Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Survey of authors reveals widespread dissastisfaction with the publishing industry

 A survey of professional authors has revealed serious levels of dissatisfaction with traditional publishers.
One third of authors report that they were not consulted about marketing plans. Asked about marketing campaigns, 38.7% of authors chose the answer, ‘What marketing campaign? I never noticed one.’ Almost one-half of authors (45.8%) say that their publisher has never asked them for feedback.

When asked, ‘With your next book, if some other publisher offered you the same advance as your current one, would you move to the new house or stay where you are?’, just 37.3% of authors chose, ‘I’d stay.’ That implies about two-thirds of authors would prefer to move to a new publisher - or think hard about doing so.

The survey was commissioned by the Writers’ Workshop, an editorial consultancy, and 323 authors responded. Those authors were generally much-published, typically by major publishing houses. The survey benefitted from the assistance of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association, the Romantic Novelists Association and many others. TWW believes it to be the largest recent survey of its kind.

read more

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sunshine and Sub Genres, crime author Pauline Rowson reports from CrimeFest 2012

Just as in CrimeFest 2010 this year’s CrimeFest was again a glorious hot day with wall-to-wall sunshine in Bristol.  Not the best time to be closeted inside the Royal Marriott Hotel but a very pleasant one to be strolling along the regenerated dock area and catching the little ferry across the narrow strip of water, which I managed to do. It was great to be back on the water, albeit for about two minutes, and I wondered whether DI Horton might take a trip into Bristol on his yacht one day. Or perhaps another character in a future thriller might be drawn to the area. 

The Cross Harbour Ferry, Bristol
It was an early morning start for the panel on which I was appearing, beginning at 9a.m., but the audience seemed attentive enough and the authors were awake, which helped. And I noted that we didn’t send anyone to sleep.

I met my fellow crime writers; Mary Andrea Clarke, Frances Brody, Leigh Russell and our excellent moderator Adrian Magson in the Green Room, a dimly lit space in the basement of the hotel. It looked like a set from a murder mystery play. I half expected to trip over a dead body but there were none only very much alive authors. And here’s the photograph to prove it.

From left to right: Pauline Rowson, Frances Brody, Adrian Magson, Mary Andrea Clarke, Leigh Russell

Our brief was to explore Genres and Sub Genres but as in most of these panels we ended up talking about many different aspects of crime writing and our crime novels. Frances Brody talked about her Kate Shackleton mysteries set in the 1920s, Mary Andrea Clarke about her historical crime novels set in the late 18th century and on the contemporary side there was Leigh Russell with her female detective Geraldine Steel and me with my hunky DI Andy Horton. Adrian Magson, as moderator, didn’t talk about his crime novels, except when introducing himself, but for the record he is a very accomplished and successful crime author having written many novels, articles and short stories.

The panel line up: Adrian Magson, Mary Andrea Clarke, Pauline Rowson, Frances Brody, Leigh Russell

Adrian asked us about our secondary characters, and if they would continue to feature in future novels. In my case he singled out DCI Lorraine Bliss, Andy Horton’s abrasive, alpha female, ambitious boss. I can’t say at this stage if she will continue to appear in the Horton novels but she appears in the new DI Horton, which is being released in July, called Death Lies Beneath, and she also features in the Horton novel I’m currently writing.

Pauline Rowson talking about her crime novels

I was asked why I chose to create DCI Bliss. The reason is because she is completely the opposite of DI Horton and this therefore creates tension between them.  Horton is a maverick cop, who likes action, and doesn’t much care if he cuts corners or gets into trouble just as long as the villains are caught. While Bliss is a desk johnnie, intent on doing everything by the book and making sure that whatever  happens she comes out looking good with a couple of brownie points to boot, to help her in her climb to the top.

