More Publishing News - Bad and Good (Eh? Good?)

Here's some of the latest from Publisher's Lunch:

Penguin Children's

Kathy Dawson will join Penguin Children's Dial Books in the new position of associate publisher, reporting to Lauri Hornik. She will work help to strategize and develop the list while acquiring and editing both novels and picture books. Dawson was formerly editorial director at Harcourt Children's.

So if you write kid's novels/picture books, time to add Ms. Dawson to your rolodex.

Macmillan U.S.

A restructuring throughout Macmillan in the US announced yesterday internally eliminates 64 positions from throughout the company's imprints and divisions (including cuts at their college business, central services for the whole company, and Scientific American magazine), representing about four percent of staff in all. CEO John Sargent writes in the memo, "Going forward we are tightening our belts in response to the current recession, but we are also reorganizing and rethinking our business to position ourselves for the long term."

Which probably means: We're losing a lot of blood, and applying a tourniquet just ain't gonna do the job.

More Macmillan U.S.

A consolidation of the company's many children's lines into a single Macmillan Children's division was the other focus of yesterday's announcement, though Sargent says "we've been working for quite some time on what is the best approach to move us forward in the marketplace." With a variety of acquisitions and start-ups in recent years, "when you roll up our children's business now, it's a lot bigger than it was operating as disparate individual companies." Henry Holt head Dan Farley will oversee the new Macmillan Children's Group as well, with group svp Jean Feiwel running Feiwel and Friends, Square Fish, Priddy Books and Holt Children's, and svp Simon Boughton running Farrar, Straus Children's, Roaring Brook Press, and First Second.

Having been part of an acquisition just recently, I can tell you that a lot of heads are going to roll before Macmillan gets it all together. Of course, there will probably only be a skelton crew to take care of day-to-day matters. (I see it here, where the other piece of the patents pie is getting rid of one temp; no matter that she takes care of a lot of things.)

As my hubby would say: Owen well. (Inside joke, heh.)

And I Found This Interesting - Borders Books

Borders will buy books from the Harper Studio imprint at a deeper discount of 58 percent to 63 percent off, on a nonreturnable basis. Borders evp of merchandising and marketing Rob Gruen repeats the company's expressed position since George Jones took over: "The idea of taking inventory and then shipping it back isn't a good idea for anybody. We're open to all publishers to discuss alternatives to the traditional return model."

Harper Studio is part of HarperCollins, and, if I read it correctly, Emeril Lagasse's (BAM!) cookbooks are published by them. In fact, this post on agent Nathan Bransford's blog is quite informative. Author's will get less money up front (as of that post, dated July 2008, advances are capped at US$100,000 - um, I'll take it! ;-)), and according to the post, instead of royalties, utilizes a profit sharing model that incorporates expenses on one side of the ledger (expenses will include publicity and unit production, but not editorial and overhead), and income on the other side. Profits are split 50/50, and accounting reports four times a year, translating to a break-even point at around 25,000 copies sold.

I don't mind the monetary amount, but I'm not sure I'm sold on the no royalties bit. Profit sharing? I don't know - count me skeptical.

Oh, and they only accept non-fiction, so that leaves me out of the loop, dammit.

Maybe I should write a memoir but change enough names and events to pass it off as a novel?

Oops, wait, that's been done.

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


riotimus said...

One upside for those of us who haven't finished our greatest works yet is that by the time it is done, maybe the publishers will be done playing around and be serious again. Or something.


Nancy Beck said...

You've got a pernt there (as my one bro-in-law-who-sounds-like-he's-from-the-Bronx would say. ;-)

I guess these shake ups were inevitable - but I hope they settle down some time soon.