Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/15-12/19

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Macmillan and Amazon have made a multi-year deal.

Apple is back in court for the ebook price collusion case with an appeal, but this time things seems to be going well for them.

Google is considering adding a buy button and two day shipping to compete with Amazon Prime and one click ordering service.

A tablet made just for children, named Fable, will be available in March 2015.

A German app called Blinkist, which condenses nonfiction books into 15 minute summaries, has launched an audio version.

Just Ask for It! The Art of Asking: A Trendsetter Roundtable

Amanda Palmer is a musician, artist, and entrepreneur of asking. Those who haven’t listened to her music perhaps know her from her Ted Talk, called The Art of Asking, which led to her getting a contract for a book with a similar title: The Art of Asking, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help (Grand Central, 2014). Palmer starts her story with her job as a statue in Boston, and takes readers on a journey throughout her life of asking for what she needs to keep doing what she loves, all while dealing with the occasional haters that come her way.  Samantha and Jennifer sat down to discuss the method of simply asking for what you want and how that might help you get a leg up in the publishing industry.

Jennifer: Singing Mulan in my head as a pump-up… I’M READY.Palmer_TheArtofAsking(HC)

Samantha: Yes! Okay, so let’s just start simple and ask, well, did you like it?

Jennifer: I did. I thought it was interesting and different and a fun read. What did you think?

Samantha: I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it since I don’t know a lot about Amanda Palmer herself. It started off a little rocky for me, but once I realized it was part memoir, I liked it a lot. What made it “interesting and different” for you?

Jennifer: I think it was largely the structure. I liked that it moved easily from anecdote to advice without feeling the need to be strictly linear with the timeline.

Samantha: That’s definitely a good point. Was there any advice or anecdotes that particularly struck you?

Jennifer: I love the part about taking the donuts. I think creative people tend to have their own processes and the idea that, as consumers, we should respect those processes and, as creators, we shouldn’t feel guilty about them was a great realization. I think my favorite anecdote is when she finally sees her mom, like really sees her as a real person and not just her mom. That was beautiful.  What stood out for you?

Samantha: It’s certainly a learning curve for consumers and creators in this book. I think the most basic concept of the book was what kind of blew me away, just asking for what you want, like, all of the time. It’s so stupidly simple, and yet so hard to do. But at the same time, asking for what I want is due in large part to how I ended up in the publishing industry, so I don’t know why it still seems so difficult to me to ask for what I need.

Jennifer: I think she explains that feeling perfectly too. I talked to other people about their feelings on asking while I was reading in a reflecting out loud moment and most of them would never think to ask for things for themselves but were happy to help other people by asking on their behalf or helping someone who asked.  I think too many people today have the same mentality as that one guy from the opening band: that asking is equivalent to begging, when it’s not. But speaking of your start in publishing, do you want to expand on how asking helped you get to where you are today?

Samantha: I got my internship because my college mentor and I asked a professor that I didn’t know if he had any publishing connections, and put me in touch with a woman at W.W. Norton who ended up becoming my internship boss. Then with this job, I saw the posting, and asked my brother if he knew anyone here (the funny part being that I had no idea what a small company this is) and he put me in touch with a former employee. I just asked her for cover letter tips and she just forwarded my query straight to Lorraine and Kim and well, long story short, here I am! It wasn’t asking directly for the job, but asking was a huge part of landing those positions. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/8-12/12

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Hachette developed an ebookstore during its war with Amazon, but decided not to launch it.

BookCon announced that it is working with We Need Diverse Books to create panels with prominent diverse authors.

Melville House will publish The Senate Torture Report as a paperback titled The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture.

The American Bar Association launched its new trade imprint.

Penguin Random House will layoff almost 300 employees from its warehouse and distribution facility in Kirkwood, NY.


