Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Checklist for writing a good crime story, writing tips and National Crime Writing Month 2012

I've got a new page on my official website entitled 'Writing Tips'. At the moment it comprises of a checklist for writing a good crime story, but this might be added to in due course. There are also interviews and further tips on the blog on my website.

I drafted this checklist to help those entering the CWA's ( Crime Writers' Association) Young Crime Writers' Competition 2011 so it is angled slightly towards writing a short story rather than a crime novel. Sadly the Young Crime Writers' Competition is not continuing for 2012, which is a shame because I felt it was just gaining momentum.

However there is going to be a National Crime Writing Month in June 2012 with lots of author and writing events taking place across the UK. I'll post more details here and on my website in due course but you can check this out and other events by visiting the CWA website

How to write a good crime story by Pauline Rowson

There are many different types of crime stories and many different types of crime novels from gritty gruesome, cosy comfortable to cops, robbers and gangsters, racy, action-packed thrillers, historical or contemporary, detective or private eye…

Then there is the setting: the city, the sea, countryside, mountains, home or abroad, and the theme – what message are you trying to get across? And whose story is it anyway?

So -
Choose your location
Choose your type of crime story
Think about a good theme or message you want to get across in your story
Choose who is going to be your main character or characters

Checklist for a good crime story

  • It should be well written with a truly surprising ending.
  • You need to plant clues throughout the crime story – not too many but just enough to get the reader thinking.
  • One critical piece of information is usually held back until just before the ending.
  • The best stories are those that have a theme/message and are firmly based on character.
  • Beginning: the main character is introduced immediately, so is the tone and setting and the problem
  • Middle: Build the motivation and tension.
  • The climax – this is the worst possible moment of the story.
  • The ending
  • If you are writing a short story then there should be unities of time, place and action which means that the story should take place over a very short space of time, in the same place and ideally through the main character’s eyes. This results in tight construction and a successful short story.
Read More

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bloomsbury Institute enters reader events market and Tindall Street Press launch Creative Writing Programme

Bloomsbury Publishing has set up a literary events arm called Bloomsbury Institute, hosting literary salons, lectures and book clubs, as well as providing sessions for unpublished writers.

Claire Daly, previously festival co-ordinator for the Soho Literary Festival, has been appointed as Bloomsbury Institute events manager, with upwards of 30 events planned a year, in addition to new events and masterclasses expanding the established programme for unpublished writers offered under the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook brand.

The events will largely be hosted at the publisher's offices in Bedford Square, central London.

Man Booker-shortlisted Stephen Kelman will be among the first to speak at a Bloomsbury Salon event. He will be interviewed, alongside In Darkness author Nick Lake, by Julia Eccleshare on 31st January.

The first Bloomsbury Institute Lecture will be given in  February by Slow Finance author Gervais Williams.

The Bloomsbury Book Club will begin with a William Boyd event on 29th February, held in partnership with debating forum Intelligence Squared.

Salon events and lectures will cost £8 to attend, with the Book Club charging £30, sending readers signed, first edition copies of the relevant book ahead of the meeting.

The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook events, offering guidance to unpublished authors, will include a one-to-one "Beat the Rejection Clinic", priced £199, and a "How to Hook an Agent" lunch, price yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, Birmingham independent Tindal Street Press has launched its own creative writing programme, Tindal Street Masterclasses, with Beginners Level and Academy Level courses, priced £400 and £450 respectively for the first 10-week term, led by author Josie Barnard.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Crime Writers' Association to launch exciting new initiatives for crime fiction fans in 2012

The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA),  is to launch a new initiative, the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA) in 2012 and is expanding the Crime Writing Week to an entire month in June.

The CRA will launch in February 2012 with a new website, the url is yet to be confirmed. The site will offer readers information about forthcoming crime books, interviews with crime authors and features by CWA member authors. An e-newsletter is also lined up, with plans to organise events for readers to meet authors.

National Crime Writing Week is also set to expand to a month of activities in bookshops, libraries and arts centres. Last year I was delighted to run a Crime Writing Workshop at the Quay Arts Centre in Newport on the Isle of Wight.

National Crime Writing Month will begin at the Bristol-based Crimefest event, where I will be appearing on a panel. Crimefest runs from May 24th-27th 2012. National Crime Writing Month will conclude with the CWA Dagger awards. The date for the event is to be confirmed. I was also very proud to have been longlisted for the Dagger in the Library Award.

Pauline Rowson centre on the panel at Crimefest 2011

I'm looking forward to both these initiatives and will certainly be posting further details here and on my web site as soon as I have them.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Sales and profit drop at book wholesaler Gardners

Sales and profit have fallen in the last year at book wholesaler Gardners but the company said it was "pleased" to maintain its profitability in an "increasingly competitive and challenging market".

In the year to 28th February 2011, the Eastbourne-based business reported a turnover of £176.5m, down 12% on last year’s reported sales of £200m and an operating profit of £5.7m, down 28% on last year’s figure of £7.8m.

Gardners said despite the reduction in total figures for the year, underlying sales and profit have increased. It said: "The exceptional increase in turnover in the previous year was due to a major competitor (Bertrams) going into temporary administration, which has now been resolved."

The company added: "The directors are also pleased to report that the company’s profitability has once more been maintained in an increasingly competitive and challenging market."

Thursday, 15 December 2011 expands publishing arm by acquiring children's books list from Marshall Cavendish has acquired 450 titles from publisher Marshall Cavendish, marking the retailer's publishing arm's expansion into children's books, with the company's vice-president saying this deal could pave the way for similar agreements in other categories.

The online giant will continue to publish the titles from Marshall Cavendish Children's Books in print editions, as well as making them available digitally under an imprint of its New York publishing unit, providing further content for its colour e-reader the Kindle Fire.

Amazon Publishing vice-president Jeff Belle said: "We're excited to acquire the Marshall Cavendish Children's Books titles and expand our publishing business in this area. We believe the children's book market segment presents a unique opportunity to innovate in both print and digital formats.

"And since many of these titles are not readily available as e-books, we see a chance to connect a terrific group of authors and illustrators with more readers. We also see the potential for similar deals across other categories in future."

Larry Kirschbaum, vice-president and publisher at Amazon Publishing said: "We will continue to publish these books in their handsome print editions and we think customers will love reading these books—most of them never available before digitally—with their families, using the brilliant colour touchscreen of the Kindle Fire."

Amazon Publishing is made up of six imprints: AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Powered by Amazon, Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, 47North, as well as the New York-based division under which MCCB will be housed.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Choosing a title for a crime novel - Pauline Rowson, crime author discusses

How do you come up with titles for your crime novels?

Dead Man's Wharf by Pauline RowsonWith great difficulty or considerable ease is the answer. Some titles can come instantly, almost the moment the novel hits the page (or rather the computer screen) Dead Man's Wharf was one such case. Others are like pregnancy, taking months to develop and even when the novel is finished I might still have no idea for a suitable title. A bit like the Horton novel I'm currently working on, number eight in the series. I'm on third revisions and stil no idea what the title of the novel will be.

It doesn’t matter when the title comes to me though, what does is that it must suit the novel, and if possible be memorable, although in my experience people rarely remember the title of a novel unless it's been made into a film or a television series.

Deadly Waters by Pauline RowsonOccasionally the publisher will help with the title, or can suggest changing it to one they think more appealing or suitable. And titles are often changed in translation to suit the country, and sometimes even when it is an English speaking country but with different spellings of a word. For example, Deadly Waters started out as Deadly Harbour but was changed because of publication in America where 'harbour' is spelt 'harbor.'

There are many different types of crime novel so equally there are many different types of crime novel titles. The title needs to reflect the mood of the book, as well as its structure and tone.

The Suffocating Sea by Pauline RowsonThe Suffocating Sea conjures up the body on the burning boat in a marina on a foggy November night and how Horton feels as the novel progresses and he begins to discover some uncomfortable things about his mother's past.

Tide of Death represents the body washed up on the tide and how one death triggers a series as the killer gets more and more desperate to cover his tracks. Blood on the Sand, reflects the bloody body found in the sand of a bunker on an abandoned golf course on the Isle of Wight and Footsteps on the Shore the fact that Horton is being stalked.

A Killing Coast by Pauline RowsonA Killing Coast, the seventh in the DI Horton series, is published on 26 January. This title reflects the fact that the novel is set partly in Portsmouth and partly on the coast of the Isle of Wight across the Solent from the city of Portsmouth, where Horton is based in CID.

All the DI Horton marine mystery crime novels have a ‘sea’ element to the title to reflect their setting and reinforce their branding as marine mysteries. The stand alone thrillers are slightly different. Even though these too are set against the backdrop of the sea it wasn't so essential to reflect this in the title.

