How Publishing Really Works (HPRW) is a [now-archived site] I’ve found and lost several times, as well as the gateway to several other interesting sites. I’m adding it to the blogroll because I’m tired of spending frustrated hours trying to find my way back.
Run by Jane Smith, HPWR aspires to make the complexities and absurdities of the publishing world a bit less obscure, particularly for people who have an interest in writing themselves. A sister site to HPWR — and here I will beg your keen attention for a moment — is The Self-Publishing Review (TSPR), which should not be, but easily could be, confused with Henry Baum’s Self-Publishing Review. On TSPR Jane reviews self-published works using what I think is very fair and useful criteria:
What’s the catch? I’m an editor, and expect published books to be polished. I’m going to count all the errors I find in spelling, punctuation and grammar and when I reach fifteen I’m going to stop reading. I’ll work my way through up to five pages of boring prose or bad writing before I give up. And I’ll list on this blog every single book I’m sent, including the books I’ve not completed, along with how far I got through each one.
TSPR, like SPR, engages the most important question hanging over (and being lorded over) the self-publishing movement: are self-published writers creating works worth reading? HPRW attempts to pull back the curtain (if not the wool) on the publishing industry, which also helps would-be authors decide how best to approach the self-publishing movement. As to how Jane Smith manages to keep multiple blogs going while also finding time to write, I have no idea — but I am taking notes.
Update: It’s with mixed emotions that I’ve killed my blogroll link to this site, on the heels of [a now defunct] this post by Jane. We can all agree to disagree, but honestly I can’t square Jane’s condescension on her HPRW site while also respecting the work she’s done reviewing self-published authors on her Self-Publishing Review site. If, as she says in a follow-up post —
…while “good enough” can be a little difficult to define, “not good enough” is very easy to spot: almost every single one of the self-published books I’ve been sent for my self publishing review blog has slotted into this category, some far more easily than others (and bear in mind that I’ve got a backlog of book reviews waiting to be scheduled for publication, and most of them didn’t make the grade).
— then I’m hard-pressed to understand why she’s wasting her time. If, as she argues, unpublished writers are unpublished because their writing stinks, why in god’s name is she defying her own logic and reviewing self-published books? Simply to prove her own logic? If that’s the case, what kind of legitimacy can her reviews really have?
Honestly, I liked Jane’s posts on both of her sites. But having this bit of ugliness spew forth feels like a revelation of the worst kind. It colors everything of hers that I’ve read, and make me wonder what other hostile sentiments have been left unsaid.
— Mark Barrett