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To the members and friends of the North Carolina Writers’ Network:

If you love books (even if only the ones you yourself have written), you need to be aware of a recent market trend that could have a far-reaching effect on readers and writers.

This fall, some of the country’s largest retailers—notably Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon.com—have begun pricing new and often best-selling hardcover books as low as $8 or $9, 50%–60% lower than the publishers’ list price. This means that those retailers are often selling books for less than what they bought them for from the publishers. They are, in effect, losing money on each book sold.
It seems like a great deal for readers, doesn’t it? Not when you think about its long-term effects.

These pricing practices could create a climate in the book business in which new and even established authors suffer because of the irresponsibility of retailers who have little concern for the health of bookselling and publishing, much less the literary community. They are telling readers that books aren't worth the price it costs to publish them.

Do any of us really want to live in a world where publishing a new book, in commercial terms, isn’t worth the expense? Pricing a best-selling book in the single digits devalues the work the author, editor, designer, and publisher put into that book. Such pricing will inevitably push all retail prices—and thus, publishers’ revenue—down. Facing reduced revenues, many small presses, those who often serve as the discoverers of new and exciting authors, will not be able to survive. Larger publishing houses will be much less willing to take risks on authors without a proven track record on the best-seller lists (including the authors who might write tomorrow’s best sellers).

New and emerging authors—even established authors with solid but not spectacular sales histories—will find fewer and fewer venues available for their work. Those venues they do find will be less able to find and build an audience for the work of these writers.

The retailers engaging in this devaluing are using books as nothing more than loss leaders: incentives for consumers to enter their stores or Web sites, where they will be encouraged to purchase more expensive items. They are discounting not only the economic value of books, but also the intrinsic intellectual and emotional value of what books provide. They are treating books merely as the prize in the Happy Meal box.

With the holiday gift-giving season approaching, we urge everyone to be aware of the disregard in which some retailers hold the printed word, and to consider this and the possible consequences when you do your shopping.

Sincerely,

Ed Southern 
Executive Director  
North Carolina Writers' Network

Nicki Leone
President
NCWN Board of Trustees

Doris Betts Fiction Prize

Postmark Deadline: February 1 (annual)


The North Carolina Literary Review Fiction Editor Liza Wieland is now accepting submissions for the 2010 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers Network and the North Carolina Literary Review. Deadline February 1. First prize is $250. The winning story and select finalists will be published in NCLR

Please note: NCLR’s website has recently been updated, so the link to the “submit it online” section that was previously posted on the North Carolina Writers Network website and sent out with early notices has changed. The new link is:

http://www.nclr.ecu.edu/submissions/submit-online.html

Or, you can just go to NCLR’s home page, www.nclr.ecu.edu, and click on submissions, then the submit tab.

If you have difficulty navigating our new electronic submission process, be assured, we will respond to your emailed questions, and if you mail your submission fee check in, postmarked by Feb. 1, your story will be considered in the competition.

 

Eligibility & Guidelines

  • The competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible.
  • The competition is for short stories up to 6,000 words. One entry per writer. No novel excerpts.
  • Submit stories electronically via the NCLR’s online submission process. For electronic submission instructions and to start the online submission process, go to: http://www.nclr.ecu.edu/submissions/submit-online.html.
  • Names should not appear in the Word file of the story; authors will register with the NCLR’s online submission system, which will collect contact information and connect it to story submission.
  • An entry fee must be mailed to the NCLR office (address below) by the postmark deadline (Feb. 1 each year, or Jan. 31 if Feb. 1 falls on a Sunday).
  • You may pay the Network member/NCLR subscriber entry fee if you join NCWN or subscribe to the NCLR with your submission:

$10/NCWN members and/or NCLR subscribers
$20/nonmembers (must be a North Carolina resident)

  • Checks for submission fee and/or Network membership should be made PAYABLE TO the North Carolina Writers’ Network (separate checks payable to NCLR only if purchasing a subscription).
  • Mail checks or money orders to:

North Carolina Literary Review
ECU Mailstop 555 English
Greenville, NC 27858-4353

Direct competition questions to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Direct electronic submission process questions to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NCWN Fall 2009 Event Schedule 

The North Carolina Writers’ Network will be out and about throughout (or, if you’re from the Outer Banks, “oat and aboat throughoat”) the state this fall.

On September 12, the Network will have exhibit tables at both Winston-Salem’s BookMARKS Book Festival (www.bookmarksbookfestival.org) and the North Carolina Literary Festival at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (www.ncliteraryfestival.org).

From September 25–27, the Network will display some of its members’ books at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance’s 2009 Trade Show in Greenville, South Carolina (www.sibaweb.com/trade-show). In August we will let our members know how they can have their books included in this display.

Network representatives will be on hand at the North Carolina Poetry Society meeting on October 24 at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines, where 2009 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition winner Catherine Carter, as well as the poets whose work received Honorable Mentions in the contest, will read.

As always, the season will culminate in the Network’s Fall Conference, November 20–22 at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort on Wrightsville Beach, with keynote speaker Cassandra King. Registration will open in September.

 
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