Non-Fiction

Scholastic Acquires Teen Author Aija Mayrock’s Self-Published Survival Guide to Bullying

18 February 2015

From PR Newswire:

Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, has acquired North American rights to 19-year-old Aija Mayrock’s self-published ebook, The Survival Guide to Bullying. The revised Scholastic edition (The Survival Guide to Bullying: Revised Edition) will be published simultaneously in paperback and ebook formats in July 2015, with a hardcover library edition to follow in September 2015.  The deal was negotiated by Debra Dorfman, VP and Publisher, Scholastic, and Jay Kramer for Aija Mayrock.

Written by a teenager who was bullied throughout middle school and high school, The Survival Guide to Bullying offers a fresh and relatable perspective on bullying. Along the way, author Aija Mayrock offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her survive even the toughest of days. The Survival Guide to Bullying covers everything from cyber bullying to how to deal with fear and how to attain the self-confidence to achieve the life the reader dreams of having—from inspiring “roems” (rap poems), survival tips, personal stories, and quick quizzes. The updated Scholastic edition also features new, never-before-seen content, including an epilogue and an exclusive Q&A with the author.

. . . .

“We were all immediately blown away by Aija’s book and the strength of her voice,” said Debra Dorfman. “What a feat for such a young woman to take a painful personal experience and turn it into a beacon of hope!  We knew immediately that with our extensive connections to kids, parents, and teachers, Scholastic would be the best home and platform for her to reach people affected by bullying.”

“When Scholastic told me they wanted to publish my book, it was a dream come true,” said Aija Mayrock. “It was only a year and a half ago that I won the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for my poetry. That was the moment that changed my life and gave me the confidence to write the first page of this book. I am so honored to be part of the Scholastic family.”

Link to the rest at PR Newswire

mizzle-shinned

16 February 2015

From the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day:

mizzle-shinned, adj.

. . . .

Having one’s legs red and blotched from sitting too near a fire.

. . . .

1854 D. Robertson Laird of Logan (new ed.) 51 Dinna mak ony body suffer by ye, as thae scranky-shanked mizzle-shinned Highlanders do.

Link to the rest at Oxford English Dictionary

Newspaper group charges students £120 for chance of a by-line

12 February 2015

From the National Union of Journalists:

Newsquest, the UK’s third largest publisher of local and regional newspapers, is charging students £120 for the chance of having their work published in one of its titles.

Diana Jarvis, who coordinates the group’s Young Reporter scheme for Newsquest South London, has written to colleges with journalism courses. She said the scheme was open to students who want to build a portfolio of work before they graduate.

She said:  “This opportunity is an exciting and unique chance to experience working for a local paper and allows students to build up a portfolio of their published work over the eight months. Unlike school students, the university students are studying the subject so will have an advantage of possibly getting their articles published in our actual newspapers around London.”

The university or college is expected to pay £100 and the student a £20 registration fee to take part.

The students, she said, “would work as journalists for an online newspaper, writing one article per month for a period of eight months.  All articles written are uploaded onto our local online paper, which covers the whole of Greater London. At the end of the scheme all students who complete all eight articles, receive a letter of recognition from the editor, which they can use as a reference with their cvs and their names go into our Award Ceremony brochure, which is distributed around London”.

. . . .

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists general secretary, said:

“While Newsquest is sacking professional staff on its titles, it is charging journalist students for writing articles for them. The unpaid intern has become the scourge of the media profession – now Newsquest is asking for journalist students to actually pay for a by-line. The company’s cynicism beggars belief, and preys on young people desperate to get a break in a competitive industry.

“College lecturers tell me they are outraged and they are quite right to be. We also know that Newsquest is using students to do shifts at its subbing hub in Newport, after sacking sub-editors on its newspapers across the land.

Link to the rest at National Union of Journalists

In Defense of Self-Publishing

12 February 2015

From author Marcy Goldman via PBS:

There are so many op-eds these days on when or if to self-publish, and even more so, features (albeit they’re dwindling) on how inferior self-published works are — just by the very fact they are self-published. This premise is applied even if the self-publishing author has the budget, foresight and professionalism to engage all manner of expert editors, proofreaders, formatters, designersand thoroughly research the distribution and promotion of his or her work. There’s also a presumption (or fear) that without sufficient social media or a platform, books (even great ones) won’t get noticed — that is, if you publish it, who will find you or it? This suggests that Shakespeare or Elizabeth Gilbert, without the benefits of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or a YouTube video of “Othello,” would never have been discovered  — which suggests that we, as authors, creators and publishers, actually believe form trumps content.

