Farrar, Straus and Giroux has announced that Frances Foster, who has headed up Frances Foster Books since 1994, is retiring after a long illness. The editor (née Frances Starbuck) has worked in children’s publishing for more than 55 years.
After starting as an assistant to Alice Dalgliesh, founding editor of the children’s book department at Scribner’s, Foster worked as a freelance editor while her children were growing up, then moved on to an editorial position at Knopf, where she edited books by such icons as Leo Lionni and Roald Dahl.
For the past nine years, Foster published about 12 books annually under her eponymous imprint, many of which were honored with or nominated for Newbery or Caldecott Medals, National Book Awards, and other major prizes.
The winners of the Sony Young Movellist of the Year Awards have been announced at the Kings Place Gallery in London.
Rebecca Davies reports:
A ‘movellist’ in case you were wondering, is a member of the online writing community Movellas.com, which allows young authors to share their work with other readers and writers their age. The Movella awards are open to writers aged between 13 and 19 years and the entrants had the auspicious honour of being judged by none other than new children’s laureate Malorie Blackman (who sadly couldn’t make the awards ceremony because she was ill and reportedly feared the Daily Mail headline: ‘Children’s Laureate is sick on young award winner’s shoes’). The prize, besides a pretty glass trophy, is a publishing contract from Random House Children’s Publishers – the Holy Grail for many authors whatever their age.
Chatting to a few of the 10 shortlisted writers before the ceremony was a fairly jaw-dropping experience. Many of them have been writing for as long as they can remember and some have eight full novels under their belts before they’ve even left their teens. Competition, then, was pretty stiff.
In the end, the overall award went to 19-year-old Helen Hiorns from Coventry, whose novel The Name on Your Wrist was e-published by Random House on the same day as the ceremony. Malorie Blackman praised the novel for its rebellious central character and because she ‘couldn’t predict the ending’. While Natalie Doherty of Random House said: ‘This entry instantly stood out for us, for the quality of the writing, the feisty and complicated but extremely likeable main character, and the fact that it gripped us right from the first paragraph.’
The winner herself was endearingly modest about her achievement, saying that winning the award had surpassed her previous plans for the summer, which had mainly involved finding her name on a Coca-Cola bottle and eating a hamburger in Hamburg – a feat she failed to realise due to being called back to England for the awards ceremony.
Kyra Schlachter and Emma Yeo were announced as runners up, for their novels My Corrupted Lungs and Girl With a Thousand Faces respectively. I asked Emma, who is 17 now and has been writing since the age of 12, what piece of advice she would like to share with other young novelists. Her encouraging answer: ‘Keep writing and you will get better! I look at stuff I wrote years ago and I just want to rip it up and burn it. But you just have to keep going!’
Despite the astonishing amount of talent on show, one thing was notable by its absence among the candidates: the presence of any boys. This could be explained at least in part because the sorts of novels that inspired this year’s shortlisters – which ranged from Jane Eyre to Twilight – on the whole tended to be more typically girl-friendly stories.
Significant Stat – Ebook Edition of Gone Girl Outsells Physical Book In US
Orion has reported that e-book sales of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl have accounted for 60% of [UK] paperback sales.
The publisher said the novel had sold 250,000 e-books since release across all territories, compared with 410,000 mass market paperbacks, citing it as Orion’s highest ever proportion of e-book to physical sales. In the US, the e-book has sold more than double the copies of the physical book, the publisher added.
Nielsen BookScan has recorded 418,879 copies sold through the UK TCM since the book’s release last year, for a value of £2.2m.
Orion General m.d. Lisa Milton said: “Only a year ago it would have been impossible to believe a novel could sell over a quarter of a million e-books within a few months. As long as there are readers, how anyone chooses to read a book—whether hardback, paperback, audio or e-book—doesn’t matter.”
INDIGO ACQUIRES TWO FURTHER NOVELS IN PAULA WESTON’S REPHAIM SEQUENCE
In a deal for UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding ANZ and North America, Jenny Glencross, Commissioning Editor at Indigo has acquired the third and fourth novels in the REPHAIM sequence by Australian author, Paula Weston from Jane Finegan at Lutyens & Rubinstein, on behalf of Text Publishing.
The first novel, SHADOWS, was published in January 2013, and the second, HAZE, follows in October 2013. The third and fourth novels, newly acquired, will be set for publication in 2014 and 2015.
Paula Weston is a Brisbane-based author and co-owner of a two-woman writing/design consultancy. She is an avid reader and blogger and a huge fan of Australian literature and fantasy/paranormal stories.
Jenny Glencross says of the new deal…
“I’m so thrilled we’re acquiring more books in this fantastic series – not least because I’m desperate to find out what happens next. The reviews of Paula’s first book, Shadows, speak for themselves. These books really are a cut above the rest of the angel books out there and Paula is a YA writer to be reckoned with.”
Miriam Halahmy, on supporting independent bookshops…
The idea that there should be centralized, massively consolidated, bureaucratic organizations known as the major trade houses, with multiple layers of editors, vast publicity departments, and books fed to them by an entity known as literary agents, only to take repeated losses and rely on a few stars to help them break even, is bound for extinction.
