Thursday, 30 June 2011

Digital publishing makes territorial rights "obsolete", claims Charkin

Richard Charkin, executive director of Bloomsbury, said the publisher had moved to a global alignment and now try to buy world English rights in all cases, adding that the ability provided by digital to publish globally meant territorial restrictions based on countries were "obsolete". 

He said the restrictions were one of the reasons publishers struggled to be more profitable. "Our problem as an industry is not reach, it is margin, and one of the problems about our margins is that our overheads are very high, and the complexity that we have built into the system, which is partially down to territoriality, makes things much harder."

Charkin said the usefulness of territories was being eroded by digital. "Clearly selling digital products is much more an internet based activity, so you are going to be diluting your efforts if you try to promote on a territorial basis, and there's not a lot of point promoting on a territorial basis if you don't get the benefits. It's a commercial argument rather than a legal one."

But David Miller, agent at Rogers, Coleridge and White, and Toby Mundy, chief executive of Atlantic Books, both defended local approaches to publishing and continuing use of territories within the English-speaking world.

Miller said: "I don't buy that the world is going global, that there is just one market, and it seems to me there is still an argument that you grant rights to the publisher who can best exploit them in their territory." Miller added: "I worry if we simply rip up territories, and grant world rights with digital included, that we will lose some focus on how an author is published in each market."

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Editing is an essential part of writing a good novel says crime author Pauline Rowson

Editing is an essential part of writing, a point that I hammered home on the Crime Writing Workshop I ran recently. It is a critical requirement to getting published by a publishing house and is even more important if self-publishing.

Editing is an important part of an author's job. The first draft is just that, simply a first draft and many new writers make the mistake of thinking that they have completed their project i.e. the novel when in reality they have only completed the initial stage of producing a novel.

An author needs to be his or her own best critic, or should that be worse critic, when reviewing their work. I go through many drafts before sending my crime novels to my editor at my publisher, making sure it's the best it can possibly be but welcoming a fresh and critical eye over it and further edits if necessary.

So here are some tips when revising and editing your work:

• Why is this scene included?
• What about it will make the reader read on?
• Does it start at the right point?
• Does it end at the right point?
• Is there a good blend of narrative, description and dialogue?

On final edits I also examine wording and phrasing. I take each sentence and ask myself if it conveys what I intended it to convey. It's also essential to prune unnecessary words – e.g. George shouted angrily and to watch for phrases and words that are overused, every author has them.

Finally there is the overall balance and content of the book. Does the novel entertain and interest the reader?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Publishers need to re-think their business claims Literary Agent

Comments from some of the key figures in the publishing world at Publishers Launch London held recently make interesting reading.

John Makinson, chairman and chief executive of Penguin Group, said he felt more confident about the retail side of the business now than he had three months ago and believes that the book market both pyhsical and digital will be 'resilent' and that Amazon will continue to grow. Digital will continue to grow and bricks and mortar booksellers will need to adapt in order to survive.

Jonny Geller, agent at Curtis Brown, meanwhile thinks that the publishers will need to rethink their business models.  Geller said, "We are in a flux, and, people don't know what they are talking about, we should admit it and get together."

Geller said his authors were now starting to ask the question "what are publishers doing?". He said: "If publishers are still offering 25% of net receipts, then authors might just say, I'll do it myself. If my authors create their own website, then what is the publisher doing? If I can't speak to a publicist except during the three weeks of publication, then what is the publisher doing? If the publisher can't get the book into stores, then what is the publisher doing?"

But Makinson and Faber chief executive Stephen Page said the trade still managed to drive huge numbers of bestsellers, with Makinson pointing out that publishers were getting more information about readers than ever before, but sometimes lacked the skills to analyse it.

Makinson said: "The role of the publisher gets bigger and more complicated. The things that go away because of digital are the things that publishers never had to do anyway, print books, store them and freight them. But if we are to monitor piracy, understand global copyright, and understand metadata, then we are performing a larger service than before, but in a much more competitive environment. The role of the publisher becomes more complicated, but not less relevant."

