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Writers' News

Algorithms Could Save Book Publishing—But Ruin Novels

wired.com – Friday September 16, 2016

JODIE ARCHER HAD always been puzzled by the success ofThe Da Vinci Code. She’d worked for Penguin UK in the mid-2000s, when Dan Brown’s thriller had become a massive hit, and knew there was no way marketing alone would have led to 80 million copies sold. So what was it, then? Something magical about the words that Brown had strung together? Dumb luck? The questions stuck with her even after she left Penguin in 2007 to get a PhD in English at Stanford. There she met Matthew L. Jockers, a cofounder of the Stanford Literary Lab, whose work in text analysis had convinced him that computers could peer into books in a way that people never could.

[Read the full article]

Authors beware: scam publishers are charging up to $15k for shoddy work

stuff.co.nz – Thursday September 15, 2016

Local writers are paying bogus publishers between $5000 and $15,000 per book to get their work published.

For that, they receive an e-book and a few poorly edited print copies of their manuscript, according to the New Zealand Society of Authors — and then they are asked to pay more money to market it. 

"Basically [the 'publishers' are] doing almost nothing, and certainly nothing that gets an author's work out there," says NZSA president Kyle Mewburn, who has noticed an increase in scam complaints in the last year, from one every couple of months to one or two a week.

[Read the full article]

What is women's writing? Publishing insiders discuss power of female voices

theguardian.com – Wednesday September 14, 2016

Writers and editors explored what it means to be a woman in the literary world at an Emily Books event in Brooklyn: ‘The industry is mostly female, but male-run’

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How Dylan Thomas's writing shed inspired Roald Dahl

bbc.co.uk – Wednesday September 14, 2016

Both are world-famous authors who wrote some of their best known works in their sheds. But, as Roald Dahl's centenary is celebrated across the country, his widow reveals how heavily the children's author was influenced by Dylan Thomas's hut when building his own.

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Steve Atkinson: HighTide started on a wave of changes in new writing

whatsonstage.com – Tuesday September 13, 2016

HighTide turns ten this year and the UK's premier new writing festival could not be in better shape. Since beginning in the small market town of Halesworth in Suffolk, they've championed the likes of Adam BraceSam HolcroftJoel Horwood and Nick Payne, often staging debuts from those writers well before theatres like the National, Almeida and the Royal Court pick them up. As co-founder of the festival, director Steve Atkinson has been instrumental in pushing the festival artistically so it now stands as one of the most important new writing events in the UK calendar. Now, after they open at the festival's home of Aldeburgh, HighTide plays tour up and down the country, bringing bright, dynamic theatre voices to the rest of the world.

[Read the full article]

Man Booker shortlist 2016: tiny Scottish imprint sees off publishing giants

theguardian.com – Tuesday September 13, 2016

Scottish writer Graeme Macrae Burnet’s story of murder in a 19th-century crofting community has beaten novels by some of literature’s biggest names to make the shortlist for the Man Booker prize, a list that judges said “showed courage and a willingness to take risks”.

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Off Assignment, Literary Magazine of Travel Writing, Launches Online

prweb.com – Tuesday September 6, 2016

Off Assignment, a magazine of literary travel writing, recently launched the first of its online content, answering the demand for authors to enhance their published work with compelling experiences and details left unsaid. Forged by today’s top journalists, essayists, and travel writers, Off Assignment is a publication dedicated to candid storytelling. The magazine, which grew out of a grassroots series of live storytelling events featuring writers such as Gay Talese and Sloane Crosley, now publishes a weekly series called “Letter to a Stranger,” short essays about memorable strangers from past journeys. In its first weeks, the series has featured contributors such as New York Times bestselling authors Leslie Jamison and Lauren Groff, as well as memoirist Howard Axelrod and National Book Award winner Julia Glass.

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From Zero to Hero: the next generation of passionate publishers

thebookseller.com – Tuesday September 6, 2016

So it's back to school this week, and as relieved parents return to their desks, there will undoubtedly be some speculation about whether the complex summer holiday juggling might be made just a bit easier by running your own business. While flexibility might be one reason often cited for setting up a new business on your own, there are clearly many more complex motivations for making the leap. Some of the most exciting new publishing ventures to launch in recent years have had very varied motivations for getting started, but there are certainly some themes emerging across this next generation of publishers.

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A Rough Six Months for Big Book Publishers

publishersweekly.com – Saturday September 3, 2016

The trade publishing segment has been operating in a low-growth environment for several years, and that trend appears to have continued into 2016. Financial reports for the first half of 2016 from five major publishers showed that none of the companies had a sales increase in the first half of the year; HarperCollins had the best top-line performance, with only a minor sales decline compared to the first six months of 2015. Earnings fell at three publishers in the period and rose at two. Though sales of print books have stabilized, all five reporting publishers said sales of e-books fell in the first six months of 2016 compared to the January–June 2015 period.

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Pay-back time for publishers: authors forced to return their advances

theguardian.com – Friday September 2, 2016

Though he’s fallen out spectacularly with his publisher, Seth Grahame-Smith at least has the consolation of joining a stellar club of writers whose deals for much-anticipated books were terminated. It emerged this week that Grahame-Smith, the man behind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, is being sued in the United States for breach of contract by Hachette, which wants half his $1m advance for a two-book deal returned. Hachette claims the second book’s typescript was eventually submitted “34 months” late, and was too short and substandard, “in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public domain work” (unnamed, but presumably 1897’s Dracula).

[Read the full article]

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