Friday, 29 July 2011

People in Publishing

Hodder & Stoughton is expanding the editorial staff at their Sceptre imprint. Drummond Moir has been hired as editorial director, commissioning both fiction and non-fiction. He's been at Heinemann for the past three years. Suzie Doore will extending her role as editorial director at Hodder to acquire fiction for the imprint. (She already edits Chris Cleave, one of Sceptres' bestselling authors.) Both report to Carole Welch.

Nook wholesaler Bertrams has appointed a new managing director after Michael Neil departed seven months ago.

Graeme Underhill, the new m.d., is currently operations director of Bertrams’ parent company Smiths News. He said it was “exciting times” for the business as it merges with Dawson Books. Since January, Ian Hendrie, Bertrams financial director, has led the company as acting m.d.

Underhill said: “It [Bertrams] is a company with both a superb heritage and ambition for the future. The purchase of Dawson Books is proceeding to plan and will give us access to new markets in universities in the UK and internationally. We will also look to invest in and develop Dawson Books' e-commerce capability. Working together, we have the opportunity to make Bertrams a bigger, more successful and more diverse business.”

Maggie Richards has been promoted to deputy publisher at Henry Holt, in addition to her current responsibilities as vp sales and marketing.

Simon & Schuster UK senior commissioning editor Francesca Main will move to Picador on September 26 as editorial director, acquiring and publishing commercial literary fiction.

Publishing director of Bloomsbury Children's in the UK Sarah Odedina will become managing director of "an entirely new children's publishing company" in London as part of Bonnier Publishing. The line will launch in late 2011 or early 2012, focusing on children's fiction across all age brackets.

Bonnier Publishing already owns Templar and Autumn Publishing in the UK, along with Weldon Owen and Five Mile Press in Australia and Piccolia in France, comprising $100 million in annual sales. The group itself is a UK-based subsidiary of Bonniers Books, a division of Sweden's Bonnier AB with annual sales of $900 million with operations in 20 countries.

Julia Cheiffetz has been named editorial director of Amazon's New York-based publishing imprint under Larry Kirshbaum. Cheiffetz, who starts on August 1, was at Harper most recently (which she originally joined as part of the experimental imprint Harper Studio).

Andrea Walker will join The Penguin Press as a senior editor on August 1. She has been at Reagan Arthur Books since 2009, prior to which she worked for five years in The New Yorker's books department.

At Chronicle Books, Allison Elsby has been hired as director distribution client services. She was formerly director of merchandising at Borders. In promotions at the company: Molly Jones moves up to associate managing editor; Bridget Watson is associate editor, Art & Design; and Sara Schneider becomes executive publishing design director.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Independent Publisher Myrmidon in the UK accepts novel submissions direct and from authors without an agent

Myrmidon Books is a vibrant young, independent publisher in the UK who certainly seem to be going places. Their medium term goal is to become "the UK’s most influential independent publisher of commercial and literary adult fiction outside the capital."

Refreshingly they welcome new and original submissions from both established and first-time writers and these can either be sent directly or through an established literary agent. Please note that they do not currently publish non fiction children’s books, short stories or novellas. In addition, only hard-copy submissions are accepted. Unsolicited materials sent by electronic mail will be deleted unopened.

So if you think you have a book that might be suitable for their list (and do check out their web site before submitting) then you will need to send the first two or three chapters of your manuscript which should be typed with double spacing and with each chapter beginning on a fresh page.

Enclose a brief covering letter that outlines the nature and subject of the work and tells them a little about yourself. Include any previous writing experience and whether the chapters are from a completed draft or a work in progress. (If the latter, give a realistic assessment of how much remains to be written and when it is expected to be finish.)

And on a hugely welcome note they rarely bother to read synopses and find "they seldom do a novel justice."  Well said. But if you must include one then restrict it to two sides of A4.

Enclose a suitable, self-addressed envelope with return postage. (Return postage should be in the form of International Reply Coupons if you are submitting from outside the United Kingdom.)

Read more at Myrmidon Books.

Monday, 25 July 2011

New MD of Waterstone's, James Daunt, tells publishers the current system of buying is not sustainable

UK Bookseller, Waterstone's newly installed m.d. James Daunt has told publishers the current way the chain sells books is "not sustainable" and has said that there will be a move to central buying.

Waterstone's is reintroducing central buying for both new books and replenishment but m.d. James Daunt insisted store staff would be able to order the books they want, when they want.

