Oct 282012


 Random Penguin? Penguin House? Merger discussions between Pearson and Bertelsmann,  corporate parents, respectively, of Penguin and Random House, are underway. If Big Six becomes Big Five, they’ll be one less publisher competing for manuscripts, a development that could lead to lower advances for authors. The sheer size of a Random Penguin could, of course, increase its clout with e-book retailers like Amazon and Apple.

News of the Pearson and Bertelsmann talks follows the announcement of consolidations at Simon & Schuster.

The specter of imprints disappearing pushes authors to re-read their contracts. Kristine Kathryn Rusch offers an overview of rights-reversion issues and the steps writers should take to claim rights.

In a related post, agent Kristin Nelson warns writers against signing boilerplate contracts.

Smashworks founder Mark Coker advises indie authors to distribute widely, offering books for sale via as many e-retailers as possible. He says Amazon KDP Select’s exclusivity requirement may hurt rather than help writers. (Kristine Kathryn Rusch shared the same advice in the September 30 edition of Industry News.)

Jane Friedman revisits an article she wrote for the Litflow website (mentioned in the October 7 Industry News) about a talk she gave in Berlin urging publishers to offer more value to authors. This time around, Friedman speculates that publishers won’t be compelled to offer more value until they lose so many authors to indie ventures, they’re forced to rethink their approach.

E-books by established, traditionally published writers dominated DBW’s top 25 best-seller list for the week ending October 20. The top sellers’ average price was $11. 79.

Ever wonder what it’s like to sell rights at the Frankfurt Book Fair? Turns out it’s people-centric. Jennifer Weltz of Jean V. Nagger Literary Agency blogs about the experience and reveals what buyers’ countrymen are reading. (Scroll down to find the article. As of this writing, it was the second in the agency’s blog queue.)

Porter Anderson’s Writing on the Ether looks into the Mysterious Case of the Disappearing/Reappearing Kindle Files, offers fodder from conferences, and highlights this advice from Chuck Wendig for writers heading to conferences: Don’t forget to pack the skepticism.

Digital-book expert Mike Shatzkin thought Amazon Publishing, the Larry Kirshbaum-led imprint, would pose an immediate threat to the Big Six, instead, for reasons Shatzkin notes, the imprint is building differently–and slower–than expected.

How many copies of a self-pubbed book does an author have to sell to attract the attention of an agent? For agent Janet Reid, that number is 20,000.

Author Gemma Halliday’s experiences with traditional publishing inspired her turn as a myth buster.

New agent Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron & Associates is looking for “literary, commercial, historical, and upmarket women’s fiction,” among other things.

Writers rely on critique groups for brainstorming plot twists and catching grammar glitches. Agent Rachelle Gardner suggests we apply group think to marketing.

Just in time for NaNoWriMo, children’s editor Cheryl Klein updates her useful-for-all-genres plot checklist.

My trusty Dell Inspiron laptop died yesterday, and I wrote this on a MacBookAir. The transition proved rocky for my low-tech self, but, with time, I’ll figure things out. Meanwhile, Industry News salutes those of you gearing up for NaNoWriMo. Happy writing and revising. See you next Sunday.


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