Thursday, 30 September 2010

Johnson backs publishing venture for books on business and technology

Former Borders financier Luke Johnson is backing a new publisher of business and technology books, Brightword Publishing which is a joint venture between Enterprise Nation, a resource for those working from home, independent publisher Harriman House and former Dragon's Den investor Doug Richard.

Along with Johnson, c.e.o. of investment firm Risk Capital Partners, the board comprises Julie Meyer, c.e.o. of Ariadne Capital, Sahar Hashemi, founder of Coffee Republic and Rachel Bridge, enterprise editor of the Sunday Times. In 2011, the publisher plans to release a series of e-books on business and technology topics as well as a print book by Richard.

Myles Hunt, managing director of Harriman House, said: "We have some great products lined up, some excellent contributors, a whole heap of innovative publishing ideas and the perfect partners in Enterprise Nation and Doug Richard to make this all happen. We think there is scope to provide the small business and start up community with some really valuable fresh content delivered in new and exciting ways."

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Society of Authors seeks new general secretary

Mark Le Fanu, general secretary of the Society of Authors, will retire next spring after 30 years at the organisation.

The society is recruiting for his successor. The vacancy advertisement on its website said the role requires "leadership on book trade issues and advice on the business aspects of the profession".

The job also involves managing the society's finances and those of its charitable trust, and the services provided to its members. It also includes lobbying ministers, promoting the society in the media and supervising the administration of prizes and grants.

Applications should be sent to The closing date is 8th October.

The society has only had four general secretaries since it was formed in 1884, with Alfred, Lord Tennyson its first president. Le Fanu joined the Society of Authors in 1980 and was appointed general secretary in 1982.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Sales of printed romance books fall as e book sales more than double

Sales of printed romance books have fallen for the first time since records began at a time when e-book sales have more than doubled according to Nielsen BookScan data. The growth in e-book sales in science-fiction also seem to be doing well.
The data was released as part of a seminar with Enders Analysis, 'Digital Seminar: e-books and their impact on the market'. It showed genres such as science fiction and romance are “overperforming” thanks to the tastes of early adopters of e-books.

Julie Meynink, business development director of Nielsen BookScan, said though it was early days, data from Nielsen BookScan US, which globally represents the biggest share of e-book sales, showed a decline in print sales within these two sectors.

In the year to date sales of romance books in the US are down 7.5%, while science-fiction and fantasy sales are down. Estimated e-book sales from the Association of American Publishers show that the e-book market has risen 10-times since 2008, with sales accelerating this year with sales over the first two quarters up 180% on 2009.

Talking generally about the presentation, Evans said there was a tendency for observers to overestimate the short term effects of going digital and underestimate the long term impacts. He said it took ten years for the album sales to halve, and it could take longer for digital to have the same impact in the book world. Adoption is likely to prove “lumpier”, with early adopters a small niche of the overall consumer demographic. “E-book adoption will vary widely by demographic and genre,” he said.

Read full article here: E-book sales begin to cannibalise print:

Monday, 27 September 2010

Lightning Source to expand into Australia and new advice service for self publishers launched

Print on demand service Lightning Source is to expand into Australia next summer. Once the manufacturing service is operational, it will become the fifth facility Lightning Source operates with two plants in the United States, one in Milton Keynes and a joint venture with Hachette in France. The facility will begin operation by June 2011.

Former Managing Director of The Friday Project, which went into administration in 2008,Clare Christian, has launched an advice service aimed at people planning to self-publish their book.

The Self-Publishing Advice Service plans to help authors choose the most appropriate route for them, with payment asked for on an honesty box basis; the customer will pay as much as they feel the advice is worth.

Christian said: "Whatever your view on self-publishing, the fact is it will not go away. If authors are going to take this route it is important that they have access to as much independent advice as possible."

Clare is running a self publishing workshop on 5 October  6pm to 7.30pm at the New Theatre Royal Portsmouth.  For details of this and her other workshops, seminars and services visit her website.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Catherine McKenzie on should authors check their Amazon rankings?

A few weeks ago I read an interview with's founder, Ron Hogan. One of the questions he was asked was his advice to writers. His answer, in part, was: 'Don't obsess over your Amazon rankings.' Good advice, I thought, when I read this, having flirted with obsessing over my own Amazon rankings when my book, Spin, came out in January.

