Tag Archives: book formats

Book Packaging: Another Way to Get Published

Posted by March 22nd, 2012

Book Country Twitter Chat (March 15, 2012)

Learn about the ins and outs of book packaging from experts of Stonesong agency, Ellen Scordato, Alison Fargis, and Judith Linden.

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What is book packaging?! It has nothing to do with literally packaging a physical book. It is an alternative way to get published, also known as book development. Book packagers may be enigmatic figures to laymen, but any industry insider will tell you that they play a fundamental role in the book world!

As one of our guests Alison Fargis told us, the book packager is like an independent film producer, in charge of doing everything that has to do with putting a book together — working with writers and publishers on a project management level, offering comprehensive editorial, design, and production work, as well as marketing and PR. Book packagers help publishers execute difficult or crash projects. Or they come up with their own idea for a book and hire writers who bring the concept to life.

How does this pertain to YOU? Well, the book packaging industry employs a ton of freelance writers and publishing professionals. It is a great way to break into the biz and get writing credits. Our special guests to tell us more are the ladies of Stonesong, a NYC-based literary, publishing, and book development agency — Ellen Scordato (@EScordato), Alison Fargis ( @AlisonFargis), and Judith Linden ( @JudyLinden1) — mostly package non-fiction.

Ellen Scordato is a book packager who handles production, design and custom publishing, and has a quarter century of in-depth publishing experience. She used to be a managing editor who loved production and midwifing great ideas, and it is the passion for project management that got her into book packaging.

Alison Fargishas 17 years of packaging and book development experience. She often puts on a literary agent hat, representing clients such as bestselling author of The Sisters Grimm, Michael Buckley. In 2002, Alison and Ellen co-founded Stonesong.

Judith Linden joined Ellen and Alison at Stonesong in 2004 as Executive VP, Literary Agent, and Director of Digital and Print Media. Prior to joining Stonesong, Judith spent nearly 20 years as an executive editor and book developer at two major publishing houses.

Together, they have produced many bestselling titles, including The Daring Book for GirlsDating the Undead, and Smart Words. With 75 years of combined editorial and packaging experience, they are a treasure trove of pub insight! Here’s a taste:

@JudyLinden1: Basically we [book packagers] are agents plus. We follow a project from inception to final form. For PETFINDER [a book about adopting shelter dogs], we found the org, wrote proposal, sold it, edited every word, managed photos, delivered ms to pub.

@EScordato: We don’t have writers on staff. We compose teams specifically for each project, depending on the expertise needed.Suppose we a book on culinary history or a craft book. We might look for writers who have blogs on the subject, or teach on it.

@AlisonFargis: We also look for writers for the crash projects publishers send our way.

@JudyLinden1: [Biggest subjects in non-fiction book packaging right now] cooking, design, lifestyle, diet, relationships, pop psychology, pop culture, fashion, parenting among others.

@EScordato: Yes! We certainly are [considering every delivery medium]. Very active in developing ebooks.

@AlisonFargis: I keep resumes for years. I may not have a gig for u right now but if the right project comes along I will call.

If you missed the chat or want to refresh your memory, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document HERE. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start at the bottom and work your way up.

Thanks to all of our chat participants!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats are taking a short hiatus, but typically occur every other Thursday. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Dates, topics, and special guests are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look! And follow us on Twitter @Book_Country.

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Understanding Subsidiary Rights

Posted by December 22nd, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (December 15, 2011)

Literary agency masterminds Kathleen Ortiz and Tara Hart give some insight into the complicated–but important!–world of subsidiary rights.

 twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteEvery author holds a hand that s/he may not even realize s/he’s been dealt. How so, you ask? Because any project, published or not, has the potential to reach a broader audience in myriad ways through the power of subsidiary rights.

But what are subsidiary rights (AKA subrights)? What do you need to know about that? How do you use them to your advantage? We asked some of the best in the business–Kathleen Ortiz (@KOrtizzle) and Tara Hart (@Tara_Hart28)–to give us a little tutorial.

Kathleen is the subrights director at Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation, where she deals with a lot of foreign, audio, and digital rights. She also represents her own authors as an agent with an ever-growing list!

Tara is the contracts and permissions manager at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, dealing with and negotiating subrights on a daily basis. She has a Masters in Publishing from Pace University.

