Friday, November 2, 2012

Publishing Industry News

This weeks' publishing industry news and helpful industry blogs covers 10/20-11/2. Despite Hurricane Sandy, there's been quite a bit going on. However, things have in general slowed down the past few days as agents, publishing houses, bookstores, and readers work to recover, especially those in the Northeast. (Best wishes for a quick recovery to everyone who was affected by the hurricane.)

Publishing News

Penguin and Random House are merging. The new company will be Penguin Random House (unfortunately not Random Penguin House), and it states that the merger will allow it to compete with giants Amazon and Apple. There is some concern as to what this will mean for authors, but market analysts don't seem surprised at the move. The Random House CEO also writes a letter to his employees, as does the Penguin Books CEO.

The Nook is now available in the U.K.

Shopped at Barnes & Noble in the last month using your debit card and PIN number? Live in California, Florida, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or New York? Look at this list and make sure you didn't visit one of these stores. If so, you'll want to change your debit PIN number. These stores got hacked.

Canadian publisher Douglas & McIntyre files for bankruptcy.

Romance publisher Avon experiments with DRM-free books.

The Wiley Case is a Supreme Court case all about the rights of first-sale, and whether or not they apply to foreign-published books. The libraries vote that owners should be able to resell books, give them away, or lend them to friends--even if the books are published overseas. This effects not just libraries, but also sellers such as Amazon and other retailers who legally purchase books from printing companies, owned by Americans overseas, and resell them in America (the unintended consequences of outsourcing?). The Supreme Court intends to look at as many aspects of this case as possible, including which secondary markets will be affected and how both for or against rulings will hurt and/or help them.

Speaking of unintended consequences, Publishers' Weekly talks about some of the unintended consequences of the HathiTrust case.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 10/26.

Afraid you might hate your cover? Angela Quarles explains how she got the cover she wanted through a traditional publishing company.

Have you thought about self-publishing to build an audience in hopes of attracting an agent? If so, you'll need to sell at least 20,000 copies before an agent will look at you, according to Janet Reid.

Agent Kristen tells us to never sign a boilerplate contract. Ever. A boilerplate contract, by the way, would be a non-negotiated contract: that is, the standard contract they hand you the first time you meet them. Don't just sign because it's a contract. Read through it and tell the publisher that there is no way you'll sign anything giving them eternal rights to your story, with no reversion clauses, not even a "fail to publish" clause where you get your rights back if they don't actually publish. Even reputable publishers will have clauses in them that are unfavorable to authors, so either negotiate that contract yourself, or hire someone else to do it for you.

Does your story reference someone else's work? Worried if you need to get permission to use that quote, phrase, song, or poem? The Editor's Blog does a post on plagiarism, homage, and quoting. If you're directly quoting, you'll probably need permission. But generally it's okay to refer to the title of the work or the artist.

Rachelle Gardner explains the 10 things editors look for in non-fiction. These include platform, salable concept, new ideas, and great voice, among others.

Nathan Bransford offers a list of NaNoWriMo resources. He also does a This Week! In Books! post covering a few weeks' worth of news.

GalleyCat offers a post of 60 NaNoWriMo resources.

On QueryTracker, Stina Lindenblatt points out things that get a writer noticed in social media today, in a good way. Don't promo-spam your GoodReads fans, or they won't be fans for long; write short interviews; remember that social media is for being social.

What major publishing news or industry blogs have you encountered in the past two weeks?

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