In for the Kill by Pauline RowsonIn For The Kill
was a title that sprang instantly to mind as Alex Albury will fight to the bitter end to discover the identity of the man who stole his identity, framed him and destroyed his comfortable life and reputation. He is out to kill or be killed.

In Cold Daylight started out as The Cold Light of Day. The title represents the fact that Adam Greene, the reluctant hero, emerges from the story a different man than when he started. His journey forces him to relive past traumas and face up to the shame of his mental breakdown on a quest that was forced upon him to discover the truth behind the death of his friend, fire-fighter Jack Bartholomew and several of his colleagues of cancer.

Titles do matter because people can choose a book because of its title, and the look of the cover, especially if it is a new author for them, and one that hasn't necessarily been recommended by someone. And if the book becomes a treasured one then the title will stick, even if the name of the author has been forgotten.

Now it's time to get back to DI Andy Horton number eight and hope that soon a title will come to me.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Publisher Bloomsbury launches online service for unpublished authors

Bloomsbury is to offer online services to help unpublished authors learn about the publishing process, as well as access to advice from editors and agents.

The services are an extension of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, published by Bloomsbury, and are online at The scheme breaks the process down into four stages:

Starting Out;
Developing Your Talent and Growing as a Writer;
Emerging and Selling Your Stories;
Promoting and Publishing.

The 'How Strong is Your Book Idea?' service features in stage one, and is priced £99.99. The agents and editors who will be giving the feedback will be freelance.

Product director Eela Devani described the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook as an "independent and impartial brand", adding: "We've responded to the needs of the market by creating simple bespoke services to help and support creative spirits from the early stages of the writing process through to the publishing and promoting phase."We have spent over 100 years supporting writers and artists with our Yearbook and so this is a natural step for us."

Monday, 12 December 2011

Constable and Robinson to launch a new commercial fiction imprint

Publisher Constable & Robinson is to launch Canvas, a new commercial fiction list headed by commissioning editor Victoria Hughes-Williams.

The Canvas list will initially publish 12 new titles a year, in print and digital, with its first title to be published in May 2012.

Fiction publisher James Gurbutt said: "Victoria's role and the launch of Canvas form part of a long-term objective to grow the business and to diversify our fiction offerings. The new list will be predominantly women's fiction—focusing on the mass market—an area in which, until now, we have not had a presence."

Hughes-Williams added that Canvas will be experimenting with how they engage directly with readers, saying: "It's an incredibly exciting time to be acquiring, as we develop new ways to shape the form of the books we bring to market."

Constable and Robinson accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please check their guidelines on their web site for full submission details.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Ebury Press appoint editorial director for science fiction and fantasy

Ebury Press has appointed Michael Rowley, previously a Waterstone's buyer, as editorial director for science fiction and fantasy.

Rowley was previously a sci-fi and fantasy specialist buyer at Waterstone's head office for seven years, having graduated from the University of Liverpool with an MA in science fiction studies. He initially worked for Waterstone's at the Manchester Deansgate branch, running the sci fi and fantasy section and co-editing the in-house genre magazine, Enigma.

Ebury Publishing m.d. Fiona MacIntyre said: "Michael is recognised as being one of the best in the business and it is a real pleasure to provide a home for him to develop a subject he so clearly loves. His astute understanding of the sf and fantasy audience will help shape an exciting, innovative and profitable list."

Rowley added: "Joining Ebury is a dream job for me, the high point of a long career specialising in genre fiction. To be part of such a wonderful and passionate team is hugely exciting, and I can't wait to get started."

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Orbit Short Fiction expands publishing programme from the USA to the UK

Orbit is launching its digital short fiction publishing programme internationally, expanding from its US base.
Orbit Short Fiction, which launched in the US in April, will release titles simultaneously in the US, UK and all other markets in which its e-books are regularly distributed from the start of 2012.

Editorial director Anne Clarke said: "The digital short fiction market is clearly gaining momentum, and I'm delighted that we'll now be able to make our authors' stories available internationally. The success of the programme in the US has been very encouraging, and we're very much looking forward to working with our authors and colleagues in the US on this next stage in its development."

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What Do Writers Really Earn? A Survey by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society

Bubblecow recently posted this interesting article.

In 2008 the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (UK) commissioned a survey to examine author’s earnings.

Here’s what they found:

  • The average (mean) annual earnings of a writer: £16,531
  • The typical (median) earnings of a writer: £4,000
  • 60% of people who saw themselves as ‘professional authors’ required a second source of income
  • The average (mean) annual earnings of a writer (25-34): £14,564
  • The typical (median) earnings of a writer (25-34): £5,000
  • The average (mean) annual earnings of a writer (35-44): £24,533
  • The typical (median) earnings of a writer (35-44): £18,000
  • The average (mean) annual earnings of a writer (45-54): £35,958
  • The typical (median) earnings of a writer (45-54): £14,250
  • The genres that earned the most money (highest to lowest): TV writing, Theatre/film writing, Audio, internet and other, Books – fiction, Books – academic/educational, Books – children’s fiction, Newspapers/magazines and Books – non-fiction.

Source: What are Words Worth? The ALCS commissioned research carried out by Bournemouth University.

BubbleCow was established in 2007 with the simple goal of ‘helping writers to get published’.You can read more about Bubblecow on their website.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Good Housekeeping launches writing a novel competition with the chance to get published and a £25,000 advance

Good Housekeeping Magazine has launched a writing competition for budding novelists in association with Orion and agent Luigi Bonomi.

The competition appears in the magazine's January issue, which is on sale now. Good Housekeeping is looking for previously unpublished writers in any genre apart from children's, with first prize a £25,000 advance, help from the Orion editorial team and Bonomi, and the chance to have the winning book published with coverage in the magazine.

The judges will include Kate Mosse, Bonomi, Orion fiction publishing director Kate Mills and Good Housekeeping editorial director Lindsay Nicholson.

Nicholson said the magazine was "looking forward to discovering the UK's next big literary talent". Mills commented: "I'm always meeting writers who are feverishly working away in isolation and this is a fantastic opportunity to get that hard work read and recognised, with a great prize."

Monday, 5 December 2011

Atlantic Books appoints new editorial director

Atlantic Books has appointed Sara O'Keeffe, currently a senior commissioning editor at Orion, as editorial director of Corvus.

O'Keeffe, who has worked at Orion for eight years, will take up her new role at Corvus in January, reporting to publishing director Margaret Stead. She succeeds Nicolas Cheetham, who is to join new publisher Head of Zeus in the New Year.

Atlantic Books do not take unsolicited manuscripts.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Waterstone's James Daunt to be keynote speaker at IPG's 50th conference March 2012

Waterstone's m.d. James Daunt will be the keynote speaker at next year's Independent Publishers Guild annual conference, the organisation's 50th.

The 2012 event, to be held from 7th to 9th March at Heythrop Park near Chipping Norton, will also host the sixth presentation of the IPG Independent Publishing Awards.

IPG executive director Bridget Shine said she was "thrilled" to have Daunt presenting the keynote speech. "Waterstone's is a vitally important customer for many of our members, and given James' vast experience we are sure that all independent publishers will be interested to hear his thoughts on the current state and future of our industry," she said.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Stationery retailer Viking moves into bookselling

Internet and catalogue stationery retailer Viking has opened an online bookstore selling a range of 3,500 titles.
The company is based in Leicester and said it had decided to begin selling books in a bid to further become “a one-stop-shop for businesses and consumers”.

Its range includes fiction, business and travel. The company said it hopes to expand into educational books to become a future resource for schools, as well as small businesses and consumers.

Viking, which employs 1,300 people in the UK, said: “Early indications show that customers have taken to the new offering and interestingly, the biggest sellers so far are health and safety-focused publications."

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Templar unveils ambitious growth plan for young fiction and young adult fiction

Templar plans to grow its fiction output to 35 titles by 2013, following its move into fiction last year with an initial seven titles. The biggest growth will be in young fiction, although commissioning editor Helen Boyle said the company will continue to develop its young adult (YA) titles.

Boyle said it is looking at three key areas including young fiction, where it can work with picture book illustrators to develop new series, as well as commercial fiction and will be developing 'hybrid' fiction  including illustrated fiction for older readers.

Templar welcome unsolicited submissions. Please read the guidelines on their web site. You can find their submissions guidelines here.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Sci-fi and fantasy specialist Angry Robot is setting up a Young Adult Imprint

Sci-fi and fantasy specialist Angry Robot is setting up a YA imprint, Strange Chemistry, with genre blogger Amanda Rutter appointed editor.

The imprint will launch in September 2012, with five titles to be published before the end of the year, with plans to then publish one book a month. Strange Chemistry will co-publish its titles simultaneously in the US and UK, in both e-book and paperback formats, as Angry Robot does.

