The OF Blog: Rumor volat: Or that bit about Solaris Publishing

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rumor volat: Or that bit about Solaris Publishing

Seems as though yesterday has been a fun day for rumor spreading to reach certain parts of the SF/F Blogosphere. Apparently BL is going to (as in, they have not yet made an official announcement) inquire about selling its Solaris imprint. This is all based on an entry posted by one of the authors, Mark Chadbourn, who has a publishing arrangement with Solaris. This is what he said:

The Solaris SF/F imprint has been put up for sale by its owner, Games Workshop. Solaris is publishing Lord of Silence in July, and I’m told that publication will still go ahead, as will every book announced up to early 2010.
OK, companies sell divisions and imprints have been consolidated or even closed in recent months (Random House being the largest publisher doing this), so this is at worst, something along those same lines. But considering the year-long lag according to this bit, it would seem that something a bit different, likely better than the decimation of the various Random House imprints, will occur with Solaris.

The little tidbit was quickly picked up here, here, and here, among others. Cheryl Morgan treats this much as I did, noting the "apparently" and engaging in no speculation. Aidan's post has a bit of speculation about certain authors contracted to publish books with Solaris, but Adam's post engages in quite a bit of apprehensive speculation about the publishing fate of a particular author. It is interesting to see this go from an "apparent" exploration of selling an imprint to wondering if Solaris might close to postulating on what effect this might have on a particular author's (in this case, Paul Kearney) career.

Rumor volat indeed. I think I'll just wait and see what Solaris/BL have to say before engaging in speculation, considering that rumors do have a nasty way of causing unintentional harm on occasion. After all, authors are always "free agents" who can negotiate various writing contracts with a multitude of publishers who might be willing to sign an agreement for a novel or three. It's not like it's life or death, although it wouldn't surprise me if further down the rumor trail, it'll be portrayed as such.


Adam Whitehead said...

Ha, bad news appears, people speculate over what it means. Welcome to the Internet :-)

Larry said...

I know, but hey, someone has to sound like the voice of reason sometime, right? :P

Adam Whitehead said...

Indeed, and in fairness there would be a grim head-smashing-against-desk inevitability to Solaris sinking because of Paul's insanely bad luck with publishers.

That said, I did re-caveat the blog entry in question with the news that Solaris will be making an official announcement in the next day or two which apparently will be very upbeat. And Mark Chadbourn later said that he's heard there has already been interest in the label, so things are looking up already.

Larry said...

Case in point for the notion of waiting a day or two for more info then? :P As for authors and the changing of publishers, sometimes it is better to be published by a smaller publisher than by a larger one if it means the smaller publisher will concentrate more on the publicity side. I've noticed a few authors voluntarily signing with smaller imprints/presses because of the increased attention they received from being one of a handful of releases a quarter compared to one of a hundred or so.

Charles said...

You also have to factor whether an author's readership will satisfy a bigger publisher. One of the reasons Graham Joyce went with Night Shade for example is that his "low numbers" are high numbers for them.

Larry said...

True, just as how "success" is defined can be quite flexible. While it may have grossed more at the cinema than other movies, I doubt Titanic will be considered a "classic" 30 years from now, but a small-budget film might have a better shot at it. No reason why it'd be any different with books.

Not saying that some authors wouldn't prefer the higher advance, even if it would mean less promotion and possibly fewer royalties down the road.

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