This past weekend the Australian Financial Review Magazine ran Andrew Cornell’s ‘Brave new world of book publishing’. It’s essential reading for any serious writer aspiring to publication in Australia.
I would have loved to reproduce the text here in full, but the AFR’s online permissions-calculator told me I’d be up for more than $700.
Cornell breaks down the component parts of the Australian book industry, which, for those who’ve been hibernating for a few years, is undergoing multiple transformations. It’s one of the most lucid summaries I’ve read of the ways in which technology and corporatisation have affected the mechanics of how books are acquired and distributed in this country.
Through interviews with Hannah Kent (Burial Rites) and Christos Tsiolkas (Barracuda, The Slap) the article also describes the increased promotional demands on authors, the cult of writerly ‘celebrity’, and the mixed blessings of the new publishing landscape for Australian authors in particular.
Sharp as ever, Tsolkias makes what for me is the main point:
There is a danger for Australian writing in that some of our best writers are never going to have that big blockbuster the international market needs. Today you have to prove yourself in the market but the market is not the only determinant of value.