Angry Robot managing director Marc Gascoigne said: "The key to any truly successful genre imprint is the personality of its editors. In Amanda we've found the perfect mix of editing skills and wild, wild enthusiasm for the subject. We're beyond delighted to welcome her to the team."

Read their submissions policy on their web site.

Also from their web site:

Angry Robot is looking for people to blog about them, their books and authors.In return as well as reviewing their titles, they'll give you free copies of their books (in physical, audio, or electronic format), interviews and features. You can get the lowdown on Angry Robot and sign up at Robot Army Website.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Romantic Novelists' Association restructures awards and adds new logo

The Romantic Novelists' Association has restructured its awards, switching names from the Pure Passion Awards to the RoNAs, and with a new brand identity for the organisation.

The five RoNA categories will be Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel and Young Adult Romantic Novel, with the RoNA Rose Award, formerly Love Story of the Year, also to be awarded along with the Harry Bowling Prize for new writing, sponsored by Headline. Organisers said the new awards reflected "the modern appetite for romantic fiction which encompasses a variety of genres".

RNA president, author Katie Fforde, called the new logo, featuring a heart and a book, "bright, simple, versatile and memorable". She added:  "Together with our new-look RoNA awards, we hope it will help bring the Romantic Novelists' Association to the forefront of the minds of everyone involved in the industry."
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 5th March 2012, with the winner of each category then entered for the Romantic Novel of the Year award, with the results of that to be announced on 17th May 201

Friday, 25 November 2011

New appointmentst at Quadrille and Harvill Secker Publishers

Quadrille has made a series of promotions and appointments within its sales teams, with Melanie Gray stepping up to become UK sales director, joining the board at the independent publisher.

Gray was formerly international rights director. Alex Elliott has been promoted to deputy head of UK sales and head of stationery sales, with Margaux Durigon promoted to head of international sales. Agata Sarnowska has joined the company as international sales executive, having previously worked as a rights manager at Macmillan Children's Books, and at Carlton Books as a foreign rights executive.

Harvill Secker has appointed Alison Hennessey as its senior crime editor. She will begin in the newly created role in January 2012 and joins from Vintage where she was editor and digital media executive since 2010. She will be responsible for commissioning and publishing crime novels in translation, as well as finding UK talent.

Friday, 18 November 2011

World Book Day set for another revamp for 2012

World Book Day is set for a 2012 revamp, with new management, branding and digital promotional ideas hoping to achieve more than one million book token redemptions.

WBD will return on 1st March 2012—led by children’s marketing specialist Kirsten Grant as its new director and Penguin’s Joanna Prior as chair—with a new push after what Prior described as a “loss of energy for redemptions” which were not getting children “excited enough”.
read more

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Physical book sales down year-on-year in October

Printed book sales in October slumped 8% year-on-year, due largely to poor sales within the paperback fiction and biographies/memoirs sectors, Nielsen BookScan data has revealed.

In total, £144.7m was spent on physical books in the four weeks to 29th October, a rise of £14m, or 12%, on the previous four-week period, but down £12.3m on October 2010.

According to an analysis of Nielsen BookScan's Top 5,000 bestseller list, sales within the paperback fiction sector were down 15% year-on-year in October, while sales within the biographies/memoirs genre were down a dire 43% year-on-year, due largely to poor sales of celebrity memoirs.

Due in part to the migration from print to digital, sales within the fiction sector were down 13% in the month of October, due principally to a 15% drop in sales of paperbacks.

read more

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Kobo to move into publishing in 2012

Kobo is to move into publishing, its c.e.o. has announced, with plans to offer complete publishing services directly to authors, Canadian CBC News reports.

C.e.o. Michael Serbinis told the network that Kobo will roll out its programme sometime in 2012. He said: "It's part of the new market and if you expect to be a number one player in that market globally its table stakes—you have to provide it."

Kobo will offer services including book editing and design to authors, although it is currently unclear whether the e-reader company will publish print books, or just e-books. It is also unclear whether it will be a self-publishing initative or a full-service programme, such as Amazon's, where the company has hired publishers and editors with a traditional publishing background. Amazon's publishing arm now includes six imprints, including the most recent launch, 47North, a sci-fi, fantasy and horror imprint.

Meanwhile, in its reaction piece to the news, Quill & Quire reports that Canadian Booksellers Association president Mark Lefebvre joined Kobo this week in the newly created role of director of self-publishing and author relations.

This follows Kobo and W H Smith's link-up in the UK, with Smith's now stocking Kobo's e-reading devices.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Bernard Shaw Musicals Competition launches to find new writing talent

The Bernard Shaw estate, represented by the Society of Authors, has teamed up with Mercury Musical Developments and RADA to launch a competition in search of a new musical based on a Bernard Shaw play, a potential rival to My Fair Lady, Lerner and Loewe’s triumphant version of Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Associates of Mercury Musical Developments are invited to submit an outline treatment consisting of a synopsis, a scene and no more than three songs for a new show based on one of two Shaw plays: Man and Superman, the story of Jack Tanner, Shaw’s very own Don Juan, or The Devil's Disciple, a tale of rebellion and self-sacrifice set against the background of the American War of Independence.

Entries will be assessed by a panel of industry professionals and their shortlist will be judged by an eminent panel of experts.

The winning entry will receive a commission fee of £3,600 and its writers will be commissioned to develop their work into a full draft which will then be given a workshop production at RADA.

The competition is open to all writer associates and professional writer associates of Mercury Musical Developments. Details of how to join MMD are at Rules of the competition and an entry form can be found at

Submissions deadline: 1 February 2012

Monday, 14 November 2011

Publisher Faber on self publishing bandwagon

Publishers it seems are jumping on the self publishing bandwagon or at least some are dipping their toe in the water and seeing if they can make money out of those who wish to self publish. Faber have launched a self publishing academy.

Faber Academy director Jason Cooper says that it does not represent a conflict of interests for the publisher.
"There is a huge amount of interest in self-publishing at the moment, and we would want to make the most of that,' Faber say.  They go on to add, 'and help them realise their ambition if that is their path . . . I think as a publisher, if we are worried about self-publishing, the solution is to publish people. I think we can see that there are people in different situations and with different ambitions who will go down different routes."

He added that the three day course was a "bit of an experiment", and it was dependent on the interest the course attracted as to whether it would run again.

The course, "Bring Your Book to Market", will run in February 2012. Author, journalist and social media champion Ben Johncock and writer, blogger and digital self-publishing exponent Catherine Ryan Howard will be the course tutors, with Faber publishing director Hannah Griffiths also giving a one-hour session entitled "Rules for Authors".

Friday, 4 November 2011

People in Publishing

Algonquin Books will start publishing young adult and middle grade books by the end of 2012 and has hired Elise Howard, formerly svp and associate publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, to oversee the program. Howard plans to start the new list with up to a half dozen titles next year and build "gradually" from there. She will work out of Algonquin’s New York office, starting in mid-November.

Anthony Cheetham newest start-up as Head of Zeus is now public. The line is set to debut next summer in the UK with Robert Massie's CATHERINE THE GREAT biography. Cheetham, who is funding the new venture himself along with "close associates" for now, plans for another 10 titles of "general books with a slightly upmarket feel" in print for 2012, along with a separate list of commercial fiction released in ebook first.

Cheetham says, "this is not a blueprint for some huge group. This time I prefer to retain ownership and management, so one is not forced to sell it. I'd like this one to stick around for a while."

Rowland White will return to Penguin UK, where he worked for 12 years, as publishing director for Michael Joseph after two years as nonfiction publishing director for Orion. White will concentrate on nonfiction and thrillers and report to managing director Louise Moore.

As of January, Chris Gillespie is being promoted to svp, associate publisher for Knopf, Pantheon and now Schocken.

Nancy Miller has been promoted to editor-in-chief at the Bloomsbury imprint at Bloomsbury USA, reporting to publishing director George Gibson. Executive editors Anton Mueller and Kathy Belden and senior editor Ben Adams will report to Miller.

Chris Calhoun, who was a vp at Sterling Lord Literistic, has left to start his own company. He will represent a select list of author and poets, but will also work on selling literary archives and rare manuscripts in association with James Goldwasser.

Jennifer Heddle has joined Lucas Books, the publishing division of Lucasfilm, as senior editor, overseeing the adult fiction in their Star Wars publishing programs with Random House and Dark Horse Comics. She was at Gallery and Pocket Books.

Literary scout Lucy Abrahams has been hired by Suhrkamp/Insel in Germany.

Angus Killick is joining Macmillan Children's in the new position of vp, associate publisher, reporting to president Jon Yaged. Killick will coordinate publishing programs across the group's imprints, lead the children's marketing team, oversee key marketing campaigns, and pursue business development opportunities. He was associate publisher and director of marketing at Kingfisher.