Of course, that's easier said then done. And much easier said before I was told about a site called NovelRanks by fellow author Michele Gorman. NovelRanks allows you to input your Amazon URL and presto, you can get hourly updates not just on your Amazon ranking, but also on 'actual' sales. (The site's disclaimer is that their sales numbers are based on movement in rankings and are therefore only estimates, but still!)

Read the full article here: Catherine McKenzie: Should Authors Check Their Amazon Rankings? Uh, No:

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Randy Susan Meyers: What to Do With Critique Advice

Randy Susan Meyers says, that when it comes to criticism from her writer's group, she needs to hear or read the same idea two, three, or four times before she can incorporate it into her work-in-progress. "Months after arguing with my fellow writers, (so blind! so ignorant!) I re-read their notes and am struck by wisdom where I formerly saw idiocy."

How do you decide what to keep and what to leave behind from critiques?

"When a value judgment is unanimous, be it favorable or unfavorable, something important was said. It is, of course, possible - unlikely but possible - that you are right and everyone else is wrong ... But usually something everybody dislikes needs fixing. Unanimity is rare."

H.G Wells noted: 'No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.'

She says, "Having to explain my work means something is wrong. Your work must always stand on its own pages. After all, you'll never get to explain anything to the reader who buys your book."

Read the full article here:Randy Susan Meyers: Writer's Groups: What to Do With Critique & Advice: "

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Children's authors side step traditional publishing houses to get their books to market

Children’s authors are side-stepping "risk-averse" traditional publishing houses and establishing their own initiatives to get their books to market, said children’s author Lucy Daniel Raby.

Daniel Raby has bought back the rights to her existing series, Nickolai of the North, previously published by Hodder, to follow up film interest in the series and the distribution of a script. The books are distributed by the author through Tinkerbell Books.

Author Stephanie Williams has established a publishing house, Rebel Books, to focus on fresh talent. The company plans to publish a number of anthologies of stories that will help get new names noticed, said Williams. She said there had been an "enormous response" from authors to requests for stories for its first anthology, Rebel Moon.

Read the full article: Stranded children's authors go it alone

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Library users favour crime fiction and sagas

Library users favour fiction over non-fiction, with 50% of all loans being adult fiction titles while non-fiction accounts for just a fifth of loans, according to the first publicly released LibScan statistics.

As Nielsen's library book loan tracking service reaches its first birthday, LibScan statistics confirm that library goers like crime and saga authors. Non-fiction titles are less popular in libraries than in bookshops, with only 20% of library loans comprising adult non-fiction titles, significantly less than through the TCM where the proportion stands at 35%.

Fiona Marriott, principal librarian for adult services at Luton libraries, said: "It doesn't surprise me that library loans are different from book sales; our strength has always been the range of books we can offer. We may struggle to keep up with the request list for the latest Stephenie Meyer, but our backlist is huge in comparison to the average bookshop.

"The other thing that libraries offer is word of mouth and personal recommendations, from the staff and from other customers."

Tony Durcan, head of Newcastle libraries, said one reason for the difference is because libraries provide and promote less well-known authors and carry a range of stock that is out of print.

LibScan rankings are derived from a panel comprising around 10% of all UK public libraries, which are then collated by Nielsen in Woking.

Read full article: Fiction first for book borrowers:

Monday, 20 September 2010

Publishers' sales decline

Publishers sales fell in the first half of 2010 as growth in the value of exports and an "encouraging" rise in hardback sales helped offset a decline in home sales.

The Publishers Association figures, which represent roughly 76% of the industry, showed a decline of 3.8% in the value of home sales, from £576m to £555m, meaning that conditions appear to have worsened since the first quarter when the PA reported that home sales dropped 3.3%. The number of books sold fell by 6.8% from 171m, over the same period in 2009, to 159m units—a reversal of the trend seen in the first quarter when home volume sales actually rose.

The numbers are worse than this time last year when UK publishers saw their first-half sales decrease by 0.5%, with home sales down 4.3% and exports up by 5.1%

Some book categories continued to "defy expectations", with hardback books singled out. Export sales by volume for general fiction hardbacks increased 9.3% while general non-fiction hardbacks grew by 3.8%.

Read the full article: Publishers' sales decline in first half despite 'encouraging' hardback exports:

Friday, 17 September 2010

China to be market focus for 2012 London Book Fair

The London Book Fair has selected China as the market focus for its 2012's event. The move comes despite the controversy faced at last year's Frankfurt Book Fair where China was guest of honour.