It is unclear how the new buying system will work, or when it will be implemented. He said this new system would cut the "massive duplication" involved in the current system.

The Bookseller understands Daunt has been in talks to install the same American system he uses at Daunt Books—WordStock—into Waterstone’s. Currently Wordstock is used mainly by independent booksellers, although larger chains such as Hudson Books in North America also use it. It is thought Waterstone’s would be one of the largest retailers to install the system, costing the business around $2,000 (£1,240) on average for an annual subscription per branch. Many have testified the systems at Waterstone’s are in need of replacement, with one source describing them as “antiquated” and “hopeless”, with the catalogue ordering system Phoenix referred to by another as a ­“living nightmare”.

Daunt said the chain's success in using this new buying system will depend on publisher support, communication between each shop and head office buying team and how well the hub performs.

He said the chain will thrash out the details of how it will operate central buying during the next 10 days.

The Bookseller revealed yesterday how Daunt is reintroducing central buying but insisted store staff could order the books they want, when they wanted.

read more

Friday, 22 July 2011

People in Publishing

Heather Lazare will join Touchstone as a senior editor on August 1, reporting to editorial director Sally Kim. Lazare is currently editor and publishing manager of Crown Trade Paperbacks. Prior to Crown, she worked at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

Brien McDonald has been promoted to BEA's director of strategic accounts for Book Expo America (BEA). He will be responsible for special projects for business development as well as overseeing all of BEA's digital initiatives.

At Candlewick Press, Sarah Ketchersid has been promoted to executive editor.

Allison McElgunn has been promoted to assistant editor at Holt.

Kat Sherbo has been promoted to assistant editor at Berkley.

Olivia Griffiths has joined Sourcebooks as associate marketing manager, children's and YA. Previously she was an associate marketing manager for Holiday House.

At NAL, Talia Platz has been promoted to assistant editor.

Kristin Lindstrom has closed her agency, Lindstrom Literary Management, after 15 years to open a new business, Flying Pig Media. She will provide a range of publishing services to authors from craft/content editing to creative management of the electronic and print-on-demand books.

Effective September 1, Skyhorse Publishing is expanding into the UK with distribution via Constable Robinson, which will also sell their books into the EU. The deal covers both print and ebook editions.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Why every novelist is holding out for a hero by Robert McCrum

Only by creating an enduring character can a writer entertain thoughts of a literary career

Despite the received wisdom of the book trade, writers don't have careers in the conventional sense. Each book emerges from a private imaginative landscape. But that's not a career, more a succession of leaps in the dark.

And yet authorship has become so professionalised that the language of the HR department now describes the writer's life. This is misplaced and inappropriate. Ideally, the writer works only for him, or herself, on their own terms. They have no boss.

All the writer can do is put one book in front of the last, and go back to the empty page or vacant screen. At best, the life of the writer, properly understood, is a quest for clarity and understanding in which every fresh start feels like an outrageous gamble against impossible odds.

Everything about the transition, from the solitude of the creative process to the raucous traffic of the marketplace, is chancy and provisional. This is as true now as it was in Samuel Johnson's day, though the explosion of new outlets has given the determined wannabe a greater range of options.

Read full article

Robert McCrum

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Bertrams revenues fall

Revenues at book wholesaler, Bertrams have fallen 7.5% on a like for like basis, its parent company Smiths News has said.

In a trading statement for the 19 weeks to 9th July, Smiths News said like for like sales had been stronger in its most recent six-week period, which were in line with last year.

The 7.5% drop compares to a like-for-like sales decline of 3% in the six months before 28th February of this year.

Last month, the company bought Dawson Books for £20m in a sale it hopes will be completed by September. At this time, it is hoped staff at Dawson will be integrated into Bertrams, following the results of an OFT investigation and staff consultation.

read more

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bloomsbury has bought academic publisher Continuum

Bloomsbury has bought academic publisher Continuum in a deal worth £20.1m. The publisher described the buy, its sixth in the academic and professional field during the past five years, as "transformational" and said it would provide synergies as well as the ability to improve sales. It said this would be particularly applicable to the US market, where Bloomsbury would now have an academic editorial and marketing team for the first time following the buy.

