People & Publishing Roundup, June 2020


BROOKE BOLANDER is now represented by DongWon Song of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

J.K. ROWLING‘s Harry Potter character Salazar Slytherin (who could speak to snakes) provided the name for a new species of pit viper, Trimeresurus salazar, discovered by researchers in India.

Locus assistant editor JOSH PEARCE & EMILY DOAN are the parents of LUCA DOAN PEARCE, born May 15, 2020.

NEIL GAIMAN left New Zealand to ...Read More

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Pandemic Fundraising

NewCon Press has published anthology Stories of Hope and Wonder, with all proceeds going to UK healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19. For more: <>.

The #Creators4Comics fundraising effort made $433,166 to help bookstores and comic shops impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Comics creators auctioned off materials for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, with more than 635 individual auctions held. Writer Kami Garcia was one of the original organizers. She ...Read More

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Publishing Day of Action

Organizers have designated June 8, 2020 as a “a day of action in solidarity with the global uprisings in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the many, many others in the long history of Black people murdered by the state.” Nearly 1,500 people signed a “Statement of Solidarity from Workers Across Publishing” posted over the weekend as a public Google document (it ...Read More

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Print Sales Rebound in Early May

According to NPD Bookscan, print sales for the week ending May 2, 2020 were strong, and the closest to a ‘‘normal’’ week since widespread shelter-in-place orders went into effect across the US in March and April: 12.24 million books sold, up from 11.04 million the prior week. Sales for the same week in 2019 were only 11.58 million.

Adult sales in particular rebounded, selling 7.8 million books, over 6.26 million ...Read More

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Penguin Classics Launches Science Fiction Series

Penguin Classics plans to “celebrate science fiction as the essential genre of modern times” with a new series of science fiction classics. Titles launching in August include Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Flatland by Edwin Abbott, and Ten Thousand Light-years from Home by James Tiptree, Jr. Penguin also plans to publish well-known international science fiction translated into English, such as The Hair Carpet Weavers by Andreas Eschbach (Doryl Jensen, translator) ...Read More

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Karp New Simon & Schuster CEO

Jonathan Karp has been named president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, taking over after former president Carolyn Reidy died unexpectedly of a heart attack on May 12. He was promoted from president of Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, where he oversaw key books like What Happened by Hillary Clinton, Fear by Bob Woodward, and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. He plans to “continue to build on the strong foundation ...Read More

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New Rowling Book Serialized

J.K. Rowling will publish a new children’s book, The Ickabog, with free chapters appearing online every weekday in 34 installments from May 26 – July 10, 2020.

The complete version will be published in November 2020 by Scholastic in the US and Little, Brown in the UK, with all royalties being donated to “help groups who’ve been particularly impacted by the pandemic.”

Rowling is holding an illustration competition for ...Read More

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Free Reads

Numerous authors, editors, and pub­lishers are offering free material for readers stuck in isolation, including several of genre interest.

J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, Audible, Overdrive, Pottermore, and Scholastic launched the “Harry Potter at Home” initiative, making the ebook and audiobook of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone free, and issuing a general read-aloud license for teachers so they can read from the book on video. There are also special activities for ...Read More

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Moore Wins Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant

B. Sharise Moore won a $5,000 grant, one of several given to artists and writers around the world by the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Her debut novel, YA historical fantasy Dr. Marvellus Djinn’s Odd Scholars, is forthcoming from MVmedia.

For more information, including the list of finalists and recipients, see the Sustainable Arts Foundation website.

While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or ...Read More

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People & Publishing Roundup, May 2020


Actor and writer AYDREA WALDEN will be Toastmaster for the 2020 Nebula Awards, to be pre­sented online May 30, 2020.

Brothers and video game devel­opers CHRIS & TIM STAMPER have joined the John Jarrold Literary Agency and will work on multime­dia projects.

ROBERT MARCHBANK is now represented by the John Jarr­old Literary Agency.

ANDY LIVINGSTONE is now represented by the John Jarrold Lit­erary Agency.


RICHARD POWERS‘s The ...Read More

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Nightmare Magazine Staff Changes

John Joseph Adams will step down as editor of Nightmare magazine after issue #100 in January 2021, with with author and editor Wendy N. Wagner taking over. Adams will remain editor of Lightspeed and publisher of both magazines.

