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

Posted November 17, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Building Your Own Website, Conference/Workshop, Hodgepodge Newsletter, Marketing, Publishing, Writing

The Hodgepodge of Bits & Pieces is a bimonthly link round-up of articles and posts I’ve run across online which I thought may be of interest to writers and readers. I’d appreciate feedback on any of the bits or pieces which spoke to you—good or bad!

Due to WordPress issues, the Contents of this Post links TOC had to be left off. I’ll be working on how to get around this problem for the December issue.

If nothing else, do read the bit on legal font usage!

In General

Possible Moneysaver

In my listserv, one of the participants noted that you should tell your home insurance company that you work from home—might get a discount.


Amazon’s Competitors Don’t Understand the Business Model

Eugene Wei through a post at Salon says that “Be afraid, Amazon competitors: Retail giant’s critics misunderstand the brilliant business model” and that while “Amazon’s not showing a profit most quarters, but those who say it can’t make money are reading the numbers wrong”. An interesting article…

Just for Fun

  • Sunday Deliveries, Just in Time for Some Holidays
  • Sunday Deliveries, Just in Time for Some Holidays

    Mark Rogowsky at Forbes tells us of “Amazon’s Sunday Delivery Scheme And The Attempt To Forever Paint Friday Black” with Amazon announcing “it will begin delivering packages on Sundays in New York and Los Angeles, with other cities to follow in 2014”.


    Bookstores

    Discover which authors will be guest-bookselling at your local, independent bookstore on Small Business Saturday, November 30.

    Alabama

    In November, Books-A-Million and On Demand Books will launch the first full-color Espresso Book Machines at a BAM store in Brookwood Village in Birmingham with a catalogue of more than seven million titles and, of course, can be used for custom publishing and self-publishing.

    Alaska

    Hearthside Books & Toys in Juneau is for sale after 38 years in business.

    Maine

    RiverRun Bookstore has opened its second location in Kittery on 7 Wallingford Square.

    In November, Books-A-Million and On Demand Books will launch the first full-color Espresso Book Machines at a BAM store in South Portland with a catalogue of more than seven million titles and, of course, can be used for custom publishing and self-publishing.

    Maryland

    The Curious Iguana in Frederick is a new bookstore with a focus on authors from around the globe, partly due to its status as a benefit corporation—“the store shares proceeds with international nonprofits such as Kiva, which specializes in micro-loans and lending to alleviate poverty”, and so far, Curious Iguana has funded 18 Kiva loans.

    Massachusetts

    The Barnes & Noble bookstore in Chestnut Hill is closing in December, but will continue to serve our customers at the nearby Prudential Center store.

    New York

    East Line Books in Clifton Park is closing after the holidays, the Times Union reported, because the store’s building will be demolished by a developer.

    Ohio

    “Barnes & Noble will close its store at Sycamore Plaza at Kenwood in Cincinnati by December 31 because of lease issue.”

    Pennsylvania

    The 84-year-old Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley will be moving to a new address in January: 417 Beaver Street.

    South Carolina

    The Barnes & Noble store on Harbison Boulevard in Columbia will close at the end of the year because its lease is not being renewed.

    Good news on Harborwalk Books that burned down in Georgetown back in September! It re-opened in a new temporary space—105 Screven Street, Georgetown, South Carolina 29440; 843-546-8212—on October 10 thanks to book buyers, tradesmen, the town, and publishers. Let’s hear it for the amazing people of Georgetown!! I do love a good ending!

    Washington

    Auburn’s newest bookstore, Finally Found Books is now open at 3705 Auburn Way North in Auburn.

    International

    Canada

    “Chapters will be shutting down its Runnymede Theatre-turned-bookstore in Bloor West Village in Toronto early next year because it has to vacate the premises by March 31, the Toronto Star reported. Since the store opened in 1999, Toronto’s commercial and housing real estate market has experienced “such a boom,” said Drew McGowen, v-p of real estate and development at Chapters Indigo. Describing the location as “an icon,” he said, ’It’s a great store that’s served the neighborhood incredibly well…. We’re at the end of our lease and the landlord can get far, far more money than we are able to pay.’”


    Libraries

    Hotels with eBook Lending Libraries

    A press release on Digital Book World talks of another hotel library plan: “Kimpton’s 70 park avenue hotel will launch its new ‘Reads on the Road’ program in partnership with The Atria Publishing Group, part of Simon & Schuster, Inc., offering on-site guests exclusive access to books from an array of New York Times bestselling authors.

    From a ghost story to a mystery novel to an end-of-the-world thriller, the first installment of the new program will feature three page-turning tales themed to Halloween. Guests will be able to download these spooky favorites onto their personal devices such as tablets and laptops via the hotel’s website while staying on property, with an option to purchase upon check-out. Additional reads will be released on a seasonal basis.”

    Then there’s Elaine Glusac’s post at The New York Times, “Hotels, a Place to Lay Your Head, or Bury It in a Book”, which goes further afield to Newfoundland, Ireland, and smaller chain hotels in the U.S. She points out the artbooks that some hotels are featuring in their in-house libraries and the Miami hotel that started a “writers-in-residence program”.

    7 & 7: Hotels and Restaurants Inspired by Literature

    Mridu Khullar Relph at CNN Travel has a post “Book here! 14 beautiful hotels inspired by literature” which lists seven hotels and seven restaurants around the world which were inspired by the world of literature.


    Awards

    2013 Dagger Awards

    “The Dagger Awards are awarded by The Crime Writer’s Association to celebrate the best in crime and thriller writing. The awards were presented at Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards on October 24, 2013.

    2014 Neustadt International Prize

    The $50,000 Neustadt International Prize for Literature is presented every two years to a novelist, playwright or poet and is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, the Neustadt family, and World Literature Today.

    2013 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award Winners

    The WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award is a joint venture of Duke University and WOLA. The award honors the best current, non-fiction book published in English on human rights, democracy, and social justice in contemporary Latin America. The author of the winning book also gives a reading at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and receives a $1,000 cash prize.

    2013 World Fantasy Awards

    If you want to read about other stories and authors in contention, explore Locus Online’s, list of World Fantasy Awards Winners 2013.

    • Life Achievement: Susan Cooper and Tanith Lee
    • Novel: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
    • Novella: “Let Maps to Others” (Subterranean Summer ’12) by K.J. Parker
    • Short Story: “The Telling” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/29/12) by author
    • Anthology: Postscripts #28/#29: Exotic Gothic 4 by Danel Olson
    • Collection: Where Furnaces Burn by Joel Lane
    • Artist: Vincent Chong
    • Special Award Professional: Lucia Graves for the translation of The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, 3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
    • Special Award Non-Professional: S.T. Joshi for Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, Volumes 1 & 2

    2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction

    The UK’s most prestigious and richest non-fiction prize in the UK, worth £20,000 (about US$31,954) to the winner. The prize aims to reward the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of all non-fiction books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography, and the arts.

    2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize

    The Scotiabank Giller Prize was founded in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller and merged with Scotiabank in 2005. It is currently includes a C$50,000 cash prize and rewards excellence in Canadian fiction—long format or short stories.

    2013 Dylan Thomas Prize

    The Dylan Thomas Prize, worth £30,000 (about US$48,247), is an international award sponsored by Swansea University that is “open to any published author in the English language under the age of 30”.

    Prix Femina

    The Prix Femina is a French literary prize awarded in by an all-woman (of letters) jury for the best in one of three categories published in France each year by a man or woman. “The prize was established in 1904 by the reviews Femina and Vie Heureuse as an alternative to the Prix Goncourt, which was then unlikely to be given to works written by women.”

    Crime Writers Association Announces the Best Ever

    The “Crime Writers Association announced the results of its poll to determine the ‘best ever’ crime writer, crime series, and crime novel of all time. The results:”

    2013 Sheikh Zayed Book Award

    “The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is the richest literary competition in the world, and is an independent cultural award administered by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority with a total monetary value of seven million dirhams. Established in memory of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan who served as the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE for more than 30 years, since its launch in 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has succeeded in fostering greater scholarship and creativity by recognising and rewarding significant cultural achievements to Arabic culture, actively changing the Arab literary landscape. This year has seen 1,262 nominations across all nine categories, doubling over last session’s record.”

    • Best Local Publisher: National Library of Abu Dhabi
    • Best Arab Publisher: Center for Arab Unity Studies
    • Best Foreign Publisher: D.C. Books, India
    • Best Emirati Book by an Emirati Creative Writer: An Exceptional Woman by Ali Abualreesh
    • Best Emirati Book (academic): Dramatic Masks in Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Theater by Maitha Majid Mohammed Al Shamsi
    • Best Emirati Book (about the UAE): Making Traditional Swords and Daggers in the Emirates by Halima Abdullah Rashid Al-Sayegh
    • Best Emirati Foreign Translated Book: Zayed: Man Who Built A Nation by Graeme Wilson
    • Best Arabic Novel: 6000 Miles by Mohammed Muhib Jabr
    • Best International Novel: Vauxhall by Gabriel Gbadamosi
    • Best International Book in Business and Economics: Khalaf Al Habtoor: The Autobiography by Khalaf Al Habtoor
    • Best International Children’s Book: When I Feel Worried by Cornelia Maude Spelman
    • 5th Annual Etistalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature:
      • Children’s Book of the Year and Best Illustration Award: Rod of Racemes by Afaf Tobala, illustrated by Hanadi Sleet
      • Young Adult Book of the Year: Ajwan by Noura Al Noman
      • Best Text Award: My Mum Jadida by Mariam Suhail Al Rashedi
      • Best Production Award: When You get Angry from Asala Publishing House

    2014 Friedrich Ulfers Prize

    The Friedrich Ulfers Prize is for publishers and “recognizes ’a publisher, writer, critic, translator or scholar who has championed the advancement of German-language literature in the United States.’ The prize is awarded by Deutsches Haus at New York University, was endowed by Professor Friedrich Ulfers and has an award of $5,000.”

    • Sara Bershtel, publisher at Metropolitan Books

    National Outdoor Book Awards

    The National Outdoor Book Awards are sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University, and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

    HarperCollinsCanada/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction

    A new annual literary prize it created this year in honor of the 50th anniversary of Canada’s largest and most prominent creative writing program, it celebrates the art of storytelling. The publisher also acquired a debut novel in the process, which will not be published until 2015.

    • Book of Sands by Karim Alrawi

    2013 Governor General’s Literary Award

    The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and welcomes applications from diverse Aboriginal, cultural and regional communities, including people with disabilities and gives the Governor General’s Literary Awards annually to the best English-language and the best French-language book in each of the seven categories of Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Children’s Literature (text), Children’s Literature (illustration) and Translation (from French to English).

