Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

Northern Fiction Alliance launches 'environmentally responsible' online book fair – Saturday September 23, 2023

The Northern Fiction Alliance is launching the online Green Book Fair which will take place between Wednesday 27th and Friday 29th September.

The pilot book fair aims to offer an "environmentally responsible way for international publishers to conduct business".

Funded by Arts Council England, the initiative is set to take place online, in line with its aim to be more sustainable than traditional festivals that require airplane travel. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the festival while also ensuring that it is accessible to attendees from across the world.

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Prototype Publishing announces new writing prize – Thursday September 21, 2023

Prototype Publishing, along with partners Monitor Books and frieze magazine, has announced the Prototype Prize, a new, bi-annual prize for published or unpublished writers and artists working at the intersections of different literary and artistic forms.

The prize of £3,000 plus publication by Prototype will go to the best book-length project by a writer or artist resident in the UK or Ireland. A second prize of £2,000 plus publication by Monitor Books will be awarded to the best proposal for a short-form work. Both prize-winners will have an excerpt of their work published by frieze.

The judges for the inaugural prize are Bhanu Kapil pictured, Tom McCarthy and Elizabeth Price, who will work alongside an editorial board from the publishers.

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Amazon restricts authors from self-publishing more than three books a day after AI concerns – Wednesday September 20, 2023

The company announced the new limitations after an influx of suspected AI-generated material was listed for sale but said that ‘very few’ publishers will be affected

Amazon has created a new rule limiting the number of books that authors can self-publish on its site to three a day, after an influx of suspected AI-generated material was listed for sale in recent months.

The company announced the new limitations in a post on its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forum on Monday. “While we have not seen a spike in our publishing numbers, in order to help protect against abuse, we are lowering the volume limits we have in place on new title creations,” read the statement. KDP allows authors to self-publish their books and list them for sale on Amazon’s site.

Amazon told the Guardian that the limit is set at three titles, though this number may be adjusted “if needed”. The company confirmed that there was previously no limit to the number of books authors could list a day.

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Reilly appointed literary agent at Colwill & Peddle – Wednesday September 20, 2023

Milly Reilly has joined Colwill & Peddle as a literary agent. She brings with her a list of non-fiction and literary fiction authors, including Dr Annabel Sowemimo, Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad, among others. 

Reilly started her career at First Story before joining Jo Unwin Literary Agency in 2017, originally as Unwin’s assistant. She said: "Kay and Charlotte are phenomenal agents. Their transparent and collaborative ethos is a force for good in the industry, and I’m delighted to be joining their agency.

"I am so grateful to Jo and the wider team – Rachel, Donna and Daisy – for my time at JULA, and all that I’ve learnt at the company. It has been a joy and privilege to work with such intelligent and inspiring colleagues, and I will miss them very much."

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Seager and Maidment promoted at Madeleine Milburn – Tuesday September 19, 2023

Chloe Seager has been promoted to director of Children’s and YA at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency (MMA). Moreover, Olivia Maidment has been moved up to the newly created position of head of books, working closely with the directors to implement strategy.

Seager has been at MMA since April 2019, regularly negotiating six- or seven-figure deals for her clients in the UK and the US. Her authors include Katie Kirby, Anna Fargher, Jo Harwood and Kathryn Foxfield. She also represents authors including Maisie Chan, winner of the Jhalak Prize and Branford Boase and Danielle Jawando, winner of the YA Book Prize, among others. 

Since Seager’s arrival at the agency, her authors have also bagged five Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month slots, one Indie Children’s Book of the Month Slot and one Barnes & Noble Book of the Month slot.

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I am in Print launches £1,000 writing prize with Canelo – Thursday September 14, 2023

The I Am In Print events brand has partnered with independent publisher Canelo to host its inaugural Novel Award for unagented writers of unpublished adult fiction worth £1,000.

