A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces for May 2013

Posted April 30, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Hodgepodge Newsletter

Contents of this Post

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

I’m trying a minor change in the layout.

The Contents of This Post (TOC) is intended to provide a quick look at what’s in this newsletter, with an even quicker way to get to it! However, it can get distressingly long.

So posts that share a common theme—Literary Agents, Kids, Imprints, etc.—have one TOC entry, but with two or more posts under that single entry—the ALL CAPS in the TOC will tip you off.

Let’s try this for a month or so and see how it goes; yep, I’ll be relying upon y’all to yea or nay it!

In General

German Courts Nix eBook Resales

The German courts agree, “used” eBooks can’t be resold.

Is Money an Issue for You?

Yeah, it’s a rhetorical question. Who doesn’t have money problems these days? When you add in the desire to publish and promote your book, it just gets worse. Well Brian Kittrell is doing a guest blog at Patty Jansen’s blog on “Don’t go Broke in Self-Publishing: 10 Ways to Protect Yourself in the Digital Revolution” and, it just breaks my heart the number of scams people come up with. I keep wondering why they don’t use all them smarts to do something positive!

Just for Fun

Can Writers Retire?

I thought this post by Ian Crouch at The New Yorker would be funny, instead I found it a thoughtful and rather sad piece on “Do Writers Really Retire?“. Makes me feel kinda bad that I never want my favorites to stop…

Simon & Schuster FINALLY Gets with the Library

Per Publishers Weekly, “Simon & Schuster, one of the last holdouts among the big New York trade houses that did not offer e-books for library lending, has announced a one-year pilot e-book lending program with New York Public Library (launches April 30), Brooklyn Public Library (launches mid-May) and the Queens Library (also mid-May). Under the pilot program, S&S will make its complete catalogue available to libraries for unlimited checkout for a period of one year—after which, the e-books must be repurchased—while also making all titles also available for retail purchase via the library web site.” (And the library will get a percentage of the sale price, so if you’re gonna buy an S&S book and you hold a library card with any of these three, consider “making a donation” during the pilot program!) (Additional information from this article.)

What is with publishers that they don’t want libraries to lend out eBooks? How is it different from hardcopy? This inquiring mind wants to know…

Round-the-World in 101 Books

I do enjoy the Boots’n All RTW travel site. This particular post lists 101 books that allow you to travel the world without leaving the sofa—or the kitchen!


The Doctor’s Bookstore: Blue Manatee in Cincinnati

John Faherty has written a post at Inspired Cincinnati about Dr. Hutton and his wife, Sandra Gross, who took on a closing bookstore and revamped it to inspire kids to shut down the e- and open their books in a campaign to inspire and get the kids active.

Children’s Book Cellar in Maine

Then there’s an article about one of only three children’s bookstores in Maine, Children’s Book Cellar with some useful tips for bookstore-owning wannabes.

Barbara’s Bestsellers Closing Its Doors

Thomas Grillo with the Boston Business Journal reports that Barbara’s Bestsellers at South Station has closed its doors.

Mud Luscious Press Closing as Well

Claire Kirch at Publishers Weekly relates that Mud Luscious Press in Fort Collins, Colorado, is also closing its doors.

Librería Universal Closing in June

Guillermo I. Martinez at the SunSentinel reports that Librería Universal is closing in June. It’s “one of the oldest and best Spanish-language bookstores in South Florida”. A mecca for Cuban immigrants.

And on a Brighter Note…

Samantha Samel at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle lists five NEW independent bookstores in Brooklyn while including a listing of the bookstores already there…hmmm, moving…?? Brooklyn??

The Book House in St. Louis Desperate to Move

Claire Kirch at Publishers Weekly reports that St. Louis’ The Book House is facing eviction due to the landlord wanting to build an industrial storage facility… They’re looking for help in moving.

Books Getting Interactive

Faber&Faber Get Interactive with Buchan’s The Thirty Nine Steps

This could be an interesting read… Publishers, Faber&Faber, have gone to a “fully playable, fully immersive product” with “classic stop-frame animation and original silent film music”…

allow[ing] readers to ‘unlock dozens of achievements and items to collect on their reading journey, and explore hundreds of hand-painted digital environments and context from 1910s Britain’ in their upcoming re-release of John Buchan’s The Thirty Nine Steps

The book was published April 12 and is now available for iPad (Requires iOS 5.1 or later), Mac, and Android tablets for £4.99.

The Enhanced eBooks

HarperCollins has a site dedicated to promoting the enhanced eBooks it has published that you might want to look at, if only to see what the competition is up to and give you ideas for your own books. Read what Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly has to say about it, and then see the webpage with the enhanced titles and a video which HarperCollins has posted about the enhanced eBooks concept.

Hold the Horses!!!

I’m so gadget-happy, that I never stopped to think what platforms would be available for enhanced books. It seems, however, that André Klein at Learn Out Live has given it some thought with his post, “How The Ebook Limits Innovation“. His post notes the limitations of Kindle and ePubs:

An ebook is a very simple document which consists mainly of text and can be read on any device or platform from e-reader to smartphone to tablet to desktop computer. Its focus in on reading, nothing else.

An app is a platform-specific piece of software (e.g. Android or IOS) that may have lots of multimedia elements and interactivity but is limited both by its platform and system requirements, i.e. e-ink e-readers like the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc. have neither the screen nor processor to run these apps.

Just more issues to consider…

TV and Film

TV Show, Bitten, Casts More Actors

Heroes and Heartbreakers reports that “more actors have been cast in Bitten, the new Canadian show based on Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series:

Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Heads to TV

I almost wanted to put this under Sadly as I don’t care for Sylvia Day’s protagonists in her Crossfire series, but I’ll m-a-n-a-g-e. Yes, Day’s Crossfire erotic trilogy is optioned for the small screen; comment here on who you’d like to play the starring roles. I’m guessing here, but erotica? Gotta be HBO…

Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes Becomes Film

Sue Corbett at Publishers Weekly seems quite pleased to report that Blume is allowing one of her books, Tiger Eyes, to be turned into a film. It’s due for release on June 7.


ReaderRocket Dedicated to Comparing eReaders

Compare the plethora of eReaders at ReaderRocket; I do wish their reviews would look at more than just two eReaders at a time. And you’ll have to click around a lot to find everything they offer.

Features I like and/or wish I had on my Kindle include a better keyboard—it’s too annoying trying to hit those bitty bumps on my Kindle; a backlight so I can read in the dark; better separation between the button I use to highlight text and suddenly getting a menu popping up; a faster page turn—I could just about read War and Peace while I wait!

Kobo Launches New Aura HD eReader

I haven’t paid attention to eReaders since I got my Kindle for Christmas years ago, but there seems to be some excitement about the new Kobo Aura HD with ” a 1GHz CPU, Wifi, 4GB storage and a microSD card slot, and it has a frontlight. Battery life is reportedly a decent two months, and this ereader weighs in at a not too hefty 240 grams (about 30g heavier than the KPW).” With a price of $169 / £139.99 with international availability in May.

Word is, Kobo is being loved because it’s not Amazon…

Flannery Company Announces eReading Platform—Digital Cerebrum

Well, it’s not so much fun as it is educational, but Digital Book World posted a press release about “a new eReading platform designed specifically with school administration, teachers, and students in mind, Digital Cerebrum is the culmination of intense research into schools’ needs for a streamlined eBook solution, …making eBooks available and affordable with its adaptable platform.

Free beta test accounts are available to schools that request to be included in the testing process. Each beta test account will include access for up to 30 student accounts.”

German-Based txtr Expanding in English-Speaking Countries

“Berlin-based eReading company txtr now has local online stores in the main English-speaking countries worldwide. New Web stores have been most recently launched in Australia (au.txtr.com), New Zealand (nz.txtr.com), South Africa (za.txtr.com), Ireland (ie.txtr.com) and Canada (ca.txtr.com) with local operations already existing in the United States (us.txtr.com) and the United Kingdom (gb.txtr.com). These stores offer eBooks from both local and leading international publishers. Each store prominently features handpicked selections of eBooks to match the preferences of local readers.” Read more

The Literary Life of L.A.

Who knew? I’ve always associated L.A. with the movies, but those movies came from somewhere and then had to pass through the screenwriters, so…what do I know? Check this literary map out.

