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

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

Contents of this Post

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

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

In General

Amazon has opened up shop in India.

U.S. Post Office in Trouble?

Well, per Michael Lieberman’s post, “Booksellers for the Post Office” at Seattle PI, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) is agitating for the Post Office to retain the media mail rate and points out that “the postal services own financial reports show that its package business, for items such as books, is on the rise”.

Apple’s eBook Price Fixing Trial Begins

Andrew Albanese with Publishers Weekly has done a post on the trial’s opening day. I did enjoy Apple attorney Orin Snyder’s statement that “there was no “conspiracy,” he stressed. Apple was acting only in its own interests at all times. And publishers’ anger over Amazon’s $9.99 price did not present Apple ‘with an opportunity to conspire, but with bargaining power’ Snyder said.”

I gotta say that I’m with Jeremy Greenfield in wondering how a judge can say ahead of time how she intends to decide. I thought a trial was supposed to be the other way around—present the evidence and THEN decide…

Testimony from David Shanks,Penguin Group USA CEO.

Roger Parloff, senior editor at CNN Money, reckons DOJ v. Apple could well go to the Supreme Court.

Murray from HarperCollins has his turn on the stand.

Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly, reports that Apple lawyer, “Snyder essentially went ballistic when he learned that Random House COO Madeleine McIntosh would not be required to appear in court. Reid also notes that “One theme consistently emerges in this trial—despite selling the vast majority of their books, publishers believe Amazon to be an implacable foe and a de facto monopoly and seem willing to do anything to take back control of the pricing of their e-books. Young said that Hachette was windowing—the delayed release of e-books to protect the price of the corresponding hardcover—in early 2010 and would have continued to do so without agency. “We were protecting our business,” he said, “we could not have our frontlist books—the crown jewels of our list—sold off at bargain basement prices; see $9.99 applied to all our books regardless of the amount of work by our authors or the amount of scholarship. This couldn’t apply to the top of our list, it made no sense.”

Day 4 finds “Tom Turvey, a witness for the government, in the hot seat per Andrew Albanese. “Amazon’s day on the stand concluded with Laura Porco.”

Laura Hazard Owens reports on Day 5 of the trial, including the reason Murdoch and other publishers got so furious with Amazon: “Amazon announced that it would offer authors a 70 percent royalty through Kindle Direct Publishing (essentially the same terms as an agency model).”

Andrew Albanese (Publishers Weekly) continues with “If there was a conspiracy to push Amazon off its $9.99 e-book pricing, Apple was not part of it, testified Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue in his long-anticipated turn on the witness stand at Apple’s e-book trial.”

It’s a lot of back-and-forth in this trial, with U.S. attorney Lawrence Buterman pushing and Cue insist[ing] that Apple would not tolerate losing money on e-book sales, or being undersold. He also confirmed that the publishers all complained about Amazon’s $9.99 price, and wanted higher prices, and that it was HarperCollins that initially proposed an agency model.”

Just for Fun


TIME ESSENTIAL: Simon & Schuster Offering Author Chats

Digital Book World reports that Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has partnered with Shindig to offer … large scale video chat events” starting every day on June 11 (sorry, I’m posting too late to catch this one). However, YA readers can register FREE for upcoming programs (see below) beginning every Tuesday at 7PM EST … and will continue throughout the month of July. Fans will “have the opportunity to purchase their favorite authors’ books directly from the chat room site”.

The schedule for the chats is as follows; register by clicking on the links below:

Reading with Your Kids When You’re Not There

StorySticker is a children’s audio book technology that allows you to record yourself onto a StorySticker you can buy at a bookstore while reading a children’s book. The sticker goes inside the book. When your child wants to listen to you read the book, they have to scan the StorySticker code on that sticker and then the story is read off the StorySticker website OR your child selects the book from the app library on your Android, iPhone, or iPad (the mobile app is free).

It’s a cute idea, but not all that cuddly if your kid doesn’t have his or her own mobile device… I’d get excited if you could record it onto the StorySticker, and your child just pressed the sticker…

StoryToys Launches Kids Ebook Bookshelf App

StoryToys, a leading publisher of award-winning interactive books and games for children, has launched Grimm’s Bookshelf, a convenient free new app that organizes all of StoryToys’ titles in one location, and makes it easy for shoppers to browse before buying. The Bookshelf is now available on the Apple App Store™ and on Google Play™ for Android phone and tablet users.”

Kid Bloggers

Yup, Matia Burnett with Publishers Weekly provides insight into “BEA 2013: Young Bloggers Provide a Fresh Perspective” with interviews with “two … BEA veterans, seasoned book reviewers, and bloggers on the site Reading Teen, how they got their start, and how it’s progressed from there. Then there’s Julie and Lanna, who blog on Bloggers [Heart] Books, and the very busy Kimmy West with her Mockingjay.net and Page to Premiere.

NPR’s Backseat Book Club

It’s another way to get your kids involved in reading, and NPR wants to hear from kids (ages 9 – 14) who like to read. “Every month, we’ll pick a Backseat Book Club selection. We hope you’ll read it and send in your questions. At month’s end, we’ll put some of your questions to the book’s author during our afternoon radio program, All Things Considered.”

Summer Book Guide: YA Edition

Jenn Doll at The Atlantic Wire has a list of summer reading for Young Adults.

Depressing Stats re: the Level at Which Kids are Reading

Lynn Neary at NPR has a post on “What Kids Are Reading, In School And Out“, and it’s not good. Kids are not stretching their reading chops and are reading several grade levels below where they should be. I’m not saying that kids (or adults…*grin*…) should only be reading at their age or grade level — I’d be missing out on some great books! — but the majority of their reading should be challenging and stretching their minds.

“…in 1989, high school students were being assigned works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Emily Bronte and Edith Wharton.

Now, with the exception of Shakespeare, most classics have dropped off the list.”

Fortunately, Neary includes suggestions on how to turn this around.

“…in the ’60s and ’70s, schools began introducing more accessible books in order to motivate kids to read. That trend has continued, and the result is that kids get stuck at a low level of reading.

Ranking the “Choose Your Own Adventure” Series

Adam K. Raymond ranks the “185 Choose Your Own Adventure Books Ranked From Most to Least Awesome-Sounding” in preparation for 20th Century Fox’s upcoming movie about the Choose Your Own Adventure series.

9 Kids’ Books with Powerful Life Lessons

Lauren Cahn at the Huffington Post has written about the “9 Kids’ Books With Powerfully Useful Life-Lessons“.

Maurice Sendak Reflects on the Difficulties of Childhood

Cynthia White at Things I Can Read has posted a video of Maurice Sendak explaining what captured his imagination and inspired his writing.

The Boys are All Right

It has been a worrisome few months with so many commentators moaning about boys not reading as much as girls, so when I ran across this post by John A. Sellers at Publishers Weekly, I felt much better. If you’re interested in finding books for your boys to read, see what these male authors read when they were kids.

