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

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

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.

Bob Dylan adds a new honor to his mantelpiece: the Nobel Prize for Literature.

NetGalley bought for an undisclosed price.

The Authors Guild is opening up membership to new and unpublished writers.

Wattpad and Gallery Books are teaming up on a contemporary fairy tale anthology, to be sold at Target.

Aldi is the latest company to branch out into ebooks.

Bonus: meet the man who invented modern bookselling.

The Beginner’s Guide to American Literary Organizations

Believe it or not, it’s not just publishing houses that keep the literary world moving and grooving. There’s a whole host of foundations that keep the American publishing industry on its feet. Here’s a list of the groups, communities, and foundations helping keep literary life fun, exciting, and fair.

National Book Foundationnbf_logo

The National Book Foundation is most famous for their yearly National Book Awards, but they also host a bevy of other literary awards, like Trendsetter favorite 5 Under 35, as well as events like Eat, Drink, and Be Literary, and programs like BookUp, dedicated to youth reading. The National Book Foundation wants American citizens to be excited about American literature of all kinds.

Mission Statement: The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.

Community of Literary Magazines and Presses

clmp-logoThe Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, or CLMP, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a group of small, independent literary magazines and publishers who team up to make sure they are seen, heard, and appreciated. They provide resources for writers, readers, and publishers as well as put on events to aid their fundraising efforts like LitCrawl, as well as programming to help publishers and magazines be able to better sell their wares.

Condensed Mission Statement: CLMP ensures the vitality of small literary publishers and communicates the art of literary publishing to readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, educators, funders, and other literary stakeholders. We believe small publishers make up an underserved, uniquely vulnerable and essential field that connects the greatest diversity of writers to equally diverse communities of readers.

PEN America

pen-americaPEN America is one of hundreds of PEN International outposts that work together to ensure that the power of the written word is used to usher forward human rights. Through their awards and programs like their Prison Writing Project, World Voices Festival and many other projects, they want words to shape the world into a better, freer place.

Mission Statement: PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world.  Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs

awp-logoThe Association of Writers and Writing Programs is perhaps most famously known for their annual conference. It’s the largest writers’ conference in the United States. AWP brings together writers and college writing programs from all over the nation to advance writing and writing education. AWP itself also offers career services, a magazine, and resources on applying to writing programs across the country.

Mission Statement: AWP provides support, advocacy, resources, and community to nearly 50,000 writers, 550 college and university creative writing programs, and 150 writers’ conferences and centers. Our mission is to foster literary achievement, advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, and serve the makers, teachers, students, and readers of contemporary writing.

National Endowment of the Arts

The NEA provides grants nea_logoto individuals and organizations to allow them to pursue creative efforts. The NEA is perhaps most well known for their award, the National Medal of Arts. Previous authors who have won include Sandra Cisneros, Stephen King, Tobias Wolff, and Maxine Hong Kingston. While these winners are not necessarily related to literature, the NEA provides several translation and creative writing grants each year.

Condensed Mission Statement: Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

National Endowment of the Humanities
neh-logoThe NEH provides grant money to groups, institutions, and individuals so that they can continue their work in the humanities. This money goes to all US states and territories. Not unlike the NEA, these grants go to humanities beyond the written word, but several authors have won this award throughout the years, such as Ron Chernow, Isabel Wilkerson, Elaine Pagels, and James McBride from 2015 alone.

Mission Statement: The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

Center for Fiction

center-for-fictionHoused in New York City’s historical Mercantile Library, the Center for Fiction is exactly as advertised: a single site that serves as an event space and bookstore. The Center for Fiction also gives out several different annual awards, including The First Novel Prize, and puts on classes and reading groups. Their goal is to create a community of readers and writers around fiction in whatever way possible.

Condensed Mission Statement:  The Center for Fiction is the only nonprofit literary organization in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction, and we work every day to connect readers and writers.

We recognize the best in the world of fiction through our annual awards, and we operate one of the few independent fiction book shops in the country.

Readers, publishers, and authors alike have these organizations – and many others! – to thank for keeping America’s literary trajectory on the upward track.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 10/3-10/7

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.

The possible unmasking of Elena Ferrante has drawn swift condemnation from her fans.

National Book Awards finalists were revealed yesterday morning.

Amazon launched a new benefit for Prime subscribers: increased ebook access.

Penguin Random House and Crown Publishing Group are getting into the serialized fiction game on October 11.

New imprints are forthcoming from Harlequin and from Sarah Jessica Parker.

