A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – March 2014

Posted March 1, 2014 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 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!

No TOC again this month. If I can ever settle my moving and now my computer problems, I’ll get my WordPress.org site up and eliminate these problems…sigh…

In General

Apple and the ePricing Case

Referee Appointed to Oversee Apple versus Monitor

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader notes that “Judge Cote Appoints Magistrate to Back up eBook Antitrust Monitor” with the appointment of Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger as the official referee between Apple and Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed external monitor.

I have to confess to a bias toward Apple and anti-government and curious about the Cote-Bromwich relationship, so I’m pleased to see that a more impartial judge has been assigned.

Now, if the government would have a peek into what Amazon has been doing…

Apple Wants to Move eBook Damages Trial

Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that “Apple Wants to Move eBook Damages Trial to California and Texas (for the states’ action).

“We have met the enemy — and we bought them.”

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Speaking of Amazon…

Jeremy Greenfield has an article at Forbes on “Amazon Publishing Finally Giving Big Publishers Run For Their Money” which simply catches us up on Amazon’s foray into traditional publishing. There are minuses followed by pluses with a bit of a meow about the New York Times Bestselling list.

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G Asset Management Wants a Bigger Piece

The New York Post notes that “Shareholder makes bid for B&N unit” in a second offer to buy into Barnes & Noble.

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Career Advice for Young Publishing Professionals

Sam Howard at Publishing Trendsetter looks at a “An Interview with Jane Friedman” in which she discusses branding yourself from the start. While this discussion is aimed at young people starting out in the publishing business, nothing says you can’t take this to heart, now, for yourself. Whatever you’re doing or whatever age you are. Start now with being true to yourself and what you want to accomplish in the future. It’s also good career advice whatever your field!

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Just for Fun

Bookstores

Shelf Awareness reports on the first round of 55 bookstores given money by James Patterson. Dennis Abrams at Publishing Perspectives has a more interesting sideways article, “Should More Top Authors Give Back to Indie Bookstores?” on what bookstores and Patterson are up to.

Alabama

“Books-A-Million has closed its store at the Hoover Commons shopping center in Hoover. AL.com reported that, while efforts to reach corporate officials for comment were unsuccessful, ‘an employee who answered the phone at the Hoover Commons store said Saturday was the store’s last day open.’ The BAM store had been located at Hoover Commons for at least 20 years.”

California

Apostrophe Books in Long Beach is moving, with plans to re-open in early March at 5229 East 2nd Street, six blocks east of its former location. After a nearby Starbucks shuttered last May, “the closure had an inadvertent and adverse impact” and they’re hoping the move to a more central location will help.

Colorado

Tattered Cover Book Store “will be opening a satellite store for travelers & commuters at Denver’s newly renovated Union Station, information shared via a “bulletin” on Facebook, noting that the satellite location “will also be a gateway to our store just across the street at the corner of 16th & Wynkoop.”

Florida

The Books & Books in Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour is in a temporary location for several months while its new site in the mall is under construction.

Michigan

With hope in their eyes, Penny Coleman and Robert Vedro have opened Blue Frog Books in Howell the Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported.

New Jersey

Christine Onorati, (the owner of Brooklyn’s WORD) upon opening a 2,400-square-foot branch store in Jersey City last December, said it has “given me a new excitement for books.”

New York

Van Alen Books, which opened in 2011 “to the hurrahs of New York’s architectural community, will be closing its doors this spring,” the Architect’s Newspaper reported.

North Carolina

Pandora’s Books in Lexington is closing some time next month. Another casualty to “the poor economy, onset of eBooks, and Internet sales”.

Ohio

Books-A-Million will close its store at the Bridgewater Falls Lifestyle Shopping Center in Fairfield Township on March 15, the Journal-News reported. BAM spokeswoman Christine Corbitt confirmed the company’s decision and said there will be a going-out-of-business sale until the closing date.

Wisconsin

Brian and Sue Roegge, co-owners of Chapter2 Books in Hudson have a new home after signing the lease on a space at 226 Locust Street, Suite 3. The Star Tribune reported that after losing the lease on their current store, the booksellers had struggled to find the right location in the city’s little riverfront downtown and “up until two days ago had figured their indie bookstore was going to have to close.”


Global

Isn’t that ambitious, lol. A former Book Depository (now owned by Amazon, of course) executive, “Kieron Smith … plans to launch an online global bookseller called Best Little Bookshop this spring. The Bookseller reported that the website ‘will sell a wide range of books from all publishers, but it will also contain profiles where other “partner” booksellers from around the world will be able to offer collections of specialist and hard-to-find, unusual books.'” But they won’t sell eBooks.

Canada

Despite the hopeful attitude reported in the November Hodgepodge, the Cookbook Store in Toronto has been unable to find a new space and will be closing, starting [with sales] February 22, 2014.

China

It’s a universal problem as Xinhua.net reports that “China’s bookstores face challenging new chapter in e-commerce age“.

Holland

The “Dutch bookstore chain Polare has been officially declared bankrupt, according to the curator, Kees van de Meent. Stores will remain open for the time being, NL Times reported, adding that the bankruptcy was a requirement for the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) to pay overdue wages. Employees are guaranteed to receive their wages for a maximum of six weeks.

The bookstores, which had been closed since late January, reopened February 19 and are for sale separately or in clusters. NL Times noted that although ‘the supplier stopped deliveries, the stores reopened as it is easier to sell stores that are open.’ Polare locations in Maastricht, Tilburg, The Hague, Groningen, Zwolle, Den Bosch and Nijmegen have ‘already struck the interest of potential buyers’ and five employees of the Rotterdam Polare bookstore launched a crowdfunding project for their location.

Polare was formed two years ago when the Selexyz and De Slegte bookstore chains merged.”

Phillipines

“Author Mitch Albom has established the Donated Reading for Youth of the Philippines (DRY) relief fund to reconstruct 10 school libraries destroyed by typhoon Yolanda last November and has pledged to help raise $160,000 needed for construction. Partnering with the National Book Store Foundation, he will coordinate the DRY Libraries program through his A Hole in the Roof Foundation and is helping to launch the initiative with a $10,000 donation and hundreds of copies of his books. The NBS Foundation has promised to match funds raised by Albom on a dollar for dollar basis until the goal is met.”

A number of authors have already pledged at least 10 personalized copies for each of the libraries.

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Libraries

HarperCollins eBooks Now Available in U.K.

A press release from OverDrive on Digital Book World announces that “HarperCollins eBooks now available to U.K. libraries” — “public, primary and secondary schools, academic and corporate libraries in the U.K.” with “the entire eBook catalog from HarperCollins [of more than 5,000 titles] … now available for library and school lending in the United Kingdom through the OverDrive service.”

Connecticut: ‘Wait and See’ How Library eBook Market Develops

Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly says that Connecticut has adopted a wait-and-see attitude watching publishers to see if government interference will become necessary to ensure that libraries have a fair shot at acquiring eBooks and have adopted a three-prong approach to make it easier to order eBooks.