Karyn Marcus will join Simon & Schuster as a senior editor starting on October 31, focusing on non-fiction and suspense fiction. She spent the past three years as an editor at Thomas Dunne Books.

At Douglas & MacIntyre, Jesse Finkelstein has been promoted to the new position of director, publishing services and operations, and will continue to be responsible for D&M’s digital and foreign rights programs as well. In addition, Trena White moves up to associate publisher, responsible for the imprint's day-to-day activities in addition to acquiring non-fiction titles.

Agent and author Jeff Herman is launching a social network at in November, for writers, agents and editors.

Joseph Calamia joins Yale University Press as an editor, reporting to the executive editor for science and medicine, Jean Thomson Black. Calamia recently earned a master’s degree in science writing from MIT and will acquire for the science list.

HarperCollins has acquired "the majority of titles" published by Esther Margolis's Newmarket Press. The publisher's list comprises over 200 books on film (particularly screenplays and "making of" books that tie in to award-winning movies), theater, and performing arts, as well as over 100 titles on parenting, psychology, health, biography, history, and business as well as some fiction. The only titles not included in the agreement are inactive ones that will revert back to the rightsholders. At one point, HarperCollins had served as Newmarket's distributor.

Barnes & Noble's chief financial officer Joseph Lombardi has resigned his position, and corporate controller Allen Lindstrom will act as interim CFO while the company conducts an executive search. Lombardi will stay on as a non-officer employee until the middle of next year "to assist in the transition."

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

An especially good series hero with real problems is the key to creating a good crime novel

DI Andy Horton in my marine mystery police procedural crime novels has been described as 'an especially good series hero, a likable fellow with plenty of street smarts and the requisite personal baggage - an abrasive supervisor (DCI Lorraine Bliss) and an antagonistic soon to be ex wife.' Booklist (USA). Heroes in detective novels usually have their own set of problems and the key to producing a successful crime novel is not necessarily that the hero saves the world, aka James Bond, although I like a crime novel where the hero gets his guy, but that he also learns something about him or herself by the end of the novel.

At the Bouchercon 2011 crime fiction convention in St Louis last weekend, crime authors agreed that they like to create ordinary people as heroes with real problems and that they write the stories they’d like to read, knowing that it will inevitably strike a chord with readers. That has always been true for me. I write the sort of crime and thriller novels that I like to read, good characters and an intriguing plot that get me thinking. I don't do gratuitous violence. I am not out to shock the reader but to entertain him or her and get them rooting for my hero, even if they do occasionally get frustrated by his actions.

The reason for putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances is to build more tension. Readers tend to support characters in which they recognise certain traits they have themselves. In my thriller, In Cold Daylight, Adam Greene is a reluctant hero who throughout the novel has to do things he'd rather not. He has to face his own demons before he can discover the truth about his closest friend's death, fire fighter, Jack Bartholomew. Adam is ill equipped to take up the dead hero's quest to get to the truth behind fire fighter's deaths from cancer, but he finds he has no choice. The aim is to make the reader think would I be strong enough to do that?

An author needs to get the reader caring about the hero and I certainly get great satisfaction when people ask me is Andy Horton going to get back with his wife, Catherine? Will Andy find out the truth about his mother's disappearance? Who is Andy's father? These are not the main strands of the novels - six now in the series with number seven being published in the the New Year - but they are the things that have shaped Andy Horton and made him what he is and therefore affect his decisions and his interactions with his colleagues and the villains.

One of the conclusions from Bouchercon this year was that the crime genre can show us the realities of ordinary people in everyday lives. Readers want to learn about people, and in my view they also want to get stuck into a good crime to solve, a puzzle. They want to feel for the characters, and urge them on just like you do when watching a good movie. And no matter the format of a crime novel, printed book or e book, that will always be the case.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The CWA Announces Debut Dagger Competition 2012 for budding crime writers

The Crime Writers' Association has announced that the 2012 Debut Dagger Competition will be open from October 22nd, 2011 through January 21st, 2012.

The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. All short-listed entrants will receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries. The first prize is £700 plus two tickets to the CWA Awards, which will be held in July 2012.

Entrants are required to submit the first 3000 words of their crime-themed novel plus a 500-1000 word synopsis of the rest of the novel. The short-listed entries are circulated to all the editors and agents who are members of the Association, and also to an increasing number who contact the CWA asking to see the list. Since its inauguration, over two dozen winners and short-listed authors have obtained publishing contracts.

For more information, including the application form, visit the Debut Dagger page on the CWA website.

Monday, 31 October 2011

The Book Depository and Amazon Cleared to Merge

The Office of Fair Trading in the UK has cleared Amazon to take over The Book Depository, ruling the merger would not lead to a lessening of competition within the UK book industry.

The OFT decided there was limited pre-merger competition between the two companies and found that competition within Amazon Marketplace would continue to be strong after the takeover. It said The Book Depository only accounted for between 2-4% of the online market for physical books, and that TBD had most of its growth in overseas markets rather than the UK.

During its investigation, the OFT looked at the levels of competition between top selling titles and “deep range”, less popular books. It found for popular titles Amazon would face strong post-merger competition from bricks and mortar booksellers, supermarkets and other online retailers, including other Amazon Marketplace sellers. For deep range titles, the OFT decided Amazon would face rivalry from other online retailers and Amazon Marketplace sellers.

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Friday, 28 October 2011

People in Publishing

Little, Brown UK science fiction and fantasy imprint Orbit has appointed Jenni Hill, previously of Solaris Books, as commissioning editor.

Hill will report to editorial director Anne Clarke, and will take up her post on 31st October. While at Solaris, she worked with authors including James Lovegrove, Gail Z Martin and Emily Gee.

At Crown, Rica Allannic has been promoted to executive editor, Clarkson Potter, and Kate Tyler has been promoted to publicity director, Crown Illustrated, which comprises the Clarkson Potter, Potter Craft, Potter Style, Watson-Guptill, and Amphoto Books imprints. Kim Small has also been named publicity director for Potter Style, in addition to directing publicity for Potter Craft, Watson-Guptill, and Amphoto Books.

Laura Meyer will join Harper UK as chief information officer in mid-January 2012, tasked with the responsibility of upgrading the publisher's systems to deal with the change towards digital.

Katie Shea has joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency, specializing in fiction (especially women’s fiction and commercial-scale literary fiction) and memoir. She was previously an agent with Johnson Literary Agency.

At Hachette UK, Matt Wright has been promoted to managing director, distribution, responsible for all aspects of the group's logistics operations, including customer service and credit control.

Bethanne Patrick has joined Book Riot as executive editor.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Amazon profits crumble after heavy Kindle investment

Amazon’s profits have dropped by 73% in its third quarter, with the company's investment in its Kindle e-readers blamed for the slump.

In the three months to 30th September, net income fell from $231m (£144.4m) to $63m (£39.4m) year on year. Sales rose by 44% to $10.88bn (£6.8bn), in comparison to $7.56bn (£4.7bn) in 2010. In its international arm, including sites in the UK, Germany, Japan, France, China, Italy and Spain, the company reported sales were $4.94bn (£3.1bn), up 44% from third quarter 2010.

Following the release of the financial results, shares in Amazon fell 14.25% to $194.77 (£121.75). Analysts put the slump in profits down to investment in its new Kindle devices, Fire and Touch. However, Amazon was gloomy about the months ahead, suggesting it could make between a $200m (£125.0m) loss and $250m (£156.3m) profit in its fourth financial quarter.

Evercore Partners analyst Ken Sena told Reuters: "We're not seeing the investment pay off yet, but I think investors are impatient as to how long will it take before you will start to see this pay off." He added, "When are we going to start to see some signs?"

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Expansion for publishers with new lists and staff appointments

Alma Books is planning to hire more staff and expand its non-fiction and YA lists, after reversing a loss made in its 2009 financial year.

For the year ending 31st December 2010, turnover grew nearly 70% to £629,361. Profit after tax was also up to £104,646 at the end of 2010, after making a loss of £10,437 in 2009. Managing director Alessandro Gallenzi said in the first half of 2011 sales reached £91,336 in June, up from £34,846 in January. Export sales have also grown by over 80%, according to the publisher, due to its sales and distribution agreement with Bloomsbury getting underway at the start of 2011, and with Gallenzi anticipating further growth in this area once distribution begins in the US in the near future.

Alma is looking to recruit an additional editor as well as another member of marketing staff, upping staff levels to seven full-time employees, with plans to publish a more varied non-fiction list and more YA titles and boost its digital publishing programme.

Overall, Alma will publish 20 books in spring 2012, up from 12 this year. The companys also aims to have all its backlist of titles available as e-books..

