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Writers' News

Michael Lynton, David Steinberger Buy Arcadia Publishing

publishersweekly.com – Wednesday May 2, 2018

Two former book publishing CEOs have teamed up for a series of acquisitions in the book field. The first of those purchases has just closed—Lezen Acquisition LLC has purchased Arcadia Publishing, the Charleston, S.C.-based publisher that specializes in doing books on local history.

Lezen was formed by Michael Lynton and his sister Lili. Prior to serving as CEO of Sony Entertainment, Lynton had been CEO of Penguin. He will serve as non-executive chairman of Arcadia.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agency Listing

firstwriter.com – Wednesday May 2, 2018

Handles: Fiction
Areas: Erotic; Fantasy; Romance; Sci-Fi
Markets: Adult; Children's; Youth
Treatments: Contemporary; Dark

Actively seeking new clients for middle grade, young adult, and adult categories. See website for individual agent interests and contact details and query one agent at a time. See website for full details.

[See the full listing]

New Publisher Listing

firstwriter.com – Monday April 30, 2018

Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; 
Areas include: Arts; Cookery; Humour; 
Markets: Adult; Children's

Accepts electronic submissions of complete manuscripts only (except in the case of cookbooks, which may be submitted as complete mss or proposals). Not currently accepting poetry submissions. See website for full details.

[See the full listing]

If Shakespeare were alive today, would he be writing crime novels?

telegraph.co.uk – Sunday April 29, 2018

There is no surer way to make yourself sound like a fatuous idiot than to speculate on what famous writers of the past would be doing if they were alive today – to suggest that Dickens would be scripting soap operas, Jane Austen would write chick lit, Blake would be penning hip-hop lyrics, Oscar Wilde would be a preening vlogger, and so on. And yet there is a part of me – the fatuously idiotic part, presumably – that nods along in agreement when people say that if Shakespeare were around today, he would be writing not plays but crime fiction, and we’d find him on the bestseller lists up with Ian Rankin, Lee Child and Val McDermid. The crime novelist Peter James made this point repeatedly as chairman...

[Read the full article]

Traditional Publishing Ebook Sales Dropped 10% In 2017

forbes.com – Sunday April 29, 2018

Traditional publishers sold 10% fewer ebook units in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to data released by PubTrack Digital. Total sales were 162 million in 2017 rather than the 180 million units sold the year before.

The news won't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed traditional ebook sales trends over the past few years: Nielsen's reports put 2016 ebook unit sales from the top 30 traditional publishers down a full 16% from their 2015 numbers. But this isn't a comeback story for print, and shouldn't be considered evidence of a waning public interest in ebooks. The fact that traditionally published ebook sales fell 10% last year isn't the full picture. As traditional publishers saw sales drop, audiences moved to indie publishers, largely on Amazon. The reason, according to Jonathan Stolper, who was the SVP and global managing director for Nielsen Book in 2016, comes down to pricing. Nielsen’s Books and Consumers survey, according to a Publishers Weekly paraphrase of Stolper, found "that price is the top priority for e-book buyers when considering which book to purchase." In 2015, the Big Five publishing houses raised ebook prices to around $8 a book, far higher than the $3-a-book price point independent publishers settled on.

[Read the full article]

In the #MeToo Moment, Publishers Turn to Morality Clauses

publishersweekly.com – Saturday April 28, 2018

Until recently, the term “moral turpitude” is not one that crossed the lips of too many people in book publishing. But Bill O’Reilly, Milo Yiannopoulos, Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher, and James Dashner changed all that.

A legal term that refers to behavior generally considered unacceptable in a given community, moral turpitude is something publishers rarely worried themselves about. No longer.

Major publishers are increasingly inserting language into their contracts—referred to as morality clauses—that allows them to terminate agreements in response to a broad range of behavior by authors. And agents, most of whom spoke with PW on the condition of anonymity, say the change is worrying in an industry built on a commitment to defending free speech.

[Read the full article]

Researchers built an AI capable of writing poetry that's equal parts woeful and impressive

mashable.com – Saturday April 28, 2018

As if the world weren't already full enough of awful human poetry, now the robot overlords want in.

Researchers from Microsoft and Kyoto University were interested in whether they could invent an AI that writes poetry inspired from images, "generating poems to satisfy both relevance to the image and poeticness in language level." Some of the poems produced are pretty objectively abysmal. Others, surprisingly passable.

Here's one inspired by a photo of a dead crab:

[Read the full article]

Vetting for stereotypes: meet publishing's 'sensitivity readers'

theguardian.com – Saturday April 28, 2018

When reviewers first saw Keira Drake’s The Continent, this story of a teenager trapped by a war between two “native” tribes quickly found attention on social media – though not much of it was good. This young adult novel was attacked for its “white saviour narrative” and its stereotypical portrayal of people with “reddish-brown skin” or “almond-shaped eyes”. The author Justina Ireland called it a “racist garbage fire”.

Drake apologised, said she would “address concerns about the novel”, and delayed the release. Her publisher, Harlequin Teen, sent the book out to two “sensitivity readers”, who vetted the manuscript for stereotypes, biases and problematic language. Armed with a list of potential problems and possible solutions, Drake went back to the drawing board.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing

firstwriter.com – Friday April 27, 2018

Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; 
Areas include: Short Stories; 
Markets: Adult; 
Preferred styles: Literary

Accepts fiction and nonfiction of any length. Submit via online submission system.

[See the full listing]

Lovegrove launches magazine for Caribbean writing

thebookseller.com – Monday April 23, 2018

Sharmaine Lovegrove has launched an online magazine dedicated to Caribbean literature.

Pree offers new contemporary writing from and about the Caribbean, including fiction, non-fiction, essays, interviews and experimental writing giving the authors “international visibility far beyond the islands”.

Lovegrove is publisher of the magazine and also publisher at Little, Brown imprint Dialogue Books, which is dedicated to inclusivity. Joining her at the online magazine is editor-in-chief Annie Paul, who is based at University of the West Indies, and editors include Jamaican writer and environmental activist Diana McCaulay, cultural analyst Isis Semaj-Hall and New York-based essayist Garnette Cadogan. The magazine’s creative director is designer Nerys Hudson.

[Read the full article]

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