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Awards

2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)

Films with book connections won in several categories at this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts film awards, which were announced Sunday in London. The winners included (I’ve only included the book-to-film adaptations):

Inaugural Winners of the Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize

The first winners of the Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize, which was created by family and close friends of the late Carla Cohen, co-founder of Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. It will be presented annually to authors of first or second books in fiction and nonfiction — judged by two independent juries — with the winner in each category receiving $5,000.

2013 Kitschies

The Kraken Rum presents the Kitschies “reward [for] the year’s most progressive, intelligent, and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.”

2014 Society of Authors’ Translation Prizes

Seven translators received prizes totaling more than £19,000 (about US$31,750) at the Society of Authors’ Translation Prizes in London. See a complete list of winners here.

  • Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize (Arabic):
    • A Land Without Jasmine was translated by Willian Maynard Hutchins and written by Wajdi al-Ahdal
    • Azazeel was translated by Jonathan Wright and written by Zoussef Ziedan
  • Schlegel-Tieck Prize (German): Pure Contradiction was translated by Ian Crockatt and written by Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Scott Moncrieff Prize (French): The Little Auto was translated by Beverley Bie Brahic and written by Guillaume Apollinaire
  • Premio Valle Inclán (Spanish): The Blue Hour was translated by Frank Wynne and written by Alonso Cueto
  • Vondel Prize (Dutch): The Misfortunates was translated by David Colmer and written by Dimitri Verhulst
  • Risa Domb/Porjes Prize (Hebrew): Motti was translated by Todd Hasak-Lowy and written by Asaf Schurr

2014 Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards

The Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, aim to “recognize and encourage authors and illustrators new to the field of children’s books.”

  • New Writer: Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by K.G. Campbell
  • New Artist: Christian Robinson for Rain! by Linda Ashman

Telegraph Harvill Secker Crime Writing Prize

Sarah Shaffi at The Bookseller writes that “Mukherjee wins Telegraph Harvill Secker crime prize. Established last July, the prize (publication by Harvill Secker, with the author getting a £5,000 advance) is intended to find an unpublished crime writer. So we’ll have to keep an eye out for Abir Mukherjee’s “A Rising Man”.

2014 Art Book Prize

Art in Oceania: A New History won the £1,000 Art Book Prize, The Bookseller reported. The prize, administered by the Authors’ Club and supported by the Art Newspaper, ‘is awarded annually to the best book on art or architecture published in English, anywhere in the world.’ Published by Thames & Hudson, Art in Oceania was written by anthropologists, art historians and curators of both European and Pacific Islands descent, including Peter Brunt, Nicholas Thomas, Sean Mallon, Lissant Bolton, Deidre Brown, Damian Skinner and Susanne Küchler.”

2014 Red House Children’s Book Award

The Red House Children’s Book Award is the only award program voted entirely by the kids! YEAH! Although, The Guardian goes on to report, it is “from a shortlist drawn up by children’s book groups across the U.K”.

2013 Hatchet Job of the Year

This award is given by The Omnivore and going to the writer “of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review” of the past year, which is A.A. Gill for Autobiography by Steven Patrick Morrissey. You can read the review on The Omnivore. Meowwww.

British Columbia National Award for Canadian Nonfiction

Marsha Lederman at The Globe and Mail reports that ‘Thomas King won the $40,000 British Columbia National Award for Canadian Nonfiction for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America‘. The jury praised the winning book as a ‘wry, iconoclastic and important book that challenges us to think differently about both the past and the future.’ The Inconvenient Indian was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction and is on the short list for the RBC Taylor Prize.”

Etisalat Prize for Literature

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first ever pan-African prize celebrating first-time writers of published fiction books, and it was won by NoViolet Bulawayo for her novel, We Need New Names.

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Kids

Lulu Launches LuluJr Website Aimed at Children Publishing Their Own Books

Mick Rooney at The Independent Publishing Magazine announces Lulujr.com which focuses on books for young kids and book-making kits. It’s part of Lulu’s latest licensing agreements with Easy Student Publishing which is the source of Creations By You products.

Children’s Book Challenges: An NYPL Panel on Censorship

Matia Burnett at Publishers Weekly examines “Children’s Book Challenges: An NYPL Panel on Censorship” in which a debate on censorship in kids’ books took place at the New York Public Library in February with “an overview of the roots of American censorship. [Leonard S. Marcus, author and critic] attributed the impetus behind censoring children’s books to three factors: first, a religious or moral perspective stemming from the Puritans’ belief that the bible is the only book of value. Second, Marcus referred to a conviction that became prominent after the Civil War, which held that children’s books should always serve a moral purpose. And third, he referenced the psychological tradition, which is focused on the underlying content of children’s literature. This tradition manifested in challenges to the work of writers like Maurice Sendak, whose books acknowledged the fact that ‘children have intense views’.”

“Additionally, Harris feels that parents demanding the removal of a book sends a harmful and belligerent message to children: ‘If you don’t like something, destroy it.'”

The traditional area of challenge has been the middle-grades, but these last few years are seeing censorship sneaking up into the higher grades, sending a very chilling message.

“‘Even when intentions are good, this “micromanagement of childhood”,’ he said, ‘results in limiting a child’s process of discovery.’

‘Of course,’ Harris said, ‘parents have the freedom to keep a book away from their own child. They do not, however, have the right to keep that book away from other people’s children.’ Bertin added that, regardless of parental sensitivities, ‘somewhere in here, kids have rights’ too.”

Kids Read the Darndest Things

I loved this post by Elizabeth Bluemle at Publishers Weekly on “Kids Read the Darndest Things…” as it reminds us that everyone has their own preferences — even kids! Don’t hold your nose up at the possibilities thinking your child couldn’t possibly…as no one but the individual knows what they will like. And they won’t know that unless you try!

“…the truth is, we never know what will reach into a child’s heart and soul and imagination and take root. This is why it’s so valuable and important to expose children to all kinds of books, to give them not only children’s books, but interesting books for older readers — coffee table books of art and people and far-off places — and have them in our homes, our doctors’ offices, our libraries, and DMVs and everywhere little kids hang out without a lot to do — readily available.

And it behooves us to do our best to get those books into homes that can’t afford them.”

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Get a Better Match to What You Like to Read

Beth Bacon at Digital Book World has an interview with Jeffrey Bruner about his daily e-newsletter, The Fussy Librarian, which promotes eBooks. Yes, most authors have to pay to be included. But his subscription numbers look good for only having started this past fall.

For readers, “The Fussy Librarian … is all about the match — creating the best possible book match tailored to what individuals like to read. I think that’s what makes us different from other discount newsletters. Anyone can email a list of books each day, and if you’re the kind of person who reads everything, you’ll have lots of great suggestions. But if you like to read British detective novels without profanity and minimal violence? Only The Fussy Librarian is going to deliver you a match that specific.

We’re perfect for moms trying to find suitable reading material for their sixth-grader. They want to read fantasy novels but you don’t want them to be the next Game of Thrones … we can help with that.”