Adrian also asked me why I wrote from the male point of view, while the others on the panel had chosen to have a female protagonist.  It wasn’t until I created DI Horton, after writing several novels with a female lead that didn’t get published, that I realised writing from the male point of view was more natural and exciting for me.  I have also written two stand alone thrillers, In Cold Daylight and In for the Kill, both with male leads. I joked with the audience that maybe I’m a closet man!  But in reality perhaps it’s because I have spent most of my career working in male dominate organisations.

There was also a lively discussion about e books, Amazon and Waterstones and how the authors feel about having their novels being categorised on Amazon. We all accepted that categorisation on Amazon was inevitable (although not always correct) when there are so many books for readers to select for purchase, but the consensus of opinion was that we also need bookshops and libraries both of which can introduce readers to new authors and are invaluable in helping to hand sell new crime writers. There was a question about how we feel regarding reviews of our work and while we welcomed well reasoned and genuine reviews and feedback those that were merely a rant weren’t. They were, however, we admitted, a fact of life and best ignored.

It was a relaxed but lively discussion with some good questions from the audience many of whom had travelled from as far as Canada and America. And it was expertly chaired by Adrian Magson who made sure that we all contributed equally to the discussion.

I met some lovely people after the panel and had a chance to chat to them about what they like about crime fiction: a puzzle to solve, great characters, atmospheric settings, action packed novels were some of the answers, which varied as much as the genre does itself, and that’s what’s so exciting and fascinating about both writing and reading crime fiction. There’s something for everyone.

I’m already looking forward to CrimeFest 2013.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Number of British adults buying e books triples

Nearly a third of British adults (31%) say they are likely to buy an e-book in the next six months, according to a new study from Bowker.

According to report Understanding the Digital Consumer, the percentage of adults who have purchased an e-book has seen an almost threefold increase since February 2011.

The Kindle has become the e-reader of choice for UK adults, with 40% of those reading e-books using the Kindle most often to do so. Tablet devices have more than doubled market share between February 2011 and March 2012, with 12% reporting that they use them most often.

Growth in e-book consumption is being driven by older readers, particularly those aged 45-54. Just over a quarter of this age group bought an e-book in the six months to March 2012, up from 17% in November 2011. Men are more likely than women to buy e-books, but women buy more and also download more free titles.

Read more:
One third of Brits now e-reading, says Bowker study:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Publishers Canongate and Faber teaming up for audio co publishing venture

Publishers Canongate and Faber are teaming up for an audio co-publishing venture, with Canongate handling the sales and production of the audio editions of Faber's titles.

The jointly branded list will be launched this summer. Titles will be selected from across Faber's fiction, non-fiction and children's lists, with Faber to continue to handle publication of audiobooks of its poetry titles itself.

The publishers said they are planning on "no more than a dozen" titles each year, with Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page saying the emphasis will be on creating downloadable and unabridged material to target owners of smart phones and other portable devices, though physical CDs will also be available.

Page said: "Canongate's passion is backed by extremely smart investment, as anyone can see from its acquisition of CSA [the specialist audio publisher that Canongate acquired in 2010]. This has brought them exceptional production and sales infrastructure, and invaluable experience in audio publishing."

Read full article:

Canongate and Faber partner on audio:

Monday, 21 May 2012

National Crime Writing Month kicks off at CrimeFest on 24 May 2012

National Crime Writing Month kicks off on Thursday at CrimeFest, where dozens of members of the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) are attending, (including yours truly on 25 May).  We're  taking part in panels, and meeting the hundreds of readers who will be in Bristol over the weekend of 24-27 May.

Crimefest will also see the Daggers Shortlist reception, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm on Friday May 25th, where the shortlists for the following Daggers will be announced:  CWA International, Non-Fiction, Library, Short Story, Debut and Ellis Peters Historical Daggers.

Crime Writing Month continues throughout June, with over 50 events planned so far thoughout the UK, all listed on the Crime Writing Month website. Look out too for some exciting competitions!