Keeping the Conversation Going: Minorities in Publishing Podcast

Unsurprisingly, the internet is home to lots of publishing blogs. Some focus on trends, some news, some a smattering of publishing ephemera, and some a mix of all of the above. But few websites are dedicated to providing the industry with the reality check it needs. Jenn Baker and Bev Rivero started Minorities in Publishing as a blog and podcast series to get the conversation really started, and to keep itmoving, regarding the lack of minorities on publishing. The podcast is available for free on their Tumblr, and you can also find them on Twitter

MiP Logo_600x600I know episode one of your podcast is mainly about introducing yourselves, but for those who haven’t listened to it yet, tell us about your backgrounds and what brought you to publishing and starting the podcast.

Jenn Baker: Well, I’m a production editor at a small university press and also freelance as a copyeditor. My publishing experience is heading into the 12 year mark. I found publishing via the Publishing Certificate program at City College of New York and the main goal of that program was to get more people of color into publishing jobs. Once I got into the industry I jumped a bit from position to position until I find my fit as a production editor. It caters to my obsessive and overly organized tendencies.

Bev Rivero: Currently I am a publicity manager at an independent press. I’ve been working in book publishing since graduation, almost 10 years ago, and I had internships in college – it was sort of always in my mind. The podcast came out of a bunch of conversations that we started before a lot of the great media coverage that’s happened this year, like the PW salary survey backlash. We chose the format of a podcast rather than a blog or something more static to highlight how we consider this to be a conversation with everyone – readers, those working in the industry or looking to get into it, and of course authors and artists.

One of my favorite things about the podcast is that each episode zooms in on one particular person and part of the publishing industry and how it can expand within that arena. To place things in a wider scope, how would you place Minorities in Publishing in the entire context of publishing now, and your hopes for the future?

JB: It’s interesting because in one of our most recent episodes with Anjali Singh I had mentioned that we all (Anjali, myself, and Bev) worked at small presses. So the numbers are different and the diversity aspect is also a bit more emphasized. When you work with a dozen or two dozen people you may see more people like yourself, maybe not. In my company my department is mostly minorities. So sometimes that can sway opinion because your immediate viewpoint is working with those of the non-majority but in the larger industries, the Big 5 in particular, the lack of diversity is even more evident in terms of not just what is being published but in terms of who is behind the scenes and has power to make things happen for any particular title. I would say in my eyes that perhaps it is getting more diverse but from a larger standpoint I’d say it’s still a very slow going process that can be much improved.

BR: I put MiP on the spectrum of conversation starters. I work on this with the hope that people will think differently about their colleagues, perspective authors, and those around them, and work towards bringing more POCs into the literary world. Looking towards the future I hope that we can continue to be out there and reach a level where more people in the industry are aware of our work and encourage everyone to listen and send people our way to interview.

How can everyone in publishing, regardless of their background, encourage more minorities in publishing?

JB: I think one thing is to actively reach out to minorities. So many of our guests, and myself included, didn’t even consider publishing as a career. People of color know books get made but do they know they can be involved in the process of these books being produced, edited, marketed, and sold? Are publishers reaching out to a diverse group when they appear at career fairs? Are master’s programs in publishing providing the guidance (and financial assistance) to those who may not have the money to embark on this industry? How are resumes looked at and sorted? Is it all about the “in”? And where are the mentors for those new to publishing?

BR: My answer to this has and always will be “Pay them.” To me this doesn’t just mean paid internships, but also upping the starting salary for entry-level employees that hasn’t changed in decades. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 12/1-12/5

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Nook and Microsoft will split after a revision of their original deal.

Google Books is back in court to determine whether or not their book scanning project is under fair use laws.

Wattpad announced it will be adding a paywall to access some of the content on their site.

HarperOne launched a new mind, body, and spirit themed imprint called Harper Elixir.

A Netherlands court scheduled a hearing to decide the legality of used ebooks later this month.


Event Recap: Happy Birthday, Margaret Atwood at 92Y

“Fewer than ten, but more than six,” is how many 75th birthday party events Margaret Atwood has had in the last few months.  The event at 92Y was one of the last and featured speeches from The Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern, author and Terrible Minds blogger Chuck Wendig, Magicians Trilogy author Lev Grossman, and surprise guest The Ocean at the End of the Lane author Neil Gaiman.

