Friday, May 18, 2012

Publishing News

Publishing news for the past two weeks. Yet another episode of "what's going on in the real world!"


Larry Kirshbaum, who will be overseeing Amazon Publishing, sits down for an interview on how Amazon Publishing will work. He says they will be a small publisher, putting out 40-50 books a year, and that they will publish a lot of books. They plan on using recommendations to help sell books - "if you like that, you'll like this" - to target books with audiences. However, he also recommends writers do their own publicity.

The DOJ rejects the motion to dismiss the class-action suit against Apple and 5 publishers for price-fixing. This is despite the settlement the DOJ has already reached with 3 of the publishers. (There's a shorter article here; these are not two separate cases but simply a motion to dismiss this single one, which I felt wasn't quite clear in the first article.)

People are still reading. They're reading more than apparently they were 50 years ago (or just admitting it more!)

Random House has created a Brand Marketing position for their Crown Publishing Group, and filled it. It appears her job is to help authors create and market their brand (i.e., their names). I imagine she'll be doing the same for the imprint itself.

Back in 2008, Georgia State University violated copyright laws by digitally uploading numerous copyrighted works to their archives without permission and making available for free to students. Most universities do this to some extent, but it's a question of scope: how much is available, such as chapters versus entire books; and how long it's available, as in for a semester or for decades; and how protected it is, as in can non-students access it.  This case precedes the Google Books case of uploading by a couple of years. Now the case has finally come to a close, with courts ruling against GSU. The Association of American Publishers has released an official statement on the decision. They're happy that suit has succeeded, but are disappointed that GSU was not held entirely liable and is still abusing some "fair use" laws.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 5/11 and 5/18.

Nathan Bransford posts The Last Few Weeks in Books. He also mentions the challenges facing the industry in this new era (that is, during the advent and expansion of digital publishing.) If you've been keeping up with the news the past couple of years, you've probably come across most of them yourself, and been wondering the same things. I'll pay you an imaginary $10 if you can guess them all before reading.*

On QueryTracker: You get a request to revise and resubmit from an agent in reply to your submission. What do you do? First, consider the revisions. Are they reasonable? Is this the right agent for you? If so and if you agree with the revisions, take your time. Don't rush, even if it means you get the resubmission done months later. Be thorough, and if you think of a better revision than the suggested one, do whichever is best.

Rachelle Gardner tells us not to count on the income from the first book. Sure, some may be made, but the money won't go nearly as far as you're hoping it will. And worse, writing for the paycheck because you need to pay the bills will slowly kill your love of writing. If you need the money, get another job - even if it means less time to write. That's not to say you can't ever make an income on writing; it just means be smart about it and make sure you can support yourself if the cash isn't what you expect.

And it can be tempting to put a book out before it's ready. Really tempting. But don't. Good books take time, and it's a loss to the reading world to publish a could-be-great book before it's had its proper editing. Not to mention that putting a lower-quality book than you are capable of into the hands of readers might just kill your career before it begins. Sure, they might know your name - but do you want to be known as "that writer who rushed the plot and didn't edit"?

There's also the question of "what if my agent doesn't like my next book?" Your agent signed you because they believed you were capable of writing, and writing well. But sometimes it happens. Ask yourself why: is this book the same quality as my last? Remember that your agent is not required to any book you write, just because you write it. Your agent is your agent because she/he is looking out for your career. Chances are, she'll work with you to fix the book and bring it up to par. If you trust her advice, move on. Otherwise, maybe it's time to get a new agent.

Self-publishing? Take a look at the Kentucky Indie Writers' post on the importance of editing. At the very least, good editing shows your self-respect as a professional. Teresa Reasor (post writer) also lists reputable editors to help you make the most of your work, and a link to find Editor Freelancer Association rates so you know what to expect to pay.

Agent Kristen teaches us what a plot catalyst is, and how to use it to write an amazing query in a vlog. Query plot paragraphs do not sum up the entire novel; they just identify the plot catalyst. That's the thing that happens that starts the novel going. Figure out what the plot catalyst is, and build your paragraph around it. And don't defenestrate your computer during the suspense-building slides.

Darcy Pattison talks about how to build an author platform, even if you're not yet published. Mostly? Talk about what interests you. Talk a lot, and connect with people who have similar interests. Just because you're not talking about a book doesn't mean much - you're making connections who will be more likely to read what you write when you are published.

GalleyCat offers an amusing chart on the process of publishing.

What news in the publishing world have you come across in the past two weeks?

*Did you win? Great! Instructions for collecting your imaginary $10: Close your eyes. We're sitting on a tropical island in the middle of nowhere, a school of dolphins jumping out of the blue water on the horizon. I hand you a $10 bill. "Congrats. Now keep your eyes closed just a little longer while I take advantage of this free tropical vacation. Thanks!"

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