Take a peek at some of the highlights from our chat, and/or download the entire transcript below:

@KOrtizzle: Subsidiary rights are, in a nutshell, all rights to your book outside of a domestic, physical copy: foreign, large print, audio, film/tv, theme park, enhanced ebook, calendars, merchandise, etc.

@Tara_Hart28: [Popular genres for translation rights] depends on the territory. I hear steampunk popular in Gemran–commericial women’s fiction in Netherlands, for example.

@SarahLaPolla: There’s a difference in royalties between download & physical CD, but both rights are sold together.

@KOrtizzle: Subrights for self-pub titles = very difficult unless sales are very high. Prepare to show numbers.

@Tara_Hart28: Remember: as creators you own all rights. You chose what rights to grant based on offer.

@LiteratiCat: Mostly only extremely popular books (Twilight, Alex Rider, etc) are being “translated” into [Graphic Novel]/Manga form.

@KOrtizzle: Audio rights are  bought by audio pubs who typically want both. Just like trad pubs want [eBook] and physical.

@Tara_Hart28
: Derivative rights is defined in copyright as any derivative of the original–which can mean prequels/sequels etc. AND they can exploit those prequel/sequel rights without your involvement!

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Bear in mind that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start on the last page of the PDF and work your way forward to the first page

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to participate!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

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Content is Still King

Posted by August 31st, 2011

The future of print and eBook publishing following Borders’ demise

“Publishing houses are not in the printed book business. Nor are they in the eBooks business. They’re in the content business.”

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As a newbie to publishing, I find it to be a very exciting time to be in the industry. Working in Penguin’s Business Development Department, I am lucky enough to be on a team that is forging ahead into the new era of digital publishing. This “revolution,” as some have called it, has also brought naysayers who say (and who seemingly have always said) that publishing will not survive.

In 2011 many have pointed to the demise of Borders and the possible sale of Barnes & Noble as a harbinger for publishing houses. Many feel that eBooks have the potential to destroy the very industry they rely on to be sold. A heartfelt op-ed appeared in the Chicago Tribune by a Powell’s book store employee saying that if the publishing industry did not fight back against eBooks and eReaders by launching an ad campaign similar to the way Amazon did for Kindle, it, too, would go the way of Borders.

But the author of that piece, and anyone else who believes that the decline of the print book will mark the end of the publishing business, is missing the point. While Borders’s liquidation will reduce shelf space and will continue to hurt physical book sales, new sales from eBooks will most likely even the keel in a few years. Publishing houses are not in the printed book business. Nor are they in the eBooks business. They’re in the content business.

When you buy a book, the primary driver behind your purchase is not what kind of paper it is printed on or the extension of the file name. You buy a book for the story. Whether you read a physical book that you bought from a bookstore or an electronic file delivered wirelessly to your ereader, the end result is the same: you are reading a book. Most likely, that book was written by an author who got picked up by an agent who shopped the book around to publishers, one of whom bought it, edited it, marketed it, produced it and sold it to a variety of book retailers.

Whether you purchased the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore the publisher received money from your purchase. Despite publishing’s constant death knell, the reality of the situation is quite the opposite. In 2010, book publishing revenue rose 3.1% buoyed “almost entirely” by digital products. As eBook prices continue to stabilize, publishers should be able to leverage the rise of eBooks and digital products in their favor.

This is not to say that eBooks will take over print books forever and leave brick and mortar stores obsolete. As much as the eBook “revolution” hurt Borders, the bookseller was also a corporation rife with mismanagementthat expanded much too quickly while embracing eBooks much too late. Borders is not emblematic of the publishing industry. In fact, Oren Teicher, the CEO of the American Booksellers Association said, “It is, in part, an unfortunate right-sizing of bookstore landscape that has suffered from expansion in certain markets.”

It is commonly said that content is king, and when it comes to publishing this could not be more true. As technology advances and new ways to consume books emerge, publishing houses will still be there if they continue to help authors create great books. So as market turmoil puts book retailers in jeopardy, publishers do not need to launch ad campaigns to try to push one consumer medium over another. Especially in the wake of the proliferation of content on the internet, publishing houses need to continue to practice what got them to where they are today: identifying talent, allowing authors to produce great content, and connecting writers to readers.

Featured photo courtesy of the Associated Press.
Author photo courtesy of Matt Kane.

 

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