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Writers' News

A pandemic thriller, once rejected by publishers for being unrealistic, is now getting a wide release

edition.cnn.com – Sunday April 5, 2020

What happens when a once-rejected dystopian novel turns into reality? Ask Scottish author Peter May.

The screenwriter-turned-novelist wrote a book titled "Lockdown" in 2005 about a global pandemic. Fifteen years later, that's our reality due to coronavirus, which has so far infected more than 1 million people globally.

The book, which was rejected by publishers at the time for being too unrealistic, was finally published on Thursday.

The thriller is set in London, the epicenter of a global pandemic that forces officials to institute a lockdown. The story isn't entirely based on May's imagination. He used British and US pandemic preparedness documents from 2002 to make it was as realistic as possible.

"At the time I wrote the book, scientists were predicting that bird flu was going to be the next major world pandemic," May told CNN.

[Read the full article]

Macmillan Lays Off Some Staff, Temporarily Cuts Some Salaries

publishersweekly.com – Friday April 3, 2020

Macmillan Publishers has laid off an undisclosed number of employees across all divisions, temporarily reduced pay for select employees, and implemented a hiring freeze, effective April 2. As a result of the layoffs, the Thomas Dunne imprint has been shuttered. The move is part of a larger cost-saving initiative by Macmillan parent company Holtzbrinck, Macmillan said, and in response to the anticipated impact of the new coronavirus pandemic on Holtzbrinck's overall businesses.

[Read the full article]

Indie publishers face 'existential crisis' after coronavirus lockdown but remain hopeful

thebookseller.com – Thursday April 2, 2020

Indie publishers face an “existential crisis” during the pandemic lockdown, but remain hopeful they can make it to the other side.

Smaller presses The Bookseller contacted this week said they were having to send out more books themselves, focus their activities online and look for new funding streams, including the Arts Council England (ACE) £50m emergency pot for non-portfolio organisations that was announced last week.

"Sales have just fallen off a cliff,” said Bluemoose Books co-founder Kevin Duffy. “As Gardners has closed, that was a kind of last lifeline for independent publishers. Our distributor NBN is still open, but for how long I don't know. People are still ordering books off the Bluemoose website, but for how long I don't know. Strategically we've had to look at our publishing schedule: given that the government is saying 12 weeks [of lockdown], we will probably be publishing our June title in September, so everything will be knocked back by 12 weeks.”

[Read the full article]

Jonathan Ball Publishers acquires Icon Books

thebookseller.com – Wednesday April 1, 2020

Jonathan Ball Publishers has bought indie Icon Books, in a move that will see representatives from both companies form the management team.

JBP, a subsidiary of South African media conglomerate Media 24, purchased the company for an undisclosed sum, with plans to phase in an expansion process in the future, and retain all staff.

JBP will assume management on 1st April, with c.e.o. Eugene Ashton becoming chairman of Icon Books. Icon managing director Philip Cotterell will be the c.e.o. under the new ownership arrangements.

[Read the full article]

Covid-19 and the impact on small publishers

artshub.com.au – Tuesday March 31, 2020

In the midst of government rescue packages, payments to big business and payments to those in jobs now lost, the small publishing industry is invisible. 

On 22 March, the government met with some arts practitioners and people in music, theatre and other performance arts. Writers and publishers don't seem to have been there.

Small publishers take big risks and often publish writers at the beginning of their career or writers whose work lies on the margin. Then some of these writers win major awards or the cultural curve catches up to their ideas and their work is picked up in the mainstream.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing: Bikers Club

firstwriter.com – Tuesday March 31, 2020

Monthly digitally issued magazine dedicated to the bikers and the traveller worldwide. It includes interview, reviews of bikes and destinations, lifestyles, shout out, current affairs and travel stories.

[See the full listing]

Is Your Covid-19 Novel Going to Be THE One?

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Sunday March 29, 2020

“I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.”― Albert Camus, The Plague

One of the best-known and most well-respected written works in the world is Camus’ novel The Plague. Although the story reads as if Camus personally went through a pestilence, he actually had “only” researched the many plagues that had come before to write his book.

[Read the full article]

Finally working on that novel as you self-isolate? You're not alone

theguardian.com – Friday March 27, 2020

There’s been a rapid rise in submissions from would-be authors since the coronavirus outbreak. If you’re dusting off your manuscript, here are some things to keep in mind...

If you’re one of those people who always said they would write a novel if only they had the time: this is your moment. As more budding writers self-isolate due to the coronavirus and finally knuckle down on their manuscripts, the publishing industry has already seen a surge in submissions.

Literary agent Juliet Mushens, of the Caskie Mushens agency, usually receives between 10 and 15 appeals for representation a day from new writers. Last Monday alone, she received 27.

“I am all in favour of it,” she said, of the increase. “We all know that social distancing is going to be crucial to how we combat the virus and I think it’s great if people can use that time productively – whether it’s learning the guitar, like one of my clients is, or writing that novel. And perhaps it’s also about people who have already written that novel but were too scared to hit send – they are realising that life is too short and you have to seize the day!”

[Read the full article]

New Publisher Listing

firstwriter.com – Friday March 27, 2020

Publishes: Fiction
Markets: Adult
Preferred styles: Literary

Publishes literary fiction novellas between 20,000 and 60,000 words. Send blurb, bio, and summary by email. See website for full guidelines.

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agent Listing: Luba Ostashevsky

firstwriter.com – Friday March 27, 2020

Interested in nonfiction popular science projects, written by either research scientists, medical or mental health professionals, or journalists. Not comfortable representing fiction, cookbooks, YA, self help, nor business or politics (unless directly about science).

[See the full listing]

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