For the Kids

Kids Quidditching à la Harry Potter

This might be another way to get kids active—encourage them to create their own quidditch photos à la Harry Potter!

Berenstain Bears Get Personal

Okay, parents, the Berenstain Bears will put your kids “in the story”, making the story all about them. Read up on where to go for your custom Bear cub and what it’ll cost ya.

Speakaboos Offers Digital Interactive Storyooks

Speakaboos appears to be an electronic storyteller, in a subscription-based service, which brings “children’s stories to life. Speakaboos immerses children ages 2–6 years old in a world of interactive storybooks that inspires a love of reading.” Well, I’m all for that, but it also sounds like a way to “unguilt” parents who have been relying on the TV as a babysitter. Maybe this’ll be different because it has the feel of a book?? They do have an impressive lineup of people working with them: Nick Jr., Blue’s Clues, PBS Kids’ SuperWHY!, Nook Kids, and Scholastic.

“Speakaboos will launch its iPad application this May with Android and iPhone applications to be released in the following months.”

10 Great Kids’ Books

Emily Temple at Flavorwire creates another list of books for the kids: “10 Great Kids’ Books That Have Never Been Made Into Movies. There’re some good’uns on here.

iCooking with Sesame Street!

Digital Book World notes that Publications International, Ltd. and Sesame Workshop is coming out with “iCookbook 3.1, featuring a new collection of recipes for kids and their parents: Sesame Street’s Silly Snacks. This special recipe collection, available exclusively as part of iCookbook, offers parents and children a hands-on way to cook together and learn about healthy snacking with the help of Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and other Sesame Street friends. Each recipe includes parent tips, fun facts, and cooking steps designed just for kids.” Read more

Book Reviews Written by Kids!

Parents, check out DOGOBooks. Per Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly, it’s “an online community that allows children aged 9 to 13 to write reviews of forthcoming books….[and] offers news, current events, and Common Core content for kids and classroom work—and DOGOMovies, where kids can rate and review movies.”

FYI: DOGOBooks generates revenue as an Amazon affiliate and works with publishers to create sponsored content (including contests to receive free advance reader’s copies of forthcoming titles) for both fiction and nonfiction.

Write UP to Kids!!

I embrace this wholeheartedly! I get so fed up reading children’s or YA or New Teen books which write down, trying to find the simplest possible words or ways in which to get across a concept, which refuse to use a “big” word for fear of turning the child off! ARGGGGHHHHH… Just how does anyone expect a child to learn new words if not by reading them! It’s how I learned. Which leads me to another issue that irritates me to hell and gone—why is it necessary to Americanize a book written by a British author? What? I can’t go look up mince, trainers, or bins to find out what they are? I can’t figure it out from the context?? Or, perhaps, it’s a global conspiracy!! Aimed at discouraging me from thinking…! Can you tell this is a passionate concern of mine…*rolling my eyes*…

Okay, okay, off the soap box…what set me off is Elizabeth Bluemle’s post, “Writing Up to Children“, in which she promotes providing children with interesting new words for them so they can be “rolling them around to see what they feel like”… Admit it, it’s fun to pronounce words like discombobulate! Or cacophony—that noise the kids make, LOL.

James Patterson’s Kampaign 4 Reeding

I forget why I chose not to relate James Patterson’s media campaign about “Who will save our books? Our bookstores? Our libraries?” (Patterson took out a PW ad about “The Federal Government has stepped in to save banks, and the automobile industry, but where are they on the important subject of books? Why are there no impassioned editorials in influential newspapers or magazines?”) but this post by Gabe Habash at Publishers Weekly has changed my mind, if only because Habash notes that Patterson is “a fierce supporter of children’s literacy and reading in general”. You can get me on the kids’ needs every time. I hate to say it, but I had no idea Patterson was such a generous supporter…

Kristen McLean responds to Patterson’s concerns with excellent points of her own, acknowledging Patterson’s concerns and mentioning global platforms, new experiments occuring at the small press level, greater book industry reporting, and the startups creating the tools that will help forge this new future.

Nursery Rhyme Origins

It hearkens to my love of history, and All About Manners provides a post of ten nursery rhymes and their origins. Always fascinating to read about the earliest stories of childhood and their true origins! Eek…

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Carolyn Kellog at the Los Angeles Times reports that Universal Studios is razing the Gibson Amphitheatre and Curious George to build the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new theme park in California. Read more to discover the possibilities!

A Line-Up of Cheer-You-Ups

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did… Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly posted some graphic images she found on Facebook that indicated who were the readers. I think they all apply to me!!

Which ones are your favorites?


Two Young Writers Win Guardian-Hot Key Award

Alison Flood at The Guardian mentions two young unpublished writers who have received £10,000 awards through the combined efforts of The Guardian and Hot Key Books, a YA publisher, which is looking for unpublished writers of children’s books.

Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle (read an extract) and The Rig by Joe Ducie (read an extract) will be published on September 5, 2013.

2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners

2013 Indies Choice Book Awards

The 2013 Indies Choice Book Award winners, reflecting the spirit of independent bookstores nationwide, are:

E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards

“The winners of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards, reflecting the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal to a wide range of ages embodied by E.B. White’s collection of beloved books, are”:

* Formerly the Indies Choice for Most Engaging Author, booksellers chose the new name, Champion, to more clearly describe the award presented to the author or illustrator who has both the best sense of the importance of independent bookstores to their communities at large and the strongest personal commitment to foster and support the mission and passion of independent booksellers.

** Each year, indie booksellers also chose three classic picture books for induction into the Picture Hall of Fame. This year, due to a tie in the voting, four titles will be inducted.

Winner of the First Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

Don DeLillo won as a lifetime achievement award, so there is no specific book associated with the award.

“According to a statement from the Library of Congress, the new Prize for American Fiction ‘seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that—throughout long, consistently accomplished careers—have told us something about the American experience.’ The prize continues in the tradition of the Library of Congress Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction, given to Herman Wouk in 2008, and it replaces the Library’s Creative Achievement Award for Fiction, which began four years ago in connection with the National Book Festival. Previous Creative Achievement Award winners have included John Grisham, Isabel Allende, Philip Roth and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison.”

Real-Life Hobbit-Style Houses!

Oh, these are too cute! If you adore the concept as much as I do, check it out!

Sales or Freebies

Price Drop for Ever After

Yup, if you want to buy an eBook version of Kim Harrison’s Ever After, now’s the time. Kindle or Barnes & Noble.

Free Excerpt from Andrews’ Magic Rises

A “Scrumptious” little read to drive you mad as you wait for the July release of Ilona Andrews’ latest in the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series, Magic Rises.

A Sherrilyn Kenyon Styxx Excerpt

Of course, it’s a few more months before Kenyon’s Styxx is released, so here’s yet another teaser to drive you nuts.

Scrivener on Sale

Scrivener is a book-writing software program; last fall, it was being offered through the NaNoWriMo marathon. Amazon has it half off: Windows or Mac. It probably means there’s a new version about to be released.

The Man with a Vision: Project Gutenberg

Deepa Kandaswamy at The Hindu has a selection of excerpts from an interview Michael Hart did before he died in 2011. It’s primarily his inspiration and dreams for Project Gutenberg.

eBooks Mainstreaming It at collectionHQ

A press release at Digital Book World notes that “collectionHQ, the leading collection performance improvement solution that helps libraries better manage their collections, today announced that many of its popular, evidence-based tools available for print and A/V titles are now available for ebooks as well. The addition of these tools, called the ebook module, means that for the first time, librarians can easily access data that compare ebook and print holdings. The ebook capabilities are included in the cost of a collectionHQ subscription.”

Take a USA or Round-the-World Tour via Books

This looks like a fun “contest” that Matthew has posted over on Goodreads. THe U.S.A. Road Trip requires a visit via book to all 50 states while the World Tour requires 50 different countries/principalities/states(not US)/territories/etc. in eight different regions. Matthew has set up three different ways to go about it—the challenges: a) Frequent Flyer is the easiest and you can travel anywhere you like in the U.S. or the world; b) Trekker requires that you approach the reading as though you were physically traveling AND being efficient about it(!); and, c) Globetrotter (World Tour ONLY) is definitely the hardest as it requires that you both read a book set in that country AND that it be by an author from that country (or lived there for a minimum of one year).

For those of us who love lists, this could be lots of fun to track where we go…!