    2013 Jan Michalski Literary Prize

    The Jan Michalski Literary Prize is open to authors from the world over and is intended to contribute to their international recognition. The Prize will be awarded for works of fiction or non fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written. The winner will receive an amount of CHF 50,000 (Swiss franc), offering the possibility of greater dedication to her or his art.

    Goldsmiths Prize

    The Goldsmiths Prize was created by Goldsmiths, University of London in association with the New Statesman to recognize “published fiction that opens up new possibilities for the novel form.”


    Kids

    New eBook Titles to School Libraries

    In a press release at Digital Book World, Mackin Education Resources (educational resource management) has partnered with Random House LLC to offer a robust collection of new and popular eBook titles to school libraries across the country.

    Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

    December 7 is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Check out the website for a map of the almost (so far) 500 bookstores participating.

    Click here if you’d like a banner or badge to help spread the word.

    Google Play Manages Students’ Android Tablets

    Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader talks about “Move Over Chromebooks – Google Has an Educational Android Tablet”.

    Hoffelder mentions that Amazon (Whispercast, a tool for managing content, Kindles, and Kindle Fires), Barnes & Noble, and Newscorp (offers a package solution and not a platform with GP4E and Amplify) have similar programs. And he goes on to state that “Google has been renting Chromebooks to schools since 2011”. Which means what, I dunno.

    So to finally get to what I think is the gist of the post is that Google Play for Education allows K-12 educators “manage the Android tablets used by students. It offers teacher-approved apps for students, educational videos, and ebooks for those in grades K-12. Educators can search for content by category or by age/grade level, and then buy the content in bulk via credit card or with a purchase order.

    This post leaves me with questions as to whether it’s an app you buy or rent, how does it relate to tablets in the schools, all the talk of managing devices, app management features, and what appear to be restrictions…well, I’m glad I’m not a teacher having to deal with this.


    Find Out & Preview What Facebook Friends are Reading

    In a press release on Digital Book World, “BookShout! Brings Book Preview and Discovery to Facebook with a “new integration that allows Facebook members to see all the books their friends like and to preview them with one simple click. People on Facebook can sample any book available in BookShout!’s extensive store via a socially-connected ‘look inside’ feature on Facebook. Facebook members can also see all of their friends’ favorite books, regardless of the store or service in which it originated by connecting from a friend’s post in the News Feed or visiting www.bookshout.com/connect.


    Flicks & TV

    E.L. James Talks About the 50 Shades Flick

    Nicole Sperling at Entertainment interviews E.L. James about “’Fifty Shades of Grey’ author E L James on the film: ’I’m terrified’”, and it won’t be anything like you expect.


    More Amazon Prime Perks

    Amazon is looking to make Amazon Prime more interesting and is adding the Kindle First program in which one not-yet-published title per month may be selected from Amazon Publishing by Amazon Prime members (free) and Kindle owners ($1.99). “A monthly e-mail will alert customers of the Kindle First titles available, and any title downloaded as part of the program will remain a permanent part of that customer’s Kindle library.”


    Minnesota Changes Its Mind

    Claire Kirch at Publishers Weekly reveals that Anoka County doesn’t speak for everyone in Minnesota and “Rowell Receives a ‘Minnesota Nice’ Welcome in St. Paul”. “Two months after being disinvited by the Anoka County Library and the Anoka-Hennepin school district in the Minneapolis suburbs from speaking to teens there about her YA novel, Eleanor & Park, author Rainbow Rowell finally made the trip from her home in Omaha to Minnesota. The visit came a month after she was originally supposed to be in the area, and the subjects of censorship and children’s access to literature were very much the hot topics at this week’s appearances.”


    New App Allows Readers to Scan Print Books For Extra Digital Content

    Beginning November 4, “readers can download the free HarperCollins Unbound app from the App Store or Google Play and use the app/scanner to retrieve a variety of digital content, including cooking and health-tip videos in addition to interviews, quizzes and more. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays by New York Times bestselling author Ree Drummond is on sale now; and the paperback edition of You: The Owner’s Manual by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen goes on sale December 17.

    The HarperCollins Unbound app, produced by Shortcut Media, is an interactive-print solution that can recognize symbols in text linked to additional digital content.”


    Ereaders & Tablets

    NOOK

    Barnes & Noble announced an updated NOOK App for Windows 8.1 that is fully optimized to integrate the exciting new features of Windows 8.1. The updated app includes a streamlined user interface, faster performance and great new features to highlight Windows 8.1, including enhanced support for snap view and portrait orientation, the ability to import files from SkyDrive, enhanced search, improved library organization and even better in-app support for customers.”

    Kobo Goes to India

    Yup, Kobo and Amazon are both in India now while Amazon has also opened up a presence in Australia “‘customised for Australian customers, with local best sellers and curated lists relevant to Australians, and many titles from local publishers and authors such as Tim Winton, Karly Lane and Kate Morton’, per Neil Linday, vice-president of Amazon Kindle”.

