BRANDON MARLON

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Welcome to Writer’s Walk, a new web log about the worlds of writing, editing and publishing. Periodic postings will be uploaded in the hope that the concise content therein will prove beneficial to readers writing primarily for the North American marketplace. To view the blog in its original form with images, please visit: http://brandonmarlon.wordpress.com/

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Christian Publishers

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 12:26 PM

The sizeable Christian book market in North America and beyond includes a number of long-established publishing houses producing fiction, nonfiction, and scriptural publication. Some companies also delve into software, video, audio books and e-books. The most prominent of these include but are not limited to:


  • Zondervan – Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christmas (2005)
  • Tyndale House Publishers – Joel C. Rosenberg’s The Twelfth Imam (2010)
  • David C. Cook Publishing (USA) – Ginger Garrett’s In the Shadow of Lions (2008), In the Arms of Immortals (2009), Chosen (2010), Wolves Among Us (2011), Desired (2011)
  • Revell/Baker Publishing Group – Jill Eileen Smith’s Michal (2009), Abigail (2010), Bathsheba (2011); Diana Wallis Taylor’s Journey to the Well (2009), Martha (2011)
  • Moody Publishers – Melvin J. Cobb’s Vessel of Honor (2004); Tessa Afshar’s Pearl in the Sand (2010); Kacy Barnett-Gramckow’s The Heavens Before (2008), He Who Lifts the Skies (2008), A Crown in the Stars (2008)
  • NavPress – Ginger Garrett’s Dark Hour (2006)
  • Realms/Strang – T. L. Higley’s Fallen from Babel (2005)
  • Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group – Davis Bunn’s and Janette Oke’s The Centurion’s Wife (2009), The Hidden Flame (2010), The Damascus Way (2011)


Moody and Revell were born out of arrangements between brothers-in-law to create independent Christian publishing companies in the 1870s. Zondervan has a respected imprint for children, Zonderkidz. Additionally, Thorndike Press is a large-print publisher of Christian content.

Masters of Mythology

Posted on August 27, 2010 at 6:47 PM
Studies in world mythology have contributed seminal knowledge to the understanding of the phenomenon of Story, and the vital nature of storytelling. Comparative mythologists, anthropologists and psychiatrists have pointed out patterns and similarities between the narratives, legends, dreams, symbols, and folklore of numerous cultures as well as across different eras. These patterns or algorithms are key to unlocking the mystery of human creativity, offering insights into how the brain works to make sense of our world and of existence itself. Leading thinkers from the last century include the following authors and educators:
  • Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941)
  • Edith Hamilton (1867-1963)
  • Carl Jung (1875-1961)
  • Lord Raglan (1885-1964)
  • Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)
  • Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)
  • Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-2009)
  • Northrop Frye (1912-1991)
  • David Leeming (1937-)
  • Christopher Vogler (1949-)
  • J.F. Bierlien (19?-)
Major works include:
  • Frazer: The Golden Bough (1890)
  • Hamilton: The Greek Way (1930); The Roman Way (1932); The Prophets of Israel (1936); Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes (1942)
  • Jung: Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933); Psychology and Religion (1938); Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1962); Man and His Symbols (1964); Dreams (1974)
  • Raglan: The Hero (1936)
  • Campbell: The Hero With A Thousand Faces (1949), Primitive Mythology (1959), Oriental Mythology (1962), Occidental Mythology (1964), Creative Mythology (1968), The Mythic Image (1974), The Power of Myth (1988)
  • Eliade: The Myth of the Eternal Return (1949); Patterns in Comparative Religion (1949); Shamanism (1951); Images and Symbols (1952); Myths, Dreams and Mysteries (1957); The Sacred and the Profane (1959); Myth and Reality (1963)
  • Levi-Strauss: The Savage Mind (1962); Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture (1978)
  • Frye: Anatomy of Criticism (1957); The Great Code (1982); Biblical and ClassicalMyths (2004)
  • Leeming: Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero (1973); The World of Myth: An Anthology (1990); Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine (1994); God: Myths of the Male Divine (1996); Storytelling Encyclopedia (1997); Myth: A Biography of Belief (2002); Jealous Gods and Chosen People (2004)
  • Vogler: The Writer's Journey (1998)
  • Bierlein: Parallel Myths (1994); Living Myths (1999)

