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Traditional publishers’ ebook sales drop as indie authors and Amazon take off

geekwire.com – Saturday May 19, 2018

Ebook sales are dying. Ebooks are insanely popular.

If the short definition of cognitive dissonance is holding two contradictory ideas to be true, ebooks are about as dissonant as digital content gets.

Yet ebooks may also represent a chapter in the still-being-written story of how keeping track of what’s happening with content hasn’t always kept pace with the technology that’s transformed it.

Let’s start with the bad news. Two new sets of numbers covering 2017 show ebook sales are on the decline, both in terms of unit and dollar sales.

The first, released in April by market research firm NPD’s PubTrack Digital, saw the unit sales of ebooks fall 10 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. In absolute numbers, that meant the roughly 450 publishers represented saw ebook sales drop from 180 million units to 162 million over a year’s time.

The second, just released by the American Association of Publishers, reported a decline in overall revenue for ebooks, a year-to-year decrease of 4.7 percent in 2017. AAP tracks sales data from more than 1,200 publishers.

[Read the full article]

For Publishers, 2018 Is Off to a Decent Start

publishersweekly.com – Saturday May 19, 2018

The four large publicly traded consumer publishers that recently reported their financial results for the quarter ended March 31 were all able to point to some good financial news.

HarperCollins had the best results, with sales up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year and profits rising 16.2%. In a conference call discussing results, Susan Panuccio, CFO of HC parent company News Corp, said the sales gains were led by the general and Christian publishing divisions. Backlist titles did particularly well, accounting for 58% of revenue in the quarter, compared to 52% a year ago, Panuccio said. She added that the strong performance of the backlist helped to boost margins.

[Read the full article]

Chambers and HarperCollins launch writing bursary

thebookseller.com – Saturday May 19, 2018

Crime author Kimberley Chambers and HarperCollins have launched a writing scholarship, the 'Kickstart Prize', in association with Peters Fraser and Dunlop (PFD) Literary Agency and CrimeFest.

The prize, announced at Crimefest in Bristol on Saturday (19th May), aims to "kick open doors to writers who need a leg up into the world of publishing", through a £1,000 bursary to help with writing essentials, time with Chambers’ editor, writing tips and feedback, and an offer of representation from PFD.

[Read the full article]

Ireland's thriving literary magazine scene: space for tradition and experimentation

irishtimes.com – Saturday May 19, 2018

Reading the mission statements of Irish literary journals, a common theme emerges: the desire to offer writers the space to develop ideas that may not otherwise find a platform. From the more established titles such as Dublin ReviewCrannóg and The Stinging Fly, which published its first issue 20 years ago this month, to more recent outlets like The BohemythBanshee and gorse, fostering talent new and old is the backbone of “the little magazine”.

A vibrant journal scene with a roots-up feel to it has developed in Ireland in the past decade. There are currently in the region of 30 publications across print and online media seeking submissions multiple times a year. This has coincided with a growing enthusiasm for creative writing in general, with all of the major colleges in Ireland and many other cultural organisations offering programmes ranging from evening courses for beginners to two-year MFAs (Master of Fine Arts).

[Read the full article]

It Used To Be Perilous To Write Fanfiction

kotaku.com – Thursday May 17, 2018

Fanfiction is hardly a new phenomenon, but that doesn’t always mean it was safe to write. For a time, in certain fandoms, writing fanfiction could get you a letter from a lawyer. Now, however, the internet has given fandom enough leverage to allow the dubiously legal practice of writing about other people’s characters continues to flourish.

Fanfiction, the act of writing original stories based on someone else’s creative work, exists in a sketchy legal space. While derivative and transformative works are technically protected under fair use, many authors do not believe fanfiction falls in that category. Authors that still dislike or disallow fanfiction cite an experience that author Marion Zimmer Bradley had in 1992. Bradley not only liked but encouraged fanfiction in the initial stages of her fandom, but as the story goes, she realized that an upcoming novel of hers would touch on themes that were in a fanfiction she had read, and she reached out to the author to attempt to negotiate a deal so as to avoid a lawsuit. Although not all parties can agree on how much of Bradley’s novel had been written or exactly what the terms of the agreement were with this fanfic author, Bradley said that she decided to scrap the novel rather than risk a lawsuit. This story loomed large in the memories of authors like Anne McCaffrey and George R. R. Martin, who cited it as an example of what can happen if you don’t protect your copyright. While Martin allows fanfiction as long as you don’t send it to him, McCaffrey banned all fanfiction for her series Dragonriders of Pern from 1992 until 2004.

[Read the full article]

Journalism taught me about facts but writing a novel helped me understand truth

theguardian.com – Thursday May 17, 2018

I thought being a reporter could teach me everything there is to know about the difference between fact and fiction. I was wrong.

I always thought I had a handle on truth. Truth lives in facts, in what we know and can measure and prove. But there is truth beyond that, too – truth that lives in the stories we tell each other.

I learned this from Augustine. He was a friend of mine from Nagaland, a forgotten teardrop of unyielding land wedged between Bangladesh and Burma, high in the foothills of the Himalaya.

It is a part of India often neglected by the rest of the country: rent by a decades-old separatist insurgency that has yielded little appreciable liberty, scarred by drug dependency and high rates of HIV, suffering the dislocation and disconnection so many minorities endure in the face of an indifferent majority.

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New Publisher Listing

firstwriter.com – Thursday May 17, 2018

Publishes: Fiction; 
Markets: Children's

Publishes picture books for children up to 1,000 words. Seeks fresh, original fiction on universal themes that would appeal to children aged 3-8. Generally does not acquire rhyming texts, as must also be translated into German. Send submissions by email as Word document or pasted directly into the body of the email. Authors do not need to include illustrations, but if the author is also an illustrator sample sketches can be included in PDF or JPEG form.

[See the full listing]

Writers Of all Ages Encouraged To Enter Africa Day Writing Competition

hotpress.com – Wednesday May 16, 2018

Now in its fourth year, the competition marks Africa Day 2018 celebrations and offers a platform for emerging talent, as well as established writers of all ages.

Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon has announced that Irish Aid has again partnered with The Irish Times on an African-themed short story and poetry competition.

Entries are invited across three categories: Primary School, Secondary School and Adult. Writers are invited to submit a short story or poem relating to the relationships and interactions between Ireland and Africa.

[Read the full article]

Novelist Tim Winton left 'deeply wounded' by axing of his publisher Ben Ball

smh.com.au – Wednesday May 16, 2018

Leading Australian novelist Tim Winton says he has been left "deeply wounded" by the decision of the country's biggest publishing company, Penguin Random House, to axe his highly respected publisher, Ben Ball.

Ball was appointed publishing director of the newly created Penguin Random House Literary division less than a year ago and has an illustrious career publishing literary heavyweights including Winton, Peter Carey, Robert Drewe and Sonya Hartnett.

[Read the full article]

Marian Keyes to fund Curtis Brown scholarship for budding author

thebookseller.com – Tuesday May 15, 2018

Bestselling author Marian Keyes is funding a £2,600 place on Curtis Brown’s online six-month writing course for one “talented writer with limited financial means”.

Keyes is providing financial support for the place on Curtis Brown Creative’s (CBC) next novel-writing course starting in September.

The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of quality of material – applicants fulfilling the eligibility criteria should send in the opening 3,000 words and one-page synopsis for the novel they would like to work on during the course.

[Read the full article]

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