A Two-fer: Kids Help Ridley Pearson Finish Kingdom Keepers and…

…check out the interactive apps Wendy Werris at Publishers Weekly writes about “the launch of Coliloquy, the Palo Alto-based digital publisher has signed bestselling author Ridley Pearson and the Rock Bottom Remainders to create unique interactive apps and e-books.

Pearson’s app, Kingdom Keepers Insider, allowed the author to reach out to fans to help him write the seventh and final book in his popular YA fantasy series — you’ve got til October!

The Horror of H.P. Lovecraft

I was torn as to whether this was a sadly topic or “just for fun”. “Sad” in that H.P. Lovecraft was a horror as a man; fun because, as “U.S. author Elizabeth Bear [says], accepting that Lovecraft’s views are ‘revolting’, posits this answer: ‘Because authors are read, beloved, and remembered, not for what they do wrong, but for what they do right, and what Lovecraft does right is so incredibly effective. He’s a master of mood, of sweeping blasted vistas of despair and the bone-soaking cold of space. He has at his command a worldview that the average human being, drunk on our own species-wide egocentrism, finds compelling for its sheer contrariness’ (Barnett).”

David Barnett at The Guardian wrote a post about H.P. Lovecraft that didn’t actually say much, but I did like Bear’s remark as that’s what sends me to an author’s work. I don’t particularly care about his (or her) personal views, I am only interested in their writing. Although, now I’m starting to wonder if, with all the brouhaha about sexism and general a$$holery over at the Science Fiction Writer’s Association, maybe I’d better start paying attention to an author’s stance on things and stop supporting the jerks… (See “Sexism in SciFi“.)


Bookstores in America, 2013: A State-by-State Guide

Gabe Habash at Publishers Weekly posts a guide to where the bookstores are in America.

the state with the most bookstores per capita was Montana.


Tessa Duvall with AZCentral reports on some innovative marketing efforts to keep Dog-Eared Pages Used Books in northeast Phoenix open.


The bookstore chain, Henry Bear’s Park, is up for sale—its owner, Sally Lesser, wants to retire.

Henry Bear’s Park is represented by Paul Siegenthaler of Ridge Hill Partners. For more information, contact him 781-453-9984.

New York

Community League of the Heights (CLOTH), a community development organization that takes a holistic approach to improving quality of life for residents of southern Washington Height, is the new landlord for Word Up, a bookstore that is volunteer-run by residents of Washington Heights and Inwood and has an educational focus, has signed a lease for a storefront at 2113 Amsterdam Avenue, at 165th Street.


Based in Cleveland, Guide to Kulchur is a new bookstore that recently opened. It is a “book, magazine, and periodicals shop that doubles as a co-op workshop for fanzines (zines), hand-made books, small publications, chap books, and other printed ephemera. In addition to the physical space and in collaboration with venues across the city, we host writers, artists, public and academic intellectuals to discuss zines, cooperative creative processes and spaces, art books, and the theories/new innovations emerging around the evolution and revolution of the printed word.”


The Wise Owl Bookstore in West Reading will close at the end of August. A message on the shop’s website expressed sorrow for the decision, noting the economic climate as the issue.


Mr. B’s Bookery saved and will re-open as The Kingston Bookery in mid-June. Sounds like they have some interesting vintage books!

5 Books with Identity Issues

I was conflicted as to whether to include Carolyn Juris’ post on “YA Buzz: Books with Identity Issues“, if only because I prefer to tell you about books that I’ve read and reviewed. But this list of books seemed important at least because their characters are young and in conflict. I figure anything that can help teens to cope with—and maybe understand—themselves has to be a good thing.

Author Title(s) Why
Rainbow Rowell Attachments Debut adult novel
Eleanor & Park First young adult novel
Fangirl Follow-up to Eleanor & Park

Both YAs are described as “young adult literature with a capital L”; Coming September 10, 2013

Anna Jarzab Tandem Features alternate universes. “What would it be like to live in a world that’s like ours, but different? … Who would you be in this alternate universe?” That’s the question 16-year-old Sasha Lawson of Chicago must answer when she finds herself trapped in the parallel world of Aurora, in which she’s a princess whose disappearance threatens peace between lands.
Tether Sequel planned for spring 2014
Cristin Terrill All Our Yesterdays Explores that possibility … “Terminator meets The Time Traveler’s Wife (‘Imagine your 20-year-old self has the chance to go back and talk to your 16-year-old self.’).” Meehan said, explaining that what also drew her in were “the emotional connections between the characters” and the “deceptive simplicity of Cristin’s writing.”
Amy Rose Capetta Entangled “If the TV show Firefly were a YA novel, it would be Entangled.” Set in the year 3129, Cade is a 17-year-old loner with a cherry-red guitar. When she learns that she’s in fact a lab creation, entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan, she sets out to locate him, joining up with a crew of outlaws. “The story is about human connection,” O’Sullivan said.
Unmade Sequel due in fall 2014
Sara Farizan If You Could Be Mine Debut novel

The background: “Many people are aware that in Iran it’s a crime to be gay, often punishable by death.” What they may not know, she said, is that gender reassignment surgery is legal. In Farizan’s novel, 17-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. Then Nasrin’s parents arrange a marriage between her and an older, successful doctor. At a party given by Sahar’s cousin Ali, who is “gay, and has never gone to great pains to hide it,” Sahar meets a girl who began life as a boy, and realizes that she may have found the way to be with Nasrin – though it would mean sacrificing her true self in the process. At its core, Howard said, the book is “about being in love with a person the world says is wrong for you” – something that many young readers, regardless of identity, will relate to.

Publishing Hackathon Winners

Evoke (Lisa Maione, Jason Pearson, Jill Axline) won the Hackathon with “a way to discover young adult literature through characters“. Sign up for their beta launch.

Check out the runners-up.

Booksellers Tour Artists’ Studios: A Photo Essay

Claire Kirch at Publishers Weekly takes us on a photo tour with “a behind-the-scenes peek into the lives of 23 book illustrators in their natural habitats: their art studios” that were on a special tour during BEA week. Elizabeth Bleumle has her own set of photos.


Find the Best E-Reader

Find the Best E-Reader presents an easy-to-compare “list of e-readers and comparisons between them. Doesn’t include the new Kobo Aura HD, but soon will.

Amazon Notes Kobo’s Bookstore Success

Interesting twist as Amazon is now recruiting bookstores to sell their Kindles!

Kindle DX is Back

Darrell Etherington at Tech Crunch reports that Amazon is bringing back the Kindle DX.

eReaders Better for Your Eyes

Hey, it’s a great excuse to buy or upgrade your eReader, now that Health24 says that “Readers of ebooks aren’t just enjoying a good book, they’re giving their eyes a break, thanks to the high contrast of the display, which is good for the eyes”—even better, “think about models with background lighting”.