American Library Association Challenges Books

Yes, it is a sadly situation simply because it is censoring books. However, I really can’t blame them for wanting to challenge E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey as it is so badly written, even though that’s not the reason it’s being challenged. Read more about the process and books being “unloved” per this Associated Press article by Hillel Italie.

As a side bit of info, read the ALA Association‘s ALA State of America’s Libraries Report.

This’ll just chafe your butt! I keep running across these tidbits about the shaft publishers are jamming into the libraries when it comes to eBooks. Not only do publishers charge majorly up the wazoo for an eBook—up to 300% more!—but they limit the number of times the book can be loaned out (WTF?), ’cause the book wears out…they claim. Read more


Is Amazon Good for Publishing?

A fascinating post about a debate at the London Book Fair. The pros and cons of Amazon.com. The consensus appears to come down to Amazon was a fabulous idea and their power has gone to their heads. Read it for yourself and decide.

Tossing the Lawsuit?

Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly notes that “faced with a paucity of evidence, Federal Judge Jed Rakoff yesterday appeared poised to dismiss a lawsuit filed by independent booksellers against Amazon and the big six publishers over Amazon’s use of proprietary DRM in the Kindle e-reading platform. With plaintiff attorneys conceding there was no evidence of any conspiracy beyond the fact that the publisher contracts merely “allowed” Amazon to use its proprietary platform…”

Then Again, Where Would We Be Without Amazon

August Wainwright has some very good points to make in his rebuttal to all the fearmongering that’s been stirring and swirling on the Internet (yup, I’m guilty too…)

The Real Problem with Amazon

Cory Doctorow at he Bookseller has his own theories about the Amzon.com juggernaut, and it’s nothing to do with publishing or book pricing.

Amazon Setting Out for Russia

Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch notes that Amazon is setting up shop in Russia. I know, I know, it’s not sad for the Russians to have easier access to eBooks; it’s just sad that Amazon is taking over the world.

Food for Thought: Online Book Retailers Reject GR Reviews?

Michael Kozlowski at Good E Reader reports that the Sony Reader Store is taking steps to stop using Goodreads reviews due to its sale to Amazon, as they figure Amazon will be putting a stop to that bit of sharing. They’re going into “partnership with iDreambooks to tap into their wellspring of ratings and critic reviews”.

Moving From PubIt to NOOK Press

NOOK Press still doesn’t allow for non-U.S. authors.

Danny O. Snow at Publishers Weekly discusses Nook Press and its 65% base royalty versus lack of delivery fee charges, particularly with regard to “heavily formatted e-books, or full color picture books with massive high-resolution image file” along with Live Chat, beta reader access, and easier conversions.

1DollarScan Returns Your Book in PDF

It’s an interesting idea, but sadly the company destroys your book after they’ve scanned it in. Sure, it makes sense. It’s not fair to the author if you have a book scanned into PDF format so you can read it on a variety of devices from smartphones to tablets AND keep the book, so 1DollarScan shreds the book once it’s been scanned in. Read all about the controversy per Calvin Reid’s post at Publishers Weekly.

Books to Help Your Kids Cope with Boston Marathon Disaster

Jason Boog at Media Bistro has put together a list of “Books To Help Kids Talk About Boston Marathon News“. He’s linked each book to the WorldCat to make it easier to find the book(s) at your local library.

Seems Amazon Quashed Apple’s GR Hopes

Interesting article on Electronista… Seems Apple was in talks with Goodreads about posting GR reviews and ratings in iBookstore, but then Amazon jumped in and demanded GR stop talking to anyone while they negotiated…

E.L. Konigsberg Died

A two-time winner of the Newbery Medal has died. No, I haven’t read any of her work, but in reading the post about her passing, the reasons she gave for starting to write were so perfect that she’s going in my TBR.

Terry Pratchett Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

QUICK!!! Find a cure!! I know I’ve only recently “discovered” the Discworld series, but I still hate losing a good writer

There’s a lovely interview of Pratchett by Stephen Moss at The Guardian.

Foreign Book News

Arab Market Hindered by Lack of Metadata

It’s a bit like that phrase I just read in a book last night: “I moaned my lack of shoes until I met a man with no feet”. In Arabic-speaking countries, a lack of metadata is holding back “the development of online marketplaces“. Which means it’s even harder, next to impossible, to get eBooks there!

Arabic eBook Seller Doing Well

Seems there is hope! Roger Tagholm at Publishing Perspective has a post on “Dubai-based Rufoof (‘shelves’), the young company that has created a platform for Arabic digital books and magazines on the iPad, and is on a mission to make more Arabic digital content available” with 11,000 eBooks currently available. Woohoo!


Seems that “Berg + Bach, in collaboration with Burnet Media, launches AfriBooks: an ever-expanding selection of entertaining and irreverent South African eBooks on Google Play and iTunes.” Read more

Battle for the Books

This year could shape up to be very exciting in book-reading land with the big names battling it out for market share throughout the world. Brazilian readership has rocketed up as has South Korean eBook readers.

A Lesson in Getting Permission

Just a reminder to be sure you have permission for photographs, etc. before you publish that book! Stephanie Gardiner from the Sidney Herald reports on the damages award granted the Corby family.

Read what Beyond Paper Editing has to say, reminding us what we can and can’t do with other people’s words or images.

Naughty, Naughty, Wikipedia!

Alison Flood at The Guardian notes that Wikipedia has been quietly moving women novelists onto their own page. The claim is that the American novelists page is getting too long and they need to shift authors into more individual categories. Yeah, but not categories such as literature, war, thrillers, history, or such unusual categories…

It seems that the outrage worked and Wikipedia is choosing a different form of separation. Who’d’a thunk?? Alphabetization…radical, dude…

Writing Tips

Word Confusions: Redundant Words

C.S. Lakin at Live Write Thrive has a post, “Am I Being Redundant or What?” which makes several excellent points about words that writers commonly double up on which are redundant, essentially saying the same thing twice. This is one of those issues you want to be sure to edit out! Read ’em and laugh…


Reader Perception of Your Character(s)

Kira Lyn Blue has a thought-provoking post on beta reader-feedback on the audience for her book, and she realized that those first few words/setting/description of your character can make or break ’em for your reader. Read what she has to say.

Choosing Your Characters’ Names

This is a small, but important consideration as the author must consider the time period and whether the name would have “existed” then. There are all sorts of problems which could ensue for a character “wearing” a name that wasn’t common for the time and may have to be considered in developing the character’s issues. Check out Writer’s Relief and read up on “How to Pick the Right Names“.

Accessorizing Your Character

That Kira Lyn Blue is a busy girl! And she has another fascinating post on characters that cracked me up by the sixth line! And she’s right. Read that list of hers—you can’t help but recognize them by their accessories alone!

Your Writing Karma

Ah-ha! Chris McMullen makes an excellent point about karma on his post. What have you done to deserve your karma??

Fight! Fight! Fight!

We all get caught in this trap, thinking that a fight or a bad situation is conflict. Nuh-uh, that’s action. What your story needs is personal conflict. Something that your protagonist has to resolve. Check out Kristen Lamb’s post, “Great Fiction Goes for the GUTS” as well as Kira Lyn Blue’s comments on making your character unlike you.

Describing Scenes

C.S. Lakin over at Live Write Thrive has a series of posts in which she uses camera angles and distances to provide a different perspective on how to describe a scene in your novel. I don’t particularly like the approach, BUT she does make some excellent points. And, as I mentioned, it does cause you to re-think how you look at a scene by using a visual medium with which most of us are familiar.

KatieMac’s Writing Novels FAQ, Archives and Helpful Links

Katiemac at Absolute Write has an incredible post (it’s really a table of contents to the extremely useful information) which sends you off to explore:

  • Beta Readers, Critique Groups & Workshops
  • Character Writing
  • Dialogue & Dialogue Tags
  • Editing & Editing Techniques
  • Formatting & Fonts
  • Ideas & Writing Styles
  • Legal Questions, Copyright Laws & Permissions
  • Novel Length, Chapter Length & Word Count
  • Outlines
  • Passive Voice & Active Voice
  • Prologues
  • Pseudonyms
  • Queries, Synopses, Agents & Editors
  • Series Writing
  • Show vs. Tell
  • Software & Saving Your WIP
  • Tense & Point of View
  • Titles

Most Say to Start with a Bang

Some theorize that you must jump your reader immediately into the action while Rosanne Parry has her own conclusions about the big-bang theory in her post, “Story Beginnings“.

