An Open Letter to the DOJ from Someone Who Actually Cares About Writers (and Readers) Publishing

The leading literary agents’ organization – the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) – penned an open letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) opposing the terms of the settlement reached with three of the publishers named in the Agency price-fixing suit. I won’t go into the details of how wrongheaded that letter was. It has already been systematically taken apart by Joe Konrath, Bob Mayer, and Dean Wesley Smith. Also worth reading are Joe Konrath’s subsequent dismantling of another open letter to the DOJ written by Simon Lipskar (a board member of the AAR), as well as the comments made by Passive Guy on the same topic. If you have any doubt whose side (most) agents and the AAR are Read More…

Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision? Publishing Writing

Sunday will mark a year since I first uploaded to Amazon. At the time, I was wrestling with a question that many writers are still dealing with today: should I self-publish? The argument about whether to self-publish has been debated in great detail both here and elsewhere. I don’t want to add to that general discussion today, rather I want to offer up my personal experience of self-publishing. Given that this is an anniversary of sorts, I would like to look back over the last twelve months and examine the results of that decision, and compare it with what would likely have happened had I decided otherwise. Regular readers will know that I broke my own impasse by deciding to Read More…

Agents And Publishing: A Roadmap For Writers

I haven’t spoken much about the news this week that more agents are moving into publishing. I have already made my feelings clear here and in my book. In any event, there has been excellent coverage elsewhere, by Passive Guy, and Courtney Milan. Also, one of the agencies in question (there was another later in the week), BookEnds, has indicated that they will be providing more comprehensive information next week, so I think it’s fair to allow them time to do that before dealing with their particular proposed venture. Instead, I would like to suggest a potential roadmap for writers to make sense of all these different variations of agents getting involved in publishing. I’m not going to tell you what to think. Read More…

Borders Inches Closer to Liquidation

The deadline to save Borders passed yesterday, meaning that they will now proceed to a bankruptcy-court auction tomorrow. It’s not quite over for America’s second-largest bookstore chain, and a bidder could still emerge in the next day-and-a-half to save the company – which employs nearly 11,000 people – from being liquidated. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported today that Books-A-Million were in talks late last night about a deal. However, it seems clear that even if this move comes off, which is doubtful, it will only rescue part of the company, and a large amount of (further) store closures and layoffs is unavoidable. It seems likely now that the bones of Borders will be picked apart, and the remaining Read More…

Are Big Publishers Losing The Battle For The Big Backlists?

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., the company which manages the literary estate of the deceased James Bond creator and thus controls not only all pre-existing James Bond works, but all future ones too, have been in the news this morning It has been announced that Simon Trewin from United Agents is no longer representing the company, which has been snapped up by Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown (UK). The reasons for the move are unknown, but will be speculated upon. The timeline is interesting here, and I can’t help but wonder if this is something to do with the James Bond backlist. These titles should be especially lucrative given that Bond has shifted over 100m copies in print. Some are available Read More…

The Kindle Store: The New Slush Pile?

  We have spoken on this blog several times about what the future holds for agents in a world where publishers are disintermediated by the dominance of e-books and the marginalisation of bookstores. Some agents are responding to the fall in advances and the collapse of print by seeking alternative revenue streams: editing services, creative writing classes, and, worst of all, becoming publishers. However, it’s now becoming very clear that some agents have decided that the time spent dealing with the fire-hose of submissions would be better spent scouring the Amazon rankings for indie writers.

More Bad Behaviour From Agents, Publishers & VS Naipaul

It’s the hottest day of the year here in Stockholm, so I thought I would give you a quick weekend round-up before heading out to carbonize my skin work on my manuscript. There are some legal issues discussed below. I should point out that I am not a lawyer and anything below should not be considered legal advice. These are my opinions only. If you are affected by any of this issues, I strongly urge you to seek independent legal advice from an IP lawyer with experience in such matters.

A Bad Week For Agents

Even God got a day off on Sunday, so here’s some stuff for you guys to chew on, while I try and get a story finished. A Bad Week For… Agents Agents made a lot of headlines this week. First we had top UK agent Ed Victor announcing the launch of his publishing imprint. Fellow agent Peter Cox bravely called for him to be thrown out of the Association of Author’s Agents (quote in comments at end).

The Never-Ending Blog Tour?

After that monster marketing post yesterday, I have a bit of a writing emergency on my hands and can only post a short blog today with some news and links. Upcoming Releases I am a little behind on my writing targets. Transfection is nearing release. I might be able to upload after the weekend, and then launch it during the week when it goes live. You can look forward to a sneak preview of the cover, an excerpt, and another competition in due course.

Top UK Agent Announces Publishing Imprint

There was some interesting news in The Bookseller yesterday. Ed Victor, one of the top UK agents, has announced he is setting up his own publishing division – Bedford Square Books. We have talked on this blog before about The Digital Revolution and what the future will hold for agents. I predicted a split in the agent community as some morph into publishers and others re-focus into being authors’ advocates. I also talked about how there was some tension already. Andrew Wylie made waves last year when he announced Odyssey Editions – his own imprint to publish his authors’ backlists (including Roth, Bellow, and Updike) – rights which had reverted from trade deals. Scott Waxman has set up his own publishing company Read More…

Why The Rise of Self-Publishing Is Good For All Writers

In the last couple of months, self-publishing has really broken out into the mainstream. It’s not unusual now to see a television news report or an article in the Financial Times on an indie bestseller who has just snagged an agent or signed a trade deal, or coverage of the self-publishing scene in general. Even so, some self-publishers complain that they don’t get respect from the trade publishing community, that they are treated with disdain or condescension.

Making Money From Writing, Part 2: Novels

Yesterday we surveyed the short story market, where you can find the right magazines for your stories, how you can sell the same story again as a reprint and to an anthology, why short story collections are such a hard-sell to publishing houses, and how and when you should self-publish them. Today we are going to talk about novels.  There are only two real ways to sell your novel, and the choices are, for the most part, mutually exclusive, so you have a big decision to make.  The first way is to a trade publishing house (both large presses and small, independent presses), and the second is to self-publish.

Double agents?

In our mad dash around the new publishing landscape, there’s one group we have only mentioned in passing: agents. Nothing in the publishing world inspires more diverse reactions than the mention of agents. For some, agents are the holy grail, the star-makers, the gatekeepers to the dream factory. Others are less kind, and I won’t repeat their opinions, but suffice to say they view agents as amoral Svengalis who, like recruitment agents, have created a need for their services where before there was none, and are an additional, superfluous barrier between writers and publishers (and readers). The truth is somewhere in the middle, and agents, like any profession, run the full gamut of experience, ability, and propriety. There are some Read More…

The Future Has Happened Already: E-books Overtake Paperback Sales in the U.S.

E-books are now the #1 selling format in the U.S.  And that’s not just in terms of volume, but in dollars too. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) yesterday released sales figures for the month of February, and I was blown away.  E-book sales (year on year) grew over 200%.  They now comprise 29.5% of the market.  And this is only e-book data from 16 of the biggest publishers reporting versus 84 publishers reporting print data, the real number could be higher. But the headline news was this: e-books are the top-selling format across all trade categories. More than paperback!

Welcome to the Pleasuredome

There are lots of blogs out there on the publishing business, and writing in general, but I thought there was room for one on indie publishing from the perspective of an international writer. First, a little about me. I am a 33-year-old Irish writer, living in Stockholm.  Notice I said writer, not author. My mother always said I was a writer, authors get paid. I got paid $100 last year. She said I need to be making more than that. And you know what? She’s right.