Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Myriad Publishing launches graphic novel competition and chance to get published

Myriad Editions has launched a competition for a first graphic novel in progress, with the winner working with Myriad to complete the title. The writer who comes first in the competition also stands a chance of being offered a contract and publication with the Brighton-based publisher.

The judging panel will be comprised of author Ian Rankin, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, author and cartoonist Ed Hillyer, graphic novelists Hannah Berry and Bryan Talbot, and Myriad Editions creative director Corinne Pearlman.

Entrants are asked to submit a one-page synopsis and between 15-30 pages of a graphic work in progress.

Pearlman said: "Creating a graphic novel can be such a long and lonely business. We hope the competition will create an opportunity for creators to reach a more general literary readership. It will not only identify new talent but also aim to further promote graphic novels to an ever-growing audience."

The closing date for entries to the competition is 1st October 2011, with the winner to be announced at the First Fictions Festival in January 2012. The novel would be considered for publication by Myriad in 2012/13.


Friday, 27 May 2011

People in Publishing

Kate Elton will join HarperCollins UK as publisher of Harper Fiction, replacing Lynne Drew, who is giving up the position for personal reasons (though she will continue to edit select authors.) Elton spent the past 15 years at Random House UK, where she was publisher of Cornerstone's Arrow and Century imprints.

Larry Bennett has joined Bookmasters as president of its international sales division, focusing on growing the company's foreign-language book development and distribution efforts in the US and abroad. Previously he managed Baker & Taylor's digital print media program.

Cartier has ended its sponsorship of the CWA Diamond Dagger Award after 26 years. The final award was given to Lindsey Davis in an awards presentation on May 16.

In editorial promotions at Simon & Schuster Children’s, Kiley Frank has been promoted to associate editor at Atheneum; Amy Currier is assistant managing editor.

Former Penguin Canada publisher David Davidar has joined forces with Rupa Publications India to start a new publishing house, the Aleph Book Company. The new venture will begin with a small and select group of fiction and non-fiction titles.Said Davidar in a statement: “I am thrilled to join hands with Rupa to launch this venture. We will be looking be ensure that each book we publish makes its mark and to that any title that Aleph takes on will be distinctive, original and outstanding literary quality.” Times of India

Random House CEO Markus Dohle has joined the National Book Foundation’s board of directors for a three-year-term.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Amazon launches second publishing imprint to focus on mysteries and thrillers

Amazon.com has announced the launch of its second publishing imprint this month, with Thomas & Mercer to focus on mysteries and thrillers.

The imprint is named after the streets that flank Amazon's Seattle headquarters and its launch comes several weeks after the internet giant announced the launch of the Montlake Romance imprint.

Thomas & Mercer will launch in autumn with four books available to Amazon.com customers across print, Kindle and audio formats, as well as national and independent booksellers.

Victoria Griffith, Amazon Publishing publisher, said: "Our customers enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers, and we're excited to launch this imprint devoted to that genre. We think our five launch authors are great representatives for the genre and we're looking forward to growing our list with both new and established writers."

The other Amazon Publishing imprints are Amazon Encore, which highlights previously self-published titles, AmazonCrossing, which publishes foreign-language books, and Seth Godin's imprint The Domino Project.

Amazon.com launches second publishing imprint: "

Monday, 23 May 2011

UK Book chain Waterstone's bought by Russian billionaire for £53m

Alexander Mamut, a Russian billionaire, promises to refocus Waterstone's as a local bookseller – and has installed James Daunt, former bookseller of Daunt Books to run it.

The cash-strapped HMV retail chain clinched a deal on Friday to sell its Waterstone's bookshops to the Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut for £53m.

The sale, which is vital to secure the future of HMV, came as the music group revealed its finances had deteriorated further since the start of the year.

Mamut, a 6.7% shareholder in HMV, is parachuting in James Daunt, founder of the upmarket independent London chain Daunt Books, as managing director. Despite earlier speculation, it is understood there will be no role for Tim Waterstone, who founded the chain that bears his name 30 years ago. It was thought he could become chairman.

