Monthly Archives: July 2013

Publisher News: Disney Selling Hyperion’s List to Hachette Book Group

The Hyperion adult trade publishing list is being sold to Hachette Book Group. Disney, which is the entity selling the Hyperion list, will now publish children’s and YA books as welll as books based on franchises from its Disney/ABC TV operations.

Keep track of these changes so you know which publisher to approach when you’re ready to send out your work.

Ender’s Game Boycott

The Ender’s Game movie that will be released November 1 is already under boycott.

The reason is that Orson Scott Card, author of the Ender’s Game series, has been vocal about his opposition to gay marriage. While the script has been reviewed by Glaad and found to contain nothing offensive, the petition to boycott the movie has suddenly gained a lot of attention and supporters.

Card himself has issued pleas for potential audience members to overlook or tolerate his views. No matter where people fall in the range of science-fiction fandom, the fact is that every piece of literature is best read with an understanding of the era and society in which it was created.

Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall, for example, was written when women’s rights were being fought for and won. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath appeared during a time of great difficulty for the nation. And recent works like Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love reflect the surging movement among women to regain and redefine their needs, goals and desires.

Before, what an author believed personally meant little. Card finds himself in a society that disagrees with his personal views more so than not. Should this alone be enough to support a boycott, or should Card have been more discrete about his personal views while using his platform as an author?

Pitch Opportunity: Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers published a cool guide to literary and writing sites in different cities here. But the list is far from inclusive. If you know some great sites in your area, why not pitch them a round-up from your hometown?

Zimmerman Verdict Proves Power of Books

Now the verdict for the Zimmerman trial is in, an interesting development has occured in publishing.

Monday brought an announcement that one of the jurors had signed with literary agent Sharlene Martin to write a book about her experience on the jury. But by early Tuesday, the juror dropped her plans. While sequestered, the juror had not realized “the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case.”

“The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our ‘system’ of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our ‘spirit’ of justice,” she said in the statement.

Now she realizes that the book could potentially cause more harm. Books have long been known for their ability to heal…not just the author but readers. They also have the ability to inflame. Her decision to step back has proven yet again that the power of books to move us deeply is as potent as ever.

Words of Hope from Book Agent Amy Rennert in Poets & Writers

Agent Amy Rennert was quoted in Poets & Writers as saying:

“I predict that people will continue to write [books]. I do feel that there is a persistent and insatiable desire for long-form prose–that there is something about the experience of disappearing into a long piece of writing that has enormous appeal to enough people in the world to maintain the publishing industry through the foreseeable future.”

J.K. Rowling Revealed as Robert Galbraith: An Analysis

Yet another famous author has taken the anonymous road to publishing. J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame has been revealed to be the author Robert Galbraith.

She is quoted as having said, “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said in a statement. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

The media, and perhaps some readers who are themselves authors, are wondering if this wasn’t a publicity stunt. After all, getting attention is a concern even for the biggest authors, especially after an author switches genres as Rowling did.

From the author’s side, there is of course the concern that all her works will be judged against the Potter series. Since she has moved into writing for adults and has already released one novel as her own for older readers, it might be an attempt by Rowling to get real feedback on her efforts.

From the publisher’s side, however, the “debut” novel was released on April 30 of this year. The revelation happened very near the end of the 90 day cycle that every book is subject to…if something isn’t selling well by the end of that time, bookstores often remove it from their shelves. Since the leak to the media happened at the end of this cycle when Galbraith’s novel would be returned to the publisher, it might have been a planned leak intended to keep the book on the shelves.

In the end, the effort has actually achieved both. Rowling has been able to step aside fully from her wizard roots with this work, and the leak has saved the publisher from having to eat the losses associated with a novel that until the revelation sold only about 1,500 copies in Britain.

Agent Info

Roz Foster of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency likes literary and commercial fiction, women’s fiction, literary sci-fi, and literary YA. She looks for a resonant, lively voice; rich, irresistible language; complex characters with compelling development arcs; and a mastery of dramatic structure. Roz is also interested in nonfiction: current affairs, design, business, cultural anthropology/social science, politics, psychology and memoir. 

Agent Info

This agent caught my eye because I’ve worked with several preteen and teenage authors who have gone on to reach wide audiences.
Steven Hutson of WordWise Media wants fresh ideas, particularly from young authors. He also represents fiction and nonfiction books for adults and children, especially those with spiritual themes.

Complaints about Crimson Romance

Crimson is a subscription publisher…they offer readers unlimited downloads of e-books for a monthly fee.

Different publishers have been experimenting with this process, and for some, it works out well.

Authors at Crimson Romance are complaining about payment terms and how the publisher rates them against their entire stable of authors. Read more here at Writer Beware.

The Penguin Random House Merger

Well, it’s happened again.

Two of the top publishers have merged forces. The new Penguin Random House is now the dominant publisher in America…and since American publishing is the top of all nations, that makes it the biggest in the world.

The combined companies control over 25% of the book business. One of their top priorities is to “crack the code of discoverability,” to figure out how to put more books in front of more buyers in a market that has seen fewer brick-and-mortar stores every year.

One consultant said that they could use their large list to create digital subscriptions, like an e-book of the month club.

Harlan Coben noted that every author is worried that fewer houses mean fewer opportunities to get books published. He also said that the business is changing so rapidly that any predictions made now will likely fall flat.

How to Determine if a Manuscript is Publishable

Considering how much change has come to publishing in the past few years, determining whether a manuscript is publishable is important. Authors want to know what their chances are before they invest a lot of time, effort or money in creating new drafts, revising and rewriting current drafts, editing to the final stage, or creating book proposals and query letters.

The two most important things to consider when asking whether a manuscript is publishable are:

1. Quality

2. Marketability

Quality issues for fiction encompass the writing level (voice, use of structural elements, etc.) and storytelling skill. For nonfiction, quality includes the writing level and how the content is presented.

Marketability is an issue that can trend across timelines ranging from a few months to a decade or more. It includes areas outside publishing as much as what is being published now and what is scheduled for publication over the next two years. And since those same issues affect self-publishers (although in different ways), authors who are committed to that path often have the same question about whether their manuscript is publishable.

Authors can access twenty years of experience across a broad range of categories and genres by having their work read by Writer’s Resource. The service that determines if a manuscript is publishable…and if not, to guide the author along the steps to be taken to make it publishable…is a baseline review. The review usually takes 2 to 2.5 weeks to complete and costs $425. The nominal investment can safeguard authors from spending much more on editing or other services that will not pay off in the long run.

Words of Hope

Eric Simonoff of William Morris Endeavor, says of publishing:

“What I see is an industry in which we want nothing more than to discover an amazing voice. Who wouldn’t? If you actually have a great book, it matters who sends it out, because you want someone who understand the business, who has the best possible relationships, and who can negotiate the right deal for you as a client. But your book will get discovered regardless. It might just be a question of when.”