One of the changes over the summer that I was most excited about was a news feature that I introduced recently. As a girl planning on working in the publishing industry (and in love with all things young adult), I wanted to start a news feature. When I’m at school all day, I’ll come home to find Twitter ablaze with some new story, or article, or even just excited about deals I have to hunt down on Publishers Weekly.
I love reading articles and I love collecting them so I decided to make a feature out of it! The timing will change depending on the news, but I hope to do it at least once a month. There’ll be an articles section from official outlets, a notable blog posts section, and a deals section. Keeping up with the industry can be tricky and it’s always nice to read about something you may have missed! You can read my first post here.
Without further ado, here’s what’s been going on in YA and publishing.
The Kathleen Hale Debacle
On Friday, October 17, a young-adult author named Kathleen Hale published an article in The Guardian detailing her way of getting back at a blogger who posted a negative review. What started out as a bookish interaction turned into – quite clearly – stalking.
Hale, who published No One Else Can Have You with HarperTeen in 2014, became convinced that Blythe Harris, the reviewer, was “cat-fishing” her. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, “cat-fishing” is defined as “[luring] someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.” (Thanks, Google.) Hale became obsessed with the reviewer and the hints online that her social media was “fake”, which eventually led to Hale renting a car and visiting the blogger’s home address to see if she was indeed being cat-fished.
When the article went live, the publishing/blogging world immediately went into a frenzy. It wasn’t only a personal piece, or a means of “outing” the accosted reviewer, but violated personal privacy and safety. Didn’t bloggers have the right to use a different pseudonym online? Critics immediately labeled Hale as crazy and vaguely psychopathic (like in this article on the Digital Reader). C.J. Redwine has heavily advocated against this article and Kathleen Hale for the tactics used along with violations of personal privacy.
Hale maintains that she has done nothing wrong, leading to further backlash from the community. Writer Anne Rice jumped in to support Hale, although feedback remains overwhelmingly negative.
Although it’s difficult to report a story like this without being entirely one-sided, I’d like to. I normally avoid any stories with any reference to Stop the GR Bullies or reviewer/author conflict. I can personally write a reaction to this news, and the obvious moral issues with it, because I have a lot to say, but I’d like to keep the Grind as balanced as possible. I’ll definitely be responding to it in a separate post, whether on my blog or social media.
I’ll be interested to see whether or not Kathleen Hale gets any more book deals. Considering she lost an entire base of readers and bloggers today, she may have more difficulty selling her current books than she anticipated; the familiarity of her name may just be enough to get some buzz.
Because Hale’s justification comes across so distinctly in her original article, I don’t feel the need to write about it. She pulls in unorganized points and evidence of Harris’s “cat-fishing” so randomly that it feels more than vaguely unsettling, especially considering how many reviewers described the protagonist in her novel as slightly unbalanced as well. Also, the term “cat-fishing” refers to a false relationship. Hale did not have a relationship with the blogger she stalked. (Stalking’s bad, y’all. There is no excuse for Hale’s actions.)
Amazon Goes Brick-and-Mortar
Because Amazon just has to show up in every news post I do, they recently announced the formation of brick-and-mortar stores. As an entirely e-commerce giant, this move is the furthest compliment they can pay to the offline world (according to GeekWire). As of now, The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon plans to seasonally operate a Manhattan location for in-store pickup, same day delivery, and more.
The Wall Street Journal additionally points out that Amazon looked into Seattle locations, hoping to instigate the same offline hold, but were unable to find a location with enough foot traffic to justify it. While Amazon’s online domains are creating a monopoly, they really don’t have an offline presence; offline retail is still the main way consumers get goods.
In a Publishers Weekly article, the CEO of Sourcebooks, Dominique Raccah, points out that Amazon uses its hardware as “ecosystems to lock in consumers”. In other words, purchasing an Amazon device causes the consumer to buy books, TV, music, etc,. for that device exclusively from the company. Therefore, brick-and-mortar stores may sell more hardware, testing out the “Apple store concept.” Additionally, the article pulls in commentary from other prominent publishers.
GalleyCat reports that Amazon plans to have pop-up stores in California, also for the holidays, in both San Francisco and Sacramento. While Amazon’s stint into the tangible world seem temporary, success in these ventures may lead to more permanent brick-and-mortar establishments.
