Voting Paradigms

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Voting Paradigms

okt 4, 2022, 3:46 pm

With the first round of voting only days away, we are curious for members to share their "Voting Paradigms". We've heard some members say that they'll be voting for proposals that include texts which haven't been published by a fine press before. Others have said they'll vote only for proposals which seem "sensible" for an unproven press – e.g. short, out of copyright. And many have expressed simply that they'll vote on gut instinct and leave the deeper thinking to the second round. How will you be voting?

okt 4, 2022, 4:04 pm

Visceral first reaction will be key in the initial round for me. Will obviously favor works in my areas of interest, but will be leaning towards works not yet given fine press treatment, or which are of unfamiliar (to me) but intriguing source material, or by authors under-served by the canon. Practicality will have some influence as well, but may not disqualify works at this stage.

Things that could lead to non-votes include works which are already extant in fine press form, or which are well known and widely distributed already. Some genres and topics are of lesser interest to me as well.

okt 4, 2022, 4:04 pm


okt 4, 2022, 4:05 pm

Principles in approximate order of priority, probably also incomplete:

1. Personal interest
2. In a language I can read
3. Unlikely to have stratospheric price
4. Outside of the mainstream
5. Compelling design or illustration details
6. Not already available in an edition I find attractive

okt 4, 2022, 4:19 pm

Denne meddelelse har fået flere brugere til at hejse et advarselsflag, så den vises ikke længere (vis)
1st round will be quick for me.

NO on anything written by a white heteronormative cis-male. There's plenty of that out there and lots in my library.

Considered voting on anything outside the aforementioned canon. Based on what I know already, I have a handful of YES votes prepared....and a whole lot of NO, even though some would be interesting if publishing was more representative.

2nd round will obviously be different.

okt 4, 2022, 4:57 pm

I'm going to be interested in seeing the overall number of "Yes" versus "No" votes. That is, how strict are members in giving out yeses?

Redigeret: okt 4, 2022, 5:24 pm

>1 consensuspress: Well, unless some squeezed a truly special description into their proposal, I'll be upvoting mainly based on the titles I most want to read in letterpress. Thosecould range from nature and travel writing, to gothic / weird fiction, to myth or more.

It would be a plus if they were underrepresented authors in fine press, but I think it's more important to me that the individual text not be readily available already in a nice edition.

okt 4, 2022, 5:18 pm

"Do I want to read it" is my first priority, as I imagine it is for many people. That doesn't mean voting exclusively for works by authors from underrepresented groups, but those do tend to be what I prefer reading. I am likely to favor shorter works over longer works for cost/feasibility reasons, but there are books I love enough to be willing to support even if they would be major undertakings.

One way in which I may be out of step with much of the community: I dislike leather bindings and I prefer monochrome or duotone illustrations. That doesn't mean I absolutely won't vote for a proposal that calls specifically for leather or full-color illustrations, but it will be a harder sell.

okt 4, 2022, 5:25 pm

>8 ambyrglow: "One way in which I may be out of step with much of the community: I dislike leather bindings and I prefer monochrome or duotone illustrations."

I second you on full leather in most cases, though don't mind it as an accent. Well-done two color illustrations are often my favorite, but I do personally like a bit of color.

Redigeret: okt 5, 2022, 9:46 pm

The criteria of my paradigm:

1. A strong presumptive YES on anything from the great Western canon, or the broader classical and medieval corpus of Western civilization

2. A strong presumptive NO on anything NOT written by a white heteronormative cis-male. I can never have enough of that.

3. The work has never been published in a fine press edition, or if it has, published in an obscure or exceedingly hard to find edition (or mangled by the warped aesthetic of the 60s/70s).

4. Sheer personal interest

5. Feasibility of publication

6. A reasonable price (reasonable relative to fine press comps and length of work)

okt 5, 2022, 7:54 am

Uniqueness of approach (vague, I know, but so much is instinctual as others have said!), overall feasibility but without sacrificing really going for something -- a fun part of making books happen imho is a bit of fearlessness at first in seeing what's possible, especially when it comes to rights, etc -- and above all, something I'd simply want to read/experience in fine press.

okt 5, 2022, 7:56 am

I'll likely be a bit turned off by overly detailed approaches, simply because I'd like Consensus to have a good amount of latitude in designing the best possible edition.

okt 5, 2022, 1:25 pm

I very much appreciated the comments that >8 ambyrglow: and >9 NathanOv: mentioned. In terms of illustrations, I also much prefer alternatives to full color. (I enjoy the scraperboard/scratchboard style art in black & white.)

