Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

Hachette UK acquires Welbeck Publishing Group – Monday December 5, 2022

Hachette UK has acquired independent Welbeck Publishing Group for an undisclosed sum, with an agreement made between the shareholders of Welbeck and Hachette UK on 30th November 2022.

Welbeck’s gift, illustrated and adult trade publishing will become part of Headline Publishing Group and Welbeck’s children’s list will become part of Hachette Children’s Group. 

Hachette UK says the acquisition of Welbeck is part of its longer-term strategy to diversify into specialist areas by acquiring publishers that are “leaders in their field”; in recent years its acquisitions have included Paperblanks, Bookouture, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Laurence King, Summersdale, John Catt Educational and Short Books.

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More than 150 literary agents to stop submitting books to HarperCollins US in support of striking workers – Thursday December 1, 2022

More than 150 literary agents have signed an open letter pledging not to submit new projects to HarperCollins US in support of workers at the company who are on strike.

Negotiations between management and the union began in December 2021 and in October 2022 union members overwhelmingly voted for another strike, following a one day walk-out in July, to take place from 10th November.

Chelsea Hensley, an associate assistant at the KT Literary Agency, organised the open letter in support of the striking workers, and the signatories include a number of other KT Literary Agency staff including founder and senior literary agent Kate Testerman, a number of Aevitas Creative Management staff, including director of foreign rights Erin Files and senior agent Jen Marshall and several people from Janklow & Nesbit, including agents Melissa Flashman and Mina Hamedi.

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Astra House Shuts Its Literary Magazine – Wednesday November 30, 2022

Astra Publishing House announced that its literary publication, Astra Magazine, is being shut down. The magazine published the first of its two issues in April, and the company said there will be no third issue. All operations, including web publication, will be closed by the end of the year.

The magazine was led by editor-in-chief Nadja Spiegelman, deputy editor Samuel Rutter, and managing editor Medaya Ocher. Its first two issues included prize-winning fiction, essays, poetry and comics from authors around the world. The magazine’s website featured criticism and personal essays, and promoted the work of emerging writers and artists. It had attracted 50,000 unique visitors each month.

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Introducing Two Vocal Writing Contests – Monday November 28, 2022

I recently joined Vocal Media and posted an article about my experience with this interesting platform. Those who missed it can view the article via the following link.

In this post, I’d like to mention another benefit of Vocal Media for writers. It is called writing challenges. After looking into them, I was surprised by the prizes.

Currently, Vocal has two challenges. I’d like to briefly introduce them.

The first one is called the Mystery Box Challenge.

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Top 15 Best Rated Literary Agents for your Fiction and Non-Fiction Books – Thursday November 24, 2022

Looking to work for a literary agent? Here are 15 agents who are at the top of their game and are willing to work with new writers and give your manuscript a fair shake.

Here it is: the list. As in years past, we have assembled a list of literary agents who are building their client rosters and are open to working with new writers. Our agent guide features a variety of pros—some brand new and others tried and true—representing a variety of categories and genres. This year, instead of listing entire agencies, we’ve listed individual agents. When you’re looking at information for an entire agency, it’s not always easy to tell which reps are truly seeking new writers and which ones don’t have time to brave the slush pile.

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Penguin scraps $2.2bn deal to buy rival publisher – Tuesday November 22, 2022

Publishing giant Penguin Random House has scrapped a $2.2bn (£1.9bn) planned takeover of rival Simon & Schuster.

Last month, a US court blocked the deal, saying it could "substantially" weaken competition in the industry.

Penguin's parent company Bertelsmann said Paramount Global, the owner of Simon & Schuster, decided not to appeal the ruling.

The proposed deal would have cemented Penguin Random House's position as the world's largest book publisher.

"We believe the judge's ruling is wrong" the company said in a statement.

"However, we have to accept Paramount's decision not to move forward," it added.

[Read the full article]

‘Very scary time’ for Irish book publishers as print and paper costs soar – Monday November 21, 2022

Irish book publishers say it is a “very scary” time for the industry, with supply chain issues and the rising cost of paper and printing putting significant pressure on profitability.

Ivan O’Brien, managing director of O’Brien Press, said the company’s costs have risen “massively”, with increases of about 50 per cent.

“As we got squeezed from every other angle, print availability at a reasonable cost was something that we could rely on, and that is now gone,” he said.

“Timelines have also extended substantially, with another couple of weeks added to the schedule for most projects. Prices will have to go up, but it is unlikely that the market will take the level of increase required for the numbers to work. It’s very scary.”

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Redfern returns to publishing to join Headline – Wednesday November 16, 2022

Martin Redfern, currently executive director at Northbank Talent Management, will be joining the non-fiction team at Headline Publishing Group as publisher on 6th February 2023.

Redfern has been a literary agent for nearly six years and is responsible for the agency’s non-fiction books representation. His clients include Iain Dale, Chris Mason, Paul Brand, Brian Cox, Anthony Seldon and Camilla Cavendish.  

Before that, as editorial director at HarperCollins and BBC Books, Redfern published authors ranging from Peter Mandelson, John Major and Simon Schama to Jonathan Dimbleby, Dan Snow and Tom Burgis. 

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UK faces ‘serious loss of writing talent’ due to rising costs, Writers’ Guild survey finds – Wednesday November 16, 2022

The UK is facing a “serious loss of writing talent” due to the rising cost of living, a survey conducted by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) has found.

Of 250 writers surveyed by the trade union, 55% said that rising energy and food costs were impacting their ability to sustain a writing career, with other factors including having less time to work as a writer, or apply for funding, development schemes or other opportunities.

More than two thirds (67%) reported having to rely on their savings in order to manage day-to-day expenditure, while 37% said they had to rely on their partners’ earnings. Moreover, more than 70% of respondents had earned £18,000 or less for their writing work in the last financial year. The majority (over 80%) said they were freelance writers.

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Publishers happy ever after as sales of romantic fiction keep on climbing – Sunday November 13, 2022

One of Scotland’s best-selling novelists will celebrate nine million sales this week as publishers report surging sales of romantic fiction.

Publishers from around the world will join Jenny Colgan to mark the multi-million copy milestone spanning her 30 happy-ever-after novels, which have been translated into 26 languages and enjoyed by fans around the world.

Publishers suspect readers are seeking uplifting, heartwarming escapist reads more than ever with romantic fiction, in particular, enjoying a huge uplift and love stories accounting for 26% of the titles in the Sunday Times best-sellers’ chart, up from 18.6% last year.

[Read the full article]

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