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Writers' News

New Literary Agent Listing: Sydnie Thornton

firstwriter.com – Friday April 22, 2022

Interested in YA across all genres: fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary that leans literary, as well as thrillers with upmarket qualities and distinctive characterization. As for the adult side, she is actively looking for transportive, complex historical fiction and whimsical contemporary fantasy. Regardless of genre, she’s very likely to connect with manuscripts that bridge the YA/Adult divide. She’s also eager to champion any book that prominently features disability representation.

[See the full listing]

UK publishers take £6.7bn in sales as TikTok crazes fuel purchases

theguardian.com – Thursday April 21, 2022

UK publishing’s total income reached a new high of £6.7bn in 2021, up 5% from 2020. This growth comes despite – or perhaps because of – the pandemic, with the social media platform TikTok emerging as a surprise driving force not only for new books, but backlist purchases.

While the Covid lockdowns forced bookshops to close and subsequent supply chain issues caused delays and headaches for publishers, the appetite for reading soared, with sales up by 5% year on year for both print and digital books, while audiobooks continued the “stellar” performance of recent years with a 14% rise in sales, according to a report from the Publishers Association.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Kate Burke

firstwriter.com – Thursday April 21, 2022

My list is made up of everything I like to read – gripping fiction featuring characters you can’t get enough of and whom you don’t want to part with at the end of a novel. I love dark stories but also uplifting love stories, too, and I’m keen to work with authors from all over the world. I’m fortunate to represent a list of bestselling crime and thriller writers, and authors of contemporary and historical women’s fiction. I’m always open to submissions of commercial and literary fiction.

In terms of what I’m looking for: on the crime side, I love dark thrillers (literary or commercial) that keep me turning the page long into the night and that surprise me with plot twists and interesting narrative structures, crime series featuring new and fresh lead investigators, and high-concept thrillers (contemporary, historical or speculative) that have a ‘what if?’ plot structure and say something about our society now or then. On the women’s fiction side, I love historical fiction that appeals to a reading group market (anything set during or post-WW2 is a particular interest of mine) and contemporary love stories that sweep you away with romance and/or heartbreak. Anything that has a discussable issue at its heart, that sucks you in as a reader and takes you on a rollercoaster emotional journey (tears and laughter!), is what I’m interested in.

[See the full listing]

On Writing a Social Novel, Giving Clear Feedback, and Outlasting Doubt

lithub.com – Wednesday April 20, 2022

I met Melissa Chadburn in 2011, at the Tin House Writer’s Conference, where I taught her in workshop. You already know that I’m going to tell you that she was brilliant and kind and funny, even back then, so I’ll skip to the part where I get really stoned.

This happened on the final night, when the poet D.A. Powell (bless his soul) proffered me hits off a blunt the size of a drumstick. At some point, I passed along to Melissa the little secret I had been saving for just such an occasion: the Croatian publisher of my debut story collection (“My Life in Heavy Metal”) had—after much anguished consideration—come up with a title that would capture the essence of my work for her readers: Sexburger U.S.A. 

Oh my god, did we laugh.

Over the next five years, Melissa did two things for which I am still grateful. First, she took to calling me as Sexburger. Second, she sent me various drafts of her novel for review, absorbing, in the process, some pretty blunt feedback.

[Read the full article]

Book Puma announces live query workshop to help authors of all levels

menafn.com – Wednesday April 13, 2022

In its effort to help more works of incredible fiction and nonfiction enter the market, Book Puma Services has announced a new live online learning class to help authors create, polish, and submit query letters to literary agents and publishers.

One of the hardest steps for authors seeking a voice via major publishers is retaining the representation of a literary agent to broker those book deals. This often yearslong process of querying agents and waiting for responses is, in many ways, more critical than the works themselves.

Enter Charles Blackstone — award-winning novelist, editor, and instructor at the famed Gotham Writers' Workshop — who will be teaching a workshop at BookPumaOnline.com, which offers a $7.99 per-month subscription that allows writers of all levels to access live and MasterClass-style video courses to improve their craft and learn about the business of publishing.