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eBook Subscription Services

Readfy’s Subscription Service Free But Irritating

I dunno…ya gotta be really desperate to subscribe to Readfy’s eBook service. At least the free version with its ads popping up all over the page! No, you can’t avoid the ads as you can only read the books while online. Or, of course, by paying for your subscription. Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader talks more about the paying end of this eBook subscription service.

eBook Subscriptions for Children

Jack W. Perry at Digital Book World discusses “Time for eBook Subscriptions for Children’s Titles” and notes a few other eBook subscription services for children besides Epic!, which just launched with 2,000 titles in an ‘all-you-can-read’ model for $9.99 a month. There are a couple of other kids’ subscription services: Bookboard with 400 titles and Amazon’s Kindle Free Time Unlimited with eBooks, apps, games, and videos. Plus there are also branded subscription services from Sesame Street (150 eBooks each month) and a Disney App with bundles of up to 27 eBooks for $19.99. Disney is not necessarily a subscription, but it is a lot of titles for a very reduced rate. Reading Rainbow is one of the original subscription plans and has hundreds of books, games, videos. Plus there is a focus on learning.

Libraries have always been integral to introducing children to read, and they offer unlimited reading for the eBooks. Some use a service called Brain Hive, which offers over 5,000 eBooks through libraries at $1 per download. The library pays once the book is checked out.”

Perry goes on to provide “a few [good] reasons why eBook subscription services and bundling make sense for children’s books”: if your child enjoys reading (or you want them to), they allow the child to choose from a wide range of genres and subjects, giving them a better chance of finding something they’ll love.

Oyster Adds Disney to Its Roster

Laura Hazard Owen at Gigaom announces that “eBook subscription service Oyster teams up with Disney and rolls out kids’ vertical” with “Oyster, the New York-based startup that aims to be the Netflix for eBooks, has added about 100 titles from Disney Publishing to its service and is rolling out a new children’s vertical Wednesday. I’m not understanding their use of new and vertical here. Supposedly it’s about the 10,000 kids books they already have, although Owen does note that most of the kids books are text-based and not picture books.

Oyster, which launched last September, charges $9.95 per month for unlimited access to a library of over 100,000 in-copyright eBooks and has iPhone and iPad apps. (The company hasn’t publicly updated that 100,000 figure since launch.) Android apps are slated for later this year.”

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eReaders

Will B&N’s NOOK Follow Sony to Kobo?

Jeremy Greenfield writes an article for Forbes on “Is Sony’s Exit From the eBook Business in North America a Model For Barnes & Noble’s NOOK?” in which he wonders if Sony’s ceding to Kobo is a path that the NOOK will follow.

NOOK Simple Touch Dropped by B&N

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader reports that “Barnes & Noble Discontinues the NOOK [Simple] Touch” is removing the eReader from its website and stores while Geekwire wonders if Barnes & Noble has “ceded the low-cost eReader market to Amazon”. From the “extras” Hoffelder points out, hackers might want to pick up a NOOK Touch while they still can.

Smashwords Can Email Anything

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader notes that “Smashwords eDelivery Updated With New Support for Email, Format Options” and now all seven file formats available at Smashwords can be emailed — no more USB cables required! Yeah!!

E-Ink + LED Screen on Same eReader

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader points out that the “New Yotaphone Boasts Larger E-ink, LED Screens and a Sleeker Design” and “the Russian gadget maker Yota Devices is already showing off the new model … just a few months after shipping their first dual-screen smartphone”.

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Flicks

And the Oscar Goes to… Encore Books!

“It’s time to cast your votes in the third annual Books for Oscar poll, sponsored by Encore Books, Yakima, Washington, where they “love movies… but we love books more. Every year the Academy honors the actors and directors and everyone else involved in movie-making, but they almost never recognize the books… and the beloved characters in those books… that make so many of their films possible.

The Books for Oscar poll is based on the Academy Award nominations, ‘but focused on the books the nominated movies use as their source.’ You can find a ballot here to vote for the six categories and nominations. ‘When voting, please remember to vote based on the book, not the movie,’ Encore cautioned. Voting closes at midnight March 1 and results will be unveiled March 2 (“early in the day so you won’t have to miss the real Oscars”) on the store’s Facebook page.

NOTE: To increase participation, Encore is awarding free books to randomly selected entries (from among those that supply an e-mail address), but winners must visit the bookstore to collect their prize.”

Jay A. Fernandez at “Word & Film explored the power of book-to-film adaptations in ‘Oscars 2014: How Adaptations Continue to Shape the Conversation‘ and ‘how films based on written source material have fared in the Best Picture competition, noting that during Oscar’s 85 years, 54 Best Picture winners ‘officially have been derived from novels, nonfiction books, newspaper articles or stage dramas. For you numbers-crunchers, that’s 63.5%. Since comic books and pop fiction also now account for half of the highest-grossing films of all time, the literary world clearly has a major impact on both the box office and the awards circuit.'” For the film maniacs, Fernandez lists a number of book-derived movies.

Second Trailer for New Game of Thrones Season

“The second trailer has been released for season four of Game of Thrones. Indiewire noted that “vengeance seems to be on the mind here, with the Red Wedding still looming large. In what looks like the most epic season yet, this new peek gives a quick preview of everyone among the sprawling cast, spread out as they cross the ever expanding map of the show. And with both George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords and A Song of Ice and Fire being drawn upon for the plot this time around, we expect some big things to happen across the next ten episodes.” The new Game of Thrones season premieres April 6 on HBO.”

Flowers in the Attic Sequel!

Petals on the Wind (Dollanganger, 2) is “Lifetime network’s upcoming sequel to its adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic” [Dollanganger, 1]. Hillary Busis at “Entertainment Weekly reported that [Rose] McIver ‘will inherit the role from Kiernan Shipka, who played Cathy from ages 12 through 15 in the first film. Lifetime’s movie version will take a different approach from the novel in which Petals picks up immediately where Flowers leaves off, covering a sequence of events that take place over the course of 12 years and instead [the movie will] begin a decade after the events of the first movie.’ Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn will reprise their roles from the first movie.”

“Repent, Harlequin!’ Said The Ticktock Man” Optioned

Mike Fleming, Jr. reports with some excitement in Deadline that “J. Michael Straczynski Options Harlan Ellison’s Classic Sci-Fi Story ‘Repent, Harlequin!’“. It’s a first that “Harlan Ellison is allowing a film to be developed based on “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said The Ticktock Man“, a story he published in Galaxy magazine in 1965 that went on to win several awards, including a Hugo and a Nebula. [Fleming] reported that Ellison ‘has granted an option directly’ to J. Michael Straczynski (World War Z, Thor, Babylon 5). To obtain the rights, Straczynski ‘had to deliver a finished screenplay to Ellison… Only then did Ellison grant the option,’ Deadline.com noted, adding that Straczynski will now look for production partners and a director, ‘and the first parties he will approach will be Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro’.”

Bronson’s The War at the Shore in Development

“Spike TV is teaming up with Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti’s Trigger Street Productions to develop The War at the Shore, based on Richard D. ‘Skip’ Bronson’s book about ‘one of the most famous personal feuds in the business world — between flamboyant developers Donald Trump and Steve Wynn’, Deadline.com reported. Bronson was Wynn’s right-hand man during the fight.

Film Adaptation of Taliban Shuffle

“Tina Fey will star in and produce a film adaptation of Taliban Shuffle, based on Kim Barker’s memoir, with her ‘former Saturday Night Live boss and 30 Rock co-hort Lorne Michaels,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted that Robert Carlock (30 Rock) has written the script.”