Page added: "We have to explain to authors, for the first time in a long time, the value we offer. We are all running incredibly fast and it's hard to spend the time communicating that and you can forget about the remote position of the author."

Makinson confident as publishers face digital "flux": "

Monday, 27 June 2011

Osprey Publishing to Expand, New Venture for Former Borders CEO and Waterstones Given Go Ahead

Osprey Group has completed a "major" refinancing to fund expansion. The publisher, which targets enthusiasts in specialist areas such as military history, heritage and antiques, has obtained £4m from London-based private equity firm Alcuin. The majority of the injected capital will be devoted to further acquisitions.

Osprey m.d. Rebecca Smart said the refinancing followed an expansionary period that involved the acquisition of history publisher Shire Books in 2007, science fiction house Angry Robot in 2011 and Old House Books & Maps in 2011.

Osprey on lookout for new buys after refinancing: "

Meanwhile former Borders c.e.o. David Roche is working on a project to enhance reading as he launches his own business.  David Roche Enterprises has been set up to "help exploit the links between the creative, media and retailing environments in the publishing, entertainment and arts fields".

He said he plans to do consultancy work, advisory board involvement and non-executive directorshops.  As well as running Borders, Roche was group sales and marketing director at HarperCollins between 2008 and 2011 and was product director at Waterstone's.

At Waterstone's HMV Group shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the sale of Waterstone's to Alexander Mamut, clearing the way for the bookseller to become independent.

The transaction is expected to be formally completed on 28th June. James Daunt will now be installed as managing director and is expected to take up his new position on 2nd July.

Friday, 24 June 2011

People in Publishing

Lil Copan has joined Abingdon Press as senior acquisitions editor for the Christian Living Line. Previously she was an editor with Paraclete Press. In addition, Ramona Richards has been promoted to senior acquisitions editor.

At Princeton University Press, Seth Ditchik has been promoted to executive editor, responsible for economics and finance, and Rob Tempio has been promoted to executive editor, responsible for philosophy, political theory, and ancient history.

Tisse Takagi has joined Basic Books as associate editor. Previously she was at Oxford University Press.

Larissa Edwards, currently associate publisher at Random House Australia, will join Simon and Schuster Australia this July in a newly created role as head of publishing, reporting to managing director Lou Johnson.

Canadian publishing veteran and literacy advocate Tom Best has been appointed executive director of First Book Canada. (First Book distributes books to programs and schools serving children from low-income families.) His publishing jobs have included roles at Harper Canada, Raincoast Books, CDG Books, Key Porter Books and H.B. Fenn.

Columbia University Press has acquired UK publisher of peer-reviewed books in film studies Wallflower Press Books. The unit had been a distribution client of Columbia's in the North and South America. Columbia acquired world rights to nearly 170 backlist titles and will continue to publish approximately 15 new titles a year under the Wallflower Press imprint.

Bloomsbury's director of children's rights Rebecca Mancini has left the company.

Kristin Ostby has joined Albert Whitman & Company as senior editor. She has been a freelance editor, and previously worked at Grosset & Dunlap/Price Stern Sloan.

Headline publisher for non-fiction Carly Cook will join Simon & Schuster UK as deputy editorial director of non-fiction, reporting to editorial director Mike Jones. She starts at S&S UK in early September and will focus on popular memoirs, humor, music, pop culture and comedy.

Murdoch Books owner Matt Handbury moves into the role of ceo, the company has restructured to grow its UK-based business, while reducing title count to "on doing the best job possible on fewer books."
Sales and marketing director Christine Jones will become managing director of Murdoch Books UK; a new marketing department under ex-Warner Music executive Mark Ashbridge which will focus on "innovative product and marketing strategies"; former art director of Penguin Australia Deborah Brash joins Murdoch Books Australia as creative director; Lynn Lewis has been appointed publisher – lifestyle; and Melanie Ostell has been appointed publisher for the Pier 9 list.

