Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Harper Fails to Capture Penguin, Now Pursuing S&S

After expressing at least theoretical interest in bidding for Penguin when that merger deal was all but finalized, News Corp. has reportedly moved to the next most likely potential target: Simon & Schuster. The WSJ, which often has a good line on parent company News Corp.'s strategy, is clear in their lead that the company simply "has expressed interest to CBS about acquiring its Simon & Schuster book business," which is a soft starting point.
To underscore that, "the people described the talks as preliminary and cautioned that a deal isn't imminent." But it does indicate that News Corp. remains interested in the possibility of adding to their trade publishing holdings as they prepare to spin all publishing (and education) into a separate company, which will naturally lead through a range of possible acquisitions. (Note there is a significant error in the WSJ piece that more than doubles Simon & Schuster's annual sales, which were $787 million for 2011.) Representatives for both Harper and S&S have declined to comment on the report.
CBS ceo Les Moonves did say to the WSJ in a video interview earlier this month, when asked for what amount they would sell their publishing division, that "we would never put a price on" Simon & Schuster, but "if someone came to us with a big offer, we would have to listen." Moonves underscored that "when you look the profits from books, they're very strong." At the end of the interview, unprompted, Moonves notes News Corp.'s late interest in Penguin and says, "If Mr. Murdoch called, I would always be interested in hearing what he had to say."
Speaking to Publishers Lunch after reporting third quarter earnings earlier in November, Simon & Schuster Carolyn Reidy said this about the pending Penguin Random House deal and the possibility of further consolidation among large trade publishers: "I'm not sure how much size gets you in a digital world," Reidy observed, noting "we're happy with our position in the marketplace. I think CBS is happy with its position in the marketplace." She said she will "be watching with fascination to see how this works out for them. Those results may be part of what determines whether a string of other consolidations follows."

*From today's issue of Publisher's Lunch

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rejection Letter Nightmares

Every agent, editor, or publisher has them.

They start off with a vision of an ever-growing slush pile of manuscripts, emails, letters, chat messages, or dentist chair encounters, that involve some-usually poorly conceived-idea, story, novel, poem, that arrives with the plaudits of  "my friends and family all say this would make a great book."

The pile shifts slightly off center as you approach it. Carefully, precisely, you pull one or two from the top of the tower only to find that through some paranormal process you'd prefer not to think about, the two are replaced by four more that quickly morph into twelve. You step back cautiously, never turning your back on the mass, fearful that it will tumble down and bury you alive.

You sit down to peruse your selections, find them noxious, and repeat the process. No matter how many you take from the stacks, they just keep climbing ever closer to the limits of your 12 foot ceilings. You do this again and again, until soon you have achieved nothing more that acquiring a new pile on the floor. This one sits next to your chair. And as awful as it is that you didn't find the gem you were hoping might be lurking in that evil-smelling mess threatening to take over the entire room, nothing is worse than what faces you next - writing those rejection letters.

All of this was brought to mind by a recent Forbes article titled: Why You Shouldn't Be a Writer. It was full of all the usual things, but one of them struck me as the perfect wording for what I'd like to send out to the worst of the wanna-be authors.

" . . . here’s the question you should be asking yourself: Can I write? Not literally. Not physically. Not technically. Anyone can do that. Can you make the words sing? Does your prose have that certain something? Are you gifted at showing not telling, or telling not showing, or creating an entire world that didn’t exist before that is born again when someone else reads your work?
Probably not. Most people cannot write well. This is a fact. This is something that is true. This is a hard thing to accept. Most people cannot write well, and that includes you, and what we can conclude from this is that the person we are talking about here who cannot write well is, in all likelihood, you."

Now of course I would never send something so cruel out into the world . . . but a girl can dream, can't she?

*Click HERE to read the entire Forbes article.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Under the Same Sun Blog Hop Winners are . . .

Christine Marshall / Krishenka
Rosona Taranta
and Kathy Wicks

YAY!!!!! Your book and chocolate will be shipped out as soon as we get your shipping addresses!