A Hodgepodge of Bits & Pieces – Mid-March 2013

Posted March 16, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Hodgepodge Newsletter

Contents of this Post

Posts that share a common theme — Bookstores, Kids, Social Media, etc.—are in ALL CAPS.

In General

Google Killing Off Google Reader

Anyone who is using Google Reader for their RSS feeds has until July 1, 2013 to port those feeds to another service. An article by Caitlin McGarry at PC World has more detail as well as suggestions for other RSS services.

Laura Hazard Owen has a useful post on alternative options for the Google Reader as well.

Free NOOK Apps

Sorry…if I’d been paying attention yesterday. However, those of you with Nook Readers should know about “NOOK Free Fridays, a weekly program that allows NOOK customers to instantly download free content, now includes a different paid NOOK App™ for free. Every Friday, NOOK customers can download a different paid NOOK Book™ and new, favorite or bestselling app directly to their NOOK tablets, including the critically acclaimed NOOK® HD and NOOK® HD+. Read more at Digital Book World.

Just for Fun

A Lonely Planet Rescue

Okay, not what I was expecting, however, for you parents who like to camp or travel the world, it might not be a bad idea to get your kids the Lonely Planet’s Not for Parents series. Who knows? It might save your kid one day!

A Netflix for Kids’ Books!

Sarah Perez at Tech Crunch noted a new subscription service for children’s books.

Sproutkin is “a rental service where you pay to receive shipments of new books on a regular basis, but you don’t necessarily get to keep them.” Read more

Boosh Shares Books

Edward Nawotka at Publishing Perspectives notes that “A new UK start-up…called Boosh, is built around customers reading titles, then passing them to their Facebook friends who will be given the option to buy.

I am a bit confused on how this is supposed to work, especially when “Once a book has been read it will be deleted,” Roche adds, “but you are given three options: to buy a permanent digital or physical copy, to share the title with a friend or to recommend to your Facebook friends.” I can’t figure out if the first reader buys the book, recommends it (the share part), and then it gets deleted?? Doesn’t sound very fair to me. Read more

50 Shades of a Journal for Mom??

Oh, yeah…LOL…this is definitely what I’d get my mom for Mother’s Day. I wonder if it comes in black leather with buckles?

Seriously, Vintage Books and E.L. James will publish Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess on May 1, just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s a journal for readers and writers to “record their innermost thoughts” for a mere $16.99. Nothing like makin’ hay…read more if you’re all tied up wondering what to get mom.

Women of the Otherworld on TV!

Yup, Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series is being brought to TV as Bitten with production to start in April in Toronto. I can’t imagine the producers—No Equal Entertainment, Hoodwink Entertainment, and Entertainment One—won’t take advantage of the number of fans Armstrong has in the States… Keepin’ me fingers crossed!

Podcast Interviews with Kids’ Authors

There’s a list of podcast interviews with children’s and YA authors available at Publishers Weekly. The latest one was with M.A. Marr and K.L. Armstrong.

I can imagine all sorts of usefulness from these podcasts. First and foremost is that the kids might enjoy listening to their favorite authors talk about their favorite characters. As a parent, you might discover more about what makes your child tick—or fall in love! As a writer, the interviews may give you ideas of what other authors get asked. Give you a chance to prepare for your own debut! Or if you’re thinking of making your own podcasts, these will give you an idea of how others have structured theirs.

Dr. Seuss Cakes

These are some fun cakes! Parents, check ’em out for your kids’ upcoming birthdays! Hey, just check it out to laugh…

More fun food from Anna who creates a bento lunch based on Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. I…I feel so inadequate…

Your Child’s Reading

Jonathan Owen has a thoughtful article on helping your kids learn new words. Seems it’s a good thing when your child wants to hear the same story over and over and over and ov…

Winners of the Books for a Better Life Award

Publishers Weekly has a post on the “2013 Books for a Better Life Awards Winners“.

Winner of the Man Asian Prize

Richard Lea at The Guardian posted that “Tan Twan Eng has won the 2012 Man Asian prize with his novel, The Garden of Evening Mists“. It was also “shortlisted for last year’s Booker prize”.