And these opinions never cease to amaze (and annoy) me. For one thing, there’s a passion, even a nervous derisioncol or tempered dismissiveness, offered to self-published authors in most of the opinion pieces I’ve read. There’s the assumption that a self-published author is a “never-published author” or “can’t-find-a-book-deal author.” The articles I’ve read also seem to refer to fiction writers when there are many other types of authors. I am, in fact, a cookbook author — another genre of author now in the fray.

. . . .

Cookbook authors are writers. We are not verbose home economic teachers –- we are specialty writers with a second specialty in food. Some, as I am, are trained chefs in addition to being wordsmiths. Consequently, our challenges are even more so than regular writers. We battle the plethora of amateur recipe blogs and zillions of free recipes, the charisma of celebrity chefs on TV, blogs or YouTube phenoms. In addition, our books require expensive food photography and complicated book design, our recipes need extraordinary copy editing, and we also need legions of volunteer recipe testers to make sure our recipes work. When it came to food photography in our cookbooks, many a time my advance (in traditional publishing) was a quarter that of the photographer’s budget.

In short, if you think self-publishing the average black-and-white 300-page paranormal novel is difficult, try self-publishing a 300-page full color cookbook.

. . . .

So it’s not about money –- self-publishing garners you 70 percent royalties versus 15 percent royalties at traditional publications. Indeed, if it were, wealthy authors would do it themselves. On the flip side, what is more prestigious is saying you’re a Random author or Scribner author -– at least, when that meant something and had a fiscal bottom line.

But here’s my pain: Overall, there is a premise that if you self-publish, you are either an inferior or unaware author. Having had a reasonable advance, you somehow chose to “go rogue” and venture into self-publishing, whether it is due to a misplaced vanity press adventure spirit or the idea you could out earn on your own what a traditional publisher would be offering you.

As a traditional and well-established cookbook author with a track record and solid book sales, I don’t see myself represented in these discussions, and yet I am part of a silent majority –- the mid-list cookbook author.

. . . .

After 25 years of great publishers, great cookbooks — and what I thought was an upward spiraling career — I self-published my first cookbook, “When Bakers Cook,” two months ago. I did this not because I wanted to but because I had to. I love words, books, and in my case, creating ambrosial baking that I want to share with my readers. As publishing up-ended itself, I realized — with skepticism, then denial, anger, sadness and finally, pro-activeness — I had three choices. I could quit and be a Wal-Mart greeter. I could take tiny (untenable) advances and supplement that with freelance writing. Or I could dive into the Bermuda Triangle of self-publishing.

I’m a Taurus and we don’t quit, so I chose Door No. 3 — self-publish.

. . . .

And let it also be said that we can no longer assume that having a traditional book deal ensures a “team” of editorial and sales help –- things are lean everywhere. Speaking more directly to that, I recently was in Barnes and Noble and stumbled on a cookbook by a great colleague, produced by a huge publisher renowned for their wonderful cookbooks. In this book was a neat three-page addendum of text and recipe errors. My point is, we can no longer assume perfect and quality is only the domain of traditional publishing.

Link to the rest at PBS

Here’s a link to Marcy Goldman’s books.

My Food Journey: How I Self-Published a Cookbook

11 February 2015
Comments Off

From the Hillsdale Daily News:

The Yellow Table, a gorgeous cookbook from new author Anna Watson Carl, arrived (and quickly sold out) late last year to an exceptionally eager legion of supporters. Many had been waiting for over six months for its arrival—and to generate that type of buzz when you’re not a celeb or viral blogging sensation is just about unheard of.

Now, Carl didn’t fall into her new position as published author by a stroke of luck or coincidence—she worked hard and smart for years and then chose to bypass the route of traditional publishing in favor of self-publication. In the following Q&A, we chat with a refreshingly candid Carl about the people behind the scenes and all the little details authors often prefer tucked under the rug.

. . . .

 Let’s start off with your background. Tell us a bit about your relationship with food, cooking and entertaining and how that blossomed…

Anna Watson Carl: I grew up eating nearly every meal around my family’s yellow table. My mom didn’t necessarily love to cook, but she believed that mealtimes were our chance to connect as a family, so she made cooking a priority. Though I loved to cook as a kid, it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Paris, my junior year in college, that I truly fell in love with food. The markets, with their fresh produce, cheeses, breads, meats and seafood, were a revelation to me, and I loved the mealtime rituals in France. I bought a book on classical French cuisine and began cooking my way through it—I came home determined to pursue a career in food.

