Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hachette and Amazon Trade Barbs in Public Statements

In a remarkable move, Amazon released a statement yesterday defending its slow-walking of Hachette Book Group titles. The normally tight-lipped corporation broke its silence amid a barrage of press—including Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson’s appearance on the Bloomberg TV program “Market Makers”—concerning its ploy to pressure Hachette into accepting unfavorable contract terms.

Today, Hachette shot back.

Read More…

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

If, at the beach this summer, the water is too cold, critic Janet Maslin suggests, choose “something else to dive into.” In Sunday’s New York Times she wrote that “we have entered the fun season with the sandy nickname, the one known for books impossible to put down.” Her articles about beach books are an annual event.

This summer? “If there’s one overriding motif, it’s this: “The crazier, the better.” The longest title: You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About.

Maslin wound up with “Here’s a sure way to tell when the summer reading season is ending. . . . Leaves will change color.” The ones on trees. Not those in books.

Read More…

Amazon Tightens Its Grip in Dispute with Hachette

Blackmail works best.  That seems to be Amazon’s negotiating strategy, at least.  The online retailer is now refusing orders on some Hachette Book Group titles in an attempt to extort better contract terms from the publisher.

We reported earlier this week on Amazon’s “slow walking” of Hachette Book Group titles.  Amazon was putting pressure on the smallest of the Big Five publishers as the two firms try to negotiate a new contract.

Read More…

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Deadlines ranger from Jun 15-30.

The Autumn House Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction Contests are now open for submissions. Fiction and nonfiction submissions should be 200-300 pages in length; poetry submissions should be 50-80 pages in length. The winner of each contest will be awarded publication and $2,500 ($1,000 advance against royalties and $1,500 travel grant to promote his or her book). Entry fee: $30 per entry. Deadline: June 30, 2014. For complete guidelines about each genre, please visit the website.

The University of Pittsburgh Press is now accepting submissions for its 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for a collection of short fiction. The award is open to writers who have published a novel, a collection of short fiction, or at least three short stories or novellas in publications with national distribution. The winner will receive $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Manuscripts must be between 150 and 300 typed pages. Deadline: June 30, 2014. For complete submission guidelines, please visit the website.

The Salamander Fiction Prize is now open for submissions. The winner will receive $1,500 and publication. Stories must not exceed 30 pages (double spaced, 12 point font). Multiple entries are allowed but each story must be submitted separately. Previously published works and works accepted for publication elsewhere cannot be considered. Entry fee: $15 per entry (includes a one year subscription). Deadline: June 15, 2014. For complete guidelines, please visit the website.

Why Can’t Publishers Quit Amazon?

Amazon and Hachette Book Group are still battling it out as Amazon seeks to squeeze the publisher’s profit margins in their new contract. Amazon continues to deploy a tactic we’ve called “slow walking,” purposefully putting what appears to be hundreds of Hachette books on two to three week back order to remind Hachette of Amazon’s market power. (See “Amazon Slow-walks Books by Gladwell, Colbert, Others in Spat with Hachette” for more.)

Read More…

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a letter to a friend in 1881. The author was happy about a book he was working on. “If this don’t fetch the kids, why, they have gone rotten since my day. Will you be surprised to learn that it is about buccaneers. . . That it’s all about a map, and a treasure, and a mutiny, and a derelict ship . . . and a seacook with one leg, and a sea-song with the chorus ‘Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum’ (at the third Ho you heave at the capstan bars), which is a real buccaneer’s song, only known to the crew of the late Captain Flint.”

Stevenson admitted: “It’s awful fun, boys’ stories; you just indulge the pleasure of your heart, that’s all.” The quotes about the creation of Treasure Island (1883) are courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

Read More…

New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Dan Burns, Julia Dahl, Stacey D’Erasmo, William Dietrich, David Fuller, Elizabeth Gunn, Nigel Hamilton, Steven James, Fred Kaplan, Garrison Keillor, Sandra Tsing Loh, Susan Lurie, Scott Martelle, and Phyllis Rose. Titles under the jump.

Read More…

What is the “Authors Alliance?”

Authors Guild board member T.J. Stiles sent a note to the San Francisco Writers Grotto yesterday about the Authors Alliance, which launches next week. We thought you should see it.

May 15 note from T.J. Stiles to the San Francisco Writers Grotto:

I would like to pass along a warning about a new group that is trying hard to attract members, calling itself the Authors Alliance. In a recent interview in Publishers Weekly, founder and executive director Pamela Samuelson presented the Authors Alliance essentially as a counterweight to the Authors Guild. As an Authors Guild board member you may consider me biased. I have read the Authors Alliance materials, am familiar with the work of its directors, and met with one of them and developed a pretty good picture of what it’s all about.

If any of you earn a living as a writer, or hope to, I strongly urge you not to join the Authors Alliance. If you think authors should be the ones to decide what is done with their books, then I strongly urge you not to join.

Read More…

Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes numerous prizes for poetry as well as a multi-genre competition. Deadlines range from June 15-30.

The Barrow Street Press Book Award is given to the best previously unpublished manuscript of poetry in English. The winner will receive $1,000 and book publication by Barrow Street Press. Poets may submit a 50-80 page unpublished manuscript for consideration. Entry fee: $25 by mail, $28 online. Deadline: June 30, 2014. For more information, visit the website.

The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Competition is currently accepting submissions for an unpublished manuscript of poetry. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Manuscript must range between 48 and 80 pages in length and be written in English. Translations do not qualify for this award. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: June 16, 2014. For complete submission guidelines, please visit the website.

Read More…

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

No writing teacher would allow it. Editors would turn pale.  But Roz Chast’s new memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, is written “in capital letters, underlined words and multiple exclamation points,” wrote Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times.

The memoir and the review are illustrated with Chast’s cartoons, “scribbly people go from looking merely frazzled and put-upon to looking like the shrieking figure in Munch’s “The Scream” – panicked and terrified as they see the abyss of loss and mortality looming just up the road.”

A small Chast drama between a mother and child also plays out on the cover of the May 12th New Yorker. That’s the Chast way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Only Chast could wring laughs from such subjects.

Read More…