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Our roundup of key news affecting authors. In this edition: Editor responses during the pandemic, celebrate indie bookstores, and more…

Are Editors Responding to Submissions During Coronavirus?
Are you wondering if sending your book on submission in the middle of a pandemic is a good idea? “Editor responses during the coronavirus have been steady, generous, and thoughtful. If you’re nearing the querying or submission stage, I encourage you to move full-steam ahead.”

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day 2020 Virtually: Four Meaningful Things You Can Do from Home
Book Riot
“Independent Bookstore Day 2020 has been rescheduled from April to August 29 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but if you’re still social distancing, don’t worry: there are plenty of ways to celebrate virtually.”

Diversity in Publishing in the Age of Black Lives Matter
Publishers Weekly
“Creating a diverse book industry, she said, will take more than ‘poaching a few people of color from other industries. You have to monitor every single hire at every level of the organization from editor to production director. And you have to be prepared to have uncomfortable conversations with your staff.’”

Some Big Publishers Find Ways to Cope
Publishers Weekly
“HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster—a combination of cost and expense cuts and increased sales of higher-margin digital products drove an improvement in their respective bottom lines for the quarter.”

Shirley Ann Grau, Metairie Author Who Won Pulitzer Prize in 1965, Dies at 91
The Times-Picayune
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author was an Authors Guild member since 1963. “Race was a dominant theme in her novels and short stories – The Keepers of the House, for instance, featured an interracial marriage – and that made some readers irate. There were threatening phone calls, and the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s burned a cross on the front lawn of her suburban home.” We at the Authors Guild mourn her loss and send heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and fans.

Phoebe Robinson Wants to ‘Transform the Industry’ With Her New Book Imprint
The Hollywood Reporter
“With Tiny Reparations, the New York Times bestselling author and creator of hit podcast and HBO show 2 Dope Queens wants to ‘represent incredible, amazing voices that deserve to be heard.’”

What’s It Like Publishing Your First Book in a Pandemic?
“Instead of getting to hug all her family and friends and read in front of a crowd, she got to wave at them over the internet and read their questions in the little chat window on Zoom.”

Book Professionals Launch Auction to Fight Racism
Publishers Weekly
“Organized by authors and book publishing professionals, a new silent auction, Authors for Black Voices, will auction off exclusive book-related collectibles and services to raise funds benefiting nonprofits working to fight racism in publishing, education, and literacy.”

Alan Dershowitz Claims a Fictional Lawyer Defamed him. The Implications for Novelists are Very Real.
Washington Post
“His complaint, if successful, could pose a challenge to the vibrancy of contemporary historical fiction and biographical fiction—indeed, to any creative work that includes interactions between fictional and real-life public figures.”

With Remote Learning Still the Norm, Publishers Extend Permissions for Read Alouds
School Library Journal
“To help educators and librarians engaged in online learning and storytimes held via Zoom and other virtual means, many publishers relaxed copyright restriction on their works at the start of the pandemic.”

Old Copyright Submissions — Hawthorne, Twain, Douglass, and Thousands More
Library of Congress
“In celebration of copyright’s 150th  anniversary this month, the Rare Book and Special Collections Division launches a new digital collection, Early Copyright Materials of the United States 1790-1870, which puts online for the first time nearly 50,000 title pages that accompanied copyright registrations dating back to the foundation of the country.”