Don’t Worry About Daily Word Count

I suspect I found this one through Kira Lyn Blue as well… It’s an encouraging collection of tweets from Kevin Hearne on the speed of writing. If you’re having a bad day…go here and feel better.

Trending to Shorter Books

Hah! I guess Michael Levin hasn’t seen some of those 9-page eBooks! Digital Book World has a short post on how short books are getting these days. Doesn’t really seem as if they should be called a book at those lengths…

Plot Your Revision

I have to agree with Kira Lyn Blue, Kathy Steffen’s Plot Your Revision is a great blueprint when you need to sit down and start the revision process.

In the same post, Blue also likes Valerie Comer’s Writing 101: Revising a Novel. What I like about it is that it’s almost a primer for what an editor or copyeditor can do for you. So if you need to save your pennies, it wouldn’t hurt for you to read Comer’s post. Please do consider hiring at least a professional proofreader when you believe you’re finished, as a proofreader will comb through and fix those last minute errors.

Blue also links to Kathy Higgs-Coulthard and her post on “Frankenmonstering. What I found most useful was the section—waaaay down the page—about incorporating changes and saving different draft versions. (Copy-and-paste the following text and do a search on the page: “Create a better system for organizing your drafts.”) She makes an excellent point about dealing with one issue at a time throughout the entire manuscript before tackling the next!

Avenues for Research

Research Possibilities

A few books have come to my attention—no, I haven’t read them, they simply sound like good research possibilities for writers. One is Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and the definition of artist is VERY broad encompassing Kafka, Thomas Wolfe, Jean-Paul Sartre, Descartes, Karl Marx, Woody Allen, George Balanchine, Pablo Picasso, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Igor Stravinsky…for a total of 161 artists. The blurb over at Amazon calls it “their routines”. How incredibly useful this could be for fleshing out a character…

Then there’s John O’Bryan’s A History of Weapons: Crossbows, Caltrops, Catapults & Lots of Other Things that Can Seriously Mess You Up in which “he hilariously explains the mace, the morning star, and the man catcher, while conveying factual information about each weapon: its history, uses, and badass potential”. It certainly sounds like a fascinating compendium of weapons.

Digital Public Library of America

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has just launched and can be found at the annoyingly unconventional URL http://dp.la. From what Joseph Esposito says, the DPLA is more of a pointer service with connections to libraries, a catalog if you will, telling you who has what you’re looking for. It’s still getting started, so visibility is only what you specifically ask for, and while you can download anything as an ePub file, a PDF, or send it to Kindle, it’s not an easy process. Mostly, Esposito points out, because there is no standard between these formats.

The cautionary note is that DPLA doesn’t seem too concerned about who owns the copyrights. Authors, keep an eye on ’em.

Work Faster, More Efficiently on WordPress

Author Media has a HotKey sheet for people working with WordPress—yes, it includes the key combinations for Mac users as well!

When and How to Work with a Ghostwriter

Debra Christian and David Leonhardt have a post at SEO-Writer with tips and suggestions on when to go looking for and then how to work with a ghostwriter.

Self-Editing Your Novel

Iulian Ionescu at Fantasy Scroll has a useful tick list that will help you self-edit your novel—in preparation for submitting it to a professional…ahem…*grin* Seriously, it’s a very useful post, just remember, one step at a time!

Kids Books: Reality versus Desirability

Julia Eccleshare at The Guardian has a thought-provoking post on the effect of children’s books on children. The classics with their rosy view of a country lifestyle versus the reality that faces most children—today and yesterday. Food for thought…

Current Trends and Publishers

Matia Burnett at Publishers Weekly also has a thoughtful post on current trends that interest publishers, elevator pitches, packaging considerations—I do feel a bit better about Common Core after what Burnett says…

Paranormal Cravings, New eMagazine Requesting Submissions

Iris Hunter is publishing the free e-magazine, Paranormal Cravings—”The last edition was a huge success. More than 2600 readers downloaded or read the review magazine Online 🙂 “—and is looking for fresh articles for their next edition. No, it’s not a paying proposition, but it could look good on your writing résumé OR help promote your paranormal or urban fantasy book!

In addition, Hunter says that “We are looking for a suggestion for the cover, blogs, columns, all book releases for the months April and June (genre fiction), Pinterest boards from authors about their book characters, events, tours, quotes and everything else you like to share with our readers. For both the May and June Edition!” Check it out!

Oh, and they have “a few free advertising slots available. If you interested please email Iris.

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
Now – June 8, 2013
Length of essay: 4,000 to 8,000 words
€ 5,000
Winners announced in Sept
Inaugural Prada Journal Budding authors are invited to submit essays in their native language, using prescription glasses as a metaphor. The emphasis of the challenge is: “to explore and enhance the individual interpretation of reality” as the brand searches for writers “who can see the world with a unique, rare gaze.”

The brief poses the question: “What are the realities that our eyes give back to us? And how are these realities filtered through lenses?”

Italian publishing giant, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore, will sift through submissions and translate them as required.

Various categories are yet to be decided.

Upcoming Writing Conferences

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

Date Location Conference/Workshop About
3rd Thursday of every month Kendall Square, Cambridge, Boston Writer’s Table Critique Sessions Meet other authors in a small group setting for the chance to get new feedback, critiques, ideas and inspiration. Led by Danny Shain. Ongoing monthly, join at any time.
May 1, 2013
3:30pm EDT
Free for NAIWE members
Develop Your Writer’s Portfolio Learn how you can develop an effective online writing portfolio with NAIWE Expert Ruth Thaler-Carter joined by NAIWE Director Janice Campbell. “Look at ways to develop an effective, modern portfolio that creates opportunities to share your work, both published and in-progress. You’ll gain insight into what a portfolio should contain, as well a ideas for how to present it most effectively.”
May 2-4, 2013
From $95 – 575
Denver, CO Author U Over THREE incredible, high content delivering days, you will be working with amazing book marketing strategists, publicists, Internet gurus, mobile marketing geniuses, audio and video pioneers…all done in an intense workshop environment.

Keynotes are Guy Kawasaki (APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur), Joel Friedlander (The Book Designer)and Penny Sansevieri (Red Hot Internet Publicity).

All attendees get a copy of Guy Kawasaki’s APE.

May 4, 2013
Connelly Green at Rosemont College Rosemont College Book Festival “First annual book festival at Rosemont College supports authors, small indie publishers, literary journals and the community of book buyers. In addition to the many wonderful books, there will be panel discussions, small workshops and readings throughout the day.”
May 8, 2011
8:30am-9am – Continental breakfast
9-11, Discussion
$49, nonrefundable
Random House, Café Auditorium
2nd Floor
1745 Broadway
Trends in Consumer Book-Buying “Drawing on data from the soon-to-be released 2013 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics & Buying Behaviors Annual Review, join PW and Bowker to discuss the latest trends [in the first quarter of 2013 and] on a range of topics concerning where people buy books, what types of books they buy and why they buy certain books.”

Attendees learn how sales through different outlets have changed over the years, what categories are hot and which are cold. Using new and four years’ of historical data, the participants document the dramatic change in book formats and consumer trends in fueling the explosion in e-books. In addition, attendees gain insight into the demographic makeup of the book-buying public and what triggers the decision to buy a book.”

May 14, 2013
12pm EST
Free registration
Webcast Finding Books Without Borders: Discoverability in a Digital and Social World Courtesy of Digital Book Word, a webcast exploring how readers find what to read next and how authors find an audience in the digital and social world and learn the challenges of online discovery, discovery paths outside the Amazon best seller list and promotions, social conversations and the importance of quotes and snippets in online conversations, and what tools authors can employ to create a conversation with readers online.
May 15, 2013


BISG & AAP Members: #200

NYU Students & Faculty: Free
Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for University Life
New York University
60 Washington Square
New York NY
BISG’s Making Information Pay “A concise, half-day conference–intended to provide useful direction to thousands of book publishing professionals looking to build more profitable businesses through data-first thinking, will take place at NYU’s Kimmel Center on May 15, 2013 from 9am-12:30pm. This year’s conference includes an appearance by Hilary Mason and 2012 data from BookStats.”
May 16-June 14, 2013 1st is in person
Remaining 4 are online
Life Writing Workshop Five sessions led by Jon Hartmann. Investigate the fundamentals of character, setting, and point of view while mapping out a plan for completing your life-story or memoir.
May 22-June 27
Online Dissertation Workshop Six sessions led by Jon Hartmann. Engage in three rounds of peer review, and learn how to perfect your dissertation.
May 28, 2013
350 3rd St.
Cambridge, MA
How to Be a Click Magnet “Jenny Hudson, owner of Merrimack Media…[in a]…hands-on workshop [limited to 10], we will develop your marketing plan…[and]… give you the tools to increase book sales by developing an online presence…with blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and more with tips to engage an audience through social media; learn how to get publicity, use social media, book readings, use PR, book reviews etc; set yourself up for successful blogging: Build an audience and reach readers; learn the difference between Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms; using the power of video: Tricks and tools; selling your book: Some scenarios that work; and, develop your media kit and sell sheet.”
May 28
8:30am – 5pm
Scholastic Headquarters
557 Broadway
New York City
Reaching Readers: Book Marketing Conference 2013 Produced by Publishing Perspectives and the Frankfurt Academy.
May 29-Jun 1, 2013
$50 – 375
Pricing breakdown
New York City BookExpo America 2013 Trade-only event; NetGalley will be present.
May 29, 2013
New York City Publishers Launch BEA “Near-term practical and strategic solutions and tips to help manage the digital transition. PLC BEA is for trade publishers everywhere. You’ll get the latest insights on digital change issues, including organizational changes and marketing innovation, that are not ebook-centric.” Takes place during BookExpo America 2013. Speakers are being updated daily.
May 29-30, 2013
$259 to 449
Co-located with BEA IDPF Digital Book Conference at BookExpo America Two-day conference focuses on the key issues in publishing in an increasingly digital world. Designed to give executives, marketers, and technologists practical information and tools to inspire and lead organizations. In-depth sessions will analyze key opportunities and pitfalls, highlighting compelling business strategies and actionable solutions.

Will feature insightful keynote sessions and three parallel tracks of targeted in-depth content (business & marketing, technology and production, and education and professional publishing). You’ll hear from top experts and industry leaders, and network with your peers.

IDPF Digital Book 2013 is for executives and professionals across the publishing industry including senior leaders, marketers, publishers and editors, educators, school district administrators, librarians, production teams, distributors, and programmers and developers.

May 29
$135 thru May 15
$165 after May 15
Includes Breakfast & Lunch Tickets at BEA Bloggers Conference & a full BEA pass for May 30-June 1
Co-located with BEA Bloggers Conference at BookExpo America “Learn, be inspired, and connect with book bloggers, authors, and publishing industry professionals. You will benefit from a jam-packed day of education, extreme networking, and the passion and fun that surrounds book blogging. Session topics include: blogging in today’s world, critical reviews, making money with your blog, creating community, and how publishers and bloggers work together.”
May 30, 2013
350 3rd St.
Cambridge, MA
The Write Reason Turning your idea into a book: A Book Bootcamp Session for the Entrepreneurial Soul. Jumpstart your nonfiction book project, learn how to get endorsements and how to stay on track. Led by Lisa Abbate.
Jun 1, 2013
$99 before May 15 (Does NOT include a BEA pass.)
$199 after May 15
Includes Boxed Lunch
Co-located with BEA uPublishU at BEA “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.”
Jun 3-7, 2013
$900 + non-refundable $50 deposit required

Students responsible for their own lodging, food and transportation expenses.

New York City 1st CUNY Publishing Institute Course on book publishing for both entrepreneurs and people in the industry. Smart, fast, more intensive look at what’s happening in the rapidly changing world of book publishing whether you’re considering a start-up operation or keen to learn more about the business you are part of, as a writer or employee. Our focus is on new possibilities in book publishing, and we will touch on the major aspects of the industry.
June 6, 2013
350 3rd St.
Cambridge, MA
Editing on Your Own Break down the editing process, learn about pitfalls to avoid in your writing, and learn to edit on your own. Led by Jennifer Powell.
Jun 26, 2013
Includes a box lunch
Jackson Hole, WY Pre-Conference Writing Workshop “Focuses on finding your true voice, enriching your story through the depths of your unconscious, and identifying structural problems and character motivations. Participants should be familiar with long-form fiction-writing, have started or completed a substantial portion of a novel, and bring questions and problems to discuss at the workshop.”
Jun 27-29, 2013
$365 if registered by May 12, 2013

$175 for accompanying Teen Writer

Jackson Hole, WY 2013 Jackson Hole Writers Conference “Each year distinguished speakers, editors and agents join our resident faculty to deliver a weekend of active and engaging dialogue, collaboration and the opportunity for all of us to raise the stakes on our work.

Manuscript critiques are an important part of our conference, providing a way for you to discuss your work one-on-one with experienced writers, editors and agents.” The program also features a pre-conference writing workshop.

July 10-13, 2013
Each event is priced separately from $200 for the Awards banquet to $1,199 for the entire package; you have to purchase one of the packages for the AgentFest.
New York City ThrillerFest VIII Opportunity to network with other writers and meet industry professionals at the panels and workshops.

“Spotlight guests will include 2013 ThrillerMaster Anne Rice, 2011 ThrillerMaster R.L. Stine, T. Jefferson Parker, and Michael Connelly.

CraftFest includes NYT Bestselling authors who will share their secrets on the craft of writing—”learn about dramatic structure or characterization from Lee Child, John Sandford, Steve Berry, or acclaimed agent Donald Maass”.

AgentFest will have over 50 top agents and editors in the business will be on hand to hear your pitches (check out the agents who have shown in the past). Special guests will be announced soon.

The Publishing Business

Publishers Wooing Writers

Harlequin, like other major publishers and self-publishing services providers, is attempting to woo authors with improved services. To that end, it has launched an author portal, which will give its authors access to sales data and more. Nor is Harlequin the only publisher sucking up to authors as “Simon & Schuster added data from anti-piracy firm Attributor to its author portal”.

Random House Explains What Publishers Do

Jeremy Greenfield at Digital Book World has a “leaked” video from Random House that explains the nuts-and-bolts of the publishing process.

Publishers and Imprints

Database of Small Press Publishers

Publishers Weekly has a database of small press publishers anyone can access. Check it out.

South Carolina-Focused Imprint

The “University of South Carolina Press has launched a children’s publishing imprint, called Young Palmetto Books. The focus… will be series books with a local angle [with]…powerful, positive stories and ideas from South Carolina”. “All series books will be connected to the Palmetto State, either by content or authorship and most commonly by both.”

Harper Impulse the New Digital Women’s Fiction/Romance Imprint

Harper UK will launch a digital women’s fiction and romance imprint—Harper Impulse—in May “to find, publish and break new talent from debut authors, and import the hottest trends… And they’re looking for NEW authors in everything and every length from novels, novellas, and short stories.

More Publishers Seeking Authors

Brian Grove has some new additions to his database of publishers seeking authors. Check it out. Grove has an option for you to sign up for advance notice of yet more publishers he learns of.

New Imprint for Erotic eNovellas

I can’t help but laugh at the new erotica eBook imprint, Fleshbot Fiction, as their motto reflects my frustration with too many self-published books: “spare you the time of searching through erotica full of spelling errors”. And you know it’s bad when the errors distract you from his throbbing length… Jason Boog reports at Galleycat.

Self-Publishing News

Your Self-Publishing Resource Bible from Jane Friedman

Do not pass Go. Do collect a bookmark at this link for valuable resources. Yup, just glancing over Friedman’s post makes me feel as though I’ve won the Lottery!

Tim Fenriss and His Self-Publishing Journey

John Paul Titlow at Tech Page One interviews Tim Fenriss on his decision and the journey to self-publish through Amazon.com and BitTorrent. I do like his ideas on using BitTorrent for all that interactive content!

Why Charlie Stross Won’t Self-Publish

Charlie Stross does make some good points about why he doesn’t self-publish, on the other hand, he’s also an established author…

Then Again, Why Rachel Van Dyken Did

…and she’s having the last laugh on all those publishers who rejected her book, The Bet, when she Tops Best-Seller List Again.

Spend Under $150 to Publish an eBook

Dana Sitar at DIY Writing talks about how she managed to create and publish her eBook, A Writer’s Bucket List (you can download a free PDF version if money is tight), for under $150 (although that sixty bucks she spent on an editor kinda scares me!)

Self-Publishing Going Legit!!?

You must check out Joanna Penn’s assessment of the 2013 London Book Fair! There’s a good feeling in the air for legitimizing self-publishing authors with lots of interviews including one with “indie author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Orna Ross; NY Times bestselling thriller author CJ Lyons; BookBaby President Brian Felsen; and, Gareth Howard, Authoright PR, about how things have changed for authors at the Book Fair”. Then she includes a meet with the top self-publishing distributors. Read and rejoice!

Book: Choosing A Self Publishing Service 2013

Joanna recommends picking up Choosing A Self Publishing Service 2013: The Alliance of Independent Authors Guide by Ben Galley and Mick Rooney (the print editions will be released soon). And, it’s free to ALII members (membership is between $60 and $99 per year). No, I haven’t read it…

Still More Big Names Going to Self-Publish

A useful FYI-type article by Leslie Kaufman at The New York Times regarding David Mamet and a number of literary agencies who are going the self-publishing route (although there is a bit of a reveal about that move here on this page). Kaufman also notes the number of traditional publishers who are setting up self-publishing divisions.

Digital Book World claims that the big-time authors are sticking with traditional publishers because of distribution and not due to a cozy relationship with an editor or the money, contrary to Kaufman’s assertions, which concentrates on literary agencies, royalties, and marketing.

Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer also wants to make a point about self-publishing—that making $60,000 off a book may not be much to a traditional publisher, but to most of us, it’s a nice, tidy sum! Read all about it in the paragraph headed “New York Times and Self-Publishing”.

I can see the conflict between wanting that wide distribution that an author can get from the traditional publishers, but then I can also see the point of the self-publishing simply because, unless you’re a big name, you’re going to be responsible for all the marketing anyway, you might as well get that 70% royalty.

Interview with Self-Pub to Trad and Back to Self-Pub Author Michael J. Sullivan

Bob Mayer at Digital Book World interviews Michael J. Sullivan on his reasons for going back to self-publishing after his traditional publishing experiences. It’s a good article with a LOT of positives!

Comics Authors

For those authors who write comics or graphic novels and want to publish digitally, check out “ComiXology, the digital comics platform founded in 2007….[with its] self-publishing portal for comic book writers and artists” through Comixology Submit (if you’re a reader, looking for more comics to read by independent creators, check this one out). Any content you upload is available only through “ComiXology’s buy once, read anywhere digital comics platform, which includes an iTunes top 10-grossing iPad app, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows 8 apps, and a web store and reader at www.comixology.com.”

There’s an interesting caveat in the post: no initial cost to use the tool. You might want to check the fine print before you upload!

Of course, if you’re just getting started with the whole idea and want to publish web comics, check out Jason Loves Life for ideas on getting started.

Barry Eisler Speaks Out on Distribution

There are two issues that spoke to me in Eisler’s post over at Joe Konrath’s blog: the reality of paper distribution and to beware the sky is falling mentality. I highly recommend writers trying to decide between traditional and self-publishing to give this a read.

Black Marks with Poor Sales…Eeek!

Ilona Andrews has a rather terrifying post on Goodreads that provides at least one good reason to consider the self-publishing route. It’s certainly not something I would have thought of, and for those of you interested in going the traditional route with a publisher…read this!

Building Your Book

Front and Backmatter for eBooks

This was an interesting pair of posts. Eric Hellman’s “Anachronisms and Dysfunctions of eBook Front and Back Matter” should be read first as he sets the stage in discussing how to transition the standard front matter of a print book into a more evolutionary and responsive eBook. And he makes some excellent points. Then SUW found it and decided she’d prefer to know exactly what people wanted and she sent out a questionnaire to which 37 people responded with some rather unexpected results. Check it out.

Sizing for Your Book

Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer has a useful post on the various sizes common to a variety of book types (as well as the sizes offered by different PODs such as CreateSpace, Lulu, Blurb, Lightning Source) along with some interesting reasons why you might choose those sizes. He includes a quick paragraph on paper type and on offset printing.

Collection of Posts About Book Design

Check out Joel Friedlander’s “table of contents” with links to his posts on book design! Of course it is part of his platform building for his new line of nonfiction and fiction templates…so take notes!

And, of course, there’s his interview by Jane Friedman about this very subject: How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design?. Lots of good info in this.

Differences Between Print and eBook Layouts

That Joel Friedlander is a busy boy. He has a very useful post on the differences between print layouts and eBbook files. Check it out!

The Book Designer‘s Non-Fiction Templates

Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer is releasing the nonfiction templates. Makes sense, they do take more effort when laying out a nonfictional book with their need for “subheads, pull quotes, extracts, notes, bibliographies, and so on”. A lot more. Check out his post about the release—you’ll find it in the third paragraph, “Lots of Authors Saving Money at the BookDesignTemplates.com Sale”, where you’ll find a coupon code as well. If you’re interested.

A Dreamweaver of a Suggestion in Formatting Your eBook

While I disagree with Richelle Grey in her assertion that Dreamweaver writes clean code, she does provide a an alternative to using Word, Calibre, or __ for converting your text file to an eBook format.

eReader Issues with Formatting

Nick Daws at My Writing Blog points out issues for readers of older eReaders that authors should take into account… Get that checklist made for what to check when formatting, you’ll want to add these!

Book Cover Design

Critiqued Book Cover Designs

This is for those of you trying to figure out if your cover design works or not. Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer has been running a monthly eBook Cover Design Award critique since August 2011, and there are at least 10 book covers each month, with some of them Friedlander includes the critique as to why the cover design works or not. I’ve learned a lot simply by browsing through these, and I know you can too!

You may want to check out August Wainwright’s post, “Your Cover is Killing Your Book” as well as he provides a list of issues you should consider for your cover. I think it’s a nice complement to Friedlander’s Cover Design Awards.

And then there’s Robert’s almost-3-year-old and his assessment of a series of covers. Omigod, he’s too funny…with yet more food for thought, LOL.

Lousy Book Covers Show What Not to Do

For more of an education in what not to design, check out Lousy Book Covers for the ultimate no-go covers. It’s not as helpful in explaining what not to do as Friedlander’s, but I figure anything helps.

Create Your Own eBook Cover

Just when you think there’s no help a’t’all, there’s Jess Lee with his series of posts at his blog, Create Your Own Ebook Cover. Posts include reasons why GIMP ain’t for you, free stock photos, tutorials ranging from how to mimic covers you like to making your cover readable—especially at thumbnail size! Be sure to check out his post, “Turning a Crappy Cover Into An Eye-Catching Cover Is Simple!“.

Crowdfunding with a Kickstart

Tom Allen’s Kickstarter Campaign for Janapar

Tom Allen writes of his experience with a crowdfunding campaign to publish Janapar from whether he should do it, how to do it successfully, why how it looks is not a guarantee of success, the ideal length of such a campaign, the negatives, the budget, and whether he’d do it again.

Allen also suggests checking out the Kickstarter School for more details.

7 Ways to Conduct a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Justine Schofield from Pubslush has a guest post on Build Book Buzz about “7 Ways to Conduct a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign“. (“Pubslush is a global, crowdfunding publishing platform that authors can use to raise funds and gauge the audience for new book ideas. It allows trendsetting readers to pledge their financial support to bring books to life.”)

Transitional Genre ‘Tween Teens and Adults

Yup, we got the New Adults out there, spanning the gap between the YA readers—Young Adult (YA, “ages 12-18) and commercial women’s fiction for readers in their 20s and older). Deirdre Donahue at USA Today discusses the New Adult authors and just what this new subgenre is about.

List of Publishing Terms and Definitions

This is useful page from Cathy Clamp over at Absolute Write. It’s a list of the terms and definition used by publishers. You may wanna bookmark this one.

How to Write a Query Letter

This is an amazing post by “Andrew Jameson” at Absolute Write, a step-by-step guide to writing a query letter. “He” should be writing this up as an eBook!

Formatting to SUBMIT a Manuscript

This is not a how-to to format your manuscript for publication, but to submit to an agency or publisher.

I know I’m on an Absolute Write kick. Hey, I found the site and I’ve been exploring. I can’t help it if I keep finding useful information on their site! This time around Cathy Clamp has a post on “Formatting Manuscripts for Submission” for beginning writers. What I like is its no-nonsense, straightforward approach discussing the use of bold or italic, chapter starts and breaks, indentations, headers, paragraph, font usage, etc.

