'It’s been a rollercoaster': how indie publishers survived - and thrived - in 2020
theguardian.com – Wednesday December 16, 2020
Six months ago, independent publishers Jacaranda and Knights Of were warning publicly that their income had fallen to almost zero. They weren’t the only small publishers struggling. With bookshops and distributors closing, a survey from the Bookseller at the time found that almost 60% of small publishers feared closure by the autumn. No bookshops meant no knowledgeable, passionate booksellers pressing new books they loved on to customers; no events and no travel meant that crucial avenues for introducing new writers had disappeared.
The stars had been looking very happily aligned for Oneworld in March. The independent publisher had three of its biggest books scheduled for the month – a novel from Women’s prize winner Tayari Jones, Silver Sparrow; a new thriller from the bestselling crime author Will Dean, Black River; and Damien Love’s novel for older children, Monstrous Devices. It had printed point-of-sale materials, invested in marketing, advertising, printing.
Then came the first national lockdown. “Silver Sparrow came out on the Thursday and then on the Monday the bookshops shut,” says Juliet Mabey, the publisher whose impeccable taste saw Oneworld win two Booker prizes in a row with novels from Marlon James and Paul Beatty. “It was incredibly frustrating and stressful.”
Kick 2020 goodbye: Enter our haiku writing contest
cleveland.com – Thursday December 10, 2020
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Thanksgiving is gone, the holidays are around the corner, and New Year’s – New Year’s! – is coming soon.
Face it: 2021 cannot get here fast enough.
The year was barely under way when ‘Wuhan’ was added to our geographic lexicon as coronavirus spread its tentacles across the globe. The virus brought illness, deaths, cancellations, shelter-at-home orders and squabbling politicians. It’s going to remain with us for a while, but we can get in one last shot before the year is out.
Please, Give Us the Bad Sex Writing
thecut.com – Thursday December 10, 2020
Every year since 1993, the industrious editors at the British magazine the Literary Review have sat down with steaming cuppas and pored over some of the most wretched sex writing in fiction from the past year, seeking out the “most outstandingly awful scene of sexual description.” And then, once they’ve identified the most appalling passage — which, in the past, have included the phrase “a coil of excrement” and used the word “cum” seven times — they bestow the writer responsible for it the honorable Bad Sex in Fiction Award.
While all the passages that the editors consider — which they deliver in the form of a shortlist — unfailingly inspire revulsion, every year we look forward to learning what men think sex is. But this year, we will be denied this rich source of both disgust and joy: The magazine has called off the prize.
Welbeck acquires mental health publisher Trigger
thebookseller.com – Thursday December 10, 2020
Welbeck Publishing Group has become the majority owner of the mental health and wellbeing publisher, Trigger Publishing.
Welbeck said it will build on Trigger’s founder, Adam Shaw’s vision "to enhance the footprint in mental health publishing" across all channels and on a worldwide basis.
As part of the deal, Jo Lal, publisher of Trigger, and Lyndsey Mayhew, sales and marketing lead, will move across to Welbeck.
Helen Sword devises a new writing tool to sharpen your prose
indiaeducationdiary.in – Friday December 4, 2020
Helen, an internationally acclaimed expert on writing in all genres, lectures in English in the Faculty of Arts and is an affiliate of the Centre for Arts and Social Transformation in the Faculty of Education. She is a scholar and a poet whose passion is helping others improve their writing, especially academic writing.
Originally from Southern California, she has lived in New Zealand for nearly 20 years with her Kiwi husband, Dr Richard Sorrenson. Her popular book The Writer’s Diet was published by Auckland University Press in 2015 and is supplemented by a website (writersdiet.com) that she says attracts around 100,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Through the website, writers can paste their text into an analysis tool that determines whether their prose would benefit from tightening up.
PRH Purchase of S&S Draws Objections
publishersweekly.com – Tuesday December 1, 2020
Following the announcement that Penguin Random House parent company Bertelsmann won the bidding war for Simon & Schuster with a $2.2 billion offer, members of the book business and related organizations have begun to weigh in.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Authors Guild laid out its opposition to the proposed deal. The sale "would mean that the combined publishing house would account for approximately 50% of all trade books published, creating a huge imbalance in the U.S. publishing industry," the Guild said. (Penguin Random House's global CEO, Markus Dohle, told PW that he believes PRH's publishing market share is about 14.2% and S&S's 4.2%, including self-publishing; others have estimated the combined companies' market share would amount to roughly one third of the U.S. book market.)
Penguin Random House to Buy Simon & Schuster for $2.175 Billion
lunch.publishersmarketplace.com – Wednesday November 25, 2020
ViacomCBS announced Wednesday morning that it has a definitive agreement to sell Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2.175 billion in cash, “from existing liquid funds.” The transaction is expected to close in 2021, with S&S ceo Jonathan Karp telling staff that will “likely” happen “in the second half of 2021 at the earliest.” It is subject to regulatory approvals — primarily in the US — and competing bidders such as HarperCollins parent News Corp. have already declared they believe “it will clearly be a serious antitrust issue.” Bertelsmann has already indicated it does not expect approval issues. (Internal PRH documents on “messaging” with industry partners about the deal acknowledges “rumors” they “will face antitrust challenges because of our size” and asserts “these are not grounded in fact and we assume may be perpetuated by competitors.”) The agreement includes a termination fee in the event the acquisition fails to win approval.
CBC launches Breakthrough Writers' Programme
thebookseller.com – Wednesday November 25, 2020
The Curtis Brown Creative Writing School is launching a Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, which features fully funded courses, mentoring and scholarships for underrepresented writers.
The programme – which is intended to run for a minimum of three years – aims to seek out writers and deliver teaching and industry advice, through interaction with successful authors, agents and publishers.
The programme of courses and mentoring is fully funded by Curtis Brown Group and its literary agents. Opportunities are targeted to address specific barriers to entry and will commence in February 2021.
2021 edition of Writers' Handbook now available to buy
firstwriter.com – Saturday November 21, 2020
The 2021 edition of firstwriter.com’s bestselling directory for writers is out now, and represents the biggest overhaul of the book to date!
The number of listings of literary agents, publishers, and magazines has increased dramatically – from just over 1,300 in the last edition to over 3,000 in the new one. In fact, there are so many new listings that we've increased the page size by 70% to accommodate them. The new page size makes the book even easier to use as a physical object: while thicker books with smaller pages refuse to stay open on the page you want, the 2021 edition of The Writers' Handbook is much happier to lay open at the page you leave it on.
'NYT' Says HC, PRH Top Contenders to Buy S&S
publishersweekly.com – Wednesday November 18, 2020
In a New York Times story this morning, the paper reported that the country’s two largest trade book publishers are the leading candidates to buy the country’s third largest trade publisher. HarperCollins and Penguin Random House are favored, and were cited as such after private equity firms reportedly dropped out of the bidding.
Several international publishers had been thought to be looking at S&S as well, with France's Vivendi believed to still have interest.