Repurpose the Useless Borders Gift Cards

Ron Charles at the Washington Post has a list of ten things you can do with your worthless, not-quite-so-useless Borders gift cards—and that last one is a pip!

Danish Book Subscription Service

Mofibo will be launching in a few months and offering an all-you-can-read type of eBook subscription service.

True Reason Why China Says Yes to Sci-Fi!

Omigod, this is too funny! The Chinese government generally see science fiction as subversive and yet they said yes to a sci-fi convention. When Neil Gaiman asked why, the Chinese said it was because execs at Apple, Microsoft, and Google read science fiction as kids… Parents, ya might wanna encourage your kids to read more sci-fi, LOL!


2013 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

The “Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 was awarded to A. M. M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven. Homes was presented with the £30,000 prize on June 5.

25th annual Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards

The winners are:

2013 Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards

Learn more about the Arthur Ellis awards at the Crime Writers of Canada site.

New Prize in Military History Created

Publishers Weekly notes that the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History (created by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation) carries an award of $50,000 to be given annually in recognition of the best book in the field of military history published in English during the previous calendar year—the first award will be made in February 2014 for a book published in 2013, so get writing so you can submit!

2013 Translation Prizes

“The French-American Foundation and the Florence Gould Foundation have announced the winners of their 26th Annual Translation Prize for superior English translations of French works published in 2012. This prize is the largest annual award — both winners received a $10,000 prize — for translations of French prose into English.”

2013 Griffin Poetry Prizes

The Griffin is the world’s largest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in English with a money award of C$65,000 each.

Let the Books Fall Where They May: Seattle Public Library Breaks Book Domino Record

Check out the video posted by the Seattle Public Library at Book Parol on a domino line-up of books.

Free Books at Readmill

Laura Hazard Owen at paidContent reports that “iOS reading app Readmill added a book discovery feature on Wednesday and also announced three new partnerships with The Guardian, The Atavist, and ebook gifting site Livrada.

The new “Explore” section of Readmill’s app lets users download free ebooks from directly within the app. For now, a lot of those books are in the public domain, but Readmill is also working with publishers and independent bookstores to run limited-time promotions through the “Explore” section. At launch, Emily Books, The Atavist, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, Five Simple Steps, Rosenfeld Media and a few others are giving away ebooks through Readmill’s app.

Kindle owners—don’t get excited yet. So far only Kobo, NOOK, and Google Play can download at Readmill; Kindle books still aren’t supported.

Telly & Flicks

Outlander Greenlighted To Series By Starz

Nellie Andreeva at Deadline Hollywood reports that Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has been commissioned by Starz for 16 episodes. Shooting is scheduled to begin this fall in Scotland…woohoo. Hmmm, whoever will they choose to play Claire and Jamie…?

Roald Dahl’s Esiotrot Headed to Film

Per Roger Friedman at Show Biz 411, Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench to are signed for Roald Dahl’s romance, Esiotrot.

Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Check it out.

Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King Gets Tom Hanks

Ben Child at The Guardian reports that Tom Hanks will play the lead in Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King.

AudioFile Goes Mobile

AudiobookREX is a mobile-friendly display of audiobook recommendations which are updated weekly based on reviews in AudioFile, an audio book review site.

I liked their AudiobookREX—colorful and easy to read and access.

Fascinating Bit of Trivia for Writers and Artists

Check out the Georgian Gentleman‘s post on “Got no lead in your pencil? No wonder, it’s graphite, not lead…” with his history of the pencil’s evolution. You’ll recognize the names!

DC Comics Going Interactive

Digital Book World reports that DC Entertainment, “the digital comic book publisher [and] home to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, has launched two new interactive experiences for readers:

  • DC2 is “dynamic artwork” layered into comic panels that will give readers a more enhanced and interactive experience when paging through digital comics. The technology will make its debut in the new digital-first title Batman ’66, which is based on the popular 1960s television show.”
  • DC2 Multiverse gives readers the power to determine storylines and outcomes within a comic. Call it “choose your own adventure” for the 21st century and will be available in BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS, based on the upcoming video game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment”.

Social Media for Readers

BookFilter, A New Social Site for Readers

BookFilter is up and in beta mode and offers up the following for readers:

  • Allows readers to browse for books online the way they do in a physical bookstore
  • Offers comprehensive information on new releases every week, category by category
  • Gives passionate and savvy recommendations every step of the way
  • Encourages discoverability by cross-promoting titles in numerous categories
  • BookFilter is like a fall book preview or summer beach read guide – but every week in every category

If you prefer to browse by cover instead of text listings, you may like this. I do like that Bookfilter includes the author’s name and the book’s title with the cover. I’m guessing (hoping) that the lack of response when I type in an author’s name and/or series is simply due to its being in beta and not complete yet…

Recycling the Poet Laureate

Monica Hesse at the Washington Post notes that Natasha Trethewey was appointed to a second term as U.S. poet laureate yesterday by Librarian of Congress James Billington, who cited her efforts to connect with the public. I agree, while poetry is not my thing, I think a poet laureate should concern herself (or himself) with reaching out.

NSA Surveillance

NSA Surveillance & Kids’ Books..!

The Guardian reports on the usefulness and timeliness of Twitter in responding to the news of NSA surveillance. A Twitter user, Darth, “asked followers to contribute [classic children’s book] titles for #NSAKidsBooks, which were then turned into beautifully hilarious works of art. Darth has kindly allowed us to share them.

ABFFE for Freedom

Read what the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has to say about Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and the NSA’s accumulation of Verizon customers’ phone records.

“The fact that NSA is collecting the phone records of every Verizon customer in the United States demonstrates that the threat to our privacy is very real. How can we speak and associate freely if we fear the government is watching us?”

PCMag‘s Security Watch Takes a Look at Secure Calls

“…if you are that concerned about being able to make anonymous calls, stick with the simplest route and get a prepaid phone [a burner phone] that you are willing to toss away. The second you start complicating the setup, you introduce multiple points of failure.” The article by Fahmida Y. Rashid does mention picking up a pre-paid SIM card to use with your burner phones — which you need to throw away frequently.

To make “secure calls no one can listen in on, that’s a whole another ballgame. If you want to make sure no one—not even government spooks—can listen in on your calls, then you don’t want to muddle with VPNs and VoIP service. You want encrypted phone calls. Check out what “fellow SecurityWatch paranoid Max Eddy has reviewed RedPhone Beta. We like TrustCall and Silent Circle sounds quite appealing.”

Then of course, there’s the details “the Washington Post revealed … of PRISM, a much larger surveillance program where the NSA was monitoring people’s online activity, such as email history, types of files posted online, and files being transferred, among others.”