Daunt said his vision for Waterstone's was a return to the model of local expertise that drove the chain's spectacular growth after it was founded in 1982. 'All of us want to walk into a bookshop that lifts our spirits,' he said. 'A central element of my philosophy – which you can see with Daunt Books – is that you have bookshops which mirror the tastes of your customers as closely as possible.'



Friday, 20 May 2011

People in Publishing

Director Meg Davis is leaving MBA to start up a new, as yet un-named, literary agency. MBA m.d. Diana Tyler said: "Meg and I have worked together for over 25 very productive years and we have seen many changes in our industry. We wish her every success in her new venture."

Davis said: "MBA has been a wonderful place to work, and I will miss Diana and all my colleagues there. I'm ready for a new challenge and am looking forward to the future at the new agency."

Davis can be contacted at AgentMegDavis@gmail.com.

Cristina Gilbert will join Bloomsbury next week as executive director of US marketing, managing all US marketing teams, including children's, adult and academic marketing. She was at Harper Children's for eight years, most recently as senior director of marketing.

Delia Berrigan Fakis has been promoted to executive literary agent at DSM Agency and will be representing projects in the areas narrative nonfiction, memoir, business, self-help, current events, inspiration, and literary fiction in addition to continuing to handle the sale of translation, audio and film rights for the agency.

At Little, Brown, Michelle Aielli is moving up to director of publicity, and Sabrina Callahan has been promoted to assistant director of publicity, James Patterson. Both will continue to report to Nicole Dewey.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Literary Agents Becoming Publishers

The Ed Victor Literary Agency, one of the most powerful agencies in London, has launched its own e-book and print on demand venture, Bedford Square Books, focusing initially on putting back into circulation out of print books or those on which the rights have reverted.

Six titles by authors represented by the agency will be released in September in digital format and also made available in POD, with a further six planned for January 2012 release.

Bedford Square Books then has plans to release a further six titles next January, and will also create Bedford Square Stories, releasing short stories, that could be original or could have had rights reverted, in 2012.

Victor said he would consider publishing original work, and acknowledged this could happen if the agency was passionate about a piece of writing but had not been able to sell it to a publisher.

However, he added: "If I had a choice to go with Bedford Square Books or with a publisher, I would always go with the publisher. If you don't do it, I will."

On his motivation for the new venture, Victor said: "My colleagues and I have for some time been of the opinion that a number of great backlist titles by our clients, currently out of print or reverted, should be available to the book-buying public, either because they are as relevant as ever, or because they are classics in their field. We believe this is a valuable service not only for our authors, but also for readers. Although it is our intention to concentrate on our of print and reverted titles, we may publish original books if there is a compelling case to do so."

While the agent Sonia Land spoke of frustration with publishers as a motivation for signing a deal to sell Catherine Cookson's e-books through Amazon, Victor said he was not frustrated with the respective publishers' treatment of the authors' backlist. He added: "I'm not doing this in any way to compete with or anger the publishing industry. If they think that, then they are entitled to think that . . . I'm doing this for the fun of it, and as a service to my clients."

He said that in terms of the first set of six books to be released, he had not gone back to the publisher "in every case".

The agency is not taking on any new staff, but will work with digital production company Acorn to create and distribute the content in the correct format. The agency has also retained J K Rowling's joint publicist Mark Hutchinson to market the titles through social media sites.

The titles will all be available on online booksellers including Amazon.co.uk and the iBookstore, with Victor confirming he intends to adopt the agency model. He said: "I think it will all be on the agency model, we'll give up 30%, then we will give up another percentage to Acorn".  The POD side will be through Gardners, with print carried out by Antony Rowe.

He said net receipts will be divided on a 50/50 basis between author and agency, once production costs have been recouped out of the first receipts. This is in contrast to the 25% royalty rate understood to be offered by most major publishers.

