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Writers' News

Stormzy Launches New Publishing Imprint Called #Merky Books

mixmag.net – Friday July 6, 2018

Grime favorite Stormzy teamed with publishing leader Penguin Random House to create his own publishing house called #Merky Books.

Revealed first on his Instagram, Stormzy also confirmed the first book to be published under #Merky Books will be called Rise Up: The #Merky Journey So Far, which is due out November 1. He's also revealed that he plans to open submissions as well as offer paid internships for students for his publishing channel, all with the shared goal to encourage the next generation of writers.

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Writers and publishers trade blows over plummeting author pay levels

theguardian.com – Saturday June 30, 2018

The Society of Authors has issued a sharply worded challenge to the UK’s biggest publishers after the chief executive of the Publishers Association questioned new figures revealing the plummeting incomes of writers, describing them as “unrecognisable”.

A survey of more than 5,500 professional writers for the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) revealed earlier this week that median earnings for professional authors had dropped by 42% since 2005 below £10,500 a year, with the average full-time writer earning just £5.73 an hour, well below the UK minimum wage for those over 25. The number of professional authors, defined as those who spend more than half their working hours writing, also fell, from 40% of all published authors in 2005 to 13.7% in 2018.

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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.

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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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