Monthly Archives: February 2017

According to most studies

27 February 2017

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy.

Jerry Seinfeld

The Writer as Public Figure vs. the Writer Who Actually Writes

27 February 2017

From LitHub:

I’m supposed to be writing a speech about my new novel, The White City. It’s a March morning, no sun. I’m standing by my secretary desk. I’ve shut the doors to the rest of the apartment and have been on the verge of sitting down to begin, but each time I tried someone called for me: my husband, my son, or one of my daughters. I can still hear them out in the hall.

It’s impossible to speak to someone about a book one has written. I’m supposed to be writing, but this is the only sentence inside me. There are mere days before the book comes out. A number of so-called “author appearances” have been scheduled at bookstores and libraries around the country. I have to figure out what to say—draft a talk about this novel that I can give not once but repeatedly. It’s paralyzing. I can barely bring myself to make even this tiny movement: my fingers tapping the keys as I write this text.

The kids are making noise in the hall again; the front door slams behind them. Silence. I breathe through my nose and think of the meditation techniques I should be practicing. I think about what Virginia Woolf said in her speech before the National Society for Women’s Service in London in January 1931: that all the great women novelists in England in the 1800s did not have children. Those words strike me occasionally.

. . . .

When a book has just been published, the author is asked many questions. It’s usually difficult to respond, and there might not be any answers. One of the most common questions—and yet it always blindsides me—is “Why do you write?” When I was young I spent a lot of time trying to answer that question, but however I tried I couldn’t come up with an answer that I knew to be true. It made me feel lousy, like someone who’d never be a writer because I didn’t even know why I wanted to be one.

. . . .

An author appearance is a meeting between the author and the readers who share time and a space and in this way it differs from our usual meeting, the one in which the reader sits alone with the text and completes it by reading. I like our in-person meeting best when it reminds me of the latter. But this latter meeting can occur when we’re in the same room, too, for instance during a Q&A in an auditorium when a member of the audience shares his reading of the novel in a way that allows us to glimpse our usual space of encounter: the true space of reading. I like when this happens; experiencing the closeness between strangers that arises when we recall the fellowship to which we are accustomed, but can’t achieve as long as we are in the same room speaking to each other.

Link to the rest at LitHub

Why I’m Turning Trad-Pub Deals Down

27 February 2017

From author Elizabeth Spann Craig:

I’ve been asked by writers and others if I’d ever query traditional publishers again.

As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten queried by traditional publishers a couple of times in the past year.  I’m not really sure why, since there now seem to be many cozy writers out there. I’ve politely rejected them.

It’s not that I had a bad trad-pub experience. It’s just that I’ve had a better self-pub experience.

Reasons I’ve decided to stick with self-publishing:

I make more money writing independently of a publisher.  This is by far the top reason. I even made more self-publishing a few books than I did with more traditionally published books on the shelves.

. . . .

I can make changes to my online profiles at the retailers and distributors I deal directly with.  I had to deal with a lot of red tape to even get my photo up on Penguin Random House’s site last week. I was stunned to find it wasn’t up there. After all, I’ve written for the publisher since 2010 and my photo was available to them for the backs of the books.

. . . .

I can run promotions on books with lagging sales. I can make a book free. I can give a book away to gain newsletter subscribers (and then inform them of new releases for later sales gains). I can run quick weekend sales to make my books more visible on retail sites.

. . . .

I don’t feel the need to prove anything. Originally, it did feel good to be validated by a gatekeeper…I was a newer writer and I needed that. Now, I prefer reader validation. It’s ultimately more valuable.

Link to the rest at Elizabeth Spann Craig and thanks to Deb for the tip.

Here’s a link to Elizabeth Spann Craig’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Amazon gives customers a peek at its first Mass. bookstore

27 February 2017

From The Boston Globe:

Can Amazon build a better bookstore?

The online retailer — which began as a Web-only seller of books, before branching out into computers, clothes, and other goods — held a preview of its first brick-and-mortar store in Massachusetts on Saturday at the Legacy Place mall.

The Dedham store, with about 5,800 square feet, was packed Saturday afternoon, with a turnout that may have been helped by unseasonably warm weather. The store will officially open Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

The new store looks much like a traditional bookstore. You’ll find sections for cookbooks, travel guides, and fiction. But other sections are based on Amazon’s years of accumulating data on which titles people look at and buy through its website, from its Goodreads ebook platform, and user reviews, said Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books.

“If you’re in a smaller store, you want every book to be a great book,” Cast said.

. . . .

The store is the retailer’s first on the East Coast, and joins locations in Amazon’s home base of Seattle and in San Diego. Another local store is being planned for Lynnfield’s MarketStreet mall later this year, while locations are being considered in other US cities.

It’s not surprising that Amazon is looking to add more brick-and-mortar stores, said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. He said retailers are facing a changing market and customers want the option of buying products from either a website or a physical store.

He compared Amazon’s move to the business model of L.L. Bean, which once relied on mail-order sales and a single store in Maine, before opening a retail chain and selling its products online.

