Monthly Archives: February 2007

About Book Editors; What Does an Editor Do?

Locus Online’s 2006 Books by Editor page, which I’ve been compiling as a source of information for Hugo Awards voters in this first year of the “Editor – Long Form” category, has gotten some appreciative feedback, but also apparently has prompted a bit of kerfluffle over some of the entries that have been included for some editors. Specifically, ‘classic reprints’ of older books, such as George Alec Effinger’s “Marid” trilogy, reprinted by Orb the past couple years by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who pointed out to me that he was as proud of those books as products of his editorial work as anything else. I thought his argument was sound; those of us who don’t actually write or edit books might imagine that editors’ jobs are chiefly a matter of shaping raw manuscripts into publishable forms, but the business aspects of their jobs surely include much else. Such as, choosing *which* out-of-print books to resurrect, and getting them through the publishing process and back into print.

That would be analogous to the process of choosing *which* stories to reprint in a best of the year anthology, for instance. That’s as much an editorial task, as shaping a raw manuscript into publishable form.

In contrast, for purposes of this list, I did choose to exclude paperback reprints of the same publisher/editor’s books from the year before, though a couple prominent editors wanted me to include them as evidence of their tastes. This struck me as double-dipping; if the Hugo category, and this annual directory, goes on year after year, each page should compile only those items that represent editorial results in that year.

A final issue, which I don’t yet have any firm policy on, is the matter of books published both in the US and UK. I don’t, as a mere reader, have any definite idea about how the editorial process works in such cases — does a UK publisher merely print what the US publisher’s editor has shaped from the submitted manuscript? Or vice versa, US publishers merely printing the book developed by the UK publisher/editor? I suspect it varies from case to case (perhaps corresponding to the nationality of the author…). For now, I’m posting information as sent to me. Darren Nash of Orbit/Atom was kind enough to annotate his list with indicators of whether their titles were acquired from US publishers vs originating with them, and I’ve tried to preserve his indications on the Book Editors page.

Ultimately, of course, it’s up to Hugo voters to decide what’s worthy of a nomination. The intent of the Book Editors list is to provide information, with as little editorial filtering as possible. It will be interesting to see the results.

Incremental Updates

I’ve finally finished something I promised a year ago: to work out a way to incrementally update the Awards Index throughout the year, updating the nomination lists and the nominee index pages as needed, without having to build the entire index (all 2884 html pages, at current count) to keep the links between pages current. Having just fixed paginations in the nominee indexes was a third of the task; I worked out the other two-thirds this week. First example: the page for the 2007 Crawford Award finalists. That page is new, and more critically the Nominee Index pages with those seven authors have been individually updated — in fact, these are the first award references for Novik and Lynch — without having to rebuild the entire Nominee Index.

OTOH, various other indexes for publishers and titles and whatnot have *not* been updated — they won’t be until an annual rebuild of the entire site. The individual award pages by year, and the nominee indexes, seem the most critical to keep up to date.

I know, I really should refine the layout of some of these pages — the bulleted templates set up back at the beginning don’t always work. Those wraps on two of the publisher references on the new Crawford page look pretty awful.

In other news, over 400 Locus Poll emails received thus far.

And, quite a bit more data has been compiled on the 2006 Book Editors directory page. Though it’s quite a bit from complete or comprehensive. Still, I should post a formal announcement real soon now, or the exercise will be moot, with the Hugo nomination deadline only 2 weeks away. Next year, I’ll get started earlier.

Awards Index update

Finally finished today. I spent an extra day — a day’s work, spread out over available time over the past week or so — re-engineering a number of steps, and manually inspecting index entries to set permanent page breaks, so that Nominee Indexes from now on will have fixed pagination, and permalinks. This means nominees can find their entries in the index, bookmark the permalinks, and be able to use those links indefinitely, even as the entire awards index is updated every year (if not more often). This means that as the entire set of awards data expands, the index page breaks won’t change. Individual pages will grow — but they’re just text; extra download times to access the pages will be trivial. And index pages on a website, unlike pages in a print book, don’t need to be a consistent size, or the same limited size from year to year. Where individual pages were too big in between letter breaks, I set breaks on nominees with substantial numbers of nominations — this puts major names at the beginning of index pages, rather than, as the old system drove, the ends.

Temporary Glitch; Please Stand By

I’ve been unable to update the website today, and when the hosting service CI Host finally got back to me (I can’t stand sitting on hold on the phone, so I filed a ‘trouble ticket’ via their website, then went to the movies), they said the problem may be a hard drive failure. Apparently, the server is allowing ‘reads’ but not ‘writes’. Fortunately, this means submissions to the Locus Poll are still being processed, via a cgi script on the site — 126 emails received thus far. When the problem is resolved, updates to Future History events and whatnot will be posted.

Meanwhile, here’s a Blink, from this morning:

» LA Times: Ed Park reviews Philip K. Dick’s Voices from the Street

–Update Monday morning: problem seems to have been resolved. They rebooted my server.

February 3 update

71 Locus poll ballot submissions received thus far, in the first 24 hours of online ballot availability.

The update to the Awards Index is in draft form; the pages have been generated, and I’m checking them for errors and updates to manually-edited comments. Another day or two.