Rosetta Books is launching a contest to discover science fiction writing talent, in conjunction with the ebook release of selections from the classic science fiction magazine Galaxy. The winner will receive a modest $1,000 advance and "guaranteed e-book publication as part of The Galaxy Project collection." Judges include author Robert Silverberg.

In the UK, publishing director of Transworld's crime and thriller books Selina Walker will move over to become publisher for Cirnerstone's Century and Arrow, starting in mid-July. At Century and Arrow, she steps into Kate Elton's shoes, who is moving to HarperCollins.

At Transworld, editorial director Sarah Adams will take over Walker's role; Cat Cobain is being promoted to publishing director of the women's fiction list; and nonfiction editor Sarah Emsley is moving up to senior editorial director.

At HarperCollins, Leah Wasielewski has been promoted to senior director of marketing for Harper, Harper Business and Broadside Books.

Bloomsbury sub-rights manager since 2006 Lauren Shekari has left the company.

Ingram has now opened Lightning Source Australia, with over 1.3 million titles available for printing and sale to Australian customers. It's their third international facility (with a large operation in the UK, and a joint-venture with Hachette in France).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Bookseller Group launches We Love This Book Magazine and website

We Love This Book, The Bookseller's sister consumer magazine and website, launches this week with a circulation of 100,000. The free quarterly magazine is designed to alert readers to exciting new books and to provide a platform for publishers to market their titles direct to the public.

The associated website,, launches simultaneously and features blogs, features, reviews, reading events and a "find a bookshop" guide.

The magazine will first appear on Saturday 25th June, during Independent Booksellers' Week and on National Reading Group Day, and copies will be available in hundreds of independent bookshops. It will also be distributed through libraries and at selected literary festivals, including the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate. Sample launch copies will be handed out to London commuters at railway stations including Waterloo, Charing Cross, King's Cross and Victoria.

The Reading Agency, and its Reading Groups for Everyone initiative, is supporting the launch and has co-ordinated the library distribution; the entire allocation was snapped up within two hours of it being offered to libraries.

The launch of We Love This Book represents The Bookseller's first foray into consumer publishing.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Largest publishers have begun growing again

Written By: Philip Jones

The world's largest pub­lishers have begun growing again after weathering the global recession over the past three years, with ­Pearson once again emerging as top dog.

According to the annual ranking of global pub­lishing performance, compiled on behalf of Livres Hebdo, Buchreport, Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller, publishing revenues in 2010 have overtaken the total ­revenues for 2008 and 2009.

read more

Monday, 20 June 2011

Myriad Publishing receives funding from Arts Council to expand its list

Independent publisher Myriad Editions has received £60,000 in funding from Arts Council England in order to develop its literary and graphic fiction publishing.

Myriad, based in Brighton, intends to use the Grants for the Arts money to "consolidate its recent publishing programme", as it continues to publish eight to 10 books a year, with a focus on debut novels and new work by graphic artists.

Myriad m.d. Candida Lacey said: "This is a great vote of confidence in our publishing strategy and, of course, we're completely delighted to have the support and endorsement of the Arts Council for a second term.

"We're ready to expand the imprint, seeking out, promoting and building the careers of new graphics authors in much the same way as we are working with debut writers for our fiction list."

Myriad previously received a grant from ACE in order to set up its fiction list.

Creative Writing courses in southern France

Myriad authors will be teaching creative writing at Truquet, an exciting new venture offering inspiring short courses and retreats in a remote and beautiful Provencal farmhouse. With only eight places on each course, Arts at Truquet offers a week of dedicated tuition in small groups and individual sessions, as well as a delightful break amongst the lavender fields and holm oak woods of Provence. The first course, led by Lesley Thomson, author of the award-winning novel, A Kind of Vanishing, starts on 14 September. For booking and more information about the creative writing courses, and the life drawing classes also on offer, see Arts at Truquet.