    Kindles Now Sold in Bookstores

    I always did wonder how it could possibly profit a bookstore to sell Kindles, well, in “Booksellers Can Sell Kindles Under New Amazon Program”, James Milliot from Publishers Weekly explains that a new Amazon program, “Amazon Source, through which bookstores and other retailers can sell Kindle devices and in return receive 10% of the revenue from every Kindle e-book sold for a two-year period. Under the program, which Amazon v-p for Kindle Russ Grandinetti said is an outgrowth of a successful partnership the company began with the U.K. bookstore chain Waterstones in 2012, retailers interested in selling Kindles have two options: order Kindles for a 9% discount off the list price and a 35% discount on accessories; or receive a 6% discount on devices and a 30% discount on accessories and earn 10% of the revenue from Kindle e-books sold for two years”. I know which option I’d choose as a bookseller!

    Hmmm, Steve Bercu, co-owner of BookPeople in Austin, Texas, and president of the American Booksellers Association, is mighty suspicious of Amazon Source. “It may go without saying, but my favorite industry news of the week is the Amazon publicity stunt announced on the 6th. I admire their nerve in offering another demonstration of their interest in using indie relationships to capture market share. Of course, the failure of the ‘offer’ to include 26 sales tax jurisdictions might just be a coincidence, and setting a two-year term for commissions before taking our customers was a considerate touch. I think I will just stay with Kobo.”

    Nic Bottomley, co-owner of Mr. B’s Emporium in Bath, England, said, “I’d have no interest in selling Kindles because we don’t do business with Amazon, and especially since its e-book business model is proprietary. Once you buy a Kindle you have to buy your e-books from Amazon, and we favor a more open model…(Campbell).”

    “David Bolduc, owner of the Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colorado, called participation in the program ‘sleeping with the enemy’ (Shelf Awareness).”

    And then there’s another way to look at it as David Wilk at Digital Book World points out in “Eight Reasons Indie Bookstores Should Work With Amazon Source”, as he points out that “it does not make sense, however, for much smaller and weaker independent bookstores to marginalize their own businesses by boycotting the biggest part of the digital reader business, when their own customers are happily, if in some cases guiltily patronizing their competitors. Independents have taken baby steps into digital reading, at first joining an ill-fated alliance with Google Books and now, through a deal made by their trade association, the American Booksellers Association, many independent stores are selling Kobo readers and Kobo-supplied ebooks.

    As it happens, Kobo has the smallest share of the U.S. ebook market of any of the top devices (except the almost invisible Sony eReader). Many independent booksellers report miniscule device and ebook sales. Meanwhile, Kindles especially, Nooks, and sometimes even iPads are increasingly owned by many hard-core readers, who are or should be any bookseller’s best customers. E-readers and tablets are sold in significant numbers by many non-book retailers, including Staples, Best Buy and others, ultimately at the expense of independent booksellers.

    Why then should booksellers limit themselves to selling Kobo devices? For the little guy, does making a deal with a virtually unknown brand help you keep your customers? It’s almost certain that many independent bookstore customers already own Kindles or iPads, so why not serve their needs?

    Bookstores and their supporters can argue all day that customers ‘should’ support them by not supporting Amazon. Those kinds of moral arguments don’t seem to win very often in the marketplace.

    Why shouldn’t independent bookstores make the ‘Source’ deal with Amazon and start selling their devices? Some will argue that they will lose their independence this way and that they will give their own customers away to the giant in Seattle. Amazon certainly has benefited from its associates program, whereby websites get a small percentage of any sale they send to Amazon; through this program Amazon has gained millions of long term customers at a relatively insignificant cost.

    On its face, the initial Amazon Source offer does not provide small retailers a big enough bounty to make it worth their while to send business to their competition. Perhaps the American Booksellers Association ought to be negotiating with Amazon for a better deal for its members, not dismissing the Source program out of hand. Booksellers should not allow themselves to be marginalized in the only part of the book business that is growing.”


    eCookbooks for Tablets

    In a press release on Digital Book World, “MyRecipes.com, the Time Inc. Lifestyle Group’s top-ten digital food and recipe portal, today announced the launch of the first digital cookbook publishing platform for consumers to create personalized eCookbooks for tablets. Consumers can browse MyRecipes’ vast collection or upload family recipes to curate their eCookbooks. Each recipe in the eCookbook will include a photo, along with the ingredient list and step-by-step instructions. Other features include a table of contents, recipe index, search tool, bookmarks, and notes. For additional customization, consumers can upload their own cover image.”

    I’d be more excited if I could send a shopping list to my smartphone! Even better, once I get to the market, I’d like to be able to do a search—through my smartphone, natch—of my eCookbook of whatever is on sale.


    Book Domino World Record

    The Guardian writes of “Book Domino World Record Attempt at Antwerp Book Fair” in which “a Belgium book association attempts to set a new world record for the longest ’book domino’ chain. Using almost 5,000 books, the chain tumbles through the Antwerp book fair, spelling the Dutch words for ‘book’, ‘fair’ and ‘read’. Cape Town Library holds the current record of 2,586 books which beat Seattle Public Library’s record of 2,131 in August”.


    Espresso Book Machine Steps Out

    The makers of the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), will begin the first pilot outside a bookstore or library in the U.S. by pairing an EBM with a Kodak Picture Kiosk in a Bartell Drugs University Village store in Seattle this spring. The store will be able to create photo books as well as self-published books and more than 7 million books in-copyright or the public domain via the EspressNet® digital catalogue. That will make the third Seattle EBM; both Third Place Books and University of Washington Bookstore have the machine.