Bedford Square Books is currently a UK-only venture, though Victor said he was in discussion with Jane Friedman at Open Road in the US surrounding distribution of the titles there.

Ed Victor sets up publishing imprintread more

Literary agents Curtis Brown and Blake Friedman have said they are planning to follow Ed Victor's move into publishing.

Curtis Brown m.d. Jonathan Lloyd said: "Where Ed Victor leads, others follow—and we are right behind him, but with a rather larger list." He added that making out-of-print works available would not only add value for clients, but allow agents to prove if a market exists for the titles.

Blake Friedman joint m.d. and agent Carole Blake added: "It seems very sensible to me—I'm sure we will follow soon. I agree with Ed that it doesn't have to been seen as an aggressive move towards publishers."

Meanwhile, agent Sonia Land, who last month made available 100 of Catherine Cookson's titles as e-books, reacted to the news by warning publishers to "rethink their legacy operation", adding that it may be "too late for the publishing industry to claw back this e-migration of books to those other than established publishing houses".

However, Publishers Association c.e.o. Richard Mollet wished Victor luck with "his new venture revitalising interest in books and their authors", adding that he "hope[d] he would consider joining the PA!"
Bloomsbury group m.d. for sales and marketing Evan Schnittman said Victor was in a difficult situation as agents acting as publishers "could be perceived as" having a conflict of interest between their existing agenting business and the resources required to make an impact with a title.

Commenting on Victor's move, David Higham Associates m.d. and AAA president Anthony Goff said his personal view was that agents need to ensure there is no conflict of interest between agent and author.
Goff said: "The point of the provision in the AAA's Code of Practice is to safeguard the principle and that's what matters, even if the distinctions between author, publisher and agent are being blurred."

Monday, 16 May 2011

Guardian Short Story Competition: Calling budding writers

Fancy yourself as a writer? Well, here's your chance for your story to appear in the Guardian Weekend's fiction special this summer. Guardian Weekend summer fiction special: Calling budding writers: "

Every year, in August, the Guardian's Weekend magazine publishes a selection of original fiction by some of the best authors writing today. Last year's fiction special featured stories by Hilary Mantel, Roddy Doyle, David Mitchell and Barbara Trapido, among others.

Top novelists judge the entries, and they will be looking for the most original, gripping and well-crafted pieces of writing. Their favourite story will be published in the magazine, while the five runners-up will have their stories published online at guardian.co.uk/books.

The theme of this year's fiction special is "journeys", and to enter you need to send a story of no more than 2,000 words by 13 June. The work must be previously unpublished and only one story per entrant is allowed.

Send your story by 13 June to Short Stories, Guardian Weekend, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, or email it to short.story@guardian.co.uk (no attachments, please). Include a daytime phone number with your entry.

Full details and terms and conditions

Two independent novelist judges will choose one winning entry and five runners up from all the Competition entries. Full details of the judging process and the judges are available on request to short.story@guardian.co.uk.

When choosing the winner, the judges will be looking for the most original, gripping and well-crafted piece of writing. The judges' decision of who the winner is will be made on or before Friday 15 July. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Friday, 13 May 2011

People in Publishing

Deb Shapiro has launched Deb Shapiro & Company, a PR/marketing company for authors and books. For the past seven years, she was director of publicity and online marketing at Bloomsbury Publishing.

Kathleen Ortiz is joining Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation as the subsidiary rights director, starting May 4. She was previously employed at Lowenstein Associates.

Lauren Flower joins HarperCollins Children's Books this week as director of integrated
marketing. Previously she spent eight years at Random House Children's where she was most recently senior manager, new media marketing.

Meredith Barnes joins Lowenstein Associates as a digital strategist and foreign rights manager. Formerly at FinePrint Literary Management, she will be building her own list as well.

Lynn Smith will join Ruckus Mobile Media in the newly created position of director of business development, effective May 23. Previously she was director of licensed publishing at Scholastic.

Jessica Sindler has been promoted to editor at Gotham, where she has worked since 2003.

