A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – Mid-July 2013

Posted July 15, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Building Your Own Website, Conference/Workshop, Hodgepodge Newsletter, Marketing, Publishing, Writing

Contents of this Post

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

The Hodgepodge is a collection of bits and pieces for people who love reading and books, and writers who are interested in improving their writing skills, want to know more about the publishing business, are kicking and screaming their way into marketing their work, and ideas and coding for author websites.

In the TOC (to the right), posts that share a common theme—Bookstores, Kids, Social Media, etc.—are in ALL CAPS.

In General

Entrepreneur Books to Read

Joshua Steimle at Forbes has a useful post on “Books I Wish I Had Read Before I Became An Entrepreneur“. I liked his introduction to this with his history of when he first started his small business and his analysis of what he likes about each of these books was inspiring.


Apple Loses

Andrew Albanese Publishers Weekly reports on “Apple’s big loss in the eBook pricing trial“. That it all came down to “the case did in fact come down to whether Apple would be able to persuade Cote that the facts in the case should not be analyzed as a per se violation of the Sherman Act. A per se violation essentially means that the facts of the case establish conduct so clearly outside the law that the court condemns it without regard to motivating factors (for example, to combat Amazon’s below-cost pricing). On this crucial point, Apple failed.” One should keep in mind that “In the final analysis, Cote concluded, ‘it is essential to remember that the antitrust laws were enacted for “the protection of competition, not competitors.”‘”

Jeremy Greenfield at Digital Book World has a useful post that sums up what the case was about. I’m pasting the background information below:

On April 11, 2012, the department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Apple, Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, which does business as Macmillan, Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Simon & Schuster Inc., for conspiring to end e-book retailers’ freedom to compete on price by taking control of pricing from e-book retailers and substantially increasing the prices that consumers paid for e-books.

At the same time that it filed the lawsuit, the department reached settlements with three of the publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Those settlements were approved by the court in September 2012. The department settled with Penguin on Dec. 18, 2012, and with Macmillan on Feb. 8, 2013. The Penguin settlement was approved by the court in May 2013. Final approval of the Macmillan settlement is pending before the court. Under the settlements, each publisher was required to terminate agreements that prevented e-book retailers from lowering the prices at which they sell e-books to consumers and to allow for retail price competition in renegotiated e-book distribution agreements.

The department’s trial against Apple, which was overseen by Judge Denise Cote, began on June 3, 2013. The trial lasted for three weeks, with closing arguments taking place on June 20, 2013. The court has not yet scheduled a hearing to address the parties’ proposed remedies.

I do wonder why no one in the government has taken Amazon.com to court…? You’ll wonder too after reading Michael Clarke’s post at Scholarly Kitchen, “Why the Apple Ebook Ruling is a Loss for Publishers, Authors, and Readers“.

Jessica E. Lessin at the Wall Street Journal adds in her post, “Why Is Apple Still Wrangling Over E-Books?” a little bit Don Quixote, a little bit Adam Smith, and a little bit Amazon.com on Apple’s part to counteract the Amazon juggernaut.

Then there’s Salon‘s Laura Miller has made it easy for me to understand these different models that have been tossed around. It’s also one of the better post-trial articles I’ve read. And you might want to make note of the model definitions as it may affect how/where you sell your book.

Wholesale model is “the way that book publishers have sold printed books to bookstores and other outlets for years. The publisher sets a cover price for a book, sells it to a retailer at a discount (typically 50 percent) and then the retailer can sell the book to consumers for whatever price it chooses.”

Agency model is a commission basis in which “the retailer offers the book to consumers at a price the publisher sets and gets a percentage of whatever sales are made. It’s rare for print books to be sold in this way, but it’s the method Apple uses to sell content like music and apps in its iTunes store.”

Most favored nation model (MFN) requires publishers to sell to all booksellers at the same price (Johnson).

Power Shift in Book Publishing

Sam Gustin at Time Business has an article, “Apple Verdict Marks Digital Power Shift in Book Publishing” in which “Mark Lemley, a Stanford law school professor and antitrust expert” believes that “the settlement limits publishers’ ability to influence the retail price of e-books, underscoring their waning power as the industry hurtles toward a future in which most books are bought and read in digital form.”

Oooh, mama, Jane at Dear Author has her own interpretation as to what set off Amazon’s “70/30 model for KDP” and that’s Amazon’s “anger with publishers”. A program that was launched “on January 20, right after they were feeling the brunt of the combined shaft of Apple and Macmillan and knowing what was coming down the pike with the rest of the publishers.” It’s almost as good as a fictional thriller.

Just for Fun

Bookstores

California

Williams’ Bookstore in San Pedro is closing after 101 years.

The New Fillmore reports that the status of Marcus Books in San Francisco, “the oldest black bookstore in the nation,” is still unsettled, and the community has rallied to rescue “the store and to try to persuade Nishan and Suhaila Sweis, the couple who bought Marcus Books’ building in April, to sell it for the $1.6 million they paid plus a $50,000 profit. But the Sweises want $3.2 million.”

In Santa Barbara, Granada Books celebrated its grand opening last month.

In San Francisco, Adobe Books closed its 3166-16th Street location and re-opened on July 13 at 3130 24th Street as Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative.

Florida

Jon Mayes of Perseus Book Group has profiled the Family Book Shop in DeLand on his blog, advanced reading copy, a new and used bookstore that is for sale. “Never have I seen such a huge gathering of books, especially paperbacks (in which they specialize) under one roof,” he wrote.

The WPTV Web Team reports that “Barnes and Noble at CityPlace has closed for good. Area bibliophiles can still find books at Classic Bookshop in Palm Beach.

Massachusetts

Judith Rosen a Publishers Weekly mentions that Food for Thought is struggling to stay open due to the 40% drop in textbook sales and the I-want-this-right-now culture created by Amazon.

Michigan

Vickie Thomas with CBS Detroit reports on “Highland Park Citizens Protest Disposal Of Black History Books“, and I gotta wonder WTF? This is a school! A school should respect books, history. Instead, Donald Witherspoon, the school’s emergency manager claims that the “disposal of 10,000 books, tapes and film strips from the school library” was a mistake. Oh, yeah, oops, I didn’t notice I tossed 10,000 books in the trashcan…

In Ann Arbor, Bookbound plans for a possible August opening at the Courtyard Shops on Plymouth Road and plans a mix from new books, a “generous children’s section” and a limited number of used books, the bargain book area will be a key category because of Peter’s experience. ‘One of the big things that is causing the brick and mortar bookstores to suffer is the competition from Amazon and other low-cost retailers,’ he said. ‘By throwing the bargain books in the mix, we’ll be able compete with Amazon.'”

New York

The Newsstand, a pop-up shop located at the Metropolitan Avenue subway station in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn until July 20, “has transformed an ordinary subway space into a store for independently published magazines, books, comics and zines.

The Enigma Bookstore will be opening at 33-17 Crescent Street in Astoria by the end of summer and cater to niche readers of sci-fi, fantasy and mystery reads.

In Massena, Dolly’s Bookstore and Internet Café opened July 2 at 18 Romeo Avenue with a “wide selection of books and a café with coffee, tea, water and assorted pastries, plus free wi-fi”.