    On Letter Writing as Genre

    Cynthia-Marie O’Brien has a guest post on Publishers Weekly discussing letters and letter collections as a genre on its own with its implications for politics, history, and revealing the inner person.

    “That’s why her research strategy includes looking at the letters between other people in her subject’s orbit.” – Patricia O’Toole

    It’s an interesting post for several reasons: the ah-ha it set off in my mind about people’s motives for writing their letters and for the list of books O’Brien provides. For those of you who enjoy reading a contemporary perspective and/or behind-the-scenes.


    DailyLit Gets Revamped Website

    Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly notes that “DailyLit, an online venture that delivers fiction to busy consumers via daily e-mail installments, is being relaunched with a redesigned Web site, new offerings of contemporary and classic literature and plans to add poetry and plays in the coming weeks. The site has offered works by acclaimed authors such as Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri and plans to offer original fiction in addition to releasing an iOS app in 2014″.


    8 Free Mystery Books!!

    Okay, so it’s a mystery book giveaway, but at worst (hah, worst!), it provides a list of thirteen mystery books from different decades—the only one I’ve read in this is the Dorothy Sayers, and she’s brilliant! She’s making a list and checking it twi…oops…um…hi…

    Sign up for the giveaway (scroll down to the bottom of the web page) or simply make note of the names!


    Ban Repealed on Gaiman’s Neverwhere

    In the only sensible move possible [my interpretation, *grin*], the Alamogordo, New Mexico, School District, which “temporarily removed” Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere in October from its English curriculum because of what one parent called “inappropriate content”, announced last Friday that it found the book to be “educationally suitable, balanced and age-appropriate”, and would continue to use it, according to the Kids’ Right to Read Project.


    EU to Follow FAA in eDevice Usage

    While the FAA has approved eDevice usage during take-offs and landings, it will still be up to the individual airlines as they test their equipment and make sure all is safe per Taylor Soper at Geekwire who reports that “You can now use your personal electronic device during takeoff and landing”. For some reason, while you can check your email, you still won’t be able to make phone calls. How this is different from sending or receiving email, I don’t know.

    Soper goes on to announce that “Europe set follow U.S., allow use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing” when “the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said today that it will publish guidance by the end of the month that will allow airline passengers in Europe to use their smartphones, tablets and e-books during take-off and landing.

    Just like in the U.S., those devices must still remain in ‘Airplane Mode’. The only exception to the new rule is ‘bulky’ devices like laptops, which still need to be stowed—the same regulations that the FAA put in place for heavier items.”


    The Stormlight Grimoire: An Explanation of How Magic Works

    Carl Engle-Laid at Tor.com has a series of posts on the Stormlight Grimoire which kicks off a mini-series of articles dedicated to explaining and exploring how magic works in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. Part 1 is the fundamentals of Sanderson’s many magic systems: “Stormlight and the Nahel Bond” while Part 2, “The Knights Radiant, and Windrunners” is about Waverunners, Surgebinding, and the Knights Radiant.


    Video: History of English

    This video on the History of English language is too funny. Do watch if you have a spare 11 minutes and 21 seconds.


    10 Really Terrific Reading Nooks

    Amanda Nelson at the BookRiot has listed (and shows) ten delightful reading nooks that will capture your attention. Then wander over and explore ten more.


    Fun, New Books

    Cookbooks: Historic to Gross to Truly Clever

    This is too funny! Therese Oneill at Mental Floss discusses “15 Strange and Awesome Cookbooks” from The Pyromaniac’s Cookbook (love the cover) to Gigglewater (a must-have! *grin*) to Cookin’ with Coolio to the truly gross Odd Bits to Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes (great kids’ food!) to Fifty Shades of Chicken (that cover’s just got me all trussed up in laughter!) to the truly confused Forme of Cury (Richard II-era) to the Special Effects Cookbook that I have got to get for one of my sisters to The Gay Cookbook (oh lordy, I’ll pee my pants laughing…!) to TV Suppers will have you rolling your eyes while The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook will teach you more than you ever wanted to know. And it goes on with more cookbooks from antiquity to the poisons of sugar and Borgia—even Trekkies will be happy.

    Inside Stories About Memorable Books

    Diane Roback at Publishers Weekly “asked 20 prominent editors to recall a personally meaningful children’s book project” and there are some lovely stories about the books in here.

    Sadly

    Obituaries

    Arthur Danto, Dead at 89

    Jane O’Grady at The Guardian explains what we’ve lost and how “Arthur Danto, whose articles and books ’transformed the philosophy of art, and, along with his art criticism in the Nation, and the catalogues he wrote for exhibitions, also influenced the art world itself.’ He was 89.

    Gérard de Villiers, Dead at 83

    Gérard de Villiers, the French novelist ’whose raffish, long-running spy-thriller series, S.A.S., sold more than 100 million copies and became a kind of drop box for real-world secrets from intelligence agencies around the world,’ died last Thursday, per a fascinating article by Robert F. Worth in the New York Times.”

    William Harrison, Dead at 79

    William Harrison, the author of nine novels as well as short fiction who adapted his own work into the films Roller Ball (1975) and Mountains of the Moon (1990), died October 22, according to Daniel E. Slotnick with the New York Times.

    Chef Charlie Trotter, Dead at 54!

