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.”
Books by the Banks 2020 writing contest open to adults, teens; entries accepted online until Jan. 4
nkytribune.com – Tuesday October 6, 2020
Despite the postponement of the Book by the Banks 14th annual book festival, the 2020 writers’ contest is still happening.
This year’s contest theme is “Home.” Writers are encouraged to interpret this theme as literally or figuratively as they desire. Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are welcome.
“Even though we had to move the festival to 2021 due to COVID-19, the board voted unanimously to continue its support of the region’s writers,” said David Rippe, president of Books by the Banks. “The love of writing, reading and books is a yearlong mission for us.”
The contest is open to adults and teens with cash prizes for the top three entries in each category.
Penguin, Bloomsbury, Juggernaut can wait—Twitter is the new fiction publisher
theprint.in – Sunday October 4, 2020
Move over Bloomsbury, Penguin, and Juggernaut — Twitter is now the premier fiction publisher in the era of coronavirus.
When Twitter user Shiv Ramdas wrote a lengthy thread about his brother-in-law buying a truck of rice, his posts received 77,000 retweets and 3 lakh likes within days. That’s how starved people are for a quick, interesting read on social media.
Let’s be honest, it’s practically impossible to get through a 500-page book today when you have to respond to every text, Instagram forward, and see every video on Facebook or Twitter. But fear not, Twitter story threads are the new place to quench that bookworm in you.
And you thought Twitter is only a playground for trolls. After Black Twitter and Dalit Twitter became thriving virtual subcultures, fiction Twitter is slated to be the next big thing.
Anyone can tell a funny, evocative, romantic, or thrilling story on Twitter — 280 characters at a time. All you need is snarky vocabulary, internet inside jokes, and concise sentences. Each tweet becomes a chapter, and each thread, however long you may want it to be, becomes the tale.
Shercliff launches Suffolk's first literary agency
thebookseller.com – Wednesday September 30, 2020
A new agency, Laxfield Literary Associates, headed by Cassava Republic's Emma Shercliff, is opening in Suffolk and launching a debut novel prize.
The agency, which is billed as Suffolk's first, opens its doors on 1st October. It was started by Shercliff in association with Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, which will handle translation and screen rights.
Shercliff was prompted to launch the agency partly as a response to the Common People report, led by Professor Katy Shaw of Northumbria University, which highlighted the lack of literary agents outside London.
Foundry Literary + Media Co-Founder Peter McGuigan Launches Ultra Literary
deadline.com – Friday September 25, 2020
Peter McGuigan, who co-created the New York literary agency Foundry Literary + Media with Yfat Reiss Gendell, has launched a new agency dubbed Ultra Literary.
The move comes after the news last week that Gendell exited Foundry to form YRG Partners, taking Foundry agents Tanusri Prasanna, Peter Steinberg and Adriann Ranta Zurhellen and their clients with her. That agency will focus on representing publishing rights for writers and consumer brands.
Foundry Literary + Media Co-Founder Yfat Reiss Gendell Exits To Form YRG Partners
deadline.com – Friday September 18, 2020
Foundry Literary + Media co-founder Yfat Reiss Gendell has left the New York book agency to form YRG Partners. She leaves with agents Tanusri Prasanna, Peter Steinberg and Adriann Ranta Zurhellen to launch an agency that will focus on representing publishing rights for writers and consumer brands.
Gendell said the agency will partner with a series of existing and new private equity firm relationships, each active in intellectual property and consumer brand development, to match-make between clients and the investment community, and to create unconventional opportunities that work alongside or independent of existing publishing models. Gendell has represented clients’ publishing rights, typically along with managers, and often as the agency of record for writers who are also represented at other agencies for screenwriting. Gendell will bring that formula to the new agency.
Story of ‘bloodthirsty unicorns’ brings debut author record publishing deal
theguardian.com – Thursday September 17, 2020
A 28-year-old first-time author from Canterbury has landed what is believed to be the world’s largest ever book advance for a debut children’s writer, with a fantasy series about “bloodthirsty unicorns”.
Annabel Steadman, writing as AF Steadman, was paid a “major” seven-figure sum by Simon & Schuster this week, following a hotly contested multi-publisher auction for three books in her fantasy adventure series for children, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief. Set in a world where unicorns are deadly, and can only be tamed by the rider who hatches them, the series follows Skandar Smith, who is preparing to become a unicorn rider. When the most powerful unicorn in the world is stolen by a mysterious figure, becoming a rider becomes a lot more complicated than Skandar ancitipated.
“Unicorns don’t belong in fairytales; they belong in nightmares,” writes Steadman as the series opens. The unicorns in her books are “not at all like the unicorns we know in shops, these fluffy unicorns with rainbows, they’re different and exciting and magical but also dangerous,” she says.
Simon & Schuster, which will publish the first book in the series in spring 2022, said the deal was believed to be record-breaking for a debut children’s author. Sony Pictures has also signed an “aggressive” seven-figure deal for the feature film rights in the series, which is aimed at readers of nine and over.
PW Star Watch 2020 Honorees Named
publishersweekly.com – Wednesday September 16, 2020
Publishers Weekly and Frankfurter Buchmesse have named 40 publishing professionals as honorees for PW Star Watch 2020, the annual publishing and bookselling award now in its sixth year. Honorees hail from the U.S. and Canada, and were selected from the ranks of the Big 5 publishers as well as independent and university presses, literary agents, booksellers, and other industry and related organizations.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 also marks several firsts for the awards. This year, a charitable component was added to the program, and will benefit the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation, which provides financial support to booksellers. In another departure from previous years, the celebration, usually held in a downtown Manhattan locale, will be a virtual celebration free and open to all, and will be held on October 13 at 5 p.m. The five honorees selected as finalists will speak, and one Superstar will be announced by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly’s editorial director, and Erin Cox, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s U.S. publicist. As in past years, the Superstar will be invited to the virtual Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 as well as awarded a sponsored trip to Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021.
Sutherland-Hawes leaves Madeleine Milburn to launch own agency
thebookseller.com – Tuesday September 8, 2020
Children's and YA agent Alice Sutherland-Hawes has left Madeleine Milburn Agency to launch her own agency, ASH Literary.
The new venture will focus on the children's market, representing both authors and illustrators.
Sutherland-Hawes said the majority of her clients would be following her to the agency, including twice Kate Greenaway Medal-shortlisted Poonam Mistry, debut authors Kereen Getten and Namina Forna, and illustrator of I Am Brown (Lantana), Sandhya Prabhat.
The agency will be represented for translation rights by ILA.
How did you get your first job in feature writing?
journalism.co.uk – Monday September 7, 2020
If the thought of job hunting straight out of university seemed daunting before, spare a thought for this year's graduates doing so in the midst of a global pandemic.
But all hope is not lost. Many graduates are still getting their big breaks, and one of those is Nicole Baddeley, who graduated this May from Bournemouth University with a bachelors degree in Multimedia Journalism.
She is now a digital trends and feature writer for Newsquest, the second largest regional and local newspaper publisher in the UK. She writes general and evergreen news stories on trending digital topics for the publisher's local websites in the South of England and Wales.
Baddeley spoke to Journalism.co.uk and offered her best tips to job seekers hoping to crack the current market.
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