For further resources consult Encyclopedia Mythica: http://www.pantheon.org/

Grammar FAQs

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Among the recurring grammatical challenges confronting writers of all experience levels are the following common dilemmas of usage and style with links to answers:
 

Who, Whom, Whose: http://www.englishpage.com/minitutorials/who_whom.html

Lie vs. Lay: http://www.grammarcheck.com/archives/07-2005.html

Post-Colon Capitalization: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colon_(punctuation);
http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/capital.asp

Title Capitalization: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/capitals.html

 

Writers should bear in mind that the standard grammatical reference works, including the MLA Handbook, Chicago Manual of Style, and the AP Stylebook differ on a number of fine points, and their rulings are influenced by such criteria as media (newspapers, books, etc.) and geography (English vs. American English). Whichever style the author adheres to, consistency is paramount.

Major Canadian Publishers

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM
Canada's most prominent publishers (excluding Canadian branch operations of the foreign conglomerates) consist of the following established houses: 
  • Key Porter Books (Toronto, ON); est. 1979; 100 titles/year
  • McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, ON); est. 1906; 80 titles/year
  • D & M Publishers (Vancouver, BC); est. 1970; 50-65 titles/year
  • Raincoast Books (Vancouver, BC); est. 1979; 60 titles/year
  • ECW Press (Toronto, ON); est. 1974; 50 titles/year
  • Broadview Press (Peterborough, ON); est. 1985; 40 titles/year

In addition to general trade and academic publishers, Canada also has several large children's book publishers, such as:  

  • Tundra Books (Toronto, ON); est. 1967; 35-40 titles/year
  • Kids Can Press (Toronto, ON); est. 1973; 60 titles/year
  • Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, BC); est. 1984; 60 titles/year

Broadview is an academic press specializing in the humanities and social sciences. M & S is co-owned by the University of Toronto and Random House, while Kids Can Press is owned by Canadian media and entertainment company Corus Entertainment, Inc. The country's oldest children's publisher, Montreal's Tundra, was bought by M & S and moved to Toronto. All others remain independent.

American Drama Publishers

Posted on August 13, 2010 at 12:49 PM
Play publishers in the United States have a long and proud tradition of releasing straight dramas, comedies and tragedies, both established standards and new works. The triumvirate of theatrical presses include:
  • Samuel French (since 1830)
  • Dramatic Publishing Company (since 1885)
  • Dramatists Play Service (since 1936)

Young American entrepreneur Samuel French founded his publishing company in New York and soon partnered with Thomas Lacy in London to create a joint, international venture which he eventually gained sole control over upon Lacy’s death. DPC was founded in Chicago by a theatre-loving journalist, whose family’s fealty has carried on his tradition ever since. DPS was formed in New York by prominent playwrights and theatrical agents, and is renowned for publishing many Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winners. Other general trade publishers such as Random House also release highly popular and successful plays in mass market paperback editions. Penguin’s imprint Signet Classics releases numerous titles from the 16th-20th Centuries.

Self-Publishing Insights

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 7:15 PM
The big three supportive self-publishing companies became one when AuthorHouse purchased its closest competitors iUniverse and Xlibris. Plenty of competition remains, however, from new professional service providers both in the U.S. and Canada. The top companies offering an array of package deals catering to every budget include:
  • AuthorHouse
  • iUniverse
  • Xlibris
  • Lulu
  • Trafford Publishing
  • First Choice Books
  • Morris Publishing
  • Spire Publishing
  • Infinity Publishing

The abundant advantages of supportive self-publishing are irresistible for many. These include but are not limited to:

  • Guaranteed publication
  • Prompt publication (from less than a month to 6 months)
  • Retention of rights
  • Input in design and layout
  • Package deals featuring an array of benefits

The main drawbacks to supportive self-publishing are the responsibilities for marketing and distribution. Some authors get beyond these challenges by buying services from their publishing company which retain experts in copyediting, proofreading, publicity, etc., and by placing their books in local bricks-and-mortar stores in the Local Authors section or arranging for bookstore readings. Bottom line, supportive self-publishing is a reasonable choice once traditional publishers have been approached without success - especially for modest-selling genres like poetry, memoirs, and fringe or offbeat subject matter - or if the author only intends the work for a limited audience.

