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Barbara Epler, president and publisher of New Directions, couldn’t help but pun when describing the biennial Novel Prize, awarded jointly by the New York City–based New Directions, London-based Fitzcarraldo, and Sydney-based Giramondo to a book-length work of literary nonfiction: “Global publication by three anglophone publishers—I think that’s sort of novel.”
Indeed, the Novel Prize, launched in March 2020, is the first—and only—of its kind.
While other literary prizes may offer publishing contracts—including Spanish publisher Anagrama’s Herralde Prize, Graywolf Press’s Nonfiction Prize, and a number offered by university presses—none offer the same international reach as the Novel Prize. Presented by a triumvirate of international indie publishers, the award offers a $10,000 purse and simultaneous publication in North America, courtesy of New Directions; the U.K. and Ireland, courtesy of Fitzcarraldo; and Australia and New Zealand, courtesy of Giramondo.
Fantasy writer Maas’s popularity on Tik Tok is set to push Bloomsbury’s profits beyond £40 million, and has helped send shares in the Harry Potter publisher to an all-time high. More than half a million videos featuring the hashtag #SarahJMaas have been posted on Tik Tok, attracting a combined 3.3 billion views.
Bloomsbury said it would invest more in fantasy following the success of her books, with the most recent release - House of Flame and Shadow in January - being an especially big hit.
Boss Nigel Newton, said: "I am overjoyed to report an exceptionally strong period of trading, principally driven by the increasing demand for fantasy fiction.
If you would like to receive greater recognition, monetary prizes, awards and exposure for your books, here is an opportunity not to miss. Enter the 2024 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Calling all indie book authors and publishers – including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors who have a book written in English released in 2022, 2023 or 2024 or with a 2022, 2023 or 2024 copyright date to enter the most rewarding book awards program.
Offering 80+ Categories – More than 80 Awards – with over 80 monetary prizes totaling over $10,000 in cash, including $1,500 cash prizes plus trophies for best fiction book and best non-fiction book, $750 cash prizes plus trophies for second best fiction book and non-fiction book and $500 cash prizes plus trophies for third best fiction book and non-fiction book!
George Chrysostomou explores the publishing trends to look out for in the year ahead, from the rise of AI to the ever-growing role of BookTok
2024 is set to be a massive year for the publishing industry, as it continues reshaping for a modern age. New audience interests and groundbreaking technology has challenged the traditions of the space. Shifting genres, alternative marketing methods and ever-changing styles are sure to lead to an alteration in publishing strategies, which will lead to noticeable differences that impact readers and their book choices.
The use of AI
Artificial intelligence appears to be the topic of discussion for the year, as writers and editors look at the benefits and drawbacks of this versatile and novel technology. Audiences are likely to come across more AI-influenced texts in 2024, with creators either crafting their narrative from scratch using artificial intelligence, or utilising it as a tool to reframe, refresh and reinvigorate their concepts and drafts.
There’s certainly a place for AI to be used in controlled spaces and when the creative minds themselves are in control. There may be worries that the human element could be lost with the increase in the use of this tech, but ultimately this will be a year where those boundaries are tested and the limits of AI are explored further.
This is a story about a book that just kept selling, catching publishers, booksellers and even its author off guard. In seeking to understand the reasons for the book’s unusually protracted shelf life, we uncover important messages about our moment in history, about the still-vital place of reading in our culture, and about the changing face of publishing.
The book is Sapiens, by the Israeli academic Yuval Noah Harari, published in the UK in September 2014. It’s a recondite work of evolutionary history charting the development of humankind through a scholarly examination of our ability to cooperate as a species. Sapiens sold well on publication, particularly when it came out in paperback in the summer of 2015. What’s remarkable about it, though, is that it’s still selling in vast numbers. In its first two and a half years of life, Sapiens sold just over 200,000 copies in the UK. Since 2017, when Harari published Homo Deus, his follow-up, Sapienshas sold a further half million copies, establishing itself firmly at the top of the bestseller lists (and convincingly outselling its sequel). Sapiens has become a publishing phenomenon and its wild success is symptomatic of a broader trend in our book-buying habits: a surge in the popularity of intelligent, challenging nonfiction, often books that are several years old.
When Hachette Book Group acquired Workman Publishing, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch observed that Workman was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, remaining independent trade publishers left in the U.S. Based on available data, a case could indeed be made that Workman was the largest of its kind. Which has raised a question in publishing circles: why are there so few independent publishers of size? There is a dearth of what can be called midsize publishers that fall between the Big Five and the many independent publishers with sales of $20 million or less.
The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt trade division, with 2020 sales of $192 million, was what could have been considered a mini-major before it was acquired by HarperCollins. The Scholastic trade group, with sales of $355 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, is a major player in the children’s trade market, but as part of a $1.3 billion publisher, it is clearly not independent. Other trade publishers that could be considered midsize that are also part of larger companies are Disney’s publishing division and Abrams, which is owned by the French company La Martinière Groupe, which was itself acquired by Media Participations.
Not so long ago, writing and publishing your own book was just a pipe dream for many of us.
It wasn’t so much getting the words down on paper which was putting us off.
It was more the expense of either finding an agent and a publisher or paying through the nose to print dozens of copies yourself which might have ended up unsold and gathering dust in the garage.
But that is resoundingly no longer the case. Digital publishing and online booksellers such as Amazon have been an absolute game-changer.
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