I've been meaning to write something about book publishing for a while now, and since today's weather might freeze alcohol, it feels like now is an excellent time to get some thoughts down.
First, a disclaimer. While I am not in the book publishing business, I am an author's stakeholder in the industry. Second, my publisher is Bold Strokes Books. All my opinions and observations are my own, and no one has paid me, promised me, or threatened me to say or not say anything.
From my admittedly limited observation of BSB, I feel sure that producing books from manuscripts is a labor of love and believe there must be thousands of easier ways to make money. Seriously. Their care and attention to detail in the editing, production, and marketing of books are marvelous. ( I mean that in the old-fashioned sense, as in something at which to exclaim or marvel.) And if they are mirrored across the book production world, that is also a marvelous thing.
In what other industry, outside of the old-fashioned newspaper business (not the current "media"), would you find the same debates about comma placement, syntax, description, characterization, and fact-checking? Who else will care if courtiers in the court of Louis XVI wore silver buckles in their shoes or how many bullets an Uzi submachine gun magazine holds or how quickly cyanide might kill someone or whether three vampires in one scene is one too many? Or, in the case of my most recent book, A Champion for Tinker Creek, review the statutes of the State of Georgia regarding a locality's use of eminent domain power.
Further book publishers, especially those like BSB, serve as hosts to the curious who turn to them for knowledge of other worlds, times, places, skills, and even themselves. How many young LGBTQ people found themselves in the 301 bookshelves of the old Dewey Decimal System, searching for clues among the titles devoted to human sexualities "for a friend?"
As an author, I am necessarily so tied up in my own stories, plot points, characterizations that it's easy not to give the publishers their due for all attention, respect, and work they pour into bringing a manuscript to readers as a completed book. Especially since, as I noted above, they must essentially be doing it for its love. But I wanted that to change today; thank you, Bold Strokes and, by extension, all book publishers out there. We sincerely appreciate all you do for us every day.