Not New York: Book Business and Culture in Pittsburgh, PA

pittsburgh-postcardThe reports are true: the “Paris of Appalachia” is having its belle époque. To outsiders, Pittsburgh might be better known for its smokestacked past and Steelers championships, but these are only a few of the city’s many faces. Thanks to a patchwork of neighborhoods, colleges, and cultures, the future is alive and well in southwestern Pennsylvania, and it’s looking pretty wordy.

The area is home to a number of presses, both independent and university-affiliated. The University of Pittsburgh Press and Carnegie Mellon University Press each publish a wide variety of books, and their respective poetry series were garnering acclaim long before Ross Gay’s National Book Award nomination last year. Indie publisher Braddock Avenue Books, named for a street in an adjoining steel town, specializes in realistic fiction and champions authors who live, or have lived, in Allegheny County. Autumn House Press publishes in all three major literary genres, and Hyacinth Girl Press produces small runs of handmade poetry chapbooks.

If that leaves you hungry, consider the buffet of literary magazines. Again, the universities play host: to name only a few examples, the University of Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Bridge (where, full disclosure, I was once co-editor-in-chief) and Chatham University’s Fourth River are helmed by MFA candidates, and Duquesne’s undergraduates produce Lexicon.  It’s not all institutional, though. Weave, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Biddle’s Escape Quarterly are community-based projects, and The New Yinzer was formed as a challenge to, you know, that other bookish town. Lee Gutkind’s Creative Nonfiction, now a major magazine, was founded and remains in Pittsburgh’s East End. If you get confused, consult The Review Review, a sort of meta-journal about literary magazines the world over. Though it and its founder originally hail from New York, the enterprise is now based in the Steel City.

Some Pittsburgh’s bookstores have been community anchors for years, while others continue to open as of this writing. In Oakland, a major student neighborhood, Caliban sells used and rare books, while Phantom of the Attic stocks comic books, graphic novels, and all other sorts of nerd ephemera. The whole concept of bookstore-as-gathering-point isn’t lost on anyone in Pittsburgh: Amazing Books and Classic Lines often host events, like book releases and readings, while the Big Idea Bookstore – an anarchist cooperative – declares itself “a safe space for all individuals to explore and alternative ideas.” The near-future opening of the White Whale Bookstore is eagerly anticipated, and Nine Stories is now in its first full week of operation.

Of course, Pittsburgh’s status as a writerly town is nothing new; Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny West, and Willa Cather spent a decade writing and teaching there before moving to New York City. What’s new, then, is the increased attention paid by authors from other places. Pittsburgh is now a popular stop for many book tours, and the city’s various reading and lecture series – among them the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, and Acquired Taste – host local favorites and big names alike.

Even at a distance, it’s possible to take in this vibrant scene. Podcast fans can catch up on Prosody, a production of 90.5 WESA, which features interviews and readings from authors both locally and internationally famous. There’s also [in brackets], a new branch of the aforementioned Hot Metal Bridge, where MFA students talk shop and play pinball with visiting writers. Littsburgh is a website dedicated to cataloguing and highlighting events, places, and people who make this city what it is – which makes it excellent reading for wistful expats like yours truly.

A number of thinkpieces have hailed Pittsburgh as “the new Brooklyn,” but it would be a mistake to define one in terms of the other. (Besides, the lifelong ‘Burghers hate that.) It’s best to think of Pittsburgh as a completely unique place, rich in idiosyncrasy and welcoming to anyone with literary inclinations. Yinz guys should check it out.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 9/26-9/30

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.

Authors can now do giveaways with their books via Nook Press.

The National Book Awards 5 Under 35 nominees were announced this week.

James Patterson halted the publication of a book titled The Murder of Stephen King.

Penguin Random House unveiled a new sci-fi and fantasy themed website called Unbound Worlds.

Amazon is going to start shipping their own products instead of using UPS or Fedex.

Book Jobs Not by the Book: Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant for The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rachel High is Publishing and Marketing Assistant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has presented on her work at The Met at the 2016 National Museum Publishing Seminar. Prior to working at The Met, Rachel freelanced at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum where she started her museum publishing career as an intern. She received her B.A. from New York University and is currently pursuing a M.A, in Art History at Hunter College.

Wrache-highhat was your first exposure to book business and what were the most important things you gained from it?

I fell in love with the book business through two formative internships, at Folio Literary Management and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Folio was my first introduction to working with books in general and the Guggenheim was my first exposure to working on art books. I was considering a career in a curatorial role before the Guggenheim and I think the most important thing I gained from working there was the realization that my passion for books, art, and museums could be combined.

