Do-it-yourself publishing: New success story for authors

23 November 2015

From The Times of India:

Blogger Rasana At reya’s first novel Tell ‘A Thousand Lies’ was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2012. The response to Atreya’s foray into published writing was tremendous. She lacked up sales in India and the UK, drew a swathe of positive reviews on platforms like Goodreads and Atreya is now out with her second book.

Then there’s Sri Vishwa nath, who’s authored nine books, with readers in the US UK and India, and Viji Vardarajan who has written a string of cookbooks on South Indian cuisine. The three authors share at least one thing n common: their books have all been self-published, in the e-book format on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing KDP) platform. It’s among several avenues available today for authors who want to self-publish their books, and among the most popular.

Widely prevalent in the US and Europe, self-publishing has steadily begun making inroads in India. Bestselling authors like Amish Tripathi had opted to selfpublish. After over a dozen publishing houses rejected ‘The Immortals of Meluha’, Tripathi decided to take on the task himself.

The book was such a hit online that publishers reached out to Tripathi soon after, resulting in a hefty contract with Westland India for his Shiva trilogy .

. . . .

What’s lent a further boost to the trend is the rising popularity of e-book platforms. A fifth of the top 100 books on Amazon on an average are the ones published using KDP, say representatives. The fact that publishing takes place within minutes, putting the book on Kindle stores worldwide within 48 hours, and the high royalties have had several first-time authors sign up for the platform.

Link to the rest at The Times of India

Click to Tweet/Email/Share This Post

UK #Workinpublishing week suggests trad publishing has a talent problem?

22 November 2015

From TeleRead:

The UK Publishers Association has just announced #Workinpublishing, a campaign “to raise awareness and change perceptions about publishing as a career option for 16+ students, especially those from under-represented backgrounds.” Coming so soon after the announcement of the London Book Fair/Society of Young Publishers Trailblazer Awards, for younger publishing professionals, this does make you wonder whether publishing is having trouble attracting and keeping the UK’s best and brightest graduates.

Certainly, the PA’s announcement suggests that UK publishing is finding it hard to pull in the diverse skill sets it needs to fully embrace digital publishing and e-books. “Publishing needs to be seen as a career option for lawyers and accountants, for digital coders and science graduates,” it says. Indeed, one key component in the #Workinpublishing initiative is an invitation to try self-publishing. “At the Birmingham Skills Show visitors will be encouraged to ‘Have a Go at Publishing’, from creating their own interactive ebook with CircularFLO, learning how to write a book blurb or design a best-selling book,” the announcement explains.

The campaign is also launching #Workpublishingweek from November 23rd, “which will see tips, blogs, videos etc posted about jobs and opportunities in publishing along with live twitter chats.” The PA evidently wants to involve and mobilize the entire industry, and is “encouraging the publishing workforce to support #workinpublishing week by getting involved and sharing their invaluable industry insight.”

. . . .

Then again, the PA may be acting to deal with a problem it isn’t quite so ready to foreground. We’ve seen several statements out of the UK lately about Big Five publishers’ failure to sign up to the UK Living Wage. Would young graduates considering a career in publishing be attracted by Accent Press’s statements in The Bookseller and on Facebook that “publishing is a notoriously badly paid industry” and has a “reputation for being poorly paid and exploitative”?

Link to the rest at TeleRead

PG doesn’t think that trying out self-publishing is likely to lead to a greater interest in working for legacy publishing unless you’re a total bust at self-publishing.

Inside Chinguetti, the Saharan desert city of libraries

22 November 2015

From Metro:

Ancient Egyptians believed the Sahara to be the Land of the Dead, and the sunset side of the desert was where one’s soul would find its final dwelling for the afterlife.

It is no coincidence that the Valley of the Kings and the Old Kingdom Pyramids are on the western side of the Nile.

. . . .

They were not completely wrong, those ancient Egyptians, as the endless, sun-roasted dunes and deceptive sands and mountains, born out of our planet’s slow digestive processes, are almost as hostile to any form of life as you might imagine Mercury to be.

. . . .

Scorched by the sun, whipped by the wind, and strangled by the sand, some of those dry towns made of rough stone would nevertheless become centres of learning, attracting those who sought knowledge from the Maghreb and beyond.

The legendary Ibn Battuta travelled here once, before setting off for China.

That lasted for centuries, but not forever.

The Sahara has now once again returned to being almost empty and quiet.

. . . .

