Friday, October 18, 2013

This week's publishing news and industry blogs covers 10/5-10/18. Not a wide variety of news, but maybe that's because everyone's talking about the same things...

Publishing News

WH Smith, a UK bookseller, shut down its website to remove all self-published e-books, of all genres, after a UK publication announced they found self-published erotica containing taboo pornographic subjects such as rape and incest for sale through the site (supposedly with the plan of putting all books back eventually after individually verifying each one doesn't violate terms & conditions). Amazon and Barnes & Noble are also removing self-published books containing certain tags, descriptions, and cover motifs. Unfortunately the removals aren't limited to books that actually violated terms, but have been rather sporadic, even affecting nonfiction and other genres of fiction, due to the methods of removal. Meanwhile Kobo seems to have eliminated all self-pub books, but only in UK ebookstore (er, and Australia and New Zealand).  Self-pub writers are understandably upset, and some have launched a petition protesting this treatment. Traditionally published books are untouched.

Joan Rivers was in trouble with the Writes Guild of America after writing material for her show while the show's writers were on strike--her being a member of the guild and therefore supposed to be on strike as well. But she's agreed to a settlement instead, thus avoiding the trial and potentially being the first WGA member to be forcibly expelled.

Macmillan offers its entire backlist to library lending.

And self-publishing has brought us over 391,000 titles... mostly distributed through 8 major retailers.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 10/11 and 10/18.

On QueryTracker, Sarah Pinneo reminds us that reaching a single reader does in fact matter, sometimes more than we know. And Stina Lindenblatt wants writers to be sure they do their research before submitting to agents.

A self-publishing service list, that helps you match your needs with the perfect self-pub service? Sounds great. Except when the results aren't really that great for authors. Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware checks out the offerings and is less than impressed. She also reminds authors of the dangers of signing contracts with "early termination" clauses--especially those that still apply even if it's the publisher backing out, not the author. And she weighs in on the Erotica/self-published book removal (worth reading at least for the wide variety of links she provides). Among other points, she notes that the "scandal" is a reminder that self-published authors are at the mercy of businesses who distribute their books, businesses who have their own interests at heart, not those of the authors who use the services. And that there are deeper topics at hand, from how to draw lines on "obscene" to book banning.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions. Should a young author mention age? (No.) Do bookmarks work for promo? (It's complicated.) When is an agent too new? (Depends on other things.) What is her preferred format for submitted manuscripts? Does a badly written blog post count against you with agents? (Hint: don't be crazy.) If I'm no longer sure what genre my story is after edits, what do I do? (Get your beta readers to help you identify it.) When and how much information should you hear from your agent? (Talk with them; it's up to you.)

On the Editor's Blog, a post about the importance of choosing the right verbs and how they can develop your character and yours story.

Wish you could keep track of your ebook sales (something I know bothers a lot of writers)? With AppAnnie, you can.

GalleyCat offers an online directory for finding a writers group. Also, 5 ways to sell your book through local! It also shares a handy list of famous writers' rules, a "Writing Cheat Sheet," that some writers like and others don't (I suggest, if you don't like it, don't use it.) And a free guide to marketing your book during the holidays. Also, do you want to add a digital soundtrack to your story?

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

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