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

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 6/8-6/12

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.

Ferguson Municipal Public Library in Ferguson, MO was awarded Library of the Year by Gale and Library Journal.

Juan Felipe Herrera was named the United States’ first Latino poet laureate.

Starting next year, Simon & Schuster will distribute books published by Gallup Press.

Candlewick Press and Zazzle have teamed up to offer a Candlewick Press store.

Harlequin MIRA has a new site called Bookclubbish, geared toward promoting book club-worthy titles and pop culture.

Not New York: Book Business and Culture in Toronto, Canada

Those of us living in Toronto are a lucky bunch. Torontonians have access to one of the best library systems in the country, are fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great selection of independent bookstores we can support, and live in a city home to some of the nation’s most celebrated authors.

Toronto also houses the offices of numerous publishers, including HarperCollins Canada, Penguin Random House Canada, House of Anansi, Simon and Schuster Canada, Hachette Canada, Kobo, Harlequin (one of several principal offices), and University of Toronto Press, as well as independent  publishers like ECW Press and Coach House Books. Given the number of publishing houses in Toronto, we have a strong community of industry professionals who are passionate about Canadian literature and literacy. Since I began working in publishing three years ago at HarperCollins, I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet with people working for various publishers, who really are the best of the best.

greetings-from-toronto-canada-postcard

Another great part about the publishing scene in Toronto is that there are three great programs offered here, that are perfect for recent graduates, individuals already in the publishing industry who are looking to further their skills, or those looking for a career change.

Humber College offers a four-month Creative Book Publishing program taught by industry professionals. The program starts with two months of publishing courses, after which students choose three of five specializations: editorial, marketing, literary agenting, technology, or a research project. The program ends with a group “Enterprise” assignment where students create their own fictional publishing company.

Ryerson University’s Certificate in Publishing, offers a range of courses on the editing, business, design, sales, marketing and publicity aspects of book publishing. I discovered Ryerson’s program when I graduated in 2012 with my Masters in History and was trying to figure out what my next step would be. After taking two courses, I was hooked and determined to work in publishing. I landed an internship at HarperCollins and a few months later started as Marketing Assistant!

Finally, Centennial College’s publishing program prepares students to work in a variety of positions in the industry, with hands-on education, practice publishing e-books, and offering them the chance to work on the bi-yearly On the Danforth magazine.

The publishing professionals and book lovers living in and around Toronto also get the chance to take part in some truly great events that celebrate Canadian and international authors. The Word On The Street is one of the Toronto’s literary scene’s most-anticipated events. The free annual outdoor festival promotes Canadian literacy with a variety of programing and activities for both adults and children.  I’ve been lucky enough to run the HarperCollins Canada festival booth for the past three years, and it’s the event that I most look forward to all year. It’s an incredible thing to see people of all ages excited about books and literature, and to actually get to talk to people in person about what they’re currently reading! Since I mostly interact with readers online through the social media accounts I manage, this is definitely my favourite part of the festival.

The International Festival of Authors (IFOA) is another really exciting event that brings some of the world’s best authors to Toronto each fall for eleven days of readings, interviews, discussions, and signings. Over 8,500 authors from more than 100 countries have participated in IFOA, including Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Margaret Atwood, Michael Cunningham, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Salman Rushdie. The event truly celebrates literature from around the world and offers readers the chance to engage with the finest literature of our time.

Then, of course, there’s the much-anticipated Book Lover’s Ball every February, where I once sat next to award-winning novelist Heather O’Neill, who I maintain is the single coolest author on the planet. There are also regular author readings and discussions at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, (which has featured the likes of Lena Dunham! And Judy Blume!), book launches, and so much more.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 6/1-6/5

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.

Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a candid blog post about why she doesn’t want people to buy books from Amazon.

Rough Trade’s NYC store will now have a dedicated section for Melville House books due to the companies’ new partnership.

BookCon attendance was up from last year, with an 80% increase.

Kobo has partnered with the American Booksellers Association to launched eRead Local, an incentive program to encourage more people to make Kobo accounts.

James Patterson launched jimmy patterson, a children’s imprint at Little, Brown.

Reading Together, Online: A BEA Panel Recap

One of my favorite panels at Book Expo America this year was Word of Mouth Gone Digital: Digital Communities of Readers. The moderator was Literary Agent Ginger Clark from Curtis Brown, Ltd, and the panelists were Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Content at Wattpad, Rachel Fershleiser, Literary Outreach Coordinator at Tumblr, Emily Hughes, Editor of Suvudu, and Heather Waters, Editor in Chief and founder of Heroes and Heartbreakers. The success of these sites tells one story that publishers and writers alike should heed: readers just want to find and connect with their people online, and they don’t care where they find them.

Wattpad’s social writing platform is home to many amateur writers, but it is also home to many big-name authors such as Paulo Coehlo and Margaret Atwood, among others. Gardner knows that it’s not the publisher that draws readers, it’s the authors, “People don’t want to connect with a publisher brand; they want to connect with the author.”

