Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A publisher with a head for heights

[While the dateline is being erratic, I will show the actual date at the top of the blog. This blog was posted on Wednesday 7 February 2007]

Also in today's blog
An American comment on the US prescription drug scene

First, here's an interesting comment on the book world which, in my view, is true of the whole publishing industry, not only the genre the publisher is discussing.

"The problem with publishing in the genre at the moment, and it is a problem, in the UK at least, is that as publishers we are not driving the market, we are unable to shape our destinies and those of our authors. Over the past few years we have found ourselves at the mercy of a book trade which has focused exclusively on high initial turnover and short-term profits (the genre has traditionally worked as a long lived backlist, word-of-mouth area: so that hits us hard); a book trade moreover, in which the power resides in the hands of a very few (who therefore have no time to read, and when they are reading it's rarely fantasy or SF). It's incredibly hard to launch successful new writers in this field at the moment, and that's deeply frustrating."

That comes from an interview with publisher Jane Johnson by Adam Volk.

Ms Johnson is also a writer and, as you see from the photo, a climber. Here's an excerpt from the bio on her website designed by Dan Isted.

"She is Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins Publishers UK, where she is responsible for the Voyager science fiction and fantasy list, as well as publishing thrillers and some historical fiction. For many years she was also responsible for the publishing of the works of JRR Tolkien, and as Jude Fisher wrote the bestselling Visual Companions which accompanied Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. As such, she was one of very few visitors to the film sets in New Zealand and came away with some amazing experiences and memories."

"You can see more about these on her site for adults:, where you will also find more about her epic fantasy trilogy, FOOL’S GOLD (SORCERY RISING, WILD MAGIC and THE ROSE OF THE WORLD). As Gabriel King she has co-written four epic novels about cats and their mythical lives alongside human beings: THE WILD ROAD, THE GOLDEN CAT, THE KNOT GARDEN and NONESUCH.
She is also a trained lecturer and holds a Master’s Degree in Old Icelandic. When not writing and publishing she likes to rock-climb, and it was in 2005, while climbing in Morocco, that she met her husband: now they split their time between the UK and Morocco, and share their life with Jane’s Norwegian Forest Cat, Thorfinna Hairy-Trousers: or Finn, for short."

Comment on previous blog

Not everyone bothers to read blog comments unless they are already in place at the time of their visit. You may have missed this interesting comment on the blog headed The Dangers of Too Much Medical Care.

"Why are no British doctors writing about this problem? Because the pharmaceutical industry is huge here in the US.

As the government here cannot, by law, negotiate drug prices for the minimal government coverage that exists (Medicare), the drug companies make a lot of money. And all of the drug companies advertise on TV. If you've seen any American TV, you'd notice this pretty quickly.

But I do also believe that this is partly the public's own fault. If you have, for example, high blood sugar, and the doctor tells you that you can lower it by changing your eating habits and exercising more, or take a pill, most people would take the pill. Why? It's easier, and we've been conditioned by all these ads that pills must be safe, otherwise the government wouldn't allow them to be sold.

Interesting topic, and I must make a note of the book so that when (if) it's available at the local library, I can have a look at it. Thanks! Lorna Sacramento, CA 06 February, 2007."

Thank you, Lorna. It's some time since my last trip to the US and I didn't realise, or had forgotten, that drug companies there could advertise on TV. As far as I'm aware they still can't do that in the UK, but I always have a book to read during the advertisement breaks anyway.

Not that The Box is on much in this household. Mr Bookworm is currently engrossed in Lesley and Roy Adkins' The War For All The Oceans which I blogged about in October 2006. I'm just starting Anthony Trollope's The West Indies and The Spanish Main. More about that later.


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