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Digital publisher Open Road is launching a new imprint, Iconic E-books, with Erica Jong's Fear of Flying and Alice Walker's The Color Purple to be among its first titles.

The Iconic E-Books titles will be those that have "universal name recognition whether as memoir, popular fiction, literary fiction, or non-fiction".

Open Road co-founder and c.e.o. Jane Friedman said: "A core mission of Open Road is to bring many of the most influential and acclaimed books to 'e' to connect them once again with readers."

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ticktock Books placed in Voluntary Liquidation & New Holland lays off staff

The Bookseller of 14th October reports that Ticktock Books and Ticktock Direct (whose names were recently changed to TTB Kent and TTD Kent), have both been placed in voluntary liquidation.  Tick Tock Media went into liquidation in March of last year.

Ticktock Entertainment Ltd is continuing with a new publishing imprint, Wise Walrus.Members of The Society of Authors are advised to consult the Society before signing any new contract with Ticktock Entertainment, Wise Walrus, or any other company under the control of Tick Tock’s MD John Twiggs.

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llustrated publisher New Holland has undergone its third round of redundancies in four years, with nearly half the company’s UK staff leaving the publisher, including its managing director.

Eleven employees (out of 24 in the UK) will leave the business on 28th October, with m.d. Steve Connolly to leave in December. Connolly said: “Effectively the UK trade side of the business is continuing to shrink. The coedition and non-trade market is growing quite significantly, but that is not compensating enough for the drop in trade sales. Looking at the next two years, we couldn’t see any reason it would get any better very quickly. We thought it better to manage operational costs, so it has a smaller publishing plan and is more coedition driven.”

He added: “The UK high street is not only down, but it is very erratic—it is very hard to plan a stable business when you don’t have a reliable revenue stream.”

He said the coedition sales team—comprising five full-time and two freelance staff members—would remain unaffected, but the main losses would be within the production, design and editorial teams. He said the work of these departments, for the publisher’s general interest and international travel list, will now be handled in-house at New Holland Australia, “which will hopefully give better economy of scale”.

The company is owned by South Africa media company Avusa, and Connolly will be moving to Cape Town to become m.d. of fellow Avusa company Random House Struik, where he will succeed Stephen Johnson, who is retiring.

Meanwhile, the remaining staff at New Holland UK will report to New Holland Publishers Australia m.d. Fiona Schultz, who will be responsible for the company’s international business from its Sydney office.

Frontlist commissioning for the UK company will drop from about 60 titles annually to around 25 to 30 books a year.

Monday, 24 October 2011

New talk added to CSI Portsmouth event - Crime Author Pauline Rowson on Writing the Crime Novel

Unfortunately owing to personal circumstances Dr Neil McCaw whose talk was to be on Victorian Crime Fiction at CSI Portsmouth on Saturday 5 November has had to withdraw from the programme. I will be stepping in to take his place in addition to being on the panel event in the afternoon. I won't be talking about Victorian Crime Fiction though but about writing a crime novel. My talk will take place in the morning of Saturday 5 November between 10.00am - 11.00 am and again between 11.30am - 12.30pm. Sorry to disappoint all those who were looking forward to Dr McCaw's talk but hopefully I can make up for it in some small way.

Here are the details:

Writing A Crime Novel - plotting, researching and writing the crime novel

If you've ever wondered where crime writers get their ideas from, how they turn those ideas into complex plots and sub plots, how they research for their novels and how the fiction compares with the fact now is your chance to find out.

Pauline Rowson is the author of the DI Andy Horton Marine Mystery Crime Novels set in the Solent area. She is an accomplished and entertaining speaker and draws the inspiration for her popular crime novels from the Solent area where she lives. Her crime novels have been highly acclaimed both in the UK and the USA and have been translated into several languages. She is also the author of two thrillers one of which the award winning In Cold Daylight was voted by the public as the third best read for World Book Day 2008

CSI Portsmouth Morning Programme 10.00 - 12.30 am - choose two sessions to attend, one between 10am- 11am and another between 11.30am - 12.30pm

  • Forensic psychology – How realistic is the forensic psychologist portrayed on television detective programmes and in crime novels? Lucy Wainwright will discuss this and many aspects of her fascinating work

  • Fingerprinting – Fact versus Fiction – Jane Aston from the Fingerprint bureau at Police Support Headquarters, Hampshire, gives an intriguing insight into how it really works.

  • True Crime – In Charge Of Murder – How a real murder case is worked, former Detective Superintendent Bob Bridgestock tells it like it is.

CSI Portsmouth Afternoon Programme 2pm - 5pm

Join International best selling crime authors, Mark Billingham, John Harvey, Michael Ridpath and Pauline Rowson, and police and forensic experts: Dr Claire Nee, Dr Paul Smith, an expert in crime scenes; Hampshire Police – Major Crime Team Senior Investigator and Scene of Crime Officer for this lively panel debate where crime fiction meets crime fact.

4pm Book Signing and a chance to talk with the crime authors on an individual basis

CSI Portsmouth Tickets

Tickets on sale from the Box Office + 44 (0)23 9268 8685.

Tickets cost £5 for the morning and £7 for the afternoon with a discounted ticket of £10 for the whole day and includes £3 off the price of a book bought at the event.

Friday, 21 October 2011

People in Publishing

At Scholastic's trade publishing division, editorial director David Levithan has been promoted to publisher and editorial director. In other promotions, Charisse Meloto moves up to executive director of publicity for print and digital publishing; Bess Braswell is now director of marketing; Victoria Tisch is director of marketing operations; Maria Dominguez is executive editor and manager, Scholastic en espaƱol; and Paul Banks moves up to executive art director, licensed publishing and school market originals.

Simon & Schuster's children's imprints Aladdin and Simon Pulse will co-publish Beyond Words Publishing's children's list. S&S will handle sales, distribution, and fulfillment of their 10 to 12 titles annually worldwide, starting in 2012. The agreement parallels the relationship Beyond Words struck with Atria for their adult titles in 2006. Publisher of Aladdin and Simon Pulse publisher Bethany Buck says in the announcement, "Their unique and inspirational books will be a nice complement to our upcoming and backlist titles, as we are seeing these types of books proving to be a strong category for young readers."

At Headline, John Wordsworth has joined as editor, focusing on science fiction and fantasy titles. Previously he was an editor at John Blake Publishing. In addition, Ben Willis will join as publicity manager starting November 7. Previously he was a senior press officer at Transworld.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Warren Adler on Books to Movies

 This article first appeared on Huffington Post.

Warren Adler is the author of 32 novels and short story collections published in numerous languages. Films adapted from his books include "The War of the Roses", "Random Hearts" and the PBS trilogy "The Sunset Gang." He is a pioneer in digital publishing. For more information please visit

"I recently served as a speaker on a panel discussion organized by the Book Publicists of Southern California under the irrepressible founder and Chairman emeritus Irwin Zucker on the subject of "Books to Movies."

Beside me, there were two other panelists, Ron Bernstein, a savvy and powerful senior agent at ICM, and Barbara Schiffman, a much admired and experienced script consultant. I was chosen, I suppose, because I had either sold or optioned a dozen of my books to Hollywood producers and studios.

There were about 150 people in the audience. Most, because of proximity, had some knowledge of the film and entertainment business. Many, as I later learned, had self-published memoirs and books on various subjects as well as fiction. Some had books published by traditional publishers.

All were anxious to know how their offering could be adapted to a movie, which for them, was the gold standard of literary achievement, the holy grail of their efforts. I am talking primarily about big screen movies, those shown in popcorn palaces, touted by big ads and endless promos, the movies that make people famous.

Bernstein, who is on the daily firing line of selling books to the flicks, opined that many movies today were designed for a very young demographic and were made to sell ancillaries like toys and video games. There were, he noted, adult movies being made but fewer than in the past. He did acknowledge that many movies headed straight to cable television or DVDs and streaming sites.

Schiffman, an acknowledged expert on the technique of film stories was what one might characterize as a strict constructionist. She knew how stories could best be told on film, but admitted that it was impossible to predict marketability in advance in a constantly changing environment.

In my talk, I recounted the difficulties, complications and disappointments of getting a book adapted to a movie and the long odds that followed an option or even an outright sale of finally getting the book to the silver screen. I attributed my own experience to pure luck since I have never written a book with a movie in mind and my talk centered around my "war" stories of dealing with the clashing opinions and egos of the Hollywood creative and business community.

I cited the nightmare of the so-called collegial experience, of having to confront not only producers, directors, actors, their spouses or significant others, all of whom had their own views about how the movie should proceed. For a novelist, used to being king of his mind-made mountain, the process is terrifying.

One can easily understand why Ernest Hemingway said something to the effect that the best way for an author to handle Hollywood was to stand at the Nevada border, throw the book over the fence to California, have them throw the money back, then run like hell.

