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Posts Tagged ‘Jerome Weeks’

Summer’s Fiction Logjam

Former Dallas Morning News book critic Jerome Weeks brings to light what may seem like a major upcoming headache for both book editors and publishers: a plethora of major literary works crammed together between April and June. “There are so many significant authors with novels coming out in the space of about 9 weeks that when I proposed reviewing Don DeLillo‘s post-9/11 novel, FALLING MAN, to one editor, I was told there was already too many fiction reviews booked for May through June,” Weeks explained. “When DeLillo can’t catch a break, you know it’s crunch time.”

No kidding, what with impending releases by Nathan Englander, Haruki Murakami, Michael Chabon, Michael Ondaatje, Susanna Moore, Armistead Maupin, Chuck Palahniuk and Khaled Hosseini. But the craziest publishing day for fiction has to be June 5, as new bestseller staples by Clive Cussler, Robert B.Parker, Jeffery Deaver, Laurell K. Hamilton, Ann Brashares and Nicola Kraus & Emma McLaughlin are released that Tuesday. Calling it a dogfight is probably an understatement…

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Blame the System, Not the Bosses

Former Dallas Morning News book critc Jerome Weeks has plenty to say about yesterday’s LA Times piece on “publishing assistant lit” (or whatever moniker you want to use, as long as it’s less unwieldy) and how the real fault may lie in how the industry is structured: by a revolving door of assistants who aren’t likely to stick around longer than a year. While speaking with several publicity and marketing folks, “half a dozen of them told me flat-out that unless someone climbs through the system, they’ll find it hard to enter publishing because this is how publishing trains people. And it’s designed to exploit young women as serfs.”

Plus ca change, especially as the starting salaries for editorial assistants aren’t that much higher than documented by an anonymous publishing up-and-comer almost ten years ago. And change, especially on the publicity side, is unlikely, says Weeks. “It’s systemic. And it continues, in part, because publicity has little glamor or clout in publishing; most people don’t want to do it, even though, if publishers had any brains, they’d realize that marketing these days is almost the whole game.”