Allison McLean has been promoted to publicity director for Portfolio, Sentinel and Current.

Brigantine Media will launch two new imprints, with Voyage devoted to Vermont fiction and Compass specializing in education books, beginning in Fall 2011.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Amazon.com launches its fourth imprint which focuses on romance

Amazon.com has launched its fourth imprint, focusing on romance, as it continues to hire across its publishing business.

Montlake Romance will be available to North American readers in digital and physical formats and will launch with its first book, Connie Brockway's The Other Guy's Bride, in autumn. The imprint will also publish romantic suspense, contemporary and historical romance as well as fantasy and paranormal.

Jeff Belle, vice-president of Amazon Publishing, said: "Romance is one of our biggest and fastest growing categories, particularly among Kindle customers, so we can't wait to make The Other Guy's Bride and other compelling titles available to romance fans around the world. We also know our customers enjoy genre fiction of all kinds, so we are busy building publishing businesses that will focus on additional genres as well."

The other Amazon Publishing imprints are Amazon Encore, which highlights previously self-published titles, AmazonCrossing, which publishes foreign language books, and Seth Godin's imprint The Domino Project.


Monday, 9 May 2011

Crime author Pauline Rowson answers - Where do your characters come from? Are they based on real people?

Crime author Pauline Rowson answers - Where do your characters come from? Are they based on real people?:

"Characters come from inside my head. They also come from observing people and can sometimes be based very loosely on people I have met or an amalgam of people I have met. As a writer I also consider myself an actor in that once I begin to draw up a character I then have to get inside that character's head and understand his or her motivations and personalities even if I despise them or they are villains, and even if they are bit parts. I have to think what does it feel like to be them? I ask myself, given this individual's background, experiences, pesonality how would they react to a situation or another individual? These questions in turn begin to shape the plot and subplots.

I like to observe people for their mannerisms and travelling on public transport is great for doing this. In fact, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think that every writer needs to travel occasionally on public transport. Failing this, or in addition to it, sitting in cafe and watching people is also a pre requisite of being a fiction writer. You might also be able to eavesdrop on their conversations (there's nothing quite like being on a bus or train for the latter). Make sure though you do it surreptitiously otherwise you might find yourself being thumped or arrested!

Having an understanding of what makes people tick, from my study of personalities and motivations, helps me to develop character profiles. I also draw on my background in marketing and training and the many individuals who have passed my way while was working in the Job Centres and Benefit Offices, an experience that has enabled me to meet and deal with a wide variety of people from all walks of life.

I've always subscribed to the motto that no experience is ever wasted. And writers have a habit of turning all of them, (including those of friends, family and strangers) into ideas for novels and, of course, into characters.

You can read more about my characters featured in my DI Andy Horton marine mystery police procedurals and in my thrillers on my web site."

Friday, 6 May 2011

People in Publishing

At Simon & Schuster Children's, Andrea Welch has been promoted to senior editor, Beach Lane Books.

Steve Wasserman has joined Yale University Press as executive editor-at-large, General Interest books.
"Steve's fascinating and varied career has put him at the center of public intellectual life in America,"
said Yale UP director John Donatich. "He will bring great things to Yale Press's
unique program in publishing serious and scholarly works to the trade." The former LA Times books editor will remain with Kneerim & Williams as a literary agent, and will not represent any of the firm's clients in any negotiations with Yale.

Rhea Lyons has joined Franklin & Siegal Associates as literary scout. She was previously subrights associate at the Random House Publishing Group, handling both foreign and domestic rights for the Random and Ballantine Bantam Dell lists."

Dallas-based literary agent David Hale Smith has joined Inkwell Management as an agent, bringing along his list featuring crime, suspense and thriller writers as well as literary fiction and nonfiction that ranges from narrative history and business to health & wellness and cookbooks. InkWell partner Michael Carlisle says in the announcement, "Inkwell's success has come from the collegial atmosphere among our colleagues and the quality of our clients. It is with special pleasure that we invited David Hale Smith to join our ranks. He represents some of the best young writers of our time with whom we will be working to build international recognition and the bestselling careers they deserve."

