Friday, July 25, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 7/5-7/25.

Publishing News

Amazon offers a $9.99 subscription service for audio and e-books, much like Oyster and Scribd. Sort of like a library, except you pay, and also don't have to leave the house.

A proposal hits the Senate to make the Marketplace Fairness Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act into a single bill, the Marketplace and Internet Fairness Act. The bill receives support from senators in both parties.

Simon & Schuster now enters negotiations with Amazon. (Most likely unrelated to the Hachette dispute--Amazon often discusses terms with publishers.)

Conan Doyle's estate is appealing the verdict that declares Sherlock Holmes officially public domain.

The RWA launches NovelEngagement, a free romance book app to help readers connect with and discover authors. (Yes, disclaimer, I'm a member of RWA.)

Apple has decided to settle in the Apple vs DOJ damages trial, but Judge Cote has hinted that she's not okay with the timeline of the proposed settlement.

Google defends its right to display snippets of works in searches as fair use in the Authors Guild vs Google bookscanning case.

Wattpad upgrades to support Creative Commons 4.0 licenses, meaning fans will have the ability (with works with the option selected) to reshare and even remix other works into new ones, enabling the option to allow fan fiction among other things.

Smashwords releases the results of its third annual reader survey about indie e-books. The Smashwords blog analyzes the key findings, including the decline in effectiveness of pricing the first ebook free.

And Hugh Howey releases an Author Earnings report for July 2014, of the same style as his February reports, with this one based on the top 120,000 Amazon best-sellers.

In France, retailers can no longer offer free shipping on discounted books.

According to the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society, the average UK author salary is down 29% from 2009.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 7/4, 7/11,  and 7/25.

Nathan Bransford posts The Last Few Weeks in Books for 7/18. He also gives some good advice for young writers.

More opinions on the Hachette-Amazon dispute: Victoria Strauss weighs in on the Amazon vs Hachette and author letters "discussion." Author Douglass Preston starts a new letter, and a group of authors create "Authors United" to show support. Amazon VP of the Kindle division responds to his letter with an offer that Preston refuses on the grounds it hurts Hachette far more than Amazon. The Authors Guild weighs in.  (Publishers Weekly posts a digest on the many opinions.)

Agent Suzie Townsend answers questions: What number of rejections should tell you that you need to revise strategy? How do you choose comp titles?  Also, she offers an example of a query that worked.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions and gives advice. Is buying/winning/etc a critique from an agent actually likely to put the agent off from your work, as opposed to a standard query? (No, winning a charity auction won't hurt your chances. Really, it's not. Plus, charity=good. But don't expect it to give you special treatment, either [beyond the critique].) Do you need a platform when querying a novel? Should you start building one now? (No.) If you know someone in a publishing house that doesn't accept unagented queries, is it okay to send something to them for an "in"? (No; for a place that doesn't accept unagented works, get an agent.

And more from Reid. The contact will be good for you once the agent is shopping the manuscript.) Your agent says the big houses have all rejected your manuscript and she doesn't want to shop it anymore; what now? (Ask if she'll review a contract if you shop it yourself to small publishers, etc) A friend has drawn art for your book. Should you send it with the query? (No.) You're giving your first manuscript unto the dust bunnies and focusing on number 2; but is it okay to print a couple copies of #1 for close, personal friends? (Don't do it. You never know where it could end up.) An ex-literary agent offers to critique... for $1000 bucks. Worth it? (Highly doubtful. Why isn't this person still an agent?)

Yet more from Reid: When should you start going to conferences? (Depends on conference, but Reid suggests after finishing the first book.) Yours is the only book that focuses on shark compulsive editing; how do you find a comparison? (Look more generic. Try "Shark Ailments") You have two books ready to query; do you wait on #1 before querying #2? (No, but it's complicated.) An agent lists things she doesn't represent but you're not sure if your ms counts; should you query? (Er on the side of querying when unsure.) Your first book is published with a small publisher; will this hurt the chances of the second? (A bit, yes.) Is it okay to query a work under a pen name and another under a real name at the same time? (Query one work at a time.)

A good reminder from the Editor's Blog: it's not "cheating" to use writing tools that exist to be used. Don't feel guilty for using something made to be used.

On Writer Beware (now with a new look and layout), Victoria Strauss warns writers to avoid Green Shore Publishing. And she talks about her own experience with fake bad reviews (bad reviews written by anons with the sole intent of bullying, intimidating, or harassing the author) and how she dealt with it.

Agent Nephele Tempest posted a link to writing opportunities for August and September, which I'm unabashedly yoinking and sharing with you all.

Fraser Sherman (member of one of my writers' groups) posts a nice selection of helpful and interesting writing links.

What other major publishing news has hit the shelves in the past 3 weeks?

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