Monthly Archives: October 2013

Authors are Publishers’ New Powerhouses

Long ago in a dreamy land far, far away, publishing was a “gentleman’s business.” Publishers, agents and authors respected each other because they were working together to reach readers.

Then publishers started to become corporatized, focused on the bottom line. Over the decades, authors ended up at the bottom of the barrel. The only advocates, it seemed, were their agents.

Nowadays, things are changing rapidly. Self-publishing and the advent of new digital platforms are shifting the way publishers do business. One of the things that suddenly has become more important is…you guessed it…authors.

Authors are the brand around which readers revolve. A host of recent conferences and book trade shows have hosted multiple sessions that focus on the writer.

It’s a great time to be an author!


Just for Fun

Writer’s Digest has a list of the odd jobs taken by some of the best writers of all times.

My own strangest jobs included working on a production line at an egg factory and, later that same year, processing raw deer hides, heads and tails that arrived at a junkyard before being sent on to a leather processing facility.

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever held to support your writing career?

Stats on the Publishing Industry

Quite a bit of chatter is going around these days about how self-publishing is shaking up traditional publishers. In some ways it is a war between sides that are battling for attention from the same pool of readers. WIthout going into all the other elements, let’s remember one key fact:

Self-published titles represent 10% of the current market.

This means that a number of places where books traditionally are distributed–brick-and-mortar bookstores, big-box retailers, shopping clubs and the like–aren’t paying very much attention at all to self-published titles.

When considering your career, take all the details into account to find the best path for you and your work.

Literary Fiction Makes Readers Better People

A study published in Science found that “literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make references about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity. They theorize that reading literary fiction helps improve real-life skills like empathy and understanding the beliefs and intentions of others.”

It’s nice to know that even in today’s busy, disconnected world, literature is still having a substantial impact on society.

Just for Fun: Punctuation

Here’s a link to a blog post about punctuation marks that are no longer used. Do you miss any of these? Which ones?

I might miss the virgule the most. Not because of how it was used but because the Latin root of the word could mean “rod,” “staff,” or…ahem…a certain portion of the male anatomy.

Who said proofreading can’t be fun?

New Book Publisher Seeking Submissions

Chronos Books is seeking historical nonfiction and historical biography. They are looking for real history for real people; imaginative, easy-to-digest and accessible text. Topics cover ancient times to the Second World War, and should add to a reader’s understanding of people and events rather than reading like a textbook.

Self-publishing Success is Fueling Traditional Publishing

With a growth rate over 400% in the past 5 years, self-publishing is actually turning out to be a benefit for traditional publishers.

More publishers than ever before are signing authors who self-published their books. Indie authors have finally found their ways onto some of the top bestseller lists, which is eye-opening considering that many lists are compiled by newspapers that still refuse to review indie authors.

Nowadays, I tell clients that they can self-publish at the same time they are querying agents and publishers. If the self-published route doesn’t work out, no harm done. If they hit it big, though, they have even more appeal for traditional publishers to take a close look.

Opportunity for Writers

Book Business and Publishing Executive blogs are currently seeking outside contributors for and Experts and industry professionals can share their wisdom with their readers. They seek lessons learned, tips, advice, anecdotes and commentary on industry news and trends.

Self-published Book Titles Jumped in 2012

Bowker, the ISBN provider, found that the number of self-published books in 2012 rose 59% to over 390,000 titles. Ebooks have led the charge, although print books still accounted for about 60% of self-published titles.

The analysis also found that more than 80% of self-published titles came from just eight companies, including Smashwords and CreateSpace. Fiction is the most popular self-published genre followed by inspirational/spiritual works, books for children, and biographies.

PW Says Self-publishing is the Only Conversation Publishers Need to Have

At the Frankfurt Book Fair, Publisher’s Weekly encapsulated the event by saying “The self-publishing discussion is the only conversation we need to be having today.”

The Virginia Quarterly’s web editor backed that up.

Books on Demand pointed out that 60% of self-published authors see no difference between their efforts and those provided by traditional publishers. At the same time, 75% saw marketing as the biggest advantage offered by traditional publishers.

And that’s no small point. Self-published authors have to take very broad approaches to marketing to see what works for them at that moment in their selected category. Traditional publishers already know what works and are able to focus a team of individuals on those efforts.

VQR pointed out that the element connecting both groups is that they are both reaching out to readers. And that should be key for you no matter which publishing route you take.

Opportunity for Juvenile and YA Authors

The Best American Nonrequired Reading contest finds stories appropriate for young readers that aren’t going to make any required reading lists in school. Selected by a handful of high school students, the collection is published by Houghton-Mifflin. Contact the committee at They read every week, and they read every piece sent in.

Book Agent Info

Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary is seeking YA with a strong voice (realistic or high-concept), narrative nonfiction and pop culture/pop psychology, literary fiction, and commercial women’s fiction driven by contemporary issues.

Book Agent Info

Andy Ross of the Andy Ross Agency represents books in a wide range of subjects including narrative nonfiction, science, journalism, history, current events, and fiction. For nonfiction, he looks for big stories about culture and society. Also seeking literary, commercial, and YA fiction.

Ebooks are Changing Reading Habits

USA Today reports that ebooks are changing reading habits. Here are the highlights:

–Readers who buy ebook readers report that the amount of reading they do has increased in a big way, sometimes doubling the number of books read in a year.

— The top genres being read were sci-fi, romance, mystery/crime fiction, and nonfiction.

–Having read a particular author before and word-of-mouth were the top two ways readers made their selections.

Good News for Self-published Author from Big Five

Jennifer Brehl at HarperCollins’s William Morrow imprint bought North American rights to Tina Seskis’s novel, One Step Too Far. The amount hasn’t been revealed but is rumored to have been $500,000.

The book was originally published in April as a Kindle e-book that hit #1 on Amazon. Seskis, who grew up in New Hampshire and now lives in London, followed the e-book publication with a paperback release. The print edition then went on to hit the bestseller list of the British bookstore chain, W.H. Smith.