Monthly Archives: February 2013

USA Today Bestseller – 6 Years After Publication

26 February 2013

From agent Kristin Nelson on Pub Rants:

Last week my author Jana DeLeon, who has been digitally self-publishing her backlist titles, hit the USA Today Bestseller list at #98 for the very first time and for the very first novel she ever published: Rumble on the Bayou (originally published in 2007).

. . . .

Over two years ago, Jana and 9 other digitally self-publishing authors formed a marketing co-op where they pool ideas, platforms, and resources. Together this group creates aggressive strategies and they’ve seen remarkable results for every member of the co-op.

It gives a whole new meaning to “it takes a village.” I imagine most authors who are digitally publishing tend to go it alone. I’m seeing the real efficacy of marketing in numbers. And I also don’t think grabbing any old person will do. Each member of the group needs to be equally invested and savvy about what it takes to market digital titles.

On a side note, RUMBLE was originally published by the now defunct Dorchester back in the day. I had quite the battle to arm wrestle the rights back when they stopped paying royalties three years  ago.

Link to the rest at Pub Rants and thanks to Eric for the tip.

Can Barnes and Noble Be Saved?

26 February 2013

From Megan McArdle at The Daily Beast:

Leonard Riggio, the founder of Barnes and Noble, wants to buy his company back.  Or at least the retail parts.  Matt Yglesias notes that this seems to suggest that the Nook is doomed; it may be a good product, but it can’t compete in a space crowded by Amazon, Google, and Apple.  I think he’s right.

But I’m not sure the retail stores are a much better business.  When I looked at the Big Box market last fall, I emerged deeply skeptical that anything can be done to save that particular business model.  Not with the floor space that these stores have.  Stores like Best Buy and Barnes and Noble used to be the leaders in both price and selection (which is why they put so many smaller stores out of business.)  Now that leader is Amazon.   And I don’t see any way for either company to get that title back.

. . . .

If I were Mr. Riggio, I’d go back and try to reconceptualize the bookstore from scratch, starting small and expanding as needed, rather than trying to salvage the brilliant idea of three decades ago.

Link to the rest at The Daily Beast

Giving Viewers What They Want

26 February 2013

From The New York Times:

In the television business, there is no such thing as a sure thing. You can have a gold-plated director, a bankable star and a popular concept and still, it’s just a roll of the dice.

Or is it?

In any business, the ability to see into the future is the killer app, and Netflix may be getting close with “House of Cards.” The series, directed by David Fincher, starring Kevin Spacey and based on a popular British series, is already the most streamed piece of content in the United States and 40 other countries, according to Netflix. The spooky part about that? Executives at the company knew it would be a hit before anyone shouted “action.”

Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.

Big bets are now being informed by Big Data, and no one knows more about audiences than Netflix. A third of the downloads on the Internet during peak periods on any given day are devoted to streamed movies from the service.

. . . .

Film and television producers have always used data, holding previews for focus groups and logging the results, but as a technology company that distributes and now produces content, Netflix has mind-boggling access to consumer sentiment in real time.

How much data does it have at its fingertips? According to GigaOm, Netflix looks at 30 million “plays” a day, including when you pause, rewind and fast forward, four million ratings by Netflix subscribers, three million searches as well as the time of day when shows are watched and on what devices.

Jonathan Friedland, the company’s chief communications officer, said, “Because we have a direct relationship with consumers, we know what people like to watch and that helps us understand how big the interest is going to be for a given show. It gave us some confidence that we could find an audience for a show like ‘House of Cards.’ ”

. . . .

 A cable executive who has talked to Amazon says that its Prime service, a nascent effort to get into original content, will also lean hard on data-driven approaches to determine its programming. The executive, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private, said it would change the way that business operates sooner than people thought.

“I think it is a little hysterical to say that Big Data will win the day now and forever, but it is clear that having a very molecular understanding of user data is going to have a big impact on how things happen in television,” he said.

. . . .

 “Netflix and Amazon know when you stop and start a program, whether you wanted the whole thing, all of that,” said Rick Smolan, whose most recent book was “The Human Face of Big Data.” “Programmers have been wandering out and shooting a shotgun into the night sky and hoping they hit something, and I end up paying $150 for channels full of nothing I want to watch. These guys know what they are aiming at.”

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Brendan for the tip.

Obviously, Amazon uses Big Data for much more than its video service.



Ten Author Collaborations We’d Like to See

26 February 2013

From Paperback Writer:

Bill Clinton & Dr. Phil: Not on a revised edition of Family First, obviously, but I bet they could write up a slamming self-help for men with toxic narcissism.

Janet Evanovich & Jane Austen: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Stephanie Plum needs to make up her damn mind and pick either Morelli or Ranger. Meanwhile, Lulu runs off with Mr. Wickham.

. . . .

J.K. Rowling & Harper Lee: Three words: Scout at Hogwarts.

Link to the rest at Paperback Writer and thanks to Margaret for the tip.


25 February 2013

PG loves the Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Day.

xoloitzcuintli – The Mexican hairless dog

. . . .

2012   Wall St. Jrnl. 28–29 Jan. c4/1   The Xoloitzcuintli is the national dog of Mexico… You can call them ‘Xolos’.

Link to the rest at OED

If anyone can explain how it it pronounced, that would be cool.

Ask her

25 February 2013
Comments Off on Ask her

Ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row.

J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Professional Book Design Templates

25 February 2013

Veteran book designer Joel Friedlander, whose posts have been regularly featured here, has released a series of professionally-designed interior book templates. The templates are designed to work with Microsoft Word and look (to PG’s eye), much better than those PG has developed for Mrs. PG’s books from CreateSpace’s interior templates.

Each template set includes both POD and ebook versions. Print templates are available now with ebook templates appearing in a few days.

Here’s a link to Joel’s Templates and a link to a Q and A about the templates.

Some indie authors worry that their books don’t look as good as those from major publishers. Joel may have an answer to that concern.

Self-publishing: a revolution for writers, not readers

25 February 2013

From The Guardian:

When people talk about self-publishing, it’s common to hear words such as “revolution” and “democratising”. Normally, I’d be wary about throwing around such momentous terms, but here I think they’re almost warranted. Book industry insiders forget that publishing can seem like a closed shop to those without connections or confidence. Now, a Welsh schoolgirl can sign up to Wattpad and suddenly have millions of fans around the world, closely followed by a three-book deal with Random House.

But as any self-published author will tell you, usually at great length, success stories, like Beth Reekles’s The Kissing Booth, are rare. To get noticed, you either need to be very lucky or spend every waking hour manically self‑promoting.

. . . .

I find it very unlikely that someone looking for their next read would think: I want something by a self-published author. It would be like logging on to iTunes to buy some music and selecting, instead of rock/pop, a category called “songs recorded in people’s bedrooms”.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

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