by Pablo Defendini
Well, really, it’s the new, new, New Sleekness. The first New Sleekness was on Blogger, and was essentially a chronicle of the crap I’d find on the web in the mornings, and my commentary on it. The name came from the fact that I had just shaved off my nice, long dreadlocks a few days before I started the blog. It felt appropriate at the time. The second, or newer New Sleekness resides on my personal server and was/is my haphazardly-updated personal blog(1). The frequency of posts dropped considerably in October 2008, when I changed jobs from mass-market designer at Tor Books to my current position as producer of Tor.com. I have much less free time these days.
However, part of the reason I have less free time is the fact that Tor.com is run out of the Digital Marketing department at Macmillan. Being a part of the DM dept allows me a closer look at the publishing industry, and where it’s headed. I’ve found that more and more, the (admittedly sporadic) writing in the (newer) New Sleekness has turned into publishing industry punditry.
A few months ago, Ami and I were talking as we walked back to a hotel from a book fair in some northeastern city(2), and it occurred to us to start a blog where people like us could talk about what we see happening in the publishing industry. By ‘people like us’, we mean our colleagues: young-ish, in the trenches, not necessarily the movers-and-shakers or the decision-makers, but the people who are doing the grunt work. We grew up with technology, and we’ve seen it alter the landscape of the way we live and the way we do business; we compare that to what we see as the impractical realities of how legacy publishing operates, and we have something to say about it. We have ideas, we have opinions, and we have visions for a future in which everyone reads everything everywhere, and books are recognized as the drivers of culture that they are(3). A sleek new future.
And that’s when I realized that we already had access to a really great name for the blog. I offered up the name “The New Sleekness”, and here we are, at a brand-new URL with a new look, and a blank database. I’ll bring over some of the publishing-related posts from the old New Sleekness at first (some may take some revision and updating), but essentially this is a fresh start, and I won’t be the only one contributing to this site.
1 I will change its name when I get a chance. Remember the bit about the shoemaker and his kids?
2 The specifics are not important, but I think we’d just come from having dinner with Kevin Smokler, so we were on a “we’re-gonna-save-publishing-w00t-one-one” kick. That’s what talking to Kevin does to you. He’s a cool dude.
3 I stole that line from Ami. Shh, don’t tell her.