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Author Topic: Superman
Member # 9757

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Just watched an intereview with the man who invented the Joker for the Batman franchise. He said that back in the 1930's and 1940's, the original Superman concept languaished for years becaue the two guys who invented him coudl never convince anyone in the publishing business that the concept would sell.

Someday, if I ever get teh third book in this trilogy finished, I am going to look up as many as I can find of the authors whose works came to be called classics, and put together alist of the ones who had to self-publish because no publishing house thought they were worth anything. It should be interesting. Beatrice Potter, Jack London, and I am not sure about Mark Twain. Many more

Just fascinating, is all. Another one of the ironies of history.

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Member # 8019

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I believe publishing culture history is worth investigation. For example, the so-called traditional or conventional publishing business model, pre-Digital Age, began in the early twentieth century with introductions of such technologies as linotype machines like the Merganthaler Linotype Compositor partly funded by angel investor Samuel Clemens, machine-made wood pulp paper delivered directly to press machines on large roles, printing presses with high volume output, cut and fold, collate, bind, and trim capabilities.

Since publishers invested enormous sums in the printing factories, they lobbied legislatures for protections from what had up until then been a copyright piracy bonanza. Copyright laws were given teeth and claws. Technology changed the culture and the law.

The comic book as a form had emerged earlier as a reprint of prior serial publications. The first original release comic book released in 1933, though as a form comic book magazines were not fully realized until about 1938, reaching a heyday circa late 1950s along with pulp genre novels and pulp magazine digests. Then along came portable radios, color television, portable tape player-recorders, and eventually the Digital age's appeals, to draw down print media channels. Technological innovations drove the initiation of comic book media and culture. Comic books drove the emergence of superhero film media and culture.

Prior to the late nineteenth century, novel publication followed a different publication business model than the one the Digital age is altering. A writer composed a work in progress and offered early chapters for serial publication. A newspaper or digest press published the installments of about five thousand words or so about once per month until the entire novel was published or canceled due to reader indifference, often because the novel didn't bear out over time.

If a serialized novel had enjoyed a reasonable critical and popular acclaim, another publisher, actually a bookmaker, might then offer to publish the entire work. The bookmaker assumed all costs up front and paid a one-time percentage of estimated total sales revenue, like a royalty's percentage, about ten percent of revenue, not per se cover price.

However, the customers first in line at the bookmaker's release sale were so-called literary agents. These agents would purchase however many copies they had representation for. They'd post them in the mail or arrange with a ship's purser to deliver them to similar agents operating across the globe in major cities, English language speaking and reading cities. Every agent along the journey tacked on the customary ten percent, until the book arrived at a bookmaker. The book was disbound and sent to typesetters. Often within the week of arrival at the bookmaker, the pirated copy was released. In bookmaking meccas like London and New York, pirated copies often appeared within a few days of the original release at next-door bookmakers.

Another similar publishing model depended on benefactors, sponsors, and investor subscriptions. In that case, a novel goes directly from writer's desk to bookmaker. Somewhat like self-publishing, though paid for by private investors. George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London was published by that route, partly funded by benefactors, sponsors, and investors.

Technology and culture drive each other's evolutions. The Digital age's innovations are still emerging and will have as significant an influence on publishing culture as did the Industrial age. Let's see what will happen.

Today, any informed interested person singlehandedly may publish as quality a physical product as any conventional publisher. This is most apparent in the exponential increase in publishers, from a few hundred in the 1950s to a couple hundreds of thousands today, all with potentially equal access to distribution channels. Only content quality and audience appeal do not bear out for most of the tens of thousands of prose works published conventionally annually, nor for the uncounted hundreds of thousands coming from guerilla publishers, nor for the millions of also rans flooding the publishing culture pipeline at any given time.

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Some people need to be disappointed, need to be told no, need something negative to happen to them to spark greatness.

I agree that publishers pass on great things, but many things aren't great and passing them gives those who created them a moment to think about what they're presenting.

I've been working on my novel for three years and each passing month I've created something great to add. Things that are making the story better. I will self publish if I don't find an agent to help me out. That's going to cost a bit for promotion and such.

I want to self publish because I get to decide so much. I'm glad that I've been told no. It's made me think harder about what I'm presenting.

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Pyre Dynasty
Member # 1947

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Poe is said to have printed his works as pamphlets and passed them out on the street.
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