Wednesday News: Pronoun, periods, bestsellers, and magic
Macmillan’s Pronoun Self-Publishing Platform Signs Off – If you’ve never heard of Pronoun, you may know the company by its former name, Vook. Pronoun’s closure announcement is somewhat vague (“Macmillan is unable to continue Pronoun’s operation in its current form”) and they seem to be retaining the data and analytics end of the business, as well as some of Pronoun’s employees, who will now be folded into the general Macmillan staff. The service was unique in that it did not charge authors or purchase their rights, although it sought “partnerships” with high selling indie authors like Barbara Freethy and Bella Andre. Macmillan acquired Pronoun a mere 18 months ago.
In May 2015, as (PW writer Calvin) Reid recounted, Pronoun had been launched as a new evocation of Vook. And along the way, Vook had at times been in acquisitions mode, Reid wrote, buying “Booklr (a data analysis service for e-book sales founded by Brody), Byliner (a literary e-book publisher), and Coliloquy (a choose-your-own-adventure platform using enhanced e-books and apps).”
As Pronoun CEO Josh Brody told Reid, “We tried to create a company that would be transformational and would serve authors. You reach a point where you know you can’t do it all by yourself, and you need advisors and resources. So it makes sense to be a part of a traditional house.” – Publishing Perspectives
Netflix’s First Comic Book From Mark Millar Revealed: ‘The Magic Order’ – Netflix continues to expand its reach into mass media by publishing a comic book series that it can also adapt into streaming digital content. Mark Millar has created comics for both Marvel and DC, and he characterizes this new series as “dark fantasy,” insisting that “there’s an enormous gap in the market for something like this.” I’m not sure whether he’s referring to the dark fantasy aspect or the book to film lifecycle, nor am I sure there’s really an “enormous gap” for anything right now.
“The Magic Order” will be a six-issue comic book written by Millar with Marvel’s Olivier Coipel (“Thor,” “The Avengers,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”) on board as artist for the first volume. The comic will be available for sale in print format through comic stores and other retail outlets and will also be available for digital purchase.
Netflix acquired Millarworld, run by Mark and Lucy Millar, in August. In addition to continuing to publish comics from Millarworld, Netflix plans develop films, TV shows and kids’ series based on its portfolio of character and comic book franchises. Millarworld’s titles include “Kick-Ass, “Kingsman,” “Wanted,” “Reborn,” “Empress,” and “Jupiter’s Legacy.” – Variety
Does Anybody Know What a Bestseller Is? – I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first of these pieces that PW has run, but I will say that, as a reader, I find the word “bestseller” to be virtually meaningless. Even NYT Bestseller fails to impress, and whatever is up with those Amazon bestseller lists is neither clear nor interesting to me at all. I still prefer a thoughtful, careful review or the recommendation of a friend over these marketing lures. Do authors find the term useful for marketing and sales? How about readers – are there some references that will make the book more appealing to you?
“Every publisher must make a decision on when to refer to a book as a bestseller,” said Bill Wolfsthal, executive v-p of sales and marketing at Skyhorse Publishing. “Was it a bestseller on Amazon for a day? Is it a bestseller if it makes a bestseller list for independent bookstores? In those decisions, good judgement and common sense rules the day. No publisher wants to mislead a reader, but we are all fighting to get attention for our books.”
Whether the bestseller tag even really drums up attention is also a point of debate. “As long as it has an XYZ in front of it—as in New York Times bestseller, USA Today bestseller, or Wall Street Journal bestseller, I do think it carries weight with the reader,” agent Kristen Nelson said. “If it just says ‘bestselling author,’ I do think readers tend to perceive the moniker with some skepticism.” – Publishers Weekly
This New Book Is Changing the Way Girls Think About Their Periods and Puberty – Hearkening back to our discussion the other day about shame and female sexuality, The Guide, Period, written by HelloFlo founder Naama Bloom, aims to educate and empower young women who are coping with all of the changes catalyzed by adolescence. And it sounds SO FABULOUS!
With colorful graphics and friendly language, it covers everything you wish you knew about when you hit puberty, from discharge to nipple hair, even changes in the brain. But what we love most about this book (which we’ll be gifting to our tween cousins, nieces, and daughters!) is the empowering message woven throughout: that “your body is your body,” as Bloom puts it, and you’re the only one who gets to decide what to do with it. . . .
Most importantly, Bloom never speaks to her reader in a tone that feels condescending. She believes girls are sophisticated enough to appreciate fluctuating hormones and the parts of the reproductive system; the key is presenting the info in a way that feels honest, smart, and fun. “Talking about your body shouldn’t be a dark topic,” she says. “We all have bodies.” – Health