Monthly Archives: February 2012

If You’re Going to Self-Pub a Book, Get an Ereader

26 February 2012

From author Deanna Knippling:

One thing I do know, though: the experience of reading ebooks is not 1:1 for reading paper books and probably affects people’s purchasing habits.  So if you’re thinking about epublishing, even if you’re dead-set against the ebook-reading experience and want to stay with print books, you should:

Get an ereader

Before you start selling ebooks, get an ereader.  Heck, they’re cheap–get several and write them off on your taxes.  Spend at least a month reading books on your ereader.  JUST on your ereader, if you can manage it.  Here are your goals for that month:

  • Download several books from your local library, if ebooks are available.
  • Download a THICK book from your ereader’s online store.  Maybe even a boxed set.
  • Download 20-30 free ebooks from your ereader’s online store.
  • Figure out how to read an ebook in the bathtub (hint: wrap the ereader in a freezer bag).
  • Download several books from Project Gutenberg.
  • Scroll through the Smashwords home page until you see at least ten books that you’re tempted to buy.
  • Download 20-30 free ebooks from Smashwords.
  • Cruise through the ebook store for your ereader and find one book that you can’t resist buying at $.99.
  • Do the same, but for a $2.99 book.
  • Again, do the same with an ebook $9.99 or less.
  • Finally, go nuts and buy a book that you’ve been planning to buy, regardless of the price.
  • (You might want to consider doing similar things on your smartphone, if you have one: try Aldiko and the Amazon and Nook apps, try the Overdrive app and set it up for your library.  You should download those things from your app store, by the way, not online.)

Buying books on an ereader isn’t like buying a print book.  With print books, you have to consider both price and space.  Generally, you have to pay for print books, and you generally have to pay more than $.99, even at Goodwill.  (Mine are usually $1.)  And regardless of whether or not you pay for a print book, you always have to keep in mind that a print book takes up shelf space at your home (or chair space, or floor space, or space on top of your kids’ heads if they’re especially flat).

Link to the rest at deannaknippling.com

Cover Design is Key

25 February 2012

From Indie fantasy author Ty Johnston on Publetariat:

Some might argue covers are not important, that what is behind those covers is what’s truly important, but they are missing the bigger picture (quite literally, when you think about it). Even if you believe good covers are not important, you would be hard pressed to argue that a bad cover can be helpful.

. . . .

A good cover can hold a reader’s attention. Even if a reader passes on your book the first time around, a solid cover might draw them back again. A great cover can stick in a reader’s mind, and that can propel a reader to pick up your book at some future point.

Also, while there are those who might believe covers do not sell books, the truth is a good cover could be the tipping point for customers. If a reader is on the fence about whether or not to purchase your book, a good cover might just be the thing to convince them.

. . . .

First of all, you need to keep in mind you are not designing only a book cover. You are also designing an e-book cover and an icon that has the potential to be seen by millions across the Web. Remember that word “icon,” because what you want your cover to be is iconic. You want it to stand out from the crowd, to draw the attention of customers and readers.

In my opinion, simple is better. Yes, there are plenty of complicated, artistic book covers out there that look good in a bookstore, but how many of them look good on Amazon or Smashwords? How many of them are even legible on a website? Most aren’t, so simple is better.

. . . .

Also, when it comes to e-books, you don’t really need a lot of small, extraneous type on your covers. I know authors love their blurbs, but unless you have one from Stephen King, it’s really a waste to put it on an e-book cover because it won’t be seen. Any type on an e-book cover beside the author’s name and the title should serve some purpose that helps the reader make up their mind whether or not they want to read the e-book. Information I deem relevant would include a blurb by the likes of Stephen King, obviously, but also could entail whether or not the e-book is part of a series, whether it is a short story or novella, etc. Skip putting a price on the cover, because prices can change.

Link to the rest at Publetariat 

From the moment I picked your book up

25 February 2012

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.

Groucho Marx

How Publishers Bolster Their Bottom Line by Retaining Film Rights

25 February 2012

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Sharp-eyed moviegoers at the Sundance Film Festival in January might have noticed an unfamiliar title card before the Bruce Willis comedy Lay the Favorite: Random House Films, the movie production arm of the venerable book publisher.

Get used to it. While books long have been prime source material for movies (six of this year’s nine best picture Oscar nominees started as books), publishers traditionally have not participated in the development process or shared in the profits. Scholastic and Little Brown, for instance, make money from Harry Potter and Twilight only through book sales, not their billion-dollar box office.

But that’s changing. Facing financial pressures from everything from the rise of self-published e-books to Amazon’s move to become a publisher, Random House and another “big six” publisher, Macmillan, have set up in-house film divisions to bolster their bottom lines.

. . . .

Millions in producing fees and backend profits are just one side of the equation. Functioning as producers, they hope, will give publishers a voice in the marketing of films that could yield higher book sales.

Link to the rest at The Hollywood Reporter

Endangered Archives

25 February 2012

From The Endangered Archives Programme:

Unless action is taken now, much of mankind’s documentary heritage may vanish – discarded as no longer of relevance or left to deteriorate beyond recovery.

. . . .

Archives are endangered both by the actions of mankind and the forces of nature. War may wreak catastrophic effects but other man-made threats . . . can be more damaging. For instance, there are the problems of fragility and obsolescence associated with the physical formats to which we have entrusted our documentary heritage – such as audiotapes, glass negatives, and acidic paper.

