Monday, August 15, 2011

And because I'm a slacker, here is MORE Publishing NEWS!

With the ups and downs of the stock market, the wild weather (here in the NE, anyway with 10 inches of rain on Sunday), and a similar level of upheaval in the publishing industry, here are few new stories to flesh out the day:

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White will be transformed into a film directed by Ray Kay, a music video director. (Is it just me or does it seem as though the film biz is betting the farm on YA paranormals?). I have to wonder, though about the choice for screenwriter. Adapting the novel will be Mitch Klebanoff. His credits (as per Variety) include “Beverly Hills Ninja” and “Disorderlies”. Don’t strike me as the kind of film normally pitched to teen women, huh?

When it comes to book-to-film successes/failures, however, count The Help a huge success. In particular the performance of Viola Davis, who (in my opinion) truly carried the movie and anchored it in the bitter reality, particularly in comparison to some of the more light-hearted moments in the film.

Of course, with Harry Potter now wrapped up, the Twilight saga set to take its final bows on screen, and no other series “hot” you can bet your OWN farm that the film folks are scouring the countryside looking for likely candidates to put the ka-ching back in their cinematic coffers.

Also from Variety (a perk of my day job), there was an article that discussed film advertising. For those of you wondering about advertising on-line for your books, note that the film industry spending on internet advertising rose from 89.1 million in 2008, to 115 mill in 2009 and up to 142 million dollars in 2010. So they are obviously thinking it is worth the bucks (though in film they are still far more heavily into TV and print ads). Certainly no one can ever tell you (with any certainty) which advertising works better than another. Really, they can’t. But if every industry, business, arena is heavily into internet? Have their own blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages? Pretty convincing to me that social media is – if it isn’t already – going to be where it’s at to get your message out to the public.

Hot genre watch: While vampires rule the night, lots of different paranormal and supernatural types are seeing press these days. From weres and shifters to demons, gods, fallen angels, wizards and all manner of other, will the publishing trend follow the film trend that is seeing lots and lots of fairy tale retellings and super hero vehicles? There are a few out there, but I’m betting that folks who can find a new twist on a Grimm tale can stand out in the crowd. And seriously, folks, if you want your romance hero alpha, why not give him the power to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Guaranteed to make a heroine’s heart go pit-a-pat, no? What genre(s) are YOU seeing emerge these days?

And speaking of romance genres, the formerly taboo World War II era seems to be slowly, quietly creeping into a bookstore near you. While espionage and military thrillers set in the 2nd World War have always been popular, the success of Pam Jenoff’s The Kommandant’s Girl and her subsequent novels have paved the way for other women’s fiction novels that rely heavily on the romance. After The Postmistress we saw Kristina McMorris’ Letters From Home, Lisbeth Eng’s In The Arms of the Enemy and the popularity of novels like Sarah’s Key, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, The Soldier’s Wife, and Next To Love among others, along with high-profile non-fiction WWII coverage, could a burgeoning new genre of historical romance be far behind?

There has been some sad news of late, as well, including the recently reported death of Debbie Macomber’s son Dale, and the passing of the luminous L. A. Banks following a valiant battle against cancer. The romance community once again showed their true spirit and organized numerous benefits to help Ms. Banks and her family during a most difficult time.

The mantle of late crime novelist, Robert B. Parker, beloved author of the Spenser and Jessie Stone novels, as well as his western novels will now be borne by other authors picking up the storyteller’s job. Three authors will each carry on a torch of the respective series.

Others who passed away in recent days include sci-fi author William Sleator, fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones, and some publishing stalwarts, including 92 year old Ruth Cavin, a 22 year Thomas Dunne veteran, with 900 edited books in her career.

And I just know you're all asking, "So, how’s digital doing?" Publishers Weekly reported that the AAP and Book Industry Study released their comprehensive report that shows e-book sales “across all categories” “accounted for 5.8% of industry revenue”. Because of digital, trade unit sales actually rose. They were “driven by a 215.5% increase in book sales during the period of the study, 2008-2010. Looks healthy to me.

Pretty much the big story of the day, week, month – right now – is self-publishing. It all started with successful authors taking back their back-list rights and self-pubbing older titles. Then came the push with authors self-publishing new titles. And with the uber-deal garnered by million dollar self-publishing phenom Amanda Hocking from a traditional print house, it seems as though every story in every venue is all about self-publishing. Writers Digest had self-pub contests. Barnes & Noble started up Pub It, their self-pub arm. And I’m thinking Smashwords is having a field day with the crowd rushing their virtual doors. When Publishers Weekly took the step to have special issues devoted to coverage and review (for a price) of self-published (or as I’m hearing these days “indie” published) titles I’ve pretty much decided they’ve been anointed as another option for the eager author. The caveat being that if you don’t treat your self-published book like a business endeavor that requires outlay of funds, professional consultation and an acknowledgement that you, no matter how talented you are as a write, cannot do it all and do it all well -- well, you may well be disappointed in the outcome.

And where would the biggest story of the day be without the perennial news topic? In between the publisher and the self-publisher there’s the new “publisher” on the block: Amazon. They’ve begun their genre-specific imprints to publish titles digitally. They started with AmazonEncore, added Montlake Romance, their romance imprint, and their fifth imprint was Thomas & Mercer, a mystery line. Is it just me or is Amazon looking a little bit like the Manchurian Candidate of books? Especially since they are offering a number of their new titles for the Kindle for … get this … free. Not to mention that industry biggie Larry Kirshenbaum opened Amazon’s first NY office. Is that shaking I hear the nervous knocking knees of the big 6?

Well, I’d like to give you a quick list of some of the interesting new releases reviewed by PW, but other than on-line I can’t read them because for some reason my PO isn’t delivering my pricey subscription. 2 weeks and counting. Grrrr.

But on the subscription front, for all you authors out there, especially the folk who attended RWA National in NYC and grabbed a free copy of the Library Journal publication? It’s got a new subscriber discount coupon inside, and having perused this magazine, I can tell you it is a definitely worthwhile investment for keeping up with the industry and one of the pillars of books: Librarians. They buy books, people. Don’t forget them!

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