Friday, December 14, 2012

Publishing Industry News

This week's post covers 12/1-12/14/12. So here's the latest publishing industry news and helpful blogs!

Publishing News

The Albee Agency claims to be a PR company for authors, and while that may be true, their credentials were not: not only is the site, according to Writer Beware, "offering services of dubious value for too much money, with no assurance of professional expertise," they also posted false testimonials from authors who'd never heard of them (which were removed after being called out)! If you've heard of them, steer clear; anyone who would post blatantly false recommendations on the assumption that no one in the industry would check won't do your PR any good, either.

HarperCollins has been accused by the Rainforest Action Network (a conservation group) of contracting companies that create paper using rainforest trees, harvested from areas of critical environmental importance. RAN had some forensic testing done that identified the paper of several children's books as containing components of trees from these areas. HarperCollins is currently challenging RAN's methodology in the tests, pointing out that the paper may produced before switching to using only certified mills in February 2012. They've also pointed out that RAN is not sharing the test results to help them identify the point of the problem, while they're not sharing their sourcing information with RAN.

In Europe, the e-book pricing suit (similar to the DOJ suit against U.S. publishers) has reached a settlement. Participating in the settlement are Apple, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Holtzbrinck (owner of Macmillan), who all agreed to switch to the wholesaler model instead of the agency model (allowing retailers to set the prices instead of publishers).

Hachette and Simon & Schuster (separately, thanks to the DOJ settlement) create new agreements with e-book retailers that allow the sellers to discount the books.

Barnes & Nobles plans to reduce the total number of brick-and-mortar stores, and are also experiencing some negative feedback (i.e. class action lawsuits) from a breach of security in several states this year when criminals tampered with some of their PIN pads, gaining credit card numbers from affected pads. They also close their TikaTok line.

Baker & Taylor aims to make audiobooks available on Apple and Android systems through Acoustik, a new mobile platform.

The Independent Book Sellers Association releases a how-to guide for indie and self-publishers for $2.99.

What do you think about targeting consumers by location? How about if your product is books? HarperCollins Canada gives this a try, targeting location-specific products (such as restaurant guides) to Facebook and social media fans in those areas

Amazon's Breakthrough Novel winners will be published by Amazon Publishing in the future instead of Penguin. (Almost goes without saying, now that Amazon Publishing is up and running, but there's a link for some official confirmation.) Also, Kindle prepares to enter China, creating a Kindle store for Chinese books. When they'll actually get in is yet to be seen.

Random House employees, meanwhile, get a $5,000 bonus after a record-breaking year. All of them. Part of the thanks goes to the success of E.L. James' 50 Shades trilogy, picked up by RH (bet each and every one of them is now a rabid E.L. James fan!).

Now you can lend your ePub files to your friends, with OwnShelf. B&N and Amazon both have lending functions, but it's much harder to loan an ePub bought from another retailer and uploaded onto your Nook or Kindle; OwnShelf, accessible through Facebook, should help change that.

The New York Times now has separate categories for Young Adult and Middle Grades bestseller lists.

Mystery writers: Adventure Publications is looking to start a new line of mystery books, set outdoors/in the wilderness at 68-100K words. Submission details at the bottom of author guidelines page. They did a guest post with Janet Reid, giving a few more details.

Cosmo and Harlequin team up to publish a new line of novellas called "Red Hot Reads" (romance, in case the title and publishers didn't tip you off).

For published authors, your Nielson BookScan data will now include Walmart sales.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 12/7 and 12/14.

Nathan Bransford's The Last Few Weeks in Books (from 11/30).

On Writer Beware, a guest poster talks about how to avoid international writing scams, such as magazines that never pay and contests to which writers give all rights on entering. Mostly, it comes down to do your research and read the fine print--pretty much the same advice anywhere.

If you have more than one book, just pitch one at a time, Rachelle Gardner says. She also provides a list of advice on how to find an agent, based off her Facebook followers' comments on how they landed agents. And how do you know if your book is good? Um, well... Ask people, go with your gut, see if it sells? Sorry, there's no way something as subjective as 'good' has a clear-cut answer. Also, avoid putting these lines in your query. "Facepalm" is not the reaction you want from your dream agent. And do you have a Holiday Plan for writing?

Thursday afternoon, Friday night, and Saturday morning at the Question Emporium, Janet Reid answers questions. If you don't know what genre your manuscript is, don't mention one. Also don't tailor to the agent's gender; that's a stereotype and disaster waiting to happen. If the agent isn't looking for what you write, then this is not the right agent for you. (My two cents: There's a difference between appealing to an agent's interests and misrepresenting your work, so while you can mention things you've discovered the agent likes, don't tailor to what you think the agent is looking for if it's not what your book is.) Also, know your own market. Saying you're the only one out there who's doing something doesn't make friends if bunches of other people are offering exactly what you are.

It's almost another year. What better time to make a business plan? Stina Lindenblatt at QueryTracker offers advice on making one. Carolyn Kaufman answers questions about writing a character who has been through an abusive relationship, on counseling and recovery and where to find further resources.

Sourcebooks editor Leah Hultenschmidt drops by the FF&P blog to give an interview on what her job is like.

Twitter's changed formats, so if you're not up-to-date, here's how to add a header photo. (Me? Of course I'm up to date... No, my name isn't Cyrano. Why do you ask?)

By the way, if you're new to Goodreads, don't use it to self-promote. The community there really doesn't like self-promotion.

3DIssue publishes a nifty graphic on the digital publishing explosion. Here's something to put things into perspective: the Kindle was first launched in 2007, not quite six years ago. Rapid-fire market change, anyone?

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

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