    Rosemary Regina Sobol, Jeremy Gorner, Phil Vettel and Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune reported that “World-renowned chef and restaurateur Charlie Trotter, who was also the author of numerous cookbooks”, died yesterday. He was 54.


    Lack of Quiet Time Impinges on Reading Time

    Caroline Horn at The Bookseller reports that a study shows that with digital devices so readily available for children, there is less quiet time and therefore less of a “‘loose end’—the times that they would traditionally pick up a book to read—while digital devices are at their fingertips from a very young age.”


    Sign the Petition Against Harassment

    It’s probably too late or unnecessary to sign this particular petition against Mike Babchik and SiriusXM (where Babchik is producer and on-air personality on the Mad Dog Sports Radio show), but check it out. Sign it if it’s still available. Well, sign it if you agree, *grin*. In my mind, this is all part of the bullying culture we keep allowing to continue. And if we keep stepping up against it, in whatever form it takes, we can make it less.

    Read Ay-leen’s post on “What Happens When We Speak: On Con Harassment and Fandom” to find out what the fuss is about. Be sure to read between those Facebook lines on what Bethany Maddock had to face from her own followers. Assholes. Sounds like blame the victim time and not hold the ill-mannered jerk accountable…bullying anyone?


    Campaign for Reader Privacy Promotes USA Freedom Act

    Publishers Weekly notes that “Book Groups Back Bill to Restore Privacy Protections”, and in particular, “the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden has convinced Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and others that additional safeguards are needed to protect privacy. Spurred by revelations of how the National Security Agency is collecting information on citizens, the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP) has issued a statement calling for Congress to pass the USA Freedom Act. CRP, a joint initiative of the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center, said passage of the bill will restore privacy protections that were eliminated by the Patriot Act.

    The Freedom Act (S. 1599/H.R. 3361) was introduced on October 29 by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) in response to the news that the National Security Agency is using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records of the telephone calls made by Americans without regard to whether they are suspected of involvement in terrorism. Section 215 eliminated the requirement that the government show evidence of ‘individualized suspicion’ before it can conduct a search in a terrorism investigation.

    Since 2004, CPR has warned that Section 215 could be used to obtain the records of innocent Americans, including records of the books they purchase from bookstores or borrow from libraries. Supporters of the Patriot Act, including Rep. Sensenbrenner, argued that it would be used only to investigate someone suspected of terrorism. [Guess they were wrong…] The Freedom Act would limit government searches to the records of people who are suspected terrorists and their associates.”


    Google Wins Scanning Case

    Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly writes that “Google Wins: Court Issues a Ringing Endorsement of Google Books” in which Judge Denny “Chin not only dismissed the case against Google, he delivered a ringing endorsement of Google’s scanning program, bolstered the concept of fair use, and leveled a rebuke to the Authors Guild.

    ‘In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits,’ Chin wrote. ‘It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.’”

    Read the full decision here.

    Writing Tips

    Four Things You Can Stop Worrying About

    Linda Formichelli has a guest post at Jeff Goins’ blog, “Four Things You Can Stop Worrying About (Because They Don’t Matter)” that is truly encouraging for writers. Read it if you need a boost!


    Status Quo Doesn’t Need Worldbuilding

    …and new worlds do. Or at least that’s the impression I get from Kate Elliott’s post, “The Status Quo Does Not Need World Building” at Tor.com. She makes an excellent point about how readers fill in the gaps of culture when a story is set in their own world. But if you’re building a whole new world—no matter where it’s set—the author does need to bridge those gaps. Food for thought…

    “In the US/UK genre market, for example, it is exactly the marginalized landscapes that need description in order to be understood and revealed as just as expressive of the scope of human experience as that of the dominant culture whose lineaments are most often taken for granted.”


    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
    Until end of November
    I think it’s free to enter
    I suspect the prize is the recognition Paranormal Book Awards 2013 – Reader’s Choice Authors of paranormal and urban fantasy books can still sign up for this reader’s choice award for which readers will start voting in December. The categories remaining include:

    1. Best Book from Series (Adult) -sign up closed!
    2. Best Book from Series (Young Adult)
    3. Best Book (Stand Alone Adult)
    4. Best Book (Stand Alone Young Adult)
    5. Best NEW series of 2013 (#1 in 2013)
    6. Reader’s Favorite Series 2013 (overall old, new, YA, Adult)

    Check here if you’re curious as to which books have been entered.

    Jan 31, 2014 Online William Saroyan International Prize for Writing The Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation jointly award the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, a biennial competition for newly-published books.

    The prize commemorates the life, legacy and intentions of William Saroyan – author, artist, dramatist, composer — and is intended to encourage new or emerging writers, rather than to recognize established literary figures.

    Entries are now being accepted for the 2014 Prize and must be received by January 31, 2014. Please view the FAQ page for further information.

    Upcoming Writing Conferences

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

    Date Location Conference/Workshop About
    Dec 5, 2013
    12-1pm EST
    $45
    Live Webcast Ebook QA: Everything You Need to Know “This webcast will cover the principal platforms on the market today, such as the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, and Barnes & Noble NOOK about how to ensure the quality of your eBook”, guiding “you through various ebook design elements, such a sidebars, tables, lists, and heads, and how they may appear across platforms. We will review clean ebook markup and focus on how and where errors occur, as well as how to prevent them.”
    April 16-18, 2014
    Before 2/1/2014, $50 early-bird discount
    Save $30 using the Porter Anderson discount
    Francis Marion Hotel
    Charleston, SC
    PubSmart 2014: Emerging Authors, Emerging Avenues Features a keynote breakfast with publisher Jane Friedman and keynote luncheon with author Hugh Howey.