Bloomsbury said the acquisition was part of its strategy to increase its proportion of academic and professional revenues. It said this area was more predictable, had lower related costs of sale, higher margins and were less reliant on retail bookshop sales. Bloomsbury said it would move the Continuum business in due course from its current offices in Waterloo to its new home in Bedford Square. Oliver Gadsby, chief executive of Continuum, will be staying with the business for a few months to assist with the integration process.

read more

Monday, 18 July 2011

Children's authors and illustrators finding it difficult to make a living

Authors and illustrators are finding it increasingly difficult to make a living in the children's sector claims Agent Caroline Sheldon.  She estimated that fewer than half of the children's authors who previously made a living from writing five or 10 years ago are now doing so.

She said: "The big things are getting bigger and the middle area is getting squeezed." While authors used to be able to diversify outside their main area, cutbacks in publishers' lists have made extra work scarce, she added.

read more

Friday, 15 July 2011

People in Publishing

Waterstone's has appointed Steve Clark as acting operations director after Roger Childs left the company last week. Clark formerly held the position of head of retail operations at the bookseller.Both Childs and commercial director Michael Neil left Waterstone's with "immediate effect" last Tuesday, a day before James Daunt took up his tenure as m.d of the bookseller. Waterstone's was bought from the HMV Group by Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut for £53m in a deal that officially completed last Wednesday.

Will Sulkin announced plans to retire from his position as publishing director of Random UK's The Bodley Head in April 2012. Editorial Director at Harvill Secker Stuart Williams will move over to The Bodley Head in January 2012 and take over as publishing director when Sulkin retires (while continuing to publish about six fiction titles a year at Harvill Secker). Williams will report to Vintage UK publisher Dan Franklin.
Sulkin joined Random UK in 1990 as publisher of Pimlico and created the nonfiction Bodley Head list in 2007. He began his career in publishing at Penguin in 1969.

Kate Lloyd has been promoted to assistant director of publicity at Scribner.

At Bloomsbury USA, Lea Beresford has joined the company as associate editor and  assistant to the publishing director. She was at Random House for four years.

Under Bloomsbury's recently-arrived executive director of US marketing Cristina Gilbert, Laura Keefe has been hired as associate director of digital and trade marketing for adult titles (she was online publicity manager at Little, Brown); and Kim Burns has been hired as director of trade and digital marketing for children's titles (she was ebook channel manager at Macmillan). Doug White joins the unit as trade sales operations manager reporting to David Wightman (he was national account manager at Diamond Book Distributors), and Ryan Tozzi is academic operations manager.

At Scholastic, Lynne Karppi has been promoted to Director of Creative and Product Development for the Consumer Products division.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Print book sales decline in first half of 2011

Print sales across the book market have dropped by 3% in the first six months of 2011, compared to the same period last year.

According to Nielsen BookScan data, sales across the trade through the Total Consumer Market in the first 26 weeks of 2011 were down 3% in value, or £22.2m, on the same period last year, to £677.4m, representing the lowest half-year total since 2005.

However, some titles bucked the overall trend of market decline, with Macmillan grabbing both the hardback and paperback fiction bestselling slots, with Wilbur Smith's Those in Peril selling 103,328 copies over the period, and Emma Donoghue's Room selling 348,166 copies in paperback.

Macmillan, with overall TCM sales up 14%, as well as Penguin, with sales up 11%, and Simon & Schuster, with sales up 11%, were the better performing publishers among the top groups, with sales at Hachette UK, HarperCollins and the Independent Alliance all down through the TCM, though Harper's market share did improve. Children's publisher Usborne saw the largest sales growth in the top 20 group of publishers, with TCM sales up 28%.

Steep fallers include Quercus (down 39%), Little, Brown (down 30%), and John Blake (down 29%). Igloo was the faster rising publisher in the first half, with sales up 96%

Sales of paperback novels as a genre have fallen by 6%, or £10m, since this point last year.

read more

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Blogging site launches in the UK to boost authors' e book sales

A blogging site that aims to boost authors' independent e-book sales has been created by writers Katherine Roberts and Susan Price in response to a significant contraction in many authors' earnings.

Roberts said: "The whole of paper-based publishing is now set up for bestsellers and instant profits, while e-books offer a better opportunity to build a long-term career." She added: "I am not aiming to make millions from this, I am aiming to make a living in the longer term."

The website venture,, is open to all UK-based authors, both adult and children's, as long as they already have a publishing "track record" to guarantee the quality of their work.

It will mainly sell Kindle editions of out-of-print books for anything up to £2.

read more

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Amazon Book Depository merger

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced it is to investigate Amazon’s acquisition of The Book Depository.

