Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, January 15, 2010

This Week in Publishing 1/15/10

Um. Hi there! Is it really after 8:00 in the evening and I haven't gotten This Week in Publishing up? Why, yes. Yes, it is.

The day. It was busy.

First up: the guest blog contest! I have selected the winners and they have been e-mailed the news. However, I shant be revealing them publicly so as not to spoil the surprise. Since all the entries were posted publicly it wouldn't be very sporting to just reveal who the winners are so that everyone can go read them before I post them on the blog. All will be revealed next week! Monday and Tuesday are pre-reserved slots, contest winners will be posted Wednesday through Friday.

Now then! There was a week in publishing.

Michael Cader has been a one man Woodward and Bernstein over at Publishers Lunch this week, collecting all the important information about the situation at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's parent company, which has... well, let's just quote Cader: "Two debt restructurings last year still left Houghton Mifflin Harcourt parent company Education and Media Publishing Group (EMPG) straining to sustain their debt obligations and covenants, and reports from Ireland indicate yet another restructuring is in the works that would wipe out equity-holders entirely and turn the company over to its secured lenders." The good news is that the debt restructuring is anticipated to leave HMH on solid footing.

Some very sad news this week as Laura Hruska, a beloved publishing veteran and co-founder of Soho Press, passed away this week. Sarah Weinman, Stuart Neville and my client Lisa Brackmann were among those penning tributes. She'll be missed.

The Tenners, a group of plucky authors who have debuts publishing in '10 (including THE SECRET YEAR author Jennifer Hubbard) conducted a seriously fascinating Tenner poll. Among the interesting poll nuggets: Only 18% of the Tenners were published without an agent and only 6% still don't have one, and 82% have an unpublished novel in the drawer. Lots more interesting tidbits here.

Rachelle Gardner has a terrific post on why agents are still needed: among other reasons, agents are the ones holding the line on e-book terms and even unagented authors benefit from the pressure agents exert on publishers when establishing industry standard terms.

Your publicist asks that you please not contact journalists directly and let your publicist do that.

In e-book news, there was an interesting study recently by a company called Attributor, which suggests that as much as $3 billion in revenue could have been lost to e-book piracy, and estimated that 9 million copies of books were illegally downloaded. Bob Miller at Harper Studio wonders: is this really such a bad thing?

And speaking of piracy, Daniel Alarcón, author of the fantastic novel LOST CITY RADIO has an upcoming piece in Granta about the Peruvian publishing scene, which has a shadow pirate publishing industry that is just as big as the legit publishing industry. He talks about it in an interview here.

And finally, The Rejectionist has also noticed quite a query deluge in this early 2010, proving that it's not just agents-blogging-under-their-own-names who are experiencing an uptick. Le R has, per usual, an extremely hilarious explanation for the increase in queries.

Have a great weekend!






26 comments:

Jean Yi said...

first comment! yay!
well, interesting tanner news...
im so sorry about laura hruska...
and congratulations, winners!!

jmartinlibrary said...

Mclovin this week's links. Why bother surfing when the good stuff washes up on NB's friday post?

Joseph said...

I worked for the company that sold Houghton Harcourt. It feels like a David/Goliath situation except that Houghton was the better company. I now go to work for its chief rival around the corner. I see the building every morning when I get off the subway and wonder if it'll still be there next year.

Marilyn Peake said...

So sorry to hear about the death of Laura Hruska.

Thanks for the links. Interesting publishing news so far in 2010. One of my New Year’s resolutions: block out all bad news about the publishing industry, so that I can write intensely. Next week, I return to an intense writing schedule. Looking forward to it!

Rachel Fenton said...

It's very reassuring to see that there are some debut authors getting published whilst the economy seems to be in freefall still...think I'll just take my time with my latest WIP anyhow and hope things have picked up circa 2012!

Anonymous said...

Daniel Alarcón will also be reading from Granta with Yiyun Li (author of The Vagrants) for people who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Feb. 2 at Modern Times on Valencia in SF and Feb. 3 at Book Passage in Corte Madera - both readings at 7 p.m.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks for the update, anon. Daniel Alarcón is a fantastic reader - I saw him read at Edinburgh Castle and it was one of the best I've seen.