Edward Norton to Star & Direct Motherless Brooklyn

Mike Fleming, Jr. at Deadline.com reports that “Edward Norton Will Helm Passion Project Motherless Brooklyn With RatPac Funding” and “will star in and direct his own adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn, but “set in New York in 1954, a time of great change in the city.”

R.L. Stine’s Eye Candy a New Series

Lesley Goldberg at The Hollywood Reportersays that “MTV has picked up its second drama series in less than two weeks with a 10-episode series order for Eye Candy, a cyber thriller based on R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. Read more to learn more.

New Adaptation of East of Eden

“Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) has been signed to write East of Eden, the new adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel starring Jennifer Lawrence.”

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It’s Beer Book Month!

“Inspired by the release of three ‘big name, beautifully done’ beer books this January, Quayside Publishing, which specializes in illustrated nonfiction, has declared the month of March to be Beer Book Month. Quayside has also brewed up a corresponding blog, beerbookmonth.com, which has been featuring excerpts and selections from its beer titles since the beginning of last month”, including the three which inspired Beer Book Month.

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Free Audiobooks for World Book Night Givers

Book Web reports that “APA Offers World Book Night (WBN) Givers Free Audio Downloads” with “free audiobook downloads to the 25,000 WBN volunteer givers, including bookseller and librarian givers. Under the program, givers will be able to receive up to three audiobook downloads via APA member Audiobooks.com, and about two-thirds of WBN’s 35 titles this year will be available. The downloads will be offered in March.

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Baring It All — Ooh La La

I wasn’t sure if I should put this in “Sadly” for censorship, but laughter won out as The Local reports on a “Naked protest: Literary world mocks politician” in France, natch, in which “a group of French publishers and booksellers stripped and posed for a discreetly indiscreet photograph ‘in a pointed protest towards the leader of the country’s conservative UMP party, Jean-François Copé,’ who had publicly criticized the children’s book Everybody Get Naked (Tous à Poil) recently, The Local reported, adding that the attack was part of an ultraconservative effort to compel public libraries to remove ‘children’s books the extremists viewed as promoting gender theory or the idea one’s sex is flexible and not determined by birth.'”

Melville House has an interesting post on the topic along with a variety of links to video and readings.

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Debates on Print vs eBook

India Debates Print vs eBook

Mira Khan at the Express Tribune wonders “Is This the End of Print?” with points made on both sides of the print-digital divide: “the bottom one-third of the population who had no access to the digital world were the source of increasing demand for books” while the digital is handy for easy access to banned books.

Egyptian Publishers Heading into Digital

Noha Moustafa at Zawya notes that “Books in the digital age” are a way to cut costs and reach a larger audience, and with “almost any sophisticated electronic device that features a controllable viewing screen” capable of reading eBooks and “sales of laptops, computers, tablets, and smart-phones … on the rise in Egypt since the 25 January Revolution, which itself was thought to have been helped along by the online social networks”.

Difficulties do exist including publishers’ fears of piracy and reader fears about online security, still it’s progress.

eBooks Still Losing to Hard Copy

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader notes that, per an informal poll by Fatbrain, it seems that hard copy is still preferred with 61% preferring it for learning and 58% preferring to be able to share their books with an overall emotional preference for print over eBooks.

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The Power of Books

Sarah J. Robbins at Publishers Weekly explains how “The Water Princess Relates Childhood of Burkina Faso-Born Model Georgie Badiel“. It’s a lovely story that won’t be published until 2016, but already its creation is fueling Badiel’s dream of safe water for her people. It’ll break and uplift your heart at the same time to read how Badiel wants to give back to her country and its children.

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RPG for Law Students

Okay, so it’s not really a fun thing, but it is useful for second- and third-year law students as this press release from LexisNexis at the Wall Street Journal, “LexisNexis Launches ‘Evidence Challenge’, Integrates with eBooks“, states that “LexisNexis(R) Legal & Professional, a leading provider of content and technology solutions, today announced it has launched an interactive, role-playing feature within selected eBooks called ‘Evidence Challenge’ that helps second and third year law students sharpen their knowledge of evidence law. It is now accessible within 16 evidence-focused course books and study aid titles from LexisNexis, as well as a stand-alone study aid usable on any mobile device or computer at www.EvidenceChallenge.com.”

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The Insecurity of Elitist Challenges

I think this is Porter Anderson at Publishing Perspectives writing about “The Literary Elitism Question“. Whoever is writing this does point out a truism: that there are insecure people everywhere who are quick to leap, accuse, and denigrate — like my 50-cent word?

“How overly sensitive might people be? An Ether reader once took me to task for an upbeat use of the word literature because — she maintained — it referred only to literary fiction, not to all fiction. My positive reference to literature, she went on, was an insult to her because she is a genre writer.

That’s a case of actual ignorance — the term literature comprises all forms of written prose and verse, not just what the industry calls literary. And it’s also a show of the insecurity Miller writes about.”

It did make me think…what could someone possibly make of me with my love for cozy and/or historical mysteries, military fiction (sci fi and historical), erotica, young adult, children’s, Big Macs and caviar, a thick juicy steak and vegetarian, Coca Colas and a lovely cabernet sauvignon, dim sum for breakfast…?

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Texas Book Festival Joins Forces with Teen Event

“The Texas Book Festival, scheduled for October 25-26 this year, will be joined for the first time by the newly renamed Texas Teen Book Festival on October 18. Formerly known as the Austin Teen Book Festival, the annual gathering of YA authors and readers attracted a record audience of 4,000 in 2013. It has been sponsored by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation since 2011.

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Sadly

Obituaries

Short-Story Writer, Mavis Gallant is Dead at 91

Helen T. Verongos at The New York Times laments the life of “Mavis Gallant, 91, Dies; Her Stories Told of Uprooted Lives and Loss, “the Montreal-born writer who carved out an international reputation as a master short-story author while living in Paris for decades, [who] died Tuesday at age 91, her publisher said.

The bilingual Québécois started out as a journalist and went on to publish well over 100 short stories in her lauded career, many of them in The New Yorker magazine and in collections such as The Other Paris, Across the Bridge, and In Transit.

Although she lived abroad, Gallant received several high-profile honors in Canada, including a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Governor General’s Literary Award for her story collection, Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories.

Poet and Novelist, Michael Baldwin Dead at 83

“U.K. poet and novelist Michael Baldwin, who helped establish the Arvon Foundation that ‘eventually ran four rural centers for aspiring writers of all ages and was lent crucial support by the poet Ted Hughes,’ died February 3, the Guardian reported. He was 83.”

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Fallout Continues from Penguin Books India Debacle

Dennis Abrams at Publishing Perspectives looks again at the abandonment of Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History by Penguin India to extremist demands for its removal from the marketplace because they found it offensive. Penguin’s caving to these demands has fueled a backlash amongst at least two of Penguin’s Indian authors: Jyotirmaya Sharma and Siddharth Varadarajan, who have asked the publisher to withdraw their books and destroy them on the premise that they can’t trust Penguin not to cave in again.