The official body has issued an “invitation to comment” notice asking for written representations about “any competition or public interest issues” with Amazon’s move to acquire the UK-based online book retailer, which was announced yesterday. A spokesman for the OFT said the invitation “effectively starts our merger enquiry”.

The Booksellers Association has announced it will formally oppose the merger of Amazon and The Book Depository, with the BA saying that Amazon already had a "de facto monopoly". Meanwhile, the PA is actively considering opposing the deal

read more

Friday, 8 July 2011

People in Publishing

Kirsten Grant, campaigns director at Puffin, will leave Penguin at the end of the month to become a freelance children's marketing specialist.

Anthony Cheetham has left Atlantic Books and resigned as a director of the company. It is understood that Cheetham left the publisher  on 30th June. His role has been under discussion for weeks, and rumours of the split have been circulating for some time.Cheetham described his resignation as a "joint decision" made with Atlantic chief executive Toby Mundy.

Cheetham said he now planned to launch his own venture with an announcement expected in the autumn. He declined to give full details, but said that there was an opportunity to develop a "specialist publishing list" using e-books and the web.

Hodder & Stoughton has promoted Fenella Bates to the role of editorial director, responsible for pop culture commissioning. Bates will report to Hodder Entertainment publisher Hannah Black.

Random House India has made two appointments, with Meru Gokhale joining from Penguin Books India as editorial director, Vintage India, and Milee Ashwarya promoted to editorial director, Ebury India.
Gokahle began her publishing career in 2004 as commissioning editor, Penguin Books India, and was most recently senior commissioning editor at the company, working with authors such as Kiran Desai. At Vintage India she will have responsibility for growing a list of literary fiction and non-fiction. Meanwhile, Ashwarya is promoted from senior commissioning editor at Random House India to editorial director of Ebury India, where she will have particular focus on lifestyle publishing.

John Glusman will leave Crown to become the new editor-in-chief of Norton's trade department in July, as Norton's Star Lawrence "will set aside administrative duties at his own request to concentrate more fully on acquiring and editing books in the role of editor-at-large." Norton says Lawrence will "continue to acquire and edit a full list in nonfiction and fiction."

UK agent Neil Blair has left the Christopher Little Agency to set up The Blair Partnership, taking the world's biggest client JK Rowling with him. Blair and Little are not commenting, but a spokesperson for Rowling confirms to the Bookseller that "JK Rowling has terminated her association with the Christopher Little Literary Agency."

Audiobook publisher Dreamscape Media has hired Jeff Golick as publishing director, reporting to vp Brad Rose. Golick will be responsible for all of Dreamscape's content acquisition activities and will be based in New York. He was vp at AudioGo (formerly BBC Audiobooks America) where he oversaw acquisitions.
Kate Napolitano has promoted to assistant editor at Plume.

Rakesh Satyal will be leaving his position at Harper this week to pursue other opportunities. He can be reached at

Steve Kasdin is leaving Amazon, where he has worked on the Kindle team, as of Friday. He and his wife, Kate Folkers, are moving their family back to the New York area, to look for new opportunities in publishing. He can be reached at

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Writing Workshops in Zurich for writing non fiction and writing fiction

The blog post below comes from Andrew Crofts.

Writing Workshop in Zurich: "

"I have been invited by an interesting organisation called to do a workshop on writing non-fiction. The event is being held in Zurich on the weekend of October 1 -2 and there will be a fiction workshop going on simultaneously with Amanda Hodgkinson, author of '22 Britannia Road'.

I know from my in-box just how many people there are out there who have a strong idea for a book and just need a bit of guidance on how to turn it into a reality. So, if you fancy a weekend in Switzerland why not bring your idea along and we'll see what we can do to help?

To find out more go to "

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Waterstone's increases profit although sales fall and James Daunt takes leadership of the company

James Daunt's tenure at the helm of Waterstone's is likely to be about "revolution not evolution" as he begins his leadership of the company, according to a source close to the situation.

The new m.d. of the high-street bookseller took control of Waterstone's on Wednesday (29th June), as previous m.d. Dominic Myers exited the company. On the same day, the HMV Group announced the official completion of the sale of the chain to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut's A&NN Group.

Waterstone’s increased profit by £6.7m last year as like-for-like sales fell by 3.8%, according to financial results released on 1 July.

The HMV Group announced in its financial report that in the 52 weeks to 30th April 2011, Waterstone’s profit grew from £2.8m to £9.5m. During that time however, total sales for the high street bookseller dropped by £14.4m to £499.2m and like-for-like sales fell by 3.8%.

