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The Authors Guild

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

“The Internet long ago revamped publishing and bookselling,” wrote David Streitfeld in The New York Times.  “Now technology is transforming the writing of fiction, previously the most solitary and exacting of arts, into something nearly the opposite. It is social, informal and intimate, with the result not only consumed but often composed on the fly.”

Wattpad is the new way to tell stories. More than 2 million writers produce 100,000 pieces of material a day for 20 million readers. For free. For nothing.   Charles Melcher, host of an annual Future of Story Telling conference, told The Times, “Now that everyone’s been given permission to be creative, new ways of telling stories, of being entertained, are being invented. A lot of people are lamenting the end of the novel, but I think it’s simply evolving.”

Allen Lau, Wattpad’s chief executive, was interviewed at the company’s office in Toronto. He said, “Almost all our writers serialize their content. Two thousand words is roughly ten minutes of reading. That makes the story more digestible, something you can do when standing in line.”

Readers respond to the writers. The Times said that traditional publishing is watching Wattpad closely, “not only as a source of new talent but also for techniques to increase reader engagement.”  But the writers go unpaid.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Sarah Albee, Sarah C. Campbell, Cynthia Ceilan, Thomas J. Davis, Marc Eliot, Michael Fedo, Robin Jones Gunn, Robert D. Kaplan, Barry Lopez, Craig Nelson, Neil Russell, and Barbara Brown Taylor. Titles under the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests is mostly for poets, though Ninth Letter is offering up prizes in multiple genres. Deadlines range from April 25-30.

Tulepo Press is currently accepting submissions for the Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry. Submissions must be in English; translations are not eligible, nor are previously self-published books. Submit a previously unpublished, full-length poetry manuscript. In terms of page limits, 48 to 88 pages of poems is suggested, but all manuscripts will be read and given full consideration, regardless of length. The winner will receive $3,000, publication by Tupelo Press, 20 copies of the winning title, a book launch, and national distribution with publicity and promotion. Entry fee: $28. Deadline: April 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Iowa Poetry Prize, open to new as well as established poets, is awarded for a book-length collection of poems written originally in English. Manuscripts should be 50 to 150 pages in length. Submissions should be postmarked in the month of April. The winner will be published by the University of Iowa Press under a standard royalty agreement. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: April 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publisher’s Row

by Campbell Geeslin

“An ambitious young writer can’t simply write: he or she must link, tweet, podcast, and brand.” That advice comes from James Wolcott in the April Vanity Fair.

In his column, Wolcott wrote, “The brandmaster of flash is Malcolm Gladwell, who has parlayed his platform as a social-trends reporter for The New Yorker into a series of popularizing bestsellers (Outliers, The Tipping Point) and princely sums on the speakers’ circuit. His face was planted on the sides of New York buses to publicize his latest book, David and Goliath, a fitting place for the Carrie Bradshaw of Starbucks intellectuals.”

One of Wolcott’s suggestions for becoming a brand: “Learn how to wait until Charlie Rose reaches the end of his question before answering, no matter how dusty long it takes.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by David A. Adler, Marianne Berkes, Bruce Degen, Rita Gray, Arianna Huffington, Eloisa James, Susan Mallery, Emily Arnold McCully, Toni Morrison, Sharon Kay Penman, James Solheim, and William Stadiem. Titles below the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The deadline for each of them is April 30.

The University of Pittsburgh Press is currently accepting submissions for the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize for a first full-length book of poems. The award is open to any poet writing in English who has not had a full-length book of poetry published previously, with full-length being defined as a volume of 48 or more pages published in an edition of 750 or more copies. The winner will receive $5,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: April 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

Late Night Library is now accepting submissions for the 2014 Debut-litzer Prizes in the categories of fiction and poetry. Only debut books first published in North America between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 are eligible. Debut novels, short story collections, and novellas are eligible in the category of fiction. Debut poetry collections and chapbooks are eligible in the category of poetry. The winner in each category will receive a cash award of $1,000 and a featured appearance on Late Night Conversation. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: April 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

At last, the book business has become the background for a spy thriller. The author is Chris Pavone and the title is The Accident, published last week. His first novel, The Expats (2012), was a bestseller. He lives in Greenwich Village with his wife and twin sons.