La Casa Azul Bookstore opened a “200-square-foot stall that will be open from Tuesday to Sunday, and specialize in books and programming for children. A storytime session is scheduled for Saturday mornings, and on Fridays the shop will host art-making classes. It opened on July 6 at the La Marqueta and will close again on August 17.

Word Up Community Bookshop, which raised $60,000 through an IndieGoGo campaign late last year as part of its quest for a new space”, will celebrate its grand opening on July 26 “at 2113 Amsterdam Avenue at 165th Street in Manhattan.”

North Carolina

Fireside Books & Gifts has moved to 212 South Lafayette Street in Shelby and opened July 8. It offers coffee, a place to sit and read, and free WiFi to enjoy the atmosphere” and will “host author events, children’s story time with staff members dressed up as story book characters, wine and beer tastings and book clubs”.

Oklahoma

Bree Steffen at KFOR reports that the 83-year-old Aladdin Book Shoppe has reached its final chapter due to the owners’ health issues.

Tennessee

Book Stop Plus on Bartlett Road will close its doors after 31 years.

Texas

An innovative space-sharing idea enabled then-Domy Books to become Farewell bookstore over on Cesar Chavez Street in Austin.

Meanwhile, the Domy Books in Houston closed on July 14 and is being transformed into an art gallery, the Brandon.

Virginia

Books-a-Million is open at its temporary location, the Potomac Mills in Woodbridge while they build the new store.

A World Trip to Interesting Bookstores

Jemima Sissons at the Wall Street Journal has a post, “Truly Novel Bookstores“, on five fascinating bookstores throughout the world: a Dominican church, a barge, an avant garde space specializing in limited editions as opposed to the store that prefers the absurd and unusual, and last, a 10,000sqft bookstore that specializes in old, rare, and unusual.

Australia

AllBooks4less.com.au “has been placed in administration” with the death of its company director Paul Alford. Patrick Stafford at Smart Company provides additional reasons for its collapse.

Sean Smith at The West.com.au notes that Melbourne-based DA Information Services was also placed in administration last Friday.

Canada

Jennifer Goldberg at The Globe and Mail reports that the “World’s oldest operating LGBT bookstore revitalized by community“, Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto, is surviving the current economy thanks to community members who pooled their cash.

England

Benedicte Page at The Bookseller reports that “The Lion & Unicorn Bookshop in Richmond, London, is to close after 36 years.”

Hong Kong

Amy Nip at the South China Morning Post has a confusing post as well about Sino United Publishing and its projected launch of Super Book City later this month.

“About 1,000 new e-books will be available on the platform” with eBook prices 20-30 percent lower than their print counterparts. However, the eBooks must be downloaded to a mobile app. Nip notes that the eBook phenomena has been slower to catch on in Asia.

Reasons to Support Your Local Bookstore

I did like Felicity Rubinstein’s last reason for supporting local bookstores, although I do disagree with it. If anything, being able to self-publish seems more likely to keep the variety coming.

And somehow, I suspect I might be wrong…?

They Grew Up at the Store

This post by Josie Leavitt at Publishers Weekly made me smile. If ever there was an excellent reason to own a bookstore, it’s “They Grew Up at the Store“.

Christian Bookstores Succeeding Where B&N is Not

Mark Garrison at Marketplace Business notes that “independent Christian book retailers are growing“.

Well, I’d suspect B&N’s problem is their lack of community…


Where the Wilds Things Are isn’t at Kickstarter

Joe Mullin at ArsTechnica says it turns out that Geoffrey Todd and Rich Berner’s attempt at an homage to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is a nonstarter with “lawyers at HarperCollins, which owns the copyright to Sendak’s classic book”, shutting it down.


Tablets and eReaders

The Book: Fetish? Not? Art?

Rachel Arons at the New Yorker has an interesting post with a deceptive headline, “INTERNET BOOK FETISHISTS VERSUS ANTI-FETISHISTS“, which discusses the love readers have for books versus eReaders. Her post then goes to mention the book as art. It is interesting with some silly bits—a perfume spray to make your eReader smell like a book?? I dunno, I might like that spray for a library book I finished reading yesterday afternoon. It was too obvious it had been read by a smoker…ughh…

A Sweet Tale of Print

You will want to read Elizabeth Bluemle’s post, “Back to the Future” for a young man’s perspective on why he prefers print over his eReaders. It’ll make ya smile…

Tablets on Sale from B&N, Amazon

As B&N slashes prices to get rid of their tablets, Amazon is matching them in Europe and the U.S. This could be the time to spend, ladies and gentlemen! check out what Laura Hazard Owens has to say over at Gigacom about “Amazon and Barnes & Noble slash prices on tablets in Europe“.

Amazon Kindle Now Available in China

The Ecns.cn reports that “Kindle now available on Chinese mainland” providing information on models and their costs.

Nintendo Entering the eBook Children’s Market

Michael Kozlowski at Good E-reader points out that “Nintendo is looking to get into the ebook business and will soon be opening up a children’s store on its handheld 3DS gaming system. Currently the company has purchased the rights to 300 Japanese children’s books and will begin releasing them in September. Each title will retail for 700 to 800 yen and are mainly centered on Action, Heroics, and Fantasy.”


Book Social Networking Sites

Publisher’s New Social Media Site?

I think FaberShop is a new book readers’ social media site—if you’re reading Faber-published books. It’s difficult to tell from reading their press release, “UK’s Faber Launches Custom Bookshop on Site The Book People“.


Flicks

Orson Scott Card Pleads for Tolerance

Ben Child at The Guardian notes that gay activitists have been calling for a boycott of Orson Scott Card’s book-turned-flick, Ender’s Game due to the author’s anti-gay and anti-gay marriage stance (and his support of nonprofits campaigning against it) with Scott Card claiming that the Supreme Court’s ruling makes his opinions moot. Yeah, and the Supreme Court never goes back to change a ruling…

I find this rather hypocritical that Orson Scott Card is begging moviegoers to not boycott Ender’s Game simply because he, the author, is anti-gay, and anti-gay marriage. Sure, being pro-gay or anti-gay has nothing to do with a movie or a book, but he’s using the proceeds to promote his anti-gay stance—Scott Card is a board member of the National Organization for Marriage, a nonprofit that formed to ban gay marriage. So, while Scott Card isn’t capable of being tolerant, he still wants us to tolerate his beliefs??? How does that work?

Read more on Prachi Gupta at Salon‘s post, “Orson Scott Card: Gay marriage issue has become ‘moot’“.

Ben Child at The Guardian has written an article, “Milk writer brands Ender’s Game boycott ‘misguided’” in which Dustin Lance Black, an award-winning writer and LGBT campaigner, believes that positive efforts would be more effective than negative ones such as this boycott.

Encyclopedia Brown Coming to the Screen

Borys Kit at the Hollywood Reporter tells us that Donald J. Sobol‘s Encyclopedia Brown stories are in final negotiations with Warner Bros. to pick up the movie rights. Not what Sobol wanted for his stories.

Slaughterhouse-Five Getting the Rewrite as a Screenplay

Scott Beggs at Film School Rejects gives us the scoop on Charlie Kaufman writing the screenplay for Guillermo del Toro to direct Slaughterhouse-Five.

