Friday, November 4, 2011

Publishing News

Publishing news for the past couple of weeks! There's a bunch of noteworthy links this week, so be prepared for a lot of reading (or, you know, just read the ones most pertinent to you, or read a couple and then come back tomorrow and Sunday and Monday for the rest, or make the go-fer read it all and give you a brief book report. Whichever floats your boat.) To make it easier, I've broken the types of news down into three sections: Major News, Being in the Business, and Improving Your Craft.

Major News:

Breaking news over the past few days, HarperCollins acquires Thomas Nelson, combining the number one and number two publishers of the religious-themed works. If you're trying to publish inspirational fiction or nonfiction, keep a close eye on this merger - that's the two largest publishers of your market, which may very well have an effect on bidding for advances.

Berkley Publishing group will be launching an e-book imprint called InterMix. That means, a line of books exclusively for e-sales ('Imprints' are books released under the same line name. Publishers frequently have several imprints, or line names, to appeal to different audiences; in this case, the line consists of numerous re-releases of old books and some new books, all done as mass-market for a price of about $6.99).

Publishers Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Hachette Book Group are all launching websites to allow authors to directly access sales figures. This is a big step, and addresses the losses traditional publishers took when Amazon began giving that information to authors through Neilsen BookScan (which tracks 75% of print sales). Of course, the publishers state that their decision is a response to author requests for direct access to sales figures, and not a reply to Amazon.

After Google's failed settlement about the digitization of orphan works (works whose authors cannot be found), Congress is taking an in-depth look at copyright law for publishing as it applies to modern technology. Some of the things under priority discussion are "orphan works, preservation for libraries, mass digitization, and fighting digital piracy."

Being in the Business:

The Wall Street Journal weighs in on the advantages of self-publishing... and the differences in sales trends based on duration of sales.

Sara D.  talks about the benefits of being labeled 'controversial,' since being banned frequently turns into free advertising. She encourages writers to write what they want - if it's controversial, well, that will just get readers talking.

Are you a novelist? Rachelle Gardner points out that branding is for nonfiction, not fiction. Your brand is your name and your genre. And no, writing isn't going to get easier. It's not just you - writing is tough, and everyone goes through that.

Jessica Faust, over at Bookends, LLC, tells us that as authors, we are responsible for paying our own taxes - our agents don't take the taxes out for us. Save up a portion of your advance to pay taxes on it! Also, save your receipts and find out what's a tax write-off and what's not. You can probably bank a lot more than you expect.

Nathan Bransford has his This Week in the News posted as well, covering a few weeks' worth of news and including some links I missed.

Improving Your Craft:

Querying nonfiction? Agent Janet Reid reminds you to Google your subject. She also points out the importance of communication and explanation - also, the importance of not implying that the agent you are querying is stupid. If you think you've already answered her question, ask her for clarification instead, because you're probably not understanding the question.

Lisa Jordan  prepares writers for NaNoWriMo by encouraging them to find time for writing - even if it's just a few minutes a day.

 Rachelle Gardner also suggests educating yourself on how to be a published author by networking with other authors, keeping up with industry news, and reading up about publishing life. And if you're having doubts about your agent, she offers advice on when and how to end your contract and go looking for a new agent.

Jessica Faust also shares the uses (not how to use, but why to use) Facebook and Twitter, and how the two platforms serve different audiences. Twitter is good for making yourself known to new readers; Facebook is for connecting with those who are already your fans.

Suzie Townsend has taken many pitches at conferences, and she suggests having comparison titles ready for your pitch.

And Querytracker offers several different forms of rhetoric for use in writing - including a brief mention of when to use them.

Emlyn Chand, novelist, shares the 10 things she wished she knew before she began writing and publishing.

And Marcy Kennedy & Lisa Hall-Wilson talk about how to scare your readers, for writers looking to write horror stories.

Adventures in Agentland supplies tips for marketing, including pre-sale, pre-publishing and post-publishing.

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