Traditional Publishing

Writers' News

These authors are using ChatGPT to write books and sell them on Amazon – Wednesday February 22, 2023

Until recently, Brett Schickler never imagined he could be a published author, though he had dreamed about it. But after learning about the ChatGPT artificial intelligence program, Schickler figured an opportunity had landed in his lap.

“The idea of writing a book finally seemed possible,” said Schickler, a salesman in Rochester, NY. “I thought, ‘I can do this.'”

Using the AI software, which can generate blocks of text from simple prompts, Schickler created a 30-page illustrated children’s e-book in a matter of hours, offering it for sale in January through Amazon’s self-publishing unit.

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Brian Cox and Salman Rushdie lead backlash against 'absurd censorship' of Roald Dahl's classic books to remove 'offensive' language - as 'woke' publishing censors are accused of 'McCarthyism' – Monday February 20, 2023

Sir Salman Rushdie and Brian Cox have led an angry backlash against 'absurd censorship' of Roald Dahl's classic children's books after 'woke' publishers removed 'offensive' language and are accused of 'McCarthyism'. 

Cox, who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, said the censorship is a form of 'woke culture' which wants to reinterpret everything.

Rushdie, who was stabbed, losing the sight in one eye, for protecting free speech and 'attacking Islam', said the changes were 'absolute censorship'.

The intervention comes as hundreds of changes have been made to the beloved children's books, including no longer referring to Augustus Gloop as 'fat'. 

Other characters have had their genders changed and words like 'mad' and crazy' have been removed by sensitivity readers. 

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People are Flooding Magazines With AI-Written Fiction Because They Think They’ll Make Money – Saturday February 18, 2023

Neil Clarke, editor of the science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld, recently reported an unsettling trend: a huge increase in the number of fiction submissions plagiarized using AI.

The essay Clarke links to goes into more detail about would-be contributors using AI programs to scrape existing published stories and repackage them as original works. AI writing tools have proliferated in recent years, claiming to write original stories but delivering mixed results. In one Clarkesworld submission, Clarke writes, someone submitted a story with the following sentence: “Sitting on its three years’ experience, the fittest Shell was originally the size of more android subliminal observations than any other single subject in the Grandma.” The submission was reconstituted from a story published in 1956.

Clarke writes that he bans plagiarists from submitting again, but at least one has complained that they “need the money.” As his graph shows, the amount of Clarkesworld submissions has ballooned over the past few weeks, and many of them are AI-generated.

Woof. Where to start?

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British independent publishers thrive despite Brexit and Covid pandemic – Thursday February 16, 2023

Small presses across the UK and Ireland have had a “year of exceptional sales and profit growth in the face of Brexit and escalating running costs”, according to the British book awards’ chair of judges.

Independent presses have also told the Guardian they are optimistic about the future, a very different picture from just three years ago, when research found that more than half of the UK’s small publishers feared they could be out of business by autumn 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the cancellation of author events, delays in titles being released and poor bookshop sales.

These smaller publishers are “showing that even in a toughened climate, grassroots book making is alive and well”, said Philip Jones, chair of judges for the British book awards, which on Wednesday announced the regional and country finalists for the Small press of the year award, which celebrates those presses delivering diverse, innovative and risk-taking publishing.

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Tor Publishing Group Announces Bramble, a New Romantic Imprint – Wednesday February 15, 2023

President and Publisher Devi Pillai announces the creation of Bramble, a new imprint of Tor Publishing Group dedicated to a wide array of romantic stories for the modern reader.

From science fiction and fantasy to contemporary and family saga, romance belongs in every genre and every genre belongs in Bramble. Whether the last page holds happily ever after, to be continued, or an ending that isn’t so simple, Bramble books will take you on an extraordinary journey of love. With spice levels to suit all readers, with familiar tropes and uncharted territory, Bramble books will explore a love that’s tangled up, covered in thorns, and oh so sweet. Bramble is for everyone and everyone deserves a good love story.

Of the new imprint, Pillai remarked, “Tor Publishing Group is the gold standard of genre publishing and it’s the perfect time to have an imprint dedicated to romance. Bramble will be the destination for exceptional love stories of all kinds. Expanding into romance gives our team and our readers another chance to do what we do best: get obsessed! Plus, let’s be real, I just want to publish more books I love to read!”

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Catapult to Shutter Online Magazine, Writing Classes – Wednesday February 15, 2023

Catapult has announced that it will shutter its eponymous online magazine and writing classes program. The decision comes as part of an effort to "focus all resources on its core business of book publishing and its three imprints: Catapult, Counterpoint, and Soft Skull Press."

Catapult publisher Alyson Forbes said in a statement: “This decision to center our efforts on our foundational business will ensure a successful future for our imprints and incredibly gifted authors as we continue to publish with the passion and care that defines the Catapult Book Group.”

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Tony Lee Launches £2500 Caliburn Prize To Aspiring Graphic Novelists – Friday February 10, 2023

The Caliburn Prize is Tony Lee's new UK comic-based literary grant, recognising fresh and unpublished voices in the world of comic and graphic novel creation.

During lockdown, comic book writer Tony Lee of Hooded Man Media became bestselling novelist Tony Lee under a couple of pseudonyms. Now he is looking to share the love. The Hooded Man Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation, or The Caliburn Prize for short is a new UK comic-based literary grant, recognising fresh and unpublished voices in the world of comic and graphic novel creation. The Caliburn Prize is a £2,500 grant aimed at helping unpublished UK-based creators get a foot on the comics ladder.

"When I started in comics, it was a different world," Tony Lee explained. "I was able to walk into a publisher with experience in other media under my belt, but many of today's creators don't have the same advantages I did, as the industry has massively changed over the last twenty years, and the doors I entered through are now boarded up. The prize fund is a way to help the next generation of comic creators find their own route into the room where it happens."

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Women’s prize to launch annual award for women’s non-fiction writing – Thursday February 9, 2023

The Women’s Prize Trust hopes to make the first award in 2024, after research showed female writers were far less likely than men to be reviewed or win prizes

The Women’s prize is to launch a non-fiction award to sit alongside its long-running fiction prize, in response to research that found that female non-fiction writers are less likely to be reviewed or win prizes than their male counterparts.

The new book prize, the Women’s prize for non-fiction, will be awarded annually and will be open to all female writers from across the globe who are published in the UK and writing in English. The winner will receive £30,000 and a statuette named “the Charlotte”, which have been given by the Charlotte Aitken Trust, a charity set up by the former literary agent Gillon Aitken on behalf of his late daughter.

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UK publishers’ ebook sales fall – Thursday February 9, 2023

In the UK, sales of ebooks from the ‘Big Six’ publishers fell 8.3% in 2022, reports the Bookseller.

The publishers’ ebook volume to 43.6 million units in 2022, the lowest return since 2017 and the second-lowest total since the Bookseller began collecting annual ebook data from publishers.

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Hachette Children’s Group to host Mo Siewcharran Prize 2023 with focus on picture books – Thursday February 9, 2023

This year’s iteration of the Mo Siewcharran Prize will be hosted by Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) and focus exclusively on writers and writer-illustrators in the picture book genre.

The Mo Siewcharran Prize, named in memory of Nielsen BookData’s former director of marketing and communications, was co-founded and sponsored by her husband John Seaton and aims to nurture talent from underrepresented backgrounds writing in English.

Sponsored by Nielsen BookData it is run as part of Hachette UK’s The Future Bookshelf scheme and is hosted by different divisions of the publisher each year. Last year it was hosted by Quercus and focused on the crime and thriller genre. Foday Mannah won for The Search for Othella Savage.

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