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Writers' News

Why Aren’t People Buying Much Fiction These Days?

nytimes.com – Saturday November 17, 2018

Ask any publisher or bookseller, and they’ll tell you: People aren’t buying novels these days.

It’s not a new phenomenon. Fiction sales have waxed and waned over the decades. When they plummeted over 100 years ago, in 1914, one article in The Times speculated that “the diminutive size of the typical modern apartment, frequent removals, the growing popularity of hotel life, the attractions of golf playing, motoring and ‘the movies’” had all led to decreased sales. The paper decided that publishers needed to bring out fewer titles: “Why do everything in your power to boost a new book, only to crowd it out a week or a month later with one in which you have no more confidence? This is not the method of the makers of biscuits and chewing gums.”

A second 1914 article suggested that the popularity of tango dancing was interfering with reading time; still another blamed good weather. “If they are having a good time in the fresh air, which the advocates of eugenics tell them is better for them than reading books, it is very difficult to get them back to books,” a publisher lamented to The Times.

[Read the full article]

Going with gut instinct: Lunch With literary agent Fiona Inglis

smh.com.au – Friday November 16, 2018

By the end of an opening chapter, Fiona Inglis usually has a good idea if the manuscript in her hands is potential bestseller material.

Call it gut instinct, says the well-connected head of the literary agency Curtis Brown who has made a career out of spotting writers readers want to read and counts bestselling clients Liane Moriarty, Markus Zusak, Andy Griffiths and Thomas Keneally as friends.

Story is everything. "Good writing will always rise to the top because it has something to say that is worth paying attention to," Inglis says. "I know immediately when I've found something fabulous because I want to interrupt everyone in the office and say, 'You have to read this!'

[Read the full article]

‘Ignore this’: Jonathan Franzen’s top 10 writing tips get gleefully trolled on Twitter

theguardian.com – Friday November 16, 2018

American novelist Jonathan Franzen has drawn the ire of fellow writers, who are mercilessly trolling him following an article in which he lists his 10 writing rules for aspiring novelists.

No stranger to controversy, Franzen often ends up in public spats after media tours for his new books. His most famous was in 2011, when he derided Oprah’s book club following her selection of his novel The Corrections – after which Oprah disinvited Franzen from appearing on her show.

This week Franzen published a new book of essays, The End of the End of the Earth.

Franzen’s 10 rules, published on Lithub, include: “You have to love before you can be relentless”, “you are more sitting still than chasing after”, “It’s doubtful that anyone with an Internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction”, and one that has particularly drawn the ire of library lovers: “When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.”

[Read the full article]

Peachtree Publishers Acquired by Trustbridge

publishersweekly.com – Wednesday November 14, 2018

Peachtree Publishers has announced that Trustbridge Global Media has acquired the Atlanta-based children’s publishing company, as of November 7. Moving forward, the publisher will be known as Peachtree Publishing Company Inc. Founded in 1977, Peachtree publishes children’s books spanning from board books and picture books to middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Peachtree also maintains a backlist of adult titles, with an emphasis on Southern authors. Trustbridge Global Media is an affiliate of Trustbridge Partners, a Shanghai-based private equity and venture capital firm.

[Read the full article]

Prometheus Sells Fiction Imprints to Start Publishing

publishersweekly.com – Tuesday November 13, 2018

Prometheus Books, which is nearing its 50th anniversary, has sold its two genre imprints to Start Publishing.

Founded in 1969 by the late Paul Kurtz in Amherst, N.Y. to publish provocative, progressive, and independent nonfiction, Prometheus expanded into fiction in 2005 with the launch of Pyr, which focuses on science fiction and fantasy novels. In 2011 it added the crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books. Pyr has a backlist of 170 titles, while Seventh Street's backlist stands at about 90.