What you want is to read Fahmida Y. Rashid’s post on “Don’t Want to Be Spied On? Think About Encryption” with its warnings about the file sharing you’ve been doing and the use of sites like DropBox, Facebook, YouTube; using VPN services and peer-to-peer tools; text messaging; and, software applications, such as Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office, which have built-in encryption tools. If you’re worried, check it out.

Romance Reading with Lady Jane’s Salon

Barbara Vey with Publishers Weekly posted “Lady Jane’s Salon in Naperville” about an organization, Lady Jane’s, which is run by authors Tracey Devlyn and Adrienne Giordano. Lady Jane’s started in New York, but there are salons in various states and their purpose is to give readers the chance to hear authors read a portion of their books.

“While you don’t purchase a ticket, admission is one gently used romance novel or $5.00 to benefit Celebrate Differences a local not-for-profit organization committed to supporting individuals and children with disabilities.

At the Lady Jane’s Salon Barbara attended, “There was a great mix of authors with Kate Meader, Kristin Daniels, Adrienne Giordano, Valerie Bowman, and Dianna Love.

Comic Book for the Blind

Cheezburger has a post, “Cool Design of the Day: A Comic Book for the Blind” on a tactile comic book designed by Phillipp Meyer. You can get a print copy or a digital version at Meyer’s website.

Random House Experimenting with eCookbooks

Digital Book World reports that Random House finds “that creative enhanced ebook executions are increasing in sales. …[And] the company is experimenting with cookbooks that email ingredients lists to users, allow them to interact with chefs and offer new seasonal or regional ways for people to discover recipes.” I like it… So far, Random House has used iBooks Author for some of these books, but Random House does plan to use ePUB3 in future.

  • Barbecue Books of Summer 2013

  • The Standout Barbecue Books of Summer 2013

    Noooo, not books to barbecue…! Mark Rotella from Publishers Weekly notes the cookbooks for this summer, “whether you’re grilling asparagus or smoking pork shoulder, these books will stoke your culinary fire this Memorial Day. Hey, I was hungry when I read this…

    A Book-y Floor

    Derek Attig at BookRiot has some great booky floors for your enjoyment. Check ’em out!

    Does God have a place in science fiction?

    “Science might have no place for divine intervention, but SF has always lived by its own beliefs” per Damien Walter at The Guardian, who examines the possibility of God in science fiction…He should have included David Weber’s Safehold series in here!

    If there’s one thing SF writers like to do, it’s argue. Tell them God is good and they’ll prove why he doesn’t exist. Show them there is no God, and they’ll invent one just to to prove you wrong.



    William Demby, Dead at 90

    William Demby, a black writer who defied the conventional, died May 23.

    Tom Sharpe Dies at 85

    I absolutely adore Tom Sharpe‘s hysterically funny writing, and he will be greatly missed. Read The Guardian‘s article.

    Iain Banks Dead at 59

    Iain Banks died of cancer on June 9, two months after announcing he was sick. Read more at The Guardian

    Publishers Weekly has posted the overflow of Q&A from an interview Banks did with Publishers Weekly‘s Joe Sanders last September.

    Yoram Kaniuk Dead at 83

    Isabel Kershner reports at the New York Times that Yoram Kaniuk, author of Adam Resurrected (one of almost 30 books and which was turned into a movie with Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, and Derek Jacobi) and journalist “from Israel’s founding generation who often expressed bleak views about what the country had become,” died Saturday…”

    Book Cover Gender Controversy Continues

    Alison Croggon at The Guardian notes the continuing controversy over book covers designed for boys OR girls and not for a gender neutral audience.

    Anti-Amazon Efforts in Europe

    British Booksellers Seek Amazon Curb

    Rupert Neate and Angelique Chrisafis with The Guardian report that “Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers Association, said Britain’s bookshops, closing down at a rate of more than one a week, consider Amazon ‘the main threat to their business’ and are asking for help along the lines of what France is doing for their booksellers.”

    The French Side of It

    Henry Samuel with the Telegraph reports that the French are looking into a variety of ideas to thwart Amazon’s plans for global domination—at least in France. They’ve already thrown another €9m into the pot to help publishers—that’s besides the original €9m of funding to help its booksellers.

    I gotta say, I don’t have a problem with a business being successful. I do have a problem with that business hurting others…

    Sci-Fi Sexism

    Exploitive Pictures and a Major Diss

    Well, it seems that this attitude is not confined to “naughty” pictures on the SFWA’s magazine cover, but to male attitudes as well. Read this post by Barbara Vey, “Ann Aguirre Speaks Out on Sexism in Science Fiction” and be appalled. I may not like all of Anne Aguirre‘s work, but I do support her right to write whatever the hell she likes. Hmmmm, I wonder if Tanya Huff, Lois Bujold, C.J. Cherryh, and Ursula Le Guin gets this kind of hassle…

    Check out Anne’s posts and her responses—I’m hoping she’ll post the names of the dinosaurs, so I know who to stop reading…

    Nor is this an isolated issue directed only at women sci-fi writers at conventions, not if the brouhaha over the SFWA cover that flared up the end of May is anything to go by.

    From June Costa To Sally Lockhart: Five Young Adult Heroines Who Are Self-Starters

    Continuing along this vein, Alyssa Rosenberg from ThinkProgress brings up “Rachel Shukert post (mentioned above in “How to Write a Feminist Character

    If you’re looking for some good role models (no, I haven’t read these) for yourself or your kids, you might like to check Rosenberg’s five favorite ladies out.

    Writing Tips

    Need a Nudge?

    Fanning the Fires of Passionate Writing

    C.S. Lakin at Live Write Thrive has an encouraging post in response to those who insist you write 20 gazillion words per day whether you feel like it or not. I like that she takes into account that if people are different, so are writers. And not all writers respond well to that whip!

    Lakin follows it up with “Ways Writers Can Spark Creativity” with more ways to get those creative juices flowing.

    Time Management, or No Excuses…!

    Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn had a short post…hmmm, wonder if that’s a time management tip??…in which she recommends a book, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series) by Jocelyn K. Glei as well as a social network locking software for the Mac, Anti-Social. Set that timer to keep you slaving away over those words that Lakin doesn’t want to force out of you and/or block those sites that are just too intriguing…!

    Setting a Scene with Show and Length

    C.S. Lakin at Live Write Thrive has a great post, “Montages for Imagery and Altered States of Mind“, on show—and sentence length to convey a mood.


    Interview for Those Details

    I hate Lisa Hall-Wilson. WHY does she have to make so much sense? And I have the same issue with authors getting the details wrong…which means I (and you, bwah-hah-hahhh) will just have to suck it up and learn how to interview the experts! She is right, you know, in her guest post at Kristen Lamb’s blog. People do love to talk about their work.

    And be sure to check out her post at Angela Ackerman’s blog, The Bookshelf Muse, about her “5 Tips To Landing That Interview“.