Adams said:

If you’re a diligent Nightmare reader, you’re already familiar with her editorial contributions: She was the guest editor for our Queers Destroy Horror! special issue back in 2015. But in ...Read More

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LSC Bankruptcy

LSC Communications, the largest book printer in the US, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April. The company plans to continue operations “in the ordinary course” and says it will “pay vendors in full under customary terms for all goods and services received on or after the filing date.” They are negotiating with lenders to restructure financially, but are required to “conduct a marketing process for the sale of ...Read More

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Publishing News

On April 1, 2020 Bertelsmann completed its $675 million purchase of the last 25% of Penguin Random House owned by Pearson. Ber­telsmann plans to simplify the board structure, and Pearson’s two seats on the board are expected to be replaced. PRH US CEO Madeline McIntosh wrote to staff with some rare good news: regular employees not otherwise eligible for bonuses will receive $856 following strong 2019 financial results.

HarperCollins UK ...Read More

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Apex Relaunch

Jason Sizemore has announced that Apex magazine will relaunch in January 2021, on “a new bi-monthly publication schedule with one issue every two months for a total of six issues a year. The amount of yearly fiction published will remain the same as before, but this will allow for a more manageable production schedule of the zine.” He plans to run a subscription drive and a Kickstarter in July 2020 ...Read More

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Pandemic Help

James Patterson extended his philan­thropy toward independent bookstores with a personal donation of half a million dollars to help stores impacted by coronavirus closures. The funds were administered by the Book Industry Charity Foundation, with money to be distributed by May 15, 2020. Patterson joined with the American Booksellers Association in the #SaveIndieBookstores fundraising campaign, which ran in April. The funds “will go toward helping hundreds of indie bookstores across ...Read More

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Internet Archive Controversy

The Internet Archive announced a controversial “National Emergency Library” initiative, making nearly 1.5 million ebooks available for unrestricted borrowing through at least June 30, 2020, “to make a real difference for the nation and the world” during the pandemic. The Internet Archive is a private non-profit and has no legal right to give away these ebooks, most of which remain under copyright.

Authors may email <> with “National Emergency Library ...Read More

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Layoffs at Macmillan and Tor

Macmillan (parent company of Tor, Publishing, St. Martin’s, and others) has instituted layoffs company-wide, reduced pay for some employees, and has frozen hir­ing, effective April 2, in response to the projected impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Employees laid off include Tor executive editor Diana Gill, senior editor Melissa Frain, and editor Diana Pho; their last day is May 1. The sal­ary reductions are expected to last through June and ...Read More

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Bertelsmann to Become Climate Neutral

Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House, has pledged to become climate neutral by 2030. They plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% as compared to 2018, and to pay for offsets for the remainder. The company joins 800 other organizations worldwide as part of the Science Based Target Initiative. Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe says, “Protecting the environ­ment is part of our corporate values.” They plan to ...Read More

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Riverdale Avenue Acquires Circlet Press Titles

Riverdale Avenue Books has acquired over 170 titles from SF erotica publisher Circlet Press, founded in 1992 by Cecilia Tan. The entire backlist will remain in print under the Circlet name. Tan says, “I’ve always been impressed with Riverdale Avenue’s rapid growth. I always said I would never sell until I found someone who could do the job better than me, and I found that person” in Riverdale founder Lori ...Read More

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Choose to Read Ohio Booklist

A few titles of genre interest are included in the 2021 & 2022 Choose to Read Ohio (CTRO) booklist:

Books for Adults

  • A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber, Michael J. Rosen (Trillium)

Books for Teens

  • The Gone Away Place, Christopher Barzak (Knopf)
  • Opposite of Always, Justin A. Reynolds (Katharine Tegen; Macmillan)

The program promotes reading across Ohio through a biennial ...Read More

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Macmillan Ends Embargo

John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, sent a memo on March 17, 2020 announcing an end to the company’s embargo on licensing new ebooks to libraries, seemingly in response to the COVID-19 epi­demic. He wrote a memo to librarians, authors, illustrators, and agents, saying