McClelland & Stewart announced a new non-fiction imprint, Signal, that will be "dedicated to the power of ideas and original thinking." Titles published by Signal will encompass politics, religion, culture, history, business, and the environment Signal Website

Macmillan has relaunched its Criminal Element site as an online community hub for crime and mystery fiction, featuring essays, new and reprint short stories, and contests.Criminal Element

Laura Hazard Owen will join paidContent as a staff writer covering books and digital publishing beginning in mid-May. Previously she was the editorial manager of Publishing Trends.
Jared Bland will join House of Anansi Press as managing editor on July 4. He is currently managing editor for The Walrus.

Kathryn Beaumont has joined Kneerim and Williams as an agent. She has been a reporter, editor and working lawyer for the past 15 years.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Penny C. Sansevieri on The Future of Publishing

Penny C. Sansevieri: The Future of Publishing:

" A lot of people claim that traditional publishing is broken and will eventually die. I disagree. Much like the changes that have occurred in the past in publishing, the big six will survive and so will agents. I do not have any insider knowledge or hidden agenda, nor do I profess to know everything about publishing. Not by a long shot. But I do know how to read the signs of this evolution or revolution, depending on which side of the fence you are on. I believe there have been many signs. Here is how I foresee they will do it.

Self-publishing: In the very near future, all of the houses will spend some of their equity on self-publishing. In order to survive, they are going to have to reinvent the way they do business. This means digging into the self-publishing arena. It's rumored that two major houses are already doing this, and there are likely more to come. Hay House, for example, has already lent their name to Balboa Press which is their self-publishing arm. I have no experience with Balboa so I can't speak to their process, but I do know that part of their sales pitch to authors is that a successful book published with Balboa will be considered by Hay House for republication. Does this actually happen? I don't know, Balboa hasn't been around long enough to show a track record. If publishers get into self-publishing, does that mean they won't be publishing traditionally? Not at all. The traditional model won't go away, but with publishers becoming more and more risk-averse, the model has to change if they're going to survive. And, let's face it, while the number of bookstores is declining, opportunities to sell books and flood the market with books continue to increase.

Direct to consumer: While some publishers are dabbling in this, I'm not clear how successful they will be. Consumer engagement on e-commerce sites such as Amazon, etc. will significantly change the way we buy. What does this mean? I think you're going to see a lot more social buying in the future. Social engagement, consumer recommendations, etc. We're already seeing a lot of this, but I believe we'll see much more of it. Can publishers offer this? Yes, they certainly can, but first they have to overcome the hurdle of consumer awareness. Consumers don't know publishers, they know authors and they know the big e-commerce sites like Amazon, et al. Direct to consumer is great, but when you've been a behind-the-scenes entity for so long, the awareness process can take a while.

The future of the literary agent: I have heard this directly from a few agents -- that in five years literary agents as we now know them will be gone, or at the very least strongly diminished. Will agents go away? Doubtful. I believe the savvy agents will stick around and, like publishing, completely reinvent themselves. Consider this: for years agents have acted as gatekeepers. Ferreting through manuscripts, often editing work and/or suggesting rewrites to the material. They've done more lunches with publishers than you could ever hope to do in your lifetime, and they've schmoozed at more parties than anyone should ever be forced to attend. What does all this mean? It means they are more dialed into the industry than almost anyone and this puts them in a fantastic position. It's already brewing out there; several savvy agents are taking it upon themselves to become book consultants. Let's face it, while publishing opportunities may diminish vis-Ã -vis the traditional houses, the number of authors who want to get published will continue to grow. There will never be a lack of material, and agents are perfectly positioned to make sure that the majority of it is quality material. Consider this: you have a manuscript and you're not sure if it's a marketable topic. You don't even know if what you've written is any good. Yes, you could hire an editor, but their job is to edit your existing work. Some editors won't give you the kind of feedback that could save you thousands of dollars marketing something that has no audience. An agent can. I foresee that agents will rediscover who they are and what they bring to the table, which is considerable in my view.