First Graphic Novel Competition

Myriad is launching a brand new competition for a first graphic novel in progress. The winner will be announced at the First Fictions Festival in Brighton in January 2012, and will have the opportunity to develop their work with our creative and editorial team with a view to being published by Myriad in 2012/13. Find out how to enter here

Friday, 17 June 2011

Developing plots, characters and dialogue tomorrow at the Crime Fiction Writing Workshop

Developing plots, characters and dialogue tomorrow at the Crime Fiction Writing Workshop:

"I've been preparing for the Crime Fiction Writing Workshop which I am running tomorrow (Saturday) at the Quay Arts Centre, on the Isle of Wight. I have run a few writing workshops in the past and before becoming a professional full-time writer I used to run heaps of training courses into organisations delivering courses on marketing, sales, motivation, assertiveness and understanding and relating to different personalities.

Nowadays most of my appearances involve giving talks and interviews about my DI Andy Horton crime novels and my thrillers, and my life as a crime writer rather than running in depth workshops, so it makes a nice change to be back in front of the class, so to speak. I'm also very pleased to be helping budding crime writers and hope that some of the tips I pass on will help them with their writing and who knows, maybe to get published.

The sort of thing I'll be examining with the delegates on the crime writing workshop will include:

  • Ideas, themes, plots, and subplots
  • Developing plot lines
  • The seven steps to creating and developing characters
  • Dialogue
  • Mastering viewpoint
  • Revising and editing

Plus lots of handouts and discussions in between. It runs from 10am to 4pm. Looking forward to it.

Writing Compelling Crime Fiction Workshop

People in Publishing

Margaret O'Connor has parted amicably with Renaissance Literary & Talent and started her own agency, Innisfree Literary. She will continue to represent her current list of authors and is looking for commercial and up-market fiction, including historical, paranormal, quality women's fiction and YA, memoir, narrative non-fiction, sports, pop-culture, humor, cookbooks and food/wine narratives.

In other agency moves, Kathleen Rushall, previously an agent at Waterside Productions, has joined the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and is looking for fresh voices in all areas of young adult and middle grade literature including fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, dystopian stories, and contemporary fiction. She also represents select picture books and adult non-fiction from how-to to lifestyle and parenting.

Publisher of Whitecap Books since 2001, Robert McCullough will join Random House Canada on July 11 as publisher of a new imprint. The line will focus on "the type of lifestyle and food titles for Canada and the North American marketplace that he has published" in the past. The unit will draw on all of RH Canada's shared services. It's designed to grow to publish 15 to 20 titles a year. McCullough will remain based in Vancouver, and reports to president Brad Martin.

UK literary agents Patrick Walsh and Clare Conville of Conville & Walsh are launching a speakers' agency later this month, on June 28, called Hire Intelligence. They will represent 40 lecturers at launch, primarily existing book clients, including Richard Wiseman, Simon Singh, Helen Castor, Carl Honore, Elaine Fox, Misha Glenny, Mike Dash, Andrea Wulf, Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Society of Authors chairman Tom Holland.

Molly O'Neill has been promoted to editor of Katherine Tegen Books.

Murdoch Books has further restructured its workforce following owner Matt Handbury's move into the role of c.e.o. last week. Christine Jones will become managing director of Murdoch Books UK, which has its UK offices in Putney, south-west London, moving from her role as sales and marketing director, with the role of sales manager now created. The independent company will also now publish fewer titles each year, hoping to output 140 titles between July 2011 and June 2012, its financial year, with this figure dropping by about another 20 titles between June 2012 and July 2013.

Jones added that this will depend on "the market realities, but we will be focusing our efforts much more on our UK and North American businesses, both of which include a lot of packaging and rights sales not included in these totals".

Murdoch Books Australia has appointed Deborah Brash, previously art director of Penguin Australia, to the role of creative director, with Lynn Lewis appointed publisher, Lifestyle, and Melanie Ostell appointed publisher for the Pier 9 list. Publicist Shannon Blanchard also joined the publishing team as publisher, Authored Food. The publisher is a specialist in food and illustrated titles with its head office in Sydney.

At Little, Brown Children's, Alvina Ling has been promoted to fiction editorial director, and Julie Scheina is moving up to editor.

