Nothing New Under the Sun

Dec 11, 05:54 by IROSF
Please comment!
Dec 11, 18:04 by Lois Tilton
You forgot "travesty," so let me add it. Surely you have made it clear that there is no depth so low that the publishing industry will not dig out a sublevel beneath it.
Dec 12, 00:00 by Terry Grignon
Loved your article. I enjoyed P&P&Z very much but agree this is not nor should be a trend. It was an original concept that was fun while it lasted... let's move on.
Dec 12, 02:55 by Janine Stinson
It's so disheartening to watch the publishing industry follow Hollyweird into the repeat-everything-at-least-twice ditch. It feels like ten frames of gutter balls. I see way too many do-over projects in film and TV. But there's still some good stuff being filmed as well as printed, and that's what I'll be hunting in video stores, libraries and bookstores.

I wonder what would happen if an anti-greed Event landed on us...
Dec 14, 15:13 by David Gardner
I agree with you that there is something of a shelf-life on this phenomenon, but it may last longer than any of us would like.

I'm reminded of reality TV, which is very successful because of the fact (at least in theory) that it requires no writers or actors, allowing for significantly lower production costs. When reality TV first began to get popular I predicted that it would be over in five years. Needless to say I was way off and reality TV is still going strong.

In some ways, this trend shares that lower production cost factor. The writer is not creating a novel, but adding a relatively small amount of new material to a pre-existing work, like a college student re-working a paper created in one class for use in another. While I have no information about the financial arrangements between the publisher and the author, this arrangement at least allows for the possibility of lower production costs.

Granted, none of the follow-ons is likely to achieve the success of the first outing, but as long as they're showing a profit it's likely that more of the same will follow.
Dec 14, 16:40 by Nicholas Kaufmann
David, I see your point but the economics of publishing a book are different from those of producing a TV show. With reality TV, there may be no writers or actors to pay and a reduced production staff, but when it comes to publishing the production costs of a novel are pretty static. Regardless of the amount of pre-existing text, the books are printed--and designed and given cover art--from scratch, no differently from novels whose every word is new. I don't know the advance and royalties structure given to the mashup authors, but I suspect they're not all that different from any other novelist's, especially if the publishers are expecting these books to be successful.

But the point you make in your last graf is spot on: As long as they continue to turn a profit, monster mashups are here to stay. But then again, so are addiction memoirs, transformational/spiritual titles, and YA novels about vampires in high school.
Dec 14, 18:25 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
Late to the discussion as always...

I will definitely agree that the Regency Era makes for a fascinating setting for a zombie novel. I too enjoyed P&P&Z, and I must state that I find Austen's novels to be the best cure for insomnia I have ever run across.

The publishing industry will milk this type of book for the foreseeable future. Who could have predicted that the Supernatural Romance sub-sub-genre would outlast the handful of original writers (like Hamilton) who established it? It remains the largest selling segment of genre literature today.

I might sound elitest here, but I am finding American produced genre media increasingly lowest common denominator. Luckily, I live in Canada and we get to have european genre media on our shelves and television sets.
Dec 14, 20:33 by David Gardner
David, I see your point but the economics of publishing a book are different from those of producing a TV show. With reality TV, there may be no writers or actors to pay and a reduced production staff, but when it comes to publishing the production costs of a novel are pretty static.


I think I failed to make myself completely clear, Nicholas. Agreed that the costs of producing the physical, printed copy of the novel are very similar across the board. What I'm referring to, though, is a situation in which the author might be willing to work far more cheaply since he/she has to produce a far smaller word count. In other words, instead of writing 400,000 words and getting 10x, this hypothetical writer might be accepting 2x or 3x for writing 50,000 words.

What I don't know, and please, anyone, clue me in if you have even vague figures, is "What percentage of the overall budget to produce a book comes from the advance and royalties paid to the author?" This would likely be the deciding factor. If the amount paid the author is small in relation to the cost of printing and distributing the book then it's like that this won't be a critical factor.
   

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