Monthly Archives: December 2012

It’s a plane!

30 December 2012

A test to see if WordPress is still eating videos.

UPDATE: Why yes, it is.

YouTube videos work just fine, but videos from other sources sometimes have problems.

When I’m composing the post, I drop the video embed code in, preview the post, which looks fine, schedule the post for later publication and preview it again. It looks great.

Then, somewhere between that time and the publishing of the post, the embed code disappears.

Here’s a second try with the post immediately published instead of scheduled for publication.


Smashwords preparing to launch epub option

30 December 2012

From Smashwords:

Smashwords Direct alpha testing underway.  We’re preparing to launch Smashwords Direct, our direct .epub upload option.  One year ago in my 2011 annual year-in-review over at the Smashwords Blog, we made a commitment to launch SWD in the second half of 2012.  We’re working to fulfill that commitment.  We’re nearing completion of a beta version of SWD.  The first iteration will enable those of you with professionally designed .epub files to replace your current Smashwords-generated .epub with another .epub.  It’ll also allow authors to upload .epub files instead of Word .doc files.

Link to the rest at Smashwords and thanks to Mary for the tip.

Record book sales over Christmas signal fightback against digital world

29 December 2012

From The Telegraph:

The sale of print books over Christmas was the strongest in over three years, signalling a fightback against digital ‘ebooks’.

. . . .

Celebrity titles were particularly popular, helping sales of physical books break through the £75m mark, the strongest weekly performance since Christmas 2009.

The week’s sales were 20 per cent up on the previous one, and £1.4m higher than the year before.

Authors and publishers have hailed the boost in sales as proof there is still room in the crowded market, where the growing popularity of digital ereaders like the Kindle and tablet computers like the iPad have eaten into book sales.

It comes after digital fiction sales almost trippled during the first half of 2012 while physical books fell away. Similarly children’s books and non-fiction digital titles enjoyed a massive increase in sales.

Link to the rest at The Telegraph and thanks to J.J. for the tip.

We write

29 December 2012

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

Anaïs Nin

The Joy of Books

29 December 2012

A reprise of a favorite.


J. R. R. Tolkien to Christopher Tolkien – 28 December 1944

29 December 2012

From The American Reader:

J. R. R. Tolkien to his son Christopher, discussing new chapters of his Lord of the Rings trilogy; a beautiful, disquieting Christmas experience; and the hatred of democracy among the philosophers and oligarchs in ancient Greece. At the time (1944), Christopher—his youngest son—was away from home, serving in the Royal Air Force. 

. . . .

I am glad the third lot of Ring arrived to date, and that you like it—although it seems to have added to yr. homesickness. It just shows the difference between life and literature: for anyone who found himself actually on the stairs of Kirith Ungol would wish to exchange it for almost any other place in the world, save Mordor itself. But if lit. teaches us anything at all, it is this: that we have in us an eternal element, free from care and fear, which can survey the things that in ‘life’ we call evil with serenity (that is not without appreciating their quality, but without any disturbance of our spiritual equilibrium). Not in the same way, but in some such way, we shall all doubtless survey our own story when we know it (and a great deal more of the Whole Story). I am afraid the next two chapters won’t come for some time (about middle of Jan) which is a pity, as not only are they (I think) v. moving and exciting, but Sam has some interesting comments on the rel. of stories and actual ‘adventures’. But I count it a triumph that these two chapters, which I did not think as good as the rest of Book IV, could distract you from the noise of the Air Crew Room!….

The weather has for me been one of the chief events of Christmas. It froze hard with a heavy fog, and so we have had displays of Hoarfrost such as I only remember once in Oxford before (in the other house I think) and only twice before in my life. One of the most lovely events of Northern Nature. We woke (late) on St Stephen’s Day to find all our windows opaque, painted over with frost-patterns, and outside a dim silent misty world, all white, but with a light jewelry of rime; every cobweb a little lace net, even the old fowls’ tent a diamond-patterned pavilion. I spent the day (after chores, that is from about 11.30, as I got up late) out of doors, well wrapped up in old rags, hewing old brambles and making a fire the smoke of which rose in a still unmoving column straight up into the fog-roof….. The rime was yesterday even thicker and more fantastic. When a gleam of sun (about 11) got through it was branching spray against a golden light and, high overhead, a pale translucent blue. It did not melt. About 11 p.m. the fog cleared and a high round moon lit the whole scene with a deadly white light: a vision of some other world or time. It was so still that I stood in the garden hatless and uncloaked without a shiver, though there must have been many degrees of frost…..