Literary agent Weronika Janczuk has joined Lynn C. Franklin Associates, where she will represent a range of adult literary and commercial fiction, non-fiction, and YA. Janczuk has been at D4EO Literary Agency

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Argos increases its online book range

High street retailer Argos intends to increase its online book range from 500 to 5,000 titles.

The chain store, known for stocking a large range of non-food products, launched its books category on its online store last month with 500 children's titles. The retailer had previously sold a small range of children's titles through its in-store catalogue.

read more

Monday, 13 June 2011

Authors should be paid for events claims Society of Authors

Authors should be paid for hosting events, the Society of Authors new general secretary has said.

Nicola Solomon told delegates at the Book Industry Conference yesterday in May that if authors give up a day of their free time to stage a reading, book signing or other event at a bookshop where that establishment is making money, then they should receive around 10% of it.

read more

Friday, 10 June 2011

People in Publishing

Karen Ball is joining the Steve Laube Agency. For nearly 30 years she has worked on successful fiction lines at Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and, most recently, the B&H Publishing Group, where she was an executive editor. She will work from her office in Oregon.

Publishing veteran Elizabeth Van Doren joined Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press as executive editor, book publishing.

At Vintage UK, Victoria Murray-Browne has been named editor and Kate Watson joins as press officer. Previously Murray-Browne was an editor at John Murray and Watson was acting press officer at Dorling Kindersley.

Michael Barber has joined Pearson in the newly created position of chief executive adviser, reporting to Marjorie Scardino. Barber is currently a partner at McKinsey & Company and head of its global education practice.

John Bond is leaving HarperCollins UK at the end of June by "mutual agreement." Bond was managing director of Press Books, which will now be run by ceo Victoria Barnsley, assisted by special projects director Katie Fulford, until a replacement is found.

Thomas Nelson Gift & Children's division has announced a number of new hires. Jennifer Barrow joins as editor, Micah Walker moves up to assistant editor, Jessica Ward joins as administrative assistant and Kristin Baird will take on the role of marketing coordinator for the specialty division.

Random House UK digital director Fionnuala Duggan is leaving the company to join CourseSmart as managing director, international, the Bookseller reports. Duggan's hiring is part of CourseSmart's global expansion, and they will open offices in London.

Antoinette de Alteriis has joined Pelican Publishing Company as promotion director. She was formerly general manager of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in New Orleans.

Publishing Communication Group has opened a new office in New Delhi, with Dilip Jha Kumar joining as country manager and Sunita Lal as country liaison officer for India.
Eamon Dolan will leave Penguin Press for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to become VP and Editorial Director of his own imprint, Eamon Dolan Books, starting on June 13.The new imprint will concentrate on narrative and serious non-fiction, aiming to publish 10 titles a year.
At Random House Children's Books' Delacorte Press, Rebecca Short has been promoted to Assistant Editor.

Larry Kirshbaum will become VP and Publisher of Amazon Publishing in New York. Kirshbaum has been an agent since he left Time Warner Books as it was merged with Hachette in 2005.

Amazon has also seen the launch (through its Audible division) of ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange); the private sale site, and several new imprints including Montlake (romance) and Thomas & Mercer (mysteries and thrillers).

Scott Moyers has returned to Penguin as Publisher. Ann Godoff, former President and Publisher has taken the titles of President and Editor-in- Chief (the latter currently held by Eamon Dolan). Meanwhile David Rosenthal, who recently brought Aileen Boyle (his former AP from Simon & Schuster) in as Associate Publisher, has named his new imprint Blue Rider Press. Earlier this month, Former Penguin Canada Publisher David Davidar and Rupa Publications India, a leading Indian publisher and distributor, announced a partnership to start a new literary publishing firm, the Aleph Book Company. Aleph will be head-quartered in New Delhi.

Chris Schluep has been named Senior Editor, Books. He was a senior editor with Ballantine/Del Rey.

Jennifer Hunt has joined Penguin Children’s Dial Books as VP of Acquisition and Development, and Editor-at-Large, reporting to Lauri Hornik. Hunt was most recently Editorial Director at Little, Brown Children’s

Elizabeth Van Doren is Executive Editor, Book Publishing at Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press, where she will report to Mary-Alice Moore, VP and Editorial Director.