Chris Weitz’s Young World Snapped Up

Borys Kit at The Hollywood Reporter notes that “after a heated auction Friday, Warner Bros. won a bidding war to secure the rights to The Young World, the first in an original trilogy of post-apocalyptic YA novels by filmmaker-turned-novelist Chris Weitz.”

Outlander Series Has Its Jamie!

Barbara Vey of Publishers Weekly reports that “Diana Gabaldon’s extremely popular Outlander series is set to have 16 episodes on Starz in 2014. Filming will begin in September in Scotland. t has been officially announced that Sam Heughan (a real life Scot) has been cast as Jamie Fraser. While he may not be known to many Americans, Diana Gabaldon has said, ‘Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart.'”

The Book Thief Coming in November

A movie adaptation of The Book Thief is scheduled for release November 15, 2013 with “newcomer Sophie Nelisse as the titular heroine Liesel, a young girl who is shipped off to live with a foster family in Nazi Germany. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors as well as with the Jewish man her parents are hiding in their basement. Directed by Brian Percival (Downton Abbey), the movie will also star Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson.

Trash is Picked Up

Kevin Jagernauth at The Playlist informs us that Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Andy Mulligan’s Trash is moving forward.

Ben Affleck Cast in David Fincher’s Gone Girl

Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon reports that Ben Affleck will star in David Fincher’s Gone Girl with Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, and Emily Blunt being eyed for female lead.

Them Self-Help Books Don’t Work!

Check out this three-minute flick, The Bookstore in which Eva “goes to the bookstore and tries to return her self-help books that she claims aren’t working”. Written, directed, and produced by Iris Huey, you’ll get a kick out of it. It’s cute, clever, and very well done…be sure to watch through to the end. Who says that self-help didn’t work, LOL?


Libraries Rediscover Authors and Books

Actually, it’s more that the libraries were able to go back to authors and books instead of being trapped in the tech spiral. Alan S. Inouye at Digital Book World notes that the “ALA Annual Conference: Re-discovering authors and books” has launched Authors for eBook Lending and concerns about digital preservation.


Awards

Second Annual Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence

Each author took home their medals and $5,000 prizes.

Will Eisner Graphic Novel Award for Libraries

Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly notes that The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Award was “established last year in memory of Will Eisner (1917-2005), an acclaimed comics artist and considered one of the most innovative and influential comics creators in the history of the comics medium.” The winning librarians’ libraries will receive “a collection of the graphic novels nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, presented each year at the San Diego Comic-Con International, the entire Will Eisner backlist, a $2,000 voucher to purchase graphic novels and a $1000 for a comics-related event at their libraries.” Très cool…

  • Julia Simpson, branch manager of the Auburn Public Library in Georgia
  • Jude Shanzer, director of the East Meadow Public Library in New York
  • Beth Adcock, librarian at the Middlebury Community Public Library in Indiana

National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal

The National Humanities Medal is given to people or groups whose work is judged to deepen the nation’s understanding of the humanities or expand Americans’ access to the humanities. Okay, there are others besides authors who received this honor, but I’m only tellin’ ya about the writers. Explore Erin Banco’s post to see who else was honored.

  • George Lucas, the producer, screenwriter, director and creator of the “Star Wars” sagas
  • Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright
  • Elaine May, writer, director and comedian
  • Ernest J. Gaines
  • Joan Didion, the novelist and essayist
  • Frank Deford, a sportswriter and novelist best known for his appearances on National Public Radio and “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO
  • Kay Ryan, a former poet laureate of the United States
  • Robert B. Silvers, a co-founder of The New York Review of Books
  • Robert Putnam
  • Marilynne Robinson
  • Anna Deavere Smith, the playwright and actress

Winner of Book Illustration Competition

Book Patrol notes that Finn Dean has won this year’s competition with his drawings for Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. “The annual event, co-sponsored by the non-profit House of Illustration and The Folio Society, invites artists and illustrators from around the world to focus their energies on illustrating the same book.”

Lithuania’s Cross of the Knight of the Order for Ruta Sepetys

“Ruta Sepetys was awarded Lithuania’s Cross of the Knight of the Order … for her novel Between Shades of Gray and ‘her continued global work sharing the little-known history of Stalin’s ethnic cleansing in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.'”

ABA and Its Debut Authors

“Two panels of booksellers chose the titles … as the best of the upcoming fall debuts.”


Read to Re-Think About Reading

The following list is from an interview Jeremy Greenfield posted at Forbes with Corey Pressman, founder of Exprima Media, in which he claims “you will never think about reading the same way again”.

2013 Branford Boase Awards

Dave Shelton and his editor David Fickling have won for A Boy and a Bear in a Boat (David Fickling Books), in a ceremony at Walker Books in London. The award recognizes both the author of a first novel and his or her editor. It’s the third win for Fickling, who has now has won three times, more than any other editor. Children’s authors, you may want to put him on your contact list…


T*H*E   E*N*D

Corey Pressman at Digital Book World explores the ancient practice of annotation in “Ancient Marginalia: The Eternal Ellipses” as well as print as closure, finality whereas digital reading experiences don’t have to be the last word.

Where “fifteenth century printers often added terminal formulae to their works to underscore finality. Final pages of the books abound with Et sic est finis, ‘Thus endeth this worke’, and most unambiguously, ‘THE END’, with the digital world, “the book may end, but content never ends. It is the middle of an influence stream, a discussion (for nonfiction) and the middle of some larger tale (for fiction) … the start of something – content inspires infinite discussions with and between readers. Hence those wide margins and myriad manicules of the early days.”

Today, “we can design beyond FINIS and allow content an even more dynamic life than the ancient shared scrolls enjoyed. Features like shared marginalia, group discussion, transmedia, dynamic content, and personalized content will return the eternal ellipses to the end, of the beginning…”


Sci-Fi for People Who Hate Sci-Fi

Oh, this The Guardian post by Damien Walter on “Five science fiction novels for people who hate SFM” could be horrorific. As Walter points out, science fiction is all around us with government surveillance, flying death drones, robotic employees, and 3D printing (yeah!). Considering how much of sci-fi has come true, some of the books Walter suggests are just a bit more terrifying than this.


A Concise History of Penguin and Random House

Scroll about halfway down this article in the Independent to read this quickie and interesting synopsis of each publishing house.


Get a Minor in Book Studies!

Publishers Weekly reports that “Goucher College, in Baltimore, Maryland, is starting an undergraduate concentration called Book Studies. The program, open to students this fall, is an 18-credit interdisciplinary minor that will, the university explained, “explore the past, present, and future of the book.”


Kids

The Mom From The Cat in the Hat Finally Speaks

If you like Dr. Seuss, you will enjoy this interview conducted by Sarah Schmelling at the New York Times, and it will resonate with your own mom days!

Kids and Book Clubs

Do read Elizabeth Bluemle post on the “Impromptu Book Club“. A reassuring tale.

Etsy a Resource for Kids’ Books

“Etsy might not be the first place you’d think of to buy children’s books but there’s a surprisingly interesting selection, mostly from small or indie publishers or published by the authors themselves.”