R: What was your chief reason for wanting to write a cookbook? AWC: I am obsessed with cookbooks. I’ve been reading them since I was a kid and collecting them since I was in college. Once I started cooking and writing professionally (in 2002), writing a cookbook became my long-term goal. But in the past few years, I started getting serious about this goal. After working for years as a private chef, recipe developer/tester and blogger, I had built up a repertoire of simple, healthy recipes—and finally possessed the experience and confidence to write a cookbook. My chief reason for writing The Yellow Table was to inspire people to cook and to gather friends and family around their own tables.

. . . .

 R: In the beginning, you did explore going the traditional publishing route. Can you tell us about your experience? What did you find publishers wanted to see, and why did you decide to go for it on your own instead?

AWC: I started reaching out to some agents in 2012, and the feedback I received was that in order to get a book deal you needed to either a) be a famous chef b) have a Food Network show c) be a celebrity or d) be a blogger with at least 100,000 visitors a month. Since none of those things described me, I was told that I had a very slim chance at getting a book deal—regardless of my dedicated blog following or my experience as a cook and a writer. It was frustrating hearing that, but eventually, in the fall of 2013, I decided that rather than wait on a publishing deal, that I’d just get started on the book and share the behind-the-scenes process on the blog. My friend Signe Birck, an incredible food photographer, agreed to take the photos, so I decided that we should just go for it! We didn’t have the budget to rent out a studio space or hire a styling team, so we just worked as a duo (with the help of my incredible intern Elise Inman), shooting in my apartment once or twice a week over the course of five months. The shooting process was especially complicated because I live on the top floor of a fifth-floor walkup apartment in Manhattan (i.e. no elevator and tiny kitchen). We borrowed props each week from ABC Carpet & Home and floor samples from PID Floors (to use as rustic wooden surfaces to shoot on)—and had to carry all of it (plus groceries) up five flights of stairs each week. It was so much work, but I absolutely loved it.

. . . .

R: Are there any common pitfalls in self-publishing? How did you avoid them?

AWC: I’m not sure about the common pitfalls, but I can tell you a few things that I learned along the way:

  • Don’t assume that just because you can write a cookbook that it will fly off the shelves. That sounds like a negative thing to say, but if you don’t have a publisher, the selling falls 100% on your shoulders, so it’s a good idea to really make sure your idea both has wide appeal and is truly unique—and that you have a strong platform to sell your book (perhaps via your blog or a restaurant or small business that you own).
  • Write a proposal. Part of the process of getting a traditional publishing deal is putting together a cookbook proposal, with details on how your book is unique, descriptions of exactly what’s going to be in the book (including recipes and sample chapters), research on the current cookbook market—to see how your idea stacks up against what’s already available, and a timeline on how you’re going to get all of it done. Writing a proposal forces you to do a lot of the hard work up front. Next time I write a book—self-published or not—I will start with a proposal to keep me organized and accountable.
  • Find a great printer, and make sure you see samples of their work. I chose Worzalla because a) they were based in the U.S., which cut down substantially on the time it took to print the books and b) the quality of their work—specifically photo-heavy cookbooks—was top-notch. They were a pleasure to work with, and I am so pleased with the way the books turned out.
  • Hire a top-notch team. Some printers or “book-packaging” companies come with an in-house team that take care of design and editing, and sometimes even photography. This can be great option if you want a bit more guidance throughout the process and don’t want to steer the ship. I really wanted to maintain creative control, so I hand-selected a team of people who were not only super-talented, but with whom that I’d really enjoy working. I was so proud of them that I put everyone’s name and picture in the front of the book. I’ve never seen that done in a cookbook, and it’s one of my favorite features.
  • Figure out how you’re going to pay for the book. Printing and production costs and incredibly high for a self-published book, so look at the costs up front and map out how you’re going to pay for it—via pre-sales, a crowd-funding site like Kickstarter, or perhaps you know that your sales will be high enough to cover the costs after the fact. But take a hard look at this up front, so you don’t have sticker shock.
  • Sell on Amazon—and have them ship the books for you! My books sold really well on Amazon (so well that they sold out) and it was a dream having them handle the shipping for me.

Link to the rest at Hillsdale Daily News

Here’s a link to The Yellow Table.

