Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes poetry, creative nonfiction, and imaginative fiction, with deadlines ranging from September 15-September 30.

The Hackney Literary Awards are currently seeking submissions for best unpublished novel. Length is open. The winner will receive $5,000. Entry fee: $30. Deadline: September 30, 2013. For more information, please visit the website.

The Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards are currently open for submissions. The Kingsley Tufts Award is intended for poets in mid-career, who have previously published books of poetry. The winner of the this award will receive $100,000. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award is intended for poets who have not been previously published. The winner of this award will receive $10,000. The publication date for eligible books must between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2013 and work must be originally written in English by a poet who is a citizen or legal resident of the United States. Deadline: September 15, 2013. For complete information, please visit the website.

The Literal Latté Essay Award is now open for submissions. Essays must be unpublished and should not exceed 8,000 words. The winner receives $1,000; second place receives $300; third place receives $200. Entry fee: $10 per essay or $15 for two essays. All entries will be considered for publication. Deadline: September 15, 2013. For more information, please visit the website.

The Mary Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction is currently seeking submissions. Stories must be unpublished and ideally will be between 1,000 and 3,500 words (maximum length: 4,500 words). Works of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and horror are welcome but editors are open to any stories that reach beyond those genres as well. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in Rosebud Magazine. Four runners up will receive $100 and publication. Entry fee: $10 (or $15 if you would like to receive a copy of the issue in which the winners appear). Deadline: September 15, 2013. For more information, please visit the website.

Obamacare and Freelance Writers: A Phone-In Seminar for Authors Guild Members

Confused about the changes in healthcare? You have a lot of company. We’re going to try to clear some things up next week with a phone-in seminar led by health care policy expert Cathy Schoen, Senior Vice President at the Commonwealth Fund. The Commonwealth Fund is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving health care systems in the U.S and internationally that has been following all aspects of the Affordable Care Act closely.

Obamacare and Freelance Writers:
A Phone-In Seminar for Authors Guild Members

Cathy Schoen, Senior Vice President, Commonwealth Fund
Tuesday, Aug. 27
4 pm Eastern
Enrollment required (it’s free): Sign up here
(Note: you will be able to submit questions for Cathy to answer when you sign up)

Basics on the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare):

Key dates: Enrollment starts on October 1, with coverage to start January 1, 2014. First year enrollment will stay open until the end of March 2014.

Availability: The new insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges,” will be available in every state.

Assistance for premium costs: For those with incomes under specified thresholds, federal tax credits will be available to help cover the costs of premiums.

Choices will vary by states: These will be state-based exchanges, so choices will vary depending on where you live. The federal Health and Human Services agency has posted an interactive map that provides some useful information. It also provides a link to state exchanges and websites.

HHS basic information on the coming health insurance marketplaces.
HHS interactive state-by-state map.

Some states – including New York and California – have posted state specific information. (This will be available for all states in September.) Here are the links for New York and California:

New York Website
California Website

More Information Coming

Cathy will send some descriptive material next week. She suggests you look at the websites in advance to inform and prepare questions. Cathy will try to answer as many pre-submitted questions as possible during the call.

Elmore Leonard: An Appreciation

To readers and moviegoers, Elmore Leonard was a writer who entertained them for decades, and whose work will surely continue to do so for years.

For authors, he was that and more. For some, a friend, a colleague, a mentor.  For countless more, a writer whose influence not only defined modern crime fiction, but reached far beyond it.

Of course he had his well-known admirers.  “I think Elmore Leonard is the great American writer,” Stephen King said. Martin Amis called him, “incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence.” Saul Bellow famously had Leonard’s books on his shelves.

But for every big name author who has praised him, many lesser known writers have his “10 Rules of Writing” taped to their computers or committed to memory. It’s hard to imagine an author who wouldn’t benefit from continually returning to rule number 10: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

If there were steroids that made you a better writer, would you take them? That was the question asked by Michael Farris Smith who grew up playing baseball (without steroids) and he is the author of Rivers: A Novel.

He wrote in The New York Times: “I’m talking about a fat pill I could swallow once in the morning and once at night, and then sit back and reap the benefits of a stronger, faster, novel-writing me.”  Smith’s imagined pill will make your book a bestseller. “You will write sentences that will leap off the page and slap readers until they laugh or cry and then slap them again.”

There will be quality, much praised, and quantity. Your editor “will have learned . . . that there is no reason to even read [your manuscript]–just get it to the printer.”

Smith wound up his musings by guessing at possible side effects (thick fingers) and added: “So I will only stare at the pretend bottle of performance-enhancing drugs that sits at the edge of my desk.  Because part of the fun of being a writer is not knowing the ending before you get there.”

