Publishing director Norwegian fiction, Gyldendal
We are together to create the space in which the new great literature can grow.
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.
“Who is going to tell us about the breadth of book publishing when neither the press, publishers nor bookstores do?” asks author and professor Karine Nyborg in Aftenposten on Christmas Day.
As a publisher, I am obviously one of those she criticizes. At the same time, I share her frustration and grief over the books that are published for invisibility, and hope that this is read as much as a co-post as a counter-post.
It works hard
Nyborg calls for a commitment to “active dissemination” from the publishers, but I do not recognize myself in a description where “the publisher avoids its normal information role”.
We work hard both in Gyldendal and in other Norwegian publishers to ensure that our important, wise and literary strong titles get the attention they deserve. On all fronts, traditional, new and social media, in bookstores and libraries, and through the many events where readers meet authors live, under the auspices of publishers, literature houses, festivals and libraries.
Intense and professional work is put in for all of the titles we publish
And not least to the media, where I can say with my hand on my heart that intense and professional work is being done for all of the titles we publish. Sometimes we advertise, even though it’s probably the least effective way to reach readers.
By far the most effective visibility a book can get is the editorial coverage in traditional media, that some point to that particular book and say that it is worth paying attention to.
And here comes min frustration.
It is obvious that literature reviews and critiques are good material, since book reviews are often behind bars. So there are some who are willing to pay money for it. It is also obvious that the media are investing heavily in this drug. So why is it run so randomly in many places?
We – authors and publishers – often ask ourselves about the requirements for the reviewers’ quality and professionalism
The reviewers must, in a few thousand characters, pass judgment on something that often amounts to several years of work. Many of them do a thorough and conscientious job. But we – authors and publishers – often ask ourselves about the requirements for the reviewers’ quality and professionalism.
And where are the criteria behind the selection of titles and authors?
Is it really the case that all the media need to write about the same books?
A lot that works
At the same time, it is important that I do not try to make any description of misery. There is a fantastic deal about the book model we have that works.
Norwegian authors create a literature that both Norwegian readers and the Norwegian public find both relevant and relevant. This is not a matter of course!
And although it never gets big enough, there is a place for books out there, a place that is valued by both ordinary readers and those deeply interested in literature. It is also not wrong for high-quality, popular writings to get virak and attention – they form a community that all Norwegian readers in one way or another relate to.
At the same time, we who work in publishing, in the media and in bookstores must know that we have a great responsibility to cultivate not only today’s bestsellers, but tomorrow’s authorship and the books we will read over the next centuries.
The Norwegian book model
I’m a book nerd, and I think it’s a little fantastic that Aftenposten gives Nyborg two pages in the middle of Christmas to write about invisible books.
There is so much more I would have liked to have written about and discussed by book agreement, book crown and book law, by purchasing scheme and visibility, reading and literature.
Therefore, I hope that Nyborg will answer me, preferably sharply !, so that we can continue the exchange about the other aspects of the Norwegian book model.
And I would like an answer from the people of the press: from the cultural editors and reviewers.
We are together about this, about creating the space in which the new great literature can grow, the space in which it can simply become great.