International & Domestic Changes in Publishing Groups
While it’s a pretty broad category heading, recent developments in several large publishers have led to quite extreme changes.
HarperCollins recently acquired Harlequin (a large Canadian-based publisher) and claimed it would use Harlequin’s distribution and reach to expand their own titles. HarperCollins put that claim into effect when they announced that HarperCollins would be expanding into Germany, specifically Hamburg. Using Harlequin’s existing resources in the area, they plan to launch HarperCollins Germany in fall of 2015. Digital Book World also covered the expansion.
SFGate reports that McSweeney’s – an independent publisher based in San Francisco – will be turning into a nonprofit. Because they will now be a “fiscally sponsored project” through SOMArts, McSweeney’s will now offer multiple areas for donation, allowing crowds to rally around specific projects.
Cartoon Network is launching a new imprint at Penguin Young Readers Group, announces Galleycat. Feature books will contain interactive activities, tie-ins to TV shows, and more. The groups have been working together since 2013 but will now officially be together as an imprint.
Egmont is selling its US division, which focuses largely on YA and children’s fiction. Egmont claims that it wants to focus its investments on countries and markets where it can be “among the largest publishers.”
Bonus: Afghanistan is emerging into the book publishing scene. Considering all that’s going on there – not even remotely something I could cover in a post like this – good for them!
Utterly Bookish talks about YA as a genre and why she’s sick of people belittling it
Forever Literary discusses the fear of feeling too old for young adult books
The Well-Read Redhead has a fun post about eBooks vs. paper
A British schoolteacher created an infographic about why books smell good
These Paper Hearts talks about picturing characters while reading
Parajunkee discusses awful audiobook narrators
from Publishers Weekly
Alvina Ling at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has taken North American rights to Matthew Quick’s latest novel, Every Exquisite Thing. The YA title from the Silver Linings Playbook author is set for spring 2016; it centers on Nanette O’Hare, a high school girl whose life is changed after she receives a mysterious book—a “cult classic,” as LBYR explains—from her favorite teacher. In the novel, O’Hare, a star student and athlete, has her rebellious side sparked by the book. Despite Nanette’s revelation, LBYR added, “she quickly learns there will be a high price to pay, as she attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon.” The Weinstein Co. (which also produced the movie adaptation of Silver Linings Playbook) has already acquired film rights to Every Exquisite Thing. Douglas Stewart at Sterling Lord Literistic represented Quick.
Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin Teen took North American rights to Flower, a contemporary romance from Eilzabeth Craft and Shea Olsen. Craft is a TV writer and producer whose credits include shows ranging from The Shield to Dollhouse; Olsen is a debut author. Josh Bank and Annie Stone at Alloy Entertainment brokered the deal for the authors, and the book, the publisher said, is an “intense story of longing and forbidden desire” about a 17-year-old whose plan to swear off boys is dashed when she meets a mysterious singer named Tate Collins. Foreign rights, handled by Rights People, have been sold to houses in Brazil, Germany, Greece, and Norway. Flower is slated for a February 2016 release.
Jessica Regel at Foundry Literary + Media sold North American rights, at auction, to Bryn Greenwood’s debut, What Belongs to You. Laurie Chittenden at Thomas Dunne Books acquired the title, which Regel said is a “shocking love story” about two people and the relationship that takes them away from “the Midwestern meth-lab backdrop of their lives.”
In one of her first acquisitions for Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Kate Sullivan took North American rights to Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison’s A Totally Awkward Love Story. The book, set for summer 2016, was sold by Rights People’s Allison Hellegers, on behalf of Barry Cunningham and Elinor Bagenal at Chicken House (which published the book in the U.K., in June, under the title Lobsters). The YA novel is a dual narrative delivered by a teenage couple, and is written by authors who actually dated in high school.
Jodi Picoult has inked a deal with Random House Children’s Books’ Delacorte Press to co-write another YA novel with her daughter, Samantha van Leer. Delacorte took world rights (excluding U.K. and Commonwealth) to Off the Page, which is set for a May 19, 2015, release, and a 250,000-copy first printing.
New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl revealed at a Comic-Con International panel that she has inked a book deal with Marvel. Margaret Stohl will write a young adult novel starring the Black Widow. The announcement was made during the “Woman of Marvel” panel at New York Comic Con. The book is slated for release in 2015.