PublishersLunch reported that Chris Lotts and Christopher Schelling have left Ralph Vicinanza Ltd to open new agencies: The Lotts Agency and Schelling’s new firm, Selectric Artists.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Publishing Trendsetter Launched

Publishing Trends announces Publishing Trendsetter, a blog-based website designed to foster career development, innovation, and intergenerational professional dialogue. Publishing Trendsetter is designed both to bring Publishing Trends’ expert analysis to a new generation of book professionals, and as an interactive medium for hearing ideas and insight from those in the industry 10 years or fewer.

Contributors are at various points in their careers, veteran to intern, and work in consulting, design, acquisitions, ebooks, publicity, reviews, and more. In addition to traditional posts sharing individual research and analysis, content will also be include Q&As, podcasts, surveys, and roundtables. By collecting indispensable knowledge from all corners of the industry in one interactive space, Publishing Trendsetter hopes to marry immediate know-how with a unique understanding of where the brilliant publishing minds of tomorrow are today.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New publishing venture launched where readers can choose what should be published

A publishing platform which allows readers to choose what should be published has been launched, supported by Faber and created by "QI" writers John Mitchinson and Justin Pollard, and Crap Towns author Dan Kieran. will enable authors signed up to the site to pitch book ideas directly to readers. Readers then pledge their support to an idea, from £10 to funding the whole book. When an idea has attracted enough support, the book will be written.

Supporters of the book will receive a clothbound limited Unbound First Edition with their name in it, and can also receive rewards such as e-book downloads, book launch party invites and lunch with the author.

Faber will sell and distribute trade editions of selected titles under an Unbound imprint. Authors will receive 50% of all profits from their Unbound books.

Supporters can track the progress of the book through the author's private area on the site, where they can upload blogs and recorded interviews and meet the author and other supporters.

read more

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Focus on Digital Publishing

E-book sales could exceed 8% of trade publishers' sales in 2011, and could reach 15% next year, Random House UK's deputy chairman Ian Hudson told delegates at the World e-Reading Congress recently.

Hudson also rejected headlines about the death of the app or enhanced e-book, arguing publishers needed to explore "the opportunities [rather] than sit back only to be flattened by the changes sweeping the industry".

read more

Meanwhile, Bloomsbury is to release 500 out of print titles by the likes of Alan Clark, Edith Sitwell and Bernice Rubens as digital editions this autumn with the launch of a new imprint.

read more

Publishers selling direct to readers, printers folding and more agents becoming publishers are some of the implications of digital, claims former Borders chairman Luke Johnson.

In his weekly column for the Financial Times, Johnson claims digital may transform book publishing more than any other industry. He said: "There will surely be material deflation in the price of e-books over time. The inevitable disappearance of the vast majority of bookshops will remove a main marketing channel and will seriously undermine the power of publishers.

read more

Publishers are unlikely to be able to replace the revenues lost in the shift from print to e-books unless they can significantly grow volume sales, according to HarperCollins c.e.o. Victoria Barnsley.

read more

Monday, 6 June 2011

Guardian Masterclasses and the University of East Anglia to offer a series of creative writing masterclasses

Guardian Masterclasses and the University of East Anglia (UEA) are to offer a series of creative writing masterclasses. The courses will take place in London, and will be taught by award-winning authors including Gillian Slovo, Geoff Dyer, Sarah Hall, Adam Foulds, Bernardine Evaristo and Ross Raisin.

Guardian Masterclasses and UEA have designed this series of courses to appeal to those that have a serious ambition to become a writer but do not necessarily have time to complete a masters degree.

Three courses will be on offer and each course is aimed at a different level of experience. Those interested in joining level 2 and 3 will be asked to submit work and may be asked to attend an interview.

