Collaboration

Malleable Models: The real effects of the digital revolution on business

This is a guest post from Jasmin Kirkbride. Jasmin is a regular blogger for BookMachine and Editorial Assistant at Periscope Books (part of Garnet Publishing). She is also a published author and you can find her on Twitter @jasminkirkbride

World-famous travel and maps bookshop Stanfords has announced that, alongside books, they will now be offering horse-drawn omnibus tours of London to their customers. While this idea fits well with their brand, it definitely breaks the mould of what we have come to expect from a bookshop. And Stanfords aren’t the only ones employing lateral thinking to revamp their brand: it’s a phenomena happening across the board and it’s results are as exciting as they are intriguing.

Why digital forced us to adapt

The last decade has seen a revolution in the way we use technology. It has become unimaginably mobile, instant, easy and relatively cheap. Smartphones were released in 2000 but the iPhone, which really lit the smart-phone fire in line with the roll-out of 3G internet access, was launched as recently as 29 June 2007. The iPad only followed in 1 April 2010. The first mainstream eReaders, the Sony Reader and Kindle, were only released in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Continue Reading No Comments

The Girl on the Train shatters sales records

Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train has broken UK sales records this week, claiming its 20th consecutive week atop the hardback fiction bestseller lists. It overtakes Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which stayed at number one for 19 weeks following its release in September 2009, to become the longest reigning bestseller since Nielsen BookScan began monitoring sales in 2001. Not only has it stayed at the top of the hardback chart for longer than any other title, it is second only to Brown’s The Da Vinci Code – which stayed at number one in the paperback chart for a jaw-dropping 65 weeks – in most weeks held at the top of any book chart.

Continue Reading No Comments

Catherine Johnson

Being a full time writer: Catherine Johnson interview

Catherine Johnson has published 17 books and writes for Holby City too. Here Stephanie Cox interviews Catherine about her career so far, how she first got published and other tips for writers.

1. Please can you tell me a little bit about yourself and an overview of your career so far?

Gosh that’s hard. It’s been a long and not quite illustrious career although I have managed to be a full time writer since about 2007. I’ve worked around writing, as well as written, for most of the last twenty years. I’ve published 17 books, written one feature film (that got made- Bullet Boy – I have one in development), worked as a writer in residence in a prison and several schools, worked in local bookshops and in literature development, written for radio and TV and feel that I am amazingly lucky still to be published.

Continue Reading No Comments

Amazon announces Prime Day for 15 July

As part of its continuing efforts to sign up shoppers to its premium Prime subscription service, Amazon has announced Prime Day, a ‘one day shopping event’ that promises ‘more deals than Black Friday’. Happening across Amazon stores globally on Wednesday 15 July, the event allows new and existing members of Amazon Prime to shop for ‘thousands’ of lightning deals throughout the day, starting on Amazon.co.uk at midnight BST.

Continue Reading No Comments

work not done

Is this the Crisis of Non-Fiction?

This is a guest post from Alison Jones. Alison is a business and executive coach, content consultant and publisher. After a 23-year career in trade and scholarly publishing working with major publishers such as Oxford University Press and Macmillan, during which she pioneered digital publishing, she set up Alison Jones Business Services and the Practical Inspiration Publishing imprint in 2014.

Sam Leith, literary editor of The Spectator, wrote a cracking piece in The Guardian last week entitled ‘The Crisis in Non-fiction Publishing’, his main point being that it’s no longer economically viable for mainstream publishers to publish high-quality non-fiction and instead we’re being swamped by a tide of formulaic, me-too titles with ‘a flavour of self-help or how-to’. He makes an interesting distinction between the books he’d like to see more of, which ‘make our understanding of the world deeper and more complex’, and those he sees dominating the market, which ‘can be summed up in a dinner party one-liner’.

Continue Reading 4 Comments

Foyles hosting summer holiday activities across branches

Foyles has announced a series of children’s events taking place across its branches in London and Bristol throughout the school summer holidays, dubbing it the ‘Summer of Fun’. Beloved characters including Where’s Wally?, Shaun the Sheep, Thunderbirds, Maisy, Hugless Douglas and Miffy will make appearances at the bookshop’s Bristol branch and its Charing Cross Road, Stratford, Waterloo and Royal Festival Hall branches in London. There will also be a variety of workshops, theatre and storytelling events in-store, running between 25 July and 30 August.