How do you explain your current job to people?

I’m still trying to figure out the elevator-pitch explanation, but I see my position as having three distinct parts: marketing; managing and updating our online platform, MetPublications; and working on special publications.

At The Met we have a great team supporting our books: our communications office, our museum store, and our social media representatives. Outside of the museum, our distributor Yale University Press is also a great resource to help us get our books out there. I see my role as marketer as a creator of content that supports the books and can be pushed out to these different channels. I work on the typical outreach, like press releases, brochures, and flyers, but a lot of my job is experimenting. I’ve interviewed curators for our museum blog, started a book trailer program and most recently created a quiz on Buzzfeed as part of our marketing initiatives. The book trailers have gotten up to 70,000 views on Facebook and the Buzzfeed quiz was accessed over 11,000 times to date.

Another large part of my position is updating and maintaining the MetPublications website where over 1,500 publications from The Met’s long publication history are available to read, download, and/or search for free. I was fortunate to inherit this ambitious project which was developed by Gwen Roginsky, Associate Publisher and General Manager of Publications and Editorial at The Met, and The Met’s Digital Department. There are currently over 450 books with full-text available online and the number is ever-increasing. We’ve also started publishing collection catalogues straight to digital with a download and print-on-demand option (which we also offer for our out-of-print publications).

In addition to working on the digital side of things, I also assist on print projects that don’t fall into our usual parameters of a collection catalogue or exhibition catalogue; these are usually projects we undertake with a co-publisher. Recently I worked on The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings by Kathryn Calley Galitz co-published with Skira Rizzoli.

In what ways did your previous jobs or internships prepare you for what you do here?

At the Guggenheim I gained InDesign experience, wrote marketing copy, and was able to work on their catalog digitization project. At the time they were experimenting with several different models of digital publications so I was able to work with different eBook and eReader platforms and honed some of my already present background in HTML which makes my work on MetPublications possible.

In a departure from the book business, I interned for short periods of time Hauser & Wirth and Andrea Rosen Gallery. At the galleries and at Folio I learned how to diplomatically correspond with a wide variety of clients which is incredibly relevant to my work at the Museum where I’m in constant contact with editors, curators, authors, and others. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 9/19-9/23

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.

The eighteen Kirkus Prize finalists have been announced.

Eleven-year-old Marley Dias of #1000BlackGirlBooks has teamed up with Elle to create a zine.

Google Books is launching a “Discover” feature to better help you find things to read.

Barnes & Noble Education considers switching its focus away from campus bookstores to campus gift stores.

David Cameron‘s memoirs exist, and he’s looking for a publisher.


Internview: Goodbye from Margo

Our intrepid summer intern, Margo, left the Publishing Trends/Trendsetter offices last week to return to University of Chicago. She was a huge help to us this summer – as you’ll see below – helping keep Trendsetter full of content and putting together one of Publishing Trends’ most popular and important features. Margo shared with us some of her favorite parts of the summer, and with this we thank her for all of her hard work and bid her a fond farewell.

What specific tasks or projects completed across the semester do you feel were most valuable to your professional development?

My professional development benefited greatly from my work on Publishing Trend’s Annual Contact Sheet.  This project, which involved massive data collection, improved my understanding of how publishers and their imprints function as a conglomerate.  Now, when an imprint is mentioned, I am better able to immediately mentally-identify its parent-publisher.

With this project along with my work on People Round-Up, I also gained a better understanding of the hierarchy that exists within individual branches of the publishing industry.  For example, when reporting on job-updates for People Round-Up, I learned which job-titles are more senior and which are more intermediate.  Additionally, in my (often fruitless) attempts at contacting employees for the Annual Contact Sheet, I learned who is most likely to respond to contact requests and business inquiries.

What parts of the internship surprised you? And why?

This summer, I was surprised to learn the fluidity with which professionals are able to move between subfields in the publishing industry.  While doing research for Publishing Trends’ People Round-up, I observed that those in the book business do sometimes switch from jobs in Publicity to Editorial, or from Marketing to Distribution, etcetera.  When I first began this internship, this surprised me, because I did not imagine the industry would be so forgiving of such changes in one’s specific job-track.

I also experienced surprise at how much can be learned about the book business by simply keeping track of publishing news.  Since starting my internship, I have begun following many publishing newsletters (including Shelf Awareness, Publishers Lunch, DBW Daily), and through such reading, I have developed a much deeper understanding of how to keep track of what is being published right now and what general trends in book sales currently look like.

