Book Publishing's Trade Publications

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Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly, or PW as it's known in the book trade, has been A around since 1872. PW is the bellwether of the industry. It is read by everyone in the book publishing business and has about thirty-eight thousand paid subscribers and another sixty thousand pass-along readers. (Pass-along readers are a secondary audience composed of readers who do not actually purchase the publication.) The largest group in its subscriber mix are publishing employees, booksellers, and authors and writers.

Loyalty to a publication is largely determined by its subscription renewal rate. PW has a very high subscriber renewal rate, 85 percent, with an eight-year average subscription length. Few magazines, consumer or business, can match these figures.

PW's editorial package is divided into regular departments and columns, news, forecasts, and special features. One special feature, in mid-January, is "Spring Adult Announcements," which is a listing of publishers' adult trade books to be published from February to August. Another important special feature issue appears at the end of April or beginning of May, the pre-ABA and Bologna report issue. This issue typically runs about three hundred pages, and lists all the publishers participating in the forthcoming ABA Convention and their featured books. The pre-ABA issue carries advertising from 130 to 150 industry advertisers, and also serves as a convention guide.

"Positions Open" is an outstanding feature in PW. On the page shown opposite there are nine available jobs. Although none are entry-level positions, the others show the diversification of publishing jobs and the geographical spread of the publishers-only three are based in New York. When you are job-hunting, make sure you scan the pages of PW.

Daisy Maryles writes PW's authoritative "Behind the Bestsellers" column, which provides coverage of this fast-paced market. She also does "My Say," and "Booksellers' Forum," readers' comments on current issues or problems facing publishing and bookselling.

Paul Nathan is a veteran PW columnist who writes the "rights" column. In it, Nathan reports on movie options, book club sales, and other subsidiary rights transactions.

PW is the voice of book publishing. Anyone planning to enter this field should find a library that files back issues or, better still, purchase your own subscription. At this writing, an introductory one-year subscription is $139. Call (800) 278-2991 for further information.

American Bookseller

American Bookseller is the monthly magazine of the American Booksellers Association, the sponsoring group of the annual ABA Convention. The editorial thrust of American Bookseller is geared to booksellers, who make up more than 70 percent of the magazine's subscribers. Each issue contains coverage of the latest trends in the industry, tips and advice on how to run bookstores, and special features on a variety of subjects, such as technical books/computer books, children's books, or business books.

The biggest issues of American Bookseller are February and September, when the magazine covers publishers' seasonal announcements of new books, and the May pre-ABA Convention number.

American Bookseller has an important monthly feature for book-sellers, "Bestsellers Around the Nation," a coast-to-coast look at the best-sellers in hardback fiction, hardback nonfiction, trade paperback, paperback fiction, and mass-market paperback.

One of my favorite American Bookseller features is "People in Books," which profiles an individual working in a specialized area of publishing. One recent issue had an interview with a bookseller in Prague; another, an interview with a noted literary agent.

As with PW, one can gain an insider's viewpoint on book publishing by reading American Bookseller. Most good libraries subscribe to American Bookseller as a guide to their book purchasing. For a subscription, write to American Bookseller, Subscription Department, 137 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001.

Writer's Digest

Writer's Digest is the nuts-and-bolts magazine of the writing trade. It is read by freelance magazine writers, editors, authors, and would-be authors of fiction and nonfiction. Now, of course, you don't become a best-selling or even a published author by reading a monthly magazine, but in Writer's Digest the reader gets the practical tools that may ease the path into this demanding craft. Here are some articles from recent issues of Writer's Digest:
  • "Avoiding the Tin Man Syndrome"-if your characters lack heart, your writing will lack readers

  • "Enlighten Readers with Epiphanies"-moments of revelation can charge your fiction with energy

  • "Hanging Tough with James Lee Burke"-an Edgar Award- winning mystery author tells about overcoming writer's block

  • "True Crime According to the Rule"-best-selling crime author Ann Rule's tips for success

  • "Creating Unreliable Narrators"-how to use narrators who are deluded, misinformed, or dishonest

  • "How to Stop Cranking Out 'Puppets' and Bring Your Characters to Life"-put a fully developed character up there not one who does nothing but echo your beliefs.
Writer's Digest is a valuable guide to getting published. For information on subscriptions, write to Writer's Digest, P.O. Box 2124, Harlan, IA 51593-2313.

Book Review Sections: Must Reading for Book Professionals

If you're a librarian, bookstore buyer, book publishing professional, author, distributor, or just a book buff, book review sections and review publications are required reading.

Booksellers, particularly, devour book review sections as an advance indication of the diet of book buyers.
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