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Penguin Random House Is Building the Perfect Publishing House

newrepublic.com – Wednesday September 12, 2018

When Penguin and Random House announced in the fall of 2012 that they intended to merge, Hurricane Sandy was barreling toward New York City, America’s publishing capital. It was an instant metaphor for headline writers: “As Sandy Loomed, the Publishing Industry Panicked.” People inside both companies worried about their jobs; people outside the companies worried about the market power of a new conglomerate comprised of the country’s two largest trade publishers. Agents and authors, meanwhile, worried that the consolidation would further drive down advances.

Random House’s top brass insisted that there was no need to panic. “The continuity will far outweigh the change,” Markus Dohle, the CEO of what would become Penguin Random House, told The New York Times when the merger was completed the following summer. “We have the luxury to take the time before we make any strategic decisions. There is no need to rush.”

[Read the full article]

Scottish crime author Val McDermid got into writing for the money – and reveals why she loves ‘books with dead bodies’

thescottishsun.co.uk – Tuesday September 11, 2018

AUTHOR Val McDermid remembers the exact moment she knew she’d be a writer — when she read in a kids’ story that you could get PAID to pen books.

Award-winning Val, who has sold more than 40 million of her crime novels, said it was the popular Chalet School stories that sparked her future career.

She said: “The moment of realisation came for me when I was nine years old.

“I used to read the Chalet Girls books and one of the characters grew up to become a writer.

“I remember distinctly reading it — it was on a right-hand page about halfway down, about her getting a cheque from her publisher.

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, you can get paid money for this?’ I don’t know if I thought people maybe just wrote out of the goodness of their heart and the books arrived on the shelves.

“But I thought I could do that, I could tell stories and lies, and I could get paid money for it.

“From then, when people asked what I was going to do when I grew up I said a writer and people would laugh, people from my background didn’t do that.”

[Read the full article]

E-book pricing: because you’re worth it

irishtimes.com – Monday September 10, 2018

You’re a self-published author. You’re digitally publishing and you are responsible for pricing your e-book. How do you decide the price?

There are two schools of thought in the interminable self-publishing pricing discussion. One believes firmly in the pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap philosophy. The other side holds that to be a horrible undervaluation of our talents and time.

I’m firmly in the second camp. I’ve long been of the opinion that self-published authors selling at “remaindered bin” prices are doing themselves, and self-publishing authors generally, a huge disservice. They’re not valuing their own work sufficiently highly, and they’re encouraging readers to place less value on independently published work than traditionally published. They’re saying, “my book is not as good as one you would find in a bookshop, so I can’t charge as much for it. The only way I can encourage you to buy it is if I either give it away free, or charge what a bookshop would charge for books that nobody wants (the ‘remaindered bin’)”.

Why has that become an accepted tactic?

[Read the full article]

Should writers only write what they know? What I learned from my research

theconversation.com – Tuesday September 4, 2018

As an academic in creative writing, I attend a lot of literary events. One question I can always count on being asked is, “can I write characters of other backgrounds?” This has been a growing concern since Lionel Shriver at the 2016 Brisbane Writers Festival unleashed a tirade against what she called “censorship” in writing – referring to criticism of her book The Mandibles.

The recent ABC Q&A episode, Stranger Than Fiction, in conjunction with the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, showed the many sides of the “write what you know” debate. Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Sofie Laguna argued that space should be given for marginalised groups to represent themselves. Maxine Beneba Clarke pointedly discussed when appropriation can be harmful, as was the case with Shriver’s representation of Latino and African American characters. Meanwhile, Trent Dalton argued that appropriation leads to a good story, which also takes empathy and care.

[Read the full article]

Traditional Publishers Are Selling Way More Non-Fiction Than Fiction

forbes.com – Friday August 31, 2018

In the publishing industry, adult non-fiction revenues are soaring above fiction revenues and have been widening the gap for the past five years. Adult non-fiction revenue totalled $6.18 billion across the publishing industry in 2017, while adult fiction revenues reached $4.3 billion, according to Penguin Random House, using data from Association of American Publishers (AAP), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bookscan.

