Friday, June 13, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 5/31-6/13.

Publishing News

Penguin Random House unveils its new logo. (There go my daydreams of a Penguin disguised as a house...)

Open Road launches an imprint just for controversial works.

Smashwords now allows authors to generate daily sales reports.

Barnes and Noble doesn't want to abandon the Nook platform, but it doesn't seem to be winning the tech race... so it's teaming up with Samsung to integrate Nook tech into Samsung tablets, so Nook can focus primarily on content, while Samsung focuses on improving tech and helping market devices.

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, sued Monroe County Courthouse (in which parts of the novel are set) when it used the title of her book as its website and began selling souvenirs related to the book without permission. Both parties have now agreed to an undisclosed settlement. Part of this settlement (as evidenced by it having happened) was apparently the courthouse changing its website name.

In a lawsuit last year, the Supreme Court ruled that it's legal for students to buy versions of books from overseas where they're produced more cheaply, and resell them in the US, assuming the books are produced legally and bought legally, due to the Rule of First Sale. The publishers who printed the books want the Supreme Court to make parts of the ruling more specific, to avoid English-language editions from several countries competing with one another on a large scale. There was also a congressional hearing on whether the First Sale Doctrine applies to digital works, which may have an impact on ReDigi (a retailer designed for customers to resell music and possibly e-books).

Judge Cote has decided to allow e-retailers to bring suits against Apple and the major publishers involved in the price-fixing lawsuits. Just because she's giving them a day in court, however, doesn't mean she thinks the e-retailers (DNMAL, Lavaho, or Abbey House) will have an easy time proving damages. Meanwhile, the date for the Apple damages trial has been moved to August 25 2014.

In the HathiTrust vs Authors Guild lawsuit, in which Google's HathiTrust made digital copies of library books to preserving the content of the books, and putting them into a full-text-searchable database (that is, the entire text cannot be read, but can be searched to see if it contains search words), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the verdict ruling Hathitrust's scanning to be within fair use. The Authors Guild offers an official response to the ruling.

In the Amazon-Hachette battle, lots of people and organizations continue weighing in with opinions (extra words for more links). Other retailers rush to fill the gap. Also, Hachette isn't Amazon's only target--it's also not taking pre-orders for any of the Warner movies, not even the much-anticipated Lego movie; and Bonner Media Group in Germany makes a third battlefront. (Hat-tip to Fraser for the final three links!)

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 6/6 and 6/13.

On the QueryTracker blog, 14 tips to surviving your book signing. Sarah Pinneo shares 6 things your book publicist won't tell you. If you're in charge of kids who get the summers off and things therefore have a tendency to go crazy during this time of year, Stina Lindenblatt offers 12 tips for surviving the summer.

If someone e-mails you saying they've found errors in your book, don't accept the offer for the paid editing. Apparently this is the latest hot scheme against self-published authors, according to Victoria Strauss on Writers Beware. Also, Michael Capobianco checks out UPublishU for Writers Beware, and reports that he's not particularly impressed by this year's BEA presentations for the program.

Agent Kristen Nelson reminds authors to please, please read your final contracts before signing them. Yes, even if you've signed 50 other contracts with that particular publisher and trust them implicitly--they make mistakes, too. And sometimes those minor mistakes can have HUGE consequences.

Author Jordan McCollum explains why he actually rejected a publication offer from his potential publisher after reading his contract. Again, read the fine print.

Agent Janet Reid clarifies that she wants you to be finished before querying, not in revisions, even if you expect to be done soon; and she explains that if she asks for something different from her agency's standard submission policy, she wants what she asks for, not what FPLM asks for. She also explains what a "one-paragraph synopsis" might look like. And as long as you use some part of her name, she's not too concerned exactly how you address her in your query salutation. She also explains how to query with a pen name, and advises starting early if you know the one you want.

Reid also answers some more questions: Will publishing serially on Wattpad stop a writer from being traditionally published? (No; major publishers will still want to publish you if you get enough hits. But be sure you know what you're doing.) An new author gets advice from a well-known author, some of it quite, uh, "helpful," and wonders how much she should take to heart. (He doesn't know everything, even if he thinks he does; use your own judgment.) If you self-publish a first book but want to traditionally publish the series, can you ethically republish a book (and its unpublished sequels) that's been self-published? (It's not about ethics; it's about numbers. It's very hard to do so, and requires a lot of sales, but there's no moral reasons not to. You probably can't get numbers 2 & 3 without #1, though.) Should you market something as New Adult or mystery if it's more mystery than NA, but qualifies as both? (Reid suggests mystery, since it's a better seller; but says in her experience nobody really knows what NA is right now.) And is having a UK based agent a bad idea for a US author, with extra complexities? (Reid doesn't know, as she's a US agent and hasn't had to deal with trying to smooth any international difficulties. As a UK agent representing a US author.)

On the Editor's Blog, a post on the effect of the right words, and how to choose how to phrase a sentence based on what you're trying to accomplish/emphasize. Also, how to address love (and show it) in fiction, in various forms from lust to family to grown-old-together.

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog, Livia Quinn talks about why she recommends Scrivener as a tool for organizing your work. And Diane Wylie offers tips for overcoming writers' block. Also, agent Nalini Akolekar drops by for an interview.

Random House book designer Chip Kidd offers advice on book cover design.

What happens when you apply the same kind of analysis to the book industry as has been used in the music industry? Macmillan studies how readers spend not just money, but also time, and comes up with some interesting correlations between visitor spikes on websites and sales (Wikipedia... I never knew).

Author Malcom Gladwell does an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit and gives advice on writing.

Romance Writers of America releases a new product--Novel Engagement--that helps romance readers discover new romance novels, alerts them to new favorites coming out, and generally keeps them up-to-date on the books they want to know about.

KickStarter offers a Creator Handbook for people planning to launch Kickstarters (planning on crowdfunding your next book? Then this is for you.).

And then there's the new BookReels, dubbed the MTV of books, where authors can post multimedia visuals for their books, from videos to animated covers.

And Simon and Schuster authors now have the portal InkedIn, aimed at giving authors, publishers, and publishing people a place to interact and hopefully enhance support and communications.

The RWA chapter FF&P posts its lineup of online classes. (Although I'm picky about which I take and when I take them, generally I personally find the classes from the various RWA chapters a great value for the money. Be sure if you sign up for one it's focused on something you need, but you'll get a lot of information on that topic, and interactive classes often give valuable feedback. I'm a hands-on kinda gal, so I tend to go for how-to classes instead of purely informational ones; therefore classes with homework are usually the ones I've ended up liking best.)

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

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