Best Reason to Get a Subscription for Your Kids

“The biggest pain we saw in most tablet reading experiences is that for a kid to choose a new book to read, they need to beg Mom and Dad to buy it for them. A subscription model means this friction disappears – kids are empowered to drive the entire process of choosing what they want to read, which is hugely motivating.

This is from an interview, “Reward Kids To Encourage Reading: Q and A With Founder Of Bookboard” by Beth Bacon at Digital Book World with Nigel Pegg at Bookboard, a subscription-based children’s digital book company.


Reading is a Healthy Exercise

I love it! My kind of exercise!! Marina Koren at Salon has a lovely post that will give me the opportunity to tell my doctor that yes, I’m getting lots of exericse. “Being a lifelong bookworm may keep you sharp in old age” with new research suggesting that reading and writing can slow down cognitive decline.


Death of the Physical Textbook

Ellen Lee with USA Today expounds on the “Death of the textbook—and the 50-pound bookbag“. It almost makes me want to go back to school, if only for the joy of the lighter backpack and less expensive books!


Get London Reading: Harry Potter inspired me to get reading despite my dyslexia, says Princess Beatrice

Anna Davis with the London Evening Standard promotes the free Get Reading Festival that occurred on July 13 with Princess Beatrice one of the personalities supporting the event. It was “a magical reading extravaganza to celebrate books and inspire children to read”. And aren’t we grateful that we’ve learned so much about this disability and have brought it out of the closet…! The number of children today who don’t have to endure those taunts of stupid!


George R.R. Martin’s Vision of the Iron Throne


Image courtesy of Marc Simonetti

Check out the illustration Marc Simonetti painted for Martin of how he sees the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones.


Frommer’s Travels in Reverse

Julie Bosman at the Financial Review reports that Google has sold Frommer’s brand of travel guides back to Arthur Frommer!


U of T library Exhibition Celebrates Canadian Small Presses

Emma Renda at Quill & Quire‘s Quillblog notes that the “University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is featuring a new exhibition, “A Death Greatly Exaggerated: Canada’s Thriving Small and Fine Press“, which showcases “the craft of the printed book and the small presses that keep the art form alive”.

If you can’t get there from your here, check out the YouTube video that “offers highlights of the exhibition”.


The Rock Bottom Remainders Book It Out

LOL, this definitely qualifies as fun. The Rock Bottom Remainders, a terrible band consisting of famous authors, has put out Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All in eBook and iBook format. Their playing together was both an outlet for frustration and using their names to raise money for charities. Now they’ve put together “the behind-the-scenes, uncensored story of their two decades of friendship, love, writing, and the redemptive power of rock’n’roll in a first-of-its-kind interactive nonfiction e-book.

Band members include Stephen King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Matt Groening, Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., James McBride, Ridley Pearson, Greg Iles, Sam Barry, and Roger McGuinn.

Sadly

Richard Matheson, Dead at 87

Greg Cox at Tor.com provides a postscript, “Six Degrees of Richard Matheson“. (He wrote the I am Legend short story that became the movie with Will Smith.) Click here for a list of Matheson’s books.

Oliver Bernard, Dead at 87

This is scary. Two writers dead at 87. Oliver Bernard “is a British poet and translator of Rimbaud and Apollinaire who ‘led a life of dazzling variety’, died last month”.

Francis Ray Dead Wednesday, July 3rd

Francis Ray was the author of over 50 books, including family sagas, romance, mainstream, and Christian fiction. Per this post by Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly, Ray “established The Turning Point Legal Fund to assist women of domestic violence to help restructure their lives. Her novel Incognito holds the distinction of being the first BET made-for-TV movie.”

F.D. Reeve, Dead at 84

Douglas Martin at The New York Times reports on the life and death of F.D. Reeve, a respected poet and translator of Russian works. Oh, yeah, he was also Christopher Reeve’s dad…

Gaéten Soucy, Dead at 54

I hate it when a good author dies. I hate it even more when it’s too soon! Stuart Woods at Quill & Quire‘s blog provides a short synopsis of Gaétan Soucy’s life, an author whose work was “known for their inventive wordplay, fractured narratives, and Gothic themes.” Check out this list of Soucy’s work.


Good Thing the Government Smacked that Naughty Apple…

…leaves Amazon free to raise prices, or as David Streitfeld of The New York Times puts it, “As Competition Wanes, Amazon Cuts Back Discounts“. Not to worry for those of us who enjoy the fun reading, Amazon is only “raising” prices on the more scholarly tomes. So far…


B&N Profitable

Matt Townsend at Bloomberg Businessweek notes that “Bookstores Not Dead Yet as Riggio Bets on Barnes & Noble“. And it’s true. All the negatives have been focused on B&N’s NOOK and how it’s been dragging B&N down. Leonard Riggio, who built Barnes and Noble, intends to buy it back and rebuild it. Without NOOK. If you read this post, be sure to read the very last line…scary…


Chicago Sun-Times Focuses on Celebrities, Health, & Lifestyle – As Long as It Doesn’t Include Reading

Claire Kirch at Publishers Weekly informs us that the “Chicago Sun-Times, which fired all of its staff photographers a month ago, is dropping its book pages, effective July 14,…and all entertainment coverage, in what is currently the Sunday Show section, will be folded into the newspaper’s Splash section. The Splash section currently focuses on lifestyle, health, and celebrities.” Teresa Budasi, the Sun-Times Sunday Show/Books Editor, said they’ll likely focus on local authors. Fortunately, Chicago-area readers won’t have to go without, as the Chicago Tribune in spite of dropping “its stand-alone book section in 2008, … has stepped up its literary coverage, with the launch in 2012 of the stand-alone, [must-subscribe-to] Printers Row Journal“.


Google Books and the Fair Use Controversy

Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly writes in “Google Wins Appeal, Authors Guild Loses Class Action Status“, that the ruling by the “three-judge panel of the Second Circuit” vacating Judge Denny Chin’s 2011 ruling is a “major blow to the Authors Guild” by tossing out the Guild’s class action suit to stop Google’s library scanning project.

I ain’t buyin’ it…and I don’t see that District Court Judge Pierre N. Leval’s article, “Toward a Fair Use Standard” applies to Google scanning everybody’s books into a digital format. Just how is digital considered transformative??

Grimmelman’s post on “The Google Case Grinds On” indicates that “today’s ruling … is good news for Google straight down the line. The one remaining advance the Authors Guild had made in the past eight years of litigation has now been beaten back. Judicial assessments of Google Books have tipped, if ever so slightly, towards finding it definitively legal. And Google’s defense team has run another year off the clock.”


Author Solutions Case

Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly notes that the Apple judge, “Judge Denise Cote, has granted a motion allowing a group of authors more time to file an amended complaint in its suit against self-publishing service provider Author Solutions and its parent company, Penguin, and also agreed to a new schedule for the case.”


Instilling a Love for Reading

Maggie Brown at The Observer notes that “children miss out on [the] pleasures of reading a good book as their “busy parents are dropping bedtime stories and teachers lack time to instill a love of reading“.

