Friday, June 28, 2013

Publishing Industry News

Publishing news and industry blogs for 6/15-6/28/2013. The Apple vs. the DOJ lawsuit wraps up, a new DRM system aims to make piracy easier to track and therefore stop, self-publishers should to be realistic about which media sources they plan to contact, and more!

Publishing News

Barnes and Noble is sitting uncomfortably after a poor fourth quarter, amending its credit agreements with banks to reflect this. To help prevent further loss, they're planning to adopt a "partner-centric" model for the Nook side of the business.

In the Apple vs the DOJ lawsuit, Nook Media VP Theresa Horner took the stand. Also called up was economists Ben Klein and Michele Burtis. The trial then stalled for a while as judge Cote and the Apple and DOJ lawyers began a debate on the definition of profitability and its role in the trial, eventually ending with Cote deciding that the profitability of the e-book business as a whole, rather than just the companies involved, should not be a factor in the trial. Apple VP Eddy Cue then followed to the stand the next day.

Next in the suit, the government followed up by trying to paint Apple as a copycat, instead of an innovator in the field as Apple claimed. Judge Denise Cote, after several days of trial, said that her views on the subject had somewhat shifted (but did not at the time explain how), and thanked everyone for helping her understand many of the issues underlying the case. Closing arguments finished up the trial on Thursday, June 20, and Cote is now deliberating. (Andrew Albanese on PW offers an opinion on how Cote might rule and why.)

Author Solutions Inc. and Penguin Group file a motion to dismiss the class-action lawsuit against them.

Crimson Romance, digital publisher, is in some trouble over putting its authors in a subscription service program that pays not according to customer downloads but by seniority. The company's contracts for many of their clients hadn't specifically covered this possibility, as it hadn't been yet conceived, and while authors will now have the chance to opt-out at the end of June, many who might otherwise stay are unsatisfied with the payment plan the service offers, and future contracts may specifically require authors to participate.

What do you think about a program that slightly changes some of the words of your manuscript? A new DRM program aims to make piracy easier to track by changing a few words in a manuscript to similar words, so that each copy is unique, and investigators can trace pirated works back to the copy in which those particular changes began. But "slight changes" could involve things like changing "life and death" to "death and life," "not planned" to "unplanned," "eReader" to "e-reader,"unhyphenated" to "un-hyphenated" (loose equivalents to the changes shown in the German-written examples provided here; "very disturbing" to "not disturbing" [as in first link] appears to be an evaluation of the degree of change and not the actual changes that were made)--and when your craft is about words, well, do little changes can make a big difference?

Publishers are gaining fewer new followers on Twitter per year than before, but part of this is due to how they're using Twitter, switching from publisher-based title announcements to more author-centric tweets that focus customers on the authors, instead.

Amazon's fanfiction section has licensed new series for which fan writers can create salable works. (In cased you missed it, yes, Amazon now has a division selling fanfiction.)

Kobo's offering deals on the Kobo Touch and the Kobo Mini, the latter of which is all the way down to $39.99.

And a plagiarist gets caught, thanks to attentive readers on Dear Author.

Kickstarter bans seduction guides, in response to a project whose author had posted content on Reddit that many feel promoted violence against women, where the Kickstarter approval committee would not see it. Kickstarter also apologized that the project got funded and that they could not cancel it, decrying the content and what it represented.

NaNoWriMo comes to July at Camp NaNoWriMo.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 6/21 and 6/28.

Rachelle Gardner talks about creative pitching--your goal is to make an impact, so don't hold back, and don't be afraid of bringing props! She also talks about the pros and cons of blogging your rough draft: among which, immediate feedback is both a good thing and a bad thing, and once it's blogged, it counts as published, but you've got some accountability that will at least force you to finish.

On the Business Rusch, Kristine Rusch points out a few cold, hard threats to writers' financial well-being. If you're in America, can you imagine trying to raise the few hundred thousand dollars for actual treatment if you don't have health insurance? Does your high-deductible, low-premium insurance actually cover what it should? David Farland, well-known writer, has paid and is now paying once more the price of not having adequate insurance, and not because he didn't try. In the U.S. and some other countries, declaring bankruptcy (yes, even medical bankruptcy) means you lose your copyrights to your work, so it may not be an option if royalties are your income. What sort of living will do you have? Make sure you can trust the person who gains power of attorney over you should you be in a serious accident that leaves you unable to function for any period of time. Do you have savings to tide you over if you're in an accident and unable to write for part of year? Be prepared--many of these things can be handled now.

The RWA (Romance Writers of America) national convention is coming up, and if you're going--or attending some other writing conference in the near future--Angela Quarles has advice on getting the most out of your conference.

Gruff Davies shares his own personal experience with self-publishing. Beware the hype and know what you're getting into: although there are many benefits to self-publishing, there are significant downsides, too, and it's an enormous amount of work. Know the business before you take the leap.

At Writer Unboxed, the Do's and Don'ts of self-publishing PR revolve around contacting media that is willing to connect to self-published authors, and not wasting time with those who won't.

At GalleyCat, resources and a how-to on making a book cover with public domain images.

Have you ever heard the advice that the inciting incident should be about a quarter of the way through a book? How does that reconcile with starting the plot early enough to hook the reader? At Writers Write, "plot" and "journey" are defined as two separate ideas. The plot--characters' goals and motivations, the groundwork for the inciting incident, background conflict--should begin immediately, even if the characters' journey, which starts at the inciting incident, doesn't. On the Editors Blog, "inciting incident" has two meanings: the first something that happens in the first few pages, and the actual, technical inciting incident that writers learn about in class.

First Book makes an infographic that confronts the lack of diversity in kids' books.

And Writers Digest speculates on how self-publishers can make the most money.

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


  1. That "licensed fanfic" thing is stunning. Hadn't heard about that. Thanks!

    1. It really is. My own first few novel-length works were fanfics... although I consider them "training" material, not something I'd want to sell. Still, I've read fanfics in my time that were as good as anything traditionally published. It's an interesting development, all told!

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