Penguin Defends Its Decision to Pulp the Book

Personally, I’m with Sharma and Varadarajan, and this article, “Penguin defends pulping book on Hindus in India after row“, from Yahoo News simply confirms my thoughts. Makes me appreciate living in the U.S. with its freedom of speech doctrine. I don’t agree with all the free speech that spews forth sometimes, but I prefer that freedom to being dictated to.

“But Penguin said it also ‘has the same obligation as any other organisation to respect the laws of the land in which it operates, however intolerant and restrictive those laws may be.'”

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Amazon Ain’t the Gorilla

Aaron Pressman at The Exchange, part of Yahoo Finance, says “The book industry isn’t dying, it’s thriving with an eBook assist“, and he rebuts George Packer’s post mentioned in the mid-February Hodgepodge, “Amazon, the Real Gorilla in the Room“, about Amazon being the culprit while pointing out how the number of books sold have increased. He contends that big publishers have contributed to destroying book sales with the authors they take on, their dumping practices, and the lack of thorough tracking of eBook sales whether it’s because The New York Times won’t track Amazon sales or the books are self-published and therefore underreported. Hmmm, sounds like this plays into Hugh Howey’s arguments

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Are eBooks a Threat??

I’m with ZeeNews India: “eBooks provide opportunity to diversify industry: Publishers“. I don’t understand why publishers see eBooks as a threat. They’re simply an adjunct to print books whether a particular book is strictly an ePublication or combines hard copy with an electronic copy, what difference does it make? If anything, it’s a cheaper way to produce as it reduces the warehouse storage space required, shipping is much cheaper, and it opens the market up more by making it easier for people to buy books. Now, if publishers are fearful because there are so many authors who are self-publishing, what’s the harm there? These are the same publishers who keep rejecting so many authors…ahem…

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Scribbling Women

Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly writes of “Scribbling Women and the Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them“, an anthology of “28 nonfiction essays by bestselling romance and women’s fiction authors on how they met, wed, and love their real-life spouses and significant others. Contributors include Deanna Raybourn, Jacquie D’Alessandro, Julie Kenner, May McGoldrick, and Lisa Renée Jones.

I know I don’t normally include books in the Hodgepodge, but this is a good cause as the proceeds of Scribbling Women and the Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them go to “Women In Need (Win), a non-profit organization based in New York City and dedicated to helping women and families break the cycle of homelessness by providing clean, safe housing and critical programs and services”.

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Writing Tips

Hemingway Helps You Write & Edit

A visual sample of how Hemingway marks up your text

An interesting new writing software program called Hemingway that claims to help you edit by highlighting complex and/or wordy sentences and showcasing adverbs, government words, and passive voice. It also judges the reading level of the text and counts the number of paragraphs, sentences, words, and characters. Similar to what Word does. It does not appear to check for spelling or punctuation, so…

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Some Fave Places for Character Inspiration

Bookmasters suggests “6 Places to Go for Character Development Inspiration” and has some good points to make.

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Why You Need to Know Grammar

C.S. Lakin from live Write Thrive talks about “The Grammar Principle — with C S Lakin” over at ALLi. It’s a short read with some good points. And just in case you’re wondering, “Do Writers Really Have to Learn All That (Yucky) Grammar?“, yes. Oh, Lakin isn’t saying you have to be perfect. No, you can be as imperfect as you like. In your first draft, ahem. It’s afterwards as you begin the polish that you need to pay attention. I do like Lakin’s comparison to mechanics and contractors and their tools!

“Those who submit error-ridden novels to agents or publishers are often rejected without hesitation. Those who self-publish books full of mistakes get dinged by negative reviews.”

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A 250 Words Q&A

I’m not sure if this should be under “Writing Tips” or “Marketing Ideas”, so you’ll have to judge for yourselves about this “Q&A: 250 Words Editors on the New Site’s Launch and Goals“. A website dedicated to the world of business books, 250 Words was launched earlier this month by Simon & Schuster although S&S does “feature reviews and encourage discussion about all aspects of business book reading, writing and publishing — not just those published by Simon & Schuster.”

Sam McNerney, executive editor of 250 Words, and Ben Loehnen, senior editor at Simon & Schuster, took the time to answer a few questions for Digital Book World about the site’s recent launch, goals and where it’s headed. It’s been in the news quite a bit, and I thought the non-fiction writers out there might be interested.

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Amtrak’s [Future] Writers’ Residencies

Ben Cosman at Wired is excited about “Inside Amtrak’s Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers” with free or low-cost “writers’ residencies” in the form of “long roundtrip rides aboard Amtrak trains dedicated solely for the purpose of writing,” … adding that the company plans to “turn the writers’ residencies into an established, long-term program, sending writers on trains throughout its network of routes.” Julia Quinn, the social media director for Amtrak, says this is an idea dreamed up by Amtrak’s fans and customers and will be open on a limited, case-by-case basis to people from a variety of writing backgrounds and not just wildly successful writers.

Jessica Gross says that “all Amtrak asked was that she send out a few tweets while she was traveling, and do an interview for the company’s blog at the end of her trip”.

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Book Editing: Where, How

Chris Robley at Book Baby talks about “What kind of book editing do I need for my manuscript?” and mentions the basics about editing as well as ways to get edited on the cheap.

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Still the Bad Old Days of Copyright Infringement

Matt Reynolds with the Courthouse News Service writes up notice that “Kenny “Kenji” Gallo, who claims to be a former member of the Colombo Crime Family, a mobster-turned-snitch, claims in court that Simon & Schuster stole rights to his 2009 autobiography, Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia, by registering the copyright under his co-author’s and former publisher’s name”. Now S&S refuse to speak to him.

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C.S. Lakin’s Four Initial Pillars of Novel Construction

Pillar 1. Concept with a Kicker

Okay, so I had this idea, and now Lakin is telling me “An Idea Does Not a Novel Make“, and it’s not a plot twist. *groan*”. It’s all part of her new series for 2014: the Twelve Pillars of Novel Construction, and An Idea… starts us with that “concept with a kicker”, a blend of “concept, premise, plot, and idea, … what makes the idea of your novel special, different, fresh, unique”.

Coming Up with a Kicker of a Concept” provides examples of concept, which Lakin reminds us is not plot. Then there’s “Kicking High Concept into High Gear” which has a better example, or at least one that kicks my brain into gear.

Pillar 2. A Protagonist With a Goal

A Compelling Novel Centers On the Protagonist’s Goal” asking if “you want to write a compelling story. … Have you ever read a novel that drove you forcefully to turn page after page? That caused you, by overwhelming pressure, to neglect your chores, your dinner, your kids, in order to get to that last page to see how the book ended? If that’s the kind of novel you want to build, then you need to be sure all the elements of your story work together for one main purpose. The reason your protagonist is even here. And Lakin lays it all out for you like a road map…

Constructing the Two Goals for the Protagonist in Your Novel” states that “our main character must have a visible goal, and paired with that plot goal is a spiritual one, which is tied closely with the character’s core need. Both goals are ‘resolved’ at the climax of the novel”. “Constructing the Two Goals for the Protagonist in Your Novel” is all about how “the protagonist strives to reach her goal and faces numerous challenges, obstacles, and choices, the experience changes her. Her goal is tied up with a core need, a passion, a dream. It is something she must get, have, stop, or reach. Her emotional nature and spirituality are tied to that goal” and how it ties in to your storyline. This is followed by “Make Me Like Your Protagonist or I’ll Stop Reading” in which Lakin urges you to pull your reader in within the first paragraphs, to make them like your primary character.