Rating Reference Resources

Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:28 PM
The following reference books are each thorough compendiums for authors researching the marketplace:
  • Writer’s Market 2010 (WM; 1176 pages)
  • Literary Market Place 2010 (LMP; 2000 pages)
  • Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents 2010 (JH; 1000 pages)
  • The Canadian Writer’s Market 2010 (CWM; 455 pages)

Each reference work is slightly different in tone and information included, and is annually updated. WM & JH include copious essays on the craft and business of writing, some of which are elementary but most of which are useful. They also avail themselves of handy icons symbolizing qualities relevant to each listing for shorthand information. WM provides examples of proper and improper query letters, while JH features interesting interviews with lit. agents which provide insights into their preferences and backgrounds, giving the book a more personal touch.

 

LMP is a whopping 2-volume directory cataloging concise listings of pertinent personnel in each category of book and magazine publishers, literary representation and awards/grants/fellowships (volume 1); it also compiles entries on book manufacturers, printers, distributors and binding/design service providers, etc. (volume 2).

 

CWM is a smaller and more manageable work, though it should not be confused for a lightweight effort; in fact, it is jam-packed with copious market listings for: magazines, scholarly/literary and trade/professional publications, daily newspapers, book publishers, lit. agents, competitions, funding programs, organizations and associations. The most handy of the bunch, some listings could benefit from more consistent information.

 

On the whole, all four are certainly invaluable resources worth a serious writer’s time, and are highly recommended as tools for investigating commercial and non-commercial markets. If time and money are tightly restricted, Writer’s Market is suggested as a good starting point.

Canadian Drama Publishers

Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:26 PM
Canada has a number of high quality publishers of stage plays for theatre enthusiasts, including:
  • Brindle & Glass (Victoria, BC)
  • Canadian Theatre Review (Guelph, ON)
  • Cape Breton University Press (Cape Breton, NS)
  • Creative Book Publishing - Killick Press (St. John’s, NL)
  • J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing – Scirocco Drama (Winnipeg, MB)
  • Playwrights Canada Press (Toronto, ON)
  • Red Deer Press (Markham, ON)
  • Talonbooks (Vancouver, BC)

Normally the standard is that a play has to have been professionally produced at least once prior to publication, although occasionally prize-winning scripts or otherwise publicly presented material is also eligible. Canadian Theatre Review publishes a full play with each issue according to their own editorial criteria.

Quality UK Poetry Publishers

Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:24 PM
For North American writers reaching abroad, some lesser known but well-respected British small literary presses and editors publishing poetry include: 
  • Carcanet Press (Manchester) – Michael Schmidt/Judith Willson, Editors
  • Crescent Moon Publishing (Kent) – Jeremy Robinson, Director
  • Hippopotamus Press (Somerset) – M. Pargitter, Editor
  • Reality Street (Sussex) – Ken Edwards, Publisher
  • Shearsman Books (Exeter) - Tony Frazer, Editor

Canadian Literary Agents

Posted on August 9, 2010 at 1:22 PM
Naturally, most literary agents are located in Toronto in close proximity to the country’s major publishing houses. A few established agencies have been omitted due to closed rosters unable to accommodate new clients, but the majority of prominent agencies with their key representatives are listed here: 
  • Acacia House Publishing Services (Brantford); Frances or Bill Hanna
  • The Bukowski Agency (Toronto); Denise Bukowski
  • The Cooke Agency (Toronto); Elizabeth Griffin
  • Arnold Gosewich, Literary Agent & Consultant (Toronto); Arnold Gosewich
  • Anne McDermid & Associates (Toronto); Anne McDermid
  • Pamela Paul Agency (Toronto); James Gordon — referral required
  • Beverly Slopen Literary Agency (Toronto); Beverly Slopen
  • Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency (White Rock, BC); Carolyn Swayze or Kris Rothstein
  • Transatlantic Literary Agency (Toronto); Lynn Bennett
  • Westwood Creative Artists (Toronto); ?
  • Woolf & Lapin (Montreal); Stephan Dubreuil — email only

For extensive listings, consult Writer’s Digest’s 2010 Guide to Literary Agents.


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