Total Boox is another Pay-As-You-Go Entry

Digital Book World has a post on another service, Total Boox, with a variation on how you pay for your books. I like the idea—you pay for as much as you read. If you get five pages in and decide you hate it. You only pay for the five pages instead of the whole book! Be a bit challenging for the OCD like me who feel compelled to read the whole thing, but…hmmm…I’d be tempted to work on that!

Medallion Reader App

I wasn’t sure where to slot this bit of news as it’s pertinent to writers, publishers, and readers. Publishers Weekly notes that “Medallion Media Group and Medallion Press have released MMG Sidekick app, an e-book reading app that will allow consumers to buy and read Medallion Press titles as well as DRM-free titles. The app also comes installed with Medallion Press’s TREEBook technology, reading software designed to enhance the reading experience by supporting time triggers and multiple-plot lines embedded in specially designed Medallion e-books.” Read more

New Robert Louis Stevenson Essay Found

Jenny Hendrix at Jacket Copy notes that “A brief, long-lost essay by Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson will be published on Friday, the Associated Press reports. The essay will appear in Strand Magazine, a mystery fiction quarterly out of Birmingham, Michigan. Strand has previously uncovered famous authors’ unpublished works”.


Holocaust Survivor Doesn’t Survive Book

The Brandon Sun posted an article on a newly signed book by “One of the youngest Holocaust survivors saved by Oskar Schindler”. Leon Leyson’s The Boy on the Wooden Box was completed just before he died. Publication is scheduled for August 27 by Atheneum.

On the one hand, I feel so sad that he’s died and will miss that particular joy of seeing his book in print. On the other hand, I’m grateful that he was able to finish his story so the world won’t miss out on it.

Amazon’s Cut Impacts Specialist and Minor Authors

Tom Whitehead at The Telegraph notes that “If authors sell their books directly through Amazon’s Kindle site the company will hand over 70 % of all sales, providing the cover price is between $2.99 and $9.99 (€1.98 and €6.60). Any books priced above that will be given only 35 % royalties”. It’s not much better for smaller publishers either. Read more

Class Action Lawsuit against PublishAmerica

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware has a rather terrifying post about a class action lawsuit against PublishAmerica. Authors should definitely give this a read and make note of the issues for your own future signings!

Writing Tips

Upcoming Writing Conferences

I’m not endorsing these, I’m simply relating the information.

Date Location Conference/Workshop About
Mar 18 – Apr 14
Online STRAIGHT-TEXT EPUB with Colleen Cunningham Convert your straight-text content and develop an ebook that’s ready to publish on iBooks, Nook Color, Nook Touch, Kindle Touch, or Kindle Fire.M
April 17
Sale price of $1,295.00 ends on Mar 22; $1395 after
New York City paidContent Live: Riding the Transformation of the Media industry Discount available through Facebook
May 2-5
Currently on sale for $350
Oxford, Mississippi Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference & Workshops
May 3-5
$75 to $480
Boston The Muse & the Marketplace 2013 Overview & Details. There is a range of prices depending on if you choose 1, 2, or 3 days and/or the little extras and if you are a member of Grubstreet.

Looking for Writers

Genreville is looking for contributing short story writers for Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. They want shorts that “focus on and amplify the voices of people who have been pushed to the margins. What was it like to be a Mayan laborer when the conquistadors showed up? To be a newly freed slave trying to start a business after the U.S. Civil War? To be transgender in Elizabethan England?” Read more…

70 Years of New York Times Archives

Talk about a treasure chest! IF you have purchased home-delivery of the New York Times, that is. If you have, then you can access 70 years of the paper simply by entering the date in which you are interested.

A free option is supposed to be possible through your local library system. I didn’t have much luck with the Denver Library and its newspaper databases. Oh,yeah, the ProQuest version was there, but clicking the links resulted in blank pages.