A report, “Is Children’s Reading a Casualty of Modern Life?” … found that 82% of teachers blame the government’s ‘target-driven” education policies for the fact that fewer children are reading for pleasure … [due to] … a ‘straitjacket’ of regimented schooling … squeezing young people’s ability to read more widely. Two-thirds of teachers polled said they lacked time in the school day to introduce a variety of books and that this was a ‘major barrier to being able to develop a level of reading’.

I don’t know about England, but the teachers I know here in America are fed up with having to waste time cranking the kids up for learning to pass government-designed tests when they could be simply teaching their students.

If you’re passionate about education, do read the rest of the article.


The Taksim Square Book Club

“The ‘Standing Man‘ form of resistance in Turkey is currently making headlines internationally after weeks of violent confrontations between protesters and police, but another alternative version of resistance has been occurring in Istanbul since the beginning of the protest.

‘Public reading and informal education has been notable since the earliest days of the protest, but has since merged with the Standing Man to form ‘The Taksim Square Book Club,” ‘ Al Jazeera reported. These protesters stand silently and read books, and the ‘chosen reading material of many of those who take their stand is reflective, in part, of the thoughtfulness of those who have chosen this motionless protest to express their discontent.'”


Amazon’s Minnesota Affiliates Cut Off

On July 1, Amazon cut its affiliate program in Minnesota as the online sales tax law, Minnesota E-Fairness, took effect.

Writing Tips

Hugh Howey’s Intriguing Idea for Writers

Well, as a reader, I love this idea of Hugh Howey’s “What do Self-Published Authors Need?“. Who wouldn’t love to get paid to read someone’s book? I whine about what I don’t like in someone’s book anyway, and I’d much rather whine before it’s published as it may help the writer do a better job. And Howey’s idea to pay a reader a minute sum is reasonable.


August Wainwright’s Indie 50

Wow, plan on sitting down and spending a few hours checking out “The 50 Best Sites for Indie and Self-Published Authors” that August Wainwright has put together on his blog.


Free Software Program to Create ePubs

Rich Meyer at Indies Unlimited has a post discussing “Sigil: A New and Easy Way to Edit and Format EPUBs” a free WYSIWYG html editor “that anyone can use to create or edit EPUB documents. EPUB is, of course, the open source electronic publication format used by pretty much everyone, except Amazon. Amazon will, however, let authors upload their books in EPUB format, so this might give writers a little more direct control on how their books look to their readers.”

Read a review and/or download a copy of Sigil from CNET.


30-Day Challenge

Okay, I like this idea that Corey Eridon at HubSpot is passing on, the “30-Day Challenge: 8 Little Changes to Your Marketing That’ll Make a Big Impact“. It could be your marketing, lifting a 3-lb weight, making those sales calls, spending 30 minutes a day cleaning something in the house, anything that you’ve been avoiding…eek…


Infographic on Why Readers Stop


Is Nikki Kelly Wattpad’s Next Big Thing?

Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly provides another author’s, Nikki Kelly’s, perspective on using Wattpad to gain a publisher and/or agent. It simply bears out the need y’all have for that platform…


6 Editors Provide Tips on Making Your Writing the Best

The Guardian has a post, “Making your writing the best it can be: top tips from children’s books editors“, with tips from “all the editors shortlisted for this year’s Branford Boase award who share their top tips for new writers”.


Ghostwriting Can Make You Dead Inside

Anna Davies with Salon writes of “My dirty secret writing life when she ghostwrote a “mega-popular series of teen books under another name” and reckons that she may have made money but that she lost her voice, her identity, her passion.


The Teen Love Affair with Dystopia

Julia Eccleshare at The Guardian postulates that teens like dystopian adventures because “breaking and making … reflects the journey that adolescents have to navigate as they grow into adulthood … the anxiety of … how badly the natural resources in the planet are being looked after … [while] … they offer young readers the chance to think about what kind of world they would create for themselves if they could forge everything again … what they would save or lose … empower[ing] children by trusting them with roles far beyond reality. What’s not to love…?


What are Your Work Habits?

As Tim Sunderland at What If You Could Not Fail found out, agents and editors want to know “The Writer’s Work Habits“!


How Star Trek Helps Us with Showing Rather than Telling

Marcy Kennedy uses Star Trek to help explain the difference between show and tell, and it’s brilliant. You might want to bookmark this one!

And Kristen Lamb slips right in with Star Wars to demonstrate the difficulty of in media res (in the middle of things). She has two great examples that show the difference between “in the middle of” and “the beginning of time”.

I loved Lamb’s reasoning on why earlier books were so word-heavy and started back in the beginning, LOL…and why we can no longer do this. It’s so obvious, I can’t believe someone had to tell me!


10 Ways for an ADD Writer to be OOH! SHINY!…Productive

One of the things I like about Kristen Lamb is her ability to delivery hard facts while I’m LMAO. And her post on “10 Ways for an ADD Writer to be…OOH! SHINY!…Productive” is definitely full of hard facts…’scuse me…gotta pee, I’m laughing too hard…


Upcoming Writing Contests

These are contests which are soliciting entries; I’m not endorsing these, I’m simply relating the information.

Deadline Prize Contest Requirements
Contest is open from Jul 16-Nov 30, 2013
£5 entry fee
£5,000 advance

Physical and digital, or digital only, publishing deal

Telegraph Harvill Secker Crime Writing Competition Submit the first 5,000 words (English-only) of your crime novel, along with a detailed, two-page double-spaced synopsis of how the rest of the book unfolds, including the ending. The book does not have to be finished for you to enter, but you must have a detailed plan.

In keeping with the international nature of Harvill Secker’s profile, the crime book must contain an international element of some sort. It’s up to writers how they interpret this: it could be just a weapon that’s come from abroad, a character with a connection to another country, or the whole book could be set outside the UK. A significant international component does not, however, mean that a book will have a greater chance of winning.
Must be over 18.
Only open to those who have not had a novel published before and are not already signed with a literary agent. Click here forfull terms and conditions.

Upcoming Writing Conferences

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

Date Location Conference/Workshop About
July 17-20
On-Site Registration Only
Members: $600
Non-members: $675
Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia Romance Writers of America (RWA) The annual conference with “more than 2,100 published and aspiring romance writers, editors, agents, and other industry professionals in Atlanta, GA. Conference attendees will enhance their writing and knowledge of the ins and outs of publishing at more than 100 workshops; get the inside track at panels and round-tables featuring publishing professionals; schedule a one-on-one pitch meeting with an acquiring editor or literary agent; attend parties and network with the stars of romance fiction; and be a part of RWA’s ‘Readers for Life’ charity book signing. And let’s not forget the 2013 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards.”

The Publishing Business

Publishers

WARNING: Crimson Romance as a Publisher

Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware has posted about “Author Concerns and Complaints at Crimson Romance“, and it provides some contract issues that you, as an author, may want to be aware of whether you are with Crimson Romance or with another publisher.

WARNING: Trafford Publishing

Do not use Trafford Publishing. They’re scammers. The listserve where I read about this suggests going to Absolute Water Cooler, a forum hosted by Absolute Write for authors to discuss issues including those concerning Trafford.

WARNING: Crown Media & Printing

Damn, this is some month with all the warnings. I came across this one in a LinkedIn conversation. See what the Ripoff Report has to say about “Crown Media & Printing, Inc is Dishonest, Greedy, and Manipulative to his customers Liberty Lake, Washington“.

