Part Two of a conversation between Richard Morgan (author of Thirteen/Black Man) and Brasyl author Ian McDonald, recorded at Eastercon 2007 and uploaded by their UK publisher.
So is the American audience really that poorly perceived in the wider community?
Seems to be, yeah. And we're talking about the wider audience that goes into B&N and scans the shelves for new books, not the "core" folks who go to cons and check LocusMag.com every day or know enough to have relationships they rely on for recommendations at indie bookstores. Although people have slagged off the US publisher for changing the title, Thirteen is selling very well here in its first month. If it's true that US readers won't buy a book titled Black Man, is it better to stand on principal and compromise sales or adjust the title and reach more people with the message of the book? (I am not suggesting a side here, nor criticising another house. I genuinely ask the question. And is it true? It's too bad we can't peer into a quantum universe to see how Black Man is selling in the US next door to our US.)But I know I routinely draw fire from the critics for publishing so many UK writers in my short story anthologies (like that's a bad thing!) and there's at least one convention dealer who jumps on me for publishing so many UK authors at Pyr, though we've done quite well by some of them indeed, Mr McDonald included. Just not through this particular dealer, apparently. (And is that our titles or his attitude?)Interstingly, the Moorcock interview I cite in the DeathRay piece above has Mike labeling the entire SF field as being very conservative and some folks have expressed concern to me privately that the bisexuality in Brasyl might keep it off the Hugo ballot, though I'll be surprised if that happens.So, is it deserved? I'd love to see both Morgan and McDonald on the ballot as a nice counterpoint to the low opinion of our readership (and for other reasons too, natch).Still, I spend a lot of time watching people browse the shelves at chain stores. It can be instructive...
You know, I keep running into how conservative the reader base is, especially relative to how liberal the writer base seems to be. An interesting disconnect, though maybe it's just the writers I meet at cons at two in the morning. Could be.I've been mulling the whole UK readership versus US readership mostly because almost all of my short stories have sold in the UK so far, and I'm wondering if I'm just not quite right for the US. I view Morgan as pretty much the model for my own career, so I'm glad to see him doing well on this side of the ocean.
Don't count this side of the ocean out yet. Paolo Bacigalupi is smart, literary, challenging, and all his sales are US. And that's just one example Though your comment about a conservative reader base and a liberal writing base is worth stealing!
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