The other two major pillars Lakin will explore in future posts are “Conflict With High Stakes” and “Theme With a Heart”.

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Wait a Sec! We Need to Re-think

Peter Damien at Book Riot points out The Conversation We Should Be Having About J.K. Rowling’s Big Reveal“, and he makes perfect sense. We should be grateful and proud that J.K. Rowling felt comfortable enough to want to engage in a discussion about her thoughts and concerns about where her story could have gone. As Damien also notes, who hasn’t wondered if s/he made the right move after finishing a story.

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Tools Penn Uses in Her Creative Business

Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn has a list of “The Tools I Use In My Creative Business“, one of which is her take on Scrivener for its “amazing writing software, with brilliant drag and drop functionality so you can write out of order and then just switch things around later. But it also has a Compile function which means you can format your own .mobi files for Kindle and .epub files for Kobo, iBookstore, and everywhere else. You don’t have to pay a book formatter, and you can update your files with new books etc. This saves self-publishers SO much money and also time to publication. All for just $45.”

And that’s JUST the start of Penn’s tools!

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Blogging is a Three-fold Benefit

Molly Greene tells us of “5 Ways Blogging Sells Books“, but primarily she explains why consistent blogging does two things behind the scenes: it makes Google very happy and improves your writing. Hey! How can you not like a “task” that works three ways? I can tell you that I started blogging simply to put my book reviews out there, and the more I’ve blogged, the more ideas I’ve fallen into. Guess that makes this a four-way benefit, huh?

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Upcoming Writing Contests

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

Deadline, Cost Prize Contest
Submissions accepted online from Feb 15 – Mar 31, 2014
$20 per submission
1st prize-$1,000
2nd-$500
3rd-$250
Top 20 works will be published in the anthology
2nd Annual Imagine This! An ArtPrize Anthology
Requirements:
Sponsored by the Cascade Writers’ Group and Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters, they are accepting poetry, short stories and essays. Entries selected for publication, and the top three award winners, will be notified by April 30, 2014.

Upcoming Writing Conferences

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

Date, Time, Cost Location Conference/Workshop
Mar 12, 2014
1pm EST
10am PST
6pm GMT
Free
Webcast EDUPUB — The What, Why and How
About:
Learn about the latest opportunities in interactive digital educational content through the newly developed EDUPUB standards.
May 31, 2014
9am–4pm EST
Before May 15 – $115 including Boxed Lunch, but not a BEA pass
After May 15 – $215
Javits Center
New York City
uPublishU
About:
Aspiring writers and authors will learn from industry experts tips and tactics and all about the tools and technology to help them self-publish a print book or an eBook. You will also have the opportunity to meet with a selection of the industry’s most respected self-publishing service providers who offer services to aspiring authors or those looking to package their content in book form.
Jan 13–15, 2015 New York Hilton Midtown
New York City
Digital Book World Conference + Expo
About:
It will bring together 1,500 professionals focused on developing, building, and transforming their organizations to compete in the new digital publishing environment.

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The Publishing Business

Hurry Up and…What??

Kristine Kathryn Rusch with The Business Rusch wants you to “Hurry Up. Wait.” (or is it Wait. Hurry Up?), in which she discusses the differences — and they are major!! — between indie publishing and traditional publishing.

On the one hand, indie publishing is a hurry up and wait proposition while traditional is more wait and hurry up…and if you want to know more, you must read Rusch’s post.

Keep in mind: “People in the publishing industry see traditional publishing as validation; readers want good books and don’t care who publishes them.” And really, how many of you know who publishes your favorite authors…??

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Author Earnings Controversy

The 7k Report

Hugh Howey
shared his thoughts over at Author Reports with this “7k Report” along with links to The Amazon 7k Report, The Amazon 50k Report, and The B&N Report. Howey is frustrated over the lack of data and includes plenty of links — as well as information about a software program another author created which will crawl the Web hunting down more information.

“You may have heard from other reports that eBooks account for roughly 25% of overall book sales. But this figure is based only on sales reported by major publishers. eBook distributors like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, the iBookstore, and Google Play don’t reveal their sales data. That means that self-published eBooks are not counted in that 25%.”

“Books are not only in competition with each other, they compete with everything else a reader might do with their time. Creating a poor experience is a way to lose readers,”

Me, Hugh Howey, and Legacy John on AuthorEarnings.com

J.A. Konrath speaks out on his blog, “Me, Hugh Howey, and Legacy John on AuthorEarnings.com” where Konrath has duplicated Howey’s report and interspersed Howey’s “The 7K Report” with humorous references to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and his imaginary opponent (representing the Big 5) Legacy John.

Part of what angers Howey and so many others about the Big 5:
“Legacy John: Our money, of course. We make 75% of net on eBooks. Why would we want to lower prices?

Joe: Because authors are only making 25%, which translates to 12.5% royalties of the Digital List Price you set. Why do you think authors are going to continue accepting 12.5% when they can get 70% by self-pubbing, and also outsell you in units? Your average book price was $7.00, which means $0.88 goes to the author. The average self pubbed book price is $3.25, which means $2.28 goes to the author.”

Actually, you want to read this whole interchange between Konrath and Legacy John. In between your howls of laughter and tears of frustration, you’ll want to rend someone page by page!

Weinberg’s Rebuttal to Howey’s ‘7K Report’

Dana Beth Weinberg at Digital Book World, one of the authors of the hotly contested Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest 2014 Author Survey (a mere $295 *cough, cough* Personally, I’ll stick with Howey…he’s so much cheaper and less attached to the establishment!) has her rebuttal to Howey’s post, “Analyzing the Author Earnings Data Using Basic Analytics“, and she makes some interesting points. And I’m not sure if I’m feeling pissy about her points simply because I prefer Howey’s analysis, lol. It is easy to see how angry she is with Howey’s thoughts. Makes you wonder how she came up with this slide…

“Rather than interview authors or rely on a self-selecting group of survey respondents, Howey selected his sample based on sales-ranking success. He captured the Amazon rankings data for Kindle eBooks in the top-selling fiction genres of romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and mystery/thriller. His sample consists of a snapshot of nearly 7,000 eBooks (6,887 books in the data I downloaded).”

Weinberg continues with another post at Digital Book World, “Ten Reasons You Can’t Trust Everything You Read About the Author Earnings Report“.

In Support of Weinberg’s Findings

Rich Bellis posts supporting evidence at Digital Book World on how “Author Earnings Data Supports DBW Findings” and goes against Howey’s suspicions.

Mark Coker’s Thoughts on the Indie Revolution

With the “debate brewing about how much indie authors can, and do, earn from their writing — much of it sparked by a blog post from author Hugh Howey — Publishers Weekly asked Mark Coker, founder of indie publishing platform Smashwords, to offer his two cents” against what the opposition declaims as “lies, damn lies, and statistics” whereas Howey’s supporters are dancing in the streets, LOL.

“By every measure of great historical or contemporary revolutions, the indie author revolution is real and gaining strength every day.”