Book access: The problem that we've always seen in media relations is this: if the book is self-published with limited distribution, it often won't be considered for a major show because show producers know that consumers may have a hard time finding the book. With e-books and the accessibility of these titles, all of that has changed. Shows are becoming less concerned with how a book is published, they just want topic-related quality titles to discuss on the show. This is great news for authors who previously haven't been able to secure any media for their books because there was no bookstore placement.

What does all of this mean for you, the author? By this time next year the landscape of publishing will look vastly different. There are more opportunities than ever to see your work in print; and moreover, the odd-man-out which used to be self-publishing is finally getting its due. We are going to see a lot more attention paid to the self-publishing market, and the stigma that's always followed it will diminish greatly. Yes, there will always be less-than-quality self-published books, but let's face it, I've seen traditionally published books fall into that same category.

People often lament the end of publishing as we know it. I actually think that's a great thing. Publishing the old way hasn't worked for a long time. It's always been about exclusivity and often seemed like a high school popularity contest. Breaking down these barriers and leveling the playing field will bring many good things with it, including -- and most importantly -- some extraordinary authors.

Here's to the future!"

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Launch of new Hachette imprint called Jericho Books

Hodder Faith publishing director Wendy Grisham is moving to the US to launch new Hachette imprint Jericho Books.

The imprint will be part of Faith Words, with Grisham appointed as publisher and vice-president reporting to senior vice-president Rolf Zettersten. Grisham will be based in Nashville, although she will continue to acquire books for the Hodder Faith team in the UK where appropriate.

Jericho Books will launch in summer 2012 with 12 titles, with the aim of seeking innovative authors who "reflect a growing change in the church". It is understood that where Grisham acquires world rights to a title, Hodder Faith will be the UK publisher.

Meanwhile, at Hodder Faith, Bibles and digital publisher Ian Metcalf has been promoted to publishing director with immediate effect.

Read more Wendy Grisham to launch Hachette US imprint: "


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Amazon reports steep drop in profit despite boosting sales by over a third

Amazon.com has reported a steep drop in profit despite boosting sales by over a third. Amazon.co.uk also revealed that one print book and four e-books were among its top 10 bestselling items in the quarter, with the Kindle still its top-selling product.

Amazon.co.uk revealed that five books featured in its top 10 bestsellers, but only one was physical and the other four were e-books. Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver was Amazon.co.uk’s third highest selling product for quarter one, with e-books The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris, The Basement by Stephen Leather, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and Leather's Hard Landing holding the fourth, fifth, ninth and tenth spots in the bestsellers table.

Amazon.co.uk’s number one bestselling product of quarter one was its Kindle 3G, with Adele’s album "21" in the second highest-selling spot. Jeff Bezos, founder and c.e.o of Amazon.com highlighted the new Kindle with Special Offers [ads], Kindle Library Lending, Audible audiobooks on Kindle and a Kindle store in Germany among the company’s highlights in the last 90 days.

He hinted the company would continue its expansion and investment in new services. "We love inventing on behalf of customers and have never been more excited about the long-term opportunities," Bezos said.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Book web site Lovereading now adds Apples iBooks to its e book recommendation

As well as pointing readers in the direction of ePub and Kindle formats, Lovereading.co.uk will now feature an 'iBookstore recommends' list of six new titles a month selected by the editorial team at iBooks. The site has also integrated all iBooks on the iBookstore to their site.

The intention is to create a 'one stop shopping' site for the three most popular e-book formats. Peter Crawshaw, director and co-founder of the site, said: "we are very excited about adding a new expert voice to the site, supporting what we believe will become a very influential e-book format."

He added: "these days no one has time to go to a number of different sites to find out what is available and at what price. So we can now recommend great stories and now, uniquely, offer them in the widest possible range of formats."

You can see all my books including my crime novels and an interview with me on Lovereading