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Writers' News

Amazon.com and 'Big Five' publishers accused of ebook price-fixing

theguardian.com – Saturday January 16, 2021

Amazon.com and the “Big Five” publishers – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago.

The lawsuit, filed in district court in New York on Thursday by Seattle firm Hagens Berman, on behalf of consumers in several US states, names the retail giant as the sole defendant but labels the publishers “co-conspirators”. It alleges Amazon and the publishers use a clause known as “Most Favored Nations” (MFN) to keep ebook prices artificially high, by agreeing to price restraints that force consumers to pay more for ebooks purchased on retail platforms that are not Amazon.com.

The lawsuit claims that almost 90% of all ebooks sold in the US are sold on Amazon, in addition to over 50% of all print books. The suit alleges that ebook prices dropped in 2013 and 2014 after Apple and major publishers were successfully sued for conspiring to set ebook prices, but rose again after Amazon renegotiated their contracts in 2015.

[Read the full article]

Writing awards, competitions and opportunities in 2021

artshub.co.uk – Wednesday January 13, 2021

Writers, could be this be the year you win that big prize or crack a prestigious publication? If you are thinking of entering a writing prize or competition in 2021 then populate your calendar with these prizes and opportunities.

Please note that some opportunities are listed based on when submission deadlines are open or closed, while other awards are listed by the date on which winners are announced.

[Read the full article]

Five things we learned from Marian Keyes’ first writing masterclass

irishexaminer.com – Wednesday January 13, 2021

Nestled in among a crowd of thousands, it seemed like most of Ireland attended Marian Keyes’ first ‘how-to’ class on novel writing last night, a clear sign that ‘novel writing’ is the banana bread of Lockdown 3.

It was a giddy, gig-like atmosphere, with friendships formed in the comments and one or two wise-guys causing hysteria among the masses while ‘teacher’ wasn’t looking (see Dublin singer CMAT asking Keyes if she “ever considered writing a book about a very famous popstar from Dublin” for an example). It was an experience that was an utter salve to the bleak January weather and the heart-wrenching headlines we’ve been seeing since Christmas, which is exactly why Keyes chose to share her insights and tips into a creative outlet so many people are intimidated by.

Keyes is sharing a free four-week course on the basics of novel writing, from plot to characters and dialogue plus everything in between. It takes place every Monday at 7.30pm live on her Instagram page, with a catch-up video shared on YouTube soon after. She will also be sharing weekly challenges; this week our homework is to write 500 words a day based on her writing prompts.

[Read the full article]

Dartmouth students launch 'Meetinghouse' literary magazine

thedartmouth.com – Tuesday January 12, 2021

Last fall, three students came together with the idea of developing a new publication to connect Dartmouth undergraduates with the wider literary world. This December, the efforts of Frances Mize ’22, Avery Saklad ’21 and Ethan Weinstein ’21 came to fruition in the first edition of Meetinghouse, a literary magazine that has already attracted submissions from over 1,200 authors and poets from around the world.

Disappointed by the lack of opportunity to edit, read and publish professional work at Dartmouth, founders Mize, Saklad and Weinstein began working on Meetinghouse under the guidance of creative writing professors Alexander Chee and Peter Orner. The project was funded in part through a $6,830 grant from the Leslie Center for the Humanities. 

Weinstein said he felt inspired to create Meetinghouse due to the absence of literary magazines in the Dartmouth community — an absence highlighted after he struggled to find opportunities to use his English major in a professional capacity during an off term. 

[Read the full article]

Literary Agent Christopher Little dead at 79

the-leaky-cauldron.org – Tuesday January 12, 2021

We all remember the story of how Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected by numerous publishers before finally being picked up by Bloomsbury for £2,500. What you may not remember is the literary agent who took on the job of trying to sell the manuscript. That agent, Christopher Little, deserves some of the credit for the Harry Potter series gracing your bookshelf today.

[Read the full article]

Bookstores Saw Graphic Novels Sales Increase By 29% In 2020

bleedingcool.com – Monday January 11, 2021

So how did graphic novels sell during 2020? Publisher's Weekly reports that print books as a whole saw sales numbers in North America rise 8.2% in 2020, selling 750.9 million copies, up from 693.7 million the year before. And the largest annual increase since 2010. While many bookstores were in shutdown, online sales took over to ramp up sales, especially with more and more people staying home looking for reading matter and unable to visit libraries.

Non-fiction books for the young also received a big boost as many schools closed for long periods, with a 23.1% increase sales. But graphic novels were had one of the most significant increases, which saw sales increase by 29% in 2020, based on 2019.

[Read the full article]

AAR Becomes AALA

locusmag.com – Sunday January 10, 2021

The Association of Au­thors’ Representatives (the professional organiza­tion for literary agents) has changed its name to the Association of American Literary Agents. They say the new name “better reflects the membership and aligns the organization with its core mission of empowering and educating literary agents.”

[Read the full article]

Marian Keyes to help budding writers unlock their talents

independent.ie – Sunday January 10, 2021

She has written 15 best-selling novels and sold 35 million books worldwide and now Marian Keyes wants to share her wisdom with aspiring writers.

The Irish author says she has been moved to teach others a way they can escape through writing now that life has been become so "brutal" under lockdown.

[Read the full article]

Authors Seek Missing Payments from Shuttered Literary Agency

publishersweekly.com – Friday January 8, 2021

When the former cofounders of Foundry Literary + Media parted ways in September to launch their own literary agencies, the partners said that thousands of existing contracts would still be handled by Foundry. It appears that payments to some authors with contracts residing at Foundry have been stalled.

According to multiple sources, a number of authors have either not been paid royalties owed, or have had checks for those royalties bounce. Sources also indicated that some former agents of the firm may also be owed money.

[Read the full article]

Museum seeks submissions for Waterston Desert Writing Prize, student essays

ktvz.com – Thursday January 7, 2021

The High Desert Museum is now accepting submissions for the 2021 Waterston Desert Writing Prize. 

The Prize honors literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy with the desert as both subject and setting. Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers are invited to apply.

To learn more about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and how to submit an entry, visit highdesertmuseum.org/waterston-prize. Submissions will be accepted through May 1, 2021.

Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the High Desert, a region that has been her muse for more than 30 years, the Prize launched in 2014 and annually recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and human narrative. The Prize is named in honor of actor Sam Waterston, who provided the seed money for the endowment that helps fund the award.

[Read the full article]

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