Although there are no more grand caravans, and the countries in the region no longer excel in the realms of knowledge, tiny little gems of that era still remain, the subtle traces of what used to be, and which will never return.

One of those traces is the desert town of Chinguetti in Mauritania, protected by jagged mountains on one side and unbounded, pale gold plateaux on the other, inconspicuous amidst the cruel trickery of deceiving mirages and illusions on the horizon.

. . . .

Follow through a labyrinth of sandy old streets, and you might find a tiny wooden door, a discreet opening in a stone wall.


It seemed like he’d always been there, and always would be, until the end of time.

He carefully showed us ancient, leather-bound volumes, elegant books, booklets, and vellums. Faint smell of old paper or parchments was in the air when his gloved hands showed us notes jotted in red ink on the sides of one of the books, and reports of rich caravans coming into town, with tens of thousands of camels every day.

Centuries ago, people from all over the Islamic world travelled to this and other Chinguetti libraries to learn – and learn for free at that, because owning a library was a symbol of high status and not a source of income.


As the librarian looked at us smiling, I noticed this peculiar dignity to him, and I immediately liked him. I think he liked us too, and was proud and happy to share his treasure with us.

There was something sad and nostalgic about him as well, as if he didn’t know that no one was coming to his library, as if he hadn’t quite yet realised or hadn’t been told that the world had moved on, and there was no going back.

Link to the rest at Metro and thanks to Julia for the tip.

Alan Moore Advises New Writers to Self-Publish Because Big Publishers Suck

20 November 2015

From i09:

At an anti-library closure protest, local magician and comics legend Alan Moore had some surprising words for those who hope to break into the wide world of published writing.

With his wild-man Merlin’s beard and distinct Northampton tones, Moore’s speaking style is oddly comforting as he holds forth. “If you write every day, you are a writer,” the co-creator of Watchmen, From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (to name my favorite Moore works) tells the crowd.

Some of his advice is pretty standard: write every day, be self-critical, don’t worry about money when composing. But Moore also breaks out of the old adages and is frank about the publishing world as he perceives it, pointing out that many of the “famous, well-known” authors out there “have nothing to do with writing,” casting shade on popular works like Dan Brown’s and calling the industry a “mess.” So what’s a hungry writer to do? Self-publish, sayeth the wizard.

. . . .

“Publishing today is a complete mess. I know brilliant authors who can’t get their books published,” Moore says, explaining that many publishing houses are afraid of taking risks on fiction. Moore’s solution? “Publish yourself. Don’t rely upon other people.”

Link to the rest at i09 and thanks to Mark for the tip.

Hemingway’s Paris Memoir Flies Off Shelves in Show of Defiance

19 November 2015

From Bloomberg:

Ernest Hemingway’s memoir about the time he spent lounging in cafes and bars in 1920s Paris has become an unlikely totem of defiance against the terrorist attacks that claimed 129 lives in the City of Light last Friday.

Hemingway’s ‘‘A Moveable Feast,’’ or “Paris est une Fete” in French, is flying off the shelves at bookstores across the French capital and is the fastest-selling biography and foreign-language book at online retailer Daily orders of the memoir, first published in 1964, three years after the American author’s death, have risen 50-fold to 500 since Monday, according to publisher Folio.

Copies have been laid among the flowers and tributes at the sites of the massacres, and people are reading the book in bars and cafes, Folio spokesman David Ducreux said Thursday. Orders surged after a BFM television interview on Monday with a 77-year-old woman called Danielle, who urged people to read the memoir as she laid flowers for the dead. The video was shared hundreds of times on social media.

Link to the rest at Bloomberg

‘Translated Into 20 Languages!’ Self-published Authors Are Selling Foreign Rights — Just Like the Big Publishers

19 November 2015

From The Huffington Post:

The big traditional publishers often promote their books by highlighting the number of languages the books has been translated into. With the global publishing marketplace easier to access than ever, self-published authors are selling foreign rights to grow their audience around the world and promote the number of foreign rights sales to increase sales at home – just like the big publishers.

When I wrote Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man, I intended it for North American men who, like me, were bewildered by the confusing messages they heard about what it means to be a man. The book’s goal was to share insights that many men weren’t taught about the importance of showing leadership and taking responsibility in their marriages and families – traits that women told me they love and respect in a man.

At first, I hadn’t thought of trying to sell foreign rights. I thought men in other cultures were different and weren’t as confused as we were. But when I received emails from publishers in Mexico and Poland interested in the book, I realized that while cultures may be different, human nature is similar. There were men in other countries who were just as bewildered.

. . . .

So far, foreign rights have been sold to publishers in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. I’ve received emails from readers in many countries saying how the book is making a difference in their marriages and families.

Here’s what I did:

Prepared an exciting email about the book. I included a summary, reviews, endorsements, and links to the book’s web site and media coverage.

Researched foreign markets: In many countries there are foreign rights agents who specialize in selling books from other countries to publishers in their own country. Good agents know the publishers in their markets. Agents work on commission of the advance and royalties the book earns.

To find foreign agents, I Googled “foreign rights agents.” The results included publishers and literary agents’ web pages with names and contact information of their foreign rights agents.

Sent the email. When I received a positive response, I sent the book with copies of reviews and other media coverage. When there was a new rights sale or media review, I shared it with them.

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post

Booksellers anticipate Black Friday and inaugural Civilised Saturday

16 November 2015

From The Bookseller:

Bookshops are gearing up to hold the first Civilised Saturday, with events and discounts to attract people into stores cited as the “antithesis to Black Friday”.

Black Friday falls on the day after Thansksgiving in the US (27th November), with retailers offering massive discount on products.

This year is set to be the biggest UK Black Friday on record, with consumer spending expected to hit £1.07bn, a 32% rise on the same day last year, according to analysts Experian/IMRG.

Coinciding with the final pre-Christmas pay weekend for most people, last year the offer received widespread press attention when at least three people were arrested and police were called to supermarkets amid fears of crowd surges as shoppers tussled to get the best deals.

This year the Booksellers Association has encouraged booksellers to host a Civilised Saturday on 28th November as the antidote to Black Friday, calling on bookshops to provide a calmer counterpoint to the mayhem by serving prosecco and cake to customers while playing classical music, for example.

. . . .

Lesslie Oliver from The Bookworm in Selkirk, which opened in July, said: “Last year Black Friday was all a little bit bonkers, wasn’t it? I don’t think the Black Friday proposition – everything sold at a huge discount – is really the right proposition for books and book lovers. I think Civilised Saturday works much better for bookshops and our customers. I think it is a lovely idea.”

Jasmine Denholme from Wenlock Books in Shropshire said: “We are going to have a pleasant afternoon in the bookshop, celebrating, handing out prosecco and, in the afternoon, we will have an afternoon tea, handing out cakes and fresh coffee.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Anne Frank’s Diary Gains ‘Co-Author’ in Copyright Move

14 November 2015

From The New York Times:

When Otto Frank first published his daughter’s red-checked diary and notebooks, he wrote a prologue assuring readers that the book mostly contained her words, written while hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex of a factory in Amsterdam.

But now the Swiss foundation that holds the copyright to “The Diary of Anne Frank” is alerting publishers that her father is not only the editor but also legally the co-author of the celebrated book.

The move has a practical effect: It extends the copyright from Jan. 1, when it is set to expire in most of Europe, to the end of 2050. Copyrights in Europe generally end 70 years after an author’s death. Anne Frank died 70 years ago at Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp, and Otto Frank died in 1980. Extending the copyright would block others from being able to publish the book without paying royalties or receiving permission.

In the United States, the diary’s copyright will still end in 2047, 95 years after the first publication of the book in 1952.

. . . .

Foundation officials “should think very carefully about the consequences,” said Agnès Tricoire, a lawyer in Paris who specializes in intellectual property rights in France, where critics have been the most vociferous and are organizing a challenge. “If you follow their arguments, it means that they have lied for years about the fact that it was only written by Anne Frank.”

The decision has also set the foundation on a possible collision course with the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, a separate entity that for years has sparred with the Anne Frank foundation over legal questions, such as ownership of archives and trademark issues.

The museum has been working for five years with historians and researchers on an elaborate web version of the diary intended for publication once the copyright expires. The research is still progressing with a historical and textual analysis of her writing, including deletions, corrections and stains.

“We haven’t decided yet when or how the results will be published,” said Maatje Mostart, a spokeswoman for the Anne Frank House. “Any publishing will always be done within the legal frameworks.” She added pointedly that neither “Otto Frank nor any other person is co-author.”

. . . .

Six years ago, the foundation asked legal experts in various countries for advice on its copyright, according to Yves Kugelmann, a member of the foundation’s board. They concluded, he said, that Otto “created a new work” because of his role of editing, merging and trimming entries from her diary and notebooks and reshaping them into “kind of a collage” meriting its own copyright.