[Read the full article]

30 Words Of Wisdom From Writers, To Inspire You Through The Rest Of NaNoWriMo

bustle.com – Tuesday November 13, 2018

If you’re one of the many writers trying your hand at NaNoWriMo this year, (that’s National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated) then you well know we’re approximately half way through the month of November — and hopefully, you’re well on your way to completing your goal of 50,000 words. As a repeated NaNoWriMo hopeful myself, I know what a complete drag that halfway point can be: by this time the adrenaline of starting SOMETHING BIG (aka: your novel) has worn off, your caffeine tolerance has skyrocketed, and your non-writer friends have gone from vaguely supportive to disbelief that you’re actually staying in to write all weekend AGAIN. Maybe you’re a little behind on your word count, or on sleep, or — most likely — both, and the end of November seems both too soon and impossibly far away.

From one writer to another, let me tell you: this is hardly atypical. Whether you’re attempting to write your novel in one frantic NaNoWriMo burst or you’ve been drafting it for years, I’d venture to guess that most writers suffer from creative fatigue (and, you know, finger cramps) in the middle of any project — no matter how ambitious. And lucky for you, not only have many of these successful writers lived to tell about it, they’ve offered plenty of words of wisdom for their fellow aspiring novelists.

Below you’ll find some inspiring words of wisdom — and great writing advice — from writers, designed to power you through the rest of your NaNoWriMo.

[Read the full article]

Sharing Your Writing For The First Time Can Be Tough — Here's 11 Tips For Getting Through It

bustle.com – Tuesday November 13, 2018

There comes a time in every writer's life when they must do the unthinkable: allow someone else to read their writing. It happens to the best of us. Unless you are writing in a private diary, which you then plan to burn in a cleansing bonfire before burying the remains deep in the secret heart of the woods, you will eventually have to share your writing with someone. A story or an essay isn't complete until it has a reader. But sharing your writing for the very first time can be an intimidating prospect. This poem/screenplay/blog post has been your baby for weeks or months or years, and you don't want to shove it into the cruel outside world all on its own. So here are a few tips for how to share your writing for the very first time, no matter what you've written.

Of course, the first step is to write something you feel a little bit proud of (or, failing that, something you're not too horrifically embarrassed by). It doesn't need to be perfect or polished or finished or even especially original. It just has to be done enough that you feel comfortable (if nervous) letting someone have a peek:

[Read the full article]

The Radicalization of Bedtime Stories

theatlantic.com – Monday November 12, 2018

More than 200 years ago, when books for children first became common, they delivered simple moral lessons about, for instance, cleanliness and the importance of prayer. Today, story time is still propelled by moral forces, but the issues have gotten a good deal more sophisticated.

In recent years, publishers have put out children’s books with political undertones and activist calls to action on topics ranging from Islamophobia to race to gender identity to feminism. “The trend has definitely exploded in recent years with the social-justice books and the activism books,” says Claire Kirch, a senior correspondent at Publishers Weekly who has been covering the book industry for 15 years.

[Read the full article]

Publica wants to free publishers and authors from Amazon using the blockchain

thebookseller.com – Saturday November 10, 2018

Publica is a new publishing platform that using blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to innovate how books are funded, distributed, bought, and read. For readers, libraries and institutions Publica offers “books without borders” via an ereader-wallet app for digital book ownership, which is portable to any device. For authors and publishers, it offers personalised online storefronts, designed to their own business models and at their own prices, with their book sales cryptographically protected by a global peer-to-peer blockchain network.

[Read the full article]

A Very Profitable Quarter for Four Big Publishers

publishersweekly.com – Saturday November 10, 2018

If the U.S. publishing business is mired in a slow-growth environment, you wouldn’t know it from the third-quarter results of four of the country’s largest trade houses. All three of the companies that reported sales as well as earnings saw profits grow at a faster rate than revenue, improving operating margins at the publishers.

Strong backlist sales were an important factor in boosting revenue and profits in the quarter, especially at HarperCollins. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose nearly 42% at the company compared to the third quarter of 2017, and Susan Panuccio, CFO of HC parent company News Corp, said this was largely due to strong backlist sales led by The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and The Hate U Give. Backlist sales contributed 55% of total revenue in the most recent quarter, Panuccio noted. Overall, sales were led by a better-than-expected performance in the U.S., she added.

[Read the full article]

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