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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.

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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]

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.

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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]

A bestselling author reveals his 3 techniques to overcome writer’s block

cnbc.com – Thursday August 23, 2018

Experiencing writer's block can be both frightening and frustrating for anybody working on a project with a deadline fast approaching.

Unfortunately, this inability to produce content within a specified period of time can strike at any moment.

And bestselling Hay House author Charlie Morley is no stranger to this common setback.

[Read the full article]

Nurturing the literary landscape

thebookseller.com – Tuesday August 21, 2018

Literary fiction has lost status over the past quarter century, becoming marginal to our wider culture, argues New Statesman editor Jason Cowley in forthright terms in an interview in this week’s issue, reigniting the debate kicked off by Arts Council England’s report last December (Literature in the 21st Century) on what ACE reckoned were serious threats to literary fiction in the current climate.

Cowley may sound a touch nostalgic in his lament for the glamorous publishers of yesteryear, but many will think he has a point—particularly given that shrinking review space and the loss of dedicated literary editors has diminished the public profile of literary work over the past few years. This has made it a tougher arena than ever to establish new names and find a readership for experimental work, a task which was surely never easy anyway.

[Read the full article]

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