    The conference is for everyone: traditionally published, aspiring authors, self-published, and independent publishers who are interested in how editors/agents can help further your publishing goals; what steps to take to build your author platform, brand and persona; receive insights from publishing professionals including successful authors, agents, editors, designers, marketers and social media gurus; where book publishing and marketing is headed in the digital era; how to build sales and buzz through reviewers, mass media and book clubs; and , learn more about today’s methods of raising funds, using discoverability tools and increasing distribution.

    Porter Anderson notes several different discount/package levels:

    • “VIP Package” including master classes, the conference, videos of regular sessions, preferred seating with faculty members at brunch: $445 now, $495 after Feb 1
    • Basic package including the conference events and videos of regular sessions: $345 now, $395 after Feb 1
    • Add-on master classes are $50 for one, $90 for two now; $65 for one, $110 for two after Feb 1
    • Faculty brunch as an add-on (you sit with the instructor of your choice) is $50
    • Guest passes are available, as well

    The Publishing Business

    4 Reasons You Should Consider Crowdsourced Design for Your Next Big Project

    Michael Hyatt posts some interesting thoughts on his blog, “4 Reasons You Should Consider Crowdsourced Design for Your Next Big Project”—please note that it says “Design” in the heading. I glossed right over that, simply assuming I knew what this article would be about. Instead, Hyatt gives reasons why you should consider using 99 Designs.


    Free Legal Resource

    Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that a “Former CQ Press Publisher Debuts Free Legal Resource: Law Street Media”. John Jenkins, a former CQ Press publisher, established this “community Web site” offering a hybrid of legal news and resources for students, professionals, and anyone interested in law and public policy. The site will include a dedicated legal job board, crime rankings and statistics, “pro/con” issues reporting, ‘join-the-jury topical debating’, and a variety of blogs to inform and entertain—and all of the site’s content will be free to users.”


    Legal Use of Fonts

    David Bergsland has a guest post intended to scare self-publishing authors at The Book Designer on “Where Can I Legally Use My Fonts?” in which he discusses font designers’ copyright issues with a note on 1986 being a pivotal year for font usage, the history of digital font production, and what the self-published author needs to be aware of before uploading his or her ePUB- or Kindle-formatted book.

    I say scare because, once you get down into it, you are only in trouble if you’ve been embedding your illegal fonts into ePUBS and Kindles via InDesign or hand-edited the code. That’s not to say that you don’t have to be concerned. You do. From the sound of Bergsland’s article, the issue of font designers suing for illegal usage will soon be here, AND you should be aware of what is legal usage and what is not.

    It’s always best to play it safe when it comes to your new bestseller and set your routine up to be completely legal—’cause I’ll betcha didn’t know that “fonts in operating systems and Word are not licensed for ePUBs or Kindle”, which means that while “the fonts on your computer can be used in PDFs or PDF print books in CreateSpace, Lulu, Lightning Source, or any of the other print on demand vendors”. But ONLY in PDFs. If you want to embed a font in your eBook, “a special license needs to be purchased for ePUBs or Kindle”.

    AND, if you are not embedding AND you’re publishing “novels and simple non-fiction” you’re okay. “But as soon as you get into complex non-fiction with lists, tables, multiple levels of heads and subheads, special indents for things like quotes and things like that”; you’ll have to start worrying.

    “It seems that the copyright owner of every font in your computer has been paid a royalty, and they want another royalty paid if you are going to use their font in a commercial eBook…this includes Arial, Garamond, etc. Until now, the eBook market hasn’t seemed to be a ‘viable’ threat so the font designers haven’t gotten too fussed, but I suspect they’ll be going through self-published books in future and looking to see who they can sue… Some fonts, such as Monotype’s ’Bookman Old Style’ come with installable permission. So keep an eye out. You can use any font you like when that font is used as part of an image; it means that a hacker can’t crack it open and drag the font out to use.”

    “Most corrupted documents are produced by using a damaged or corrupted font. Many free fonts are corrupt or even carry a virus and often come with licensing restrictions which do not allow you to embed them in software to be sold—like in an ePUB.”

    Few “decent, professional font[s] will cost you from $10 to $40 or more—each” [that means $10 to $40 for the regular, $10 to $40 for the bold, $10 to $40 for the italic, $10 to $40…uh-huh. You probably want to do a series to make it worthwhile] will “include ePUB licensing”. Naturally, Bergsland’s book design fonts come with the ePUB license.

