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We’ve Moved! March 9, 2009

Posted by Lee in Uncategorized.
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Thanks for stopping by – we only ever paid rent at this site, and we’ve gone and bought ourselves a condo.

You’re all welcome at chez Robot, so head on over to http://www.AngryRobotBooks.com and say “Hi”.

Don’t forget to set your RSS feeds…

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So, uhhhh… Hi. January 26, 2009

Posted by Lee in Uncategorized.
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Well, I’ve been an angry robot for 3 weeks, now, and this is my first post (expect a lot more in future). I meant to post a “Hi, I’m Lee” message a couple of weeks ago, but things have been extraordinarily busy over the last few weeks.

It already feels like I’ve been here for months, but in a good way. Setting up a new publishing division was always going to be hard work. Luckily, Marco has been beavering away behind the scenes for the last few months, so I was able to walk into a role that straight away had plenty of work for me. Also, of course, as part of Harper Collins we have many back-end systems in place so we don’t need to invent everything from scratch.

I’ve been diligently working my way through the substantial submissions pile, and I’ve been struck by how high the overall quality of the writing is. There are very few novels rejected because the quality of writing isn’t good enough (though, inevitably there are some). Many of our rejections are due to the fact that the manuscripts (or proposals) just aren’t quite what we’re looking for. Indeed, two of the novels that we had to reject (for not being genre-enough) are of such high quality that I’ll be actively looking out for them when they do find a publisher, and buying a copy for myself.

It’s a sobering thought to think that sometimes, being excellent just isn’t enough.

Follow the Robot on Twitter November 6, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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The Robot Tweets

The Robot Tweets

Where this is going to go I can’t exactly tell, but in our all-round embrace of the social media age (ie, er, this blog), I thought the Robot gang should be able to tweet to the world whenever and however we want to.

So we have a Twitter account, and may even use it over the months and years ahead. Follow us, if you do such a thing, and we promise to follow you back…

Even if we don’t, I got a computer-generated thank you from Barack Obama yesterday for all my help getting him elected … really, he shouldn’t have!

I’ve also discovered (a year after the rest of the world), that Stephen Fry is the most fanatic twitterer in the universe. Seriously, he should write books, make TV series, write newspaper columns, appear on the radio and write/direct films or something.

Oh.

What the Boss said… November 5, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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After posting last week on our C.E.O’s upcoming speech at Kings College London, it’s with a sense of renewed excitement I can report back on what she said:

She described the linear model of a publisher producing books to be ultimately consumed by a retailer as “becoming circular”. Readers are now playing a greater part in the publishing process, interacting with one another, the authors and producing content themselves. “We need to have two models to deal with that therefore – what we do now, adding value by selecting, nuturing, marketing and finally selling content to the consumer – in whatever form they demand,” she said. “And a second model whereby we create value in the experiences around that content and facilitate the dialogue between writers and readers.”

Vicky’s argument is about how we reach consumers as a publisher, and how we change our operational model as a business underneath it to meet those needs – as a corporate guy, that gets my juices flowing…

Despite this, she said that digitisation offered new openings for publishers. “The new opportunities this throws up are an end to piles of unwanted inventory, no more returns (book publishing remains one of the few remaining sale or return businesses), no more out of print titles and more value attached to the “long tail” of obscure or niche titles,” she said.

The times they are a changin… October 29, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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There’s lots of scope for change in the world of SF&F publishing – lots of new things to do, lots of new ways of operating.

But when it comes to the big decisions, basically there’s only two things you can do in business (and publishing is a business, for better or worse) – diversify or rationalise. Angry Robot is a product of a decision to diversify – creating a parallel space to HarperCollins‘ Voyager imprint, and the individual publishing of Tolkien, in which to work with different publishing and business models.

And if we think diversification is the way forward, that doesn’t mean rationalising isn’t the right way either. So it was no surprise really to see that Hachette in the US have pulled Orbit and the graphic novel/manga imprint Yen Press into one operation under the overall Orbit brand.

It makes sense – Orbit goes from strength to strength, they do fantastic things for readers and the business as a whole.

Rationalising another imprint under their brand that does different media gives them a platform to go in another direction: diversification under a single brand umbrella, if you like.

So basically, good luck guys!

Angry Robot, the UGC cartoon October 27, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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I love Newgrounds, the user-generated casual gaming and viral site – it’s a smart business, and finds a whole bunch of great content. Not least this super-dumb, super-fun Futurama-goes-Death-Wish vignette. Check it out.

Angry Buttons October 27, 2008

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Angry Robot magnet by Dustbuster

Angry Robot magnet by Dustbuster

Nowt to do with us, but the merch world is already nicely replete with Angry Robot goods.

Check out the cool consumer-generated stuff over on Zazzle – we’ll be hitting the world with our own branding sometime in the not-too-distant (but not right now!) future. The Robot-man cometh…

Robots rrrock – pt.2 October 25, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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We’ve talked about Yeasayer, and we’ve talked about Joe Meek, but what about a whole band made up of Robots?

These guys rock, and their rider’s just a can of WD40 and two spare nuts:

Is John McCain an Angry Robot? October 25, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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Angry? Yes, but not a Robot.

Angry? Yes, but not a Robot.

No, we’re not announcing our first acquisition. And although he might be looking for a job if the polls are to be believed come mid-November, we’re not announcing a new member of staff either.

It’s the delightfully ranty capitolhillblue blog that raises the idea, saying of McCain after the latest TV debate:

the candidate I saw looked like an angry rusty robot finding ways to insert just about all his stump speech attacks against Obama into non-answers to questions

Now let’s not start dissing the Angry Robot’s now, shall we??? Hell, we just want to make the next great step in genre publishing, we don’t want to be leaders of the free world…

Ok, maybe we do.

Angry human; dead avatar. No robot. October 23, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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David Pescovitz over at BoingBoing picks up on a story reported over on Yahoo about a Tokyo woman facing conviction for killing off her virtual husband.

Are such things the inevitable middle-class outcomes of the soft-side of the MMO world, where “relationships” spring-up in instants, and can be thrown away just as easily. The woman in this case may be facing a 5 grand fine, but better this than the more deeply worrying gold farming black economy that have developed in MMO culture?

A great post over at Private Sector Development Blog takes a different view – that the virtual sweatshop of the gold farmer is better than the real sweatshop of the retail giants.

Returning to the original point about the general rise in trade of services through the internet, gold farming is only one stage of development in an increasingly complex set of economic relationships. As internet infrastructure spreads further in the developing world, entrepreneurs will take advantage of low wages to outsource more complex (and perhaps better paid) online services to China and elsewhere.

It’s difficult to see the pattern – a virtual repetition of real and untenable deprivation, or a step forward in the intertwined development of emerging economies and the internet?

Either way, there are stories waiting to jump out of this. Tell us what they are.