Welcome to Penguin Random House’s “The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing” blog series! Over the next few weeks, we will be interviewing PRH employees from various departments to get the inside scoop their jobs and how they help create the books you love. Read below for the answers to your most pressing publishing questions!
How many books does Penguin Random House publish each year?
Penguin Random House publishes over 70,000 digital and 15,000 print books each year. Although these official copies line bookshelves across the globe, they aren’t the only versions to exist. Before the final copies are printed, there are ARCs (Advanced Reading Copy or Advanced Readers Copy), galleys, and RBMs (Reformatted Bound Manuscripts).
What is an ARC?
An ARC is “created using the first pass of the book, which has been copyedited and flowed into a text design by the typesetter. The cover features the jacket art and often has a fully designed spine and verso; it may also include the same lamination and/or effects that are planned for the final cover/jacket. The text and covers are often printed offset, by the same printers who will produce the final books and covers/jackets” (Melissa Solis, Managing Editorial).
What is a galley?
Galleys are similar to an ARC, but “a little less fancy—i.e., no special cover effects and a plain spine and verso. It is still created from the first pass, which has been copyedited and designed. Galleys are produced at a digital printer (versus offset) due to lower print quantities” (Melissa Solis, Managing Editorial).
What is a RBM?
A RBM differs from an ARC and a galley because it’s “an uncopyedited and undesigned manuscript that is bound for reviewers and/or for early reads to get people a sneak peek of the book. Editors will often use bound manuscripts to solicit blurbs for the final book jacket. Bound manuscripts are made early in the process, before a cover is designed and sometimes even before a title has launched to our sales team” (Melissa Solis, Managing Editorial).
So how do books actually get from the printer to bookstores?
Once a book has made it through the production department and has been copyedited and proofread, it is ready to be printed in its final form. PRH printers “deliver new books to one of our two warehouses about four weeks before a book’s on-sale date. Meanwhile, we receive sales orders from booksellers, distributors, and consumers. Once a sales order is received, a request is sent to our distribution center to ‘pick and pack’ the books. Books are then shipped to the designated bookstore/customer. Alternatively, books can be sent directly to booksellers from our printers or sent to one of our partner warehouses for faster distribution to customers in certain regions” (Chelsea Vaughn, Publishing Operations).
What’s the difference between advertising and publicity?
As the publication date for a book nears, the marketing and publicity departments work full-force getting the word out and generating attention for the book so that readers will become interested in buying and reading it. The biggest difference between the two is that “advertising is paid for, whereas publicity is not. Our publicists pitch various media outlets with the authors/titles that they think the outlets would find interesting for their own readers or viewers and hope that the outlets will choose to feature the author and/or title. Our marketers, however, pay for advertising placements based on various factors and can guarantee a placement as long as we can pay for the cost” (Christine Hung, Advertising).
What determines where and author goes on tour?
To help generate attention for his or her book, an author will usually go on tour. Although there are many factors that go into deciding where an author should tour, it is ultimately up to the publicity and sales teams who “work together to gather event requests from stores across the country and also consider places where the author has a personal connection, or they think the book will have special appeal. Then with this at hand, they sit down with a map of the USA, Google Flights, a blank calendar, and one million cups of coffee and draft out a dream tour to hit as many of these stores and markets as possible, without exhausting the book’s budget…or the author!” (Elizabeth Hohenadel, Publicity).
What are the various literary awards that an author can win?
After a book has been published, it can be eligible to win a multitude of literary awards. These awards are “as vast and unique as books themselves. Along with the big national awards that any reader would have heard of, like the Nobel Prize or the Pulitzer, there are hundreds of other awards in a variety of categories. There are awards based on genre, like the Edgars for mysteries or the Hugos for sci-fi. There are awards based on age, like the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, which goes to writers under 35 or the Passager Awards for writers over 50. There are awards given based on gender, on sexual orientation, on ethnic and religious background, on the state where you were born, the number of books previously published, the amount of pets you have. OK that last one was a joke, but you get the drift, it’s a big world out there for literary awards!” (Elizabeth Hohenadel, Publicity)
A Huge thank you to all of our employees who took the time to be interviewed. We hope their answers have helped you better understand the publishing process!
Check back soon for another installment of The Book Lover’s Guide to Publishing.
Here are our 2017 Lammy Award winners in the following categories:
LGBT Science Fiction / Fantasy/ Horror
THE DEVOURERS by Indra Das (Del Rey)
Jacqueline Woodson, author of such acclaimed books as the National Book Award-winning BROWN GIRL DREAMING (Nancy Paulsen Books/Puffin), received the Visionary Award for “breaking new ground in the field of LGBT literature.” Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon introduced Woodson as a “writer who is part of the institution but stands outside it and critiques.”
Congratulations to our award-winning authors, editors and publishers.
View the complete list of 2017 Lambda Literary Awards winners here.
Learn more about our Lammy award-winners here:
Hillary Manton Lodge is the author of the critically acclaimed Two Blue Doors series and the Plain and Simple duet. Jane of Austin is her sixth novel. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, graphic design, and finding new walking trails. She resides outside of Memphis, Tennessee with her husband and two pups. She can be found online at www.hillarymantonlodge.com.
My grandmother read everything. Books about travel, antiques, architecture, mushrooms. She read murder mysteries by the stack until my grandfather passed; afterwards, her tastes veered into sweet romances, narrow paperbacks with titles like The Sophisticated Urchin and Destiny is a Flower.
But she loved the classics best, Jane Austen most of all. When I was nine, she gave me a battered paperback Penguin Classics copy of Pride & Prejudice. I didn’t make much progress with at the time – I was an advanced reader, but not that advanced – so my first experiences of Austen were in film. First, with the 1940 Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier version, and later with the 1995 Andrew Davies mini-series for the BBC.
When the latter aired on Masterpiece Theater, I visited my grandparents’ home every Sunday night for six weeks while we watched Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth argue and make eyes at each other. My grandfather made us an English dinner – or rather, his interpretation of one – and asked if they were “dahn-cing yet?” As a twelve-year-old with two younger siblings, the dedicated time with my grandparents felt special and grown-up.
But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to read and appreciate Austen’s work. As a high-schooler, the subtext of Emma flew right over my head. But as an adult – and author – I was able to see the work, craft, and wicked humor just beneath the surface. I made my way with pleasure through Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma – Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey are next on the list.
I read them in time to talk to my grandmother about the text; she passed away at the age of 100, and by then the one-two punch of dementia and hearing loss had made it difficult to converse on a specific topic for any length of time. But we were able to compare notes, and we shook our heads over what a pill Darcy could be.
A deep dive into Austen for Jane of Austin, then, felt natural. My editor gave me the title and free reign over it, and after a little consideration I reached for Sense & Sensibility – after all, my last four books had featured self-contained women who navigated the world while keeping it arm’s length. Who better to buck that trend than a character modeled after Marianne Dashwood?
But updating a novel set during the early 19th Century has its challenges. For starters, there’s the teeny fact that women can not only inherit both property and money, but can have jobs without being cast out of polite society. When necessary, I borrowed from other Austen novels, and gave my version of Marianne – Jane, in my own novel – depth that would have eluded the original 17-year-old character.
There were challenges, but also pleasures. And it’s the pleasures that are why we revisit Austen’s work so often. Her books are populated with people we know. I’ve met Fanny Dashwoods and Mr. Eltons and Mary Musgroves – we all have. Her stories resonate because they’re inhabited by our own neighbors, parents, and co-workers.
But the familiarity of Austen’s literary world should never be mistaken for simplicity. As I wrote Jane of Austin, I got stuck. A lot. And when I did, I returned to the text. Every time, there was something there. Whether it was a witty line or an insightful scene, I always found something to springboard off of and keep the story rolling.
And that’s the beauty of Austen’s work. There’s always something there. There’s wit and romance on the surface. For the deep thinker, there’s sharp social commentary and character study. And no matter the novel, there’s the pleasure in knowing that there will always, somewhere, be dancing.
Learn about the book here:
When I was young, Maeve Binchy was one of my favourite writers. She had this knack of creating characters who came alive. You somehow felt the people who owned the shops and arrived late for mass were real, and you knew them. I learned later from listening to interviews with Binchy that they were—at least their conversations were real. Binchy told stories of riding buses every day just to listen to snippets of conversation. On one if these bus journeys she overheard a young woman telling her friend she was going shopping for a silver wedding anniversary card for her parents. The friend marvelled that at the longevity of her parent’s marriage. ‘They’re miserable as sin together,’ she replied. ‘The worse the marriage, the bigger the card.’ That conversation went on to inspire Binchy’s successful book, Silver Wedding. Hearing the author’s story reminded me of the hundreds of missed opportunities to notice something that might just spark our next big idea every day.
Like Binchy, I grew up in Dublin. The population at the time was around a million people. But it somehow always felt more like a village than a city. I think that’s because permanently curious Dubliners love to talk and exchange stories. It’s not unusual to stand at a bus stop and to suddenly get into a conversation with a stranger. Within minutes you’ll be hearing about where they’re going or coming from and what the doctor diagnosed them with that morning.
I miss those days—the pre-smartphone era when we looked up and into each other’s eyes and saw something unexpected there. Now we play pedestrian pinball as we try to avoid bumping into each other, palms up, eyes down, earbuds in, minds diverted and hearts closed. We’ve stopped being curious about the world outside our curated feeds. We’re neglecting to nurture the very things that make us more creative and imaginative and more human. I often wonder what Steve Jobs would think if he were transported back to earth almost six years after his death. Is this what he would have wanted his ‘ding in the universe’ to be?
Big ideas start out as whispers in unexpected places. Sometimes they happen while you’re sitting alone in a bathtub or under an apple tree. Other times they are gifted to you on a crowded bus during rush hour. It’s your job to be listening out for them.
Learn more about the book here:
Said Andy Weir, “I’m really excited about Artemis. I got to do the science-dork stuff I love, but this time with a much more complex and character-driven plot. It’s a big stretch for me, but I think it came out well. Hopefully the readers will agree.”
An adrenaline-charged crime caper that features smart, detailed world-building based on real science and the charm that makes Weir’s writing so irresistible, Artemis introduces a protagonist every bit as memorable asThe Martian’s Mark Watney: Jasmine Bashara, aka Jazz. Jazz is just another too-smart, directionless twenty-something, chafing at the constraints of her small town and dreaming of a better life. Except the small town happens to be named Artemis—and it’s the first and only city on the moon.
Life on Artemis is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire, and Jazz is decidedly not a member of either category. She’s got debts to pay, her job as a porter barely covers the rent, and her budding career as a smuggler isn’t exactly setting her up as a kingpin, much to her disappointment. So when the chance at a life-changing score drops in her lap, Jazz can’t say no, even though she’s sure there’s more to the setup than meets the eye. And indeed, pulling off the perfect crime is just the first of Jazz’s problems as she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.
As first reported by Tracking-Board.com, movie rights to Artemis have been acquired in a preempt by 20th Century Fox and New Regency, with Simon Kinberg and Aditya Sood, two of the producers of The Martian, attached to produce for Genre Films. Starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott, The Martian was nominated for seven Oscars and won both the Best Picture and Best Actor awards at the Golden Globes. The movie has grossed more than $630 million worldwide.
Hailed as a new science-fiction classic,The Martian book has sold more than three million copies in North America, spending over a year and a half on the New York Times bestseller list since its February 2014 publication by Crown. To date, the book has been published in forty languages worldwide.
Learn more about the book here;
As we herald our newest Pulitzer Prize winners – in an unprecedented four of the five Letters categories – we celebrate all of the 131 titles published by a current or legacy imprint of Penguin and Random House that have been awarded a Pulitzer since the inception of the Prize more than a century ago.
They include some of the defining fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of the past 100 years, such as: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz in 2008: Ghost Wars by Steve Coll in 2005: Lindbergh by Scott Berg in 1999; The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck in 1940; The Road by Cormac McCarthy in 2006; The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro in 1975; Promises: Poems 1945-56 by Robert Penn Warren in 1958; Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow in 1976; The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkingtonin 1919; and Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas in 1986.
Here are our four newest Pulitzer winners!
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar.
Edited by Noah Eaker.
Pulitzer citation: “For a first-person elegy for home and father that examines with controlled emotion the past and present of an embattled region.”
Susan Kamil, Hisham Matar’s publisher at Random House, said, “It’s thrilling to see Hisham’s work so recognized by the Pulitzer jury. The Return is about Hisham’s personal search for his father, but his art elevates it into a universal quest for justice.”
The Return previously won the inaugural PEN/Jean Stein Book Award.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
Edited by Bill Thomas.
Pulitzer citation: “For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.”
Colson Whitehead commented, “I don’t even know what to say — this has been a crazy ride ever since I handed the book in to my editor. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who picked up a copy and dug it, and to all the kind folks who championed it along the way — the booksellers, the reviewers, the awesome Oprah Winfrey, and the judges. It’s a nice day to put ‘New York, New York’ on the headphones and walk around city making crazy gestures at strangers.”
The Underground Railroad has sold over 825,000 copies in the United States across all formats. An Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection, #1 New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Ten Best Books of 2016 selection and the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, the book chronicles young Cora’s journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.
Edited by Amanda Cook.
Pulitzer citation: “For a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty.”
Ms. Cook commented, “It’s been an honor for all of us at Crown to help bring Evicted into the world. Matt Desmond writes with great heart and intellectual rigor about America’s housing crisis. He follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads, showing us how a lack of stable shelter traps families in poverty and destroys lives meant for better things. Matt often says, ‘We don’t need to outsmart poverty; we need to hate it more.’ With Evicted, he has helped us do exactly that.”
Evicted previously won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonficiton, the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2017 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, and the 2016 Discover Great New Writers Award in Nonfiction, among other honors.
Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson.
Edited by Edward Kastenmeier.
Pulitzer citation: “For a narrative history that sets high standards for scholarly judgment and tenacity of inquiry in seeking the truth about the 1971 Attica prison riots.”
Mr. Kastenmeier commented, “Heather is a remarkable historian who has spent the last ten years of her life working diligently to make sure she could do justice to this story before it is too late. She has shown remarkable courage and fortitude in researching a story the authorities didn’t want told. We need that now more than ever. In the years she’s been working on this book the issues it raises have become more urgent than ever. For all these reasons I could not be happier for her upon this news.”
We thank and congratulate Hisham Matar, Colson Whitehead, Matthew Desmond, and Heather Ann Thompson, their respective editors Noah Eaker, Bill Thomas, Amanda Cook, and Edward Kastenmeier, and our colleagues at Random House, Doubleday, Crown Publishers, and Pantheon for continuing and building upon one of our proudest literary traditions.
To view the complete 2017 Pulitzer winners list, click here.
Learn more about the winners here:
Brightly, the Penguin Random House site that helps parents raise kids who love to read, is in the running for a Webby’s People’s Voice Award in the Family and Parenting category. Cast your vote today and show your support for this online resource dedicated to growing lifelong readers.
Nominees in the 21st Annual Webby Awards were chosen from a record-setting 13,000 entries, and they represent the best online work in the world. Brightly is currently in first place and your vote can help keep the momentum going. Voting is open until Thursday, April 20, 2017. Once you’ve cast your vote, visit Brightly for book recommendations, tips, advice, and more.
Viking and Penguin Books are thrilled that Karan Mahajan’s The Association of Small Bombs has won the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. Henry Louis Gates, the chairman of The Cleveland Foundation, announced the winners of its 82nd Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards on March 23. Since 1935, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards have promoted and honored books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity.
Congratulations to Mr. Mahajan and everyone involved with the success of this exceptional book.
The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope. Mr. Mahajan writes brilliantly about the effects of terrorism on victims and perpetrators.
The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards will be presented to this year’s winners at the State Theatre in Cleveland, hosted by the Cleveland Foundation and emceed by Jury Chair Gates on September 7 as part of Cleveland Book Week.
For a complete list of award winners, click here.
We are excited to congratulate our authors Samanta Schweblin, Stefan Hertmans and David Grossman on being longlisted for The Man Booker International Prize 2017. Start reading War and Turpentine, Fever Dream and A Horse Walks into a Bar today!
We are deeply saddened by the news of our author Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s death. We have had the honor of working with Amy for many years, and have great admiration for her both professionally and personally. Together, we will be privileged to bring the joy of her books to adult and children’s readers for generations to come.
Amy Rennert, Amy’s longtime literary agent and friend, shared this: “Everything Amy did was life and love affirming. She was such a bright light with a great sense of wonder. Amy loved her family. She loved words, ideas, connections. She taught us that life’s seemingly small moments are not really small at all. Amy’s final essay, written under the most difficult of circumstances, a love letter to her husband Jason, was the ultimate gift to him and also to the rest of us. She leaves behind a legacy of love and beauty and kindness.” Random House Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers, Dutton, and The Crown Publishing Group (3/13/17)