When you’re submitting your manuscript for consideration, you want to do anything you can to make it more comfortable for the agent or publisher to read your work. Don’t start by giving them a reason to round file it!


Tracking Your Licensing Rights

PubMatch, an international rights portal, has gone into partnership “with the Copyright Clearance Center to create an automated, Web-based exchange for rights deals” for its members. The post claims that it will facilitate transactions and make the process more efficient.

Learn from Another’s Mistakes

On the one hand, y’all can feel better if you have been conned out of some of your publishing rights…on the other hand, oopsies. Kevin Smith at Duke University, who is supposed “to teach and advise faculty, administrators, and students about copyright, intellectual property licensing, and scholarly publishing” himself got “conned” and I’m grateful that he chose to share the experience.

In particular, he notes that “I should have determined who the publisher was and made an intentional decision before I signed that agreement about what would be done with the article that resulted from my talk. …consider the agreement they are presented with in light of their own plans and hopes for their work, and transfer or license rights in a way consistent with those plans. If the agreements allow one to meet those goals, well and good; if they do not, negotiation is called for.” Investigate the background of the journal and its publishers to ensure it has a reputation that will enhance your own, and lastly, the perils and pluses of joint authorship.

Reversion Clauses: Another Contract Headache

Kris Rusch explains what a reversion clause is and how to get your books back from the publishers and in your hands.

“You—one writer—can have twelve book contracts with the same company, and each contract might have different terms from other contracts.” – Kris Rusch

Dean Wesley Smith then goes on to discuss reversion clauses on his blog with a lot of excellent information here about particular clauses, landmines, and other issues to consider. I’d bookmark it and tuck it away under Contract Clauses for use now and later on in the future. And he’s got something to say about agents who don’t want you to bother with that IP (intellectual property) attorney!

Legal Issues for Self-Publishing Authors

Bernard Starr on the Huffington Post interviews “Paul Rapp, an attorney who specializes in intellectual property rights in Monterey, Mass. and teaches Art & Entertainment Law and Copyright Law at Albany (N.Y.) Law School” regarding legal issues for self-publishing authors. He discusses quotes, licensing and copyright issues with “public domain photos, artworks and other public domain works”,

Turning Backlist/Out-of-Print Titles into eBooks

Which leads us right into BWM Books and their post on the steps required to turn a backlist or out-of-print title into an eBook.

Literary Agents

Agents, Amazon and Self-Publishing

Melissa Foster is doing a guest post at Jane Friedlander’s blog on “Agent-Assisted Self-Publishing and the Amazon White Glove Program” with a look at the various levels of service and how it may affect rights with an agent. The Amazon White Glove Program gets its own look with its primary requirement that the author have an agent with a list of cautions and positives. A very clear, concise rendering of the program.

Reasons NOT to Use Argo Navis

David Gaughran of Let’s Get Digital has a revealing post about the truth behind David Mamet’s decision to self-publish (see the post about Mamet on this page). It rather sounds as if he’s taken the expensive way around by using Argo Navis—”overcharging for basic services and hugely underdelivering on basic competency”. Gaughran is highlighting literary agents in this post because it’s the only way you can access Argo Navis’ services. Which doesn’t say much for the agents. Yes, Gaughran lists the agents, so you might want to make a list of those to avoid. Eeek!

Marketing Ideas

Branding and Your Author Platform

Your Brand as an Author

I don’t know about you, but this whole branding thing gives me the willies. The push that everyone is giving self-publishing authors to develop their platform, build their brand makes me want to run in the opposite direction. That said, yup, I’m gonna whine at ya—Trevor Young has a guest post on Joanna Penn’s website that has a lovely definition of branding: “You have a brand whether you like it or not. It’s how people perceive you. It’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s their experience of you. You have a chance to control that by actively choosing the way you portray yourself online. Be consistent, e.g. use the same professional photo, color scheme. Be authentic as you need to live your brand. If you want to be considered helpful, then you can’t rant like a crazy person on Twitter. People will judge you by what you portray, so make sure you do it well.”

The post is to promote Young’s new book, MicroDomination, and he has some very useful definitions (in the post!) about the difference between content marketing and social media. The post is also a good example of content marketing!

Good Explanation of a Blog Book Tour

While the site is a service that will take your money and set up your blog tour for you, it will also explain just what a blog tour is and the steps that are taken to make it work. At the least, you’ll know what it’s about!

Another Reason to Plan for the Long Haul

Seth Godin has a post on his blog that, well, gives you permission to slow down.

Dangers of Social Media Automation

Kristen Lamb points up one of the dangers of using automated social media with the brouhaha that exploded after Kim Kardashian’s supposed insensitivity the day of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Now before you blow up at me or Lamb, consider how practical it was to point out an unrelated issue for authors. Sure, we wouldn’t be tweeting about our upcoming fashion show, but it could well have been the debut of our first novel…

How-To Embed Video in Your Emails

I’ve found Pinpointe to be a reliable site, and they provide a tutorial on how to embed incorporate video in your emails.

MailChimp versus Constant Contact

Actually, I don’t have an opinion as I haven’t used either of these, but it is an area I am starting to research. And Author Media has some rather useful pointers on this issue of who to use for author newsletters. I’ll keep piling up the info as I learn more.

A Better Use of Your Social Media Platform

Chris Brogan with Human Business Works sent me an interesting email with a different perspective on using your social media platform, and I wanted to share his thought:

‘Outposts’ are what I call the various social platforms, places like Twitter and Pinstagram (I love mashing them together like this) and Facebook and Google+.

Your ‘media empire’ is a mix of your blog, your video content, your podcast, your ebooks, your whatever-gets-you-some-attention-and-is-useful-to-your-audience.

Your ‘homebase’ is your primary website, and/or the place where you hope to build conversion of some kind.

So what I’ve come to learn boils down to something like this:

  • Engage at the outposts
  • Promote your media at the outposts
  • Point people to your homebase (or email list) via your media
  • Sell at the homebase

What doesn’t work well is:

  • Sell at the outposts

Where we seem to get it wrong is that when we try to push for a sale when people are using their various social media channels, most people seem less likely to take an action. Instead, they’re out looking for engagement (chitty chat) as well as interesting content (which could sometimes be served by your media). Thus, guide them at the outposts to your media and then at your media, you have the opportunity to recommend a conversion of some kind.”

Yes, the email is to promote a seminar he’s doing, ImpactNEXT in Washington, D.C My disclaimer for passing on his thoughts…

Niche Switching

C.S. Lakin at Live Write Thrive has a guest post from “Jennifer Hancock, author and speaker, who has some great insights on focusing on niche“. And she has some interesting insights. While the post is from the perspective of a nonfiction writer, ya never know what it might click in your own thoughts for your books.

Jane Friedman’s Blog Presents Opposing Views on Blogging

I must confess that when I heard the news about Amazon buying out Goodreads, my first…okay, my second thought…was thank god I’ve been posting my reviews on my blog as well as Goodreads, and Dan Blank goes on to point out a number of reasons why you want to blog.

On the opposite side is L.L. Barkat with vaguer reasons not to blog and a preference for Twitter in determining quality of writing.

Step-by-Step to Build Your Author Website

Omigod! Bookmark this page! Kimberly Grabas at Your Writing Platform has a fabulous post on building your author website. She takes you page by page and item by item as to what you’ll need and what to watch out for. I’m serious, visit this page NOW! She’ll save you a lot of heavy thinkin’…

Yer Gonna Need More’n Beta Readers

It just never ends, does it? Fortunately!, Dr. Judith Briles at The Book Shepherd provides a list of people you want to surround yourself with. I confess that at first I thought she meant beta readers, but it’s actually people who know about areas revolving around book marketing. And she has some good points.


Set Up a Professional Twitter Profile

Author Media has a useful post with easy-to-follow directions on setting up a professional Twitter profile. Get yourself prepped for all that platform building ya gotta do! And do heed that tip about Facebook!

Most Popular Hashtags for Writers and Publishers

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez lists the most popular hashtags on Twitter for writers and publishers.

Tutorial: Build a Twitter Header

Michael John Burns has a great tutorial on building a Twitter header. Very easy to follow, although when it comes to uploading your image file, click on Edit Profile > Change Header instead. While you can type text into your graphic file, just use it to get an idea of what it could look like. Take the text out before you save the JPEG. Twitter uses the information you enter into your profile to populate your header AND it uses it for SEO purposes. Adding text to the graphic does nothing for your SEO.

Quick and Dirty Twitter Tips

Oh man, Randy Ross at The Loneliest Planet has a disheartening post which includes 5,000. Yeah, a number he says one expert says your Twitter/blog/Facebook/all your social media (combined, thank god) should reach to excite publishers and agents.

Even worse, Ross goes to explain how to responsibly add and delete followers.

KDP Select: Worth It or…?

C.J. Lyons does a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog on KDP Select: what it is, what it does, what the possibilities are.

Independent Bookstore’s Wish List for All Traveling Authors

This is an excellent reminder from Josie Leavitt a Publishers Weekly about authors who are on vacation and who would like to take advantage of popping into a shop and signing some books. At worst, it’s a heads up to remind authors to be polite; at best, it will make you feel wanted! And how to feel even more wanted, LOL.

Finding a Reviewer

The Empty Mirror has a useful post on how to find and interact with a reviewer for your book as well as listing some dos and don’ts while Mike Reeves-McMillan has his own useful take on the best way to approach someone whom you would like to review your book.

6 Tips in a Fresh, Honest Look at Your Book

Mark Coker of Smashwords shares “six tips on how to take a fresh, honest look at your book and evaluate what you might do to improve your results. Most of my tips help you discern what it is about your book that’s preventing readers from connecting with it. I should note that many of these tips below apply to authors with free books too, because there are many books that get very few downloads”.

Promotional Strategies

A New Red Hat Society

Kimberly Winston at Publishers Weekly writes of an online promotion by Lita Judge for her new book, Red Hat, which aims itself at her target audience—the kids. Check it out.

Publishers Building Own Online Communities

A press release given out by Publishing Technology and Bowker Market Research explains why publishers are going whole hog to establish their own online communities. You might want to look it over for ideas for working up your own marketing strategies.

Marketing Children’s Books

Gail and Penny from To Press & Beyond do a guest post at Laura Pepper Wu’s 30 Day Books with some great ideas on marketing kids and juvenile fiction.

Connect and Ask

Interesting video with Amanda Palmer in which her basic belief is “don’t make them pay, ask them to pay”. It’s a 13+ minute TED video about making connections, from a unique perspective.

Book Promotion at Amazon in 2013

Lindsay Buroker discusses the changes at Amazon: the bad, the good, and what’s stayed the same. It’s one of the few that seem to have addressed the issues in a forthright manner!

Then there are the complaints—anonymous, so what does that tell you about fear and retribution?—of publishers at the London Book Fair. And the article by Roger Tagholm and Edward Nawotka at Publishing Perspectives is not pretty…

Playing by the First Digital Generation’s Rules

I have absolutely no clue how someone might leverage the information in this article by Jerry Adler at Wired magazine, BUT I did find it fascinating how incredibly involved the Millennials are with technology—a fascinating comparison with how I viewed my grandparents and the technological changes they experienced! And I’m hoping some of you may also find it of interest, and then be able to take the concept and go somewhere with it to market your book.

Grabbing Your Readers’ Attention

Thomas Umstattd at Author Media has ten tips on how to grab readers’ attention to your book’s website with his post, “10 Ways Proven to Draw Readers to Your Novel’s Website“, although I, sort of, disagree with his insistence upon an integrated blog/website. Oh, he’s right about that, but nothing says you can’t have a website with multiple pages on WordPress or Blogger. Just be sure to do WordPress.ORG and not the .COM version! Check out the note below on An Easy Authoring Website.

Never Thought I’d See This…Using Justin Timberlake as a Model

Now, before you toss this out, consider reading this as a different perspective on your own book launch. Shannon over at DuoLit has a useful post that says pretty much the same thing everyone else does, BUT she’s using a different field to help jar our heads out of our usual hole in the ground. And it’s an easy-to-read chronology of events.

Pricing Your eBooks

eBook Pricing Strategies

Beth Bacon at Digital Book World has a post on “7 Must-Consider Strategies for Ebook Pricing“.

Trend in Dropping Self-Pubbed Prices

As of Apr 23, 2013, the numbers 1 and 2 best-sellers are two SELF-published eBooks—quelle horreur—see what Jeremy Greenfield has to say about that and the dropping prices!

The Argument: Men Don’t Read Women

It’s an old argument, and Ester Bloom at Slate has some interesting data to relate. Just keep reading, ladies, past the first half or so…if it makes you half as angry as it did me… Well, just keep reading. It gets better by the fifth paragraph. Woohoo…

Top 20 Well-Read Cities in the U.S.

Interesting bit of trivia in Huffington Post provided by Amazon (based on “sales data of all book, magazine, and newspaper sales in print and Kindle format since June 1, 2012 on a per capita basis in cities with 100,000-plus residents).

  1. Alexandria VA (2nd year in a row)
  2. Knoxville TN
  3. Miami FL
  4. Cambridge MA
  5. Orlando FL
  6. Ann Arbor MI
  7. Berkeley CA
  8. Cincinnati OH
  9. Columbia SC
  10. Pittsburgh PA
  11. St. Louis MO
  12. Salt Lake City UT
  13. Seattle WA
  14. Vancouver WA
  15. Gainesville FL
  16. Atlanta GA
  17. Dayton OH
  18. Richmond VA
  19. Clearwater FL
  20. Tallahassee FL

It’s interesting that four of them—one-fifth!—are in Florida. Is it all the retirees? The ones in Virginia make sense—I imagine politicians and lobbyists probably read a lot just to stay in the know. Some of the cities I recognize as big university towns—Berkeley, Ann Arbor, and Cambridge! Seattle makes perfect sense as I seem to recall it’s renowned for its bookstores, which may well explain Vancouver. But that’s just over half. So I’m curious as to why the rest are up there. I hate to say it, but I can understand why no cities in Colorado make it—too many sports-oriented people! It’s just too hard to read a book while rappelling down a mountain! I’d love to know what y’all think—conjecture? Know for sure? Possibilities…??

Benzinga had the best analysis—which actually doesn’t say much, considering how little was in their post—of what is being read where. Could be useful in determining where to concentrate on the marketing!

eBook Subscription Services

Publishers Weekly has a post on Safari, an eBook subscription service that…also offers backlist books. The majority of their subscribers are “institutions (libraries, corporate, government), and that more than 90% of libraries that subscribe to Safari renew their subscriptions”. Non-fiction authors, you may want to check this out and see if you can get any of your older books on it.

Building Your Own Website

An Easy Authoring Website

Carolyn Steele explains how to have a website for your books and other products using WordPress. That’s right, it’s not just for blogs, Dorothy…

Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer explains why he likes WordPress and he goes on to explain how an author can use WordPress’ pages and posts and answers those questions you may have about whether “you want to sign people up to an email list, run a contest, ask for feedback, organize your content or something else.”

Sell Your Books from Your Sidebar!

Claire Ryan does a guest post at Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer on “A New (Free) Way to Sell Books from your Sidebar” AND it includes code for the WordPress.COM sites!

Cool Tunnel Effect with Code

This one’s just for pretty. I do love to see the effects of CSS and HTML code. and when they create something as amazing as this moving tunnel, well, I’m gobsmacked.

Build a Blog Button with a Grab Box

First, what is a blog button? I guess I’ve been hunkered down behind my books for too long. I was clueless. Turns out a blog button is also known as a badge, and all it is, is a hyperlinked logo or image people can click to go to your homepage or any other page you want to send them to.

The grab box is an easy way for you to share your badge as it allows interested bloggers to select the code that creates your badge, and then they can paste the code into their own blogs and promote your site. Cool, huh? It will help with SEO as well. (You can see the result in the footer of this newsletter; I suspect the excess appearance of the code in the grab box is because I’m using a WordPress.COM blog.)

Morgan Quinn at The Little Hen House has a short tutorial on how to create and upload a blog button for both Blogger and WordPress.

Then check out Kevin & Amanda’s post on adding a Pinterest icon. It’s wordy, but I suspect that if you incorporate what you pick up from Morgan Quinn’s tutorial, you’ll be able to decipher it easily. And use it on your WordPress.com site, per the Text widget. Consider choosing one of the free Pinterest follow buttons that Blogger Sentral offers.

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