Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

I’m Starting a Print Magazine for Backpackers: Here’s Why – Tuesday August 30, 2022

Other magazines are closing up for a reason. Trails Magazine is out to solve that.

Magazines like Backpacker have been a part of my identity since college. I started writing for that one in particular during my junior year. Then, I built a freelance writing career with it at the core.

It’s always been the example I’ve thrown out when asked what I do for work. So when Outside, Inc. (parent company for Outside, Backpacker, and others) announced this spring that they would lay off a lot of staff and shift to an online-only presence, I was gutted. 

But here’s my dirty little secret: Even I haven’t subscribed to Backpacker Magazine in years. 

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How Woke Put Paid to Publishing – Monday August 29, 2022

News that Salman Rushdie had been stabbed on stage at a New York literary festival shocked the world. It prompted an outpouring of sympathy for the author, who has spent more than 30 years with a fatwa placed on his life. Amid concern for Rushdie’s health, some have begun to ask whether The Satanic Verses, his 1988 novel accused of blasphemy against Islam, could even be published today.

It’s not an unreasonable question. Attitudes toward free speech, blasphemy, and Islam have all changed considerably over the last three decades. Horrific crimes such as the murder of journalists at the French publication Charlie Hebdo in 2015 still prompt support for press freedom. But it took precisely two days for some to suggest that #JeSuisCharlie solidarity would “play into the hands of the racists and fascists.” Rare is the defense of free speech that comes without caveats: free speech, but not for racists or Islamophobes; but not without consequences; but not the liberty to say things that I, personally, find offensive.

The upshot is that many who work in journalism, universities, or publishing are now more concerned to avoid offending than to test the limits of what can be said. In this context, arguing for free speech often arouses suspicion. Defenders are said to be aligned with racists, transphobes, deplorables. And no one wants that. Rather than publish and be damned, the message is to self-censor in line with fashionable woke values, or risk being cancelled. How has this happened?

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Book publishers just spent 3 weeks in court arguing they have no idea what they’re doing – Saturday August 27, 2022

The Justice Department is suing to block Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster’s proposed merger. The publishers’ defense hinged on their own incompetence.

On August 22, oral arguments ended in the Justice Department’s antitrust trial to block the book publisher Penguin Random House from merging with rival Simon & Schuster. The result of the trial, which is expected to be decided later this fall, will have a massive impact on both the multibillion-dollar book publishing industry and on how the government handles corporate consolidation going forward. Perhaps fittingly for a case with such high stakes, the trial was characterized by obfuscation and downright disinformation nearly the whole way through.

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New Publisher Listing: Hiraeth Publishing – Friday August 26, 2022

We publish what we consider the very best in speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, anything out of the ordinary. We welcome new and established authors and artists equally, as talent is often found in out-of-the-way places. We are a family friendly company, but we don't shy away from strong language or tough situations if the story or artwork calls for it.

We publish novels, novellas, chapbooks, coloring books, anthologies, collections, even short stories online in the effort to showcase the many talented writers and artists how have entrusted us with their creations. We do our best to present their work in an attractive package that will gain the most attention and entertain the most readers.

[See the full listing]

New Magazine Listing: AdventureBox – Friday August 26, 2022

Magazine that aims to keep kids hooked on reading. This title was made for kids who have just begun to read independently. The distinctive format helps kids feel grown up and that they've arrived at the next step in their reading journey.

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Five dos and five don’ts of writing (or how to get ahead in the literary world) – Thursday August 25, 2022

Do think about your legacy A great many female writers have been ‘reclaimed’ in the past few years, but God forbid that ever happens to me. Reclamation is like having your corpse exhumed by an academic for forensic purposes. To avoid this, I plan to keep publishing in perpetuity. I’ve already given the Linenhall Library a novel to be released after my death on January 1st, 2070 – save the date!