The market focus programme, which will be held in conjunction with the General Administration for Press and Publication (GAPP), is run by LBF with the British Council as cultural programme partners. The programme will be supported with a series of cultural events.

A statement from the fair organisers said the decision reflected "the transition of the country over recent years to become one of the leading forces in global publishing". There are approximately 600 publishing houses in China and the Chinese book market is the largest in the world by volume.

Read more London Book Fair selects China for 2012 show:

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Virtual Book Tours: How To Set Up And Run A Successful Book Tour

Virtual book tours can be a very powerful way of spreading the word about your book, but need a level of organisation and creativity.  In this article Bubblecow looks at why you should be setting up a virtual book tour, how to find blogs to host your tour and how to get the most out of the experience.

Click here to read the full article

What Is A Virtual Book Tour?

In its simplest form a virtual book tour is a collection of blog posts, hosted on a number of different blogs, all promoting your book. A typical format would be for five different blogs each posting about your book on five consecutive days (say Monday to Friday).

The power behind a virtual book tour is that the author has a chance to influence readers that are probably not already visiting their blog, or are even aware of their book. If the blogs hosting the tour are carefully chosen, the writer has the ability to reach literally thousands of new readers with just a few blog posts.

There is no strict format to the number of blogs used in a tour, or timing of the posts or even the content of the posts. It is up to the organiser of the tour (normally the writer) to be as creative as possible in producing a series of posts that will been seen by the most number of blog readers.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Good news for authors of teen and young adult fiction as Usborne expand list

Publisher Usborne is to expand its teenage fiction list on the back of the rapid and ongoing expansion of the teen sector and greater support from the retail trade.

Usborne will launch its first YA title in October and will publish seven YA titles next year. The company aims to publish between eight and ten titles per annum thereafter.

The list will cover a range of genres including action adventure, psychological thrillers, murder mystery and historical romance.

Megan Larkin, Usborne fiction director, said: "We're not entering the field of heavy teen issues, unless they're enlivened with other elements such as suspense and mystery."

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

People in publishing - appointments and moves

HarperCollins has promoted Jenny Heller to publishing director for general non-fiction with senior editor Lizzy Gray also moving up to senior commissioning editor.

Jenny Heller was previously editorial director for general non-fiction and lifestyle and has been with the publisher for five years, acquiring authors including Rachel Allen, James Martin and Levi Roots. HarperCollins is now looking to "attract even bigger names and brands" to its list, which Heller will oversee.

Lizzy Gray will take on the role of senior commissioning editor for cookery and lifestyle. Gray has worked with food writers including Lucas Hollweg and "recently poached" the Hummingbird Bakery brand.

Clare Argar is joining Scholastic from Random House Children's Books to become the publisher's editorial director - fiction. She will join the company on 4th October and replaces Poly Nolan who leaves the publisher on 23rd September. Argar will work alongside publisher Marion Lloyd and report to publishing and commercial director Lisa Edwards.

Candlewick Press is partnering on a TOON Books imprint in October. They will takeover TOON's eleven-title backlist and aim to publish four to five new books a year starting next spring. TOON was launched in 2008 TOON Books by New Yorker art editor and RAW publisher Fran├žoise Mouly.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Short story competition and a chance to secure a publishing contract

St. Martin's has announced a new short-story competition to be judged by Jeffrey Archer. The winner will be offered a publishing contract.

Entries must be previously unpublished works of no more than 5,000 words and in the English Language. To enter the competition  click on the following link Jeffrey Archer Presents

Friday, 10 September 2010

Can the number of Facebook fans an author has generate book sales? It seems not

Authors who think they have found the answer to boosting sales via Facebook might be disappointed to learn that although author, Gregory Levey went from having just 700 fans to 692,000 in a matter of months — more than  George Clooney fan page (613,000) he didn't see any corresponding spike in sales.

Levey, 32, quickly realized that his book, now two years old, had not catapulted to the best-seller list or landed on Oprah’s Book Club. Rather, somehow, people had fastened onto the book’s title — “Shut Up, I’m Talking” — and taken it in an unintended direction. People weren’t telling their friends that they “Like” his page because they were avid readers; instead, they were fans of the catchphrase.

