Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

AGNI, BU’s Elite Literary Magazine, Celebrates Its 50th Birthday – Friday June 17, 2022

The latest print edition of AGNI hit subscribers’ mailboxes and bookstores a month late, thanks to a ransomware attack on its Pennsylvania printer. The biannual literary magazine—crammed with essays, poetry, and reviews—battled cultural headwinds even before that delay: while pandemic isolating induced an uptick in reading, other research suggests that almost 60 percent of Americans never crack a book in a given year; pleasure reading of literary fiction especially is nosediving.

If it seems that fate has it in for AGNI as it celebrates its 50th birthday among the nation’s elite literary magazines, coeditor William Pierce makes the glass-half-full case: “I’m skeptical that there was ever a period when 40 percent or even 20 percent read literary work. In the era of Wordsworth, most in England were illiterate.” That even 40 percent of Americans read books actually “cuts against narratives of decline. To me, that’s a shockingly high number.” 

[Read the full article]

The Constellation of Possibilities: An Approach to Writing Historical Fiction – Wednesday June 15, 2022

The poet David Kirby once said that “only shallow people and charlatans begin with perfect knowledge of what it is they mean to say.  An honest writer begins in ignorance and writes his way to the truth.”

The word “truth” is a bit controversial when it comes to historical fiction.  Some authors of historical novels claim they only “stick to the facts,” while others acknowledge and celebrate their expansive creative license.  When I wrote Oleander CityA Novel Based on the True Story, I did so with the understanding that our notions of “truth” are complex, and that what we accept as historical actuality is often incomplete or misguided.  We all know about eye-witness testimony.  Even the best efforts at recorded history, such as newspapers, letters, diaries, government records, books, etc., can be specious at best, in many cases mixed with many decades of rumor, myth, ignorance, personal bias, and deliberate manipulation.  My first historical novel, The Wettest County in the World (titled Lawless in the movie tie-in edition), taught me a lot about this problem.  I learned that in order to create a compelling narrative (the end goal for any fiction writer) I would need to be vigilant and unsparing while researching.  I also learned to lean into my personal motivations, which was to seek out the gaps between what I call “the points of light,” or the moments that “really happened.”

But why do it as a novel at all?  “If this story actually happened, then why didn’t you do it as non-fiction?”

[Read the full article]

Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury reports record sales amid reading boom – Wednesday June 15, 2022

Bloomsbury has reported a record year for sales, as the Harry Potter publisher said the increase in reading during the pandemic had become “permanent” after lockdowns eased.

The company benefited substantially from Covid restrictions when homebound consumers turned to new hobbies, including reading, to pass the time.

Bloomsbury’s chief executive, Nigel Newton, said it was clear that people who picked up a reading habit during the pandemic were continuing to buy books, helping to push annual sales up 24% to record highs of £230m for the year to the end of February.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Saskia Leach – Wednesday June 15, 2022

Enjoys reading a wide range of genres and is fascinated by stories written from multiple perspectives. She also loves books which feature complex and dynamic characters.

[See the full listing]

UTA Acquires U.K. Literary and Talent Agency Curtis Brown – Monday June 13, 2022

United Talent Agency (UTA) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire U.K. literary and talent agency Curtis Brown Group.

Under the terms of the deal, London-based Curtis Brown Group, founded in 1899, will continue to operate under its current name and management, including CEO Jonny Geller. The structure will allow both parries to continue their longstanding relationships with other agency partners in the U.K. and U.S.

[Read the full article]

Out with the 'chick lit' and in with the 'menopause thriller'? Leading British publisher says it wants more fiction books to reflect experiences of menopausal women after complaints about an over-focus on 'edgy' twentysomethings – Saturday June 11, 2022

  •  HarperCollins are creating a new genre they are calling the menopause thriller
  • They want stories that ‘change the conversation surrounding menopause’ 
  •  It would portray peri-menopausal and menopausal women...who fight back’
  • The new genre could spell the end of ‘chick lit’, which targeted  younger women

A leading British publisher is ‘actively looking’ for fiction which reflects women’s experiences of the menopause.

HarperCollins wants to print stories that ‘change the conversation surrounding menopause’ following years of young female protagonists taking centre stage.

It comes as the subject is increasingly raised on TV, from Davina McCall’s Channel 4 documentary Sex, Mind and the Menopause to the Netflix political drama Borgen, in which the protagonist grapples with menopausal symptoms.

[Read the full article]

When Writing a Novel, Forget the How and Focus on the What – Saturday June 11, 2022

Back when we were running How I Met Your Mother together, my writing partner Craig Thomas and I had a sign hanging on the wall of our shared office, one of those little needlepoint samplers you can order on Etsy and personalize to say anything. Ours said, “WRITING’S HARD.”

Because it is. Writing is so hard. And there’s a peculiar amnesia attached to it—the mere fact that it’s hard always, always comes as a surprise. You sit down at your computer expecting a good time, and whammo, it’s work. Why is this so hard? you ask the blinking cursor. It should be fun! After all, every novel, movie, or show you love is, in some way or another, fun.

When you watch or read something great, the fun radiates from within, like heat from a furnace, so much that you assume there must be someone behind the scenes feeding it fun in great shovelfuls. And in a sense you’re right. Fun is one ingredient in the recipe of writing. Unfortunately, the other ingredient is writing. And writing’s hard.

[Read the full article]

Baldwin and McCalmont launch new scouting agency Zephyr – Thursday June 9, 2022

Literary scouts Naja Baldwin and Katie McCalmont have joined forces to launch a new international consulting and scouting agency called Zephyr. 

The new agency is based in Soho, central London. It scouts UK and international books for publishers and film and TV companies, and has already signed up its first clients, including Hanser Verlag in Germany, Nieuw Amsterdam, Podium and Fontaine (Park Publishers) in the Netherlands, Polaris in Sweden, Kagge in Norway and Todavia Livros in Brazil.

Baldwin said: “Zephyr is named after the west wind, bringing change, warmth and fresh ideas. This captures the energy we want to bring to our new venture. I can’t think of a better partner than Katie to launch this agency with — she’s an innovative and creative thinker, bold in her ambitions and an absolute joy to work with."  

[Read the full article]

Audiobook publishers record ten straight years of double digit growth – Wednesday June 8, 2022

The audiobook segment is on a roll with publishers reporting the tenth straight year of continuous double-digit growth. As per data revealed in an Audio Publishers Association’s Sales Survey conducted by InterQ, the segment grew by a healthy 25 percent in 2021 to record revenues of $1.6 billion. There have also been about 76,000 audiobooks published in 2021, which marks a 6 percent rise compared to the preceding year.

The survey also revealed science fiction and fantasy titles were among the most sought after, followed closely by mystery, thrillers, and suspense stories. Romance and fiction made up a close third while revenue from audiobooks for children and young adults too witnessed growth in revenue.

[Read the full article]

Publish and be cancelled – Wednesday June 8, 2022

Unreadable and insufferable woke academics are boycotting the publishers that grudgingly print their inane work

Why do publishers publish the books they do? The answer seems obvious: they publish what they think will sell because they have to make money, unless they have the luxury of being some heavily subsidised university press, or a publisher of poetry (“the invisible link that connects literature and poverty”, to adapt Hazlitt). Most will, to some degree, specialise in certain areas — be it in terms of subject matter, type of book or both — because one needs to know a market well and establish one’s presence in that market before one can realistically expect to make money, or at least keep afloat.

Ultimately, however, that is really no answer. Inevitably, the personal interests, contacts, judgement and worldview of the editors and publishers involved will be the most fundamental factors that shape the output of a publisher, even if commercial considerations always remain a limiting factor.

Any press needs its share of bestsellers, but it’s far from unknown for publishers to take on individual books that they calculate are likely to lose them money, or at least are unlikely to be very profitable, for a whole number of reasons: perceived prestige or reputational enhancement, personal commitment to a cause, whimsy — and so on. Certainly, a pure, abstract desire to make money is not the major factor (if riches beyond the dreams of avarice are one’s aim, then publishing will be a life-long disappointment).

[Read the full article]

Page of 298 50