Friday, August 24, 2012

Publishing Industry News

Publishing industry news and helpful blogs for 8/11-8/24.

Industry news

Apple protests the DOJ's proposed settlement as unfair, including pointing out that the DOJ is attempting to rewrite their contracts with the affected party before even hearing any evidence, despite Apple never participating in the settlement. It also accuses Amazon of being a monopolist and driving the DOJ's investigation. (Also see PW article for more.)

Music industry attorney Bob Kohn asks permission to weigh in on the DOJ vs. Apple and Publishers case.. He includes the fact that even the DOJ admitted that Amazon was using predatory pricing, and asks the DOJ to release its findings.

If you're in the RWA (Romance Writers of America), you've probably heard the big news: the RWA board voted to drop the Novels with Strong Romantic Elements category from the Golden Heart future contests during the 2012 national conference. This means that books categorized as non-romance but with romantic subplots will either have to enter as their romantic version (such as an urban fantasy novel entering into paranormal romance) or not at all. The Regency category is also being combined back into the Historical category.

The Nook moves into to the U.K. The Kindle moves into India.

In the Google case, the judge first says there will be no delay, but then says there will be a delay due to the plaintiff's health issues. Opposition briefs are now due Oct. 24. Meanwhile, Google has been granted the chance to appeal the decision to allow the Authors Guild class status.

MacMillan picks up start-up publisher Page Street Publishing in Massachusetts.

What do you think about selling used e-books? ReDigi plans to do just that, opening a digital used e-book store--assuming they can get through the litigation first, that is, because many publishers aren't so hot on the idea. As an interesting twist to the case, ReDigi offers to be a line of defense for the publishers against e-pirates, keeping an eye out for filesharing sites offering pirated e-books for free.

Georgia State University has also been embroiled in litigation, in which publishers accused them of having professors deliberately infringe on copyright in order to reduce class costs using the university's e-reserve system. The judge not only awarded in GSU's favor (in all but 5 of 75 claims), but also forced the publishers to pay GSU's court costs. One of the final points the judge made in the decision was that GSU operated at the tax payers' expense already, and the system proposed by the publishers to keep track and prevent overuse of copyrighted materials would be extremely expensive.

Scribd gets a makeover, moving the social media toolbar to a less prominent area.

And Nook gives the Kindle back some of its own--Nook Tablet drops price to $179, undercutting the Kindle Fire.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker posts its Publishing Pulse for 8/17 and 8/24.

Writing nonfiction? You're probably looking for comp titles (comparison titles) to put in your query. Janet Reid talks about what to look for, and what's considered good. Someone finally request your full, and you're wondering what to write in the letter (or e-mail) that you send with it? Terse is okay. And if a notorious agent who goes by the moniker "the Shark" gives you praise, don't pretend she's just being nice--believe it!

If you're a member of a mailing list, she also advises us that the size of mailing list doesn't really matter if you're not a regular contributor. Just because you're on a large list doesn't translate to lots of sales. If an agent asks for revisions, protocol is to send the revised version to that agent first before shopping it elsewhere.

Writer's Digest posts the 21 traits of best-selling fiction.Then it summarizes them up with three points: Appeal to the intellect, the emotions, and the soul.

Angry at rejections? Look at them from the agent's side. What's it like to be an agent trying to find the perfect fit? Michael Bourne gives us a glimpse.

If you're afraid of the risks you're taking, that's okay. Agent Kristen talks about her experience feeling that fear, and how you should take those risks anyway.

Are you in the RWA and trying to figure out the myRWA website? FF&P hosts a 3 part series on how to navigate myRWA, Part 1, part 2, and part 3. Writing cross-genre romance, such as science fiction romance? Award-winning author Linnea Sinclair drops by with advice on how to deal with dual expectations.

QueryTracker breaks down types of backstory and how to successfully include backstory in your novel without weighing the novel down. Your readers must care about your character, which means your character needs a history. But sometimes, just handing them a bat and an old leather glove is all you need to explain that history.

Also on QueryTracker, how learning about screenwriting can help writers of other genres. Subtext, subtext, subtext!

Agent Suzie Townsend shares what goes through her mind as she reads (and rejects) queries. Does your query make her think these things?

Rachelle Gardner gives us 8 tips for promoting your book. Getting people talking about the theme of your book is one of her great ideas, right along making a hashtag of the theme (not the book name). She also brings in a guest blogger to offer tips for hiring a website designer.

Nathan Bransford tells us not to send our Tweets to Facebook. They're two different social networks with different strengths, and tweeting to Facebook isn't making good use of the Facebook platform. And he talks about the last revolution the book industry faced: Paperback books. This is not the first time the entire industry has been rewritten.

On Publishers' Weekly, a webcartoonist talks about how the new, affordable POD color comic format has made POD comics a viable and profitable option.

*EDIT* Added late: Nathan Bransford's These Past Few Weeks in Books for 8/24.

Google records show book scanning project was aimed at combating Amazon.

Random House Canada launches e-magazine Hazlitt.

The DOJ defends its settlement, comparing publishers to railroads and other companies.

Weird Tales, popular speculative fiction magazine, faces backlash for publishing a story readers found to be racist. The editor responsible considered the work as a whole to be denouncing racism, but only an excerpt was published. Another magazine, Shimmer, raises its rates for authors to "pro-rates," meaning $.05 per word, to cover the gap. For a nice collection on the Weird Tales fiasco and reactions, Shaun Duke has put together a list of links.

What industry news have you encountered in the last couple of weeks?

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