Don’t fall prey to those sombre enemies of art that can distract you at every turn These days, it’s not the pram in the hall that will prevent you, but the phone in the pocket, the Google on the PC, the beeping text or Twitter. To paraphrase the Timothy Leary sixties anthem, ‘Turn off, tune out, log out’. Don’t waste your time tweeting because it’s not like a literary letter and no one’s going to publish your Collected Tweets Vols I and II. Twitter is more ephemeral than a mayfly’s breath. Instead, live the literary dream and exude writing: breathe it, bleed it, breed it, even eat it. For instance, if you come to my house tonight, I’ll be serving Flan O’Brien for starters, followed by Irish Stew-art Parker, topped off with Donna Tartt and custard.

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New Magazine Listing: Creem – Thursday August 25, 2022

Revival of the magazine that describes itself as "America's only rock n' roll magazine".

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What Five Years with a Predatory Vanity Press Taught Me About Art and Success – Tuesday August 23, 2022

Every few months, I receive an email or phone call from someone who claims to work for a literary agency or publishing entity. In the lengthy messages variegated with bold-faced sentences, or voicemails in which the speaker mispronounces my maiden name, I’m promised six-figure book deals with Simon & Schuster or Penguin Random House (“Yes, mmhmm that’s correct, Penguin,” one woman repeated in her message). I’m told that I will be represented to their network of mainstream filmmakers and that authors who have “partnered” with these publishers or agents have been New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers.

But these messages have nothing to do with the novel I’m actively querying. Instead, I’m told that a book I wrote as a teenager, self-published through an extinct vanity press and now buried in the library of obscure titles on Amazon, is the reason for their interest.

When I was seventeen, I sent the first book of a YA fantasy series to a publishing company I found through a Google search. The website had an ad video from Miss Oklahoma, vouching for the integrity and Christian principles of the press. My mom answered the phone when they called one afternoon of my senior year. The acquisitions editor told her my book had great potential and promised a full-scale publishing deal and marketing campaign. She failed to mention any expenses on our part, instead dropping the sum of $30,000, the amount the publisher would commit to me. She guaranteed my book’s success. When my mom rushed to tell me, we could barely contain our disbelief and excitement until my dad got home.

I remember his words for it: “It almost seems too good to be true.”

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New Literary Agent Listing: Shannon Lechon – Tuesday August 23, 2022

Interested in experimental styles and unreliable narrators. Intense platonic interpersonal bonds are a particular favorite of hers. She likes underexplored magic systems and fantasy that doesn't care if you understand it or not.

[See the full listing]

Colette Dartford on writing believable characters – Saturday August 20, 2022

As a reader I have a hundred-page rule, which means that if I’m indifferent to the main characters and what may become of them at that point, I don’t read any further. Some people find this heretical (two members of my book club, for example) but honestly, what’s the point? There are so many wonderful novels out there, and with so little free time, I feel entirely justified cutting my losses and moving on.

It’s quite a different matter, however, when I look at it from the other side, as a writer. Then I am acutely aware that the characters I create must be complex but believable, flawed but likeable, unpredictable but relatable. Not so easy now, I tell myself, staring at my laptop screen, longing for inspiration. The namesake of my latest novel, The Mortification Of Grace Wheeler, is a case in point. Grace is conventional, undemanding, not one to make a fuss. The danger in writing such a character is that initially they may come across as dull and uninteresting. My task is to peel back the layers of her apparent ordinariness and expose the contradictions that swirl beneath. For example, Grace’s husband, Cal, is much older than her and the age gap has become a gaping chasm. A lifelong Tory who voted for Brexit, she considers him staid and old-fashioned, yet when their son introduces his first girlfriend, an exotic creature with multi-coloured hair, a nose stud and tattoos, it is Grace who is quietly shocked and disapproving. Cal finds her an absolute hoot. Similarly, having been raised by a devoted single mother who often struggled to make ends meet, Grace prizes the stability of her twenty-year marriage and the security of her modest but comfortable home.

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