Merely declaring Otto the “co-author” on copyright filings extends the copyright, legal experts said, though such a stand could be tested in the courts. Readers would not see any changes on the books themselves, foundation officials said.

Link to the rest at The New York Times 

Frank White: B.C. author published first book at 99

13 November 2015

From The Globe and Mail:

Frank White butchered hogs, delivered raw milk to dairies, hauled logs out of the woods, operated a waterworks, bit into the earth as an excavating contractor and pumped gas at a station in a picturesque fishing village on the British Columbia coast.

Late in life, at the age of 99, he added bestselling author to his résumé withMilk Spills and One-Log Loads (Harbour, 2013), a thoroughly engaging memoir of his time as a pioneer trucker.

By the time he died on Oct. 18, at 101, he had a second title to his credit, with That Went By Fast: My First Hundred Years. He was thought to be the oldest active author in the province, if not the land.

The books resulted from a prize-winning autobiographical magazine article published in 1974. For nearly four decades, he wrote scattered notes to jog his memory, snippets of facts and details that read like found poetry.

After Mr. White reached his ninth decade, his son, the author and publisher Howard White, began tape recording his father’s reminiscences, jogging the old man’s memory with the lyric notes filled with haphazard punctuation and capitalization: “Neighbor sawing wood at fence. We kids enjoy the noise and sawdust. … Cooking the small potatoes for the pigs, Breaking the windows. in the old house his father built.”

. . . .

 The two volumes offer a rare glimpse into working-class life in a province where so many of those jobs have disappeared over the years. The elder White had lived so long that his recollections of such things as logging with a winch known as a steam donkey crossed from the mundane to the historical.

. . . .

In 1939, Mr. White married a farmer’s daughter named Kathleen Boley, who was known as Kay. The couple had a successful union until her death in 1978. A few years later, while on a bus trip to New York, he called on Ms. Iglauer, a widow who maintained homes in Manhattan and on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. He told her he wanted to see the opera, about which he knew nothing other than it was one of her preferred entertainments.

Theirs was a Green Acres relationship: A self-described “bush ape,” he spent years in logging camps and had the manners to prove it, whereas she travelled in sophisticated circles that included the sorts who not only read The New Yorker, but produced it.

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

PLR rate to increase by 1p next year

11 November 2015

From The Bookseller:

The British Library Board has proposed an increase in Public Lending Right (PLR) payment made to authors next year, following a decrease in the estimated number of book loans.

The board has recommended the PLR rate should increase from 6.66 pence to 7.67 pence per loan in 2016, a rise of 1.01p, which the department for culture, media and sport (DCMS) intends to accept.

Following the proposal, the Society of Authors c.e.o Nicola Solomon has written to Dominic Lake, deputy director of arts, libraries and cultural property at the DCMS, urging the government to ring-fence the PLR fund and “protect and maintain the library service which is under serious threat.”

Lake said: “The proposed increase has been possible in part due to efficiency savings and increased income, and in part as a result of a reduction in the estimated number of loans of books registered for PLR. The DCMS notes the British Library Board’s recommendation that the 2016 payments are made at an increased rate per loan of 7.67 pence and propose to amend the PLR Scheme accordingly.”

. . . .

“PLR continues to be an important source of earnings for authors and we would urge the government to ring-fence the (already meagre) PLR Fund in any future spending review,” Solomon said. “We are sad to note the decrease in the estimate loans of books registered for PLR, caused, no doubt, by the cuts in library services and the exclusion of some volunteer-run libraries from the scheme. We urge the government to include volunteer-run libraries within the PLR scheme so that true figures for library lending can be recorded and remunerated.”

She went on to say: “We understand that the government is considering plans to bring in PLR payments for remote e-lending. Libraries now remotely lend a significant number of e-books and it is only fair that authors should be remunerated for these. Publishers have been reluctant to ensure that authors receive a fair share of licensing revenues for remote lending. We believe that an author’s receipts from e-book lending should equate to the total earnings the author would have received on a physical copy over the lifetime of the book from the combination of royalties on sale and PLR on every loan. The same considerations apply to the remote lending of digital audiobooks.”

The PLR payment is made to authors by the government each time their books are loaned through the public library system. The amount due to each author is based on a rate per loan, calculated on the basis of the size of the fund available and an estimate of the total number of loans of their registered works, obtained by way of a sample of public libraries in the UK.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

Next Page »