Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

When is a bestseller not necessarily a bestseller? – Friday September 2, 2022

Authors and publishers all want to sell enough books to have a bestseller. But is a bestseller always actually a bestseller? Not necessarily if a publisher has paid to get on a shop's bestselling shelves, or staff base the rankings on what they predict might be popular.

Books are big business, and 2021 was a boom year. With more people buying and reading books during the pandemic, sales reached a record £1.8bn.

BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme has found that publishers often pay booksellers to be in their stores and, in one case, on its bestselling list.

WH Smith has racks of books in numbered positions under the heading "new and bestselling".

One publisher shared an email trail with Front Row that details its negotiations with the high street chain over a new book.

In the email, WH Smith asked for £2,000 in exchange for promotional space, including a position in the fiction chart - for as long as sales warranted it - and the book of the week slot.

The chain says its book charts are not solely based on how many copies have been sold.

[Read the full article]

Creative Writing and Performance workshops available on Zoom – Tuesday August 30, 2022

BORDERS Youth Theatre has announced the return of their Creative Writing and Performance workshops.

These have been a new venture for Borders Youth Theatre since lockdown.

The workshops take place on Zoom every Thursday between 18:30 and 20:00.

The first of these workshops is due to take place on September 1.

The leader for the workshops is Kath Mansfield who is a trained English teacher as well as being a published writer, an actor, director, and producer of many performances, both with young people and adults.

[Read the full article]

Jenny Brown Associates celebrates 20 years and plans debut prize for older writers – Tuesday August 30, 2022

Scottish agency Jenny Brown Associates (JBA) is planning to launch a new prize for debut writers over the age of 50, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Marking the anniversary at a party at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the agency celebrated its legacy spotlighting mainly Scotland-based writers of fiction, non-fiction and writing for children. To date, it has secured UK publication for 320 books for 90 debut and established writers, and sold rights to publishers globally. 

JBA is now a team of four, with Jenny Brown, Lucy Juckes, who represents writing and illustrating for children, rights director Andrea Joyce and new London-based associate Lisa Highton, who was previously a publisher at Hachette imprint Two Roads. The agency will also announce details later this year of a new debut prize for authors aged over 50 "to address the recent bias against older writers".

[Read the full article]

I’m Starting a Print Magazine for Backpackers: Here’s Why – Tuesday August 30, 2022

Other magazines are closing up for a reason. Trails Magazine is out to solve that.

Magazines like Backpacker have been a part of my identity since college. I started writing for that one in particular during my junior year. Then, I built a freelance writing career with it at the core.

It’s always been the example I’ve thrown out when asked what I do for work. So when Outside, Inc. (parent company for Outside, Backpacker, and others) announced this spring that they would lay off a lot of staff and shift to an online-only presence, I was gutted. 

But here’s my dirty little secret: Even I haven’t subscribed to Backpacker Magazine in years. 

[Read the full article]

Book publishers just spent 3 weeks in court arguing they have no idea what they’re doing – Saturday August 27, 2022

The Justice Department is suing to block Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster’s proposed merger. The publishers’ defense hinged on their own incompetence.

On August 22, oral arguments ended in the Justice Department’s antitrust trial to block the book publisher Penguin Random House from merging with rival Simon & Schuster. The result of the trial, which is expected to be decided later this fall, will have a massive impact on both the multibillion-dollar book publishing industry and on how the government handles corporate consolidation going forward. Perhaps fittingly for a case with such high stakes, the trial was characterized by obfuscation and downright disinformation nearly the whole way through.

[Read the full article]

What Does UTA’s Acquisition Of UK Agency Curtis Brown Mean For Talent & The Rep Business On Both Sides Of The Pond? – Tuesday August 2, 2022

When UTA announced its surprise acquisition of London-based Curtis Brown Group last month, it was heralded as an aggressive and strategic move into the UK talent space, causing the industry on both sides of the pond to sit up and take notice. U.S. agencies have been canvassing UK companies for a number of years, but this deal marks the splashiest effort yet and potentially draws UTA closer to major talent on Curtis Brown’s books such as Robert Pattinson, Margaret Atwood and John le Carré.

There are now question marks surrounding the sharing of talent, potential structural changes and what this might mean for UK agenting at large.

[Read the full article]

New Writing North to launch skills hub in £600k project – Tuesday July 26, 2022

New Writing North, the creative writing and reading agency for the North of England, is launching a writing and publishing skills hub in autumn 2022, utilising a £600,000 programme to develop its reach. 

Funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) and other local sponsors,  the hub aims to create a suite of educational and professional development opportunities for schools and teachers, students, young people and adult learners, and writers and small literary businesses in the region.

Taking place across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, with accompanying online resources, the hub aims to open up opportunities for pupils interested in pursuing a career in the creative industries, in addition to offering networking and business skills training.

[Read the full article]

Joyce Carol Oates calls out the censorship of white, male authors – Tuesday July 26, 2022

Celebrated American author Joyce Carol Oates noted a literary trend on Sunday, which is that writing by white male authors is in a negative demand. She wrote that work by white male authors will not even be seen due to their race and sex. While Oates noted this issue on Sunday, it has been building in the arts community since at least 2004, as I wrote about in 2019.

"[A] friend who is a literary agent told me that he cannot even get editors to read first novels by young white male writers," Oates wrote, "no matter how good; they are just not interested. this is heartbreaking for writers who may, in fact, be brilliant, & critical of their own 'privilege.'"

Oates stated that this was "heartbreaking" for those writers who buy into the ideology of white privilege, and who may even be "critical" of it, but it is just as hard a pill to swallow for those white male writers who are not burdened by the inherent detriments associated with their race and sex.

[Read the full article]

Showdown: DOJ’s Bid to Block PRH Acquisition of S&S Is Heading to Trial – Sunday July 24, 2022

After a flurry of last-minute filings and orders, the U.S. Department of Justice’s bid to block Penguin Random House’s acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster is ready for court. Oral arguments are set to begin on August 1 before Judge Florence Pan at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington, D.C., with the trial expected to run nearly three weeks.

According to recent filings, 72 total hours have been allotted for arguments—38 hours for the government, and 34 hours for the defense. The witness lists include a few boldface names, including many of the Big Five CEOs, some major literary agents, and bestselling author Stephen King, who is listed as a witness for the government.

The closely watched case holds major implications for a publishing industry that has been grappling with consolidation for years. It also looms as a key test for the government amid growing calls for more vigilant antitrust enforcement, and in the wake of a stinging defeat in 2018 in its bid to block the massive $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner.

[Read the full article]

Lit Agent David Boxerbaum to Join Verve Agency – Saturday July 23, 2022

Top Paradigm literary agent David Boxerbaum is leaving the company for a position at Verve Talent and Literary Agency, Verve announced Thursday.

Boxerbaum joined Paradigm in January 2012 following a stint at APA Agency. He also previously worked at William Morris, Metropolitan and Endeavor after he started his career working for producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Boxerbaum is known for his expertise in the spec script market. He brings with him a notable roster of directors, writers and producers.

[Read the full article]

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