Margaret Atwood, whose birthday is actually November 18th, is one of the literary staples of the publishing world and will probably remain a literary staple.  Her first book of poetry was published in 1961 and her first novel in 1970.  According to her website, over the course of her career, she has published 14 novels, 8 short fiction books, 8 children’s books, 17 books of poetry, and 10 nonfiction books.  Her newest publication, a collection of short stories titled Stone Mattress, came out in September of this year. 

She is a living legend; “literary royalty” in Chuck Wendig’s words.  She has also embraced new technology like ebooks, Twitter, and Wattpad and even patented the LongPen, which allows authors to sign works remotely, in order to connect with as many readers as possible.

While onstage, Atwood said she felt herself a writer at the young age of 16, when she wrote a poem while walking across the football field.  “I was very ignorant.  I didn’t realize you had to do all these other things,” using the example of not believing she needed an agent until a film contract for her first novel came up.

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/24-11/28

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

JetBlue launched the Fly-Fi Hub service, which will provide in-flight reading materials to passengers through a partnership with HarperCollins and Time Inc.

Amazon placed interactive ads in the New York City subway that allow consumers to browse for books while waiting for their trains.

Ferguson Public Library remained open in Missouri while other public services closed due to protests.

The University of Texas bought Gabriel García Márquez’s archive.

In an effort to encourage Black Friday shoppers to buy print books, Barnes & Noble is selling 500,000 signed books from prominent authors.

Book Jobs Not by the Book: Andy Meisenheimer, Freelance Writer and Editor

Andy MeisenheimerAndy Meisenheimer is a freelance writer and editor. He edits manuscripts for writers and for publishers, coaches published and unpublished writers in the art and craft of writing, and writes for fun and for profit. He is a fiction editor for The Red Fez, an online literary magazine. He lives with his family in New York City.

Give us a little bit of your history in publishing, and how you got started freelancing.

I started in college working at an indie bookstore, managing frontlist and backlist, among other things. From there, I began working at a publisher in sales, the kind of sales that has you traveling a three-state region visiting other mom-and-pop bookstores and small chains. I know Minnesota-Wisconsin-Illinois really really well. I moved from sales to acquisitions at the same publisher, and had a blast. Signed a bunch of good authors to write good books that all of nobody bought or read. Signed one New York Times Bestseller. Seemed as good of a time as any to retire (not really how it happened)—and so I became a freelancer. At first, I split my time between a long-term contract editing a series of mysteries, and working smaller gigs directly with authors themselves, and that’s sort of how I got started. Since then, I’ve co-written a book, I’ve written a lot of back ad copy, and I’ve done some acquisitions consulting and other odd jobs.

What kind of projects do you normally work on, and how do you get those projects?

My expertise, as it were, is in development and line editing. So most of my work is with authors and publishers early in the process, as opposed to the later copyediting and proofreading. I love to work with novelists, and I also have lots of experience with non-fiction as well, so I have been moderately successful at keeping a balance between the two.

The work I do with publishers comes from relationships I’ve built with editors and marketers in the business. But I also do work directly with authors, and that comes mostly from word-of-mouth. I really enjoy working with authors, and I think for the most part the feeling’s mutual, and that gets me a decent amount of referrals.
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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/17-11/21

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Oyster started their own literary journal and created an Author Advisory Board.

Google launched Google Contributor, a crowdfunding tool for publishers.

Simon & Schuster lifted its required “Buy It Now” stipulation for digital library lending.

The 2014 National Book Award winners were announced during the 65th Annual National Book Awards ceremony.

Running Press and HBO have partnered together to develop new Game of Thrones products.

Bonus VideoUrsula Le Guin’s National Book Awards acceptance speech after being awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 11/10-11/14

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Amazon and Hachette have reached an agreement, bringing an end to their contract negotiations that began in May of this year.

Reed Exhibitions announced that BEA and BookCon will have separate dates in 2015.

Nook Media is expanding their author services offerings by adding print options.

HarperCollins was denied their request for over $1 million in damages against Open Road.

Amazon won their bid to own the new .book domain.