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Writers' News

Penguin Random House to Buy Simon & Schuster for $2.175 Billion

lunch.publishersmarketplace.com – Wednesday November 25, 2020

ViacomCBS announced Wednesday morning that it has a definitive agreement to sell Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2.175 billion in cash, “from existing liquid funds.” The transaction is expected to close in 2021, with S&S ceo Jonathan Karp telling staff that will “likely” happen “in the second half of 2021 at the earliest.” It is subject to regulatory approvals — primarily in the US — and competing bidders such as HarperCollins parent News Corp. have already declared they believe “it will clearly be a serious antitrust issue.” Bertelsmann has already indicated it does not expect approval issues. (Internal PRH documents on “messaging” with industry partners about the deal acknowledges “rumors” they “will face antitrust challenges because of our size” and asserts “these are not grounded in fact and we assume may be perpetuated by competitors.”) The agreement includes a termination fee in the event the acquisition fails to win approval.

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CBC launches Breakthrough Writers' Programme

thebookseller.com – Wednesday November 25, 2020

The Curtis Brown Creative Writing School is launching a Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, which features fully funded courses, mentoring and scholarships for underrepresented writers. 

The programme – which is intended to run for a minimum of three years – aims to seek out writers and deliver teaching and industry advice, through interaction with successful authors, agents and publishers. 

The programme of courses and mentoring is fully funded by Curtis Brown Group and its literary agents. Opportunities are targeted to address specific barriers to entry and will commence in February 2021.

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Does Twitter pitching work?

thebookseller.com – Sunday November 22, 2020

As this week’s FutureBook20 conference has shown, this is a year where change is at the top of the agenda for the publishing industry. And when it comes to changing the sort of books that get published and the sort of authors whose voices are heard, broadening the acquisition process is crucial.

Approaching literary agencies and publishers can feel intimidating to new writers, especially those who feel they don’t traditionally ‘belong’ in the trade. One way publishers, agencies and individual agents and editors have been trying to broaden the net and make the process feel more approachable is through social media.

But does it work? 

US-based pitching project #PitchMad, and Curtis Brown’s UK equivalent, #PitchCB, are two of the highest-profile examples. Richard Pike, who was one of the Curtis Brown agents supervising the hashtag, explains the rationale behind the initiative.

[Read the full article]

2021 edition of Writers' Handbook now available to buy

firstwriter.com – Saturday November 21, 2020

The 2021 edition of firstwriter.com’s bestselling directory for writers is out now, and represents the biggest overhaul of the book to date!

The number of listings of literary agents, publishers, and magazines has increased dramatically – from just over 1,300 in the last edition to over 3,000 in the new one. In fact, there are so many new listings that we've increased the page size by 70% to accommodate them. The new page size makes the book even easier to use as a physical object: while thicker books with smaller pages refuse to stay open on the page you want, the 2021 edition of The Writers' Handbook is much happier to lay open at the page you leave it on.

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'NYT' Says HC, PRH Top Contenders to Buy S&S

publishersweekly.com – Wednesday November 18, 2020

In New York Times story this morning, the paper reported that the country’s two largest trade book publishers are the leading candidates to buy the country’s third largest trade publisher. HarperCollins and Penguin Random House are favored, and were cited as such after private equity firms reportedly dropped out of the bidding.

Several international publishers had been thought to be looking at S&S as well, with France's Vivendi believed to still have interest.

[Read the full article]

UK book sales down 11% for first half

booksandpublishing.com.au – Monday November 16, 2020

In the UK, stats from the Publishers Association (PA) show that total book sales across the industry fell 11% in the first six months of the year, reports the Bookseller.

According to the PA, the total invoiced value of sales from UK publishers in all formats (including exports) was £1.5 billion (A$2.72b), down from £1.7 billion (A$3.1b) in the first half of 2019. Total sales for the UK market alone were down 6% to £837 million (A$1.51b), while exports fell 17% to £653 million (A$1.18b).

A big increase in fiction titles (up 13%), and a surge in sales of ebooks (up 26%) and audiobooks (up 47%), were outweighed by a 17% drop in print books, led by steep falls in the educational and professional sector.

[Read the full article]

Pandemic drives ebook and audiobook sales by UK publishers to all-time high

theguardian.com – Saturday November 14, 2020

Sales of digital books by British publishers are set to hit an all-time high this year as the public turns to reading to escape pandemic cabin fever.

However, the ebook and audiobook boom comes at a high cost for the industry, with global sales of printed books by UK publishers plunging by 55m in the first six months of the year as high streets and schools closed during the first coronavirus lockdown.

The pandemic has revived the fortunes of the consumer ebook. The format once touted as the future of reading has suffered six straight years of sales declines since peaking in 2014 but this year has been different, with sales home and abroad up 17% to £144m in the first half. UK publishers can now expect consumer ebooks to enjoy their best year since 2015, when sales were just under £300m.

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Alumna launches magazine as ‘safe space’ for writers

temple-news.com – Thursday November 12, 2020

After losing her fiancé to suicide, Jenna Faccenda began wrestling with her life’s purpose.

“Those deep thoughts and how my footprint on this Earth could really be impactful toward someone else,” Faccenda said. 

Amid her grief, Faccenda, a 2017 journalism alumna, turned back to her love of writing and ventured to create a community for other artists experiencing trauma. She launched Eclipse Lit, a literature magazine for writers to discuss trauma and heal through their artwork. 

With writer submissions open from Oct. 1 through Nov. 15, Faccenda intends to publish her first edition, a collection of short stories, essays and multimedia art from artists around Philadelphia, in March 2021.

[Read the full article]

Myth and folklore the pick of festive trends in children's

thebookseller.com – Monday November 9, 2020

Children’s books about Christmas, mythology and adventures are among the top titles available from small independent publishers this autumn.

Despite lockdown and an uncertain retail market, many of the smaller children’s publishers are hoping for a boost in sales with their festive titles, which include The Girl Who Stole the Stars by Corrina Campbell, published by Little Door Book, and Leah’s Star by Margaret Bateson Hill (Alanna Max), which tells the nativity story from the point of view of the innkeeper’s daughter. The Salariya Book Company has two Christmas-themed books out this autumn: Little Bear and the Silver Star by Jane Hissey, and Billy and the Balloons by Elizabeth Dale and Patrick Corrigan.

[Read the full article]

Print Unit Sales Rose 9.5% At the End of October

publishersweekly.com – Sunday November 8, 2020

With sales up in all categories, unit sales of print books rose 9.5% in the week ended Oct. 31, 2020, over the comparable week in 2019, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The top-selling book was The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #15) by Jeff Kinney, which sold more than 171,000 copies and helped to drive up sales in the juvenile fiction category by 15.5%.

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