What astonished me in the question period at the event and the aftermath, was that many of these self-published authors were absolutely certain that their books were big movie material.

Some were convinced that the public needed their take on this or that cause, and that their book "deserved" a movie. People lined up to flack their books on such subjects as life in New Caledonia, autism, social justice and other areas designed to "inspire" movie goers and help save the world. It was futile to cite movies as mere entertainment.

A number of people flashed their self-published book covers, which featured entertainers long gone written by middle to old age offspring convinced that the world was waiting for their filmed resurrection.

Some bold people thrust manuscripts at Bernstein who very politely and with great tact, refused them. I made the mistake of dismissing one eager questioner with "But who would come to your movie?" which he took as an insult.

If there was a takeaway from this experience it was that there is a giant groundswell of traditionally published and self-published wannabe recognized writers out there who really believe that their work deserves not only to be read and lauded, but adapted to big Hollywood films. They fantasize that they have created works that demand attention in this media. Indeed, many have been bolstered by relatives and close friends out of genuine love or ingratiation and lavish encouragement that their work is a surefire movie.

In that room I saw first hand what it meant to these people to believe absolutely in their work, most of which probably passed through countless rejections before ending up as a self-published book. These were, indeed, true believers. They were not to be dissuaded.

That said, I continue to admire their pluck and self-confidence. It is really, really hard to write a book. Whether it be fiction or non-fiction the investment in time is enormous. If not self-confidence and commitment, what can sustain a determined writer to spend long hours alone spurred on by the absolute belief that their work is worth doing despite rejection after rejection?

Suddenly digitization and the e-book phenomenon has opened the doors wide to their creative efforts and the old stigma of vanity publishing has disappeared, giving them confidence that they could compete with writers and publishers everywhere on the planet.

One can forgive them for being convinced that their effort is well worth the candle. They have to embrace the idea that after such a massive effort it surely is a psychic thrill for them to hold a book in their hands with their name emblazoned on the cover, or see their work in digital form on a reading device. They must believe that they have not only enriched themselves but the world at large, and yearn for others to lionize and praise them.

In a society where people without achievement or portfolio are publicized as public heroes and given dubious celebrity status, surely a long form book writer deserves some sort of honors, at the very least, for his or her heroic effort to create a book.

In a profound way, seeing their work adapted to the silver screen in an auditorium filled with rapt, attentive people concentrating on their ideas, characters and conception can offer the thrill of a lifetime. I've experienced it and know its power.

Fortunately, the future for the committed writer who believes that his or her work demands a visual moving picture component is not all that bleak. A sister technology to the digitization that made his or her self-published work possible is also available to adapt the work to moving images. It may not offer the Hollywood treatment, complete with massive advertising and distribution treatment, but it is quite possible to create a respectable product available through various outlets on the Net in a similar way as a self-published book.

The process is bound to get easier and cheaper as it matures, and I predict many will avail themselves of the opportunity as time goes on and more and more Net producers and writers seize the opportunity, producing documentaries or fiction stories on their own. There are also rumbles that the future of the standalone theater auditorium is doomed as more and more people shift to the technologically enhanced and economical home experience.

Marketing and distribution opportunities may be severely limited but there is, as it is with a book, a great psychic satisfaction for a creator to see his or her work adapted to a "film." Granted its audience will be severely limited as it competes for recognition in a vast sea of other productions, but it may, however long the odds, offer a way into the more lucrative world of the big movie.

Of one thing I am certain. Technology has unleashed ever-expanding opportunities for the creative mind. It is surging and unstoppable."

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Amazon expands its publishing arm to include Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror Novels has announced its seventh imprint, a science fiction, fantasy and horror brand called 47North, which has launched with 15 books.

The imprint name is based on the latitude co-ordinates of Seattle, where Amazon was founded. The launch list includes e-book star Stephen Leather's new series Nightingale, which launches in March 2012 with supernatural cop thrillers Nightfall, Midnight and Nightmare.

The 47North titles will publish original, previously published and out-of-print works. The books will be available to English readers as Kindle, print and audiobooks from the company's website and at national and independent booksellers. The list also includes The Mongoliad: Book One, the first in a five-book, collaborative Foreworld series by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear.

Victoria Griffith, publisher at Amazon Publishing West Coast Group, said: "Amazon customers have a huge appetite for science fiction, fantasy and horror books, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce readers to new and established voices in these genres.

"We are especially happy to have a diverse list at launch, and look forward to publishing across a wide range of subgenres."

Other imprints published by the company include AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Powered by Amazon, Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer and the New York imprint.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Chance to win a free place on a Guardian Creative Writing Masterclass

The Guardian Newspaper is offering the chance to win a place on their newly launched Masterclass Programme.

A spokesperson says, "Our classes bring together some of the most respected names in creative writing whose courses blend practical exercises and techniques with invaluable advice."

The Guardian is offering one reader the chance to win a course for free. The winner will be entitled to attend one course in the 2011/2012 Guardian Masterclass programme worth up to £4,000.

Forthcoming highlights include a variety of intensive weekend courses in London as well as residential courses in Norfolk

To view a full list of upcoming masterclasses, click here.

For full terms and conditions click on the link below.

The Prize draw closes at 23.59 on 29 October 2011. Entries received after that date and time will not be considered.
Win a Guardian Masterclass:

Monday, 17 October 2011

Publisher Atlantic makes losses in "dreadful" 2010

Publisher Atlantic Books made a loss of £1.8m on turnover of £6.9m in 2010, the company has confirmed. But chief executive Toby Mundy said the publisher was likely to grow 15% on 2010's figures this year and had also reduced its costs by 15%.

Mundy said the 2010 losses came about after Atlantic increased its overheads to push ambitious growth plans, including with the launch of its Corvus imprint, while the economy flatlined. The company's 2010 turnover was flat year-on-year, at £23,773 below its 2009 total.

While he described himself as "extremely pleased" with the performance of Corvus itself, Mundy said that Atlantic's contract publishing business had "not played out as planned", with a lack of customers both at home and in the US and South Africa in the tough economic climate.

Atlantic also "rigorously" wrote off unearned advances and stock provision during 2010, in what Mundy called "a very big one-off write-off exercise" that would not be repeated. "2010 was a dreadful year but there are encouraging signs for 2011," he said.

Anthony Cheetham, who headed up international contract co-edition Callisto, as well as having executive responsibility for Corvus, left the company in June, saying: "There wasn't a huge amount for me to do at Atlantic, and the projects that I had envisaged working on were not really happening because it has been a difficult year for the company."

Friday, 14 October 2011

People in publishing

Canongate has promoted senior editor Francis Bickmore to editorial director. His recent publishing includes the Man Booker-shortlisted Jamrach's Menagerie.

At Scholastic, Dani Nadel has been hired as chief digital marketing officer for Scholastic book clubs and e-commerce, reporting to Judy Newman. She was most recently president at digital agency Publicis Modem since 2008. In addition, Tom Burke has been promoted to chief e-commerce officer, book clubs and e-commerce.

Scotland-based publisher Barrington Stoke will be distributed by Lerner Publishing Services in the US and Canada under the Stoke Books name starting in spring 2012.

Matt Weiland will join Norton as senior editor on October 24, reporting to editor-in-chief John Glusman. He has spent the past three years as senior editor for Ecco.

Ethan Nosowsky has been named editorial director of McSweeney's, responsible for acquiring and editing fiction and nonfiction for the company's book publishing arm as well as overseeing other publications. Nosowsky spent the past four years as editor-at-large for Graywolf and he starts on October 31.

Suzie Townsend joins Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation as a full-time agent, concentrating on fiction from middle grade to adult. She spent the past three years at FinePrint Literary Management.

Niki Papadopoulos has joined Portfolio, Sentinel, and Current as a senior editor. She will acquire and edit primarily for the business and science lists. Most recently she was an editor for the business group at McGraw-Hill Professional.

Eileen Lawrence will join Little, Brown Children's as executive director of marketing on October 19, reporting to deputy publisher Andrew Smith.

At Chicago Review Press, Lisa Reardon has been promoted to senior editor, acquiring children’s and YA nonfiction as well as selected adult nonfiction.

Tara Walker will join Tundra Books as editorial director on November 1. Previously she was an editor for Kids Can Press.

At Melville House, Kelly Burdick has been promoted to executive editor, overseeing the editorial department. Ellie Robins has been hired as an acquiring editor. Her duties will include overseeing their Neversink Library. (She was managing editor of Hesperus Press in London.)

Elda Rotor is being promoted to associate publisher of Penguin Classics, while continuing to serve as editorial director as well.