Resource on Fights and Battles

Just the sound of this book has me thinking of it as a resource on useful battle scenes, brawls, duel scenarios, etc. Then there’s the possibilities of using battle strategies, pinning down useful events for ideas for a novel. Check out Ben Thompson’s Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch: Skull-Crushing True Stories of the Most Hardcore Duels, Showdowns, Fistfights, Last Stands, Suicide Charges, and Military Engagements of All Time. It’s a bit of a misnomer, but it sounds like fun!

Software to Harness Your Productivity

Nope, I haven’t tried it, but it sounds interesting and I thought I’d pass along a mention from Joe Warnimont about Producteev‘s existence to you.

Mac- and PC-compatible, it also has apps for smartphones. Joe says it’s

“…everything a freelance writer needs: document uploading, task list, scheduling and more. …I don’t use it for handling my big projects or article submissions, but this could probably work for those too”.

The site says it has “labels, and reminders, to powerful file sharing capabilities and real-time tracking tools, our application makes task management a breeze. Build custom filters to sort and prioritize your workload, sync calendars to stay in touch from multiple devices, and assign tasks to others on your team, or in the social web” with email and social media integration”.

Hey, it’s free for individuals ($20 per month for teams, i.e, two or more), so you might like to try it out.

Where to Find Ideas to Blog On

I liked this inspirational piece by Joe Warnimont on where he gets his blogging ideas.

Publisher Looking for Outdoor Mysteries

Adventure Publications, “an award-winning publisher of outdoor guides”, is looking for mysteries that focus on the outdoors and/or the wilderness. “The books will be produced in print and ebook formats. Examples of authors we love are Nevada Barr, Victoria Houston, C.J. Box, William Kent Krueger and Beth Groundwater. Currently, we are seeking novels set in the Midwest, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast and Rocky Mountains. Email your submission to Fiction AT Adventure Publications“.

Their rules state that:

  1. Email queries sent to any other address will not be read.
  2. We do not open email attachments, unless we request them. Your entire submission must appear in the body of the email and not as an attachment.
  3. The subject line should be “QUERY” along with the title of your manuscript.
  4. Please email the first chapter and a synopsis along with a cover letter.
  5. In your email, include:
    1. The number of words in your completed manuscript
    2. Bio and pertinent writing and/or outdoor wilderness experience

If you prefer, you may snail-mail your query, along with your first chapter and bio, to: Adventure Publications, 820 Cleveland St S, Cambridge, MN 55008.

Another Book for the Research Pile

Admittedly, I chose to read this for purely prurient reasons, but the author, Joel F. Harrington, over on Publishers Weekly has made me think differently. This sounds like an interesting book with a lot of historical detail on the life of an executioner in Nuremberg, Germany, from 1578-1618. Harrington mentions how he and his family were treated as well as the added skills Frantz Schmidt picked up. Check out the article. I suspect you’ll want to read the book, The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth (being released March 19, 2013 in hardcover).

5 Tips From a Non-Fiction Writer

Not only an interesting article in its own right, Blake Bailey has some good tips for writers of non-fiction.

The Publishing Business

Dymocks Shuts eBook Side

Caitlin Fitzsimmons at BRW has posted an article regarding Dymocks has shut down its D Publishing experiment. Just in case anyone was considering or has a book with them…

Roz Morris’ Cover Design Approach

This is a clever idea—then again, it’s always best to approach an issue and not incorporate yes/no answers! Find out what Roz has to say

Judy Collins has some suggestions on better back covers.

Measured Reaction on Hydra Contracts

Yet another person weighs in on the RandomHouse/Hydra controversy mentioned in the last Hodgepodge.

Being fair, Bob Mayer at Digital Book World writes about the controversy over the Hydra contracts, pointing out the good and the bad of it. Read more…

Hmmm, I agree with this latest entry in the Hydra vs SFWA wars…pass the popcorn!…while we see if all this negative publicity ends up with the SFWA boycotting Random House…and possibly Penguin.