    I gotta wonder if Bergsland has an affiliation with Adobe as he does get excited about the Creative Cloud subscription. He says “they’ve demoed this [several hundred ePUB-licensed fonts] publicly , but it’s not yet fully implemented”. Sounds to me as though we don’t need to rush out and subscribe to the Cloud…

    Do read the comments at the end of the post. There is some useful food for thought in there, including:

    • Rob Siders’ and others’ comments on licensing in which he mentions that (bolded text is mine):
      • “Most, but not all, carry the SIL Open Font License, which makes them available for use in ebooks.”
      • NOOK, Sony, and Kobo ereaders all support embedded fonts in ePUBs. Kindle supports embedded fonts in all KF8-ready devices from Kindle Keyboard forward, and in all Kindle apps except for Kindle Cloud (which is the engine that runs the online sample). There is a caveat with Kindle for iOS: full support for KF8, and therefore embedded fonts, only works when a customer buys such an ebook through Amazon and has it delivered to their iOS device. Side-loading or emailing a file to Kindle for iOS reverts to legacy support”. Also, “Word will save a file with embedded fonts and Caliber will take that file and convert it into an eBook with embedded fonts”.
      • Where to go for fonts as:
        • Most of the font sites either don’t allow it or charge you ‘several hundred dollars for a single font that can be used in one title for one year’!
        • FontSpring, on the other hand, launched with nearly all of its fonts carrying ebook-favorable licensing at affordable pricing. In many cases, they offer unlimited, perpetual licensing for one price. We have several authors with series titles who like the same look throughout the series. In these specific cases, we could either get multiple licenses at $50 per title, or get the unlimited, perpetual license for $150, allowing us to use it in six backlist titles now and more in the future.”
        • FontSpring has thousands of high-quality fonts at reasonable prices and license terms favorable for ebooks

    Consider reading Microsoft’s Font License FAQ


    Penguin’s Curated Kickstarter Page

    In a press release at Digital Book World, “Penguin Group’s Book Country Launches a Curated Kickstarter Page” in which “Book Country members apply to have their project featured on Book Country’s curated page on Kickstarter”. Being on this page provides “exposure and community support that will help members to reach their funding goals”.

    What Kickstarter funding does is “help authors block out time for writing and research, and cover the cost of editing, cover design, and marketing among other self-publishing costs”.


    BookBaby Having a Sale

    For a limited time, BookBaby is knocking $50 off the price of their Premium package of econversion, marketing, and distribution.


    Gutenberg Technology Offers Digital Publishing Possibilities

    “Gutenberg Technology offers publishers a collaborative platform for digital publishing, MyEBookFactory 5.0, publishers (and authors) can:

    • Create smart, beautiful and interactive eBooks for any device (iOS, Android, Windows 8, Web)
    • Create their own workflow
    • Give access from anywhere in the world
    • Manage the entire publishing process.”

    A Different Take on Covers

    Elizabeth Bluemle at Publishers Weekly writes asking “Please, Will Somebody Re-Design These Covers”, and she brings the perspective of the bookseller to the dialog on how a cover should look.

    Marketing Ideas

    Use a Sample Chapter to Hook Readers Into Your Own Courses

    Nathan Barry provides an example of “Driving Ongoing Book Sales with a Sample Chapter” and makes some good basic points about making it easier for the person downloading to remember to read it. I have that problem myself. If I don’t make a note somewhere (that I remember to check!!) that I’ve downloaded someone’s MS or book to read, I forget. Barry’s idea also makes a useful call-to-action (CTA) to encourage people to sign up for your email list! Barry also has his own CTA built into this post that expands as you read even as he explains how you can do your own. Very clever.


    Online Book Subscription Sites

    Jeremy Greenfield with Digital Book World speaks with “Scribd CEO Trip Adler on the Economics of Ebook Subscription Models, the ‘Big Five’, and the Competition”, and we learn that Scribd is interested in the big 5 AND in the small to middle-sized publishers as well. The article also explains how the publisher (and you) get paid.


    Getting Foreign Distribution

    Deanna Utroske at Digital Book World interviews “Blanca Rosa Roca: The Barcelona Digital Editions / Open Road Media Partnership” regarding a practical merger of Open Road Media with Barcelona Digital Editions. A blend of Spanish knowledge of the market in Spain with Open Road Media’s books. Authors/publishers looking to expand overseas might pick up some ideas.


    Different Approach to Social Media

    Lydia Laurenson at Distilled has a different approach for social media. Softer. Kinder. I know, it’s a weird word to use, but that’s how her “in-depth investigation of content strategy at top brands” made me feel. See what you think of Brandopolis…


    Using Psychology to Design & Sell Your Books

    David Travis at Smashing Magazine discusses “Persuasion Triggers in Web Design”, and I think you may want to explore these ideas for your book marketing campaign. You’re probably doing some of this already…


    Book Tours

    Cheap, Live Book Tours

    Beth Bacon at Digital Book World writes about how “Authors Connect With Live, Virtual Events” with Wali Collins’ experiences with Shindig, “an online platform [originally developed] for playing chess and has developed into an environment where authors can read, give slideshows, answer live questions, run give-aways, and even sell their books. ‘We wanted to create the same human dynamic of a live book tour experience,’ said Shindig founder and CEO Steve Gottlieb.”

    Bacon goes on to mention other sites which can help create online author events for authors looking for virtual visits with readers: Google+ Hangouts offers free video chats to Google members and WebEx and GoToMeeting offer robust platforms for those who download the free webinar software. And points out the need to market the events and that authors should consider multiple or ongoing events.

    How to Ruin a Blog Tour

    Diantha Jones at Masquerade Crew has a useful post on “How to Ruin a Blog Tour”. And authors considering one should give this a read.

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


    2 responses to “A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – Mid-November 2013

    1. A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces - January 2014 - The Digital Reader

      […] Custom Fonts on Your Computer” with a tutorial showing you how to do it. However, also read Legal Use of Fonts for the legal ramifications of using […]

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