Driven by the dual motors of a rabidly obsessive fanbase and plenty of gawkers drawn in by its perennially publicity-generating author, Morrissey’s Autobiography has topped the Official UK Top 50 (putting it in the company of Meat Is Murder, Viva Hate, Vauxhall and I and Ringleader of the Tormentors in the Moz corpus). Since its release last Thursday (17 October) the book has sold 34,918 copies (and will probably have crossed the 35,000 mark by the time this post goes live). That means that not only is it the biggest selling title in the UK this week – beating the second week of Helen Fielding’s Mad About the Boy, down to 32,172 copies from its opening week of 48,750 – but it has beaten the 28,213 copies shifted by Keith Richards’ Life in its 2010 first week to become the fastest selling music memoir since records began (although that was only in 1998, and so discounts the massive success of Cilla Black’s 1985 blockbuster Step Inside). Morrissey also recorded the biggest first week sales for a memoir of any kind since the 72,500 copies sold of Kate McCann’s Madeleine in the week beginning 12 May 2011.
The Society of Young Publishers’ (SYP) annual conference brings together a large number of publishing types on a Saturday in November (when it’s too cold to do much else!). This year, the announcements ahead of the event are coming thick and fast and getting better by the day.
First up, the team announced a great line-up of speakers, including Sam Missingham (The Bookseller), Dean Johnson (Brandwidth), Eric Huang (Made in Me), Dan Franklin (Random House), Lindsey Mooney (Kobo) and Charles Catton (Amber Books). Not forgetting the Keynote speaker, Y.S. Chi, Director of Corporate Affairs for Reed Elsevier and President of the International Publishers Association.
Then there’s the post-event drinks social hosted by BookMachine. Charly Ford (BookMachine super-host, Oxford) has booked a spot at the Jam Factory, a popular bar and gallery venue, perfectly placed next to the station for a stop off on the way home from the conference.
The latest announcement is that Kingston Writing School is sponsoring said-BookMachine drinks. Kingston Writing School has a growing community of writers, journalists and publishers affiliated with staff and students from the School of Humanities at Kingston University.
The SYP committee have done a great job of planning what looks likely to be their best conference yet. We’ll be loitering in the hall, giving demos of the newest features on BookMachine.me and look forward to seeing lots of you there.
Today in news I’ve stared at for a good half hour and still can’t believe is actually happening: next week David Beckham will launch his latest book, the self-titled David Beckham, his fourth volume of memoirs and his first since 2003′s Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground (so watch out Donna Tartt, looks like you’re not the only one publishing this fortnight with a decade’s worth of anticipation behind you). That’s not so unbelievable in and of itself as far as these things go (although michty me, the fourth) but it’s being launched amidst a tsunami of meaningless PR speak lacking the soulful charm of the carnival hucksters to whose spirit it seemingly aspires. Again, not so unbelievable, but this is a particularly pernicious exercise in bilking the public: in what is being billed as a ‘global digital book signing‘, Beckham will sit in a room in central London, whilst ticket winners (ticket winners!) from London, New York, Hyderabad and Sao Paolo receive personalised digital signatures from him, of the kind that could in no way be made up by a lackey with access to Google Images and photo editing software. Just think – in years to come, these lucky ticket winners can tell their grandchildren that they too once saw David Beckham from thousands of miles away on a computer screen, just like everyone else on the planet did thousands of times between 1997 and 2034, when the Great Apple War conclusively wiped out all technology more advanced than the spork. Note, in all of this, that no actual books will themselves be signed.
If all the superlatives thrown at Eleanor Catton’s Booker win (longest book ever to win, youngest author ever to win), the universal warm fuzzy feelings engendered by Alice Munro’s Nobel win and the obligatory contrarian repudiation of at least one of those by Bret Easton Ellis weren’t enough to tip you off, we are firmly into end-of-year awards season, which continues apace with the announcement of this year’s National Book Awards shortlist. The annual awards, presented by the American non-profit National Book Foundation, consider nominees in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people’s literature, and this year sees some particularly well-known candidates.