Carolina Wren Press Returning to Its Roots

Paige Crutcher at Publishers Weekly notes that Carolina Wren Press is turning full circle “to provide a home for quality southern literature.”

Pinter Opens Polis Books

Rachel Deahl at Publishers Weekly reports that “author, former editor, and social media mainstay Jason Pinter has launched a new digital publishing venture called Polis Books. The company will be publishing e-book editions of new and backlist fiction in three genres: crime, under an imprint called Vice; science fiction/fantasy, under an imprint called Elysium; and romance / erotica / commercial women’s fiction, under the Crave imprint. The company’s Web site is set to go live in roughly a month. So, add ’em to your lists…

Amazon has More New Imprints

Publishers Weekly notes in “Amazon Adds Comics, Graphic Novel Imprint” Jet City Comics as comics and graphic novels. starts today and by the end of 2013 will have new comics from George R.R. Martin, Hugh Howey, and Neal Stephenson.


Kobo’s Aquafadas Launches Next Version of Publishing System

Kobo’s Aquafadas Launches Next Version of Publishing System“, Version 3.0, with “major enhancements” that “create interactive and graphics-rich content simplify digital publishing workflow” including “the ability to export one single digital document to iOS, Kobo’s tablets, Android, the Web and Kindle Fire and add support for web export, KF8, Kobo and Android App development” across multiple platforms”. The press release does mention this is a software program for publishers.

Mercy Pilkington at Good E-Reader posts that “Self-Publishing Opening Up for Children’s Book Authors“. The primary difficulty is the graphics, and Michael Tamblyn, chief content officer at Kobo, believes its Writing Life self-publishing platform and its newly acquired Acquafadas can help authors reduce such costs as “hiring an app book developer, creating full-color print-on-demand titles, and more” with the program’s built-in InDesign plugins, etc.

Tamblyn says Kobos is also interested in an “increased marketplace for children’s ebook discovery” as parents use “a different set of decision criteria when they’re trying to buy a book for their child”.


Royalty Difference Between eBooks and Print Sucks!

Brian DeFiore at AARdvark posts a sucky truth…”e-books and profitability—What we’ve always said and publishers have always denied” that publishers earn more with each eBook sale while paying the author less. Now, Mike Shatzkin at The Shatzkin Files looks at the same HarperCollins report and points out how it is more advantageous for bestselling authors.

Porter Anderson is writing at Writer Unboxed and has a take on this that confuses me to hell and gone. At one point he commends DeFiore for his statement “a simplistic look at a complex issue” because it represents one profit scenario devised for investors’ eyes, an example that can be affected and changed by “all kinds of pricing experiments and price points”, which makes it sound as though DeFiore is slanting his post. But by the time I got to the end of Anderson’s post, it sounded like he was agreeing with DeFiore. I’ll leave it up to you…

The Authors Guild appears to agree with DeFiore.


Enhanced eBooks

Ideas on Using Enhanced Books

Beth Bacon at Digital Book World writes a post on digital textbooks that I saw as more of a summary of what an enhanced eBook can do. If it interests you, check it out.

Kindles with eExtras

Roberto Baldwin at Wired notes that Amazon has been granted a patent for the “‘Customized Electronic Book with Supplemental Content’ (Patent #8478662). It describes a way to enhance Kindle e-books by tacking on supplemental material provided by publishers or reputable sources. The e-books would be personalized by adding additional content within the specific interests of individual readers, or reader types. So, you could be reading A Game of Thrones and an additional story line or illustration (for example, a map) could be accessed from within the book, sort of like a DVD extra.”


Children’s eBook Cracks Smashwords Bestseller List

Jason Boog at Galley Cat interviewed Tim Cohorst, author of Jacomo and “the first children’s book author to crack our Self-Published Bestsellers List this year” for advice for the self-publishing author.


Image Comics Going DRM-Free

Aurich Lawson at Ars Technica wonders “Why DRM-free comic books are a big deal, even if you don’t read comics“. Image Comics “is going to sell its digital comic books through its website utterly DRM-free. PDF, EPUB, or comic reader formats CBR and CBZ (basically just zipped or RAR’d collections of JPEGs) are all yours to keep, back up, and read on your device of choice, however you see fit”.

I hate to say it, but Lawson makes sense. A DRM-encoded file can only be played/read on a proprietary device. Whereas if you buy a DRM-free file/book/game/comic, you can view it on anything.


Self-Publishing

Tracy Bloom: I learned a huge amount from self-publishing

This post, “Tracy Bloom: I learned a huge amount from self-publishing” at The Guardian, is another set of experiences with writing and self-publishing by author Tracy Bloom with her novel, No One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, as it rose to the top of the Amazon Kindle charts within a few weeks of being released.

Rachel Abbott: Self-Publishing

Also at The Guardian, Rachel Abbott talks about how the responsibility of self-publishing is entirely on you. She continues with getting to know the editing process, the advantages of having an agent – and of knowing a good designer.

Future of Self-Publishing

Suw Charman-Anderson has contributed an article to Forbes on the “Future of Self-Publishing, and she provides the commercial perspective with Joe Abercombie’s points and counters them with her own experiences self-publishing. From what I’ve been reading over the past year, unless you’re already a commercial success, your best bet is to self-publish. At least until you have a minimum of three books under your belt, a platform established, and a certain amount of success in selling.


New Terminology Writers Might Want to Know

Dena Crogg at Publishers Weekly points out a new type of series, the “home-grown” one, which is typified by Simon & Schuster’s Cupcake Diaries.


Pros and Cons of an Agent

Neil Ostrow on Goodreads has a post in which he lists the pros and cons of having an agent and publishing through a traditional publishing house. If you’ve been thinking of hunting for an agent, you should read this.


Any Way to Reverse the Industry’s Demise?

Anis Shivani at The Daily Beast calls for a breakdown of the big publishing houses into small units, reducing the number of departments, committees, and guardians at the door who doom emerging gems.

We need to reconceive the concepts of writing, editing, and reading, and subject every institutional component to radical critique. It isn’t a question of which reading device is best, or how publishers will make up for the loss of Borders, or how they can squeeze more money out of the present distribution model.


Formatting Your Book with MS Word

Tina Chan has a guest post at The Book Designer, “World War Word: A Book Formatting Story“, which takes you through the formatting to prep your manuscript for CreateSpace (it’ll work for other such publishers). It’s very good, although Chan does not address the use of Styles. I can’t begin to tell you how useful it can be if you take the few seconds to set up a Style for the various elements which Chan mentions. Styles makes it a piece of cake to change fonts, font sizes, alignments, etc. Especially useful for those chapter headings! Still it’s a good post…use it as a guideline to create a template for your current and future books.

Of course, if you’d rather not deal with the formatting, Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer is offering a new service, Book Interiors, in addition to his recently released DIY Book Design Templates.


Top 5 Book Design Layout Errors Illustrated

Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer has a post, “Top 5 Book Design Layout Errors Illustrated” lists five simple-to-avoid errors that will help your book appear more professional.


