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 on 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 an 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.
Katherine Heiny joins Amy to talk about hyper-specific subcultures, infidelity as a recurring plot point, and having no conversational filter. Her book, STANDARD DEVIATION, is a hilarious novel about infidelity, parenting, and New York.
Diksha Basu joins Amy to talk about her first novel, THE WINDFALL. They chat about money and class, house and home, and unexpected romance.
Patricia Lockwood joins Amy to talk about her hilarious and touching memoir, PRIESTDADDY. They cover jewel-hoarding, mysterious household rags, and dad-habits.
Lambda Literary, the nation’s leading organization advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) literature, has announced the winners of its 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (the “Lammys”), with Penguin Random House authors receiving four awards, including the Visionary Award, a lifetime achievement honor presented to Jacqueline Woodson. The ceremony, bringing together authors, publishers and sponsors to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature, took place Monday night, June 12, at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.Here are our 2017 Lammy Award winners in the following categories: LGBT Nonfiction HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France, (Alfred A. Knopf) LGBT Science Fiction / Fantasy/ Horror THE DEVOURERS by Indra Das (Del Rey) Gay Mystery SPEAKERS OF THE DEAD: A Walt Whitman Mystery by J. Aaron Sanders (Plume) Visionary Award 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:
Joseph Finder chats with John about THE SWITCH, coffee, writing, Alfred Hitchcock and more.
Kei Miller chats with Amy about procrastination, finding his voice, etymology and much more. His lyrical novel, AUGUSTOWN follows one cataclysmic day in 1982 Jamaica.
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: