08 8 / 2013

Nu är denna blogg slut.Jag fortsätter att blogga, men på Natur & Kulturs webbplats.

Här är en intervju som SACC gjorde med mig för några veckor sedan. (Jag anlitade SACC för hjälp med visum.)

 

Please tell me a little bit about the firm you’re interning at and what you’re doing there.

Melville House Publishing is a small book press with focus on fiction and political nonfiction. I do a lot of things, helping out the different departments. It includes research, mailing books, participating in meetings, doing publicity lists, reading manuscripts, and doing so called illuminations, a kind of extra material. I also write a blog for my Swedish employer Natur & Kultur, naturochkultur.tumlr.com

 

How did you hear about Melville House Publishing? Why did you choose to intern there in particular?

With some help from my friends, I made a short list of interesting New York-based indie book publishers. When I presented the idea to my Swedish boss, he suggested Melville House, without looking at my list. They were my first hand choice too, simply because they publish great books! I am very glad they accepted me as an intern.

 

Why did you feel that it was worth getting experience from abroad?

All the clichés; I wanted to broaden my views, get some new ideas and input. More specifically I wanted to learn how they work with social media and e-books. And how they organize the work in general. 

  

What are your greatest lessons learned?

Hard to say since I’m still here. Ask me in a couple of months. I think I’ve learned a lot, but at the same it’s not that different from how we work in Sweden.

 

What have you learned in the US that you never would have learned in Sweden?

Professionally, I’ve learned about the American publishing industry, and a little bit about American work culture. It’s inspiring; I feel that most ideas are doable. I’ve also learned that there are many qualified interns out there. I want one of my own! Personally, it has been a humbling experience.

 

How will this internship help you in your future career?

I guess that Swedes love New York and it looks good on my resume? It’s always good to have some international experience.

 

How does this internship benefit your employer back home?

I hope Natur & Kultur will get the reputation they deserve: best employer ever. Letting me leave for three months, an also paying me a little bit for writing a blog about it. That is very generous. On the other hand, this is the best training and experience I could get for my work as a publicist at Natur & Kultur. The staff at Melville House jokes about me being a Swedish spy. Well, I am.

 

What is the main difference in the Swedish and American work cultures?

In this field of work, the most apparent thing is the work hours. Here people come in late and leave late. Otherwise it’s about the same.

 

How do you like living in New York and what do you do in your free time?

I’m in love with my neighborhood Flatbush-Ditmas Park. I do the same things as I do in Stockholm, but more, and everything is better, bigger, tastier, and cheaper.

01 8 / 2013

29 7 / 2013

Rachel Fershleiser! 

Tell me what you do at work. 
 - I’m on Tumblr’s strategic outreach team, specializing in books and authors. I work with writers, publishers, reviewers, booksellers, libraries, nonprofits, and other organizations to help them use Tumblr’s tools to reach people in the literary community.

How you think publishers should use Tumblr?
- Lots of publishers have a great overall Tumblr presence — check out Chronicle Books, WW Norton, Oxford University Press, Melville House and Penguin Teen to get a sense of the range. But they’re also using the platform as a place to source content. There are amazing writers, photographers, and illustrators who’ve gotten book deals from their Tumblr blogs — over 75 of them, from cookbooks to novels to essay collections to coloring books and paper dolls!

A weird question: how can older people embrace tumblr? Is that something you are interested in?

- Tumblr’s actually incredibly easy to use. For older authors who don’t have a web presence yet, signing up for a free Tumblr is much easier than buying a domain, getting hosting, hiring a designer, etc. Plus a lot of older people maybe not realize it, but they already love Tumblr — if they’ve seen Reasons My Son is Crying, Texts From Hillary, Humans of New York…

When and in which order did the book people join tumblr? readers, then authors, then publishers? Booksellers? Did tumblr reach out to them or how did literature become so big on tulmblr? 
- It’s been a mix. I joined a few years ago when I worked for Housing Works Bookstore Cafe and we were the first bookstore, but there were already NPR stations and New York Public Library, some beloved authors, funny stuff like Slaughterhouse90210 and Better Book TItles. The opportunity for all those parts of the community to interact so easily and directly was what brought me in, and each new addition to the community made it better, thus making more people want to join.

What are reading right now?
- I just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, which comes out this fall. It. is. amazing. 800 pages and you just barrel through it cause you can’t stop.

Which is your best New York spot/bookstore/food/bar?
- Housing Works Bookstore 4 evah and evah. Books, music, booze, snacks, coffee, an important chartable mission, and the best events program in the world. Even if I weren’t biased, it is just unbeatable.

Rachel Fershleiser!

Tell me what you do at work.
- I’m on Tumblr’s strategic outreach team, specializing in books and authors. I work with writers, publishers, reviewers, booksellers, libraries, nonprofits, and other organizations to help them use Tumblr’s tools to reach people in the literary community.

How you think publishers should use Tumblr?
- Lots of publishers have a great overall Tumblr presence — check out Chronicle Books, WW Norton, Oxford University Press, Melville House and Penguin Teen to get a sense of the range. But they’re also using the platform as a place to source content. There are amazing writers, photographers, and illustrators who’ve gotten book deals from their Tumblr blogs — over 75 of them, from cookbooks to novels to essay collections to coloring books and paper dolls!

A weird question: how can older people embrace tumblr? Is that something you are interested in?

- Tumblr’s actually incredibly easy to use. For older authors who don’t have a web presence yet, signing up for a free Tumblr is much easier than buying a domain, getting hosting, hiring a designer, etc. Plus a lot of older people maybe not realize it, but they already love Tumblr — if they’ve seen Reasons My Son is Crying, Texts From Hillary, Humans of New York…

When and in which order did the book people join tumblr? readers, then authors, then publishers? Booksellers? Did tumblr reach out to them or how did literature become so big on tulmblr?
- It’s been a mix. I joined a few years ago when I worked for Housing Works Bookstore Cafe and we were the first bookstore, but there were already NPR stations and New York Public Library, some beloved authors, funny stuff like Slaughterhouse90210 and Better Book TItles. The opportunity for all those parts of the community to interact so easily and directly was what brought me in, and each new addition to the community made it better, thus making more people want to join.

What are reading right now?
- I just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, which comes out this fall. It. is. amazing. 800 pages and you just barrel through it cause you can’t stop.

Which is your best New York spot/bookstore/food/bar?
- Housing Works Bookstore 4 evah and evah. Books, music, booze, snacks, coffee, an important chartable mission, and the best events program in the world. Even if I weren’t biased, it is just unbeatable.

29 7 / 2013

Sista dagen på Melville House. Hejdå Valerie och Dennis och alla andra! Jag kommer sakna er! Men vi ses redan i september då Val och Dennis hälsar på oss på Natur & Kultur för att berätta hur de jobbar.

Sista dagen på Melville House. Hejdå Valerie och Dennis och alla andra! Jag kommer sakna er! Men vi ses redan i september då Val och Dennis hälsar på oss på Natur & Kultur för att berätta hur de jobbar.

28 7 / 2013

Främling på tåg, läser Open City av Teju Cole.

Främling på tåg, läser Open City av Teju Cole.

28 7 / 2013

Michael J Seidlinger is my fellow intern at Melville House, and the author of My Pet Serial Killer, The Sky Conducting, In Great Company, The Day We Delay, and a limited edition collection of experimental musings called The Artist in Question. My friend Gro Janarv asked the questions. She is a graphic designer, typographer and an aspiring writer.

***
THE PUBLISHING WORLD
You’re doing an internship at the publishing house Melville house in New York. What do you think of the publishing world in New York? What will happen in the future?
– It’s an interesting time for NY publishing. The Big Five – the five biggest publishing houses—continue to absorb smaller presses as they streamline their business model. Now more than ever, a lot of literary agents are failing to sell literary fiction to the bigger houses simply because their business models are being skewed to prefer the bestsellers, the tie-ins, the quick-sells. The industry is in a grave state of change and as a result we are seeing a shifting and leveling-out of the publishing power. A lot of independent presses like Melville House, Akashic Books, Two Dollar Radio, and SoHo Press are taking on the burden of putting out work that is unjustly ignored by the bigger presses. Smaller presses like Future Tense, Lazy Fascist, and my own small press, Civil Coping Mechanisms, are placed in a prime position for creating a recognizable brand to help publish the neglected work. It’s a time of both excitement and worry because the past tradition of major New York presses is changing and cannot be sustainable any longer; however, indie/small press suddenly have the opportunity to take advantage and work to put out the quality work that the big presses shun only because it won’t sell enough to pay for their printing/promotion costs.
– In the future, we will see the Big Five become, maybe, the Big Four, while indie publishing houses will expand enough to be viable platforms for new fiction. We will see the publishing industry turn into more of a mixture of independent brands overshadowed by the power of the big press conglomerates.
READING SESSIONS
We met last week at a rooftop reading session with New York-based writers that you organized, can you tell us a little bit about those sessions? How did that idea come up? And, what’s that reading session culture like in New York?
– It kind of just came about one day when I spoke with a writer friend in the city and mentioned how I had a decent rooftop for events. I posted a Facebook event for the “Rooftop Reading Series” and the rest just fell into place. Writers contacted me, desiring to read; others offered to bring food, drink, even a grill. The first rooftop reading drew in about 20 people and it was extremely relaxing. Many of the participants of the first reading spoke to others about how well it turned out and quickly I felt it was necessary to host another, the one you attended. That one was a big success, drawing in about 50 people. 
– The rooftop readings were successful because it is so unlike other readings. Most readings are formal, and have a definite structure. With the rooftop reading series, I wanted to make it as casual and laid back as possible. As someone that’s been to so many readings, I’m kind of tired of the long introductions, the even longer readings by authors (sometimes they end up being up to 20 minutes long). I’m burnt out by the endless readings around NYC. If anything, that became my motivation to start the rooftop series. Although the third one was cancelled due to a rainstorm, the demand for another has spurred my interest in rescheduling it for one of the last weekends before I leave the city.
WRITING
Do you daydream about the future of your writing?
– Not really – I mostly preoccupy myself with the various ideas that become scenes and chapters in a novel; I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas for novels. I carry around a notepad at all times and often jot down phrases and concepts whenever they come to me. I try to spend a couple hours every day either reading or watching a film to help stimulate my creativity enough to continue the flow of ideas. I feel like it’s important to constantly play around with plot devices and writing constraints so that you never get bored with writing.
What are your thoughts on the statements “writing is the easiest thing I know, therefore I write” versus “writing is the hardest thing I know, therefore I write”.
– A lot of these mottos point at the same concept: Why write? Almost everyone questions the very act of writing because it is such an exhaustive and mentally draining process. Most writers spend large portions of their lives alone with their work, writing, revising, and writing some more. At some point both the writer and the outsider looking in becomes curious. Writing isn’t easy for anyone. I feel that there is a drive to write – to chronicle, to catalog, to create – and those with a strong enough drive end up giving the daunting novel a shot. There’s a lot of failure to fight through before anyone ever finds anything worth writing… but, at least for me, the fight is as important as the discovery. I wake up every morning consciously aware of what sort of challenges await me when life’s preoccupations are completed and I’m left with nothing but the novel, the writing, to tackle. I cannot sleep until I meet my daily quota of 1500 words. I can’t live without a novel in the works. Mottos like “Writing is the easiest thing I know, therefore I write” exist to create some sort of context for this all-consuming drive that writers quickly adopt once they make a discovery, find something they want to write about and subsequently create goals for themselves. It is not an easy life but then again, if life were easy would it really be a life worth living? Would you consider that life?

What do you want write about? What kind of stories and in what form?
– I always start with a specific premise before anything else. I focus on longer work – at least 20,000 words – but before I even begin, I always know what it’ll be about. I get ideas from pretty much anywhere. Most of the time I generate concepts from watching films and reading extensively. It is only when I am completely in my own head, thinking about topics, themes, and various ideas, that I, in turn, find something that might become an idea of my own. It sometimes takes a while to get there, but what I end up wanting to write about is something that crosses the line between real and surreal, possible and improbable. I like to write about what is typically uncomfortable and yet frequently interesting – be it identity, crime/deviant behavior, or heartache.
READING
Name three books or writers you would like to recommend for this summer?
– These are often the toughest questions to answer. Hmm. I recommend any of Etgar Keret’s collections (The Nimrod Flipout, The Girl on the Fridge, The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God, and Suddenly A Knock on the Door), which manage to pack what might be normally explored in a 200-page novel into a 2-page short story. Etgar Keret is a master of the short story; his work never ceases to be clever and ingenious. I’ll never forget that one story, “Kneller’s Happy Campers,” and how in the story, there is a life after death for those that kill themselves where everything is gloomier, you can’t smile, and people wear their method of suicide on their sleeve.
– Jason, a cult graphic novel favorite, recently put out his latest title, Lost Cat. All of his characters are anthropomorphic depictions of detectives, worker bees, and other commonplace fictional characters. In Lost Cat, a detective finds a missing cat and subsequently meets the owner, a female with similar taste as him. Before he can become anything more than enamored with her, she disappears and he is forced to investigate her disappearance.
– Scott McClanahan hangs around the same indie lit community as I do and has gained quite a following in the last couple years. His live readings border on performance and his fiction reads like an oral-history of everything Scott’s ever experienced. Fact or fiction, his stories are always incredibly raw and honest; his most recent book, Crapalachia, is my personal favorite. In the book, he delves into his childhood, his roots (family, town), and how all the stories and myths that we tell family members tend to become a very personal brand of lore. 

http://michaeljseidlinger.com
http://grojanarv.se

Michael J Seidlinger is my fellow intern at Melville House, and the author of My Pet Serial Killer, The Sky Conducting, In Great Company, The Day We Delay, and a limited edition collection of experimental musings called The Artist in Question. My friend Gro Janarv asked the questions. She is a graphic designer, typographer and an aspiring writer.

***
THE PUBLISHING WORLD
You’re doing an internship at the publishing house Melville house in New York. What do you think of the publishing world in New York? What will happen in the future?
– It’s an interesting time for NY publishing. The Big Five – the five biggest publishing houses—continue to absorb smaller presses as they streamline their business model. Now more than ever, a lot of literary agents are failing to sell literary fiction to the bigger houses simply because their business models are being skewed to prefer the bestsellers, the tie-ins, the quick-sells. The industry is in a grave state of change and as a result we are seeing a shifting and leveling-out of the publishing power. A lot of independent presses like Melville House, Akashic Books, Two Dollar Radio, and SoHo Press are taking on the burden of putting out work that is unjustly ignored by the bigger presses. Smaller presses like Future Tense, Lazy Fascist, and my own small press, Civil Coping Mechanisms, are placed in a prime position for creating a recognizable brand to help publish the neglected work. It’s a time of both excitement and worry because the past tradition of major New York presses is changing and cannot be sustainable any longer; however, indie/small press suddenly have the opportunity to take advantage and work to put out the quality work that the big presses shun only because it won’t sell enough to pay for their printing/promotion costs.
– In the future, we will see the Big Five become, maybe, the Big Four, while indie publishing houses will expand enough to be viable platforms for new fiction. We will see the publishing industry turn into more of a mixture of independent brands overshadowed by the power of the big press conglomerates.

READING SESSIONS
We met last week at a rooftop reading session with New York-based writers that you organized, can you tell us a little bit about those sessions? How did that idea come up? And, what’s that reading session culture like in New York?
– It kind of just came about one day when I spoke with a writer friend in the city and mentioned how I had a decent rooftop for events. I posted a Facebook event for the “Rooftop Reading Series” and the rest just fell into place. Writers contacted me, desiring to read; others offered to bring food, drink, even a grill. The first rooftop reading drew in about 20 people and it was extremely relaxing. Many of the participants of the first reading spoke to others about how well it turned out and quickly I felt it was necessary to host another, the one you attended. That one was a big success, drawing in about 50 people.
– The rooftop readings were successful because it is so unlike other readings. Most readings are formal, and have a definite structure. With the rooftop reading series, I wanted to make it as casual and laid back as possible. As someone that’s been to so many readings, I’m kind of tired of the long introductions, the even longer readings by authors (sometimes they end up being up to 20 minutes long). I’m burnt out by the endless readings around NYC. If anything, that became my motivation to start the rooftop series. Although the third one was cancelled due to a rainstorm, the demand for another has spurred my interest in rescheduling it for one of the last weekends before I leave the city.

WRITING
Do you daydream about the future of your writing?
– Not really – I mostly preoccupy myself with the various ideas that become scenes and chapters in a novel; I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas for novels. I carry around a notepad at all times and often jot down phrases and concepts whenever they come to me. I try to spend a couple hours every day either reading or watching a film to help stimulate my creativity enough to continue the flow of ideas. I feel like it’s important to constantly play around with plot devices and writing constraints so that you never get bored with writing.
What are your thoughts on the statements “writing is the easiest thing I know, therefore I write” versus “writing is the hardest thing I know, therefore I write”.
– A lot of these mottos point at the same concept: Why write? Almost everyone questions the very act of writing because it is such an exhaustive and mentally draining process. Most writers spend large portions of their lives alone with their work, writing, revising, and writing some more. At some point both the writer and the outsider looking in becomes curious. Writing isn’t easy for anyone. I feel that there is a drive to write – to chronicle, to catalog, to create – and those with a strong enough drive end up giving the daunting novel a shot. There’s a lot of failure to fight through before anyone ever finds anything worth writing… but, at least for me, the fight is as important as the discovery. I wake up every morning consciously aware of what sort of challenges await me when life’s preoccupations are completed and I’m left with nothing but the novel, the writing, to tackle. I cannot sleep until I meet my daily quota of 1500 words. I can’t live without a novel in the works. Mottos like “Writing is the easiest thing I know, therefore I write” exist to create some sort of context for this all-consuming drive that writers quickly adopt once they make a discovery, find something they want to write about and subsequently create goals for themselves. It is not an easy life but then again, if life were easy would it really be a life worth living? Would you consider that life?

What do you want write about? What kind of stories and in what form?
– I always start with a specific premise before anything else. I focus on longer work – at least 20,000 words – but before I even begin, I always know what it’ll be about. I get ideas from pretty much anywhere. Most of the time I generate concepts from watching films and reading extensively. It is only when I am completely in my own head, thinking about topics, themes, and various ideas, that I, in turn, find something that might become an idea of my own. It sometimes takes a while to get there, but what I end up wanting to write about is something that crosses the line between real and surreal, possible and improbable. I like to write about what is typically uncomfortable and yet frequently interesting – be it identity, crime/deviant behavior, or heartache.

READING
Name three books or writers you would like to recommend for this summer?
– These are often the toughest questions to answer. Hmm. I recommend any of Etgar Keret’s collections (The Nimrod Flipout, The Girl on the Fridge, The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God, and Suddenly A Knock on the Door), which manage to pack what might be normally explored in a 200-page novel into a 2-page short story. Etgar Keret is a master of the short story; his work never ceases to be clever and ingenious. I’ll never forget that one story, “Kneller’s Happy Campers,” and how in the story, there is a life after death for those that kill themselves where everything is gloomier, you can’t smile, and people wear their method of suicide on their sleeve.
– Jason, a cult graphic novel favorite, recently put out his latest title, Lost Cat. All of his characters are anthropomorphic depictions of detectives, worker bees, and other commonplace fictional characters. In Lost Cat, a detective finds a missing cat and subsequently meets the owner, a female with similar taste as him. Before he can become anything more than enamored with her, she disappears and he is forced to investigate her disappearance.
– Scott McClanahan hangs around the same indie lit community as I do and has gained quite a following in the last couple years. His live readings border on performance and his fiction reads like an oral-history of everything Scott’s ever experienced. Fact or fiction, his stories are always incredibly raw and honest; his most recent book, Crapalachia, is my personal favorite. In the book, he delves into his childhood, his roots (family, town), and how all the stories and myths that we tell family members tend to become a very personal brand of lore.

http://michaeljseidlinger.com
http://grojanarv.se

28 7 / 2013

Litterära tidskrifter på McNally Jackson.

Litterära tidskrifter på McNally Jackson.

27 7 / 2013

Igår halverade Amazon priserna på många inbundna bästsäljare. Varför?

"… Amazon has been "emboldened" by the Justice Department’s victory against five major publishers in the e-book agency model case as well as Wall Street’s acceptance of continued losses by Amazon for now in the expectation of retail domination—and major profits—eventually."

26 7 / 2013

Strandväska. Mot Rockaway Beach.

Strandväska. Mot Rockaway Beach.

25 7 / 2013

… samtidigt som andra bokhandlare kämpar på. St. Marks’s Bookshop, en fantastisk och ofjäskig bokhandel  i East Village, har tydligen problem med höjd hyra igen, sa en vän som var där nyligen. Jag hittar bara gamla artiklar i ämnet, från 2012. Hoppas de klarar sig.

… samtidigt som andra bokhandlare kämpar på. St. Marks’s Bookshop, en fantastisk och ofjäskig bokhandel i East Village, har tydligen problem med höjd hyra igen, sa en vän som var där nyligen. Jag hittar bara gamla artiklar i ämnet, från 2012. Hoppas de klarar sig.