Friday, May 3, 2013

Publishing Industry News

Publishing news and industry blogs for 4/23-5/3 [links for 5/3 may not appear until the afternoon].

Publishing News

HarperCollins is planning on starting a new digital-first imprint, Witness, for mystery novels. While royalties begin at 25% (low for a digital-first line), they skyrocket to 50% after the author has sold 10,000 books. There are no advances, prices will range from $.99 to $2.99 (USD), and the first books should be going out in October. HarperCollins' parent company, News Corp, may soon be splitting into two companies--shareholders will vote June 11th on the issue.

Author James Patterson has been taking out ads to raise awareness of publishing, asking Who will save books? There have been many responses, many of them optimistic, such as this one. And while libraries may be struggling, 94% of American parents still think libraries are important for their children.

And Random House's Hydra imprint, previously in the news for having unfavorable-to-authors contract terms that were then revised after authors pointed out the problems, makes its debut.

Macmillan finalizes its settlement with the DOJ in the price-fixing suit. This is shortly after Judge Cote shot down Penguin's request to go to jury trial in the same case, as Penguin had waived their right to do so back in October.

Last year, Macmillan experimented with dropping DRM from its imprint Tor. It's found that after one year, there has been no discernible increase in piracy.

German courts say no to the selling of used e-books.

Hachette makes its entire e-book catalog available to libraries for their e-lending programs.

Author Solutions, which calls itself a self-publishing service, has been sued by three authors for failing to deliver on contractual agreements, charging authors to fix errors they themselves inserted, and false advertising, among other grounds.

Nook Press, the re-branded PubIt!, has many of the same features as PubIt!, but Barnes and Noble aims to make the self-publishing experience easier than ever before, hoping to compete with Amazon's KDP and Apple's Smashwords.

Meanwhile, the Kindle program now offers over 300,000 books for e-lending, which Kindle authors may check out once a month. Amazon is also now planning to delete e-books of less than 2500 words.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 4/26 and 5/3.

Nathan Bransford's This Week in Books for 4/26. He also disputes the idea that e-book sales are declining, showing that they are in fact still increasing.

A handy-dandy chart comparing the royalty rates of various self-publishing platforms.

Kristen McLean has a very interesting response to James Patterson's recent stand on publishing.

Meanwhile, agent Kristen Nelson asks publishers who are rewarding new, e-first authors a serious question: What are you doing to reward the authors you already have, those who have stood by you?

Ash Krafton on QueryTracker talks about something we all face: patience in the writing journey. It's often not your first self-published book that leads to a sustainable career, but rather your fifth. That means slogging through the slow road of watching, waiting, methodical world domination writing. Be patient, and whatever you do, don't stop writing.

And Stina Lindenblatt on QueryTracker tells you to start stalking the agents you plan to query at least 2 weeks ahead of when you plan to query them (Internet stalking, that is, and only the non-harassing kind). Make sure they really stand by your genre. Meanwhile, Kate Epstein explains the differences between a freelance editor and an agent. Jane Lebak rounds up the blogs by giving advice on negotiation: Know what your best alternative is, and don't accept less than you'd get with the alternative. Don't feel bad for not taking your best option.

Rachelle Gardner reminds us to back up your work!!! However you do it, just do it. She also adds to her argument of why you may need an agent--but with the caveat that if you never plan to use a traditional publisher, you're probably fine going on your own. So hybrid authors will want an agent, but not self-pub only.

And she invites guest blogger Erin MacPherson to talk about how authors can use Pinterest as a marketing tool (without spamming!).

And Agent Janet Reid is back in the Question Emporium, answering things such as What's the best font for my query? and how many questions are too many?, How do I send 3-5 pages via e-mail without an attachment when the e-mail loses the formatting, Should I continue to query if I'm in a contest, or should I wait until the contest is over?, If I've published for a niche audience outside the genre my current manuscript, will it make it harder to get an agent?,

Chuck Sambuchino interviews some literary agents to ask "What should writers not do at the beginning of their novels?"

Do you ever wonder why you don't hear about many women writers in science fiction? It's not because they're not out there. Check out I09's piece on gender bias in book reviews--much of it, they say, comes from the proportion of male to female reviewers in the best-known reviewing periodicals.

Pitching to an agent at a conference? Angela Quarles talks about making dossiers for each agent receiving your pitches, why it's a good idea and what to include.

Also, in an absolutely hilarious subtle comment on gaming piracy, Greenheart Games uploads its own pirated version of its game to well-known pirate sites... with one small, tiny change. Okay, so these are indie games, not authors, but as authors we also deal piracy. I wonder who'll come up with the novel version of this?

Authorgraph offers writers the ability to sign their e-books... digitally. And would you be willing to travel to, or perhaps even Skype with, a book club about your book? Authors Who Visit Book Clubs lets authors coordinate with book clubs.

GalleyCat puts together this month's list of self-publishing news, data, and resources.

Added Friday evening:
The etiquette for asking for endorsements (aka blurbs).

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

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