Jan 152012

Industry News

This installment of Industry News tackles the Year of the Dragon thanks to social-media expert Kristen Lamb and her Kung Fu Writing post and dragon-beating tips.

It’s never been easy to get a book published, but digital-book expert Mike Shatzkin argues that it used to be easier for publishers to turn a profit. Nowadays, more titles + fewer bookstores = publishers wary to acquire new books. (Cue fire shooting from the dragon’s mouth.) At the same time, backlists offer publishers income without acquisition costs. (Let camera pan over dragon’s shimmery, shiny scales.)  

Speaking of backlists, media professor Jane Friedman investigates whether an author holds e-rights to her traditionally published books.  

Hyperion CEO Ellen Archer says publishers’ business model is broken. Her fixes? She favors trimming advances and foresees a shift to e-books. “Don’t trap yourself in the ‘book’ book.’ It’s wonderful and it’s been wonderful for many years, but the years of printing too many books and taking them back…it’s not really a great business model and we have an opportunity to create a better business model.” Read the whole interview to learn her take on other publishing matters, including whether or not writers should blog.

Stephen Page, chief executive of Great Britain’s Faber & Faber publishers, doesn’t see the industry as broken but believes the current period in publishing and the move toward digital books will bring change as sweeping as that of the eighteenth century, when a monopoly on granting copyrights ended and laws and formats changed. Scroll down through the article to find the skills he believes publishers must have to excel in today’s environment.

E-book pricing is a trial-and-error game, reports author Ruth Harris.  She tries and errs for research purposes and interviews other writers about their pricing strategies. (Thanks to Gene Lempp for the link. )

Dear Author‘s Jane offers generally optimistic predictions for publishing in 2012. There be no dragons here. (Wait for the article to come up.)

Money appears to be flowing toward writers participating in Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. Carolyn McCray, a writer of paranormal romance novels, historical thrillers and mysteries, reportedly earned $8,250 from the KDP Select fund in December.

Librarian Nancy Pearl, of Book Lust blog fame, has teamed with Amazon to resurrect some of Pearl’s favorite but now out-of-print books. Six titles a year will be offered in print, audio-book and e-book form.

Literary agent news:

Agent Rachelle Gardner has moved to Books & Such Literary Agency, where she’ll represent “fiction of interest to women” geared to either the general or Christian markets.

At Bookends Literary Agency, Lauren Ruth seeks literary-leaning women’s fiction and more.

Kristin Nelson, of Nelson Literary Agency, believes it’s important to specify in a contract the initial format of a book. That way, she ensures that her clients will be published in both hardcover and/or paperback and digital formats. 

May you vanquish all dragons foolish enough to block your path this week. Happy writing.


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