Friday, August 22, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs covers from 8/9-8/21.

Publishing News

Authors' United put out a letter a couple of weeks ago criticizing Amazon's actions in the Hachette negotiations. Amazon followed up with this one, which it sent straight to authors' e-mails and posted on the web at a similar URL to the one used by Authors United (.net vs .com). The Orwellian reference is possibly misused in Amazon's letter, but the intent is clear enough: Amazon thinks the over $9.99 e-book prices Hachette plans to bring back are bad for business, and by their metrics so should authors. Pietsch, CEO of Hachette, replies to the e-mails he receives due to Amazon's letter. Not surprisingly, Amazon and Hachette are in turn using stronger and stronger wording against one another in attempts to sway public opinion in their respective favor. Then German authors join in with a letter of their own, venting their frustration with Amazon's tactics against the publishing group Bonner and in general. Amazon responds with a statement that Bonner charges the same as or more than e-books for print books, a dangerous maneuver in sales.

Changes in copyright law in Canada hit publishers hard, especially those whose works are used in the education industry under the newly expanded "fair use" interpretation.

Samsung & Barnes and Noble teamed up for e-reader products, and have now released the new Galaxy Tab 4 Nook as their first joint Nook product.

Apple and the Big Five are ordered to mediation by Judge Cote with three defunct e-book retailers who claim Apple's and the publishers' price-fixing collusion drove them out of business.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 8/15.

Also on QueryTracker, Jane Lebak shows us how to take an "okay" scene to an engaging one.

Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware warns writers to steer clear of "middlemen" services: companies that, for a fee, claim to contact agents for writers to get them representation and eventually publishing contracts. These schemes don't work; agents don't want to hear from someone other than the author.She also notes that Writers' Digest has teamed up with another fee-based self-publishing company, but this does currently have a much better reputation than the previous company, greater transparency and better prices. So... be wary, know what you're getting, know you can definitely self-publish on your own without the fees... but she doesn't say it's a bad company, or one that rip off authors.

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog, writing tight can maximize impact: when editing, here are some ways to boost the impact your scenes. And if you want to avoid dialogue tags but keep it clear who's speaking, replace them with action beats. Also, don't be intimidated or distracted by the sheer number of search results you get during research. Everyone gets overwhelmed; that's normal.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions and gives advice. If your agent shops your book around but doesn't sell it, how do you handle possible commission--or lack thereof--if you self-publish? Is it unethical to pay your agent, or unethical not to?  (Right now, that's between you and the agent; make sure both you and agent have an agreement in place before this scenario comes up.) You have a friend who's a contract attorney who wants to be your agent. Good idea or bad? (Very likely bad; agenting isn't just checking the contracts, but also having the contacts, knowing what to look for in contracts, knowing what sells, and more.) If a small press is temporarily open for submissions, is it okay to submit to them while also querying agents? (Your choice. There's an opportunity cost either way, assuming you're accepted.) What's the deal with Absolute Write? (She likes it and it's helpful to many people. Turns out there are also horror stories.) Not sure if an agent got your full 3 months after sending it, and the assistant isn't answering your e-mails? (It's okay to politely send a question directly to the agent at that point.)

And more from Reid: If your write juvenile novellas, why aren't agents biting? (It's not a novella when it's children's or YA; the <40K standard only applies to adult books.) If an agency that says it responds to all queries and that queriers shouldn't query more than one agent at a time doesn't respond in a timely fashion, is it okay to query a second agent? (Yes. If you wait beyond the time frame and hear nothing, even with a reminder, go ahead and query the next agent at the company.) If you've parted ways with agent and are looking for a new one, but know an editor has liked your previous works and would be amiable to a submission [but not to the point you're sure you'd be accepted], should you wait to submit until you've found the new agent? (Yes. Agents dislike coming in when you've already submitted to editors.) And you can't fit everything into a synopsis. What to do? (You're not supposed to fit everything into your synopsis.) How long will it take to earn out an advance of $10K? (This varies. Widely.) You're in your 15 minutes of fame. Should you mention it when querying a book unrelated to the fame? (No.)

The Editor's Blog suggests cutting or limiting certain words, punctuations, grammar structures, and literary devices in your manuscript. It also covers common verb tense errors, when tenses can be blended, and when they can't. And how much detail and what kinds of details give substance to your characters' environments? Don't forget, they probably aren't interacting in a vast vacuum (unless they are).

GalleyCat explains how to submit to the London Book Festival.

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