Six Digital Publishing Startups to Watch

Laura Hazard Owens at Paid Content notes “Six digital publishing startups to watch” with “three of them — Periodical builds digital magazines, newsletters and more; 29th Street Publishing for mobile magazines; and, Creatavist creates multimedia stories and publish them as apps, ebooks and for the web. The other three — Postach.io allows you to blog via Evernote; Ghost for open sourced, crowdfunded blogging only; and, Glipho is a blog with built-in social features.

Be sure to read the comments for even more!

Marketing Ideas

MyBookTable WordPress Plug-in

No, I have no idea if it’s worth the price. This is simply an FYI about MyBookTable. AuthorMedia claims that this plug-in will “help you retake control” of your SEO in marketing your book, provided you have an affiliate account.


Get a Bookshop to Love You

Vanessa Robertson at State of Independents has written a great post on “Overcoming Authors’ Reticence, or, How to Make Bookshops Love You and Your Book“, and it’s from the viewpoint of a bookseller (at the time) who doesn’t have a lot of room in her shop for book titles. She passes on suggestions and perspectives that authors should read up on. And add ’em to your marketing checklists!


Twitter

Best Uses of Twitter

Dr B at Book Riot talks of “Two Writers Who Are Killing It on Twitter“, and Dr B just loves Maureen Johnson and A.S. King and their low-key, non-bashing approach.

Marketing Changes in Social Media

I gotta confess that this post by Desmond Wong at HubSpot gave me a headache, however, I also suspect that “Twitter Testing Automatic In-Stream Image Previews on Twitter.com, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week” and the changes that LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Bing, and the Square is making into ecommerce could well be useful information for those of you who use social media to market your books.

10 Social Media Tips to Get More Business Value From Twitter

10 Social Media Tips to Get More Business Value From Twitter” help you focus your social media efforts on the right conversations and interactions. We’ll describe how a marketer can implement each tip, as well as how a current HubSpot customer could do it using our new social media monitoring tool, Social Inbox. By focusing on targeted Twitter activities like these, you’re sure to get more business value out of your time in social media.

Embed a Tweet, Show Your Website on Twitter

Corey Eridon at HubSpot explains about a possible new feature: Twitter Starts Highlighting Websites That Embed Tweets“. That “if you embed a tweet on your website, then your website should show up at the bottom of that tweet when it’s viewed on Twitter”. Twitter does say, however, that it’s testing a ton of new features like this. So this one may get the axe, while others we haven’t even seen might pop up.

Why One Author Stopped Using Twitter

Jane Friedman, in her post, “Does Twitter Make Sense for Most Writers?” mentions reading “Goodbye to Twitter Village, Part II: Lessons Learned” by author Benjamin Anastas. “It’s a lengthy post about why, after more than a year on Twitter, Anastas has decided it’s a waste of time. And, primarily because he feels that it removes the mystique.”


Best Times to Post in Social Media

Dr. Judith Briles at The Book Shepherd lists the “Best Posting Times for Social Media for Authors” and includes the best and worst times for networking.


3 Cs of Promotions

Mike Shatzkin on his The Shatzkin Files talks about creations, channels, and consumers in an analysis his company had done some years ago on a book publisher’s promotional efforts. I found it interesting that he determined that those expensive New York Times ads were a waste of money for sales, although they were lovely for an author’s scrapbook.


Indie Authors’ Rights

This is a post that is full of useful information, but not well arranged as Penn seems to wander off in excited tangents. Still, if you are writing, you want to know about licensing rights. Do pay heed to what Ross says about putting a time limit on ALL rights contracts!

Ross makes an excellent point about copyright. Spending the money to register a copyright with the Library of Congress is practical if you intend to be aggressive against people/sites who violate your copyright by suing them. If you intend to share it or don’t want to bother with going after pirates, you may not want to spend the money. Simply by writing down or taping (audio or video) your work, you are protected.

Penn mentions that she has worked a deal to have Pentecost recorded as an audio book, without forking over money in advance by dividing up royalties with the producers and talent. Penn is using the same concept to create translated works. Do read up on what she has to say about World English versus American English, etc.!

The post includes a podcast interview with Orna Ross on rights.


5 Sites to Approach for Guest Blogging

Shari Stauch with Where Writers Win provides a list of “5 Must-Know Sites” you may want to approach to do guest posts to expand your audience.


Improvise, Adapt, & Overcome

Kristen Lamb posts about being adaptable on her post, “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome—Writers of the Digital Age“. It’s a very good article and doesn’t push one approach over the other. Rather, Lamb promotes a situation-by-situation consideration.


Top 7 Strategies for Marketing Your Author Blog

Joel Friedlander at the Book Designer reassures us that marketing our blogs is a piece of cake. And he does make a good point: if we blog about something we enjoy, it shouldn’t be that difficult to talk about it…who knew??


New Affiliate Opportunities through the Sony Reader Store

Michael Kozlowski at Good E-Reader notes that “Sony Launches New Affiliate Program for eBooks” and that “the Sony Reader Store is redoubling its efforts to stay relevant by offering a slew of new features. The company has developed a new enhanced ebook section that is aimed at children and has a number of multimedia features. It also launched an online book club and a number of book discovery programs to make shopping easier. Today, Sony has officially announced its first ever ebook affiliate program that will give people a chance to make money [—6% on every eBook sold—] on digital sales.”


15 Phenomenal TED Talks

Ginny Soskey at HubSpot notes “15 Phenomenal TED Talks You Need to Watch Today“.


Reciprocal Reviews: Honest or ???

David Heywood Young at Caveat Lector shares an experience he had with a fellow author in his post, “Amazon review scam: Extortion or bad taste?“. I do recommend you read about David’s experience, ’cause I guarantee half of you have probably encountered this and have wondered WTF?


National Publicity Summit Opens

Joan Stewart at the Publicity Hound provides information on the National Publicity Summit. It does have only 100 available spots for this meet-and-greet opportunity to “meet more than 100 top journalists and producers and pitch your story to them, one-on-one and face-to-face” October 16-19 in New York City.


New and Old Mix at Licensing Expo 2013

Karen Raugust at Publishers Weekly discusses the “New and Old Mix at Licensing Expo 2013” using “the success of the Angry Birds merchandise program”.

Licensing goes both ways: books that spur the sales of dolls, games, and XX or merchandise that inspires a series of books.

Old school licensing includes “artist and cartoonist Jim Benton, Big Idea (VeggieTales), and Universal (Despicable Me 2)”. While books that are now entering or starting to use the licensing concept include James Dean’s Pete the Cat, Jane Seymour’s This One & That One, and Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty, the Wizard of Oz (Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful is a movie that inspired several licensed products earlier this year), and the Berenstain Bears. International properties being marketed include Masha and the Bear.

Books based on media and entertainment properties can spur children to pick up a book or comic such as Hasbro’s My Little Pony comics with IDW.

Other celebrities launching licensing programs include musicians Flo-Rida and Will.i.am, former supermodel Kathy Ireland (children’s books from Bendon), and actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

A new angle on licensing is blogs “positioned as lifestyle brands with licensing potential”. Many of these view publishing as a first step and include Apartment Therapy and Cupcakes and Cashmere, Bag Snob and Miss Lilien. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, which started as an online newsletter, also is extending into merchandise, including a line of city travel guide e-book apps.