“Any setting can be a good setting for a novel,” Pavone, 45, told The New York Times. Husband of a top publishing executive and a former editor himself, Pavone said that he used his experience in writing The Accident.  But in an early draft, he said, “I had thinly veiled versions of real people. I got rid of that.”

Pavone is now on a book tour and has already begun a third novel. This one will be set in the world of travel magazines. He said, “It offers compelling opportunities for a travel-writer protagonist to embark on a secret life of international intrigue.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Ron Argo, Joan Barthel, Marianne Berkes, Carol Cassella, Patrick A. Durantou, Holly George-Warren, Diane Goode, Kostya Kennedy, Eleanor Lerman, Dustin Long, Joseph Mazur, and Douglas Valentine. Titles below the jump.

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Authors Guild Members Elect Roxana Robinson President

Roxana Robinson & Scott Turow at the 2014 Annual Meeting

Roxana Robinson & Scott Turow at the 2014 Annual Meeting. credit: Luis Garcia

“The challenges are huge. I am thrilled to be a part of it all.”

Judy Blume, Richard Russo, and James Shapiro to serve as vice presidents.

At its annual meeting Wednesday, Authors Guild members elected Roxana Robinson as their president and Judy Blume, Richard Russo, and James Shapiro as co-vice presidents. CJ Lyons joined the Guild’s executive Council. Scott Turow concluded his presidency of the Authors Guild, the largest organization of published book authors in the US, after serving four years. Mr. Turow served tirelessly as the organization’s advocate and voice and led the Guild through its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2012.

During his term, Mr. Turow oversaw landmark mass book digitization and “orphan works” lawsuits against Google and HathiTrust that raise critical issues concerning authors’ rights to exercise control and be fairly compensated for uses of their works. Courts ruled against the Guild in the cases in 2012 and 2013; the Guild is appealing both decisions.

“Groundbreaking lawsuits are most often decided in higher courts,” said Mr. Turow. “We know we were right to bring these cases, and we expect to prevail at the end of the day.”

The lawsuits helped spur widespread debate over digital libraries and copyright, including the Copyright Office’s roundtable discussions last week on mass digitization and orphan works, and the European Union’s ongoing review of its copyright laws pertaining to libraries.

“American writing is alive and well. There is no question about the vitality of our literary community or the vitality of the literary impulse in the United States. There will always be authors, there will always books,” Mr. Turow said at the meeting. “We need to continue the struggle in order to protect writing as a livelihood.”

“As writers, we are living in very interesting times. The challenges are huge,” Ms. Robinson said after her election, “and I am thrilled to be a part of it all. We’re going to move ahead, we’re going to extend our membership, we’re going to continue to offer practical help and advice and a sense of community to our writers, and we’re going to continue to support the craft of writing.”

Guild members re-elected Peter Petre as treasurer and Pat Cummings as secretary, and re-elected Council members Peter Gethers, Annette Gordon-Reed, Nicholas Lemann, Douglas Preston, Michelle Richmond, Cathleen Schine, and Monique Truong.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes a fellowship for parents, the Crab Orchard Review’s genre prizes, and a poetry contest. Deadlines range from April 15-21.

The Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents is currently open for submission. Entrants must be the parent of at least one child under 10 years of age, but can be at any stage in their writing career. All genres and styles of fiction are welcome, but no plays or poetry. Novel excerpts are acceptable if they can stand alone as a story. Entries should not exceed 1,498 words. The winner will receive $1,000 as well as a full year of promotion. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: April 16, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Crab Orchard Review offers three literary prizes: the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize, the Jack Dyer Fiction Prize, and the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. Entries must be previously unpublished, original work written in English by a United States citizen or permanent resident. Poetry entries should consist of one poem up to five pages in length. Prose entries may be up to 6,000 words for fiction and up to 6,500 words for literary nonfiction. Each winner will receive $2,000 and publication. Finalists will receive $500 and publication. Entry fee: $25 per entry (includes a subscription); $10 per additional entry. Deadline: April 21, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize Contest is currently accepting submissions. Entries must be unpublished and can include up to three poems, maximum ten pages in length. The winner will receive poem $1,000 and publication in SRPR. Two runners-up will receive $100 each, and 3-5 honorable mentions will be selected. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription). Deadline: April 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.