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Writers' News

Publishers are paying writers a pittance, say bestselling authors

theguardian.com – Thursday June 28, 2018

Philip Pullman, Antony Beevor and Sally Gardner are calling on publishers to increase payments to authors, after a survey of more than 5,500 professional writers revealed a dramatic fall in the number able to make a living from their work. 

The latest report by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), due to be published on Thursday, shows median earnings for professional writers have plummeted by 42% since 2005 to under £10,500 a year, well below the minimum annual income of £17,900 recommended by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Women fare worse, according to the survey, earning 75% of what their male counterparts do, a 3% drop since 2013 when the last ALCS survey was conducted.

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Pick Up A Pen...It’s National Writing Day

voice-online.co.uk – Thursday June 28, 2018

THIS YEAR’S National Writing Day today (June 27) is being celebrated with a host of literary and writing workshops for adults and children across the UK.

National Writing Day is coordinated by literacy charity First Story and designed to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to get into writing.

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Tor.com Publishing Opens to Novella Submissions

locusmag.com – Wednesday June 27, 2018

Tor.com Publishing will open to novella submissions for two weeks beginning July 30, 2018.

[Read the full article]

Writing agencies gear up for National Writing Day

thebookseller.com – Monday June 25, 2018

More than 35 writing agencies are coming together for this year’s National Writing Day, which will take place on Wednesday (27th June).

Author William Fiennes, who is co-ordinating the day, said there were “too many events to count” this year, with scheduled highlights including a workshop with writer Sabrina Mahfouz in London, a Twitter Q&A with Jed Mercurio on the BBC website Writers Room, and a poetry workshop with Polly Atkin in Cumbria.

National Writing Day is an annual celebration designed to inspire people across the UK to get writing and grew out of Fiennes’ experience with First Story, the charity he set up with Katie Waldegrave.

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‘The Spotify for Books’ hasn’t worked yet. Here's why.

thebookseller.com – Monday June 18, 2018

No term garners more collective trepidation from the publishing industry than ‘the Spotify for Books’. From Oyster to Scribd, and Flooved to Entitle, countless outfits have professed to be on the brink of disrupting the world of books. So why have none achieved the runaway success of Spotify? Is the publishing industry fundamentally unsuitable to a model of unlimited consumption? Many would have you believe so. In reality, whilst the term has inevitably been overused, it has also been misused. This has paved the way for widespread confusion regarding business models and in many cases, unnecessary reticence from publishers.

We now live in a world increasingly skewed towards models of access over ownership. Blame the millennials if you must, but the reality is that we largely don’t actually need to own content that we consume either partially or fleetingly. And therein lies half of the explanation - the model just doesn’t work for books that are voraciously read cover-to-cover. In short, the Spotify model is less suitable for trade publishing. A bold statement, certainly, but one that has been shown to be true time and again.

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Carnegie medal winner slams children’s book publishers for ‘accessible’ prose

theguardian.com – Monday June 18, 2018

Carnegie medal winner Geraldine McCaughrean has castigated the books industry for dumbing down language in children’s literature, warning that a new focus on “accessible” prose for younger readers will lead to “an underclass of citizens with a small but functional vocabulary: easy to manipulate and lacking in the means to reason their way out of subjugation”.

McCaughrean was named winner on Monday of this year’s CILIP Carnegie medal for her historical adventure novel Where the World Ends, 30 years after she first took the prize, the UK’s most esteemed children’s literature award. She used her winner’s speech to attack publishers’ fixation on accessible language, which she called “a euphemism for something desperate”.

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Halton swaps United for PEW

thebookseller.com – Wednesday June 13, 2018

Margaret Halton has left United Agents to join PEW Literary and will handle all foreign rights for the agency.

Halton joined PEW on Monday (11th June) and will work alongside Patrick Walsh and John Ash as an associate agent.

She has worked in publishing houses and literary agencies on both sides of the Atlantic and has been responsible for selling international rights in non-fiction titles such as Margaret Thatcher’s Memoirs and Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, as well as novels by Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith and Nick Hornby.

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Harvill Secker launches BAME crime writing competition

thebookseller.com – Thursday June 7, 2018

Harvill Secker is launching a competition in partnership with Bloody Scotland to find a debut crime writer from a BAME (black, Asian, minority ethnic) background. At stake is a book deal with Harvill Secker with an advance of £5,000.

The prize will be judged by Harvill Secker writer and Bloody Scotland committee member Abir Mukherjee, the author of an historical crime series set in 1920s Calcutta; creator of the Shetland and Vera series, Ann Cleeves; co-founder of BAME in Publishing, Sarah Shaffi and Harvill Secker editorial director Jade Chandler.

Entrants can enter the competition online via Penguin's website, where they will be asked to submit the first 5,000 words of their crime novel, along with a full plot outline. Submissions are open from 9th July until 9th September 2018, with the winner due to be announced in November 2018.

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Students crowdfund to launch writing anthology

thebookseller.com – Wednesday June 6, 2018

An anthology of work by students on the University of Warwick's MA in Writing programme is to be launched next week, after students crowd-funded the £5,000 needed to publish the title.

The anthology – manifest: New writing from Warwick – features the work of 21 students on the Warwick MA in Writing and includes poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction, a mix of full stand-alone pieces and excerpts from longer works, and a foreword from novelist Gonzalo C Garcia. 

Students used the university's newly-launched crowdfunding platform, Spark, to recruit almost 100 ‘Friends of Manifest’ who each contributed towards the cost of publication and launch of the work. 

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PFD rebrands e-book imprint

thebookseller.com – Saturday June 2, 2018

Literary agency Peters Fraser + Dunlop is to rebrand its e-book list Ipso Books as Agora Books, and will look to expand its digital output with commercial frontlist titles.

Ipso Books was launched in September 2015, drawing on PFD’s estates business, with titles from the likes of Eric Ambler and Margery Allingham. The rationale was that in cases where publishers did not want to publish deep backlist titles, or did not have the rights, the agency would make them available to readers via e-book and print on demand.

Agora will also now seek to publish new writing, leading its push with Missing Pieces, a début novel by Laura Pearson, on 21st June, part of a three-book deal the list has struck with the writer.

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