Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

Brown Books Publishing Group Launches New Imprint Promoting Children’s Literacy: Michael Sampson Books – Friday December 16, 2022

Brown Books Publishing Group (BBPG) is pleased to announce their new imprint Michael Sampson Books, launching Fall 2023. Named after New York Times bestselling author and former Fulbright Scholar Michael Sampson, the imprint will publish and promote excellent storytellers who focus on literacy for young readers. Thomas Reale, President & COO of BBPG, will be the imprint’s editorial acquisitions director. Sampson will have input on editorial selections, provide notes for acquired manuscripts and help promote the authors and their books.

“As we worked with Michael over the past year, his passion and deep experience in early literacy inspired us to produce at our highest level,” notes Reale. “Over time, we began talking about storytelling in general and the authors we both like and admire. The conversation about establishing an imprint progressed naturally from there.”

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He Used AI to Publish a Children’s Book in a Weekend. Artists Are Not Happy About It – Thursday December 15, 2022

Ammaar Reshi was playing around with ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot from OpenAI when he started thinking about the ways artificial intelligence could be used to make a simple children’s book to give to his friends. Just a couple of days later, he published a 12-page picture book, printed it, and started selling it on Amazon without ever picking up a pen and paper.

The feat, which Reshi publicized in a viral Twitter thread, is a testament to the incredible advances in AI-powered tools like ChatGPT—which took the internet by storm two weeks ago with its uncanny ability to mimic human thought and writing. But the book, Alice and Sparkle, also renewed a fierce debate about the ethics of AI-generated art. Many argued that the technology preys on artists and other creatives—using their hard work as source material, while raising the specter of replacing them.

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Budding authors invited to ‘tweet their pitch’ to secure book deal – Wednesday December 14, 2022

Budding authors are being invited to use Twitter and ‘tweet their pitch’ in order to secure a book deal.

The call to action came from XpoNorth Digital, a creative industries festival which takes place on Friday 20 January 2023.

Writers will be able to put their ideas forward to a panel of literary agents by using a maximum of 280 characters on the social networking platform.

On the day, they will have from 9am to 9pm to express themselves using the hashtag #XpoNorth to be in with the chance of a book deal.

Open to all genres of work, fiction, non-fiction and children’s writing will be accepted, and the only stipulation is that it must be unpublished.

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Markus Dohle Steps Down as Penguin Random House CEO – Saturday December 10, 2022

Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle has relinquished his position at the head of the publisher, just weeks after a federal judge blocked the publisher’s attempt to acquire rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster. In a December 9 announcement, officials at PRH parent company Bertelsmann said Dohle will step down as CEO and resign his seat on the Bertelsmann executive board at the end of 2022 “at his own request and on the best of mutual terms,” though he will continue to serve in an undefined “advisory" role.

“Following the antitrust decision in the U.S. against the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, I have decided, after nearly 15 years on the Executive Board of Bertelsmann and at the helm of our global publishing business, to hand over the next chapter of Penguin Random House to new leadership,” Dohle said in a statement. “I have led our global book business with great enthusiasm and passion and I am proud of what we have achieved together.”

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Literary agent Gregory to retire at the end of the year – Thursday December 8, 2022

Literary agent Jane Gregory has announced she is retiring at the end of the year. 

She told industry colleagues: “The day has come at last when I retire from agenting and move on the next stage of my life, which I hope and expect to involve a great deal of fun, travel, getting up late, burning the midnight oil, writing ‘disgusted of Deal’ letters, extending my sea swimming season from May to September into the autumn..., reducing my ‘to be read’ pile of books, ‘spending more time with my family’ and I am sure that there are other things out there…” 

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Writers’ earnings have plummeted – with women, Black and mixed race authors worst hit – Wednesday December 7, 2022

There are “serious questions about the sustainability of the writing profession in the UK” and “substantial inequalities between those who are being adequately rewarded for their writing, and those who are not”, new research has found.

The report, commissioned by the UK Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and carried out by the UK Copyright and Creative Economy Research Centre (CREATe) based at the University of Glasgow, found that professional authors are earning a median of just £7,000 a year.

Writers’ organisations said the results were unsurprising, but still disappointing, and paint “a picture of a writing profession that is inaccessible and unsustainable for too many”. They have warned the figures could see writing become “the preserve of the privileged”.

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Hachette UK acquires Welbeck Publishing Group – Monday December 5, 2022

Hachette UK has acquired independent Welbeck Publishing Group for an undisclosed sum, with an agreement made between the shareholders of Welbeck and Hachette UK on 30th November 2022.

Welbeck’s gift, illustrated and adult trade publishing will become part of Headline Publishing Group and Welbeck’s children’s list will become part of Hachette Children’s Group. 

Hachette UK says the acquisition of Welbeck is part of its longer-term strategy to diversify into specialist areas by acquiring publishers that are “leaders in their field”; in recent years its acquisitions have included Paperblanks, Bookouture, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Laurence King, Summersdale, John Catt Educational and Short Books.

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More than 150 literary agents to stop submitting books to HarperCollins US in support of striking workers – Thursday December 1, 2022

More than 150 literary agents have signed an open letter pledging not to submit new projects to HarperCollins US in support of workers at the company who are on strike.

Negotiations between management and the union began in December 2021 and in October 2022 union members overwhelmingly voted for another strike, following a one day walk-out in July, to take place from 10th November.

Chelsea Hensley, an associate assistant at the KT Literary Agency, organised the open letter in support of the striking workers, and the signatories include a number of other KT Literary Agency staff including founder and senior literary agent Kate Testerman, a number of Aevitas Creative Management staff, including director of foreign rights Erin Files and senior agent Jen Marshall and several people from Janklow & Nesbit, including agents Melissa Flashman and Mina Hamedi.

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Astra House Shuts Its Literary Magazine – Wednesday November 30, 2022

Astra Publishing House announced that its literary publication, Astra Magazine, is being shut down. The magazine published the first of its two issues in April, and the company said there will be no third issue. All operations, including web publication, will be closed by the end of the year.

The magazine was led by editor-in-chief Nadja Spiegelman, deputy editor Samuel Rutter, and managing editor Medaya Ocher. Its first two issues included prize-winning fiction, essays, poetry and comics from authors around the world. The magazine’s website featured criticism and personal essays, and promoted the work of emerging writers and artists. It had attracted 50,000 unique visitors each month.

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Introducing Two Vocal Writing Contests – Monday November 28, 2022

I recently joined Vocal Media and posted an article about my experience with this interesting platform. Those who missed it can view the article via the following link.

In this post, I’d like to mention another benefit of Vocal Media for writers. It is called writing challenges. After looking into them, I was surprised by the prizes.

Currently, Vocal has two challenges. I’d like to briefly introduce them.

The first one is called the Mystery Box Challenge.

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