‘Pioneer’ Builds a Following

3 February 2015

From The Wall Street Journal:

The annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, put out by the South Dakota Historical Society Press, has landed at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.

That’s right. Amid the likes of “American Sniper” and the hit thriller “The Girl on the Train.”

So many orders have poured in for “Pioneer Girl: the Annotated Autobiography” that customers have been waiting for their copies for weeks—and won’t receive them for another month at least.

“Oh, man, I’m speechless,” said Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the tiny press. “It just doesn’t seem real.”

This never-before-published autobiography, released last fall, tells the gritty true story behind the beloved “Little House on the Prairie” series. It includes far darker scenes than Wilder later depicted in her fictional children’s books, including an encounter with a drunken man who intends to molest her.

. . . .

The historical society last year decided to go with an initial print run of 15,000 copies. By the week of its release in November, it was clear that would not be enough, so the publisher ordered up another 15,000.

That wasn’t enough either.

“The second printing was gone before it came off the press,” Ms. Koupal said. “Those who ordered from bookstores and retailers have been waiting a very long time. I have a lot of sympathy for them. All I can say is we’re doing the best we can.”

. . . .

The book hit the No. 1 spot on Amazon Thursday afternoon and remained there for much of Friday morning. Over the weekend, it hovered in the No. 2 and No. 3 slots.

. . . .

Ms. Koupal has fielded several queries about the film rights, but those aren’t available because the nonfiction characters are so closely tied to the fictional characters of the “Little House” television series, she said.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

Here’s a link to Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography

About that Impending Amazon-Apple Digital Textbook War

1 February 2015

From Ink, Bits & Pixels:

The launch of Amazon’s new Kindle Textbook Creator a couple weeks ago has caused a flurry of speculation about what this could mean for digital textbooks.

Many have mistakenly looked at the vaguely similar uses for iBooks Author and Kindle Textbook Creator and concluded that a great textbook war is about to commence.

I don’t see that happening.

While the edtech market is going through a period of upheaval and that is affecting digital textbooks, I think it’s wrong to frame the upheaval in terms of digital textbooks.

. . . .

To start with, anyone who foresees an impending textbook was between Amazon and Apple mistakenly assumes that Apple gives a toss about content sales. As I pointed out in July 2013, Apple’s profit is in hardware, not content.

. . . .

Speaking of hardware sales, that brings me to the next point which Flavorwire missed.

Apple can’t fight, much less win, a digital textbook war because they’re already losing the hardware battle. Apple’s ebookstore is irrevocably tied to Apple hardware, which means that the digital textbooks sold there cannot be read on Windows or Android devices, or Chromebooks.

Guess which devices are outselling iPads in schools?

Windows PCs still make up the bulk of the devices going into computer labs, obviously, but for the past several quarters Chromebooks have also been outselling iPads in the 1:1 device category.

Link to the rest at Ink, Bits & Pixels

The Second Coming of the Textbook Wars

31 January 2015

From Flavorwire:

It may not happen today, or tomorrow, but the coming textbook wars will be massive, if quietly so. Why? The world of educational publishing is enormous; it is much bigger than you might imagine. It dwarfs, for example, the feeble trade publishing market. At the turn of the last decade, Pearson’s educational arm alone brought in more revenue than all other publishers, with the exception of education-driven Reed Elsevier. That’s just the arm that produces textbooks and other educational material. Frankly, when we talk about publishing as a whole, what we say makes little sense unless we’re talking about textbooks and educational publishing.

Enter Amazon. It announced this week that it will launch a new arm of its Kindle Direct Publishing service, one that will “help educators and authors easily prepare, publish, and promote eTextbooks and other educational content for students to access on a broad range of devices.”

. . . .

Amazon and Apple’s sought-after “democratization” of textbook production could alter education irrevocably in the coming years. And these developments may affect academic publishing more rapidly, as it’s an industry whose strengths are also its market weaknesses. The peer review process that lends academic publishing much of its prestige also requires slow, painstaking analysis. Add to this the brute fact that many university presses are run primarily to mitigate losses: this means they pay little to authors and sometimes fail to keep up with developments in a given field. You can see the appeal, in theory, of Amazon’s DIY platform.

