Friday, December 27, 2013

Publishing Industry News

Publishing news and industry blogs for 12/14-12/28.

Publishing News

Pennsylvania joins the states that collect sales tax on Amazon and other online purchases, and its legislators announce their support of the Marketplace Fairness Act, designed to make all online retailers collect sales tax. Whether or not the MFA will get enough support to pass is still up for debate.

Indie booksellers are carrying more and more self-published books, particularly as the quality of self-published books rises, and if the author is local. This may soon extend to e-books as well. Booksellers report the partnership with local authors helps them compete with larger book chains.

The Independent Book Publishers Association passes an official code of ethics for its members.

Bob Kohn is appealing the publisher settlements in the DOJ vs the Big Six and Apple case, on the grounds that the publishers' actions were in fact pro-competitive, and Amazon's role should have been considered in the trial and settlements. Kohn specifically is not seeking any delay in injunctions and refunds already agreed upon (and will be fined if he does), but because Apple is not involved in the publisher settlements, and the publishers not likely to appeal themselves as they are already in the settlements, he states that the settlements will not have sufficient scrutiny on behalf of consumers if no one appeals.

Meanwhile in the DOJ vs Apple suit, the DOJ is dismissing Apple's complaints about the monitor as being a negative PR campaign, and claims that Apple has not been willing to discuss appropriate terms of conduct for the monitor or the legal fees the monitor would be able to charge.

Smashwords signs a deal with Scribd that will make Smashwords books available on Scribd's subscription service.

For a while major retailers had a lock on e-reading habits discerned from tracking reading trends on e-readers (in non-identifying ways), now start-ups are making the information available to subscribers, meaning self-published authors can now discover what readers spend the most time on, when their books are abandoned, what gets highlighted, etc.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's 12/20 and 12/17.

Nathan Bransford's The Last Few Weeks in Books for 12/26.

Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware offers advice on navigating crowd-funded anthologies, including what to look for and how not to lose out on rights and other aspects. And if you've heard of Quill Shift Literary Agency, think twice about joining--it may sound interesting, but the agency's premise is rather shaky.

Rosie Genova on QueryTracker points out the lessons we can learn about writing from soap operas, pointing out just how incredibly popular soap operas have been, and how loyal their fans are, and how we might gain some of that loyalty and staying power with our own works.

And a couple of questions are answered on QueryTracker during a call for questions. When changing agents, do you have to start the whole query process over? (Yes, and terminate with your first agent before you begin, and don't query a work your first agent has been working on.) Does an agent who turns down 3 manuscripts, and then accepts #4, have no interest in 1-3? (Ask them. Maybe yes, maybe no.)

Agent Janet Reid also doles out advice: Is it possible for a query to be too good? (No--If the query is setting too high expectations, polish your book more.) Is writing fan fiction considered a publishing credit? (No, don't mention it in the query.) Will agents throw me away if I have italics in the first five pages? (No; if one agent said that, it's their own personal quirk, and certainly not an industry standard. And if your "how to query" book is 13 years old, update it, because the industry--and querying--has changed.) Should I query my dream agent first or last? (Don't choose a dream agent.) Does digital publishing stop me from getting print-published? (The question refers to traditional publishing digital-first lines: You're still with a reputable publisher [hopefully]. This counts as being published with a publisher. The format does not make a difference in your credits.) If I enter a contest, should I be worried about someone stealing my idea? (No. If you are, don't enter contests. But it's the execution that counts, not just the idea. And besides which, most authors aren't looking to steal others' ideas--they're too busy with their own.) I'm a pre-published novelist doing a blog. What should I blog about? (Go Facebook and make friends, and talk to people. Or blog about your life.)

At the Daily Dahlia, ten blunt pieces of advice for writers.

One of the largest trade publishers in China, Beijing Mediatime Books, operates a branch in the US; the CEO compares Chinese publishing with American publishing.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues a post about the Old Ways of Discoverability and why they may not be the best in this digital age, and what would be better (part 1 here). She also talks about the giant paradigm shift authors need to make--to switch from thinking of copyright/manuscripts as things to sell, to thinking of them as assets that will earn revenue over time.

A collection of places and journals accepting submissions and entries from the Aerogramme Writers' Studio.

Ever wanted to know the sleep habits of famous writers?

Gift cards are now available on, for those who need a late holiday gift.

Reddit's book community is huge--so if you're an author and looking to reach people, it may be worth your while to check it out.

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