There are times in life when differences should be put aside. Effective on Friday (or whenever thereafter our wholesalers can effect the change), Macmillan will return to ...Read More

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Simon & Schuster to Be Sold

Simon & Schuster’s parent company ViacomCBS wants to sell their publish­ing division. CEO Bob Bakish’s said,

We’ve been conducting a portfolio review of our company. And coming out of that we’ve made the determination that Simon and Schuster is not a core asset of the company. It is not video based; it doesn’t have significant connectivity to our broader business. At the same time, there’s no question it’s a marquee ...Read More

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Macmillan Layoffs

Macmillan (parent company of Tor, Publishing, St. Martin’s, and others) has instituted layoffs company-wide, reduced pay for some employees, and has frozen hiring effective April 2 in response to the projected impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The salary reductions are expected to last through June, and only impact those making more than $60,000 a year, with greater reductions for higher salaries; senior executives are on half pay, while others ...Read More

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Newsstand Disruptions

Amid growing coronavirus concerns, some booksellers and distributors have canceled new magazine orders.

Barnes and Noble announced they will cease taking new magazine product, effective March 23, 2020, across all stores. Krifka Steffey, director of newsstand merchandising, said,

We will continue to sell the product currently on our Newsstands, and will look forward to the day that we can re-establish this critical part of our bookstore offering.

Diamond Comic Distributors ...Read More

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Dreamspinner Press Publishing News

Dreamspinner Press, a small publisher of LGBTQ romance founded in 2006, has reportedly failed to pay many authors their royalties; by some reports, hundreds of writers have been affected. The press has more than 3,000 titles in its inventory – some genre-related – and authors say that as early as 2017, royalties began to arrive late, or not at all, or, at least once, in the form of a postdated ...Read More

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Penguin Random House Publishing News

Penguin Random House has removed its audiobooks from various unlimited audio subscription programs worldwide, including Storytel and Scribd. An announcement from PRH explained that the company “has decided that at this stage, we will not participate in unlimited access subscription models. Our decision was made collectively by the company’s international leadership team to preserve a diversity of content in the marketplace and the actual and perceived long-term value of our ...Read More

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PRH and Rebellion Audio Partnership

Penguin Random House UK has announced it will produce and distribute audio versions of fiction and graphic novel titles from Rebellion Publishing. The partnership will produce around 30 science fiction, fantasy, and horror titles a year from authors such as Katherine Addison, Derek Künsken, and Adrian Tchaikovsky, as well as adaptations of five new graphic novels in the 2000 AD series.

The first title, available now, is Wanderers by Chuck ...Read More

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SFWA Issues Statement on Thinkerbeat

The Board of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has posted the following statement:

The Board of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is issuing a warning regarding short fiction publisher Thinkerbeat, which publishes the semi-pro magazines “Unfit” and “Unreal.” The publisher publicly posts lists of rejected stories along with the author’s name and a numeric score.

This publisher’s behavior is far outside of industry

...Read More Read more

Kelly and Moreno-Garcia Leave The Dark

Sean Wallace, publisher of The Dark, announced changes to the magazine’s staff. Reprint editor Michael Kelly left The Dark at the end of 2019 “to put more time and energy in his small press company, Undertow Publications.” Co-editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia will leave after the July 2020 issue to focus on her writing career. Wallace announced that there were “no immediate plans to hire a new co-editor.”

While you are here, ...Read More

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London Book Fair Canceled

The London Book Fair has been canceled after a number of publishers and agencies pulled out over fears of coronavirus. A statement by Reed Exhibitions, organizers of the event, said:

The London Book Fair 2020, scheduled to take place at Olympia, London, from 10 to 12 March will be cancelled following the escalation of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Europe.

The effects, actual and projected, of Coronavirus are becoming evident across all ...Read More

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2019 Book Sales

NPD BookScan reported unit sales for print books dropped 1.3% in 2019, with 689.5 million units sold, down from 698.4 in 2018. The decline was due in part to a lack of big bestsellers to compare with the massive interest in political non-fiction in 2018. Unit sales for adult fiction dropped 2.9%. By genre, science fiction had the biggest drop, down 19.7%, while horror rose 16.6% and graphic novels rose ...Read More

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