weekly round-up aug 4 2018 - the authors guild

Our round-up of key news affecting authors. In this week’s edition: the therapy of children’s books, the angst of procrastination, the ethics of a crime novel, and more...

What Rereading Childhood Books Teaches Adults About Themselves
The Atlantic
If you see your favorite children’s book on the shelf of the local library, consider giving it another read. Not only does rereading give us a better look at our own personal growth, but it can also provide its own form of therapy.

Amazon’s New ‘Buy for Others’ Feature Lets Authors Buy Giftable Ebooks
Forbes
Amazon just gave authors the ability to buy bulk quantities of their ebooks as a way to provide free copies to readers. Amazon hopes this will help authors better market their books though giveaways and advance reviews. However, many are not convinced. There are plenty of other, much cheaper ways for an author to get someone a copy of their ebook, and some believe this feature will only give people the ability to manipulate bestseller lists.

How the ‘Brainy’ Book Became a Publishing Phenomenon
The Guardian
Nonfiction books have experienced a surge in popularity, landing time and time again on the top of the bestseller lists. But what has caused so many people to pick up these “brainy books” in the last few years, and how will this trend affect the future of publishing?

At PRH, Producing a Publishing Powerhouse
Publishers Weekly
When Penguin and Random House announced their merger, many in the industry wondered if they would be able to successfully execute the massive undertaking. Yet, five years after its completion, the maneuver seems to have worked, producing a publishing goliath.

How to Write a Book Without Losing Your Mind
The Atlantic
“How to write that book” advice is everywhere, but how to do so without completely losing it is another step entirely. Here, The Atlantic offers honest advice on dealing with procrastination and commentary on the mental burden it can bring. One of their tips might help with your next undertaking.

Missing Malcolm X Writings, Long a Mystery, Are Sold
The New York Times
Hidden away because they were deemed “too incendiary,” missing chapters from The Autobiography of Malcolm X have recently resurfaced at auction. Along with them is his original manuscript full of edits and commentary, which can help provide insight into the book’s creation and the men behind it.

Cengage Answers Lawsuit over New Subscription Service
Publishers Weekly
Authors are suing Cengage over its switch to subscription services, claiming that it will unfairly affect their royalty payments. The new service would move payment from specific royalties per sale to a piece of the subscription profits based on the relative use of their work. Cengage claims that the change will help rather than hurt authors.

When Crime Comes for the Crime Writer
Vulture
Journalists have a certain ethical standard they must uphold, but what about the authors that write based on the news? What does a writer owe to the people she may be basing her book on? Laura Lippman discusses her personal set of ethics and how real life events have influenced her work.

Senate Follows House with a Funding Increase
Americans for the Arts
The Senate has passed a bill increasing the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowments will receive $155 million for this upcoming year. The bill will hopefully be signed into law by the President in September.

Letters: ‘All of Us Authors Are in It Together’
The Atlantic
In a series of letters sent to The Atlantic in response to Alana Semuels’s article about authors’ successes with Kindle Unlimited, authors discuss what the new model of Amazon self-publishing means to them and the industry as a whole. Authors Guild Council member Douglas Preston rebukes Alana Semuels enthusiasm for Kindle Unlimited, , citing the lack of advances needed to fund many works of nonfiction and the miniscule royalties paid out of the Kindle Unlimited pool. He states, “The problem isn’t traditional publishing versus self-publishing. It’s the fact that many superbly talented authors struggle to make a living, regardless of how they publish.”

High Court Could Give Copyright Lawyers’ Advice Extra Strength
Bloomberg
A case headed for the Supreme Court could change the future of copyright lawsuits. The case will decide whether someone can sue for copyright infringement the moment they submit the application for a copyright or if they have to wait until that application is accepted. Not requiring the lengthy wait would allow creators greater ability to protect their work.