SEO Product Descriptions said...

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Meghan Ward said...

Oops, I didn't mean to post that comment anonymously. Daniel was one of my profs at Mills College, and he's a great writer. Yiyun Li, too, is amazing - and they're reading together! I plan to make one of those readings. I hope others will, too.

Anonymous said...

About the publicist, this only works if your publicist is professional, easy to communicate with, and on top of her game.

Many times I know more, as a mere, unprofessional blogging book reviewer, about authors than their publicists do. The authors find me easy to talk to because I listen and keep secrets. Also, I actually READ the books and love them. *You can't buy enthusiasum.* If your publicist isn't on her game, an enthusiastic reader can do more and in a much more timely manner.

Bottom line, if you're going to spend good money on a publicist, make sure she's a professional who's on her game. Otherwise, you'd be better off on your own. Paid publicity is expensive and authors are not making much money these days.

Anonymous said...

Any more contests planned?

The Rejectionist said...

So we should start working on the Wikipedia thing right now? Sweet!

Ink said...

Le R.,

Does that mean I get to start working on YOUR wikipedia page? Oh the baby thefts to talk about...

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

I think that NaNo entries are getting polished and writers are sending them out-- with high hopes.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Great info. I always look forward to your Friday posts.

Rowenna said...

This Week in Publishing is one of the reasons I love Friday (others are self-explanatory). About the e-book piracy--and this may be a rather backwards way to think about it, but--way back when digital files of music were a pretty new thing, we all learned about it and embraced it by downloading it for free. We later learned that this was illegal (whoops), but we were already pretty into it, so we were willing to purchase it. And dedicated devices for digital music files made sense because we couldn't haul our computers everywhere. I wonder if it might benefit the publishing industry to offer a little more for free than they are in the e-book sector to get people started on reading digital.

Emma Michaels said...

Thanks for the updates as always!!!! Here is an interesting questions. Do you think that individuals should wait to submit because of the slush pile or hurry and submit because otherwise all the people it didn't stop will be getting published while we are still waiting?

Sincerely,
Emma

ryan field said...

I remember when they started Soho Press. Sad news.

As for the piracy post by Mr. Miller, I think a few of the people who posted on his comment thread said it much better than I could :)

Mira said...

Wow you were up late, Nathan. Working hard. I haven't had a chance to browse the entries yet, but I'd bet is was a hard choice!

Congratulations to the winners, I'm excited to read them next week.

As always, thanks for the links! They look interesting.

Have fun next week, Nathan! Have a great holiday weekend everyone.

Sandra G. said...

So sorry to hear about Laura Hruska - the crime fiction/novel world has lost a true supporter.

I went over to the link you provided for The Rejectionist and had to laugh. Yes, there are 'nutters' out there. As a writer, a blogger, and a full time employee of a government agency, imagine my surprise when queries started showing up in my inbox! As a writer in search of an agent, I really had to wonder what in the heck these people were thinking - how am I supposed to help them if I can barely help myself?? Nutters, indeed!

Daniel Alarcon - I would love to hear him read.

Good post, Nathan - always a pleasure to read.

Jenn Johansson said...

I'm excited to hear about the winners. I love the tenners, can't wait to check out the poll. Heading over now.

Jenn's Blogdom :)

Shelby said...

Yes .. where IS your wikipedia page..

cheers :)

Dara said...

Oh goodness, the Rejectionist's entry had me laughing like a crazy person.

"Deluge of nutters." Yeah I'm definitely adding that phrase to my personal vocabulary. :P

Donna Hole said...

Great links Nathan. I had skimmed Rachelle's post earlier, and was glad for the reminder to go back read it thoroughly. I enjoy her posts as much as yours. And of course, The Rejectionist always has an interesting view on things.

Have a great weekend.

........dhole

jennadol said...

Thanks so much for linking to the Tenner poll, Nathan - much appreciated!

Marlena Amkraut said...

Nathan, I've referenced your blog on my blog, "Chick Lit Book Recommendations and Discussion".

I agree with you that marketing is what writers need to do, and that getting a "googleable presence on the web is important." I am following your advice by creating a website www.girlclassified.com and by starting a blog that I'm posting in every day www.girlclassified.blogspot.com

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