Coker supports the middle road, stating that “the business of Big Publishing is broken, but the people of Big Publishing are not. Although it would be beneficial to my business for big publishers to collapse, it’s not the outcome I desire. I think the world is better served with more publishing options.”

With the advent of eBooks and the fading stigma of self-publishing, Coker goes on to list a variety of reasons why indie publishing is where it’s at while “the stigma of traditional publishing is on the rise”. Coker addresses a number of issues that have authors up in arms — including the hellacious eBook royalties Big Publishers deign to allow, the Author Solutions fiasco Pearson/Penguin muddled together, the pointless vanity publishing, and he concludes with some practical suggestions.

Shared Common Ground

Jack W. Perry at Digital Book World notes that there is some “Common Ground in the Debate of Self v. Traditional Publishing” controversy over Hugh Howey’s remarks. Think of it as a side view.

Lousy Business Analyst or Stirrer-Upper?

Mike Shatzkin at The Shatzkin Files is “Comparing self-publishing to being published is tricky and most of the data you need to do it right is not available” thinks Howey is “a much better author and self-promoter than he is a business analyst”. Although, I think Howey has some very good ideas about what publishers should be doing for authors. Publishers are still back in the slave days of dictating what an author should be grateful for.

However, getting back on topic, Shatzkin raises some good questions, and I’m starting to wonder how much of Howey’s post is meant to stir up this bees’ nest.

Writers Should Organize

Porter Anderson has a post at Jane Friedman’s blog, “A Call for Writers to Organize: Hugh Howey Interview“, which tempers my thought about bees’ nests, even though it still is a tempest swirling through the publishing industry. Anderson’s post includes some food for thought as well as a few interesting links including why Howey “sees the Author Guild as completely inadequate to the task of supporting and advocating for writers”.

“I want all authors to stand up for each other, ask for better pay, fairer terms, saner contracts. This only works if writers of all stripes get together and do what the screenwriters were able to do when Hollywood digitized. That should be our model…”

In another post with Jane Friedman, Anderson notes “Where Publishing Surveys Cannot Go” and reiterates what Howey has been saying all along, that the surveys only count those authors accepted by traditional publishers whereas the self-publishers are all accepted. If we were to include the earnings of those authors not signed by a traditional publisher, it would change the amount earned.

Yet another post by Anderson, “Howey’s Convention: ‘Organized Advocacy’“, which includes a link to “What Writers Leave on the Table” which further explores what authors and books are earning. “Another update, comparatively short and sweet, ‘Look Before You Leap’. In this one, Howey quickly looks at worldwide rights and the practice of having authors sign them to publishers. ‘When you sign away worldwide rights,’ he writes, ‘you are giving up a revenue stream before it even materializes. You’ll never get it back, not in your lifetime.’

Anderson notes that on one industry listserv there are supporters for Howey’s views as well. He also notes the jabs coming from industry about Howey “not knowing the publishing business” and wonders about the sour grapes in light of Howey’s 10 years of experience in publishing, etc, and what others are doing that is similar to Howey.

” It turns out they [authors] are only missing out on the crust…”

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Indie Authors Getting Legit at BEA

Publishers Weekly notes that “BEA Adds Programming for Indie Authors” and “is expanding its offering for indie authors, introducing Author Hub. The new effort is part of an attempt to attract self-published and independent authors to the trade show, which has long catered to traditional authors and publishers. Author Hub will run in conjunction with BEA’s 2012-launched conference for self-published authors, uPublishU.

Speaking to the effort, BEA said its goal with Author Hub is “to further integrate the self-publishing community into the publishing mainstream by providing platforms where entrepreneurial authors may interact and share the spotlight at North America’s leading book industry event.” Author Hub will be located on the BEA floor and, the show said, “conceived as a venue where authors will put into action all the practices, perspective, and know-how presented to them by leading industry figures at the uPublishU at BEA Conference.” (This year’s uPublishU day-long conference is set for Saturday, May 31.)

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Publishing in Arab Countries

A very interesting article by Olivia Snaije at Publishing Perspectives on “Licensing to the Arab World Poses Unique Opportunities” and unique concerns. If the Arab market is one you’re interested in entering with your books, give Snaije’s article a read. It’s a fascination combination of statistics, publishing/marketing concerns, right and copyright issues, tips regarding contract negotiations, and more.

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Yet Another eBook Converter

A press release on Digital Book World from “Readk.it, a new browser-based reading platform, offers to sidestep the complex and often costly process of preparing eBook content for a range of proprietary delivery systems … [and] bills itself as a free, open-source solution to those production challenges by collapsing the publishing and reading systems into one.

Readk.it allows users to harness a browser’s display capabilities to customize how the content will render there, regardless of the device being used … [with] one variation, called Readk.it Solo, converting EPUB content — including multimedia — into a single HTML file that can be delivered via email and read offline.”

Readk.it talks about “deliver[ing] rich content flexibly to a variety of devices”, but doesn’t address the dreaded table of contents.

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Explosive Potential in India

Sanjay Bhattacharya at The Indian Express notes that “Self-Publishing is Set For an Incredible Explosion in India” as “India is one of the top 10 publishing markets in the world and also the third largest from the English language standpoint”.

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“Join” the Indie “Union”

Join up with Author Earnings and Hugh Howey, J.A. Konrath, and others to share sales data, get updates, and sign a petition to help other independent authors work toward more equitable relationships with the traditional publishers.

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Judging a Book By Its Cover

Russell Blake talks on his blog about the evolution of the four covers for one book and the difference it made to change it out to the current cover. I like that he showed all four covers and talked about them. About where he thinks he went wrong.

H.M. Ward also discusses her cover issues along with her particular analysis.

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The Best Cover Fonts for Your Book

Derek Murphy at CreativINDIE promotes “300+ Fool-Proof Fonts to use for your Book Cover Design (an epic list of best fonts per genre)” with a view to capturing the reader’s eye and reinforcing your genre.

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Marketing Ideas

Book Discovery Sites

Chris Robley at the BookBaby blog lists “10 book-discovery websites you should know about—for both the writer AND the reader.

The writer can use this list of 10 to help push their own books’ discoverability, while readers can be “exploring online book forums, sharing thoughts about your favorite author via a social-reading platform, or even analyzing intertextual connections — these 10 sites will help you wade through a sea of titles to find the one that’s right for you”.

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How You Publish Affects a Book’s Timeline

Chris Robley at the BookBaby blog points out “Traditional vs. independent publishing: two different views on the book-sales timeline

“Because eBooks have no shelf-life (or more accurately, their shelf-life is forever), the smartest thing an indie author can do to increase sales is to write the NEXT book.” – Chris Robley in “Traditional vs. independent publishing: two different views on the book-sales timeline

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Double Your Followers on Twitter

Penny Sansevieri at Author Marketing Experts has a YouTube video, How to Rock on Twitter, which has some good tips. A “real” way to increase your followers as opposed to all those “you might want to follow” possibilities from Twitter that you should never follow!

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A NetGalley for U.K., Ireland

Sarah Shaffi at The Bookseller points to an “Online resource for bloggers from Headline“, which “is launching a new website, bookbridgr, next week which allows book bloggers to request books, content, and author interviews direct from the publisher.