    Writing a Feminist Character

    Rachel Shukert writes in her post, “How to Write a Feminist Young Adult Novel“, about being honest with a feminist character. It’s a long post with most of it Shukert talking about her thought processes in writing Starstruck, but I did appreciate her pointing out the differences between fashion and clothing, the hypocritical perspective on slang, her practical stance on virginity—but the most illuminating bit was that last paragraph on being a feminist.

    Hiding Those Dirty Little Secrets

    Kira Lyn Blue has a great post on those secrets we all hide, and how those secrets may shape our characters’ lives.

    Get Your Character’s Language Right

    Joshua Katz, a PhD student in statistics at North Carolina State University, is working on a dialect map, “Beyond “Soda, Pop, or Coke”: Regional Dialect Variation in the Continental US” which writers may find extremely useful.

    Walter Hickey at Business Insider has posted some nice sized maps from Katz’s Project Dialect.

    Identify the Trivial Details

    Jane Friedman has an excerpt from Roz Morris’ (@NailYourNovel) Nail Your Novel: Bring Characters to Life which addresses when show is too much. It didn’t include as many details as I’d’ve liked — hmmmm, an example, perhaps? — but I did appreciate her example of how Hilary Mantel characterized Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.

    Why Green Thinks The Fault in Our Stars Has Been So Extraordinaly Successful

    John Green has posted an answer to some questions about the success of The Fault in Our Stars why Green thinks his novel, has been so successful, John Green.

    You Cannot Fail…

    Tim Sunderland at What If You Could Not Fail has an inspiring post on failure with plenty of food for thought. Who knew that’s how Whole Foods rose??

    Fun with Food…oh…and Words

    Pleated Jeans has a great video that will crack you up as it illustrates some of the Word Confusions I’ve been posting.

    GET Permission!

    This post by Chiderah Monde with New York Daily News is an excellent wake-up call reminding writers that you need to get permission from people—and it can’t hurt to be excessively paranoid! Find out why “Scarlett Johansson sues French publisher over use of her name in a book“.


    Oldest Theatre in England?

    Check out Mike Rendell’s Georgian Gentleman blog post on “The theatre of dreams…a poor player is heard no more” about what could be the oldest theatre in England (1788). Great pictures!

    Medieval Arms and Armoury

    Interesting page at The History Notes about armour and helmets.

    How to Perform a Clichéctomy – or – How Not To Write the Obvious

    I was expecting a post on getting rid of one’s clichés within the story, instead Bellakentuky at NovelNook is discussing writing a story that is not a cliché. It was a novel approach, and I think well worth your time to read as it provides a basic example of twisting that cliché back on itself — a bit like books that tell you to twist that plot for a more interesting tale.

    4 “P”s of Self-Published Books’ Popularity

    Megan Frampton at Heroes and Heartbreakers speculates on “The Four “P”s of Self-Published Books’ Popularity” and makes a lot of sense.

    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
    Deadline is July 15, 2013 €3,500 (excl. taxes)
    Publication of winning essays
    Casa Africa 2013 Essay Contest – Urban Development The contest aims to recognize, encourage, and disseminate original and previously unpublished essays that contribute to a better understanding of the African continent.

    Topic: Challenges and opportunities of urban development in Africa. See the web page for guidelines.

    Sept 5 is the submission deadline Grand Prize $15,000

    Runner-Up $8,000

    Popular Choice $2,000

    HarperCollins Recognition Award is Non-cash with recognition only for large organizations
    The BookSmash Challenge The Challenge is a four-month-long contest launched by HarperCollins that seeks innovative thinkers interested in using imagination and digital technology to build software that goes beyond the traditional ways books are read and discovered, to ‘break the binding’ and re-imagine the book.
    Until Oct 1 Publication by Quirk Books and a $10,000 advance against royalties Looking for Love Quirk Books has announced its fiction contest, which allows writers to submit unpublished novel-length manuscripts containing a love story. Full details and an entry form can be found here.

    Upcoming Writing Conferences

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

    Date Location Conference/Workshop About
    Now Homer, Alaska Storyknife Retreat for Women Writers Admittedly, it’s not a proper writer’s conference…yet. But, Dana Stabenow’s reason for building this retreat is partially in memory of a women’s writing retreat that helped her at her start. Stabenow is using crowdfunding to raise the money to create the camp and then to endow it.

    Once up and running, writers will be responsible for getting to Anchorage and home again; all other expenses will be covered.

    June 18, 2013
    6:30pm – 9pm EDT
    Online Women in Book Publishing: Career Opportunities, Challenges, and Advice “Join Digital Book World, Workman Publishing and the Association of American Publishers’ Young to Publishing Group for an evening of discussion and networking on to hear about opportunities, challenges and advice for women building their careers in publishing.”

    The event will include a panel discussion with some of the most successful and dynamic women in publishing today including Angela Tribelli, HarperCollins Chief Marketing Officer; Sara Domville, F+W Media President; Megan Tingley, Hachette’s Little, Brown Books for Young Readers SVP & Publisher; and, Deborah Forte, Scholastic Media President with Jeremy Greenfield, Digital Book World Editorial Director as moderator.

    The panel will be followed by questions from the in-person and online audience.

    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

    $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.

    June 26-30, 2013
    Courtyard Marriott Silicon Valley
    Newark, CA
    Writing for Life Workshop: Next Level Fiction James Scott Bell is the instructor.

    Will teach more secrets about writing novels that sell than most writers learn in years of trial and error. He’ll help you take your novel to the next level.

    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.

    Sept 14-15, 2013
    Courtyard Marriott Silicon Valley
    Newark, CA
    Writing for Life Workshop: Prose in Motion Davis Bunn is the instructor who will teach you how to craft fiction for commercial success and teach you how to go from the blank page to the best-seller lists. An intensive two-day event.
    Sept 21-22, 2013
    Vancouver School of Writing,
    BCIT downtown campus in Vancouver, BC
    Bestseller List Secrets Weekend How the professionals make Amazon’s bestseller lists; how to use Amazon’s Tools for maximum impact; get top indie reviewers to review your work; learn how to utilize give away promotions that can net you $10,000’s of $$$; create your own professional product without spending a fortune; building a support system that works; and, gain media attention without trying.
    Sept 26, 2013
    $79-445 til July 19
    $95-495 til Sept 25
    $129-595 on Sept 26
    Metropolitan Pavilion
    New York City
    Marketing + Publishing Services Conference & Expo The conference is a partnership between Digital Book World and Publishers Launch Conferences to “provide the latest data, analysis and emerging best practices in mission-critical process areas at publishing companies today – marketing, editorial/production, digital asset management/distribution, and rights and royalties”.

    There are two main events: Modern Book Marketing: Tools, Techniques and Services and Identify Your Company’s Needs and Find the Right Partners

    Oct 19-20, 2013
    Courtyard Marriott Silicon Valley
    Newark, CA
    Writing for Life Workshop: Advanced Story Mastery Michael Hauge is the instructor.

