Monthly Archives: August 2013

Self-Publishing on a Shoestring

30 August 2013

From The Huffington Post blog:

When you first enter the world of indie-publishing, things can get confusing, fast. The learning curve is steep. And now that companies have realized how lucrative it can be, self-publishing and vanity imprints are springing up like wild mushrooms, working hard to convince people to spend between $1,000 and $25,000 with them, to publish their book.

. . . .

I’m a big believer in not spending more than you absolutely have to, to publish your book. Especially when you’re starting out. You never know if the book is going to take off or completely bomb. And the more you spend in up-front costs, the more sales you’ll need to turn a profit.

When I looked into indie-publishing, I kept an eye towards being frugal. I had no idea my book would become an Amazon bestseller, and be downloaded over 150,000 times. All I knew was that I needed to find a happy medium between going broke and putting out a professional product.

So, I published my first book for a grand total of… want to guess?

I’ll give you a hint: Not $25,000.

Not $1,000.

Not even $500.

I published Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead for a grand total of $125. Yes, my hopeful indie author, it is possible to publish a book for next to nothing.

. . . .

I quickly realized that if I took it the traditional route, I would be looking at years of submitting and submitting and hoping before I ever saw a penny. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fry up hopes and dreams and serve them to my kid for dinner. I tried, but they kept floating off the plate. Hopes and dreams are the original empty calorie meal. All fluff, no substance.

. . . .

One of the moms at my daughter’s preschool was an illustrator who worked for traditional publishing houses. Unfortunately, she was way too expensive. And when I tried to do my own cover, it looked amateurish. So I started researching and found a whole world of artists and cover designers who specialized in creating low-cost covers for indie authors.

Then I downloaded free formatting and marketing guides from Smashwords and learned how to format and market e-books, on my own.

. . . .

I hired a low-cost cover designer and downloaded stock art for her to use. It cost me $75 for stock art and $25 for the cover designer.

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post

U.S. judge wants external monitor for Apple in e-books case

30 August 2013

From Reuters:

A U.S. judge weighing remedies to assure that Apple Inc does not fix prices again in the e-books market said on Tuesday that she plans to require it to hire an external monitor, something the company considers unnecessary.

But U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan suggested a final injunction would be narrower than what the U.S. Department of Justice has been seeking, and would not restrict Apple’s agreements with suppliers of other types of content such as movies, music and TV shows.

. . . .

She said a monitor would be necessary, after Apple had failed to show it learned its lesson from its “blatant” violations of antitrust law.

The monitor, she said, would likely be installed to review Apple’s internal antitrust compliance program and procedures and recommend changes, and also required annual antitrust training for employees in Apple’s e-books and content businesses.

Apple had vigorously contested hiring of a monitor, saying in court papers it would be “extremely costly and burdensome.”

The Justice Department had earlier also sought to force Apple to hire an internal antitrust compliance officer, but has since backed off that demand.

Link to the rest at Reuters

Formatting Error Causes George R.R. Martin’s Name To Randomly Appear In “A Feast For Crows”

30 August 2013

From The Digital Reader:

Here’s a typo you don’t see very often any more.

Is anyone reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series? I know that most of us are probably watching the TV series based on it, but if you’re reading the books then I want you to keep an eye out in the 4th ebook.

Apparently there’s a formatting error in one version of A Feast For Crows which seems to be randomly inserting the author’s name in the text:


. . . .


. . . .

It looks to me like this is either an example of a poor conversion from a PDF or it is the result of a bad scan job. The only times I have seen the author’s name and the book title inserted like this was when someone wasn’t careful when working from either a PDF copy or a scanned copy of a book.

You won’t find this all too often in an ebook produced from scratch, but if you scan the page of a paper book you will sometimes get a mass of text that includes the author/title header at the top of the page. And sometimes when an ebook formatter will be handed a PDF to work from that PDF has the same header as in the print edition.

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

Kindle Direct Publishing Now Available for Mexican Authors and Publishers

30 August 2013

From the Amazon Media Room: today announced that independent authors and publishers are now able to make their books available in the newly launched Mexico Kindle Store using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) ( Mexican independent authors and publishers can utilize the Spanish-language KDP website to make their books available to customers in Mexico, and more than 175 countries worldwide. They can also price their books and receive payments in Mexican Pesos all while retaining control of their content and copyrights.

. . . .

