Houghton Mifflin Harcourt recently announced plans to ‘temporarily [stop] acquiring manuscripts’. Apparently they want to do things ‘smarter’ and that it is not ‘an indicator of the end of literature’. The Vice President of Communications, Josef Blumenfeld, has said it is ‘not a permanent change’.
This might scare a few people, but I think it’s a good thing. If they want to act like Willy Wonka and shut down for a while, regroup, reorganise and have a think about where publishing is going and come back bigger and better than ever (minus the ompa lompa’s) then that will only be beneficial to the authors on their list and might even get other publishers thinking about how to do things ‘smarter’.
In other news, Rachel Johnson has won the Bad Sex in Fiction contest with her novel, Shire Hell. John Updike was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award for Bad Sex in Fiction for being nominated four times during his career. You can read an excerpt of his 2005 nominated novel, Villages, here.