Crime Writing Month will end on 5th July (so it's actually just over a month!) at the CWA Awards Ceremony in the Library at One Birdcage Walk in London, a black tie dinner when the shortlisted authors will  know if they've  won a coveted CWA Dagger. This event will also see the awarding of the CWA Diamond Dagger for a lifetime achievement of writing crime fiction to Frederick Forsyth as well as being the occasion for the announcement of the longlists for the remaining three CWA Daggers: the Gold, Ian Fleming Steel, and John Creasey.

If you enjoy reading crime fiction or you're a budding crime writer then you might wish to visit the Crime Readers Association website where there are lots of interesting and informative articles plus some giveaways.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Hodder makes series of changes to its fiction team

Hodder & Stoughton has made a series of promotions in its fiction team, following the company's "biggest fiction year to date" in 2011.

Kate Howard, previously senior editor, has been promoted to the position of editorial director, and will work with Harriet Bourton, who has been promoted to assistant editor, on Hodder's "growing" adult/crossover list. Meanwhile, Laura Macdougall is promoted to assistant editor and will work closely with publisher Nick Sayers, with special emphasis on developing the historical fiction list and community around it.

Read full article Hodder promotes fiction team:

Monday, 14 May 2012

E book lending should result in PLR payment to the author

The General Secretary of the Society of Authors, Nicola Solomon, has written to Ed Vaizey MP to request a meeting so that Management Committee members can give the views of authors in relation to ebook lending by public libraries.

 The Society of Authors believes that libraries are an essential resource and should receive sufficient funding to update, maintain and augment stock and ensure that an exciting and comprehensive range of books are available for reference and loan. We believe that books, whether physical or digital, must be at the core of any library.

Any ebook lending should result in a PLR payment to the author. The Public Lending Right scheme provides authors with a modest payment each time one of their books is borrowed from a public library. PLR is designed to balance the social need for free public access to books against an author’s right to be remunerated for the use of their work.

read full article here

Friday, 11 May 2012

Society of Authors raises concerns over Public Lending Rights

The General Secretary of the Society of Authors, Nicola Solomon, has written to Louise Mensch MP to put forward the views of authors in relation to libraries and particularly the concerns over Public Lending Right.
The letter asks Louise Mensch to confirm that PLR will continue to be paid, whoever runs the library. Any book lending should result in a PLR payment to the author.

The Public Lending Right scheme provides authors with a modest payment each time one of their books is borrowed from a public library. PLR is designed to balance the social need for free public access to books against an author’s right to be remunerated for the use of their work.

PLR is particularly important to authors whose books are sold mainly to libraries and to those whose books are no longer in print but are still being read. Press coverage tends to focus on a few successful authors, yet most struggle to make ends meet. PLR provides a significant and much-valued part of many such authors’ income
read the full article here

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Printed books still remain the choice for many readers

Despite an increase in digital sales of 366% last year, printed books remain the choice for the majority of readers.

Consumer ebook sales in the UK increased by 366% last year helping to offset a decline in the market for printed books, according to new official figures.

Drawing its data from information provided by 250 publishers, the Publishers Association's Statistics Yearbook put the value of consumer ebook sales – fiction, non-fiction and children's digital titles – at £92m in 2011. This is a 366% increase on the previous year, the Publishers Association said, and consumer ebooks are now equivalent to 6% of consumer physical book sales by value.

Read the full article here

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

English PEN launches major new fund for literary translation

English PEN, the charity promoting the freedom to write, has launched a major new fund for literary translation.

The fund responds to concerns that less than 3% of British books published are in translation from another language. At a time when more than 300 languages are spoken in British schools, the charity believes that this social diversity should be reflected by literary diversity. The new fund, backed by Arts Council England, was launched at the London Book Fair.

Applications are open to all literary genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays.

For more information about PEN TRANSLATES!, please contact Emma Cleave, Programme Manager at English PEN on or telephone 020 7324 2535.

For more information about English PEN, please contact Heather Norman Soderlind, Deputy Director at English PEN on or telephone 020 7324 2582.

read more from the Society of Authors

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Programme Manager Vacancy at Writers' Centre Norwich

Programme Manager Vacancy at Writers' Centre Norwich

Would you, or someone you know, like to join the Writers’ Centre Norwich, helping to deliver a unique programme of events? Only six days to go to the closing date...

Programme Manager (Maternity Cover)
£23-26,000 pro rata

The successful applicant will have a passion for literature, at least two years experience in delivering literature programmes, excellent organisation skills and the ability to manage a diverse and rapidly changing workload.
Closing Date: 5pm Monday May 14th

For full details please go to the website to download the recruitment pack and application forms.

Committed to equal opportunities and registered charity.

Writers’ Centre Norwich

14 Princes Street
Tel: 01603 877177
Fax: 01603 625452

General email enquiries:

Writers’ Centre Norwich is a registered charity, our charity number is: 1110725.  Our company number is: 5242876, and our VAT number is: 849 515004.This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the attention of the recipient. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute, copy or alter this email. Any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and might not represent those of Writers’ Centre Norwich. Warning: Although Writers’ Centre Norwich has taken reasonable precautions to ensure no viruses are present in this email, the company cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the use of this email or attachments.

New E Book Publishing Venture that covers all platforms

SelfSelfSelf is a new eBook publishing service aimed at writers of all types, fiction, non-fiction, short stories or poetry. It gives authors a platform to get their work to as many potential readers as possible.

It’s free to sign up. Once the files are converted and uploaded to their distribution partners, they will pay authors a royalty of 85% of the net sales price, which authors are free to set  within certain parameters (see ´Terms and conditions´). Royalties will be paid quarterly in arrears. This may mean a shorter or longer wait for your first payment, depending on your date of signup.

There are no restrictions on genre or content (although short stories and/or poetry must be in collections).

SelfSelfSelf was setup and is run by Ben Ottridge, an award-winning digital publishing consultant with over five years experience in the digital arena. After several years with an indie publisher Ben decided to strike out on his own and, having regular contact with writers and authors in his home town of Brighton, opted to launch a new publishing platform for those authors who wanted to publish digitally but simply didn´t have the time and/or technical knowhow. You can keep up with Ben´s activities on Twitter or on the blog.

For full details visit SelfSelfSelf

Friday, 4 May 2012

Foyles strengthens its marketing team and makes changes to its bookshop staffing

Foyles has strengthened its marketing team and made a series of changes to its bookshop staffing.

Lisa Bird, former manager at Foyles Royal Festival Hall, is now local marketing manager for the Foyles branches, while Emilie Farcy, previously supervisor at St Pancras, has been promoted to manager of Royal Festival Hall.

Gary Powell, formerly bookseller at the pop-up store in One New Change, is now manager of the St Pancras branch following the departure of Rachael Lloyd; additional support for the sales and marketing team is being provided by bookseller David Owen, who has taken on the role of administrator for The Gallery at Foyles Charing Cross Road.

Meanwhile children’s bookseller Neil Jackson has become part-time children's marketing and events coordinator at the Charing Cross Road store.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Faber launches writing prize

Faber has set up a new prize in memory of author Gordon Burn, alongside New Writing North and the Gordon Burn Trust, with the first judges to include novelist David Peace.

The £5,000 prize will be awarded for the first time in April 2013, with a shortlist of no more than 10 books, to be announced in February 2013.

The prize seeks to recognise a book, either fiction or non-fiction which "most successfully represents the spirit and sensibility of Gordon's literary methods . . . literature which challenges perceived notions of genre and makes us think again about just what it is that we are reading." It will be open to submissions of work written in English by writers of any nationality or descent but who are permanently resident in either the UK or US. The inaugural 2013 prize will accept work published between 1st January and 31st December 2012.

The judging panel will include, alongside Peace, journalist Deborah Orr and broadcaster Mark Lawson.

Faber publishing director Lee Brackstone said: "As each year passes the world of literature misses Gordon's genius more and more. But the relevance of his books and his unique sensibility only gathers momentum. A prize in Gordon's name, and with respect to his radical perspective and style will, I hope, continue to draw attention to this."