Alessandra Lusardi has joined Rizzoli as senior editor for its Ex Libris imprint, dedicated to upmarket transatlantic literary fiction and non-fiction and set to launch officially in Fall 2012.

Barbara Jones will join Henry Holt as executive editor on October 24, concentrating on acquiring fiction as well as some memoir and narrative nonfiction. She spent the past three years as editorial director of Hyperion and Voice.

Adam Wilson will join Gallery Books as editor on October 10, reporting to Jen Bergstrom. He has been at Harlequin for the last seven years, working on Harlequin's Teen, Mira, and Luna lines.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

2010 profits fall at Canongate

Profits at Canongate for its 2010 financial year fell by 42.7%, which the publisher said reflected the cost of acquiring specialist audio publisher CSA, as well as investing in staff and systems.

In accounts recently filed at Companies House, the independent revealed sales were largely level with 2009 at £13.39m, down from £13.89m for the year ending 31st December 2009. Profits for the 2010 financial year were £1.06m, down from £1.85m in 2009. However, Canongate noted it was the third consecutive year profit exceeded £1m. E-books accounted for 5% of total sales during the 2010 year.

Jamie Byng, Canongate m.d., said: "2010 was a challenging year for our whole industry and so it was satisfying that Canongate managed to turn in another good set of results and to do so while continuing to publish books of real quality and originality. The list has never been stronger, nor the outstanding team of individuals who help to make Canongate what it is."

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Independent Publisher Beautiful Books enters administration

Independent publisher Beautiful Books entered administration on11th October. The company has ceased to trade and four members of staff have been made redundant.

A spokesperson for London firm Leonard Curtis, the administrating company, said those handling the case would now evaluate Beautiful Books and creditors would receive a report. In a statement, the publisher said: "All the employees at Beautiful Books would like to thank everyone with whom we have worked over the past six years."

Last week David Lewis, director of The Beautiful Group PLC, warned authors that the administration was likely, saying that the company had experienced cash flow difficulties, and that discussions to find a buyer, or another publisher prepared to keep some or all of its titles in print and pay royalties under current contracts, had not borne fruit.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Faber Academy launches new website with creative writing tips and videos

Faber Academy has launched a new website to support students on its writing courses, which will include videos, articles from tutors and alumni and an area where students can share their work with classmates.

The website,, will also be a way for prospective students to select and sign up to courses.

Faber Academy head Catherine Heaney said: "As the academy continues to grow, it is wonderful that we have a space online for writers to share. The strength of our courses comes from the combination of great tutors and dedicated students, and we want the new website to be a place where that sense of community can grow. It's also a great way of introducing new writers to what we offer."

Several new courses are either underway or scheduled, with a hundred students taking part on courses in London and Dublin this week including "Becoming a Poet" and "Memoir and Life Writing".

In January, further new courses will include "Writing Family History" and "Write a Play in Three Months" with Rebecca Lenkiewicz, with new courses in crime fiction and narrative non-fiction starting later in spring 2012.

Publishers should not make the same mistakes the record industry made

Publishers should not be too quick to write off physical products and should encourage competition between a number of digital players to avoid the mistakes the record industry made, the director general of the Entertainment Retailers Association has said.

Kim Bayley gave a presentation to more than 100 indies at the Booksellers Association’s Independent Booksellers Forum conference in Coventry on 26th September and discussed the Record Store Day initiative. Record companies provide independent stores with exclusive products, mostly vinyl albums and singles, created especially for the day. It is now in its third year, and 180 stores took part in 2011.

The number of independent record stores has plummeted from more than 700 in 2005 to just under 300 in 2010, as customers have shifted more to digital. Bayley said there were parallels with the digital changes the book trade is experiencing. She told The Bookseller: "The music industry probably got it completely wrong and is fighting a losing battle. The danger is for the publishing industry to write off physical products too early. It was the music industry who decided it was not going to produce CD singles any more so it just stopped. And now it’s iTunes that dominates that market."

She said publishers had to encourage competition between retailers in the growing digital market, as once it has fully established "it is very hard to introduce new players of note".

If booksellers and publishers were to adapt Record Store Day for the trade, it would be a way of selling limited edition products at full price and making them valuable. She said: "Where the music industry went wrong is it has almost devalued the price of CDs, and made them cheaper and cheaper."

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Monday, 10 October 2011

Printed book sales rose in September on August, but down on 2010

Printed book sales in September rose by 10% on August, but were down 10% on last year, Nielsen BookScan data reveals. In total, £118.4m was spent on physical books in the four weeks to 1st October, an increase of £11m on August, but a decline of £14m on September 2010.

According to an analysis of BookScan TCM Top 5,000 data for the period, which accounted for 55% of all book sales, hardback sales in September were significantly down on 2010 levels—by 35% in the fiction sector and 30% in non-fiction.  

Hurt by the migration to digital, paperback fiction sales through the TCM Top 5,000 were down 15% year-on-year last month, although paperback non-fiction and children's sales out-performed the overall market, with sales down 4% and up 3% respectively.

Meanwhile, after a poor first half of the year, sales within the specialist non-fiction/academic sector have improved, and were up 1.5% for the month.

Although the migration from print to digital can be partly blamed for poor physical book sales year-on-year, booksellers were not the only retail sector suffering a September sales slump. Almost 40% of retailers that contributed to the CBI's recent Distributive Trades Survey reported that sales in the month of September were below last year, while figures from footfall monitors Experian revealed that footfall fell 8.1% year-on-year in the week commencing 26th September—the biggest fall since December 2008. Fashion and footwear retailers in particular suffered badly, with sales falling to their lowest level in more than two and a half years, Drapers magazine reports, as shoppers shunned the shops in favour of enjoying the recent mini heat wave.

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Crime author Pauline Rowson to appear on Angel Radio and Vectis Radio Isle of Wight

Crime author Pauline Rowson is to appear on Angel Radio and Vectis Radio on the Isle of Wight to talk about the exciting event, CSI Portsmouth, which is being held on Saturday 5 November at John Pounds Centre, Queen Street, Portsmouth where crime fiction meets crime fact.

On 13 October Pauline Rowson will be talking to David Nove on Angel Radio Isle of Wight, along with fellow crime writers Bob and Carol Bridgestock, who are also appearing at CSI Portsmouth. The show is being broadcast between 1pm and 2pm and they'll be chatting about their crime novels as well as CSI Portsmouth, part of Portsmouth Bookfest.

And at 3pm Pauline Rowson will also be on Vectis Radio Isle of Wight talking to Peter Walkden about her DI Horton crime novels.

Angel Radio accentuates the positive aspects of being an older person, providing a radio station for older people to run themselves and is unique in that it specialises in records made before 1960. The station has a huge following across the ages and has listeners all over the World including Europe, Australia and the USA. It is well worth tuning into.

CSI Portsmouth is on 5 November at John Pounds Centre, Portsmouth and there is a great line of speakers including police and forensic experts.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Beautiful Books facing administration and Literary agent Georgia Garrett has left A P Watt

Indpendent publisher Beautiful Books is facing administration. An administrator for Beautiful Books is expected to be appointed by close of business on Monday (10th October)

In a letter to authors, David Lewis, director of The Beautiful Group PLC, said the company has had cash flow difficulties, and discussions to find a buyer, or another publisher prepared to keep some or all of its titles in print and pay royalties under current contracts, have not borne fruit.

Lewis told authors that notice of intent to appoint an administrator has been given and it was likely that that would take place on Monday.

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Literary agent Georgia Garrett has left A P Watt for Rogers, Coleridge & White on the eve of Frankfurt Book Fair.

Georgia Garrett joined A P Watt in September 2000 and was deputy managing director. Before that she ran Andrew Wylie's London office, having been editorial director at Picador. At RCW she will join former Picador publisher Peter Straus, as well as David Miller.

Friday, 7 October 2011

People in Publishing

At Basic Books, editorial director Lara Heimert has been promoted to editorial and publishing director. In her new role she will play a larger role in the presentation and publication of the imprint's books while freeing Basic Book Group publisher John Sherer to concentrate on the new Perseus digital marketing initiatives and to focus on the efforts at Westview Press and Nation Books.

At Little, Brown Children's, both Connie Hsu and Kate Sullivan have been promoted to editor.

Liz Gately begins scouting for De Boekerij and Meulenhoff in the Netherlands as October 1.

Red Wheel Weiser is launching the Weiser Books e-Collection, comprising two lines to start: Paranormal Parlor and Magical Creatures. Each aims to issue five titles per month, and both are curated by author and Huffington Post Blog of the Bizarre columnist Varla Ventura. Future collections Create the Life You Want, Witchcraft, Psychic Phenomenon, and Aleister Crowley/Western Mystery Traditions. As with Weiser Books in print, the ebook lines focus on "forgotten and out-of- print material, using knowledgeable editors and writers to curate the collections and provide introductions."