Link to the rest at The American Reader

Libraries Starting to Emerge as Bookstores

29 December 2012

From Good EReader:

With bookstores gradually on the way out in the digital age, libraries are increasingly finding themselves in a new role, that of bookstores themselves. More and more libraries are changing their renovations plans to limit adding more shelf space to add more titles to their already existing collection but are also earmarking a separate section that will be dedicated to shave off some of their collection to those eager to buy them at a discounted price, the proceeds of which will be used for other developmental activities. In fact, libraries are into a sort of makeover phase and are re-inventing themselves as stores with the members being seen as customers.

As Jason Kuhl, the executive director of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library puts it, “A library has limited shelf space, so you almost have to think of it as a store, and stock it with the things that people want.”

. . . .

Libraries often have to stock multiple copies of best sellers when they are in demand to be able to satisfy more number of patrons though the multiple copies become redundant once they go out of favor in a year or two. These along with the usual practice of libraries to ‘weed’ out some of their stocks that they believe they can do without also earns them resources that has become vital in the age of depressed economic situation.

Link to the rest at Good EReader

Why book buying stats might stifle the next great author

28 December 2012

From The Globe and Mail:

Given the pressure to reduce costs, something had to give in the formerly genteel world of book publishing, and it’s not the publishers. Rationalizing with mergers, capitalizing on global fads and making up in digital sales some of what they have lost in print, the big houses are stubbornly resisting their oft-foretold extinction.

. . . .

The true dinosaurs of the new age are authors. Once happily enclosed in the “stables” of publishers willing to nurture and develop their talent, even if they never wrote a major bestseller, droves of so-called “mid-list” authors now find themselves roaming among the ever-present throng of wannabes flogging unpublished work in an indifferent market. And that throng is most likely to produce tomorrow’s bestsellers, even if they begin life as obscure, self-published digital texts that, onloy after they find a following, are taken up and heavily marketed to mainstream prominence by major publishing houses.

Many mid-list authors have fallen victim to increasingly sophisticated, widely available sales data, according to agents and publishers. Publishers can now assess every author’s lifelong sales thanks to such services as Nielsen Bookscan in the United States and BookNet Canada.

And once reduced to pure numbers, those track records determine the fate of proven writers looking for cash advances to begin their next books. “Everybody knows the numbers now,” Toronto literary agent Denise Bukowski said in an interview. “You can’t lie about the numbers.” Retailers don’t order books from authors whose previous work sold indifferently, she added, so publishers respond by cutting them loose.

. . . .

“The professional authors are the ones who lose out,” Lorimer said. “They’re professionals, they’ve established themselves, but they’re not top-tier so they’re not going to have a runaway bestseller. They are going to find it very difficult.”

. . . .

Even the decline of advances is positive, said Good, former head of Penguin Canada. “It means that everybody’s basing what they pay on history and reality rather than hype and stars in your eyes,” she said.

Link to the rest at The Globe and Mail and thanks to Phil for the tip.

There is no greater agony

28 December 2012

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

4 Steps to Creating Enjoyable Reader Experience on Your Fiction Author Website

28 December 2012

From Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors:

About a year ago I decided that I wanted to attract more readers to my website, so I used my mad researching skills on the internet to learn more. What I learned is that there are thousands of articles on the subject and very few that have any useful information or helpful advice.

There was write about what you are passionate about, but don’t write about writing. Readers don’t read blogs. Fans come to websites looking for more books and blog posts are not our books so they aren’t interested. Pick a niche or topic to blog about, however be aware that readers of our niche blogs might not be interested in our fiction or that our fans might still be uninterested in reading our blog.

. . . .

But this post isn’t about blogging so much as creating a friendly and enjoyable reader experience for your fiction author website.

. . . .

Creating a website for fans to enjoy and prolonging the readers experience means that you’ll probably have to throw out all the misinformation you’ve learned over your career and start from scratch. Before you start throwing web pages together I want you to do this exercise.

On a piece of paper create three columns and label them keywordstopics, and readers. Now I’m going to ask you three questions and I want you to list anything that comes to mind. Don’t skip ahead. These are a very important questions that will aid in creating your website.

Column #1: What keywords would you use to describe you and your writing?

Column #2: What topics are you passionate (interested in) about? 

Column #3: Who are your perfect readers?

. . . .

What is the goal of your website? Is it to draw readers to you? Is it to share your stories? Is it to sell books? Once you know your goals, brainstorm some things you can do to accomplish this goal. You can using the list of topics you are passionate about and keywords to enhance your goals. The goal is to draw readers to your website and you need to  Brainstorm some ways you can draw your potential visitors to your website and reach your goals.

Link to the rest at Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

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