Then Mr. Levey started examining his new online entourage: they were the same people who say they “Like” pages such as “Shocking: Tattoo misspellings you have to live with!” Worse, many of his fans unabashedly proclaim on their own Facebook pages that they don’t read books.

Mr. Levey’s book — whose full title is “Shut Up, I’m Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government” — chronicles the story of how he landed a job as a speechwriter on the staff of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon while he was a 20-something law school graduate.

His publisher says any exposure, even accidental, can be good. “Facebook is a medium that fascinates thousands and is a curiosity even to those folks who don’t subscribe to it,” said Carisa Hays, vice president and director of publicity at Simon & Schuster/Free Press.

Levey has a new book, scheduled for release on Sept. 7, “How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment,” also from Free Press. He has started a new Facebook page, Peace in the Middle East, which he hopes will draw a more thoughtful — or at least book-buying — crowd.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Literary festivals link up to form The Word Alliance to collaborate on events and resources

Five international literary festivals have formed The Word Alliance (TWA) as a way of collaborating on both events and resources.The alliance was launched on 31st August by Nick Barley, director of Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Alongside Edinburgh the five festivals involved are the Melbourne Writers Festival; the Bookworm International Literary Festival, Beijing; the International Literature Festival in Berlin; and the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.

It is expected that the alliance will expand to include Africa, India, the USA and Latin America.

A statement from TWA said: "TWA will be a platform for artistic collaboration, expansion of online content, professional, audience and organisational development and an international touring programme for authors."

A touring programme for next year will be announced over the next few months.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Publisher launches new company with a wallbook

A new publishing company, What on Earth Publishing, is launching with a wallbook displaying human and geographical history from the Big Bang to the present day.

The What On Earth? Wallbook can be read like a book or unfolded and stuck on the wall. The title looks at 13.7 billion years on one timeline. One side of the wallbook has more than 1,000 illustrations depicting evolution, the rise and fall of civilisations and 100 of the top battles. On the other side a narrative guide tells the story of planet, life and people.

Christopher Lloyd, its author and publisher, is targeting boys aged nine to 15. The title will be sold exclusively through the Daily Telegraph for a month from 4th September and will be priced £17.50. Lloyd said the aim of this exclusive deal is to demonstrate consumer­ demand before engaging with the traditional retail channel.

Lloyd has previously written titles for Bloomsbury.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

People in Publishing - appointments and moves

In the USA

Timber Press has hired Andrew Beckman as their new editorial director, starting September. He was formerly the editorial director of gardening and vp for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where he oversaw gardening content throughout the company. He is also a cohost on the Sirius Satellite Radio show Homegrown.

Sourcebooks has hired Leah Hultenschmidt as senior editor in their New York office, acquiring romance and Young Adult projects for their Casablanca and Fire imprints. She was editorial director at Dorchester.

At William Morrow, Peter Hubbard has been promoted to senior editor.

At Touchstone, Lauren Spiegel has been promoted to associate editor.

Tyrus Books, founded last year, announced that they are acquiring fellow crime fiction publisher Busted Flush Press. Busted Flush publisher David Thompson 'will continue in his current role, selecting approximately twenty titles a year for publication. Both companies are distributed by Consortium.

Denise Little will join the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency this month. She was formerly executive editor at Tekno Books, head of Kensington''s Denise Little Presents imprint, and a buyer for Barnes & Noble. She will represent romance, paranormal, mystery, thriller, science-fiction/fantasy, non-fiction, Christian books, and horror.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Chance for new romance writers to get published with Harlequin M&B

Harlequin Mills & Boon is undertaking its largest-ever rebrand by giving its entire core series a contemporary revamp to attract new readers and is also launching New Voices on 6th September, an "X-Factor"-style search for new writers. Entrants must submit the first chapter to
by 22nd September. The winner will be published by Mills & Boon.

The romance publisher, founded in 1908, is re-jacketing the covers across the whole of its main series including major strands such as Historical, Blaze and Cherish, with the new jackets on 50 titles this month.

Managing director Mandy Ferguson said she believed it was the biggest scale of change Mills & Boon had ever seen. She added that although the series were previously differentiated by colour they were not necessarily distinct enough from one another. Some of the artwork, she said, was "a little bit old-fashioned".

Ferguson said there would be a bigger focus on engaging consumers with Mills & Boon by supporting existing buyers and by "attracting new readers and changing some of the negative perceptions they have got about it".

