Friday, March 7, 2014

Publishing Industry News

Whoo-hoo, we're back on schedule! Another 3-week post broken into two shorter posts (because I have to sleep sometime!). Today we'll cover publishing news from 2/15-3/7.

Publishing News

Since Apple appealed the court-ordered monitor and tried quite a few tactics to remove him, Judge Cote ruled that Apple should to go a magistrate to referee any future disputes. Apple said they'd only provide the monitor with documents that fit within their understanding of the ruling, but Cote then ordered them to give the monitor anything requested; and anything they want to be withheld must be filed with paperwork. In a turn of events that falls somewhere between "absolutely expected" and "duh," Apple asks the U.S. appeals court to overturn Judge Cote's ruling on the DoJ vs Apple lawsuit, under the claim that Judge Cote based her decision on primarily circumstantial evidence and ruled poorly.And just to be on the safe side, also because Apple thinks Judge Cote didn't even have jurisdiction, and also they consider her to be bringing her biases into her decisions and therefore she should not be allowed to decide the damages. (Gotta give it to Apple's lawyers--they're certainly giving Apple their money's worth!)

Lately there's been a lot in the news about how much authors make. Several studies have been going around. Hugh Howey releases an earnings report for the 7000 best-selling e-books. Digital Book World shares (and by "shares" I mean "offers for sale for $295") the results of a survey from self-published authors with various levels of earnings, and Dana Weinburg analyzes it in terms of the authors' attitudes towards publishing vs income. Note that both surveys have their limitations.

Hugh Howey's advocating for more transparency in actual sales earnings of self-published authors, including for Amazon and other retailers to disclose actual sales, on the grounds that withholding the information is preventing writers from making a good judgement when choosing whether to self or traditionally publish. (Retailers currently do not disclose self-published authors' earnings, and most contracts include confidentiality clauses forbidding self-published authors from disclosing their actual sales except by specific permission.)

Vook, a digital publishing and distribution platform, releases a program allowing authors to track digital sales across all platforms. It's called Author Control and is free for your first 10 books.

Amazon's Audible is lowering the royalty rate on its self-published audio books. Exclusive distribution now nets authors an across-the-board 40%, as compared to the previous 50-90%; non-exclusive sales are now 25%. Getting a new reader to sign up does now earn authors $50, double the previous $25.

According to the latest VIDA account, reviews of books by female authors are still lagging far behind those for male-authored books.

Interested in living on a train while writing your next book? Amtrak's offering writer's residencies.

Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware updates us: The Bookseller will no longer be accepting advertising from vanity publisher Author Solutions, Inc. Now Strauss is asking readers and writers to ask other major publishing industry organizations to do the same. Jane Dowary Agency, run by Jane Dowary, doesn't have experience but does have a lot of name-changing. The authors of 2 Moons Press, stuck in a legal limbo while their publishing house went into bankruptcy, are trying to gain the funds to sue for their rights back. And there are some concerns over Simon451's contest, in terms of how many rights it gives over.

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


  1. Thanks for the updates. I read an interesting (and very long) article in the New Yorker about Amazon.

    1. Quite interesting! I'm adding it to tomorrow's post--great link, thanks!

  2. Regarding Jane Dowary. On the other hand....she promised to give a screenplay of mine to Sandra Bullock through Creative Artists Agency, and she did. Verified. And easy to verify since I live and work (show biz) in the same neighborhood (Los Angeles). For me she completely came through. To have a screenplay sold (I'm a produced writer) is hard enough, to have it in the hands of an "A" list agency and given to an "A" list star is a miracle. The fact that CAA passed on it DOES NOT reflect on the quality of work Jane did for me - she merely promised to give it into CAA's hands, and she did. That is more than any agent or producer I've ever worked for can say.

    1. Good to know! Not all inexperienced agencies are bad, so it's good to hear verification that they've been putting work in and have come through. Thanks for the comment and a look at the other side of the story! Agented manuscripts only end up selling about 60% of the time anyway, even for experienced agents (I assume the stats are probably the same--or worse--for screenplays), so getting yours that far is definitely a good sign.