Continue Reading No Comments

work not done

Making publishing more personal…

This is a guest post from Alison Jones. Alison is a business and executive coach, content consultant and publisher. After a 23-year career in trade and scholarly publishing working with major publishers such as Oxford University Press and Macmillan, during which she pioneered digital publishing, she set up Alison Jones Business Services and the Practical Inspiration Publishing imprint in 2014.

Last night I got chatting to a man at a bar (stay with me). I had half an hour to kill before the London Book Fair summer bash, and he invited me to join him and his colleague since they were in a similar situation. They asked me what I did, I told them I was a publisher, they fell off their chairs. They’d just been planning a presentation to a publishing company for their personalization platform.

Continue Reading No Comments

How do you design the cover for the biggest book of the year?

Toby Hopkins of Getty Images talks to Glenn O’Neill, Deputy Art Director of Cornerstone publishing, a division within Penguin Random House, about his design for this summer’s blockbuster “Go Set a Watchman”.

1. There has been a lot of talk about this book – and quite a lot of talk about its cover too. How did you come to be involved in the design?

The whole briefing and design process for the jacket was unusual. Given the high profile of the book, and its importance to our list, it was decided that all six designers in the department would have the opportunity to submit proposals. It was a very open brief. For reasons of security, access to the text was extremely restricted. None of us would be able to read it until publication day. But we were made aware by the publisher of the essential outline of the story, that covers Scout Finch’s return home to Maycomb from New York, and would feature many of the same characters of To Kill A Mockingbird, though now older, and Go Set A Watchman’s historic context, in that the manuscript had been recently rediscovered after so many years. We all wanted one of our designs to be chosen. It was like going back to university – there would be a range of designers’ responses to this instantly classic book.

Watchman

2. You arrived at a unique typographical solution for your cover design. The lettering of “Go Set a Watchman” is shadowed by similar sized letters of Harper Lee’s previous title “To Kill a Mockingbird.” How did that come about?

In the initial focus meeting, whilst in discussion regarding the company’s plans for the book involving all of editorial, sales, marketing and publicity, I was doodling on a pad. I noticed the similarities in the wording of the two titles, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Go Set A Watchman: the four words, each of a similar length, and of a similar rhythm. One title could be a reflection of the other, both historically and typographically. This lettering featured in the first design produced, and stayed the same through every version: similar sized letters sitting in bars across the page to give structure. The autumnal textured orange background was also an early decision.

Continue Reading No Comments

literary agent

To have or not to have a literary agent: an author’s perspective

This is a guest blog post from Lucy Beresford. Lucy is a writer, broadcaster and psychotherapist. She’s the Radio Shrink on BBC London 94.9 on Friday nights, the Agony Aunt for the women’s glossy Healthy and forms part of the press panel reviewing the newspapers on Sky News. Lucy’s latest novel Invisible Threads, set in New Delhi, is a tale of love and survival.

This question didn’t arise for me until recently. My first two books (fiction and non-fiction) and their translation rights (Brazilian and Chinese) were sold by agents and I was thrilled. I liked who I was working with, and they knew way more about the publishing industry than I ever could.

However, authors need to remember that publishing is a commercial enterprise. Agents and agencies earn money by negotiating decent advances for their authors. If your books are too niche or your manuscript can’t command a decent advance, an agent will find it hard to justify taking you on or keeping you on. That’s the brutal truth: they only get paid when you get paid.

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Writers & Artists launches 2016 yearbook with #istartedhere

Today (2 July) sees the launch of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2016, the latest instalment of the annual directory for writers, designers, illustrators and photographers. Published by Bloomsbury, the book contains 4,500 key industry listings, alongside information on copyright, finance, submitting a manuscript, e-publishing, self-publishing, agents, publishers, prizes and awards. New additions this year include articles on writing historical fiction, writing about food, travel writing, becoming a published poet and electronic publishing.

Continue Reading No Comments

Get BookMachine in your inbox