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Writers' News

What Does It Mean to Be a "Real" Writer?

newyorker.com – Thursday July 4, 2019

Talent is like obscenity: you know it when you see it. It’s something that can’t be defined, only recognized—an irreducible and unteachable entity, like charisma or humor, and its confirmation all the more coveted for being so. In his fundamental study, “The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing,” Mark McGurl detailed how, in postwar America, anointing and cultivating literary talent became the purview of creative-writing programs and how, in turn, certain modes of writing came to be privileged above others. With this professionalization—indeed, institutionalization—of a nation’s art form, three injunctions popularized by the M.F.A. became holy writ. Write what you know; show, don’t tell; find your voice. Of this trinity, only the second speaks explicitly to craft and seems readily practicable. It’s the first and last dicta, however, that have proved the most influential, not through their utility but through their confounding simplicity. The question isn’t whether you should cultivate knowledge or voice. The question instead is a screamed “Yes, but how?”

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New Magazine Listing

firstwriter.com – Thursday July 4, 2019

Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Reviews; 
Markets: Adult; 
Preferred styles: Literary

Quarterly online magazine. Submit one piece of fiction or creative nonfiction (or more than one if under 1,000 words) or 1-8 poems via online submission system. For reviews, send query by email.

[See the full listing]

Deep Vellum Acquires Two Publishers, Adds Imprints

publishersweekly.com – Wednesday July 3, 2019

Dallas-based translation publisher Deep Vellum has acquired the backlist of two separate independent publishing house-- Phoneme Media of Los Angeles and A Strange Object of Austin, Tex.--and is expanding into publishing works originally written in English.

Phoneme is a prominent publisher of poetry in translation with a backlist of more than 30 titles from 25 languages, including Rilke Shake by Angèlica Freitas of Brazil, which won both the National Translation Award and Three Percent's Best Translated Book Award for Poetry in 2016. A Strange Object focused on publishing experimental, debut works and has a backlist of seven titles, including Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce, which won the the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book from Independent Book Publishers Association in 2013.

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New Literary Agency Listing

firstwriter.com – Wednesday July 3, 2019

Handles: Fiction; Nonfiction
Markets: Adult; Children's; Youth
Treatments: Commercial; Literary

Handles literary and commercial fiction, crime fiction, powerful and quirky nonfiction, teen and children’s books. Send query by post with one-page synopsis, first 20 pages, and email address for response. See website for full guidelines.

[See the full listing]

Walker Books acquires Jennifer Bell MG in six-figure deal

thebookseller.com – Tuesday July 2, 2019

Walker Books has acquired two novels by middle-grade author Jennifer Bell in a six-figure, pre-emptive deal. 

Executive editorial director Denise Johnstone-Burt acquired UK, Commonwealth and translation rights to two books, including Wonderscape, which is set in a futuristic gaming world, from Polly Nolan at the Greenhouse Literary Agency.

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New Publisher Listing

firstwriter.com – Tuesday July 2, 2019

Publishes: Poetry; 
Markets: Adult; 
Preferred styles: Literary

Publishes trade paperback books as well as handmade chapbooks and broadsides in limited edition printings. Free open reading period in April, but submissions can be made at other times of the year with a $5 discounted sample chapbook purchase.

[See the full listing]

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.

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New chapter? UK print book sales fall while audiobooks surge 43%

theguardian.com – Thursday June 27, 2019

UK book sales fell for the first time in five years in 2018, despite the success of bestsellers such as Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming.

The UK publishing industry was hit by a surprise fall of £168m (5.4%) in sales of physical books last year, ending a period of growth stretching back to at least 2014.

Sales fell from £3.11bn in 2017 to £2.95bn last year, according to the latest figures from the Publishers Association, which published its annual yearbook on Wednesday.

[Read the full article]

PFD's Agora Books launches writing community and prize

thebookseller.com – Thursday June 27, 2019

Peters Fraser + Dunlop e-book imprint Agora Books has launched a prize to celebrate its new writers’ group, Lost the Plot, which offers "no-nonsense advice, industry insight, and community connection".

PFD and Agora Books are introducing the community aimed at aspiring commercial fiction authors across all genres. Lost the Plot will provide "no-nonsense advice, industry insight, and community connection" including how to access support on writing, finding representation, and navigating the publishing process as well as connecting with other authors. 

The Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize is for unfinished manuscripts with "the aim is to get books out of a drawer and into the world, to encourage writers to stop procrastinating in pursuit of perfection and get feedback sooner," PFD said. 

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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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