First, the headline news from the industry that seldom makes them is that the long and acrimonious struggle between Amazon and Hachette is at an end. I feel certain that the piped in white noise in the new Hachette open plan offices cannot drown out the collective sigh of relief. The standoff has been hardest of all for Hachette authors, whose book sales were collateral damage in the negotiation. The exact terms of the agreement have not been released, so it’s difficult to judge whether one party or the other prevailed, or if this is, as the press release declared “good news for authors” in the long run, but it’s good to be firing on all cylinders as we head into the holiday book-buying season.
On another happy note, I read this story in Publishing Perspectives and it made me laugh aloud. That business books (and plenty of other nonfiction as well) have long-winded subtitles is a convention of the genre, one that I rarely question. The idea is to be both specific and alluring; to define, entice and occasionally make outsize claims—this book will change your life, change the world, reorder the stars, etc. But this article gives novels subtitles, and thus we have Atonement: How Making up Stories Can Make Amends for Past Wrongs and Be a Force for Healing by Ian McEwan and Gone Girl: Why Your Marriage is Not What It Seems – And What You Can do About it by Gillian Flynn.
Care to subtitle your favorite novel?