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Death of the novel is greatly exaggerated, say UK booksellers

theguardian.com – Saturday June 29, 2019

The death of the novel has been pronounced for more than a century, in a series that stretches back from Will Self through VS Naipaul as far as Jules Verne. But the latest rumblings of its demise, which come courtesy of a drop in fiction sales in 2018, have been comprehensively dismissed by the books world, with new books from Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman expected to drive a return to growth this year.

The Publishers Association’s yearbook suggested this week that sales of fiction dropped in physical formats last year, down 7% to £359m. The fall was not offset by a 4% rise in digital fiction sales, to £229m, with overall fiction sales down 3% in 2018 to £588m.

By contrast, sales for non-fiction rose 1%, to £954m, with digital revenues up 10% and physical sales remaining level. The Publishers Association noted a “standout” performance from non-fiction, which it said had grown by almost 30% in the last five years, as well as the “phenomenal” growth of audiobooks, up 43% between 2017 and 2018.

[Read the full article]

Fall in Love with Criticism

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Wednesday June 26, 2019

Let’s raise our glasses to our true friends who can tell us that our participles are dangling and that our story is too soft. And let’s try to be the type of writers who are brave enough to accept and utilize criticism!–Nancy French

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Judith Krantz shared her formula for writing millions-selling ‘sex and shopping’ novels

thenewdaily.com.au – Monday June 24, 2019

When Princess Daisy author Judith Krantz was writing her steamy million-selling 1970s and ‘80s blockbusters, one of her iron-clad rules was that at least one character had to lose their virginity.

Another was that nothing was to be held back.

“If you’re going to write a good erotic scene, you have to go into details,” Krantz, who died of natural causes on June 22 at her Bel Air home at the age of 91, told the Los Angeles Times in 1990.

“I don’t believe in thunder and lightning and fireworks exploding. I think people want to know what’s happening.”

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4 Must-Read Dark Fiction Magazines

bookriot.com – Thursday June 20, 2019

Literary magazines need love too. Which is why we like to celebrate them here on Book Riot! We’ve had a Literary Magazines 101 to get you started, discussed general short fiction magazinesscience fiction/fantasy magazines, and we’ve even had a how-to post on reading (and writing for) science fiction magazines in particular. But today I want to give a little love to my current obsession: dark fiction. Though you can find dark fiction stories in a lot of different literary magazines, including most of the SFF magazines above, this post is a tribute to those literary magazines that specialize in the macabre, whether it’s horror, dark fantasy, or positively grim science fiction.

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In dropping Linda Fairstein, the book industry reveals its cowardice

nypost.com – Sunday June 16, 2019

When Galileo Galilei finished writing his last work, “Two New Sciences,” he had trouble finding a publisher.

Galileo had been branded a heretic, and his work was prohibited by the Inquisition. A patron arranged for the book to be published in Venice and then chickened out. The House of Elzevir (whose name lives on in the modern publisher Elsevier) arranged for the manuscript to be smuggled out of Italy and published in the Netherlands, then as now a stronghold of free thinking.

That defiance could very well have brought a death sentence. But a few publishers once had the grit to stand up to the Inquisition.

In our time, most of them cannot even stand up to Twitter, a measly and miserable inquisition of another kind.

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Short-story writers are infinitely more creative than novelists

irishtimes.com – Saturday June 15, 2019

“I deeply detest short-story collections – grotty binbags stuffed with the aborted novels of writers too lazy to bring their progeny to full term.” That was Frankie Gaffney’s intro to his review of June Caldwell’s Room Little Darker, which he went on to praise, but I can’t help thinking some novelists should put an end to their flabby oeuvres. Modern novelists remind me of disreputable farmers injecting their cows with growth hormones to earn a few extra euros. By Frankie’s assessment, if I had been assiduous enough to gestate my short stories, I’d have 41 novels by now, which would be some going.

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How to write a “good” bad sex scene: the ins and outs of erotic fiction, in Norwich

newstatesman.com – Thursday June 13, 2019

Women are better at writing sex scenes than men, and it’s thought that this is because men are afraid of being nominated for the Bad Sex Award. The fear of winning it puts them off so much, they write badly. The novelist Sarah Hall counted scores of “he took her from behinds” in men’s novels when she judged the Booker prize.

Men also might be shy to bare their fantasies, resulting in flat or portentous language, while women, for myriad reasons political, social and psychological, have always relied more upon a fantasy life, so are better at it.

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Why Does Writing Suck?

thecut.com – Tuesday June 11, 2019

It is rare, in this day and age, to see a good tweet on the internet, but I did love this one, from New York Times writer Erin Griffith, which includes a graph she designed to depict the dramatic ups and downs of a writer’s self-esteem, which are entirely dependent upon the stage of the writing/editing process they’re in. There is the ecstatic high in submitting a draft to one’s editor, and the inevitable gloom that follows the first round of edits received. Writing may not be the only profession subject to such wildly variable morale, but to hear writers tell it, there’s simply nothing worse. As Dorothy Parker once said (according to the internet, anyway), “I hate writing, but I love having written.”

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What Is J.K. Rowling's Net Worth?

thestreet.com – Monday June 10, 2019

Back when she first obtained a literary agent, J.K. Rowling was told she'd never be able to make money writing children's books. More than two decades later, she remains the wealthiest living writer.

J.K. Rowling has been famous since publication by Scholastic Corp.'s Arthur A. Levine Books imprint of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," her first book about the young Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry student Harry Potter in 1998, with an initial print run of 50,000 copies. She has since published seven Harry Potter books, and according to Scholastic, more than 500 million copies of Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide.

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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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