There are already more than 250 pre-registered book bloggers awaiting the launch on February 24, and
bookbridgr will give bloggers access to front and backlist titles in physical and eBook formats. It will also allow them to request extra content for their blogs or join a blog tour. I’d sign up, but it’s only available to residents of the U.K. and Republic of Ireland. Is this a revenge thing for all the U.S. books in giveaways that can’t be sent overseas…?

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Noise Trade Adds Books to Marketing Lineup

Dianna Dilworth at Media Bistro notes that “Noise Trade Books Helps You Market Your Book” by releasing free chapters or entire books and giving this content away in exchange for customer data — the authors receive an email and a zip code. They include eBooks and audio books as part of their weekly email sent out to 1.2 million people. Check it out; there are some big names using Noise Trade’s service.

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Cheetahs (Amazon), Gazelles (Publishers) and More: News and Highlights From Digital Book World 2014 (Free Ebook)

Jeremy Greenfield introduces Inside Digital Book World 2014: News & Highlights, which “you can download the book for free for” at least the next few days; “afterwards it will retail for $5.99. It’s 90+ pages of news, insights, charts, graphs, images, and analysis from the DBW conference. If you were at Digital Book World, it’s a great way to remember your time there (or see if we included you in our many pages of photos). If you missed the conference, it gives you some idea of all the great information and insights you’ll get should you decide to attend next year.

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Indies First Storytime Day to Launch in May

Elizabeth Knapp at Book Web writes about “Kate DiCamillo and ABA [Plans to] Launch Indies First Storytime Day on May 17 to “be celebrated at independent bookstores nationwide in conjunction with Children’s Book Week (May 12-18). ABA is working with the Children’s Book Council “to help facilitate and grow the grassroots movement,” Bookselling This Week reported.”

They will be “asking authors to be volunteer handsellers: ‘We are (with the express permission of Sherman Alexie, mind you) stealing this idea and running with it,’ she noted, adding that the volunteers will be asked to read from a children’s book of their choice. ‘The point is to read aloud, to celebrate stories and to celebrate the indies who work so hard to put our stories in the hands of readers.’ …

… (“ABA has compiled a list of Indies First Event Participation Guidelines, noting ways in which authors and illustrators can support the movement both year-round and by participating in dedicated Indies First events. Links to all Indies First Storytime Day resources can be found on the ABA Promotions page on BookWeb.”)

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A New Crowdfunding Tool for Digitals

Todd Allen at Publishers Weekly notes that “Patreon Raises $2.1 Million“, “in what could be the biggest variation on the crowdfunding model to date … in funding for its subscription-based system, complete with an emerging content platform. Patreon offers a different kind of crowdfunding platform that allows fans to pledge recurring payments to a creator rather than provide one-off support to a single project.

The service has already experienced explosive growth after only a few months. Patreon seeks to solve the problem of creators funding themselves with low-CPM advertising by connecting them with their fans at an earlier stage of the creation process.”

A musician and “trying to think his way out of a revenue model that wasn’t working for him, Conte tweaked the idea of crowdfunding, shifting it away from people funding projects like books and video games, to people pledging regular support to what creators were already doing — making music videos, podcasts, webcomics and the like.

‘You don’t give away your print book for free,’ Conte explains, referring to the more conventional approach of giving away digital content in order to sell a physical good. ‘(Instead) you’re getting paid to make things (digitally).'”

It’s certainly an alternative approach from Kickstarter and Indiegogo as Patreon backs the creator of strictly digital work with re-occuring payments. Webcomics, in particular, are finding it useful.

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Nielsen’s Version of Bookscan for eBooks

There is no “Bookscan for eBooks” although Nielsen is working on it with PubTrack Digital “a wide range of business intelligence and sales analytics solutions providing the publishing industry with critical information for understanding digital and print markets, providing accurate, reliable and actionable data, delivered in formats that can work immediately for your company” / book.

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Long-Tail Economics Favor the Indie

This is a more philosophical look at the market, think Adam Smith and his original theory on capitalism. Robert H. Frank, an economics professor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, has written an article for The New York Times on “Winners Take All, but Can’t We Still Dream?“, a look at winner-take-all versus long-tail economics. And it seems there’s room for both.

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A History of Storytelling

T. M. Luhrmann has an article with The New York Times about “Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling” with a soaring number of audiobooks being downloaded these days and Luhrmann makes a good point about how “for most of human history literature has been spoken out loud”. It’s a fascinating exploration of the history of oral reading and the evolution of private reading.

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Finding a Balance Between Writing and Marketing

Well, crap… Joshua Graham has a guest post at Jane Friedman’s blog on “Finding a Balance Between Writing and Marketing” and has an interjection from an interview with Sandra Brown — you know, bestselling author who likely has marketing help from her publisher — who has to do a good chunk of her own social media work.

Graham goes on to explain his secret weapon(s): lists and software synchronizers that keep his calendars on his desktop and smartphone synchronized as well as the details that are on those lists.

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Strategies & Tools to Find Reviewers, Readers

Sabrina Ricci at Digital Pubbing discusses “7 Strategies and 110 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers” with what I’ve come to see as the basic basics of book marketing as the first bit of advice: write 1 book, now write another 1.

Once you’ve done that *smirk*, read the rest of the “bible”.

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Using Google Alerts

Kimberley Grabas at Your Writer Platform guides us on “Using Google Alerts to Build Your Writer Platform” with some great tips and suggestions.

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Tumblr 101 for Authors

Adrienne from Design Roast has a guide to “Tumblr 101 for Authors” in a guest post at DuoLit. I disagree with her digression about color, as it’s generally recommended that you be consistent in branding yourself. Other than that, it looks quite useful. Don’t forget that Pinterest is now accepting animated GIFs.

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Psychology of Color

If you have trouble figuring out colors to use for your book covers, website, or business card, there’s a Psychology of Color infographic over at Webpage FX you can explore with explanations of its associations with psychology and emotions; its politics (?); marketing uses; and, how it relates to your chakra. It’s also got some great examples of company logos using the various colors.

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Building Your Own Website

iPad It to Everest

This is a beautiful example of parallax scrolling as Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger video their way up Mount Everest, a peaceful appearing mountain. Might be an interesting way to do a book trailer.

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WordPress

eBook Marketing WordPress Themes

Henry Baum at The Self-Publishing Review looks at the “Best WordPress Themes for Writers & Publishers“, and personally, I’d go with WordPress.ORG right off the bat for two reasons: you won’t be taking the chance of losing subscribers when you do finally make the move over to WP.ORG from WP.COM and all those free plug-ins you can use. ‘Cuz you can only use a VERY FEW plug-ins with the free version of WordPress.

Primarily, the post is a look at a variety of pay-for themes and a few free ones while Baum explains their merits. I find its primary use is for the themes curated especially with the idea of marketing one’s books. At worst Baum provides examples of what one looks for in a book marketing site. At best, you’ll find what you need!

40 Experts Share Their Favorite WordPress Plugins

Devesh at wp kube and “Best WordPress Plugins: 40 Experts Share Their Favorite WordPress Plugins“. It’s useful because they are bloggers and social media experts who have actually used these and tell why they like them. Nothing like that personal touch!

Just remember you need WordPress.ORG to use almost all of these.


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