Waterstone's “enhanced local offer and more selective discounting” meant gross margin improved 70 basis points in the year and “strong cost management” meant operating costs shrunk 4% during the same period.

Within the financial year, 19 Waterstone’s stores closed, 15 of these shutting in the final quarter.
The HMV Group revealed the cost of closing the stores totalled £8.3m with head office restructuring costs worth £0.5m. Total operating exceptional costs totalled £10.2m.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Reviewers Wanted for Eurocrime 2011

Reviewers Wanted 2011:

The Euro Crime band of reviewers continues to do sterling work over on the reviews page on the website but could do with some help as the requests for reviews are coming thick and fast via email and in the parcel safe. They're particularly after reviewers who enjoy: the Martina Cole type of book, thrillers and the noir/grittier end of the crime spectrum. Plus, they are receiving more audio books and e-copies if anyone fancies helping out with those.

So if you're in the UK and fancy reviewing the occasional (or more!) book, do pop over to the website, have a look round and drop them an email. (NB. Euro Crime just covers British and European crime fiction - you can read the review policy here.)"

Monday, 4 July 2011

Macmillan Children's Books Launches National Competition for Children between 7-12

Macmillan Children's Books is launching a national competition with ITV1's breakfast show, "Daybreak".
The competition, "What's The Story", will launch on 4th July and invite children aged between seven-12 to write a 500-word story, to be submitted by 25th July.

Illustrator Lydia Monks has created a number of characters to be included in the story, with the winning book, complete with Monks' illustrations, to be published by MCB next year.

The stories will be judged by a panel comprised of Monks, author Francesca Simon, MCB publishing director for illustrated fiction Suzanne Carnell, "Daybreak" presenter Kate Garraway, boy band The Wanted and actress and author Emma Kennedy.

Friday, 1 July 2011

People in Publishing

Cengage Learning signed a deal with National Geographic to acquire their digital and print school publishing unit and extended use of the NGS brand, expanding on the strategic partnership Cengage and National Geographic have had since 2007.

Senior editor at MIRA Krista Stroever has resigned her position to relocate to Los Angeles with her family. She can be reached at
At HarperCollins UK, Simon Johnson has been promoted to managing director, Tom Fussell moves up to commercial director, and David Alford has been promoted to financial controller, all effective July 1.

RR Donnelley has acquired writing community and social publishing platform Helium, in which it took an equity position back in September 2009, for an undisclosed sum.

Vintage Crime/Black Lizard launches a new mobile-driven website devoted to crime fiction, Weekly Lizard, featuring updated articles and news about current and forthcoming books (both on the Vintage/Black Lizard list and from other publishers) and news about film and television adaptations.

Coffee House Press founder and publisher Allan Kornblum will retire from the company, with associate publisher Chris Fischbach to succeed him as publisher.

Workman has announced a series of promotions and new hires. Raquel Jaramillo has been promoted to both editorial director and creative director of children's publishing, reporting to Suzie Bolotin, and she will also serve as acting creative director for the overall Workman imprint.

Penguin UK has combined its publicity and marketing teams into a single communications department, with publicity director Amelia Fairney becoming communications director. Marketing director Jane Rose will leave the company after five years

At The Susan Golomb Literary Agency, Lauren Shekari has been named rights director. Lauren was previously subsidiary rights manager at Bloomsbury.

Karen Grencik and Abigail Samoun have founded Red Fox Literary, a boutique agency representing children's book authors and illustrators. Grencik will be representing authors writing for picture book, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult audiences, while Samoun, previously an editor with Tricycle Press, Random House, and Simon & Schuster, will initially be focusing on the illustration division. Grencik may be reached at and (805) 459-3327, and Samoun may be contacted at and (707) 933-9702.

Mary Anne Thompson Associates has been appointed US literary scout for Fortuna Libri in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Sarah Dickman is leaving the Nicholas Ellison Agency after seven years working as director of foreign rights and a literary agent to join Odyl, a social media marketing startup, that specializes in audience development using Facebook. Chelsea Lindman will replace her as director of foreign rights while continuing to work as a domestic agent.

Jane Starr Literary Scouts has been appointed U.S. scout for Brazilian publishing house Editora Sariva.

The Random House Publishing Group is bringing back its once-popular romance imprint Loveswept (originated by Bantam Books and closed down a few years ago) as a digital-only imprint this August with eight titles