Level 1: How to tell a story - this level will focus on the art of good storytelling and will introduce students to the craft of narrative fiction. Over six months students will learn the component parts to creating a story, how to establish a strong foundation and key techniques employed by authors in a workshop environment. Through this course students will discover direction, their own personal style and will be assessed at the end.

Level 2: How to complete a first draft of a novel - during this level students will be taught over six months how to develop an idea into a first draft through workshops, individual tutorials, exercises and further reading. At the end of this level students will be coached in preparing for the future and will meet with literary agents and editors as well as undergoing an assessment.

Level 3: How to finish a work of fiction - this level is for writers who are ready to undertake the demanding process of establishing a final draft. Over nine months students will work in small groups and have one-on-one sessions with the tutors who will give detailed responses and guidance on their written work. By the end of this course students will have a final draft that can be presented to an agent and editors and the course directors will give advice on whom to approach.

Friday, 3 June 2011

People in publishing

Doubleday, editor-at-large Phyllis Grann will retire from the company on June 9. She "will be available as a consultant and freelance editor, continuing to work with her authors under contract."

Carrie Hannigan, Jesseca Salky and Josh Getzler have launched the Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency (HSG), representing a range of authors across literary genres, including fiction and non-fiction, in children's and adult titles. The three arrive from Russell & Volkening, Inc.

Russell & Volkening has named William Critzman as "acting president" of the agency, effective immediately. Most recently he directed external relations for The Watermill Center, Robert Wilson’s laboratory for performance.

LJK Literary Management is in the hands of senior agents Susanna Einstein and Meg Thompson, the agency will move to new offices on 133 West 25th Street. Sandy Hodgman will continue to handle foreign rights for the agency.

Wendy Wolf has been named vp, associate publisher of Viking, where she has worked since 1994. She will continue as editorial director of non-fiction as well.

Vintage has appointed two new members of staff, recruiting Victoria Murray-Browne as editor at Vintage Books, and Kate Watson as press officer at Vintage Publishing.

Murray-Browne has moved into the former role of Frances MacMillan, now editor at Vintage Classics. Murray-Browne was previously an editor at John Murray, and also worked at Vintage Editorial on a short-term maternity contract. She will report into Vintage Publishing deputy publisher Rachel Cugnoni and work alongside the Vintage Editorial team.

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Karen Ball is joining the Steve Laube Agency. For nearly 30 years she has worked on successful fiction lines at Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and, most recently, the B&H Publishing Group, where she was an executive editor. She will work from her office in Oregon.

Publishing veteran Elizabeth Van Doren joined Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press as executive editor, book publishing.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Literary Agent AP Watt's King attacks 25% digital royalty rate

A P Watt chairman Caradoc King has attacked the 25% royalty rate on e-books. King said he had a number of issues with the 25% rate currently understood to be offered by publishers to authors.

He said the rate "disregards the fundamental principle of publishing contracts" that an author is paid more the more books they sell. He also objected on the grounds that it treats all authors identically, whether they are a bestseller or a debut; that a publisher's outlay on the development of its publishing back catalogue is more to the benefit of publishers than individual authors, and so should not be used as a reason for the lower royalty rate; and that the rate makes no difference between frontlist and backlist titles, where publisher's initial investment in the editorial and marketing processes will have been recouped.

King said he had gone to publishing c.e.o.s with these concerns and they had responded with a variety of reasons to support the royalty rate, including that e-books are subject to VAT; that digital production is a fixed cost; that more successful authors are paid higher advances and so that goes some way to redressing the balance; that a 25% e-book royalty rate is higher than the average royalty rate authors get on physical books, and that a publisher must expend additional costs on policing piracy.

However, King added: "I don't think any publisher has offered a convincing profit and loss model to explain the 25% royalty model."

He said: "Unless publishers swiftly address the need to be more transparent and flexible about digital royalties, and compete rather than collude with each other, there may be damaging fragmentation of the publishing business, in which authors may decide to sell their own books direct from their own websites, agents may be increasingly editorial and sell only final digital files to publishers and distributors, and Amazon and Google both become publishers."

King also added confusion was arising over the lack of clear definitions of digital terms in contracts.

read more"