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]

IWOSC's Annual Literary Agents Panel – Friday September 2, 2022

For our back-to-school program for writers after the summer recess, IWOSC returns with its annual Literary Agents Panel: a candid and thorough discussion of the factors that go into whether a book or screenplay — or an author — gets past the gatekeepers. If you choose the route of traditional publishing, it’s more important than ever to have trustworthy, dependable, and knowledgeable representation to guide your book or screenplay (and you!)

We will concentrate on books as well as film/TV. And through the magic of Zoom, we will include New York agents as well as LA and Southern California-based agents on the program.

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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.

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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".

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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]

Stephen King testifies against publishers’ merger: ‘Consolidation is bad for competition’ – Wednesday August 3, 2022

Stephen King didn’t break any legal ground on the stand Tuesday as he testified against his own publisher’s efforts to merge with Penguin Random House. But he did know how to please a crowd and even get the judge to thank him for his time.

“It was a real pleasure to hear your testimony,” the otherwise businesslike U.S. District Judge Florence J. Pan told the author after he finished speaking as a government witness in a federal antitrust lawsuit against the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, King’s longtime publisher.

The 74-year-old King had a haunting but gregarious presence, his gaunt features accented by his gray suit and gray sneakers, his walk tentative, as it has been since he was struck by a van and badly injured in 1999. But once sworn in, he was relaxed and happy to talk, and ever alert to how to tell a story.

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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.

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The Soho Review, A Whip-Smart New Humor Magazine, Is Giving The Downtown Literati A Laugh – Thursday July 28, 2022

Feel like your sense of humor has been permanently warped by TikTok videos and Twitter memes? Do you look back fondly at a time when you could appreciate a punch line that wasn't delivered in 280 characters or less? Have you forgotten how to physically turn a page?

We just might have the antidote to your perpetual Social Media Brain. 

The treatment involves a hefty dose of clever comedy courtesy of The Soho Review: New York's Best and Only Humor Magazine. As they say, laughter is the best medicine.

And the buzzy new publication certainly has the smart set laughing. Launched by a trio of New York City creatives, The Soho Review is a collection of jokes, cartoons, poetry, short stories (and more) that fills the void where irreverent and intelligent humor used to be... especially in print.

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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.

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