Bookshop.org is what the publishing world has been waiting for
theguardian.com – Thursday November 5, 2020
In publishing we often talk about things that we are “excited” and “delighted” about, so much that sometimes I think the words have lost their meanings. However, when readers, publishers and independent bookshops shared their delight about the new books retail platform, Bookshop.org, launched on Monday, it was the result of some of the most exciting news we’ve had in publishing for aeons.
Following its success in the US, Bookshop.org has arrived in the UK and promises something we have all been asking for – an ethical and transparent platform for buying books that amplifies the uniqueness of independent bookshops, with reading lists curated by humans rather than algorithms.
Bloody Scotland: Virtual Scots crime writing festival goes global on its debut
sundaypost.com – Sunday November 1, 2020
The Bloody Scotland festival, usually held in Stirling, featured leading authors including Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Ann Cleeves, Chris Brookmyre and Lee Child.
Organisers confirmed the three-day virtual festival attracted nearly three times the record 10,000 who attended in person in 2019.
The event also “went global”, with authors discussing their work in five continents and audiences logging in from more than 20 countries around the world.
Bob McDevitt, Bloody Scotland’s director, said the success of this year’s virtual festival had inspired a rethink of the traditional format to combine live and online content in future.
Novel-writing challenge offers 30 days to go ‘dancing’ with words
pe.com – Sunday November 1, 2020
According to its website, “NaNoWriMo tracks words for writers like FitBit tracks steps.”
NaNoWriMo is a worldwide nonprofit organization that offers support for writing goals. It’s name is short for National Novel Writing Month. Since 1999 thousands of novelists have challenged themselves to write an astounding 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.
NaNoWriMo serves as a “social network with author profiles, personal project libraries, and writing buddies.” During November, they send periodic pep talks. This year, you can expect motivation from authors Elizabeth Acevedo, Charlie Jane Anders, Kacen Callender and Alexis Daria. (If you are a writer of YA novels and are not familiar with Elizabeth Acevedo, check out my post on her novel in verse “The Poet X” at VictoriaWaddle.com. It’s very exciting that she is giving a pep talk this year. She’s a perfect choice.)
You might think there’s no way you can get any writing done this month, not in 2020. I understand this feeling. Yet, I’ve always found the time I least wanted a goal was when I most needed one. Consider also that readers are looking for conflict. No conflict, no story. And if you aren’t conflicted right now, you are living in an alternate universe. Since the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write as much as you can, why not try putting that conflict on the page? No editing, no revision, not yet. Just pour it out. It might be great therapy and ease some of your stress. And it will likely be the genesis of a future work.
ANALYSIS Publishers and retailers have pivoted to keep books on shelves and in readers’ hands — but will holiday sales fill them with joy?
thestar.com – Sunday November 1, 2020
In New York, a week or so ago, the famous Strand bookstore sent out a call: “We Need Your Help!”
“The Strand’s revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year,” wrote the shop’s proprietor, Nancy Bass Wyden, in a letter. “We need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine.”
And like some present-day remake of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” customers lined up around the block and placed so many orders for books they crashed the website.
The famed Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Co., also made an appeal to its customers in a message this week. “We are struggling, trying to see a way forward during this time when we’ve been operating at a loss, with our sales down almost 80% since March.”
‘Thank God we have that’: Wattpad author says writing gig became coronavirus emergency fund
globalnews.ca – Sunday November 1, 2020
When Caroline Richardson’s husband was temporarily laid off in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, money became a concern.
The family of four was down to one income and the bills kept coming. There was the mortgage, car payments and two kids who wouldn’t stop growing and needing new clothes just because the economy was going through a rough patch, she recalls.
Luckily, though, Richardson’s long-time hobby came to the rescue. Government employee by day, Richardson is a writer of — in her own words — “mature, steamy romantic stories with a happy ending” in her free time.
It’s a labour of love she’s kept up for years, says Richardson, who has four book-length stories under her belt. But it wasn’t until one of her most recent works took off on Wattpad, an online storytelling platform, that her pastime became a lucrative side-gig.
Bridport Prize to be held online this year
bridportnews.co.uk – Thursday October 29, 2020
BRIDPORT’S creative writing competition will be broadcasting its award ceremony for the first time ever this year – and everyone is invited.
The ceremony for the Bridport Prize – one of the most prestigious open writing competitions – will take place at 6pm today (Thursday).
The annual ceremony traditionally takes place at the Bridport Arts Centre and is strictly invitation only. However, due to the pandemic, this year’s ceremony has had to go online.
The award has helped launch the career of a number of famous writers, including Kate Atkinson and Kit de Waal.
Harry Potter publisher says Covid is weaving magic over book sales
theguardian.com – Wednesday October 28, 2020
The Harry Potter publisher, Bloomsbury, has reported its most profitable first half in more than a decade, after a nation tiring of box sets fuelled a lockdown boom in book sales.
The company furloughed staff as the coronavirus crisis forced the publishing industry to shut down, but has seen a remarkable change in fortune as the pandemic has persisted.
“It is a complete surprise because we had as grim a beginning to the pandemic as everyone else in March when 100% of our customers shut down worldwide,” said Nigel Newton, the chief executive.
“And then we found that early on people showed short attention spans and were watching TV. But then reading reasserted its power and people found they could escape through books, and sales have been booming ever since.”
DHH Literary Agency to host virtual pitching day
thebookseller.com – Thursday October 15, 2020
DHH Literary Agency is hosting a virtual event enabling aspiring authors to pitch their work direct to its team.
With the pandemic stopping agents from going on the road as in previous years, the agency is opening up its pitching sessions on 4th December. They will be held via a mutually agreeable online video platform.
Founder David Headley said: “In the past, we have had the most tremendous response to our pitching sessions, and we are counting on this time being no different, despite not being able to meet face-to-face. More than ever, we’re in need of good stories to make us forget about the current state of affairs, so we welcome the chance to have authors send – and perhaps pitch – their work to us.
David Higham reveals Open Week events
thebookseller.com – Monday October 12, 2020
David Higham Agency has revealed the line-up of top agents taking part in its events ahead of its New Writers' Open Week for under-represented talent.
The organisation is running a series of online events in November, which are open to all writers applying for its January Open Week. The deadline for the week has also been extended until 26th October.
Hollywood has gobbled up book rights during the pandemic. Here’s why
latimes.com – Wednesday October 7, 2020
Author Rumaan Alam kept his expectations low, even as the film rights to his upcoming book “Leave the World Behind” became the center of a bidding contest among Hollywood studios this summer.
During two brisk weeks in July, the Brooklyn-based novelist kept interrupting his family vacation on Fire Island to field phone calls from agents, producers and executives. Sam Esmail, creator of USA Network’s “Mr. Robot,” was on board to direct a feature based on the socially conscious thriller. Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington had agreed to star and produce. Studios including Netflix, Apple and MGM were making offers.
Alam remained skeptical until that Monday when, while on the beach with his husband and two sons, he got the call from Michelle Weiner, head of Creative Artists Agency’s books department, who was handling the auction, saying they’d scored a deal with Netflix.
“I was waiting for the day when Michelle’s assistant would have to send me, like, a consolation bottle of Champagne,” Alam said. “I was sitting there in the sand kind of dumbfounded.”