant about genre fiction. In theory, all this works fine.

But I'm curious: does this work in particular cases? Has a bad review ever made you go out and buy a book?

I can think of two reasons (and a commentator on Twitter suggested a third) this might happen:

  1. the reviewer is obviously incompetent, tasteless and/or morally repugnant, to the degree that when s/he says, "This is the most boring/slow/pinko book I've ever read!" you realize this means it might have some depth/intelligence to it;
  2. the reviewer has some valid criticisms of the book, but despite (or because) of those you think you might like it anyway (this happened to me recently with some customer reviews on Amazon of Catherynne Valente's Palimpsest, where the most popular reviews are negative, but one complained about fluid sexuality, and another said the language was too poetic--both fine by me!);
  3. (@ferretthimself suggests) that books that provoke emotional reactions and strong opinions are likely to be more interesting, and therefore worth reading.
I'm looking for concrete examples, what books have you been out and bought (downloaded, borrowed from library, etc.) on the basis of a bad review or recommendation? Was it a good idea?