New mobile apps recently “available for licensing are Candy Crush, Subway Surfer, Zombie Farm, Talking Tom, and Doodle Jump. While some apps have inspired book lines—Kappa Books holds the license for Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, for example—their publishing activity tends to be limited.”


Two-Thirds Admit to Using Bookshops as Showrooms

Kasmira Jefford at City AM notes that two-thirds of shoppers “kick the tires” before ordering online.

David Carr at The New York Times has a post on “Why Barnes & Noble Is Good for Amazon” which does an excellent job of summarizing what’s been going on for the past few years with bookstores, the NOOK, B&N, Amazon, and Apple, however, it’s the ending that seems so depressing as it ties in with Jefford’s article—B&N is good for windowshopping before people buy from Amazon. That’s a lousy way to support your local bookstore…


B&T Counters Ingram

Judith Rosen at Publishers Weekly reports that “Baker & Taylor’s majority owner … purchased Bookmasters and can now offer many of the same publisher services as its largest competitor Ingram Content Group.”


Joanna Penn’s new How to Market a Book

Joanna Penn has done a guest post at The Book Designer on “5 Successful Marketing Strategies For Fiction Authors” as part of her promotional bit for her new book, How to Market a Book. And I gotta say, if the book is only half as good as the post…you can’t not buy it!


How to Write a Dazzling Author Bio

Stephanie Chandler has a post at Authority Publishing on “How to Write a Dazzling Author Bio” which is short and to the point with some nice examples.


Monetizing Serialized Fiction

Zachary Bonelli has a guest post at Lindsay Buroker regarding “Monetizing Serialized Fiction” which makes some good points, and of course, whether it will work for your novel depends on how well it lends itself to serialization. Bonelli frankly discusses the pros and cons of this approach, and I found it very illuminating.

I also got to wondering if this could be a way of building your platform while you work on your novel. You could serialize the “episodes” onto your blog and then offer it all at once at the end of the story as a proper book or you could be writing a series of short stories that showcase your writing and perhaps complements your full-length novel. Options, options, options…*grin*…


Using Wattpad for Promotion

Molly Greene has a post on her site with a quote that caught my attention: “reader-centric social media platform that could mean free promo and lots of sales for self-published authors” as in Wattpad. “Authors + Content + Readers = Wattpad” discusses what Wattpad is, how it can be useful, and how to get started with it.


5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Building Your Fanbase

Toni Tesori has a guest post at The Book Designer on “5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Building Your Fanbase” has the usual routine of what you need to do, what it includes is a link to Indie Recon and Duolit’s post on “Build Your Mailing List! 5 Ideas That Really Work” with some useful suggestions which include the types of things you can offer your readers (and potential readers!), how to make use of MailChimp (including a link to Jeri Walker-Bickett’s post “How To Use MailChimp – From Sign-Up To “Send!” which is a “tutorial about using MailChimp, a popular newsletter/subscriber service that allows users to create their own email campaigns”.

If this seems overwhelming, you’re right. It is. So think about how long it takes to build an email list and start building that one. Collect any email addresses, however you choose to do it. Nothing says you have to immediately put out a newsletter or anything else right now—be sure not to promise one either! At least until you’re ready for that next step. Keep exploring, be open to observing how others are doing it. Let it simmer in your subconscious until it feels right to you.


Tips for Booksellers

Somewhat related is this list of tips for booksellers looking to expand their subscriber bases courtesy of Amanda Sutton, Bookworks’ marketing and events manager in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hey, just ’cause you’re an author and she’s a bookseller, doesn’t mean you can’t get ideas from it!

The list, courtesy of Shelf Awareness is as follows:

  • The allure of free stuff: “We do a monthly drawing for a $20 gift card. At every event we host, we have people write their e-mail addresses on slips of paper, and we draw from those to give away the gift certificates. We collect a lot of addresses that way.”
  • The value of off-site events: “Events outside the store are a great way to draw people who are not regulars. Recently we did an event for Denise Kiernan [author of The Girls of Atomic City] at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. We were able to target a lot of people outside of our usual audience; we got a lot of unique e-mails there.”
  • Topics and choices: “The e-mail list is segmented so that people can sign up by topics. We have lists for food, children’s books… sometimes we do really targeted mailings.”
  • Don’t make it an afterthought: “Signing-up for the e-mail list is a huge part of our events program, and we heavily promote that. We also have a very prominent sign-up button on our homepage.”
  • Beyond the store: “We are kind of the bookseller of choice for conferences in Albuquerque. We definitely take our sign up sheets with us wherever we sell books.”
  • The importance of opting in: “We don’t buy e-mails or acquire them in any way other than people opting in. Beyond that, we do anything we can to get people to sign up.”

In this same vein, Elizabeth Knapp at the American Booksellers Association has a post, “Start Spreading the News: Booksellers on Creating and Distributing Store Newsletters” on how five different shops create and use newsletters to maintain relationships with their customers.


Foreign Language Markets: France

For those of you considering translating your books for a foreign market, one of the issues you should consider paying attention to is awhether a big enough market exists for eBooks. France must still be considering the eBook when you realize that
“ebook market share rose from 1% in 2011 to 3% this year” in France. Just another thought when you’re trying to decide where to spend the money…


How to Sell Ebooks: 5 Proven Tips

Rob Eagar at Digital Book World has a post on “How to Sell Ebooks: 5 Proven Tips” with some slightly different perspectives and links to review sites and reading sites.


eBook Prices for the Week Ending 6/30

I dunno, I’m just curious as to what drives the pricing for eBooks, and “after three straight weeks of the average ebook best-seller price rising to a 2013 high of $9.48, it’s finally dipped back down. This week, the average price of an ebook best-seller is $7.29 with the difference between last week and this week is $2.19, or 23%.

It was a combination of two factors: a handful of big publisher books that were on the list this week and last week that are being discounted more heavily now; and more inexpensive titles from self-published authors and small publishers hitting the list.”


Singles Publishing Market

I know…it sounds like a speed dating thing. Instead it’s Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg discussing why non-fiction “E-Book Shorts … On the Rise” is a better option for unknown authors than fiction.


Optimizing Your Data

Joanna Penn has a guest post, “How to Sell More Books By Optimizing Your Metadata“, on Jane Friedlander’s site, which “is excerpted from How to Market a Book by Joanna”. Many of you won’t like it as it forces you to choose. But then I’d bet that same many of you don’t like that your books isn’t selling…suck it up, go read this. Each point Penn makes doesn’t take long, but is filled with a wealth of information you ignore at your peril! From category choices to finding the ideal keywords for your book (or the title!) and how to incorporate them.

Penn does note that David Gaughran’s book on Amazon algorithms, Let’s Get Visible, is an excellent buy.

Building Your Own Website

Screen Capturing Software for iOS

I’m not really sure where to put this as it could go under marketing, websites, or raw material for your enhanced eBook!

If you’re interested in recording activity on a website on your mobile phone (it’s only supported on iOS 5.0 and up and the site recommends plugging your phone in while recording), check out UX Recorder.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, do me a favor and share it with friends by tweeting it.


4 responses to “A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – Mid-July 2013

  1. A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – August 2013 | KD DID IT Takes on Books

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