Friday, August 8, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 7/26-8/8.

Publishing News

The letter addressing the Amazon Hachette dispute, directed mainly at Amazon and signed by 900 authors (now called a formal group called Authors United), will be appearing as a full-page ad in The New York Times. Amazon, meanwhile, writes a blogpost explaining what it wants, including that (among other things) high prices are slowing ebook sales and lowering most ebook prices to below $9.99 must be prioritized in its deals with Hachette; as well as sending all royalties to Hachette and letting Hachette choose how to split the 70% of each book sale.

Internationally, libraries struggle to obtain e-books and keep up with demand, and book subscription services offer a serious challenge.

Amazon expands and Barnes and Noble (with the help of Google) now offers same-day delivery for books: order by noon, and (at least in certain cities) get your book that evening.

News Corp (HarperCollins' parent company) finalizes purchase of Harlequin.

In the Apple vs DOJ price-fixing suit, although Judge Cote earlier did not seem pleased with the terms of the settlement, the terms were not modified. The judge did end up granting preliminary approval to the terms, meaning the deal can proceed as-is.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 8/1.

Also on QueryTracker, clauses such as "and any subsequent work in a series" in your agency contract can extend the contract even beyond a termination of the agreement to work the agent. Make sure you understand the clauses in your contract when you sign. And what if you get a quick rejection? What does that mean? Not too much, actually; there are a number of reasons, up to and including that the agent just doesn't rep that genre. If you get several, maybe take a closer look at your query to see if you can find a problem. Plus, some tips on balancing your writing life.

Victoria Strauss on Writers Beware advocates for authors to beware interminable agency clauses (clauses wherein the agent remains the agent of record for the life of a book, beyond when its publisher reverts the rights--important in the world of self-publishing backlists). Also be sure to clearly include in your agency contract what happens to books you self-publish, up to and including backlists, and how those will be handled. Strauss also posts an example of an advertisement from Author Solutions, pointing out the red flags and why it's not a good deal for authors.

(But don't despair if you didn't know to avoid Author Solutions: after all, Simon & Schuster did just acquire an author for the very first time, ever, from Archway Publishing, an ASI subsidiary owned by S&S. Just, er, don't get your hopes up--still a company Strauss specifically suggests avoiding.)

Agent Janet Reid offers advice and answers questions. Is it okay to call something set in the 60s or 70s historical? (No. Some agents were born in the 60s and 70s.)  How long should you wait to hear back before sending a follow-up reminder? (Check the time frame on the agent's site. Otherwise Reid gives advice based on type of request: query, partial, or full.) Accidentally fell for a vanity, er, "subsidy" publisher--should you mention it? (No. Don't say this is your first novel but don't mention it.)

Reid continues: Will having a niche book hurt when selling other books, or will it even be possible to find a publisher for it? (Many niches have regular publishers; no, it probably won't hurt.) An agent randomly dumps you, never having submitted your book--is this normal? (No. Make sure you're not crazy or rude; if you're clear, they might be crazy; and your book still has a chance elsewhere.) Shoot, sent the wrong version of the manuscript! What now? (Send the correct one immediately.) Don't expect an agent to represent you if you started querying publishers on your own. And how many books does it take to earn out an advance?

From the Editor's Blog, how much backstory should you include, and when should you include it? Also, a look at dependent clauses and commas, a explanation for a topic many writers struggle with.

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog, author Hailey Edwards talks about how to effectively write as a "pantser" (or "write organically"). Author Pepper Phillips explains how she figures out if her latest idea passes muster to be turned into a book (works best if you're a plotter). And author Jane Kindred talks about overcoming writer's block.

At an editors' panel at an SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) conference, editors share advise with authors.

Agent Carly Watters explains what you can expect from literary agents. She also explains what you can't expect from literary agents.

You can now create e-books with both Evernote and Google Docs.

Author Jim Hines talks about the conundrum authors face when writing about characters from other cultures (particularly from the POV of a white male), why he does so, and juggling the need to do so with the fear of doing it wrong.

If you're in Australia, tomorrow is National Bookshop Day. (h/t to Mike Kruzel for the link)

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

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