2013 was the last year that the adult fiction category beat non-fiction in revenue (at $5.21 billion in revenue to non-fiction's $4.82 billion). Revenues for adult non-fiction have rapidly risen every year since: $4.97 billion in 2014, $5.59 billion in 2015, $5.87 billion in 2016, and finally $6.18 billion last year. In the same five-year period, adult fiction revenues dropped from a high of $5.21 billion in 2013 to 2017's low of $4.38 billion.

[Read the full article]

Women reveal the VERY irritating mistakes male authors make in writing female characters - including describing itchy tights as 'sexy' and thinking EVERYONE can run in heels

dailymail.co.uk – Thursday August 30, 2018

Authors have the ability to immerse their readers in fictional words, but women everywhere believe they're still not getting one thing right: female characters.

Tumblr users from around the world have been penning advice to male authors about the common mistakes they make when writing female characters - and they'll strike a chord with women everywhere. 

The tips, compiled in a Bored Panda thread, include a request to describe tights as 'itchy' rather than sexy and the handy tip that almost no women can run in heels

[Read the full article]

How to Get Your Short Story Published

influencive.com – Sunday August 26, 2018

Whatever your experience as a writer, one of the most exciting moments of your career is sending out a story for publication. If it’s your first time sending out a story or you’ve been published many times before, there’s still nothing like that feeling, of typing it out so that it looks beautiful, editing it, and sending it out to magazines you admire. Just imagine: your name could appear in the table of contents alongside other writers you love. Whether you’re writing fantasy, romance, YA, or literary fiction, the process is almost always the same. So if you’re ready to get your short story published, it’s all about working through this process as thoroughly as possible, so that you’re sending out the best possible version with a query letter editors will take seriously.

If you’ve just finished a story, and you think it’s ready for publication, here are the steps you need to take to get it published. Remember: every writer’s gone through this, even the greats, and you can get published, too.

[Read the full article]

Turning Pages: When it's good to break the writing rules

smh.com.au – Sunday August 26, 2018

Sometimes the writer doesn't need a gentle muse when facing a blank page. Sometimes the writer needs a pep talk from a coach, the kind that gets you out in the drizzly dawn doing push-ups and feeling good about it.

If that's your bag, then Catherine Deveny is your woman. The comedian and writer who describes herself as "Atheist, Feminist, Dyslexic" runs regular writing classes for her Gunnas (as in "I'm gunna write a book some day"). For her students, that day is today. And she'll do everything short of push-ups to motivate them and destroy their procrastination and fear.

Judging from the website testimonials, her Gunnas adore her. So I was intrigued to see her in action at the recent Bayside Literary Festival, talking about "The Twelve Things They Don't Tell You About Writing".

I was particularly struck by one piece of advice that was exactly the opposite of what most creative writing teachers tell their students: "You don't have to read a lot".

[Read the full article]

Why millennial pink is the colour of money for book publishers

inews.co.uk – Sunday August 26, 2018

In recent years the mid-tone blush colour commonly referred to as “millennial pink” has taken over fashion, interior design, branding and publicity. Now publishers are also latching on to the colour’s marketability.

The number of pink books published in the past two years has risen sharply. Titles such as the Man Booker Prize-longlisted The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, Jenny Zhang’s Sour Heart and Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman all feature the hue on their covers. The cover of Sweetbitter, a novel by Stephanie Danler which was adapted into a Netflix series, was redesigned and reissued with a salmon-pink cover.

[Read the full article]

Clare Barron: 'My best advice? Write the ugliest, clunkiest play you can imagine'

standard.co.uk – Thursday August 23, 2018

In our Play Talk series, playwrights discuss the joys and struggles of the writing life. This week, Clare Barron talks about her Susan Smith Blackburn Award-winning play Dance Nation, which has its European premiere at the Almeida next month. 

[Read the full article]

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