Megan DiMaria is Novel Rocket’s industry news columnist. An author and speaker, she enjoys cheering on writers and loves to encourage others as they journey through life’s demands and delights. Megan is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands.
Welcome to October's publishing industry news roundup. There's lots of news with some fun tidbits included this month. Also check out the Q&A about the new imprint, BLING!, at the end of the post.
- Isn't this interesting? Print books outsold e-books in the first half of the year. For more info . . .
- Children’s and YA fiction publisher, Egmont, is selling their US division. For more info . . .
- Author’s Guild met with Department of Justice “invite governmental scrutiny of Amazon’s outsize market share and anticompetitive practices.” For more info . . .
- Hundreds of authors unite to protest Amazon’s e-book tactics. For more info . . .
- Amazon was also the buzz at the New England Booksellers Association annual. For more info . . .
- The value of indies affirmed by the New England Independent Booksellers Association Fall Conference. For more info . . .
- Apparently not everyone’s fighting with the Big A. Amazon and the Perseus Books Group have completed negotiations over new e-book terms. For more info . . .
- JukePop launches Kickstarter campaign to get indie books into libraries. For more info . . .
- American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) announces winners of the Carol Awards for the best Christian fiction and winners of their Genesis contest for unpublished Christian fiction writers.
- HarperCollins authors may earn a higher royalty if readers buy direct. For more info . . .
- Amazon to launch crowdsourcing platform to KDP authors. For more info . . .
- Harlequin enters exclusive deal with Scribd. For more info . . .
- Literary agent Sandra Bishop joins the Transatlantic Agency. For more info . . .
- Brent Taylor joins Triada US Literary Agency. For more info . . .
- Toby Mundy, starts his own literary agency, TMA Limited. For more info . . .
- Patricia Nelson joins Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. For more info . . .
- Here’s a surprising statistic. The majority of young people (ages 16-24) prefer print books over other formats. For more info . . .
- Christian self-publisher Xulon Press partners with Salem Communications to launch new Liberty Hill Publishing. For more info . . .
- Universal Pictures signs agreement with Penguin Random House to bring more of its books to movie screens. For more info . . .
- Book sales fell 1.6% in May. For more info . . . And in July. For more info. . .
- Barnes & Noble revenue fell in the first quarter, but they cut their net loss. For more info . . .
- New York Times adds two faith-focused best-seller lists. For more info . . .
- The National Book Foundation has revealed the finalists for the 2014 National Book Award forFiction.
- Start your holiday shopping! HarperCollins and HarperCollins Christian Publishing will offer express shipping for indie bookstores from November 3rd through January 16th. For more info . . .
- Yay for Canadian authors. The country’s biggest fiction prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, has doubled. For more info . . .
- Editorial promotions announced at Bethany House Publishers. For more info . . .
- To provide more security for digital content, HarperCollins adds digital watermarks to its e-books. For more info . . .
- Check this out—17 grants for writers.
- And look at these 20 writing residencies.
- E-book publisher Vook acquires Byliner. For more info . . .
- Indies First/Small Business Saturday be held over Thanksgiving weekend. For more info . . .
- Ingram and Microgroove working together to “provide digital tools to give businesses with mobile e-commerce applications the ability to sell physical books.” For more info . . .
- Good news for indie bookstores—their sales are UP! For more info . . .
- YA and novel series publisher Full Fathom Five announced the creation of Full Fathom Five Digital, an online publishing division. For more info . . .
- Veteran crime novelists launch new crime publisher, Brash Books. For more info . . .
- Barnes & Noble tests consumer interest in the Espresso Book Machine in three stores. For more info . . .
As promised last month, here's the Q&A with Sandie Bricker, Managing Editor of the new romance imprint for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas:
Author Sandra D. Bricker, who has been an editor – both freelance and within Corporate America – for many years, has put on the editorial hat again now that she’s been named Managing Editor for a new imprint of contemporary romance at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC).
Sandie, the last time you spoke to Novel Rocket readers, you were just getting established. What can you tell us now about how things are progressing?
I’ve been so excited by the submissions we received right out of the gate. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of rejections I’ve had to make (my least favorite part of the job); but at the same time, some really great fiction has crossed my desk as well.
Can you give us an idea why you’ve rejected those manuscripts so that writers who might want to submit can benefit from the insider information?
Sure. There have, of course, been a few stories and characters that just didn’t appeal to us, but for the most part the rejections have been mostly about not fitting into the BLING! guidelines.
Can you tell us more about the ideal submission for the BLING! imprint?
The primary issue is that we’re not looking for traditional, formulaic Christian romances. We have a wonderful imprint – Candlelight Romance – that’s headed up by Yvonne Lehman for those stories. BLING! is not traditional romance in that -- even though we require a solid, believable romance at the nucleus of the story – our characters aren’t necessarily church-going, Bible-quoting individuals. In fact, BLING! is more of a crossover line where a faith element isn’t a primary source of characterization. While it can certainly be part of the story if necessary, it’s going to be an organic thread rather than a foundational element.
But isn’t LPC strictly a publisher of inspirational/Christian fiction?
I think for the most part, perhaps we have been. But LPC is run by believers, so that’s bound to carry over in the content and in the way business is conducted. With the introduction of the BLING! line, LPC has opened up an avenue for crossover romantic fiction where readers may or may not find an overt Christian message. That said, however, we’ll never publish anything that will be inappropriate or offensive to our Christian readership. I believe – and Eddie Jones, the founder of LPC, also believes – that good storytelling may include an edgier, more flawed character struggling through very real, authentic challenges, without leaning on foul language, sexual situations or violence to tell their stories.
Now that you’ve begun receiving submissions and are offering contracts, is BLING! shaping up to be a place for authors in the beginning of their careers or are you talking to more established authors as well?
I’m getting a little of both. At the very beginning, I suspected that the submissions coming from more established authors were the ones collecting dust in their files because traditional publishers weren’t interested, so maybe they tossed it at the BLING! wall like pasta to see if it stuck. I think that attitude results from LPC just being a smaller press with a new idea – innovative, in my opinion – on the publishing landscape. But as we’ve continued, I’m seeing more polished and thoughtful submissions that stick with our guidelines from authors who might not have given a publisher like LPC a chance five years ago.
The first contract I offered went to a writer who has been published before, but is in the process of building and growing her career. I think BLING! will undoubtedly help her do that because she’s brought us a wonderful plot guided by a strong female lead. The next one I will likely offer – once my pub board has a chance to confirm my belief in the book – is to a well-known author who really likes the LPC business model.
Although we’re not offering advances at this time – which may likely change in the future – LPC balances that out by offering writers a more-than-generous royalty payout on the sales of their books. As a writer myself, I can tell you that receiving a huge advance for a book isn’t always as great as it might seem. Authors need to remember that the advance has to be earned out before they actually see any additional income from book sales. And even after that happens, their return on the investment of time and talent is about four times less than the percentage they’ll receive from publishing with BLING! or LPC.
If a writer feels like they might be a good fit for Bling!, what should they do?
They can go to the website to review the complete guidelines, and they can LIKE our page on Facebook to keep up with new developments. If they have questions or need more information, they can email me at SandieBlingLPC@aol.com.
Have a great month! Do the work. Be productive.
Have a great month! Do the work. Be productive.