Archives not kept under any proper legal system are susceptible to neglect or destruction. Political ideology may impact directly on archives, eradicating archives relating to minorities and their rights. As the ICA Congress noted: “Archives are fundamental to ensuring the survival of truth, memory and justice.”

Link to the rest at The Endangered Archives Programme and here’s a link to the Endangered Archives Blog.

Barnes and Noble was considered the “brutal capitalist” of booksellers

25 February 2012

From All About Romance:

While Amazon is considered a disruptor company for many of the changes today – hated by independent book store owners and publishers, especially after they promoted their price-check app over the Christmas holidays, in the 80’s and 90’s Barnes and Noble was considered the “brutal capitalist” of booksellers. And its history is extremely interesting, considering what has been happening in the book world of late. Barnes and Noble was the first major bookseller to discount books, by selling The New York Times best-selling titles at 40% off the publishers’ list price. In the eighties they bought up chain book stores like B. Dalton, Doubleday Book Shops, and Bookstop. In 1998 they tried to purchase Ingram Book Group Inc., the largest book wholesaler in the United States but were unable to do so because of antitrust concerns. Supposedly one reason Waldenbooks and Borders opened so many stores was to keep up with Barnes and Noble’s superstores.

. . . .

In 1998 Barnes & Noble got sued by the American Booksellers Association and 26 independent bookstores who claimed that Barnes & Noble and Borders had violated antitrust laws by using their buying power to demand from publishers “illegal and secret” discounts and then in 2003 Barnes and Noble was the first bookseller to publish its own line after acquiring Sterling Publishing Co., the nation’s largest publisher of how-to books, competing side by side with Modern Library and Penguin Classics.

. . . .

The article, The Bookstore’s Last Stand, talks about how Macmillan, Penguin, and Random House all feel a “ sense of unease about the long-term fate of Barnes & Noble, the last major bookstore chain standing.” Of course these are the same publishing companies that are defendants in class action law suit brought by Hagens Bermans, the law firm representing eBook purchasers.

. . . .

Barnes and Noble and Book- A- Million and many independent booksellers refuse to stock books published by Amazon. While some view this as a smart move, Michael Souers an analyst at S&P’s Capital IQ, in this article from Time views the move as a way for B&N to firmly side with traditional publishers. “It’s kind of a symbolic gesture, one meant to ingratiate themselves with publishers,” Souers says. “And publishers are upset with Amazon for trying to cut them out of the process.”

Magellan Media Partners’ analyst Brian O’Leary feels that it’s foolish for Barnes & Noble to attempt to punish Amazon by dropping titles where Amazon has a special deal with the publisher. “In general” he said, “it’s a mistake for any author or publisher to create scarcity in the channel. It sends the wrong message to readers.”

Link to the rest at All About Romance

Book Country’s First Signed Author: ‘Never Considered Self-Publishing’

25 February 2012

From Digital Book World:

In November 2009, a novel was born about a gatekeeper and a penguin.

Two years later, the novel (initially conceived during National Novel Writing Month, a novel-writing fest in which participants are expected to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days) was uploaded to Penguin’s Book Country, an online community for genre-fiction writers to share and workshop their work.

Fast-forward a few weeks: Danielle Poiesz, an editorial coordinator at Book Country emailed Kerry Schafer, 48 and a mental health crisis response professional in Colville, Wash. and the author of said novel, asking her if she would send the complete manuscript to an interested editor at Penguin.

Susan Allison, vice president and editorial director of Berkley Books, a publishing group within Penguin, was that interested editor. Allison wanted to talk, somehow an agent, Deidre Knight, got involved, and a digital-age book deal was born.

The structure of the deal is fairly standard, according to Schafer: Advance, two books, first due out in February 2013. (Schafer would not disclose the size of the advance.)

What’s different about this book deal is how the book was discovered: Book Country.

. . . .

JG: You were discovered on Book Country. How do you think the site helped you?

KS: With Book Country, it all depends on what you want to get out of it. With Between, I hoped maybe – I didn’t really believe it – but I did hope that maybe it was good enough and somebody might have a look at it and maybe an agent or an editor might have an interest. At the same time, I continued to query it [with agents].

JG: So, now that you have a book deal from a big-time publisher, have you quit your job?

KS: No, not yet. Someday, there’s a dream, down the road, I would like to write full-time.

But now I’m a little bit more dedicated making sure I get my daily writing time in. it’s a job now. I have a contract; I have a commitment. My family understands.

My first round of revisions is due by the end of March. The second book rough draft is due the end of December.

The second book, we’re looking at calling it Wake World, will be a continuation of this book. We’re looking at a trilogy, even though there are two contracted books, I’m planning a trilogy.

JG: Before this deal came through, did you ever consider self-publishing?

KS: I hadn’t. I know I need a good editor. I like to have a team. I didn’t want to spend all the time that is required for formatting and self-marketing. I like having the professional team that I have now. It’s awesome.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World and thanks to Melissa for the tip.

Big Publishing’s Optimism About the Future is Tanking

24 February 2012

Here’s a classic snapshot of an industry that is realizing its world is changing, that the big players may not survive and the people they employ don’t possess the skills necessary to compete in the new world.

The interesting thing about disruptive change is that it’s happened to lots of different industries before and the overall pattern is relatively predictable (although details and timing are not) but none of the top people in an industry being disrupted ever seem to believe it can happen to them. Denial is death under those circumstances.

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