Similarly, I do not want a leather-bound book and would extend that further in my case to say that I want to be able to buy a book without any leather. I'd be happy with cloth, or perhaps some more experimental material if there is reason to believe it'll stand the test of time.

In another thread, grifgon (linked to comment #97) mentioned that:

"this will be a single-state edition"

Perhaps this isn't the right thread for this (or the right time for this), but if the final version of the book gets voted by consensus to be bound in leather, I'm wondering what it would take to have a variation that is bound in cloth? I'll pipe up again later in the process if this becomes relevant.

--- --- ---

To answer the Voting Paradigms question, my list is:

1st) Will I read the internal work? (Whether or not I've previously heard of it is irrelevant. This essentially matches with points #1 & #2 from >4 abysswalker:.)

2nd) Is this a book I want to keep in my collection? (Is it compelling enough to want to go back to or share. I believe this aligns with point #5 from >4 abysswalker:.)

3rd) Can I afford it? (My level of excitement for this project is high enough that I'll try to find a way to afford the book, even if it's more expensive.)

--- --- ---

In regards to >12 Shadekeep:, I also am looking forward to experiencing the process of having the Consensus be involved in the journey towards the final production. In writing my proposal, I was torn on how much detail to suggest. I didn't just want to plop a title down and say done, so I included some suggestions about the details of how the book could be, but I also don't envision the 1st round proposals as being set in stone.

For the 10 who make it into the 2nd round for the 1000 word proposals, I would expect that there might be some slight changes or reconsiderations in their proposals from the original versions based on comments from the group. I'll further that thought by hoping that any people whose proposals make it into the 2nd round and who don't have a very clear vision of the details of their ideal book reach out to some of the experts in this group to ask for insights and guidance.

The Consensus Press management and advisory board have said that they will be giving their insights on feasibility, costs, etc. as referenced here:

"in round two, and each proposal will have a short commentary from the Advisory Board, including a cost estimate"

Certainly correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I believe things will play out:

1) Round 1: Everyone threw an idea on the wall and now we'll all excitedly vote to see what sticks.

2) 10 people get notified that their proposal made it to Round 2.

3) Some (or perhaps even all) of those 10 people semi-frantically realize that they've got to write a compelling pitch/prospectus.

4) Hopefully at this point the forums are extremely active and at least some of those people are discussing cool details. I believe that this will be the sweet spot for "consensus" to give encouragement towards what we end up getting. There will be the danger of course that so many "suggestions" get given to the proposer that it becomes a nightmarish mish-mash to sort through, but perhaps that's part of the fun of it all. At the end of the day, the proposer is the lead, but with so much experience in the group, many proposals are bound to be strengthened by discussion.

5) Those 10 people put their 2nd round proposals in. Perhaps some items will be described as being left to the decision of the consensus (eg. "If this proposal wins, the consensus would choose the color of the binding, but preferable suggestions could include color A, color B, and color C.")

6) The management and advisory board jots down their comments on feasibility and cost for each of the 10 proposals. (They might be discussing this a bit with the 10 proposers during the time of Round 2 proposal writing too.)

7) Round 2: We all become privy to seeing the final versions of the 10 proposals.

8) We vote one of them to win.

9) We follow-up with some final discussions.

My apologies for straying a bit from the topic of Voting Paradigms, though I feel this is at least tangential. My hope is that in addition to each of us placing our votes, there is constructive discussion before the Round 2 proposals are set. I believe that time will be that sweet spot that allows for the greatest creativity to emerge. Furthermore, that can help alleviate some of the strain at the end where some of us might be feeling the "I really like this proposal, but I really wish that [insert one specific aspect] of the final production was different."

I believe that there are a few people in this group who could make the executive decisions for their proposals from A-Z and end up on a spectacular version purely solo. I also know that there are some who would benefit with discussions more along the lines of collaboration (I know I would).

As >12 Shadekeep: said, the goal is to design "the best possible edition" and that's an exciting thing to be a part of.

okt 5, 2022, 6:20 pm

>13 Tuna_Melon: A wonderful post. Your thoughts about the process match mine almost exactly, especially regarding #3 - #5 .

