Monday, November 3, 2014

Publishing Industry News

This week's publishing news and industry blogs post covers 10/18-11/3.

Publishing News

Amazon and Simon & Schuster successfully create a multi-year contract. It will be basically under a variant of the agency style. (Of course, speculation and opinions about the deal are already flying.)

Amazon's Kindle Scout program is now up and ready for voting.

In the UK, an e-book subscription service for kids, Blloon, launches.

Barnes & Noble and Samsung create a large-screen Nook.

Industry Blogs

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 10/24.

Agent Nephele Tempest posts a few interesting writing links for 10/24. I recommend the Opportunities for Writers for November & December link.

Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware looks at the current and past concern over Permuted Press. Recent changes include the conversion to an e-first/e-only contract, basically becoming an e-only publisher unless sales become large enough to warrant a print run. Historically there have also been some contract terms Strauss points out as disadvantageous to authors, including overly extensive first refusal rights, substandard ebook royalties, and life of copyright term with sub-par reversion language. Strauss and the Horror Writers Association (Permuted is a horror genre publisher) expressed continuing concerns, and Permuted Press has now made the announcement to allow existing authors rights reversions on request without a fee beyond the repayment of the advance. They are also currently revising the boilerplate contract to change less-desirable terms. Strauss weighs in that she thinks the terms still could be improved, and the situation is still tenuous, but that this is a major improvement overall as well as an important show of good faith.

Also on Writers Beware, Strauss looks at the pros and cons of Amazon's new crowdsourced publishing program, Kindle Scout.

Agent Janet Reid answers questions and gives advice. If you get two full requests from queries to agents at different agencies, but then one agent moves agencies so that both fulls are now at the same agency, what do you do? (E-mail the person who moved and explain that the other agent at the new agency has your manuscript as well--honesty will CYA for both you and the agent, and everyone involved will appreciate it.) If you think part of your book can be published as a standalone novel, does it stop you from publishing the original piece in whole? (If you sell a part as a novel, you grant the publisher exclusive publishing rights to that part--so no, you cannot include it in another work.)

Reid answers more questions. Are any agents looking for short novels? (Agents tend to prefer full-length works. Maybe look at querying e-publishers.) Does your query have to be about your main character, or can it be about the framework narrator? (It must be about your main character. Non-negotiable.) And Reid gives some pointers on what not to do in a query. And what to do when an agent misunderstands your query.

On QueryTracker, Stina Lindenblatt talks about using subtext to clue your readers in--and to miscue them if you want to add in a red herring. And she talks about how to write a synopsis.

On the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal blog, author Shannon Donnelly explains what it means to "show, don't tell." Author Pepper O'Neal explains why she switched from an S corporation to an LLC as an author based on recent IRS changes.

Agent Kristin Nelson looks at HarperCollins' announcement that they'll give authors a royalty incentive to sell books directly through HarperCollins. She says that in her opinion, because authors are not encouraged to not link elsewhere, there are no conflicts of interest between the publisher and other retailers (and besides which, publishers have always had the ability to directly sell to customers; there just was never a huge market for it).

Seattle Times business reporter Jay Greene looks at the plausibility of proving and prosecuting Amazon as a monopoly, and why it will be extraordinarily difficult to do so.

Author Angela Quarles shares a tech tip: how to make the first line on a page small-capped through use of CSS when making an e-book.

Publishers Weekly chooses the 100 Best Books of 2014.

Al Jazeera publishes a web comic book about big data and the future of privacy. (Only tangentially publishing related, but interesting.)

Author John Green creates a podcast on why we need diverse books.

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