Similarly, Tumblr is home to many accounts owned and maintained by publishers, authors, reviewers, and so on, but so much of the bookish community thrives outside of those accounts. So what attracts readers to Tumblr? “The promise is how to find the smaller communities,” Fershleiser stated. She went on the say that there are niche categories for everyone. One audience member agreed, saying that she found a fellow Tumblr user who “shipped” the same two Shakespearean characters that she did.

Suvudu and Heroes and Heartbreakers are a little different than the massive communities of Wattpad and Tumblr. First and foremost, they’re run and maintained by publishers. Suvudu is a Penguin Random House site, and Heroes and Heartbreakers is a Macmillan site. Visitors to Suvudu or Heroes and Heartbreakers will notice each website is dedicated to a single genre. Suvudu is for sci-fi and fantasy fans and Heroes and Heartbreakers is for, you guessed it, romance enthusiasts. The second thing you’ll notice is that they promote books that their parent publishers don’t publish. Why?

Heroes and Heartbreakers launched in 2011 after seeing the rampant success of Tor.com, which is perhaps the first publisher agnostic site for fans of a specific genre. Now it has over 300,000 monthly unique visitors; presumably all romance readers ready to connect with fellow fans.
Waters responded, “Readers aren’t focused on publisher. Being publisher-neutral allows readers to focus on genre.” Waters went on to explain that part of the reason Macmillan chose a romance-themed site was that the romance community was so underserved online. Being committed to a genre instead of a single publisher’s titles means they can better attract other fans.

Similarly, Suvudu is committed to connecting sci-fi and fantasy readers, no matter what house publishes the books they feature: “We’re concerned that the [sci-fi and fantasy] community is being served in a way that is meaningful to them,” Hughes added. One audience member seemed perplexed by the idea of a Penguin Random House website promoting books they didn’t publish, but Hughes responded, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

It might be hard to comprehend at first, but there is a benefit for publishers to start their own publisher agnostic fan sites. There’s a real closeness to book buyers. When talking about the creation of Suvudu, Hughes said, “Sales wasn’t a goal. They wanted to get closer to consumers.”

No matter who does or doesn’t host the websites that brings the fans together, it’s clear that bookish fans need a place to be together. Whether they’re reading fanfiction or Margaret Atwood on Wattpad, sharing a playlist inspired by Tumblr’s own Reblog Book Club, voting on this year’s Suvudu’s Cage Match or sharing in eager anticipation of a favorite romance series next installment, fans want to be together online.

We Need Diverse Books, One Year Later

One year ago, We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) started with a hashtag. The hashtag, which later became the nonprofit’s name, was part of a tweet exchange about the lack of diversity at last year’s BookCon.

Last Friday, one year later, I was able to attend the We Need Diverse Books panel at Book Expo America. It celebrated its anniversary by hosting three panels at the very event they originally protested: one panel during the third day of BEA and one on each day of BookCon.

The panelists on Friday included WNDB President Ellen Oh, VP of Communications Lamar Giles, and authors/advisory board members Linda Sue Park, Matt de la Peña, and Tim Federle. The panelists were equal parts entertaining and informative while talking about the current state of diversity in publishing and how to improve it even more for the future.

We Need Diverse Books has come a long way in just one year. “I feel like we’ve sort of empowered a lot of editors to be able to go into the acquisitions meetings and be like ‘hey, there’s an audience for this stuff now’” Giles said, also noting that many publishing houses have approached them about working together.

Currently, WNDB is working on a few new initiatives, including an award to recognize diverse children’s authors called the Walter Dean Myers Award and five internship grants to encourage diversity at publishing houses.

A big emphasis of Friday’s panel was to encourage publishing’s gatekeepers to provide children with all the options, meaning books by and about characters of different races, abilities, cultures, and more. de la Peña refers to this approach as also, not instead. “Whether you’re a writer, a publisher, a bookseller, a librarian, you want choice and variety for the readers you are trying to reach. More choice is better!” Park added. “It’s good for business.”

The group also has some goals for the future. de la Peña mentioned possibly creating a diverse summer reading list that they could then give media like The New York Times and NPR to help them formulate their lists.

According to Federle, “The minute we have a true breakout book that features diversity – a true breakout, like a Top 10 Book of the Year – that to me is going to be the critical mass moment.”

Until that moment, We Need Diverse Books is a necessary resource to help readers discover new voices and encourages anyone else who discovers great diverse voices to share them with everyone they know.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/25-5/29

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.

Penguin Random House and Amazon are rumored to be in a dispute over contract negotiations.

Google appears to be taking action to stop ebook piracy in their Google Play store.

Amazon will now have to start paying taxes in many European countries.

Margaret Atwood delivered her secret manuscript for the Future Library, which won’t be released until 2114.

Skyhorse Books and Salon founder, David Talbot, have started an investigative books imprint, titled Hot Books.

We Love You, Mary Norris, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris, A Trendsetter Roundtable

When Publishing Trendsetter found out that Mary Norris had a book coming out, we just knew we had to get it for our roundtable series. Her book, titled Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (W. W. Norton, 2015), covers Norris’ rise through the ranks at The New Yorker, how to use dashes correctly, and many other grammatical conundrums that keep writers awake at night. Norris is a copy editor at The New Yorker; she is also the star of a series of videos called “Comma Queen.” Samantha, Jennifer, and Moè, took turns reading Norris’ book and sat down last Friday to gush, I mean, discuss what we felt Trendsetters would take away from the book.Between You and Me

Jennifer Donovan: Let me start by saying that I would like to formally extend an invitation to Mary Norris to be my new best friend.

Samantha Howard: Seriously! This book was so delightful.

Jennifer: And informative!

Moè Nakayama: Indeed! Those are actually the two adjectives that come to my mind right away, too.

Samantha: I must admit I feel very self-conscious about my grammar right now in this conversation, but I need to relax, because I know Mary wouldn’t want me to worry too much, since she’s a descriptivist. And thank goodness for that.

Jennifer: Right? Whenever anyone finds out I write for a living, they always assume I’m going to be mean about grammar all the time, but most of us aren’t like that at all!

Samantha: She really knows her stuff though. A lot more than I do anyway.

Moè: She does— and she manages to convey all her knowledge in a way that’s not only accessible, but actually entertaining!

Jennifer: I loved that the book taught us about grammar, but in a way that also shared parts of Mary Norris’ career and a whole lot of her personality.

Samantha: I agree completely, and would like to bring up the fact that the back of this book calls it “Reference/Writing” which I find a bit dubious. What do you guys think about the genre classification of this book?

Jennifer: I would think more memoir, but I see why they classified it as Reference/Writing. since it was marketed with Eats, Shoots, & Leaves as a comp title.

Moè: I think that’s what was surprising for me about Between You & Me. I thought it was mostly going to be anecdotes from working in The New Yorker office, but really, it’s an equal blend of lessons in grammar, history, and Mary Norris’ personal experience in and outside of The New Yorker.

The premiere episode of Mary Norris’ Comma Queen video series.

 

Samantha: There’s so much to enjoy in this book that I imagine it was hard to put a genre on it. I think that there’s a huge risk in writing a book that deals so much in grammar, but she really pulls it off because she manages to be so funny. And that chapter where she explains the phrase “star-fucker”? I was losing it. She made what could have been horribly boring lessons very enjoyable and easy to understand. Now someone go find my 4th grade English teacher who made me cry when I couldn’t learn prepositions about this book.

Jennifer: I mean, there’s an entire section about profanity competitions at The New Yorker. Who wouldn’t love to hear about that! Note: Lesson learned from Mary to use the exclamation point instead of the question mark there.

Samantha: Yes! That was a delightful thing to learn as well.

She kind of let us be a fly on the wall at The New Yorker here and there, which was a treat. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/18-5/22

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.

Audible is reportedly pressuring German publishers during contract negotiations.

The MacDowell Colony announced a new retreat fellowship for diverse writers.

Writers and translators found a way around censorship in Iran by publishing their work on the internet.

OverDrive launched OverDrive Listen, a web app that lets you listen to audiobooks in your web browser.

Barnes & Noble is letting people trade in their old Nooks, iPads, and Kindles for credit toward the new Nook.

BEA Basics for 2015

It’s spring. It’s May. It’s BEA!

BookExpo America, the annual trade fair for the North American book industry, is coming once again to the Javits Center in New York City. Running from May 27 to May 29, BEA 2015 promises three busy days full of exchange, expertise, and excitement.

Two big changes set this year’s BEA apart. First, the exhibit hall is opening on the same day as the conference. This “compact” scheduling should prove more convenient for attendees, event director Steve Rosato explained to Publishers Weekly. Second, BookCon has been organized as a separate business-to-consumer event, so that BEA can stay pure business-to-business. It’s also been expanded to two days, in response to last year’s high attendance; BookCon 2015 will take place at the Javits Center on May 30 and May 31.

This is also BEA’s last year at the Javits Center for at least a little while. After six years in a row in New York City, BEA is moving to Chicago in 2016.

As with previous years, the programming is very robust. Along with the exhibit hall and the conference, BEA will also feature author presentations, autographing sessions, and other special events throughout. You can view the full schedule on the official website, using the Conference Grid tool. (It’s not easy to navigate, to say the least, but sorting by track or event type really helps.)

In the exhibit hall, you’ll see close to 1,000 booths from industry players of all shapes and sizes. All Big Five publishers will be there, as well as independent and smaller publishers. Many will have galleys to share— so look through Publisher Weekly’s lists of adult and children’s galleys at BEA 2015 and plan ahead. Distributors, booksellers, and associations will be exhibiting, too.

Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/11-5/15

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.

Facebook began directly hosting articles from major news outlets this Wednesday.

Barnes & Noble is facing a gender discrimination lawsuit from a transgender ex-employee.

Simon & SchusterHarperCollins, and Kobo have separately teamed up with airlines, airports, and cultural centers to offer free ebooks.

The next version of Apple’s iOS will reportedly support textbooks on iPhones and iPads.

March 2015’s bookstore sales rose a healthy amount.