Calling time on comps
thebookseller.com – Saturday May 29, 2021
It goes without saying that when agents, editors, publicists, marketeers and sales people have a book to get in the hands of readers, they use every means they can to ensure it is published well.
Unfortunately, to “publish well” has increasingly become a hopelessly standardized process, one in which every actor involved in the publishing process, according to the size of their respective companies, has to tick certain boxes in order to avoid savage retaliations from their fellow agents, editors, publicists, marketeers and sales people.
One of these boxes, which a Bookseller article pointed out this week, comes labelled “comparative titles”, i.e. those already-successful published titles to which a new book is compared when being pitched.
I am not sure when the habit of using comp titles became such a thing, nor why. I like to imagine that it started when an editor went to pitch a very quirky book to their publisher, and their publisher did not have time to read it so they asked the editor what it was like, and the editor said: “it is unlike anything that has been done before”. And the publisher said: “Let’s leave it, then. If no one has done it before, there is surely a reason why”. So from then on the editor learnt how to compare their picks to successful things which had been published in the past.
Writing A Book? Start With Some Advice From 5 Of The Best Female Authors
girltalkhq.com – Wednesday May 26, 2021
In 1950 just 30% of best-selling novels had female names on the cover. Today, that figure is almost 50%. So to celebrate how far women writers have come, we decided to look at some of the best pieces of writing advice from female authors. Who knows, it could even inspire that last push toward equitable outcomes in contemporary fiction. These five women authors were featured in a recent article by Ivory Research that looked at 15 lessons from successful writers.
How women conquered the world of fiction
theguardian.com – Sunday May 16, 2021
From Sally Rooney to Raven Leilani, female novelists have captured the literary zeitgeist, with more buzz, prizes and bestsellers than men. But is this cultural shift something to celebrate or rectify?
In March, Vintage, one of the UK’s largest literary fiction divisions, announced the five debut novelists it would be championing this year: Megan Nolan, Pip Williams, Ailsa McFarlane, Jo Hamya and Vera Kurian.
All five of them are women. But you could be forgiven for not noticing it, so commonplace are female-dominated lists in 2021. Over the past 12 months, almost all of the buzz in fiction has been around young women: Patricia Lockwood, Yaa Gyasi, Raven Leilani, Avni Doshi, Lauren Oyler. Ask a novelist of any gender who they are reading and they will almost certainly mention one of Rachel Cusk, Ottessa Moshfegh, Rachel Kushner, Gwendoline Riley, Monique Roffey or Maria Stepanova. Or they will be finding new resonances in Anita Brookner, Zora Neale Hurston, Natalia Ginzburg, Octavia Butler, Ivy Compton-Burnett. The energy, as anyone in the publishing world will tell you, is with women.
10 tips on how to get your first book published
harpersbazaar.com – Thursday May 13, 2021
Speaking at our inaugural literary salon, Ali Smith said, "A really good book, like a buoy in the ocean, will surface no matter how stormy the weather." Yet, for debut authors, it can seem like an impossible task to get your manuscript in front of the right person’s eyes. This is why we asked three publishing experts – Alexandra Pringle, group editor-in-chief of Bloomsbury whose portfolio of authors includes William Boyd, Esther Freud and Patti Smith; Karolina Sutton, literary agent at Curtis Brown who represents Margaret Atwood and Malala Yousafzai; and Bazaar’s former editor-in-chief, Justine Picardie – to share their wisdom on how to seal the deal and ensure your work rises above the competition.
How I write: For crime writer Kathy Reichs there are three phases to her routine
stuff.co.nz – Wednesday May 12, 2021
Forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her thrillers. She continues the journey of Temperance Brennan in her latest novel, The Bone Code. Here she shares with The Dominion Post readers some of her thoughts on writing.
What's your writing routine?
My writing process unfolds in three phases. First comes the phase when my mind collects and stashes tidbits. Then I move to the paper phase, making lists, drawing charts, scribbling outlines. I ask myself, what if this, what if that. I consider plot twists, various endings. When all the imagining and weaving and juxtaposing are done, it’s on to the computer phase. Bum to the chair, eyes to the screen, fingers to the keyboard. I like to begin early in the morning, wrap up by mid-afternoon. Then I read or do more research.