I think that open discussion of the top ten proposals will be key. Once round one voting ends, management will post the following:

A. The full results for all to see.

B. A separate thread on this forum for each of the top ten proposals.

It will be up to the proposers if/how they expand their proposals, though I personally hope they are open to active discussion and input from other members. In my opinion, a certain degree of ambiguity in the second round proposals is fine (like, typeface), but overall details will be key. If a proposal does not specify a binding style (paperbound versus full-vellum, for example) the Advisory Board will have to give a huge cost estimate range. I don't know how comfortable members will be voting for a book that could be either $500 or $2,000. As you say >13 Tuna_Melon:, "many proposals are bound to be strengthened by discussion."

okt 5, 2022, 8:07 pm

>1 consensuspress: My criterium for voting is "Is this something I want to read?"

If the proposal fails to provide enough information for me to make that determination, it gets an automatic "No" vote from me. I will not take the time to research each and every unfamiliar title/author proposed.

okt 5, 2022, 10:55 pm

I hope that people will not discriminate proposals based on color or gender of authors of proposed works, regardless of how much we want inclusiveness in the final choice.
Wanting a book to read, more than once, will be my main criteria for voting.

Redigeret: okt 5, 2022, 11:16 pm

>16 booksforreading: I don’t mean to poke a dragon here, but I wouldn’t call the decision (not mine, by the way) not to favor the one demographic that always has been discriminatory.

I’m not going to touch the opposing comment that was posted, however.

okt 5, 2022, 11:50 pm

An automatic NO to any author from a specific color and/or gender group is not favoring another group - it is a clear discrimination, one way or another. I am strongly opposed to any discrimination, in any form.
Now that I made my point, I am certainly discontinuing my part in this discussion.

okt 6, 2022, 12:06 am

Personally, I think a better paradigm than favoring/disfavoring on the basis of demographics is to favor proposals which would bring something new to fine press.

okt 6, 2022, 8:03 am

I do understand the logic of introducing a prescriptive or corrective bias in one's voting to counter centuries of established bias. As for myself the only stuff I'm ruling out of hand immediately are works which already have or are soon getting fine press treatment. Bonus points are going to the unexpected and the delightful.

okt 6, 2022, 10:00 am

My voting will be based on a simple gut reaction, probably based around the completely subjective question: "How cool would this be on my shelf?" Given what I've seen of the proposals on here so far, there's a pretty fair chance I won't recognize or have any familiarity with the author/title being suggested, so I will likely have a second browser tab open for me to take a look into the author and work and, if I get the impression that it's something missing from my reading experience or that would otherwise be a great addition to the bookshelf, I will probably be fairly liberal with my thumbs-ups.

okt 6, 2022, 10:13 am

>21 davidmcatherine: A wise strategy. I participated in the early voting test and will say that it was worthwhile doing a quick search on some unfamiliar titles. Hidden gems indeed.

okt 6, 2022, 10:29 am

I'm certainly willing to Google a bit if I haven't heard of a title but the proposal makes it sound potentially intriguing, but I am counting on the proposer to at least provide enough context to raise that spark of interest.

okt 6, 2022, 11:47 am

>22 Shadekeep: I'm late to the group, and I know that not everyone is on here, but there were a lot of interesting suggestions in the Proposals thread where, at the very least, if I have no other involvement, I'll walk away with a SOLID list to add to the to-read pile

Redigeret: okt 6, 2022, 4:26 pm

I will vote yes as a way to influence the top ten first and foremost and may limit myself to only ten yes votes. For me a no will not mean that I wouldn't want the book necessarily, but that I would rather see something else make it through.

okt 7, 2022, 10:59 am

I just completed my first round ballot. Two thoughts.

1. I was surprised how many suggestions already have quality or fine editions available, sometimes even recent and salient (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Neverending Story, Frankenstein?!?). Maybe nearing 10% of the initial proposals?

2. I realized that I, personally at least, am not interested in anthologies for this type of publication unless the anthology itself is somehow a classic. Nothing of this sort immediately jumps to mind, but I could imagine (making this up now) something like "the 12 poems Emily Dickenson copied from others into her diary" as a fine press edition.

Also thanks to whoever suggested Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows. That is a work that would be wonderful in a fine press format, and one that I have long wanted in a nicer edition.

okt 7, 2022, 2:37 pm

I am sure this has already been considered by the Advisory Board and fellow voters, but I suggest consolidating the vote totals for overlapping works. I say "overlapping" instead of "identical" because some title suggestions are the very same (e.g., "The Life of Merlin") while others are similar (e.g., Hesiod's oeuvre vs. Hesiod's "Works and Days"). In the case that the merged votes of an overlapping suggestion qualify for the next round, I believe the primary contributors ought to collaborate on the expanded proposal.