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Riggio Suspends Efforts to Buy B&N; 1st Quarter Sales Fall, Losses Rise

Barnes & Noble executives today revealed that sales fell and losses increased in the latest quarter, which ended July 27, and unveiled future plans that run counter to what many observers have been expecting: The company will revitalize, not spinoff, the Nook business and chairman Leonard Riggio has suspended his efforts to buy the company’s bookstores.

“We want the consumer to know that the company intends to design and develop innovative new black and white and color Nook devices,” Michael Huseby, president of Barnes & Noble and chief executive of its Nook Media unit said this morning during a conference call discussing B&N’s financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2014. He also said the company will step up marketing of digital books to Nook users.

Overall, company revenue fell nearly 9%, compared to last year’s first quarter, to $1.33 billion. That included a decline of 10 percent to $1 billion at retail stores.

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Critical Showrooms Restored: B&N, S&S Finally Come to Terms

Simon & Schuster and Barnes and Noble have ended their long dispute, opening the way for the publishers’ authors to have their books sold vigorously in the chain’s stores during the coming fall and holiday seasons.

In a joint statement Monday, the two companies gave no details, saying only that they had “resolved their outstanding business issues” and that both parties “look forward to promoting great books by Simon & Schuster authors.”

S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy, sent an email to authors and agents thanking them for their support “during this most difficult period,” the New York Times reports.

“I and my colleagues have felt keenly the effect this trade dispute has had on books published during this time and have tried nevertheless to achieve the best possible distribution and marketing for your books, which we know are the product of many years of effort,” Ms. Reidy said.

The announcement comes during a tumultuous time for B&N. This morning, Leonard Riggio said he has suspended his efforts to make an offer for the company’s retail business, Reuters reports.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming releases by Authors Guild members include titles by Ann Birstein, Janet Wyman Coleman, Linda Dahl, Edwidge Danticat, Paul DeBlassie III, Ivan Doig, Frances O’Roark Dowell, Tina Dybvik, Ed Emberly, Laban Carrick Hill, Uma Krishnaswami, Joyce Maynard, Donna Jo Napoli, Karen Robards, Elizabeth Rusch, Charles Salzberg, Natalie Standiford, Ginger Wadsworth, and Brenda Wineapple. Titles under the jump.

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Enough with the Eulogies: B&N is No Borders, Says Publishing Perspectives

Cut the eulogies; Barnes & Noble isn’t going the way of Borders as long as readers are still buying print books, editor-in-chief Edward Nawotka writes today in Publishing Perspectives.

After a lengthy post-mortem on the failed digital strategy that has pundits ready to leave the whole company for dead, Nawotka writes:

“So now, the company is refocussing back on books. And it makes sense.”

“Len Riggio, B&N’s founder and executive chairman, is at heart a bookseller. In contrast to Nook, the physical bookstores did respectably well in 2013. Though sales fell by 5.9% over the year, they still generated revenue of $4.6 billion — and, what’s most important — a profit of $374 million, up 16% from the year before.”

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Book Industry Stimulus? 23 Million Customers Poised to Automatically Receive Book Buying Credit from Publishers’ Settlements with DOJ

More than 23 million “consumer accounts” are eligible to receive refunds from the $166 million pool of money put up by the defendant publishers who settled with the DOJ in the Apple e-book price-fixing case, Publishers Weekly reports.

Those refunds may add up to a mini-stimulus package for the book industry, since only 48,124 of those eligible for refunds opted to get a check instead of a credit to their account. That will leave well over 23 million customers with credits they can use to buy print or digital books.

Citing as a source Rust Consulting, the firm retained to administer the settlement fund, PW reports that, “23,073,840 customers of Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, and Sony have been directly notified via e-mail or by postcard that they are eligible to participate in the settlement.”

A second round of refunds will depend on the outcome of a trial to determine monetary damages Apple must pay, which is scheduled for May 2014.

Apple Will Argue Operating Terms This Month, Money Damages in the Spring

Apple has until May 2014 to prepare for a jury trial to determine monetary damages for its role in orchestrating an ebook price-fixing conspiracy. But it’s due back in court at the end of August to discuss what restrictions will be placed on how it operates its ebook business for the next five years.

The May trial relates to a suit brought by the attorneys general of 33 states, who are seeking compensation on behalf of consumers who, the states contend, paid higher prices for ebooks as a result of Apple’s actions.

In the meantime, Judge Denise Cote, who found Apple guilty of price-fixing after a trial in June,  has set an Aug. 27 hearing to consider what steps the court will order to prevent a repeat of Apple’s collusive activity. The Department of Justice and Apple have until Aug. 23 to submit proposals that, it is hoped, narrow the chasm of suggested remedies in their earlier filings.

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