Friday, August 10, 2012

Publishing Industry News

Publishing news and helpful industry blogs for the past two weeks, compiled for your convenience! This post covers 7/28-8/10.

Industry News

HarperCollins combines Thomas Nelson and Zondervan into a new, single Christian publishing division.

Theoretically, if the Author's Guild wins against Google in the Google Books Scanning case, Google could pay as much as $1 billion. That's based on the estimate that each count of copyright infringement would come with a minimum $750 fine, and the estimate that of the 20 million books scanned, 4 million of them were still under US copyright. Of course, that assumes all the copyright holders come forth with proof of copyright. This release comes as the parties prepare to go to trial in the fall of 2012.

On the DOJ vs. Bix Publishers, the DOJ files the settlement agreement with the 3 publishers (HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster) who have agreed to settle and asks the judge to approve them.

Want to link to all the major retailers at once from your website to sell your book? Check out this widget! (Yes, now there's an app for that.)

Tired of booksignings given to empty rooms? Now there's a program for that, too! Togather lets fans invite authors of interest, and when enough fans reserve seats, the author knows to come. Supposedly, this guarantees a full house.

Amazon offers a textbook rental program. Saving students money? Always cool! This move can save students hundreds of dollars each semester. The textbooks are still half the price of the originals for keeping them for only 6 months,but since that's as long as students usually keep them anyway, can't say it's lost value in most cases. Unless it's one of those textbooks you just like and want to keep on your shelf, in which case, maybe the money you saved on the last three you rented and returned will let you buy a new one for keeps.

And Smashwords adds a couple of new features, including the Pricing Manager that allows users to set their prices from the dashboard, and a features that allows libraries to buy in bulk the Smashwords books (called Library Direct).

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 8/3 and 8/10.

Nathan Bransford's This Week in Books for 8/3.

Rachelle Gardner posts "The Top Ten Query Mistakes" (a reblog from 2010 that still apparently holds true.) She also reposts "Are you a rookie or a professional?" Hint: if you submit something incorrectly or refuse to make edits, the industry will probably see you as a rookie.

Feel like you're not connecting with your audience? You might not be. When you're blogging, are you really aiming for your target audience? Know who your audience is, and address them.

You know that inevitable moment when the novel has been written, polished, and repolished, and the queries have been sent, and the synopses are exactly as you want them? What next? Stop waiting and start writing book two. Blog. Take writers' classes. As QueryTracker reminds us, an author's work is never done! And when you get that rejection, look twice to make sure it's not a form rejection before following its advice. No use beefing up perfectly good characterization just because that's the standard response from that agent.
Also at QueryTracker, Arthur Plotnik tackles the question "how long should it be?" in regards to what the standard word lengths are for various forms of fiction, from short stories to novellas to novels. Published novels tend to run from 80,000 to 200,000 (depending on genre); the standard short story is around 2000-3000 words.

Shannon Donnelly gives us advice on how to alter your pacing. What are ways you can speed it up? Short sentences, conflict. Slow it down? Lyrical prose and backstory.

If memoir's your thing, you may want to check out Janet Reid's post on queries for memoirs: write them in first person! Your memoir should be completed before submission, and generally sold much like fiction, but unless you've taken to referring to yourself in third person, don't do it in your query.

And on her "Friday night at the question emporium," she answers a question about revising/resubmitting: an agent asks for a revision and resubmission, but passes. Does one resubmit to other agents, noting that the revisions were those suggested by Agent A? Resubmitting is fine, but pretend the revisions were your own idea.

On NovelRocket, a previous slushpile reader discusses what made her pass on a manuscript instead of sending it on for further evaluation. If the reader can't fall in love with your characters, or if the conflict doesn't appear in the beginning and last until the last page, it's time to edit.

Mette Ivie Harrison makes an intriguing list of the different types of plot, complete with drawings to illustrate each. (You know, the slow build to the climax, then the denoument... or the multiple climaxes leading up to a big one... or the plot that is so assorted you have to try to figure it out, like the first season of Lost...)

Published? Check your contract for the agent-clause. Does it give your agent part ownership of your book? Some do. Make sure you read the contract, and think about whether the agent-clause would be a deal-breaker for you in the terms it's written. Most writers sign it, but for Kristine Rusch, it was a deal-breaker.

What publishing news have you encountered over the past two weeks?

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