Assuming this structure is put in place, we must account for the reconciliation of disparate votes between overlapping suggestions, i.e., voting against one "Merlin" and for the other. I advise that a single vote FOR an overlapping work per ballot results in a "Yes" for that survey regardless of another vote of "No" on the same ballot for the same/similar suggestion.

A layout for clarity:

The earlier "Merlin" on the ballot receives a "Yes" while the downballot "Merlin" receives a "No"; this should simply be counted as a "Yes."

The Hesiod oeuvre receives a "No" while the particular Hesiod receives a "Yes"; this should be counted as a "Yes" for Hesiod.

Shelley's "Frankenstein" receives a "No" while Shelley's "Valperga" receives a "Yes"; only the "Valperga" should count as a "Yes."

Does this seem agreeable to all? Any tripwires I've neglected?

okt 7, 2022, 2:42 pm

>27 PatsChoice: I think it’s simpler to keep each item separate. There is no limit to the amount of votes each voter has, so if you want to see Canticle published, vote for both; if only one of the ideas captures your imagination, just vote for that one. If both manage to crack the top ten, perhaps we could consider consolidating them, but I wouldn’t aggregate their votes to push them into the top ten if neither can crack it individually.

okt 7, 2022, 2:46 pm

>27 PatsChoice: I don't hate this idea, but I did choose fairly consciously on each proposal, and split my proverbial ticket at least once in favour of the version of the title I thought seemed better-conceived. I'm not sure it's necessary.

okt 7, 2022, 2:49 pm

Since it was stated that an author of a winning proposal will receive copy No. 1 for free, it would make sense to evaluate each proposal individually, even if they suggest the same works.

okt 7, 2022, 2:49 pm

>28 jordanxn: Good point - I may be overthinking it. I'm just curious about what happens if "Canticle" A and "Canticle" B siphon votes from one another (assuming redundant nominations are not being uniformly voted for/against), but one of them would have otherwise qualified for the next round.

okt 7, 2022, 2:50 pm

>28 jordanxn: Wouldn't it also be interesting to see competing expanded proposals for the same text in the top ten? If I really wanted "Canticle", for example, I'd probably rather see two concepts for it than just one.

okt 7, 2022, 2:50 pm

>27 PatsChoice: I think this is only really important if they both make the top ten (in which case they should definitely be consolidated)

okt 7, 2022, 2:51 pm

>32 grifgon: yeah, but if you really don’t want canticle, then your options are limited to 8

okt 7, 2022, 2:53 pm

>32 grifgon: In that situation, my preference would be to allow both proposals to be presented but perhaps an eleventh work to be allowed on the ranked choice ballot as well (so ten unique works are available to vote on). But I would be less bothered by having them count as two proposals of the ten than having them combined initially to determine if they make the top ten.

Redigeret: okt 7, 2022, 3:00 pm

>29 Didici: "I did... split my proverbial ticket at least once in favour of the version of the title I thought seemed better-conceived."

This is my primary concern on a structural level. If there were no redundancies, I imagine the vote total would be higher for any one of these particular works. It seems like a cheap way to miss out on a popular title — but perhaps the nomination process was always planned to work out this way.

For full disclosure, I chose to vote "Yes" on all works I am interested in that are nominated more than once to mitigate this potential issue.

okt 7, 2022, 2:59 pm

>31 PatsChoice: That is a possibility, though I’m sure that for at least some people who split their votes it was not a matter of “siphoning.” I voted for only one of those proposals, for example, because I was only interested in purchasing one of them. Had they both appealed to me, like the two Seneca proposals, I would have voted for both. But of course others may have differed in their voting “strategy.”

okt 7, 2022, 3:02 pm

>37 jordanxn: We'll have excellent choices to further deliberate no matter the outcome of the first phase, so it's not the end of the world.

okt 7, 2022, 3:05 pm

>38 PatsChoice: Agreed. If we were to aggregate votes for two proposals that don’t individually succeed, my hope would be that the single proposal they would otherwise “knock out” would nonetheless proceed. I’d rather err on the side of slightly more second-round proposals.