“You have to give Amazon credit. They have had a great business model and they are evolving to further serve the customer,” said Hurst.

Link to the rest at The Boston Globe

Amazon Should Stop Selling Holocaust Denial Books

27 February 2017

From The Jerusalem Post:

Yad Vashem has called on Amazon to remove Holocaust denial books from its online store, accusing the Internet retail giant of facilitating the spread of hate speech.

The appeal came in the form of a letter penned by Yad Vashem’s director of the libraries, Dr. Robert Rozett, to the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos.

. . . .

“It has been clear for many years now that Holocaust denial literature is freely available for purchase over Amazon. Many of the items appear with glowing readers’ reviews and recommendations for further reading in the same vein,” Rozett wrote, attaching to his message several examples of rave reviews of books titled True History of the Holocaust. Did six million really die? and The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry.

Mentioning that Yad Vashem had – in vain – broached the issue with Amazon soon after the latter’s founding, Rozett told The Jerusalem Post that in light of an unfortunate change in climate with more visible antisemitism, “maybe the time is a little more ripe for them to take up the idea that they need to be more careful in what they sell.”

Link to the rest at The Jerusalem Post and thanks to Terrence for the tip.

Down the Research Rabbit Hole

26 February 2017

From author Robin Storey:

Most novels require some sort of research. If you’re writing a novel set in a different historical period, obviously you need to do a lot of research. But regardless of what genre of novel you’re writing, things come up that you need to investigate (with perhaps the exception of fantasy, because you can make everything up).

. . . .

For example, your protagonist may be making a soufflé, so you need to find out how to make one so it sounds authentic, or you’ve decided that one of your characters will be a snake milker, and as you know very little about how to milk snakes (yes, there is such a profession) you google ‘snake milking.’

From there, you find an interesting article on the history of snake milking and the story of Sam the Snake Milker who’s been bitten thousands of times while milking snakes and has the scars to prove it. This then leads to an article about which drugs are made from snake venom, which then directs you to a story about a farmer who was rushed to hospital by helicopter after being bitten by a snake, and was saved in the nick of time by an injection of anti-venom.

All very fascinating and will no doubt make you a hit at your next dinner party, but you probably only need a quarter of that information to write your character convincingly. We writers call it going down the research rabbit-hole.

Link to the rest at Robin Storey

Here’s a link to Robin Storey’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

In fiction

26 February 2017

In fiction, when you paint yourself into a corner, you can write a pair of suction cups onto the bottoms of your shoes and walk up the wall and out the skylight and see the sun breaking through the clouds. In nonfiction, you don’t have that luxury.

Tom Robbins

Bite Me on the Barcode: More on Pricing and POD for the Aussie Author

26 February 2017

From Annette Hamilton’s Writing Zone:

I published my children’s book The Priceless Princess with Kindle and Createspace just a couple of months ago. I had already purchased my own ISBNs which I used correctly, one on each version. Book came out, very cute, set a low price for the print version thinking of my Australian readers who would have to pay the US dollar price. Dumb me only then realised that Amazon in Australia does not sell any print versions. Australian readers would have to go to the US site, purchase in US$ and then pay a fortune to have the book posted to Australia. Or buy copies from my website. So I order a bunch of copies from Createspace and lo! I am paying  dollars per copy just to have them posted to me in Australia by the only postage option available through Createspace.

Don’t want to do that again, so I would have to do what everybody recommended and get the print version onto Ingram Spark, who do print in Australia. I download their nifty Cover Generator and it asks do I want to set a price in the barcode. What? So I go back to my Createspace version and notice for the first time that there is a code adjacent to the ISBN, and it is Code 90000. For a minute or three I am diverted by the idea that this could be a great title for a thriller, although Code 9000 would be better. But back to matters at hand! This code turns out to mean that no price has been set. Should I set a price? What price should it be – the same as the Createspace one on the Amazon site? But that is in US$ and obviously for people who are in the US.  I need these books asap, so to save time I decide to use the Amazon price in the barcode so I send the  Cover Generator to my illustrator who is putting the files together. But I am uneasy about it, and go into research mode. Should I have put the price in the barcode, or not?

Of course there is no clear answer. I email Ingram Spark, they email back almost immediately (great service by the way) to recommend that no price be put in the barcode because if you ever change your price then you have to reprint the cover and upload the new one, decommissioning the previous one. But other sources say bookshops won’t stock books that don’t have prices in the barcode. Codes begin with a number indicating where the book is published and priced. 5 is for the US. 3 is for Australia. If for some reason a store outside Australia wants to stock your book it won’t be able to sell it if the code starts with 3 because its stock system won’t be able to read it.

Some say it is another covert way to tell whether or not a book comes from a “real” publisher as against one of those pretend publishers who are really just some idiot typing something up in Word and using wicked Amazon to hide behind, people like me.

Link to the rest at Annette Hamilton’s Writing Zone

Here’s a link to Annette Hamilton’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

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