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Writers' News

Agents Weigh Whether to Submit Projects During the Pandemic

publishersweekly.com – Saturday April 11, 2020

The tightening of publishers’ purse strings in response to the economic fallout of Covid-19 has added a new wrinkle to an age-old dilemma for agents: when is the best time to submit their clients’ new manuscripts?

In normal times, deciding when to submit books, and whom to submit them to, is something agents constantly weigh. Now, with huge swaths of the country under quarantine, pub dates of forthcoming titles in limbo, and questions about how long the pandemic will last, literary agents are divided on the best approach. All agents interviewed acknowledged that publishers will need to keep buying books, but many are uncertain about whether they want to send new projects out at such a difficult moment.

“I am definitely thinking about which projects make sense to submit now—in terms of author profile and subject matter—and which ones it’s better to hold,” said Markus Hoffmann, a partner at Regal Hoffmann Associates. “Arguably the right project will get more attention, since there will be fewer submissions overall. And even if lists contract across the board, publishers will need new books for when this crisis is over.”

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Post-pandemic poetry: As world comes to a screeching halt, 'digital poets' are writing odes to nature

economictimes.indiatimes.com – Tuesday April 7, 2020

With lockdowns of varying degrees imposed in major economies around the world, and entreaties or orders by national leaders to work from (or stay at) home implemented, there is finally time now for everyone to ‘stand and stare’, as W H Davies put it, just over a century ago. Amid more bucolic imagery, Davies had also written about ‘streams full of stars, like skies at night’, a simile that would be utterly lost on most city dwellers, barring senior citizens perhaps.

 

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BBC Wildlife partners with new youth nature writing competition

discoverwildlife.com – Tuesday April 7, 2020

Nature on your Doorstep is a new youth nature writing competition created by Lucy McRobert, the author of 365 Days Wild.

The aim is to encourage kids to connect with the nature right outside their homes – up in the sky, on their streets, in their gardens, from their windows – during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s undeniable – life has changed. As we all re-evaluate the things that really matter to us, many people are treasuring the natural world and wild experiences more than ever,” explains McRobert.

“What’s more, those experiences are now taking place much closer to home; we are all realising the true importance of nature on our doorsteps. This is true for children as much as adults. Personally, I wanted to do something positive and a nature writing competition seemed perfect. We’re helping their parents, too, by giving their kids a focus, a challenge and stretching their imaginations – and hopefully benefiting their English lessons.”

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The 'Poets & Writers' Editors Have Some Writing Tips for You

publishersweekly.com – Tuesday April 7, 2020

Mary Gannon and Kevin Larimer, the two most recent editors of Poets & Writers magazine, want you to know how to be a writer. That means knowing every step of the process, not just when to pick up the pen (or put it down) or open up the laptop (or close it shut). Their new book, The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer (Avid Reader), includes tips on how to find and enter writing contests, applying for and taking writing retreats, navigating the seas of self-publishing, how to find an agent and work with an editor, and a number of other aspects of building a sustainable career.

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Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency brings in 'mentorship' programme for authors

thebookseller.com – Monday April 6, 2020

The Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency is launching a six-month mentorship programme for aspiring authors.

Seeking to "find new and exciting voices in fiction and to guide writers during the early steps of their career", the mentorship programme will cover editorial guidance and insight into getting books published including current trends, what editors look for, international rights and film & TV.

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Nelle Andrew joins the Rachel Mills Literary agency

thebookseller.com – Monday April 6, 2020

Nelle Andrew, formerly of PFD, has joined the Rachel Mills Literary agency.

Andrew will continue to work with her clients across fiction and non-fiction, including the Costa Prize-winner Sara Collins, Jing Jing Lee (currently longlisted for the Women’s Fiction Prize and Walter Scott prize,) two-time British Book Award nominee Bryony Gordon, bestsellers Elizabeth Day and Heidi Perks, and Pandora Sykes and Cariad Lloyd.

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Live: Publishers postpone major titles until pandemic is over

thebookseller.com – Sunday April 5, 2020

In light of the coronavirus outbreak and the government's advice regarding social distancing, many publications are being postponed until the new year, to prevent authors missing out on crucial face-to-face promotion. 

Bookshops have also taken a major hit during the pandemic. Whilst many started to move online, taking orders via social media and email, the suspension of Hive and Gardners meant many had to stop orders and deliveries all together. Again, this had a knock on effect with publishers, who saw futher reason to postpone the publication of their major titles. 

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A pandemic thriller, once rejected by publishers for being unrealistic, is now getting a wide release

edition.cnn.com – Sunday April 5, 2020

What happens when a once-rejected dystopian novel turns into reality? Ask Scottish author Peter May.

The screenwriter-turned-novelist wrote a book titled "Lockdown" in 2005 about a global pandemic. Fifteen years later, that's our reality due to coronavirus, which has so far infected more than 1 million people globally.

The book, which was rejected by publishers at the time for being too unrealistic, was finally published on Thursday.

The thriller is set in London, the epicenter of a global pandemic that forces officials to institute a lockdown. The story isn't entirely based on May's imagination. He used British and US pandemic preparedness documents from 2002 to make it was as realistic as possible.

"At the time I wrote the book, scientists were predicting that bird flu was going to be the next major world pandemic," May told CNN.

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Macmillan Lays Off Some Staff, Temporarily Cuts Some Salaries

publishersweekly.com – Friday April 3, 2020

Macmillan Publishers has laid off an undisclosed number of employees across all divisions, temporarily reduced pay for select employees, and implemented a hiring freeze, effective April 2. As a result of the layoffs, the Thomas Dunne imprint has been shuttered. The move is part of a larger cost-saving initiative by Macmillan parent company Holtzbrinck, Macmillan said, and in response to the anticipated impact of the new coronavirus pandemic on Holtzbrinck's overall businesses.

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Indie publishers face 'existential crisis' after coronavirus lockdown but remain hopeful

thebookseller.com – Thursday April 2, 2020

Indie publishers face an “existential crisis” during the pandemic lockdown, but remain hopeful they can make it to the other side.

Smaller presses The Bookseller contacted this week said they were having to send out more books themselves, focus their activities online and look for new funding streams, including the Arts Council England (ACE) £50m emergency pot for non-portfolio organisations that was announced last week.

"Sales have just fallen off a cliff,” said Bluemoose Books co-founder Kevin Duffy. “As Gardners has closed, that was a kind of last lifeline for independent publishers. Our distributor NBN is still open, but for how long I don't know. People are still ordering books off the Bluemoose website, but for how long I don't know. Strategically we've had to look at our publishing schedule: given that the government is saying 12 weeks [of lockdown], we will probably be publishing our June title in September, so everything will be knocked back by 12 weeks.”

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