okt 7, 2022, 3:08 pm

>36 PatsChoice: No, I think this is a reasonable take. You can see how it might work against a title on which there's a good deal of underlying enthusiasm (consensus even) and make it harder for it to reach the endgame. On the other hand, the press is only going to make one edition a year, so it's almost a given that there will be at least a few proposals that are widely regarded as excellent that fall just short of adoption. Complimentary market research for budding small press proprietors, perhaps.

okt 7, 2022, 7:36 pm

Well this was easier than I expected.
- no for anything written in the antiquities or middle ages. Every private press and their dog has probably published at least one Greek play and there's no signs of slowing down. My thinking is that Consensus is sort of a social experiment and it'd be fairly disappointing (for me) if it ends up being Yet Another Fine Press, with not much distinguishing it from others.
- no for poetry anthologies, I can find enough of these elsewhere
- no for horror (for better or worse, this area is very well covered by Suntup, CP, SP, AB, FS, and other acronyms)
- no for relatively obscure fantasy/scifi. While I'm sure some of these books are entertaining, the first book published by a press needs to make a statement, and I don't want that statement to be 'Dragons are kinda cool'
- yes for good literature (for some definition of 'good')
- yes for anything out of the ordinary
- yes for interesting speeches or landmark works

Btw I hope no one took this personally. I really liked all the proposals (maybe one or two I would vote twice no if I could), but I just don't feel they are suitable for being the first book of a new (experimental) press. Really curious to see what comes out of this whole thing.

okt 7, 2022, 7:55 pm

I love the diversity of paradigms here. It will be really interesting to see what this produces.

Having a look through the proposals, it's clear that a majority of them would make for large editions (200+ pages). Large books will be expensive. Duh: that's obvious. But it may be wise to be more liberal in voting for shorter works and more conservative in voting for longer works. I think it's important to have not only a diversity of titles in the second round, but a diversity of price points.

okt 7, 2022, 8:01 pm

Yes, I went back after some reflection and un-voted for some works that I do value, but not as much as they’re likely to cost, given their length. (Sorry, Worm Ouroboros.)

okt 7, 2022, 8:17 pm

Yeah, I think it's easy to click "Yes" when the "Yes" doesn't (yet) hit your wallet.

All I'm saying is that a $200 book should be easier to get to "Yes" on than a $1,000 book.

Longer = More Expensive
Copyright = More Expensive

Redigeret: okt 7, 2022, 9:16 pm

>41 filox: "no for anything written in the antiquities or middle ages... at least one Greek play ... Yes for anything out of the ordinary."

I voted no on most of the classical works, and Greek plays are generally a “no” for me, but some of the most fascinating and out-of-the-ordinary title proposals to me are from antiquity.

okt 7, 2022, 8:40 pm

>45 NathanOv: Lucian's "A True Story" is awesome.

okt 7, 2022, 8:44 pm

>45 NathanOv: My experience as well with the list.

okt 7, 2022, 9:18 pm

I was really jazzed to see Galeano's Memory of Fire (MoF) in there as I've always thought it is perfect for private press. And also an amazing piece of literature and history. I would have proposed it myself except, well, you know...

I bring it up mainly because of the "big book" comments. MoF would also be easy to "break up" even more than it was broke up in the trades (3 volumes). Of course I would hope the whole thing eventually got done but I would want any portion of it that was published by a fine/private press, like the first part First Voices, that runs to all of 50 pages. And the Old New World that spans 1492 to 1700 could be broken up. So things that could be addressed in the second round. Maybe the Decameron could be done similarly but I don't know it enough to say...That wouldn't work for The Satanic Verses, I assume (although I haven't read yet, a trade is on the way to me as we vote).

okt 8, 2022, 11:30 am

This isn't necessarily in a ranked order, but some considerations and preferences that were at play in my voting:
- Do I want to read it?
- Does it seem like a work I would be enthusiastic about having in my library in 20 years?
- Has it been done in private or fine press before? If so, how reasonable is it for me to get a copy? Do I already have an edition?
- Does it sound like a manageable first project, or does it involve meaningful barriers (e.g., length, cost, copyright)?
- Is it a standalone title/work or an anthology or edited collection (with a preference for the first)?
- Is it poetry? (My voting revealed a preference for not a poetry collection, which I wouldn't have said I had before the process)
- from the proposals I'm seeing, how does this one I'm reviewing stack up? If it seemed, not in the top quartile, I voted it down.

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