Today Amazon also launched the Mexico Kindle Store (, offering Mexican customers the largest selection of the most popular eBooks, the most Spanish-language best sellers, over 1,500 free books in Spanish and a broad selection of titles from leading Mexican authors and publishers. In total, the Kindle Store offers over 2 million titles, hundreds of thousands of which are exclusive, and more than 70,000 in Spanish, including titles from authors such as Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende and Paulo Coelho, among other Mexican and internationally known authors.

Link to the rest at Amazon Media Room

The Role of Literary Criticism and Amazon’s Wisdom of the Crowd

29 August 2013

Thanks to Eric for the tip..

Way down deep

29 August 2013

Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.

Jim Davis, creator of “Garfield”

Creating Powerful Scenes

29 August 2013

From NYT bestselling author and former writing professor, Dave Farland:

I’m a bit preoccupied with the question of “What creates a great scene?”

You’ve probably had movies and books that come alive for you, where the story seems to leap off the page and become more of a part of you than the life that you live. So there are probably dozens or even hundreds of scenes from stories that have become a part of your psychic makeup, and in a way, these are very important: these story fragments create experiences that are shared often by millions of people, and so they are ties that help bind us to a much larger world.

. . . .

So we know that these moments from a story can be important, but what makes for a vivid, memorable, captivating, and glorious scene? You can probably give examples of a dozen or so right off the tip of your tongue, but have you ever taken time to analyze them, to figure out what works and how to create your own?

As an author, you need to know how to do that. Every story is composed of parts. I’ve talked about some of the larger building blocks of a story before—the inciting incidents, the try/fail cycles, the climaxes, reversals, and the denouement.

But in order to create a story, you need to dissect it into smaller parts—individual scenes. Your inciting incident for example might have as few as one scene or as many as twenty—little snippets where your character discovers that he has a problem and that the problem is so massive that it is life-altering.

As an author, it is your job to imbue those scenes with enough information, energy, passion and interest so that they come alive in the mind of your reader.

Some new authors think that it is just enough to “introduce their characters” when they begin writing a story, and because they strive for too little, usually their stories will feel fake, flimsy, and boring. They haven’t learned to recognize the components of a good scene, to see how it might fit within the overall scheme of a tale, and then build a scene from those components.

. . . .

But here is what I’d like to start with today: if you’ve written a scene that just “doesn’t work,” recognize that you can make it better. Perhaps your character isn’t properly motivated to do what you have him doing. If so, you have to consider: is there anything that I like in this scene at all—the setting description, a snippet of dialog, or an intriguing conflict? If not, definitely throw it out, every piece. It won’t fit in your story anywhere. But if there is something that strikes you as grand, beautiful, and useful in that scene—it might be nothing more than the description of a chair—then consider saving it away in a file for later use.

Link to the rest at David Farland

Ebooks Breathe New Life Into Novellas

29 August 2013

From Forbes blogs:

Many of the most loved, famous and influential books in modern history have been novellas. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Stephen King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde… the list goes on. These are classics and there can’t be many who would argue that their brevity diminishes their quality.

But in recent years, the popularity of the novella has waned, with publishers shying away from these mid-length works.

. . . .

“Readers aren’t as aware of page count in the electronic realm as they are in a paper book,” he says. “There just isn’t that strong visual element to the length of the story, and where you might be within it at any particular point. Electronic books are a fluid medium: they don’t seem as fixed in space as paper books. Also, the way the it is written might be a factor: I really tried to pack each page with ideas and images and incidents. I wanted the form and the feel of the book to match the main character’s body as the overloaded signals took possession of her skin. I had the idea that the story should overflow the pages, in some way, so that it didn’t matter how long the book was in reality: the story was the thing.”

. . . .

“It’s just how it came out,” says Marion. “It’s not the epic saga that the actual sequel is going to be; it’s a smaller, more intimate story that further develops these characters and their world, while also setting the stage for what’s coming in the sequel. Stretching it into a standard-length novel would only dilute it.

“Every story has an ideal natural length. Some stories meant to be brief, enigmatic vignettes; some require more of an arc but are still streamlined enough to fit in a single-sitting, cinematic timeframe; others require hundreds of pages to fully realise their ideas. I think trying to force a story into a length it wasn’t born for leads to books that feel either underdeveloped or overstuffed.”

Link to the rest at Forbes and thanks to Abel for the tip.

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