    Uses an innovative approach to story mastery for screenwriters and fiction writers of all genres and expands on Michael’s principles of The Hero’s 2 Journeys.

    The Publishing Business


    Kawasaki on Self-Publishing

    Adam Boretz with Publishers Weekly reports that, as part of a keynote speech at uPublishU at BookExpo America, Guy Kawaksi offered up his top 10 tips for self-published authors:

    1. Write for the Right Reasons: He cited writing to enrich people’s lives, furthering a cause, or meeting an intellectual challenge.
    2. Use the Right Tools: Kawasaki suggested using Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, Evernote, Dropbox, and YouSendIt.
    3. Write Every Day
    4. Build Your Marketing Platform
    5. Start with a Kindle E-Book: “When all the dust settles, for us, Amazon is about 85 to 90 percent of the action,” Kawasaki said. “There’s all these other platforms, but if you can make it with Kindle you’ve got it made….If you make it on Kindle the rest is cream.”
    6. Tap the Crowd: With APE, Kawasaki asked his social media followers to critique his book outline, finished manuscript, and the final PDF of the book. “It really improved the book,” he said. “The crowd really helped me…It probably doubled the quality of APE. It was truly a great experience.”
    7. Hire a Copy Editor
    8. Hire a Cover Designer
    9. Test Your E-Book: Kawasaki urged writers to test the readability of their e-book on all platforms, devices, and operating systems.
    10. Never Give Up

    Tolino Now Carries Self-Published eBooks from ePubli

    Tolino is the German equivalent of the Kindle Store and has finally started to carry self-published eBooks.

    ePubli: eBook Distribution But Some Qualms Exist

    WARNING: Read this post on ePubli by Nate Hoffelder from The Digital Reader before using ePubli for your self-published eBooks in Germany. As Hoffelder points out, charging you a yearly fee for your ISBN is suspicious. And it makes me wonder where else they’re shafting me…

    ePubli, “a self-pub service owned by the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, … offers basic and advanced ebook distribution services as well as POD production and distribution to Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Google Play Books, Kobo, and many others”—and now to Tolino as well.

    Publishing on Kobo with Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre

    Joanne Penn also writes about a podcast interview about some Kobo platform specific tips with Mark Lefebvre from Kobo (interview begins at around 27 minutes in). Penn reckons she learned a lot from it.

    Self-Publishing with Kobo’s Writing Life

    Calvin Reid with Publishers Weekly has a paragraph about Writing Life, Kobo’s self-publishing platform, with Michael Tamblyn discussing the three types of authors using their service.

    Books and Digitilization

    Creating Your Own Enhanced eBook

    Yep, I’m a gadget girl, so when I first strted reading about enhanced eBooks, my mind went wild. I want, I really want…and now Elle Lothlorien writes a really long blog post on “From Sweatpants to Lingerie: Enhanced Content for Your Natural Assets (and Your E-Book)“. Just bear with her yammering on about the Fifty Shades characters. It doesn’t take long before she gets into the real meat of it. Although she does tend to keep that whole concept of lingerie going… It really is an excellent, excellent post on enhancements for an eBook from why it won’t work to what a self-publishing author can do to make it fit the budget. Trust me…it’s good with lots of ideas for doing things well, but on the cheap.

    FYI: Digitalizing Your Books

    The Rude Baguette has a post about Gutenberg Technology, which is the parent company of digital book platform Lelivrescolaire.fr, “focusing on digitalizing books for mobile devices. In addition to helping publishers digitalize their content, they also have a SaaS called My Ebook Factory which enables publishers to create, edit and store their content online and in one-click publish it to various devices (tablets, ereaders, smartphones).”

    eBook Platform Stats for Smartphones

    Per Digital Book World, more than half of America owns a smartphone, you know, a pocket eReader… Keep this in mind when formatting your eBooks!

    Kindle Fire to Accommodate Video-Enhanced eBooks

    Amazon’s MOBI format doesn’t support things essential to the enhanced eBook—hmmm, that iPad is looking better and better—but has caved to allow the Kindle Fire to accommodate video in enhanced eBooks. Now if Amazon would just get off its duff for the rest of the Kindle family…

    Is Your eBook a Sale or a License?

    Meredith Schwartz at the Library Journal notes a very important point for authors: “publishers, according to Aiken [Paul Aiken is executive director of the Authors Guild], have to pay authors 50 percent for a license, and only 25 percent for a sale“, and she goes on to report that publishers wobble from calling a transaction of the same eBook a sale or a license depending upon how it will benefit them, not the author. Yeah, big surprise there. Still, another reason to pay attention to where your books are being sold and how your publisher’s accounting works.

    Authors Getting Shafted

    Alison Flood with The Guardian has an article that goes right along with this question of “sale versus license” with “Philip Pullman: ‘Authors must be paid fairly for ebook library loans’“. For one, I had no idea that authors were paid each time one of their books was borrowed from the library, and I have no idea why the same principle doesn’t apply to eBooks… Read Flood’s article for more details.

    HTML5 is the Core of ePUB3

    Excellent article by Nick Ruffilo over at Digital Book World on “HTML5, The Future — And Now — of Publishing regarding ePUB3 and HTML5 — the core of ePUB3.

    Bowker Adding Rights, Permissions

    Continuing to add to the services mentioned in the Hodgepodge – June 2013 entry, “Bowker Adds SelfPublishedAuthor.com“, Bowker is partnering up with Digi-Rights to offer indie author and small publishers solutions technology support for rights and permissions. The post states that this technology is a “cloud-based service … designed to enable users to optimize their rights so that revenues are maximized and risks from copyright liability issues are minimized [with] oversight of the rights process, helping them manage budgets, enabling copyright compliance and optimizing rights values. A key component of the offering is a self-administered “Rights Assessment” app that helps publishers identify what rights the author has or may need to obtain from third party licenses and then, develop an action plan to mitigate copyright issues.”

    Publisher News

    NYC Publishing Houses Map

    Publishers Weekly has provided a map of the publishing houses in New York City — there are links to a fullscreen view as well as one to download.

    Food for Thought: Amazon versus the Publishers

    Laura Hazard Owen at paidContent had a short post in which she points out the difference between Amazon and publishers…and the point at which they’ll clash. “The problem is, in Amazon’s search to grow and enhance its customer relationships…they are going headlong after what we think is book publishing, and what they think is an expansion of their customer relationship.”

    McArthur & Company in Toronto Closing Up Shop

    Leigh Anne Williams at Publishers Weekly announces that “Veteran Canadian publisher Kim McArthur announced late on Friday that she is closing her independent publishing house McArthur & Company. She plans to remain involved in Canadian publishing, however, as a literary agent in a new venture she and entertainment lawyer Miron Blumental are starting up, McArthur Blumental Creative“.