WH Smith yesterday took down its website in reaction to the weekend discovery that it was amongst a number of digital retailers – also including Amazon and Barnes & Noble – selling
William Faulkner novels self-published pornography featuring depictions of incest, rape and bestiality. Instead of the usual shopfront, visitors to the Smith site were greeted by a holding page featuring a statement from the business saying ‘a number of unacceptable titles were appearing on our website through the Kobo website that has an automated feed to ours’. WH Smith, of course, takes both its e-book hardware and software from the Canadian e-reader manufacturers, including its massive library of titles, which in this case appears to have passed to the Smith site without any vetting along the way.
Clearly feeling threatened by others edging in on its whole ‘selling books at unsustainably low prices’ thing, Amazon has started to price-match Sainsbury’s October e-book promotion, which sees the supermarket selling a shifting variety of popular titles digitally for 99p each. The promotion, which began last week, features a selection of one day only special offers that changes every weekday, alongside a stock of dozens of other titles that will remain at the reduced price for the whole month. Yesterday’s (October 9th) daily titles included David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Sarah Winman’s When God Was A Rabbit and John Banville’s Booker-winning The Sea, all of which were subsequently brought down to 99p on Amazon too. The title with the largest discount was Bridget Asher’s The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, down £6 from its usual Sainsbury’s retail price of £6.99.
The Dylan Thomas Prize, rewarding published work written in English by authors under the age of 30, has revealed its shortlist for 2013, with nominees spanning novels, books of short stories and collections of poetry. Not only is it the longest shortlist in the prize’s history (citing seven titles of the twelve longlisted as opposed to the prize’s usual five or six), but even more encouragingly every nominee both comes from an independent publisher and is a debuting writer. So, uh, yeah, what have you done lately, other than weep yourself to sleep at the incessant forward march of time and your lack of anything substantial to show for it oh look still typing whoops.
Ever since 50 Shades of Grey landed on bookshelves, however well hidden, the talk of self-publishing has gone up several decibels. There are now authors saying publishers are no longer needed, stories of great success and precious money thrown away for murky services.
Each year, market-leading self-publishing company New Generation Publishing runs the Self-Publishing Summit, taking place this year at King’s College London on 9th November, to help define the opportunities within the hyperbole and to provide wide-range advice from industry professionals.
And this year the Summit will see some exceptional panels look at the key topics for writers – including the role of agents, editing, production marketing, sales, as well as an overview of the industry and a final Q&A. There will also be a chance to speak to the panelists and fellow attendees during coffee breaks.
The panels includes top publishers, agents, editors, authors, journalists and marketers – an opportunity not to be missed for aspiring, or published, writers.
Tickets for the event cost £34.99 (+VAT) and are booked on a first come first served basis. The event is sponsored by Ingram Spark and you can see full details of the event and can book your tickets by clicking here.
On 25 September 2013 BookMachine (@BookMachine) held simultaneous events across the globe, covering 6 cities, 4 countries and 2 continents. With book trade professionals gathering in Barcelona, Brighton, London, New York, Oxford and Toronto, the international nature of the book market has never been felt so keenly as it was for me then, in the depths of a pub near Great Portland Street! Books may be evolving faster and travelling further than ever, but the pub was certainly not: no card payments under £5 – it’s 2013, not 1302 my good barman. However, thanks to generous sponsor PLS (A loyal BIC Member! @BIC1UK), there was wine a plenty.
Mega-selling thriller writer Tom Clancy has died, of undisclosed causes, in hospital in his hometown of Baltimore, following a short illness. He was 66, and is survived by his wife and five children (four from a previous marriage). 17 of his 18 novels reached number one on the New York Times bestsellers list, and 100 million copies of those novels are in print. Command Authority, his 19th (co-written with Mark Greaney, who also worked with Clancy on his prior two novels), is due for publication on 3 December.