The Scout
January 24, 2010 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Hmm. I wonder if publishing companies could use Amazon Mechanical Turk to speed the filtering process.
posted by delmoi at 8:03 PM on January 24, 2010

Hmm. I wonder if publishing companies could use Amazon Mechanical Turk to speed the filtering process.

Not to be snarky, but probably not.
posted by kylej at 8:37 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

So I'm sitting on the next great novel--what do I have to do to get it published? I need to get an editor to accept it, but editors don't bother with direct submissions any more, they rely on agents. Okay, I need an agent, but since agents became the front line editors, they're overwhelmed with submissions, so they rely on their assistants to filter things for them. Okay, take the assistant out to lunch, pay for the lobster salad, and get told that my novel about serial killers is totally 90s, and vampires are peaking, so come back when I've got whatever's coming next. But wait--there's a way through this impenetrable wall! All I have to do is leave my manuscript on the table of the coffee shop before a scout comes in and hope that the title ("Blood Latté") is ambiguous enough that he'll think it's a vampire novel and check it out. Shit, the scout is taking his coffee to go.

Fuck it, I'll go to and dump it there.
posted by fatbird at 8:58 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Psst: hot tip for you scouts, check out "Veloci-Rapture"...
posted by Spacelegoman at 9:21 PM on January 24, 2010

A person who tells us what is good in the arts. Can't think of a more obsolescent position.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:05 PM on January 24, 2010

I would totally buy a novel called Veloci-Rapture.

I hope it's Jurassic Park meets Left Behind.
posted by empath at 10:45 PM on January 24, 2010

"Shit, Mary Sue," Jack Worthington said, as he peered over the fence. "I could deal with the Rapture. But there ain't no dinosaurs nowhere in the bible."

Maybe not in the Bible, but there sure as hell was half a dozen Velociraptors running in a pack down the street toward the Gas N Go. "Thank Christ I didn't let the UN forces take my assault rifle, cause I'm thinking it's lizard huntin' season." He started to climb over the fence.

"Wait, Jack," Mary Sue said. Jack ducked back behind the fence.

"Goddamn it Mary Sue, what?"

"Don't you think it's kinda funny? Darwin and the Bible being proven right on the same day. I mean, something ain't right here.

"Look, Mary Sue. Look, Darwin said dinosaurs were extinct, right? And there they are right there. So Darwin weren't right. Those ain't even dinosaurs, they're demons straight from hell, and I'm fixin' to send them straight back there." He cocked his rifle. "Now let's give them demon beasts what fer..."
posted by empath at 10:56 PM on January 24, 2010 [6 favorites]

I expected this to be about the boy scouts.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:39 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]

Bookmarked for later - get contacted from time to time by literary scouts who've come here to China (and want free tips from translators like me) as it seems to be constantly thought of as the Next Big Thing even though so far not really happened.
posted by Abiezer at 2:05 AM on January 25, 2010

Yes, I've heard that too, Abiezer. What do you think accounts for the lack of bang? Is it simple ignorance + fast buck desires, a genuine (specific) cultural divide, poor marketing, or something else entirely?
posted by smoke at 2:29 AM on January 25, 2010

German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin is about right if hardly diplomatic - most of what's written is utter rubbish. Not particularly concerned with knocking the kind of pop lit that appeals to younger readers here now as Kubin does, but there's precious little point in translating that as it would have at most sociological value to a non-Chinese reader. Then the more 'serious' stuff can often be mired in debates that are both peculiar to China and hobbled by the limits of free expression. Understand from better informed friends that there's some interesting genre stuff such as sci-fi, but that seems off the radar and off the agenda for Western publishers.
Which leads to the next point - even given the problems of producing good literature under the Chinese regime, there are some post-49 novels that would be well worth translating I think (which I won't name unless given a fat fee :D), but then few or maybe even none of them fit the kind of commercial profile that drives the Western publishing industry. So combine that squeeze from both ends and the inherent problems of literature in translation and prospects look tough, though the counter to that is the soaring interest in China and perhaps the stars will align at some point soon. The Chinese government is keen to promote the country's lit too and has a budget, but will be pleasantly surprised if they manage to transcend the many horrible deficiencies of the bureaucracy to produce anything better than even mediocre.
posted by Abiezer at 3:06 AM on January 25, 2010

Should add a plug for Paper Republic, a collective China lit blog run by some friends of mine who are much better informed on all this than me.
posted by Abiezer at 3:10 AM on January 25, 2010

Don't be ridiculous! It is clear that Veloci-Rapture is a romance novel about a rugged-but-secretly-tender paleontologist who shows up on a lonely Montana ranch and finds more than fossils -- a love that would dissolve the calcified barriers of her heart like acidic rains erode limestone...
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:34 AM on January 25, 2010

Aaaand this is what I get for reading Metafilter in reverse order first thing in the morning.

Although I still stand by my interpretation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:37 AM on January 25, 2010

I expected this to be about the boy scounts

I expected this to be about the book scouts.
posted by Zed at 7:27 AM on January 25, 2010

A person who tells us what is good in the arts. Can't think of a more obsolescent position.

Given how much more art (and "art") we're going be deluged with via self publishing, self recording, self videoing, and so forth, I can't think of a less obsolescent position.

I mean, basically that's what a critic does, no? (NB as well, the scout is looking for the commercial, not necessarily the good.)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:23 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

« Older Erotic fan-fiction found a way!   |   Frances Gabe and the Self-Cleaning House Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments