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Macmillan

Brendan Deneen on What Authors Can Do to Get Their Book Optioned for a Movie

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Brendan Deneen knows a thing or two about getting a book made into a Hollywood film. He’s not only an author and former literary agent, Deneen is executive editor for Macmillan Entertainment, for which he shops TV and film rights for authors, whether the material is existing or created in house.

In the latest installment of Mediabisto’s So What Do You Do series, we talked to Deneen about the optioning process, why Hollywood so often relies on published bestsellers for content and the best way for an author to break into the movie business (no, you don’t have to be a big name like John Grisham, J.K. Rowling or Nicholas Sparks). Deneen also had plenty of advice to share with struggling authors:

Patience is key. I’m 41 and I wrote my first book when I was 18, and I sold my novel this year. It took me forever. And that doesn’t mean you have to not be putting yourself out there and working your ass off; it just means you may get rejected over and over again like I did when I was 18. It should be a badge of honor. It means you’re getting stuff out there. You need to be constantly writing. If you’re a screenwriter, you should be writing a new screenplay every three or four months. If you’re an author, honestly, you should have a new book every year if you’re serious about it — two years at the most.

To hear more from Deneen, including what he’d like his legacy to be, read: So What Do You Do, Brendan Deneen, Executive Editor Of MacMillan Entertainment?

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John Sargent Gives Talk at TEDxTimesSquare

Macmillan CEO John Sargent gave a talk called “The Decision Point” at TEDxTimesSquare.

This independently-organized TED conference focused on the theme of “transformation.” We’ve embedded the full presentation in the video above.

During his talk, Sargent spoke about “making decisions that you don’t have historical context and you don’t have information that is useful in making the decision.” He shared the story of how the publisher partnered with Apple and two other houses to form what would become the iBookstore. Looking at the industry as it currently stands, what is your opinion about this decision?

Macmillan Settles with the DOJ Over Price Fixing Lawsuit

Macmillan has settled with the Department of Justice in the lawsuit over the agency model for selling digital books. All five major publishers sued by the DOJ have now settled, leaving Apple to battle the government in court.

Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote a letter explaining why they settled: “Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment … A few weeks ago I got an estimate of the maximum possible damage figure. I cannot share the breathtaking amount with you, but it was much more than the entire equity of our company.”

Antitrust Division chief of staff Jamillia Ferris offered this statement: “As a result of today’s settlement, Macmillan has agreed to immediately allow retailers to lower the prices consumers pay for Macmillan’s e-books.”

Publishers Weekly reported that “Judge Denise Cote quickly approved a $70-million plus settlement” at a hearing.

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John Sargent: ‘Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment’

In a frank letter addressed to authors, Macmillan CEO John Sargent explained why his company decided to settle the price fixing lawsuit with the Department of Justice.

After seeing “breathtaking amount” that the major publisher would have to pay in the worst case courtroom scenario, they decided to settle without admitting any wrongdoing. Here is an excerpt:

I had an old fashioned belief that you should not settle if you have done no wrong. As it turns out, that is indeed old fashioned. Our company is not large enough to risk a worst case judgment. In this action the government accused five publishers and Apple of conspiring to raise prices. As each publisher settled, the remaining defendants became responsible not only for their own treble damages, but also possibly for the treble damages of the settling publishers (minus what they settled for). A few weeks ago I got an estimate of the maximum possible damage figure. I cannot share the breathtaking amount with you, but it was much more than the entire equity of our company. I like to believe that we would win at trial. But outcomes are hard to predict with certainty, particularly in a civil case with a low burden of proof. And so we agreed to settle with no admission of guilt. As with the other settling publishers, retailers will now be able to discount Macmillan e-books for a limited time. This change will take effect quickly.

Macmillan Bringing Minotaur Digital Books To Libraries

Library eBook readers might see more books from Macmillan this year as the company has opened a pilot program to bring Minotaur digital books to library patrons.

AppNewser has all the details:

Macmillan Publishers has partnered with OverDrive, a company that distributes digital books to more than 22,000 libraries, to make a collection of its eBooks available to libraries through a pilot program. As part of the pilot, libraries that have access to OverDrive will now have access to more than 1,200 titles from Macmillan’s Minotaur Books imprint. This includes pieces from authors Olen Steinhauser and Julia Spencer-Fleming. Macmillan is making one copy of each eBook available so that one copy can be check out at a time.

Macmillan To Launch A Crowd-Sourced Romance Imprint in 2013

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has plans for a new romance imprint which will invite the crowd to participate in what gets published.

The imprint which will go by the name of Swoon Reads.  AppNewser has more about how it will work: “Writers are invited to submit manuscripts to the site where readers can read, rate and comment on submissions. The highest rated manuscripts will be picked up for publication in both print and eBook formats.”

You can sign up here to get a reminder to enter your manuscript when the site opens up for submissions. Here is more about what kinds of writing Swoon Reads is looking for: “We are looking for SW♥♥N-worthy, irresistible, unforgettable love stories for readers ages 14 and up. Novels can be set anytime, anywhere — and can be realistic, supernatural, dystopic, historical, or a mash-up of any sort. Stories can be happily ever after…or not, but we must be wowed by the intense romance of your story. Girl/boy, girl/girl, boy/boy — set our hearts afire!”

Macmillan CEO: ‘We will be more than fine in the land of the giants’

Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote a letter to authors, illustrators and agents working with the publisher, pledging not to settle the price fixing lawsuit with the Department of Justice (as Penguin did this week).

He also noted that the company has no plans to merge like Penguin and Random House. Read his complete letter at Tor Books.

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Publishers to Pay $69M in eBook Pricing Settlement

55 attorney generals from different states, districts and U.S. territories have reached an agreement with HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster in the ongoing litigation over eBook pricing.

According to the terms of the deal, consumers who bought an eBook from any of the “Agency Five” publishers during April 1, 2010 until May 21, 2012 will receive compensation.

Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster will pay consumers who purchased eBooks from any of the five agencies accused of price fixing, including Macmillan and Penguin, who have yet to settle. Payments will begin 30 days after the settlement gets its final court approval.

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DOJ Sues Apple & Publishers

The Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers for allegedly colluding to set eBook prices. Apple, Macmillan and Penguin will fight the suit in court; HarperCollins (statement here), Simon & Schuster and Hachette (statement here) have settled with the government.

In court documents, DOJ attorneys alleged that Apple and five major publishers engaged in a “substantial” conspiracy as they set up the agency model for eBook pricing–including deleting emails “to avoid leaving a paper trail.”

Macmillan CEO John Sargent has decided to fight the suit. Read his letter here: “Other publishers have chosen to settle. That is their decision to make. We have decided to fight this in court.”

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Macmillan CEO Made Agency Model Decision on Exercise Bike

Macmillan CEO John Sargent has released a public letter addressed to “authors, illustrators and agents,” sharing the moment he decided to join the agency model in 2010–setting prices for eBooks across different retailers.

Check it out: “I am Macmillan’s CEO and I made the decision to move Macmillan to the agency model. After days of thought and worry, I made the decision on January 22nd, 2010 a little after 4:00 AM, on an exercise bike in my basement. It remains the loneliest decision I have ever made, and I see no reason to go back on it now. Other publishers have chosen to settle. That is their decision to make. We have decided to fight this in court.”

The moment will play a crucial role in court soon as the Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers, alleging that they colluded together to set eBook prices. Sargent disputed these claims in his long letter. We’ve reprinted the entire letter below…

 

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