How can you see your mark on Publishing Trendsetter now that you reflect upon it?

During my internship, I have greatly enjoyed being able to contribute to Publishing Trendsetter.  Having authored a couple articles and contributed to other posts, I can physically see the mark I have made on the website, but I also feel that I have put forth content that fits with its intended audience, young professionals (<10 yrs work experience) in the book business, because I wrote with an informative edge.  As someone who actually belongs to Publishing Trendsetter’s intended audience, I understand the importance of studying the insights put forth by experienced professionals; thus, the articles I wrote were based on meticulous research rather than personal musing.

Did Trendsetter change your understanding of publishing? How?

Definitely!  In researching for potential Trendsetter article-topics, I learned just how much the book business is an evolving industry.  Publishing is influenced by so many factors: politics, the economy, cultural trends, and etcetera.  For example, the Brexit “leave”-vote was cast at the beginning of my internship, so I have been able to follow articles, as they appear, that detail how this decision is affecting the publishing industry.  Though many long-term consequences of the British vote are still yet to be identified, it is undeniable that such political decisions affect the book business, as I continue to read in many articles (besides my own). Editor’s note: Margo wrote a great piece about what Brexit means for publishing.

What projects or goals will you embark on next?

Post-internship, I am even more certain that I visualize my future in the book business.  But for now, I will return for my final year of undergraduate study at the University of Chicago.  In Chicago, I plan to continue networking, following publishing news, and reading voraciously, and after graduation in 2017, I hope to find work in the publishing field.  Hopefully, one day, you will see my name listed on Publishing Trends’ People Round-up!

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 9/12-9/16

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.

The National Book Awards longlists, as well as the Booker Prize shortlist, were released this week.

Amazon has added assorted Audible privileges to their Prime membership.

On Wednesday, Carla Hayden was sworn in as the new Librarian of Congress.

Lonely Planet is starting a new imprint called Lonely Planet Food.

Amazon is opening 100 pop-up stores, which will sell more than just books, next year.

Translation in the English-Speaking World

Translations are an integral part of the publishing industry. They are potentially invaluable to shaping young minds, breaking down cultural barriers, and furthering the development of modern languages; literature in translation accounted for 13 percent of The New York Times list of the 100 most notable books for 2015. And yet, the English-speaking world produces translated titles at a very small rate. Salman Rushdie called the low number of translated books into English in America “shocking,” and Literature Across Frontiers Director Alexandra Büchler said that the percentage of books published in translation in the United Kingdom and Ireland is “embarrassingly low.” When books are chosen for translation into English, they are normally originally written in Indo-European languages by male authors. Female authors are extremely neglected, as are authors from cultures highly foreign to Anglophones. The statistics certainly are dismal, especially given what is at stake.

Trends in Translation:

 So just how low are translation rates in the English-speaking world? In America and the United Kingdom, translations only constitute 3 percent of publications, with fiction accounting for less than 1 percent of that figure. According to Rachel Bitoun, writer for The Artifice, those translations into English that are published tend to be produced by established authors, and American publishers have shown more interest in bringing British authors to the United States than in translating foreign books. According to the United Nations’ Index Translationum database, the top language translated into English is French, followed by German. The database also recorded that nine of the ten top languages translated into English are of the Indo-European language family. The only Asian language on this “Top 10” list is Japanese, and no Middle Eastern or African language makes an appearance. These statistics reveal a lack of variety of language families accepted for translation into English.

As in many industries, women find themselves underrepresented in the publishing of translations into English. According to Meytal Radzinski, who examined data published by the Three Percent database, female authors write only about 30 percent of books newly translated into English, and these statistics have changed little within the past few years. She noted that AmazonCrossing and Europa Editions are the only publishers where at least half of the books translated into English were written by women. University presses publish an embarrassingly low number, with only 19% of their books in translation being female-written. Since four university presses appear on the “Top 10” list for “Publishers of Translations in the US” and two have places on the corresponding list for the UK, they obviously value translations into English; why, then, do these university presses not publish more female authors in translation?

Who else is underrepresented in the publication of translations into English? In his essay “Translating Poetry, Translating Blackness,” writer John Keene spoke to the absence of translated black voices in America and globally. Like Radzinski, Keene also studied the statistics gathered by the Three Percent database. He noted that, in America, of the 588 books* of translated poetry and fiction published in 2014, only twenty-five translations came from China, four came from India, and fewer than five were published by non-Anglophone authors from sub-Saharan Africa, where books are actively being published by African publishing houses. Read More »