Well, the SFWA has fired off a letter to Random…*hey, stop hogging the popcorn!*

Seems the SFWA made some points when Allison Dawson, v-p and digital publishing director for Hydra, Alibi, Loveswept, and Flirt made some changes. Jeremy Greenfield interviews her and made some changes. Publishers Weekly has a more summarized post.

Image-Editing Tools

A post by Sharon Hurley Hall at Ragan’s PR Daily has a list of twenty-two image editing tools (including for your smartphone!) that I thought could be useful. She does include a quick synopsis on each—along with the all-important price.

Free Legal Contracts

Docracy is offering free contracts to cover most situations. Just heard of it, haven’t used it. Yet.

Hybrid Publishing Stories

Judith Rosen over at Publishers Weekly talks with Brenda Peterson about her “podmates”, a pool of professionals who assisted her with readying Drowning World for publishing.

Bob Mayer at Digital Book World interviews Marie Force on her traditional and self-publishing experiences.

Jeremy Greenfield on Forbes notes that Jennifer L. Armentrout (as J. Lynn) has hit number one on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list. It includes a link to an article by Dan Lubart on how the system works.

Sylvia Day has a great deal with Harlequin for a two-book deal.

A Book is a Start-Up Company

Betsy Morais at The New Yorker posts on how a book is like a start-up business. And it does make sense!

Marketing News

Half-Hearted Response on Social Media Marketing

I think I was expecting more from Gabe Habash’s post, “How to Launch a Social Media Marketing Campaign“, and there are some interesting bits about using Twitter you may like to check out.

Amazon wants .book Domain

Eeek! This doesn’t sound good. Amazon is pushing at ICANN for its very own domain, .book. Not the sort of thing I’d’ve thought domain names were for… Read more…

Bookseller Practices

Well this is a switch. I keep reading about how awful publishers are and now Iain Dale (a publisher! and a former Conservative politician, so take it with a grain of salt) is revealing some of the extortionate practices of booksellers in England. Makes you wonder what happens here in the States. Read more

How Many Copies to be an Amazon Bestseller

That’s Gabe Habash’s question over on Publishers Weekly, and he does a nice breakdown to give authors an idea. Y’all might like to check it out.

Howey Speaks Out on Realities of Self-Publishing

Calvin Reid at Printers Weekly has an interesting article on self-publishing versus traditional. I particularly like the “cheeky rebuttals” made by Howey: “…while there are big successes, e-book self-publishing should be measured by the number of writers receiving real income from publishing, not financial windfalls.” Definitely food for thought

Ideas for Book Merchandising

This was an interesting site I stumbled onto and it promotes all sorts of gift ideas that are literally about reading, authors, books, etc. I’m passing the site address on to you simply as a stimulus. If you’re hunting for ways to monetize your book, series, blog, whatever, the Reader’s Niche may stimulate your own thinking.

Social Media Don’ts

This almost needs to be a permanent subheading under Marketing as often as the topic comes up. Kristen Lamb had a good post that was short and to the point about what not to do with your Tweets, and she includes a nice bit about some of the add-ons that are supposed to make an author’s life easier. Ahem.

Apple to Sell Used eBooks

“Apple joins Amazon in its quest to establish a marketplace for used ebooks. Amazon received approval for its patent for a used ebook marketplace in February.” Read more…

Bookstores Sign Exclusive Deals

Dennis Abrams over at Publishing Perspectives posts that UK bookstore chains are signing exclusive deals to compete with the online retailers. “For instance, customers who purchase the new Joanne Harris paperback Peaches for Monsieur le Cure (excellent by the way!) from Waterstones when it is released later this month will get the bonus of an added chapter not included in books sold anywhere else, after the book chain signed off an exclusive deal with the author.”

Smart Book Marketing

Ooh, Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer has a very useful post—with list!—on offline marketing. Short, sweet, and easily read!

Picture Books as eBooks

Intriguing article by Judith Rosen over at Publishers Weekly regarding picture books and digital publishing. If you’re writing (or thinking of it!) children’s books, it behooves you to check out what the Association of Writers and Writing Programs has to say.

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