Friday, December 2, 2011

Publishing News

In publishing news for the past two weeks, the major news is all about Penguin: e-lending and BookCountry, that is. News first, then a nice little run-around of links for keeping motivated and improving your writing. Apparently agents have been chatting about queries, because we've got three blogs on those.

Major News

Jane Friedman has a post on recent Penguin news. This blog's a little hard to follow, but she talks about Penguin's decision to pull their books from e-libraries. She provides links to other articles and quotes from bloggers. In summary: Penguin originally decided to support e-lending, but is now pulling their books from library e-lending 'shelves.' You can expect to see Penguin books pulled from the 'shelves' as of the end of the year. And no new titles will be added. Explanations from this (not official) range from the fact that the e-lending site looks like an Amazon shopping page on Kindle and requires being logged into Kindle, that Penguin is afraid people will borrow books and not buy them, or that Penguin is worried people will check books out from non-local libraries. Another point of note is that Random House is now reviewing their e-lending policy: and Random House originally embraced e-lending.

If you want a look at what Penguin's saying about this, The Digital Shift gives you Penguin's official statements.

And PaidContent notes that self-published authors are harshly criticizing Penguin's BookCountry, now that it's started charging fees, referring to it as "vanity publishing" and "preying on inexperienced authors." I also recommend reading Writer Beware's take on the issue.

General Writing

Rachelle Gardner hosts a guest-post from Katie Ganshert, who talks about how her life has changed now that she's gotten a contract. It's not all dandelions and roses; life after-contract has its own set of worries. Of course, she wouldn't trade it for the world.

Also from Rachelle: Have you started having doubts about your writing? Is it not fun some days? Do you hate it sometimes? Look at it like a good marriage: It's not fun all the time. You won't be enamoured with it every day. But it's worth it. Don't give up.

In QueryTracker, it's believability or bust. Decide what the rules of your world are, and keep to them. Don't lose your reader because you broke the rules of your own world.  We're also reminded about the importance of thanking our beta readers. Even if their feedback isn't easy to swallow, they make us a better writer - and not thanking them is a quick way to lose them.

And QueryTracker also posts that it's a numbers game: Essentially, a long list of links to tips to improve your writing and your business. If you've got a little time, check it out. Otherwise, bookmark it and come back later. Some of these tips are really helpful: How to grow your blog, 10 things all writers need to know (like figuring out who their audiences are), 10 steps to match your query to your agent, and 10 things Hollywood producers look for in books.

Also drop by for their Publishing Pulse: links to a lexicon of publishing terms, the life cycle of book (a view of the process of publishing), Patricia C. Wrede's advice on writing the middle of a book and making your scenes have an emotional impact, the "inside scoop" of three editors on publishing, Icy Sedgewick's posts on writing beginnings, middles, and ends, and Rachel Aaron's advice on increasing word count.

Jessica Faust answers the question of what women's fiction is: "Women's fiction is not simply a book whose target audience is women. It's also a book about a woman's personal growth and change and it tends to be strongly emotional." She begins the LLC Bookmas, so if you want a free book, hop by and read the rules. And she also mentions that sometimes, she breaks the rules - like when she reads a query so interesting she requests for it - despite not being open to submissions at the time.

Janet Reid talks about the purpose of queries, and that's being to get the agent to ask for more. Not to tell the story. Not to sell yourself. It's just to sell the book! (I wonder if she and Jessica have been talking?)
If they have, they've also been hanging out with Suzie Townsend, because she also posted advice on queries: "Your query has to grab an agent. Which means you have to show them how your book will stand out in a tough marketplace and sometimes an overcrowded genre."

Writer Unboxed espouses the importance of a skill known as copywriting: that is, selling your book. It's a different skill than writing your book. Don't forget to learn to sell!

Nathan Bransford asks us if we're suffering from common writing maladies: go take a look. If you're suffering from one, get help now.

What recent interesting blogs and articles have you encountered these past two weeks?

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