Ben Sevier has been promoted to editor-in-chief at Dutton, effective Octboer 3.

Tom Dussel will join Penguin Group as director of sub-rights on November 7, responsible for the Putnam, Berkley, Portfolio, Tarcher, Avery and Perigee lists, reporting to svp Leigh Butler. He has been sub-rights manager at Simon & Schuster, selling rights for the Free Press, Scribner and Howard Books imprints.

Robert Wheaton will join Random House Canada, overseeing the digital department in the new role of vp, strategic digital business development.

Robert Wheaton will join Random House Canada in the newly created position of vp, director, strategic business development, reporting to ceo Brad Martin. Wheaton was previously director of inventory management for Indigo Books & Music. will make available its catalog of self-published works to Barnes & Noble's Nook platform.

At rDel Rey Spectra, Ticia Pasternak has been promoted to editorial director, where she will oversee both the editorial department in Del Rey’s traditional sf and fantasy publishing and content for the imprint's IP business. Keith Clayton will add the additional responsibility of associate publisher to his existing role of director of creative development for the IP group. Anne Groell moves up to executive editor, and Frank Parisi joins as in-house coordinator for all of the imprint's Star Wars titles, while also leading Del Rey Spectra's licensed tie-in initiatives.

At Palgrave Macmillan, Karen Wolny has been named editorial director of trade and professional books. Previously she was editorial director of LearningExpress. In addition, Luba Ostashevsky has been promoted to senior editor, trade, and Samantha Hasey moves up to editor for the academic Business and Economics list.

In the UK at Bonnier's start-up Hot Key Books, Emily Thomas has been hired as publisher and Sara O'Connor will be editorial director print and digital, with their starting date to be named later. Both have been at Hodder Children's.

Amber Hoover has been promoted to associate director of international scouting at Franklin & Siegal Associates. She joined the company in 2005.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Victorian Crime Fiction, Sherlock Holmes, the modern detective novel and TV programme - Neil McCaw at CSI Portsmouth - 5 Nov.

CSI Portsmouth on Saturday 5 November 2011 where crime fiction meets crime fact, has a great programme of speakers lined up including international best selling crime authors, Mark Billingham, John Harvey, and Michael Ridpath who will be appearing with Pauline Rowson on a panel debate in the afternoon along with police, scene of crime and forensic psychology experts. In the morning there are some interesting and entertaining speakers and one of these is Victorian crime fiction expert, Dr Neil McCaw.

Sherlock Holmes fans are in for a treat because Dr Neil McCaw will be talking about Victorian crime fiction: the influence of Holmes and Conan Doyle.

Where did modern crime fiction begin? What or who kick-started the craving for the fictional detective both in novels and latterly on television? Whatever your ideas on this, unarguably one of the greatest fictional detectives is Sherlock Holmes.

Dr McCaw is Academic Director of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, Lancelyn Green Bequest, one of the largest collections of Holmes/Conan Doyle material in the world. He provides a fascinating insight into the role of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes in the development of detective fiction as a genre in the C19th and C20th centuries.

Neil McCaw is Reader in Literature and Culture at the University of Winchester. His books include 'George Eliot and Victorian Historiography' (2000), Writing Irishness in Nineteenth-Century British Culture' (2004), 'How to Read Texts' (2008) and 'Adapting Detective Fiction: Crime, Englishness and the TV Detectives' (2010) in addition to a number of articles and chapters on C19th and C20th literature and culture.

See more information on CSI Portsmouth and the full programme. Saturday 5 November at John Pounds Centre, Queen, Street, Portsmouth

Tickets on sale from the Box Office + 44 (0)23 9268 8685.

Tickets cost £5 for the morning and £7 for the afternoon with a discounted ticket of £10 for the whole day which includes £3 off the price of a book bought at the event.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Children's book sales outperform the rest of the market in first half of 2011

Children’s books sales outperformed the rest of the market in the first half of 2011, down just 1% year on year to £143m, due to blockbusting brands and the delay in children adopting digital content in this area.

According to Nielsen BookScan figures presented at the Bookseller Children’s Conference, the total consumer market was down 3.5% year on year to 16th July. Across the entire TCM, fiction sales were down by 7% to £210m, with non-fiction sales down by 2% to £376m.

In children’s general non-fiction, sales were up by 6% to £14.6m, boosted by brands such as Moshi Monsters. Sales within children’s fiction were up by 8% to £42.7m.

However, sales of annuals were down by 52%, or £1.1m, with YA fiction sales also down by 38%. However, if sales from the top five paranormal romance authors are stripped from the YA category, sales would then be up by 20% to £11.7m.

Publishers said the children’s market could be benefiting from spending on children being prioritised in tough economic times, with Hachette Children’s m.d. Marlene Johnson adding the middle-class baby boom was really boosting pre-school sales. She said: "What is interesting is that they are buying old books; with the downturn of libraries, and the fear in bookselling at the moment, what everyone is doing is playing completely safe. It is concentrated in a very few books."

Publishers were confident YA would remain a strong category.

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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The top genres among e-book owners are crime and thriller which is seeing an increase in sales

The top genres among e-book owners are crime and thriller (47%), with science fiction (25%), literature (23%) and romance (23%) says Aptara's third annual e-book survey of more than 1,300 book publishers from the trade, education, professional and corporate markets.

The survey reveals that one in five publishers is now generating more than 10% of their revenues from e-books, with the vast majority of book publishers (85%), across all market segments, producing print and e-book versions of their titles including my own publisher Severn House, who have released Footsteps on the Shore, the sixth in the DI Andy Horton crime series, recently in paperback and e book available on and was still listed as the biggest generator of sales by 56% of trade publishers, and by 38% of all publishers, with their own websites the second biggest category.

The overwhelming percentage of responding publishers across all market segments were from English-speaking countries including United States (70%), United Kingdom (8%), Canada (3%), and Australia (3%).

Meanwhile the number of Americans using an e-book reader has almost doubled during the last 12 months, according to another survey. The Harris Poll also revealed one in six Americans who do not have an e-reader intend to buy one during the next six months. This may be welcomed by publishers as e-reader owners are reading more books, according to the survey with the top genres among e book owners being crime and thriller novels.

All my marine mystery crime novels featuring DI Andy Horton and my thriller novels are available in paperback and e books.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Chick lit sales suffer as recession bites in Britain

A squeeze on consumer spending in supermarkets and the migration to digital are being blamed for the spectacular falls in sales suffered by many of the UK’s biggest commercial women’s novelists in 2011.

Sales of the most recent mass-market novels by the likes of Marian Keyes, Jodi Picoult, Veronica Henry, Catherine Alliott, Louise Bagshawe, Dororthy Koomson, Maeve Binchy, Harriet Evans, Jill Mansell and Lesley Pearse are all down by more than 20% on their previous mass-market publications over comparative sales periods.

Overall, the top 20 commercial women's fiction authors were down 10% in like-for-like sales of their most recent mass market title against the previous one.

Nielsen BookScan's Total Consumer Market shows volume sales for the first eight months of this year in the Supermarket and Mixed Multiples channel are down by 9% compared to 2010, from just over 29 million copies to just over 26 million.

Headline director of publishing Marion Donaldson said: "It's possible budget-conscious women doing the weekly shop are denying themselves a purchase they'd have made happily a couple of years ago."

Supermarkets are thought to have cut back book stocks after several years of expansion. One trade insider said some were halving order numbers, reducing stockholding and using cardboard fillers on shelves.Analyst Robert Clark at the Retail Knowledge Bank said: "What's going on across the supermarkets is that sales and volumes are flat generally. Because there is food inflation, probably at a higher level than non-food, the assumption is it is non-food being cut out in the weekly shop. The statistical evidence does suggest customers are concentrating on the essentials."

Nick Bubb of Arden Partners said: "Consumers are cutting back on most forms of discretionary spending, as they operate to tighter budgets, and that does seem to be affecting the supermarkets' relentless march into non-food."

Curtis Brown's Sheila Crowley said she thought increasing supermarket prices were a "huge" part of the downturn. "Consumer buying habits are changing, and women are probably more conscious of spend." However, she urged the trade to stay positive: "I've been through three recessions and we always bounce back. It's just unfortunate that this time of austerity is coupled with the transition to e-books."

Some suggested fashion has turned towards "dark women's fiction" and psychological thrillers, while packaging for commercial women's fiction was criticised. Eithne Farry, literary editor for Marie Claire, said she detected a "swell of discontent" around jackets, with authors and readers feeling packaging no longer reflected content. She said: "People are getting a bit sick of the chick lit look, and the term as a genre label—it seems to cover such a wide range. The jackets make it seem frothy and light, but a lot of books with those covers actually deal with quite serious things."

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