    Kingfisher Cutting Back

    Publishers Weekly reports that “U.K.-based children’s book publisher Kingfisher has scaled back its U.S. operations … to one [person] and reducing the number of titles it will release per season from 60 to about 35.

    WARNING: Mayhaven Publishing

    Fanny at LinkedIn has a warning for authors curious about Mayhaven Publishing. Its website doesn’t make it clear that most of its publishing is co-publishing, requiring $14,000 for a softcover, 16,000 for a hard cover.

    New Hybrid Publisher, Notting Hill Press

    Alison Flood at The Guardian reports on “New press hits on ‘third way’ between traditional and self-publishing” with “a group of bestselling authors [who] have come together to create what they are calling a new model in publishing, which steers a path between going it alone and following more traditional routes … each author runs their own independent publishing business under the umbrella of Notting Hill Press.”

    Author Experiences

    Interview with Sylvia Day on What Not to Do

    Jeremy Greenfield has an interview with Sylvia Day at Digital Book World and includes her saga with five different agents and what publishers should do to attract more author attention. You really do want to read this as there is a lot about her strategies, her experiences between self-publishing and traditional, royalty pay-outs, her experiences with agents, pricing, and the difference in having publishers when publishing in eBook and print.

    Greenfield has a post over at Forbes in which Day’s bullet points about why publishers are still needed are very easy to read.

    Feedback From Author Phil Geusz on His Own Experiences

    An interesting interview by Chris Meadows at TeleRead with Phil Geusz regarding Cross-Platform eBook Sales Figures. Geusz is a “small-press published author” who sells on a wide variety of online platforms and has some useful comments to make that I think would appeal to authors trying to decide about Amazon, NOOK, Kobo, and others.

    R.C. Champagne’s Perspective

    I liked this post by R.C. Champagne at Flux and Flow and the easy way in which she explains how the release of your book works through a traditional publisher. Yes, there’s more to the article than that—it’s just the bit that stuck uppermost in my mind. She also talks about her own unique way of publishing her book, which I also found interesting — something some of you may want to consider with its brevity(!), and she discusses why she chose to go with Smashwords.

    Marketing Ideas

    Building Your Platform

    David Gaughran’s Look at Amazon Algorithms and Self-Pubbing

    Arghhhh…I wish there was a blueprint I could follow. One with steps I could follow and not have to wonder if I’m doing it right! Now Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn has a post on “Cracking the Amazon Algorithms with David Gaughran” which sounds fascinating, damn it. Her first point is right on—I never research the author before I pick up one of their books. I may look into them later if I’m really excited about it. But my foremost concern is do I like the book, does the author write well, and when’s the next one coming out? What Penn addresses in this post is the second point. The icky, behind-the-scenes marketing stuff…sigh…

    Penn is very enthusiastic about Gaughran’s first book, How to Self-Publish and Why You Should (Let’s Get Digital, 1), and she’s almost more enthusiastic about How to Get Noticed and Sell More Books (Let’s Get Digital, 2).

    And just to look at social media in another way, “‘…social media is about a conversation rather than a platform…,’ said Morgan Baden social media and internal communications director at Scholastic. Baden explained that social media has successfully ‘broken the barriers between brands and consumers” and that ‘what the consumer says matters in a way that it hadn’t before.'”

    And Now…Google+

    Aren’t you glad you’ve been working on branding yourself?? …ugh, must pull tongue out of cheek…ughhhh… Yup, you’ve got another social media site you’ll need to add to the plethora you’re already struggling with: Google+ with its love of “authorship tags, rich snippets, and social signals are now a big part of the SEO equation” with Penguin 2.0 and how it’s affected Google search and page ranking.

    Adam de Jong with Hubspot writes “In the Aftermath of Penguin 2.0, Branding Is Now a Major Ranking Factor“. Google’s value has always been in its search results, how precise they are, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they are always tweaking their algorithms to improve them. Just as marketing people and the black hatters are always tweaking their keywords, meta tags, and links to get around Google.

    Save yourself time and energy and simply write good content, go back and, okay, yeah, tweak it to ensure you’ve got a nice percentage of keywords in your content—don’t go overboard and be deafened by the Google klaxons. Keep it simple and readable about your book or the conversation you’re having with your followers!

    Pick up on one of Steve Jobs’ tips for branding! Yes, it takes longer being a white hat, but it’ll pay off in the long run simply because there is less chance you’ll run afoul of Google, AND you’ll be building a genuine group of followers.

    Banned on Goggle+, Amazon

    WARNING: Why is it I’m putting out so many warnings lately?? Neil Ostroff has a blog post over at Goodreads on a conundrum he’s run into with Google+ — and one he almost fell afoul of with Amazon! Banned on Google+ and almost at Amazon. Read his post and tread with care!!

    9 Mistakes Even Smart Authors Miss

    Joan Stewart has a guest post at Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer and lists nine errors made by too many authors…and some of these are such simple errors to correct, and with an interesting perspective of which I hadn’t thought. The easiest to fix is her first point: STOP using the freebie email addresses! You’re just promoting Hotmail, Gamil, Yahoo, etc. Although, I really don’t recommend going through GoDaddy.com for your cheapie domain name. It’s only cheap the first year, and in my experience, their “custom” email addresses eff up too often. Check around and see who will register a domain name for you, provide a custom email address, AND have the email address actually work!

    Stewart goes on to discuss not knowing who will be reading your book; not blogging, or not blogging regularly; abandoning a book marketing campaign midstream to write another book; not collecting email addresses, not using the wide variety of social media tools to sell more books, relying only on printed reviews, referring to yourself as an author when you’re really an expert who has published a book (interesting viewpoint here), and, pushing your book on people who aren’t interested in it.

    eInsider Frees Up Giveaways at HarperCollins

    For those of you with books coming out through HarperCollins, be aware of their new eGalley system, the eInsider Program which uses a code to allow authors and “influential readers” to download an eBook from HarperCollins instead of distributing physical copies of books at industry fairs and author events. As they are DRM-protected, they will not be downloadable to the Kindle, but they are available for NOOKs and Kobos.

    How London Beat BEA’s Pants Off

    Porter Anderson reports through Publishing Perspectives on the state of the author at BEA and at the London Book Fair…and London has the BEA beat. There’s a nice bit in here as well on how the six hybrid authors did with their booth at BEA. An interesting read on how publishers treat/consider authors as decorative bits of fluff.

    Twitter Guru Hands Out Tips

    Ya gotta read this post by Rachel Aydt on “9 Tips from BEA’s Twitter for Publishing Master Class” by Cindy Ratzlaff (“@BrandYou, is on a lot of Twitter lists, including Forbes’ ’30 best women entrepreneurs to follow'”). A few of the tips repeat what I’ve heard elsewhere, but the majority of them are new suggestions or new ways to make use of Twitter.

