Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

Story Machine launches creative writing guides for writers ‘struggling to access opportunities’ – Wednesday August 16, 2023

Story Machine has launched You Are a Writer, a series of creative writing guides written specifically with and for writers who struggle to access existing opportunities.

You Are a Writer, which comprises five guides to be published in 2024, aims to “champion everyday creativity and expand access to high-quality writing education”. Arts Council England has invested more than £40,000 from the National Lottery Project Grants to support the project, which was instigated by poet, performer and playwright James McDermott.

He said: “To train as a writer, I had to invest in studying for a BA, MA, and travel to and from London to train on various writing courses with high-profile companies.

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New Literary Agent Listing: Molly O'Neill – Wednesday August 16, 2023

If I can visualize exactly how to form a web of connections around a book and its creator while I’m reading an early draft, then it’s a fantastic signal that I also know how to help that author or artist build their way into a meaningful, and potentially lucrative, career.

[See the full listing]

New Publisher Listing: Otago University Press – Tuesday August 15, 2023

Publishes books of scholarly and cultural significance that enrich society. Produces a range of non-fiction books on New Zealand and the Pacific, focusing on history, Māori/Pacific, natural history, contemporary issues, biography/memoir, essays and creative non-fiction, literature and the arts. Also publishes a small amount of poetry as well as New Zealand's longest-running and leading journal of new writing and art.

[See the full listing]

Publishing scammers are using AI to scale their grifts – Sunday August 13, 2023

AI is, in theory, poised to disrupt work as we know it now. But it’s still facing the same problem every buzzy new tech product before it has faced: The VC funding is there, but the long-term business model is not, particularly for individuals. What do you do with a large language model AI at this stage, when all you know for sure is that it will produce text to order, in varying degrees of accuracy?

One fairly straightforward response is to try to sell that text. Preferably, you would want to sell it someplace where it doesn’t matter whether it’s accurate or not, or even where inaccuracy could become fiction and hence valuable: the book market. The book market is also, conveniently, the last textual medium where users are still in the habit of paying directly (even just a tiny bit). Publishing is currently the weak point that bad-faith AI users are trying to infiltrate.

Legally speaking, you can’t sell AI-generated text, because text generated by machines is not subject to copyright (with some exceptions). Nevertheless, the scammers and grifters who circulate along publishing’s underbelly are integrating AI into their existing scams and grifts. Publishers are reportedly investigating ways of using AI in discreet, closed-door meetings. And authors are on the alert for anything that looks like a smoking gun to take down what many of them believe to be an existential threat to their craft.

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The Don'ts And Definitely Don'ts of Writing Stupid-Funny Books – Friday August 11, 2023

Most of my writing advice is questionable, but if you want advice on writing incredibly stupid, incredibly fun books, I’m your Dingleberry. Or Huckleberry. Whatever berry you like, I’m that.

Off to a stupid start already. Let’s keep this rolling.

Quick Definition

A stupid-fun book is a book that's meant to be fun, funny, and when people call it "stupid," you have to agree, it's pretty stupid.

TV is filled with examples of stupid-fun: The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob's Burgers, you get it.

By the way, if you want to argue about how incisive these shows are and how I'M THE STUPID ONE for offering those examples, feel free to DM me on Twitter. Or Threads. Or any of the many social media platforms I no longer use as receptacles for messages about how stupid I am.

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An author says AI is ‘writing’ unauthorized books being sold under her name on Amazon – Thursday August 10, 2023

An author is raising alarms this week after she found new books being sold on Amazon under her name — only she didn’t write them; they appear to have been generated by artificial intelligence.

Jane Friedman, who has authored multiple books and consulted about working in the writing and publishing industry, told CNN that an eagle-eyed reader looking for more of her work bought one of the fake titles on Amazon. The books had titles similar to the subjects she typically writes about, but the text read as if someone had used a generative AI model to imitate her style.

“When I started looking at these books, looking at the opening pages, looking at the bio, it was just obvious to me that it had been mostly, if not entirely, AI-generated … I have so much content available online for free, because I’ve been blogging forever, so it wouldn’t be hard to get an AI to mimic me” Friedman said.

With AI tools like ChatGPT now able to rapidly and cheaply pump out huge volumes of convincing text, some writers and authors have raised alarms about losing work to the new technology. Others have said they don’t want their work being used to train AI models, which could then be used to imitate them.

[Read the full article]

Steed moves to Janklow & Nesbit – Thursday August 10, 2023

Hayley Steed is joining Janklow & Nesbit as a literary agent on 12th September, moving from Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency, where she has been since 2016.

Steed represents predominantly fiction writers, with clients including Clare Pooley, Alex Wilson, Leah Hazard, Heather Marshall and Yomi Adegoke. She was named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2019.

Steed said: “I’ve had such an incredible seven years at Madeleine Milburn. Being part of its growth from a team of four to the powerhouse it is now has been invaluable, as has working with Maddy herself. I’m going to miss the team there hugely, but am also excited for my next step at Janklow & Nesbit, where I know my authors will be welcomed and well supported. I can’t wait to find new talent. And to grow the commercial fiction list with my new colleagues.”

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New Magazine Listing: ES Magazine – Wednesday August 9, 2023

Weekly lifestyle and culture magazine celebrating the thriving culture, art, fashion, beauty, food, film and theatre scenes in London.

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Publisher Simon & Schuster sold to private equity firm for £1.27bn – Tuesday August 8, 2023

The sale of the publisher, which counts Stephen King and Britney Spears among its diverse portfolio of writers, comes after a US judge blocked a previous takeover attempt by rival Penguin Random House.

Simon & Schuster has been sold for $1.62bn (£1.27bn) to a private equity firm - just months after a takeover bid by rival Penguin Random House was blocked.

New owner KKR said the company, one of the so-called "big five" English language book publishers worldwide, would continue to operate as a standalone entity and vowed that its independence would be protected.

The deal must be approved by regulators, but commentators believe it is unlikely there will be any objections.

Simon & Schuster's writers include horror author Stephen King and journalist Bob Woodward. It is also preparing for the high-profile releases of Britney Spears' memoir The Woman In Me and Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk later this year.

It comes after Penguin Random House, which is owned by German media giant Bertelsmann, announced in November 2020 that it planned to buy Simon & Schuster for £1.9bn.

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New Publishing Imprint Listing: Afterglow Books – Tuesday August 8, 2023

Depth, relatability and sizzling spice, too: these characters are determined to live their best lives — and find the romance that makes them feel seen, unapologetically. In the pages of these books, characters from all walks of life, all types of diverse identities, will pursue their dreams and discover love isn’t far behind. Because everyone deserves a happily ever after that’s true to who they are. Seeks books that are: proof that happy endings are meant for everyone; explicitly sexy with chemistry that pops; unique plots and strong emotional conflicts that embrace the world around us; and the journey of complex characters who aren’t afraid to make mistakes or stand up for what they believe in. No paranormal, romantic suspense, dark or historical romances, or billionaires at this time.

[See the full listing]

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