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How do authors earn a living? It’s a Catch-22 situation

ft.com – Friday June 7, 2019

As advances dwindle, TV adaptations and literary events are potential revenue streams

The excitement surrounding the new television series of Catch-22, starring and co-directed by George Clooney, is symptomatic of the current vogue for consuming literature via the small screen. Netflix recently announced that it had adapted around 50 literary works over the past year. Whereas once the only way of engaging with a book was to read it, now, in addition to watching TV or cinema adaptations, we are increasingly listening to the book in audio form — or to its author at an event or festival. The growing popularity of these modes of literary engagement is opening up new revenue streams for writers, just as earnings from the traditional model of advances and royalties are dwindling.

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So you want to be a novelist? A New York literary agent, editor and author reveal how bestsellers are born

independent.co.uk – Sunday June 2, 2019

Stephen Barbara’s office is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a small, cosy space in Midtown Manhattan with a bookshelf in the corner and inspirational messages on the walls (“There is nothing new in art except talent” and “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge”). Barbara himself is a welcoming person. Though he does claim to be “very argumentative”, that side of his personality doesn’t manifest itself during our hour-long chat. He’s polite, voluble, and answers questions with the patience and precision of someone who loves the topic at hand. Yet most strangers who attempt to contact Barbara will agonise over their emails for weeks. They will ask their friends to proof-read their messages. They will hold their breath as they hit send. They will spend the next hours, days or weeks anxiously refreshing their email inbox. In other words, they will manage their communications with a level of anguish that seems irreconcilable with the perfectly pleasant person sitting in front of me. Stephen Barbara, you see, is a New York literary agent.

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How To Build A High-Revenue Writing Business

forbes.com – Friday May 31, 2019

You might never expect it but alongside skills like UX design and mobile application development, journalism is one of the top skills companies most need in 2019, according to a LinkedIn survey of senior leaders. “Once a dwindling skill, journalism isn’t just for journalists anymore as marketing and content teams alike vie for people who can tell compelling stories,” the social media platform noted.

That has created opportunities for freelance writers. But many don’t know how to make the most of the work that’s available so they can build a writing business that supports them and their families.

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Faber & Faber: The Untold Story – What do publishers actually do all day?

irishtimes.com – Saturday May 25, 2019

On my first visit to the offices of Penguin Books in 1990 I remember overhearing the receptionist busily answering phone calls with the greetings, “Hello Penguin”, “Hello Bodley Head”, “Hello Viking”, “Hello Michael Joseph”, “Hello Hamish Hamilton”.

It was a roll call of publishing houses swallowed up by a conglomerate that was later swallowed by another conglomerate. This is no criticism of Penguin who adapted to economic circumstances to continue to publish excellent books. Publishers have survived through amalgamations for decades, resulting in a diminishing pool of gatekeepers for new authors to get past.

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Publishing: How To Get Your Writing Picked Up

mainepublic.org – Saturday May 18, 2019

Our panel examines the ins and outs of the publishing industry, including: honing writing skills, finding an agent, getting published, and the business of bookselling. We’ll also hear about how bookstores determine which books to feature, and why.

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