The prize, sponsored and judged by digital publisher Canelo, is open to writers globally and entries for completed manuscripts, written in English and across eight genres. The first prize includes £1,000 and a one-hour online consultation with a Canelo editor.

Additionally low-income writers can enter for free, and those who fall within underrepresented groups and members of the I Am In Print writing community The Writing Sphere, may receive a 50% discount upon application. Submissions close on 9th October at 10 a.m.

As part of the award entry ticket, access to a selection of masterclasses will be offered by Canelo on 30th November. The winners will be announced publicly at this live event.

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UK Publishers And Literary Agents Reportedly Uninterested In Working With White Or Straight Writers: “BIPOC, Queer And Minority Groups Are Always The Most Welcome” – Thursday September 14, 2023

According to a new report, a number of UK-based publishers and literary agents have taken to publicly announcing that rather than any white and/or straight authors, they would almost exclusively prefer to work with those who come from ‘underrepresented’ demographic groups.

This information was first brought to public attention by UK news outlet The Telegraph, whose investigation into the matter identified four publishing houses whose public facing materials promoted this rhetoric.

One such publisher was Ash Literary, the children’s book specialists perhaps best known for producing the Marv series, who on the ‘Submissions‘ section of their official website inform prospective writers that “We are actively seeking voices that have historically been underrepresented, particularly with tropes that are often said to be ‘over done’.”

“For example, we are not interested in stories about white able bodied WW2 evacuees but would welcome that story from a disabled, LGBTQ+ or BIPOC perspective,” they add. “If your book is about an identity that is not yours, we will not be a good fit. This includes books based the experiences of family members and friends.”

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Simpson joins Paper Literary as subsidiary rights and literary agent – Thursday September 14, 2023

Jenny Simpson, previously at CAA, has joined Paper Literary as a subsidiary rights and literary agent. She joins founder Catherine Cho, agent Katie Greenstreet and editorial consultant Melissa Pimentel. 

Simpson began her publishing career at ICM Partners in New York in the subsidiary rights department. She was promoted to agent in 2021, handling all domestic subsidiary rights on behalf of the department, with a focus on audiobook and first serial rights. 

She has negotiated and sold rights at significant six-figure levels on behalf of prize-winning and bestselling authors and journalists. During her time at ICM (now CAA), Simpson worked across the publishing and podcasting departments, servicing clients in their ventures into the original audio and podcast marketplaces.

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More writers sue OpenAI for copyright infringement over AI training – Tuesday September 12, 2023

A group of U.S. authors, including Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, has sued OpenAI in federal court in San Francisco, accusing the Microsoft-backed program of misusing their writing to train its popular artificial intelligence-powered chatbot ChatGPT.

Chabon, playwright David Henry Hwang and authors Matthew Klam, Rachel Louise Snyder and Ayelet Waldman said in their lawsuit on Friday that OpenAI copied their works without permission to teach ChatGPT to respond to human text prompts.

Chabon's representatives referred queries about the lawsuit to the writers' lawyers. Those lawyers and representatives for OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The lawsuit is at least the third proposed copyright-infringement class action filed by authors against Microsoft-backed OpenAI. Companies, including Microsoft (MSFT.O), Meta Platforms (META.O) and Stability AI, have also been sued by copyright owners over the use of their work in AI training.

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Self-publishers must declare if content sold on Amazon’s site is AI-generated – Monday September 11, 2023

Amazon has introduced new rules and guidance for Kindle books generated by artificial intelligence tools, including the requirement that authors inform it when content is AI-generated.

The company announced the new rules on its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forum on Wednesday. It said in a statement: “Beginning today, when you publish a new title or make edits to and republish an existing title through KDP, you will be asked whether your content is AI-generated.” KDP allows authors to self-publish their books and put them up for sale on Amazon’s site.

Amazon also added a new section to its content guidelines focused on AI, which now includes definitions of “AI-generated” and “AI-assisted” content and states that sellers are not required to disclose when content is AI-assisted.

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