The Historical range is the first to hit the shelves with the second batch out in mid-September and the rest in early October.

And if you fancy getting published by Harlequin M & B and can write romance then make sure you get your entry in before 22 September.

Submit the first chapter to by 22nd September.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Using the city as a character in crime writing

Nick Quantrill is a crime writer from Hull. His debut novel, “Broken Dreams”, is published by Caffeine Nights.

Joe Geraghty, Private Investigator, is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull. Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times. When Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry.As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends. With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.

For further information visit

The City as a Character by Nick Quantrill

Using the city as a character in crime writing is a concept which is very much at the front of my mind when writing stories set around my home in Hull. Although it’s very much an ongoing learning experience, I found different ways of doing this when writing my debut crime novel, “Broken Dreams”.

At the most basic level, describing the geography of the city starts to bring a sense of place to the writing. As my protagonist, Private Investigator Joe Geraghty, starts to move about the city, the use of street names and areas helps fix a map in the reader’s mind, and if that reader is local, the familiarity can often delight.

Going a little deeper, contrasting the city’s past and potential future in “Broken Dreams” enabled me to create another layer of depth to the city’s character. Once a thriving fishing port, that industry is all but gone, and so is the infrastructure which supported it. “Broken Dreams” starts to look at the consequences of this, and examines what, if anything, replaces it. To go a step further, when characters start to respond to their environment, that’s when I felt I was getting closer to the essence of the city as a character.

One strand of “Broken Dreams” sees Geraghty searching for a missing woman, last seen ten years ago. As Geraghty speaks to her family, it becomes apparent there are tensions simmering under the surface. Her father worked the trawlers for little pay until his job was taken without recompense, never working again until his premature death. Maybe his experience of living in Hull made it difficult for him to understand his daughter’s dream of being a singer? Maybe her teenage brother’s death from a drug overdose, after few opportunities offered in life, not even the fall-back position of working at sea, affected her deeply?

It seems to me that decisions and consequences are intimately tied to location and circumstance, and when they exert themselves, the city comes to the fore. As a writer, all you can do is look for your own truth and take a snapshot. By its ever changing nature, it can’t be anything more.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Publisher Profile - Caffeine Nights Publishing

Caffeine Nights Publishing, based in Kent, England was formed in April 2007. The company publishes crime and contemporary fiction in hardback, paperback, eBook, CD, mobile phone and other digital platforms.

They are a small publishing house with a keen eye on adopting a new business model for publishing and for authors. At present they publish a small number of titles. You can check out when they accept submissions by visiting their web site and signing up to their newsletter.

Their aim is to provide a service which differs from many small Print on Demand publishers with high standards and a low acceptance rate.  As they state on their web site: "Our output may be small but our ambition is not."

Caffeine Nights Publishing - About Us

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Publishers Results - Profile Books and Bloomsbury

Profile Books managing director Andrew Franklin has called the company's latest results "solid" despite its turnover decreasing 14%. The independent publisher reported a turnover of £7.12 million for the year to March 2010, with a pretax profit of over £335,000. However, in the previous year turnover was £8.28m with operating profits at £1.18m.

Franklin said: "This is the 13th year of continuous profitability since the company was founded in 1996. We made a healthy profit after paying everyone in the company a good bonus under the company scheme. We didn’t have a top bestseller, so naturally we are down on last year, but these are solid results and we are very proud of our publishing."

Looking ahead to next year Franklin said there are "big plans" for Profile's 15th birthday and Serpents Tail's 25th.

You can see more about Profile and Serpent's Tail on their web site along with contact e mails.

Meanwhile sales at Bloomsbury rose 4.5% in the first half of the year, to £36.8 million, though pre-tax profit fell by a little more than half, at £949,000. Profits on the publishing side fell by 23%, mostly due to the inclusion of the new Bloomsbury Professional unit (based on their acquisition of law and tax publisher Tottel), 'which is typically loss making in the first half of the year.'

Bloomsbury USA was one of the company's best-performing units in the period, with sales up 2.3% at £8.9 million and a rebound to profit contribution of £600,000 after virtually no margin a year ago. Berlin Verlag was among the weakest performers, with sales falling 34 %.

The company will launch Bloomsbury Australia in 2011, along with an Australian version of their successful Public Library Online subscription program, which debuted in the US this summer.
Full Statement available.