How to write a book
cambridgenetwork.co.uk – Monday May 3, 2021
Whenever I go anywhere, meet anyone, and introduce myself, a comment authors are pretty much guaranteed to hear is:
- I've always wanted to write a book.
If that's you, and there's a book hiding inside you, longing to come out...
This is how to go about writing it.
One word of warning first.
What I'm not going to talk about are the ingredients of a book, the characters, settings, plot, research, all that.
This blog specifically focuses on how to motivate yourself to write a book, and ways to deal with some of the most common concerns.
If these help, there are plenty of resources to help you do the actual writing. I'll mention a couple later.
The publishing industry has turned into modern-day book burners
nypost.com – Sunday May 2, 2021
Serious accusations have been made against Blake Bailey, the author of an acclaimed new biography of Philip Roth. Bailey has not been convicted of anything, or even criminally charged, yet the book’s publisher, W.W. Norton, announced it was withdrawing the book from print. That doesn’t make sense and it’s a terrible precedent.
Harvey Weinstein is a convicted rapist, but does that mean no one should ever be allowed to see “The English Patient,” “Clerks,” “Pulp Fiction” or “The King’s Speech” again? Roman Polanski does not deny he carried out a gruesome sex attack on a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Should we pull everything he’s ever done off the cultural shelf and throw it on the bonfire? We’d lose “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Tenant.” The French philosopher Michel Foucault, who died in 1984, raped thousands of boys as young as 8 in Tunisia in the 1960s, according to a shocking recent claim by writer Guy Sorman, who knew him then. Should all of Foucault’s books be taken off the shelves, or can we acknowledge that we are not endorsing a man’s character when we allow his books to exist?
I dread writing any kind of romantic scene – or, even worse, anything remotely sexy
irishtimes.com – Saturday May 1, 2021
I literally dread having to write romantic scenes of any description. Of all the aspects of writing a book, for me, it is without a doubt the hardest thing I have to do. I’m not talking about the more extreme, bodice-ripping, “leave little to the imagination” type of scene – I could never even attempt that. I’m talking about a more pedestrian, everyday sort of romance.
But it doesn’t matter, I still dread writing any kind of romantic scene and even worse, if there is anything remotely sexy going on it’s absolutely mortifying!
As I sit and type, casting characters in some sort of embrace, or state of undress, I cringe inwardly as my fingers hit the keyboard, imagining people I know turning the pages and wondering if by any chance I’m describing myself or one of my previous misadventures. I will put off the inevitable for as long as physically possible, skipping over any romantic parts and leaving large gaps in the text, deferring the writing of those scenes until a later date, hoping that somehow, magically, I will be better able to rattle off those scenes without duress.
The 21 top tips for becoming a bestselling author
theage.com.au – Thursday April 29, 2021
Gone are the days when international fiction and non-fiction dominated our bestseller lists. As Australian authors such as Jane Harper, Liane Moriarty, Trent Dalton, Craig Silvey, Kate Grenville, Richard Flanagan, Tara June Winch and many more clock up sales, international recognition and screen deals, it’s no surprise that thousands of would-be writers are tapping away on their laptops.
There is no one-size-fits-all route to publication. Publishers choose authors based on a whole range of practical and subjective criteria, although the quality of the work is understandably crucial.
But aspiring authors can increase their chances of finding a publisher. Here are some insider tips; some dos and don’ts that can help smooth the way.
Being prepared is as important as being creative. There can be a lot to do even before you start writing. Above all, take your time so you produce your best work possible before you look for an agent or publisher. Paraphrasing Alexander Hamilton, don’t throw away your shot.
Four Authors On How Working In Publishing Impacted Their Writing And Path To Publication
forbes.com – Sunday April 25, 2021
For those who work in book publishing who are also authors, their dual roles can be helpful when it comes to the editing and publishing process—but it doesn’t guarantee them an easy path to publication. I interviewed four authors with 2021 releases, Sean Desmond, author of literary fiction novel Sophomores (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), Loan Le, author of young adult novel A Pho Love Story (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), Stephanie Hansen, author of young adult science fiction novel Replaced Parts (Fire & Ice Young Adult Books), and Anne Tibbets, author of science fiction novel Screams from the Void (Flame Tree Press). Each shared how their roles as publisher (Desmond), editor (Le) and agent (Hansen and Tibbets), respectively, play a part in their writing, as well as how being an author helps them in their roles in the publishing world.