Blackstone's workshop is set to begin in May and will help authors of all kinds pitch their work to literary agents in a way that will substantially increase their chances of getting representation.

[Read the full article]

How to Get your Book Published with Abigail Bergstrom

zoella.co.uk – Wednesday April 13, 2022

We caught up with Abi to talk all things book-writing and publishing. From this year’s book tropes and trends to cooking up her very own bestseller, how to find the right agent for you and the recipe for getting that elusive book deal...

Abigail Bergstrom is a literary agent, author and publishing consultant. She has worked in publishing for over a decade and is an expert in navigating the cross-section between digital and print, speaking at international conferences on the subject. 

She’s edited some of Britain’s most prominent feminist voices, was nominated for Literary Agent of the Year in 2020 and was listed in The Bookseller 150 for shepherding over thirty titles onto bestseller lists and building some of today’s biggest book brands. 

In short, dear reader, she’s one multi-hyphenate lady. Not only does she have a wealth of knowledge from the publishing field thanks to her time at Gleam Titles and heading up her own publishing consultancy Bergstrom Studio, she also knows a thing or two about what it takes to become an author, having recently published her first novel What A Shame

We caught up with Abi to talk all things book-writing and publishing. From this year’s book tropes and trends to cooking up her very own bestseller, how to find the right agent for you and the recipe for getting that elusive book deal, if you want to break into the book industry and see your novel gracing the shelves of your local Waterstones, Abi is on hand to offer some invaluable advice on how to get your voice heard. 

[Read the full article]

New Imprint for David C Cook

publishersweekly.com – Tuesday April 12, 2022

Christian publisher David C Cook is launching Esther Press, a new imprint focusing on women readers. Named after the Old Testament’s Queen Esther, the imprint will focus on Bible studies and trade books that share stories of women’s struggles and triumphs, as well as leadership books, devotionals, and hybrid interactive trade books and workbooks, along with video teachings. Susan McPherson, acquisitions editor at David C Cook who is heading up the new publishing program, says that Queen Esther’s “bravery, bold faith, and willingness to risk her life to answer God’s call embodies what we want this imprint to represent to women.”

[Read the full article]

Ocean Vuong on Taking the Time You Need to Write

lithub.com – Saturday April 9, 2022

The Japanese have this idea of the color of a poem. Bashō talks often about the colors of poems. I think what he means by that is the moods and the tones, the sort of aesthetic principles of them. And I think that you can’t just sit down and write that, you have to really embody it. That’s the hardest part: figuring out what tone or what mood you’re writing towards. A lot of this has to do with the themes you’re working with, or the mode that you want to present. That takes sometimes weeks, months — years, really — to develop before language comes to fruition. Language has its own register, like music, and depending on the “octave” or the tone that you’re using, there are connotations, there are meanings, implicit in tone.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing: Second Factory

firstwriter.com – Thursday April 7, 2022

Publishes mainly poetry. Fiction and nonfiction will have a better chance if it is fairly short (more than 4 pages per contributor are not usually published) and if it has a fairly experimental and/or playful nature. 'Traditional' fiction and prose submissions are not as likely to be accepted, but open to surprises.

[See the full listing]

Crime writer David Peace says 'publishers should be less risk-averse' and novelists 'have a responsibility to push the boundaries' amid publishing's sensitivity crisis

dailymail.co.uk – Monday April 4, 2022

  • Crime writer David Peace is latest author to speak out on sensitivity crisis 
  • The author, 55, said novelists 'have a responsibility to push the boundaries'
  • Comes after Margaret Atwood and Art Spiegelman spoke on book bans
  • The Handmaid's Tale author said it was 'playing woke snowflakery back'  
  • Maus cartoonist called society 'Orwellian', saying it is out of control 'culture war' 

Novelist David Peace has become the latest renowned author to slam publishing's sensitivity crisis as he said novelists have 'a responsibility to push boundaries.'

The 55-year-old, who lives in Tokyo, has penned  11 novels, including The Damned Utd, which was made into a film with Michael Sheen in the lead role as Brian Clough.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: 'Publishers should be less risk-averse...if novels are going to survive, novelists have a responsibility to push the boundaries.'

[Read the full article]

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