Link to the rest at Flavorwire

Indie Authors on Campus

30 January 2015

From Publishers Weekly:

Bob Hoyt, an instructor and director of the Health Informatics program at the University of West Florida, knew his students were struggling with the high cost of their textbooks. The nominal price of college textbooks has “risen more than fifteenfold” since 1970 — which is three times the rate of inflation — according to a recent article in the Economist, while the Wall Street Journal notes the cost of new print textbooks has risen, on average, about 6% a year for the last decade. Hoyt was also frustrated that new developments in his field meant information in the books was already obsolete by the time they were published. “There were no textbooks that were up to date or easy to read,” Hoyt says. To solve the problem, he decided to create his own, with associate editor and adjunct instructor at the University of West Florida Ann Yoshihashi, and self-publish it on Lulu.com — and sell it for about a third of the cost of a regular textbook.

Seven years later, Health Informatics: Practical Guide for Healthcare and Information Technology Professionals (about using IT to improve health care) is in its sixth edition and is taught at more than 200 universities in 30 countries. The book has sold about 12,000 copies and has been endorsed by the American Medical Informatics Association. While the sales figures don’t come close to the stratospheric success usually associated with self-publishing success stories, there are signs that self-published textbooks could be the start of a new trend with the potential to upend the $7 billion college-textbook industry.

. . . .

Lulu President and CEO Tom Bright says it’s precisely authors like Hoyt and Yoshihashi—authors he calls “content entrepreneurs”—that are leading the next successful wave in self-publishing. Bright notes that content entrepreneurs are primarily business owners or professionals—people for whom writing isn’t their primary career.

Bright says authors of this sort sell 20 times as many books on Lulu as fiction writers do. “We’ve found that top nonfiction and education books generate 24% more net sales per title than top books in other genres,” he adds.

. . . .

 But Yoshihashi had done her research and determined that self-publishing held a number of advantages for them over traditional publishing. These advantages included the fact that they were able to keep a larger share of the profits, the ability to control the price of the book, the quick turnaround time from submission to publication, and the ease with which they could update the book and republish it. “We also can say when we would like older editions to be no longer printed. You don’t have this type of control with traditional publishers,” he notes.

. . . .

Hoyt feels that the rising cost of college textbooks has helped their affordably priced volume become so successful. With the Kindle edition priced at $32.95 and the print edition at $69.95, the book is considerably less expensive in both formats than most textbooks available for purchase. Hoyt says his students appreciate that he took pricing into consideration when self-publishing: “They can buy a chapter at a time so they don’t have to buy the entire textbook if they don’t need it. This, he notes, “is very important given the financial burden to students and burgeoning textbook prices.” And while renting textbooks has become a popular option for students who can’t commit to purchasing the book, Hoyt notes that buying their textbook in e-book format is actually cheaper than renting it.

But, even with this competitive pricing, the profits add up quickly—Lulu authors keep 80% of the income from print sales and 90% of digital sales. With the proceeds generated from the sale of the volume, the authors have donated more than $100,000 to the University of West Florida and established grants of more than $25,000 to support health informatics educational programs. Self-publishing, Hoyt says, let them control the price of the book to get ahead of the competition while keeping costs low for their students.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

B&N’s Digital Textbook Platform Yuzu Continues to Frustrate Students

26 January 2015

From Ink, Bits & Pixels (formerly The Digital Reader):

This being January, a new semester is starting at many colleges across the US, and that means that many students are encountering B&N’s textbook platform for the first time.

Barnes & Noble hasn’t officially launched Yuzu in the 9 months since they turned the platform on, but that doesn’t mean they’re not inflicting it upon college students.

The retailer has been promoting Yuzu in the college bookstores it runs while at the same time neglecting to mention that the platform is still under development. Basically B&N has been recruiting college students to be unwitting guinea pigs in the development process, and conning them into paying for the privilege (with no refund option).

. . . .

Three students have left comments on this blog in the past week, all of which have complained about Yuzu.

For example:

I just rented my first e-book for school and of course it’s Yuzu. I hate hate hate it.

The text is tiny and you can’t enlarge the whole page. Highlighter feature seems useless to me. No, you cannot print and I even tried sending to onenote to enlarge it there, but it didn’t work. I so regret the $73 I had to spend for this and hope they get enough of the same feedback to stop using this affiliation for textbooks. I would have been so happy if I could have read on another platform…sigh.

And then there’s this one from yesterday:

Yuzu is horrible. I wish I would have gotten the hard textbook because it takes twice as long to read the digital book. It is hard to turn the pages, every time you touch the screen the note tab pops up, so you have to close it. Very irritating. It is hard to navigate, not intuitive at all. It also freezes up frequently, so you have to reload it all the time. Do not use yuzu!

Link to the rest at Ink, Bits & Pixels

Next Page »