Is the current publishing model salvageable? Or is it time to scrap everything and start over? If book publishing is to survive, something drastic will have to occur. The technology already exists to make publishing a democratic venture, driven from the bottom up rather than the other way around.
The discussion of the crisis of publishing persists mostly at a pedestrian level. The alternatives offered are minor fixes, taking existing production, distribution, and consumption methodologies for granted. We don’t need to figure out how to maximize sales with the latest e-reader. We need to reconceive the concepts of writing, editing, and reading, and subject every institutional component to radical critique. It isn’t a question of which reading device is best, or how publishers will make up for the loss of Borders, or how they can squeeze more money out of the present distribution model.
The crisis of publishing is really the crisis of writing and reading. The publishing industry today generally obstructs the free flow of energies between readers and writers. It is a broker for celebrity authors, taking the entire literary culture on a downward slope because the definition of “commercial” is constantly being dumbed down. Hence, cookie-cutter books, formulaic sensations, highly publicized advances, the anachronistic book tour, and literary stars with all the trappings of their brethren in the movie and fashion industries. Rather than pushing more of the product that publishers already offer, the nature of the product itself must change. Yes, there is a crisis in publishing, but this is good because it means that the public isn’t buying the hype.
The discussion of the crisis of publishing persists mostly at a pedestrian level.
The structures of distribution are not written in stone—why must there be so many intermediate layers that the final product must survive to make itself visible?
With that in mind, the author of this piece in The Daily Beast, Anis SHivani, I proposes 5 key principles for a major restructuring of the publishing industry:
Visit the page for his explanation of these five principles…
During last month’s Hannah Festival, a short printed text by writer and artist Nick Thurston was distributed. These notes sketched some of the themes and ideas that frame his solo show, ‘Pretty Brutal Library’ at &Model Gallery, 25 July – 31 August 2013.
To coincide with the show, Hannah is publishing for the first time a provocation paper investigating the future of libraries, written by Mai Lin Li — a former librarian (and formar ACHUKA reviewer) — as part of her Clore Leadership Programme fellowship:
this woman noticed me. She noticed what I had read and, if I’d liked it, she knew what else I might like too, and she took a moment to tell me all of this, and offer me a choice, if I wanted it. Not only did she make a connection between the book I had read and me, but also between me and the next book in a long and delightfully unending line of books that I may or may not read.
While reading may be an ostensibly solitary act, reading your way through a public library is emphatically not. It is a social act and civic one too, enacted in a shared space where the needs of the individual are regarded, accepted and met, on the understanding that those rights are available to all and conditional on a number of responsibilities – responsibilities to self-manage, respect and share.
You should definitely download and read the full pdf version of The Handmade Library
In this guest post on Gillian Polack’s blog, Sophie Masson talks about her busy year, and in particular the publication of BLACK WINGS by the ’boutique enterprise’ ACHUKAbooks.
It is a big, epic story of the French Revolution, and though several publishers said they liked it very much, they all said it was ‘too uncommercial’–they were afraid at least to take a risk. But Michael Thorn, publisher at Achuka Books, saw the potential in it—loved it—and published it. It’s just so wonderful to see it out there, getting readers and great reviews—not only has it finally got to readers all over the world and not just here, but just the fact of its being out there increases its chances of its finding print publication in the long run. This is where digital really comes into its own, and Achuka Books, which publishes books by both well-known and less well-known authors, is exactly the kind of boutique enterprise which we’re seeing a lot more of, and which are greatly enriching the modern publishing landscape.
It’s not all that long ago that people were expecting Daunt/Waterstones to opt for a deal with the Nook rather than go with Kindle.
James Daunt’s decision to go for Kindle is looking a sounder business decision than ever.
The Kindle has swept all before it in the global e-reader market and Amazon has millions of stores right on peoples’ desks, smartphones and tablets through its website and Kindle app. Authoritative estimates for the UK market underline the Kindle’s power, with Amazon believed to account for nine out of 10 ebook sales – an indication of the Kindle’s penetration.
For those who are trying to make money from ebooks, the reality is that Amazon is now the only game in town, says Andrew Rhomberg, co-founder and chief executive of ebook seller Jellybooks.com, which aims to be as easy to browse as a real bookshop.
A Q&A from The Independent with Branford Boase winner, Dave Shelton:
Do you have any advice for other authors who would like to illustrate their own work?
My advice for authors wanting to illustrate their own work is this: whatever you rashly write into the story now, remember it’s you who will have to draw it later. For instance, if you don’t consider yourself especially adept at depicting boats or the sea then don’t write a book almost wholly set on a boat at sea. That would be foolish. Many, many times (and this happens with my comics work a lot too) my illustrator self curses my writer self for his lack of understanding and foresight.
What’s your top tip for any aspiring authors and illustrators reading this blog?
Writers: finish things. Don’t write the beginnings to 20 different stories. Write all of one story. Keep going to the end, even if it’s bad. Then go back to the beginning and change it. Even if it’s awful, it’s a better place to start from than having just a blank page.
Illustrators: draw. A lot.