    Andrew Fitzgerald, news manager at Twitter, adds his own practical advice on which platform to start with: “look for communities that are already participating in the conversation in the area. For example, he mentioned that museums in San Francisco tweet at one another ‘as if they are going to rumble in the streets like Sharks and Jets,’ and said it could be fun and productive (in terms of picking up followers) for booksellers to join that conversation.

    Marketing Lessons from Fashion Industry

    Deanna Utroske at Digital Book World reports some of Ratzlaff’s cross-industry tips on marketing—from fashion to books: using Vine “to share snippets of content from author events; ‘Flock to unlock’ campaigns where Twitter followers are offered a special deal – say, a free piece of content – but only if a certain minimum number of people take advantage of the offer”; and, ‘Twixclusives’ with something of value only available to your Twitter followers…

    Improving Kindle Direct Publishing

    David Gaughran went over his list of “15 Ways Amazon Can Improve Kindle Direct Publishing” and felt he got a fair hearing. Although, as he points out, “judgement will have to be reserved until we see how it’s implemented”.

    His list included queries on data, pricing, coupons, epayments to authors in foreign countries, categories, customer service, having a pre-order page, the iniquitous book removing morass, book reporting, a better royalty for short stories, the surcharge fee for Whispernet being charged in countries where it no longer applies, the author email notification system that doesn’t work—with an important suggestion from Gaughran to you!, allow bundling, revamp KDP Select, and limited-time discounts. Gaughran intends to keep an eye on the situation and update as events unfurl. You might want to head over to Let’s Get Visible and subscribe if these are issues for you!

    Does the Title Fit?

    Elizabeth Bluemle at Publishers Weekly has a useful post on choosing book titles: what puts kids off and what pulls them in.

    China Desperate for Children’s and Business Books

    When asked if publishing in China is worth the effort, Rachel Aydt at Publishing Perspectives reports it is indeed, and that the Chinese are in need of children’s and business books. Although self-publishing can have problems—see the article by Dennis Abrams on Qidan’s Business Model.

    It includes a nice bit about what you should know to do business there…practical advice.

    Author/Bookseller Speed Dating

    Elizabeth Bluemle at Publishers Weekly has some useful tips for authors and booksellers as to what they should be prepared to do at their next convention.

    Authors, you can apply this as well to your book signings or ??? Use this list to prep yourself for any time you will meet people regarding your book. Practice the routine with friends or family until they kill you or you have created a routine you can’t possibly forget…

      • Do introduce yourself with your full name. We’re seeing a lot of people, and we want to remember you.
      • Do bring your book with you to each table. You want us to be looking at that cover (and the interior art, if applicable) the entire time you’re talking about it. This helps anchor it (and you, connected to that book) in our brains.
      • Go easy on the hard sell; telling booksellers how many books your events will “definitely” move undercuts your purpose and is more of a turn-off than an enticer. Focus on the story.
      • Do share a fun tidbit or two about the making of the book; everyone loves those behind-the-scenes glimpses, and they help us remember you and your book.
      • Be confident! Your book (and you) deserve to be at the table. Your publisher wouldn’t be highlighting you at this event unless the house was excited about your book. Know that we are delighted to meet you and hear about your upcoming work
      • Remind yourself around Table 10 that this crazy – and, we hope, fun – nightmare will eventually end. Just close your eyes and think of England. Oh, wait, I mean, open your eyes and pretend you’re introducing your baby to a room full of potential godparents eager to meet her.
    • Think of it as social media: you’re telling a story—NOT selling
      • Sometimes the author (or publicist) will ask the table to introduce ourselves. Do use your full name, your store name, and your store’s location. That’s more helpful to them than a friendly, “Hi, I’m Lucy.”
      • Do try to have a question at the ready in case an author flags. By the 15th table, an author might need a little help.
      • Look engaged. Nothing is harder than talking to a blank wall, so let your face show that you appreciate the author’s effort.
      • Don’t take up time soliciting events for your store. A bookseller friend at another table was annoyed by someone who monopolized much of the authors’ precious three minutes trying to arrange store visits. Since each author is accompanied by a PR person from the publishing house, just write a note to the publicist on the back of your business card and hand it over as they head off to the next table.
      • For the love of all things holy, please don’t text at the table while the author is talking. (Note-taking is fine; just remember to look up now and then to re-engage with that hardworking author.)

    What It Costs to Publish eBooks

    John C. Dvorak at PC Magazine has an illuminating post on the what it costs to publish an eBook with further questions on just how publishers justify the high costs. Yeah…I’m curious too…

    10 Lessons From Steve Jobs That Every Marketer Must Learn

    Dan Lyons from Hubspot has a post on the 10 marketing “tricks” Steve Jobs used to turn Apple around. These tricks—for a writer—range from “spot people who know more than you do, and then listen to them” (think editor); consider self-publishing as you will control the whole shebang; brand consistently; think outside the box; create an experience around your book; use your blog, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media to create a sense of mystery, make your followers curious; I’m not sure where an author might go with point number 7, but conflict is essential for a story(!); research book media sites to see how groups rouse other readers to get talking about an author’s upcoming release; don’t push!; and, #10 could be a toughie for writers as well…get those imaginations working(!)…and let us know what ideas you come up with!

    Building Your Own Website

    Mozilla Firefox Plug-In Checks for Your Pix

    This could be a useful plug-in if you’re using Firefox for your browser—download this and right-click on one of your images, and Jason Wilder’s Copyright Infringement Finder 0.2.4 will hunt throughout the Internet to see where your images are being used! From what Alan Eggleston said, it’s not 100%, but it’s a lot easier than hunting on your own!

    Supposedly, It’s to Find Your Colour Scheme

    It’s more about scrolling about and playing on this page to find great colors on ColourCo.de than in finding a color scheme. Scrolling around on the page changes the color of the page and provides the code in hexadecimal, rgb, hsl, hcl, and lab—you’ll have to copy the numbers down for yourself, though. I had fun twirling about on the page…thought I’d pass the fun on…*grin*…

    Have Fun with Your 404

    Another just for fun page. This one is an example of Mass Werk’s 404: Not Found page.

    Free Photos for Your Website

    And you might want to check with them to see if you can use them for a book cover. Unsplash has “Free (do whatever you want) hi-resolution photos for your website” with “10 new photos every 10 days”.

    Twitter Covers, Backgrounds, and Header Images

    Here are 13 different categories of images for Twitter covers, header images, and backgrounds with a wide range of styles. Just remember that anyone else can also download these and use them which will cut into your unique branding, and since these are sized for Twitter, you may have issues in using them in other social media or with business cards, websites, etc. So why am I including this? ‘Cause they’re pretty…and they may inspire you.

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

    3 responses to “A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – Mid-June 2013

    1. Darrell Bleak

      Darrell Bleak

      An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner simply because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks…