Make the Most of Your Book Back Cover With These Tips

26 March 2017

From BookWorks:

You have heard over and over from experts and read online how important your front cover is.  It is true.  How your cover looks is even more important that what you write inside the book. Because if your cover is not terrific, then no one will ever know how brilliant your writing is. It is the front cover’s job to convince a potential reader to flip the book over and read the back cover.  It is the job of the book back cover to convince a reader to flip open a book and read a few pages.

. . . .

Our job as authors/publishers is to convince readers that our books are wonderful. The back cover is one of our best tools to do that. Too often, we try to get EVERYTHING we want to say about ourselves and our books onto the back cover.  We cram too many words into too small of a space and when we want to get it to fit, we shrink the text size. That is not how to entice someone into reading your back cover copy. Think about how magazines use space and headlines and large font sizes to lure their readers in. We should be emulating those same practices.Before you write that back cover copy, ask yourself the following questions:

1 – Does your Bio and picture NEED to be on the back cover? Are your bio and picture going to convince someone that your book is terrific?

2 – Do YOU read tons of text, in small type, smashed together with no line spacing to give your eyes a break? Or do your eyes gloss over the words?

3 – Do you read headlines on Magazines, Newspapers, and Online?

Link to the rest at BookWorks

Male crime writers eclipsed by golden age of female authors brought back into print

26 March 2017

From The Telegraph:

The British Library is working to bring forgotten male crime writers back into print, after they were eclipsed in their own Golden Age by women who were simply better.

The British Library’s classic crime project, which sees long-lost novels rediscovered and published for a new generation, features a disproportionate amount of men, the managing editor behind it said.

But the discrepancy is not down to modern day sexism, but a rare quirk of publishing history which made 1930s Britain arguably the only time and genre where women firmly ruled the roost.

As such, the best-selling and most-acclaimed writers of the day were women, leaving their male rivals swiftly falling out of print and the public consciousness.

The British Library project is now helping to correct that imbalance, bringing lesser-known works back to readers’ bookshelves.

The works, which are designed with vintage covers and have been bestsellers, are sold by the library, with profits ploughed back into its archival and exhibition work.

. . . .

The current catalogue shows just three out of 38 books written by a woman, and all of those from one author, Mavis Doriel Hay.

But, he said, the reason was simple: those male writers were “next tier” in their own day, overshadowed by the so-called “crime queens” including Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Marjorie Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, and Gladys Mitchell.

“It’s something I’ve been challenged about in the past, that so many of the writers we publish are men,” he said.

“That’s not because of sexism, that’s because the women’s writers were often still in print and retained their popularity.

“It was actually their male contemporaries who dropped out of view.

“It might be unique in this genre, that the women writers are the ones who survived.”

Link to the rest at The Telegraph

Consumer Watchdog complains to California over Amazon ad prices

26 March 2017

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

A consumer interest group has taken complaints about Amazon’s advertised prices to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, demanding an investigation and saying the company is “ripping consumers off.”

Consumer Watchdog argued that “list” or “was” prices, displayed near the current price and showing the putative savings by the buyer, are often bogus and much higher than what most other retailers are charging.

“Consumer Watchdog believes Amazon and its executives are cynically flouting the law to increase sales and profits,” wrote John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog in a petition to Becerra. “A company cannot claim it’s discounting something from a certain price when virtually nobody charges that amount.”

. . . .

Amazon said the recent Consumer Watchdog complaints are “misleading.”

“We validate list prices against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers,” the company said in an email. “We eliminate List Price when we believe it isn’t relevant to our customers.”

Amazon Canada was hit in January with fines of more than $750,000 from that country’s Competition Bureau over misleading prices.

In that case, the Canadian investigation found that Amazon had failed to confirm the accuracy of prices from its suppliers. Amazon made changes to the way it shows prices after the settlement, changes that went into effect at all Amazon sites, the Competition Bureau said in January.

Amazon dropped list pricing last year in some categories like groceries, and a July study by comparison-shopping site Rout found that only about 30 percent of products showed list prices, down dramatically from May, when more than 70 percent featured them.

Link to the rest at The San Francisco Chronicle

To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters

25 March 2017

From The Wall Street Journal:

‘To Walk Invisible” presents the Brontë sisters as they’ve never quite been seen before. Nor is it likely that devotees of Charlotte’s (Finn Atkins) “Jane Eyre, ” or Emily’s (Chloe Pirrie) “Wuthering Heights” or Anne’s (Charlie Murphy) “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” ever paused long to consider the circumstances in which all three of these writers lived together, or rather, survived together, as sisters.

. . . .

In this darkly acerbic, and riveting, Masterpiece drama, written and directed by Sally Wainwright (writer of the wonderful “Last Tango in Halifax”), it is the struggle to survive, not literary ambition—though that ambition is a strong one—that takes precedence in the lives of these sisters.

. . . .

A flamboyant sort, Branwell continues to harbor dreams of literary achievement, with no hope of fulfilling them. He’s a drinker and can’t stop, the chief cause of the somberness that sits heavily on life at the Yorkshire parsonage where the Brontës lived.

He’s not, however the only cause of the gloom and tension that hang in the atmosphere, that seems to touch every conversation between the sisters, each with literary ambitions, each secretly—at least at first—trying her hand at writing. Their ultimate triumph arrives with the emergence of their actual identities after writing wildly successful works, all under male-sounding pseudonyms.

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

Memory

25 March 2017

Memory in youth is active and easily impressible; in old age it is comparatively callous to new impressions, but still retains vividly those of earlier years.

Charlotte Brontë

Amazon’s Ambitions Unboxed: Stores for Furniture, Appliances and More

25 March 2017

From The New York Times:

 For years, retailers have been haunted by the thought of Amazon using its technological prowess to squeeze them into powder. That battle has mostly played out on Amazon’s home turf, the world of online shopping.

Now the fight is coming directly to retailers on actual streets around the globe, where Amazon is slowly building a fleet of physical stores. And while most of the attention has been focused on Amazon’s grocery store dreams, the company has a more ambitious collection of experiments underway.

If those experiments work — and there is no guarantee of that — they could have a profound influence on how other stores operate. Over time, they could also introduce new forms of automation, putting traditional retail jobs in jeopardy. At the same time, locating those stores close to customers’ homes could also help Amazon further its ambitions of delivering internet orders within hours.

. . . .

The company is exploring the idea of creating stores to sell furniture and home appliances, like refrigerators — the kinds of products that shoppers are reluctant to buy over the internet sight unseen, said one of several people with knowledge of the discussions who, in conversations with The New York Times, spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans were confidential. The stores would serve as showcases where people could view the items in person, with orders being delivered to their homes.

These would not be your average Home Depots: Amazon has considered using forms of augmented or virtual reality to allow people to see how couches, stoves and credenzas will look in their homes, the person briefed on the discussions said.

Amazon is also kicking around an electronics-store concept similar to Apple’s retail emporiums, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. These shops would have a heavy emphasis on Amazon devices and services such as the company’s Echo smart home speaker and Prime Video streaming service.

And in groceries — a giant category in which Amazon has struggled — the company has opened a convenience store that does not need cashiers, and it is close to opening two stores where drivers can quickly pick up groceries without leaving their cars, all in Seattle. It has explored another grocery store concept that could serve walk-in customers and act as a hub for home deliveries.

Overseas, Amazon is quietly targeting India for new brick-and-mortar grocery stores. It is a vast market, and one still largely dominated by traditional street bazaars where shoppers must wander from stall to stall haggling over prices and deliberating over unrefrigerated meat sitting in the dusty open air. Amazon’s internal code name for its India grocery ambitions: Project Everest.

. . . .

Despite Amazon’s internet retailing success, over time it has become clear that there is a lot of shopping that people prefer to do in person. The most glaring example is groceries — the mother of all shopping categories, with about $770 billion for the supermarkets represented by the Food Marketing Institute, a nonprofit group that includes the majority of such stores in the United States.

After pouring resources into an online grocery service, AmazonFresh, for almost a decade, the company has made only modest progress. According to people familiar with the workings of the company’s grocery business, it has struggled to operate it profitably, leading to a slow rollout of the service in new locations.

. . . .

Online grocery delivery accounts for only about 3 percent of the market in the United States, though it is closer to 10 percent in Britain, said Randy Burt, a partner in the food and beverage practice of A. T. Kearney, a strategy and management consulting firm. Mr. Burt said Amazon’s growing interest in stores mirrored the conclusion that other online merchants with physical stores — the apparel seller Bonobos and the eyewear seller Warby Parker — had come to.

“I think they are recognizing, for certain things you can’t digitize and replicate online all the experience one has in a store,” Mr. Burt said. “The ability to create experiences is going to be critical for them to continue to get share.”

Joe Thompson, a former general manager in Amazon’s retail business, sees physical retail as key to Mr. Bezos’s outsize ambitions for the company. “I can’t help but feel that, in Bezos’s mind, he wants to be the first trillion-dollar valuation company,” said Mr. Thompson, who is now an executive at BuildDirect, an online home improvement store. To do that, he said, Amazon would have to “crack” a couple of “completely underpenetrated markets online.”

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

Amazon will collect state sales taxes nationwide April 1st

25 March 2017

From CNBC:

Amazon, the online merchandise juggernaut, will collect sales taxes from all states with a sales tax starting April 1.

Tax-free shopping will be over as of next month in Hawaii, Idaho, Maine and New Mexico, the four remaining holdouts.

Since the beginning of this year, Amazon has added a number of states to its roster of jurisdictions where it collects sales taxes.

. . . .

How states treat sales taxes for web and catalog purchases is tied to a 1992 Supreme Court case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota.

The court ruled that states couldn’t require retailers to collect sales taxes unless they had a physical presence in the same place where the buyer is located.

Major online retailers — namely, Amazon — more and more fall under that rule by building data centers, warehouses and other facilities in multiple locations.

Link to the rest at CNBC and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

While sales tax on books, particularly indie author books, is small, PG expects this Amazon move will give a boost to some of its competitors, particularly with more expensive purchases.

New York City has long been a leading location for the sale of expensive camera equipment online and, before that, via mail order. Large New York camera stores have often competed on price, including prominent mention of the lack of sales tax for purchasers from outside the state of New York.

Savings for purchasers outside of New York who forget to file use tax reports on expensive camera equipment can be substantial, several hundred dollars or more. See this Nikon lens or this Canon lens, often used by professional sports photographers, for example.

When PG checked Amazon’s prices for a nice Nikon camera today, he found that, if sold by Amazon, per an earlier agreement with PG’s state, sales tax was added. If sold by a third party outside of PG’s state and fulfilled by Amazon, no sales tax was added. If sold and fulfilled by a third party, per the 1992 Quill v. North Dakota case, no sales tax was added.

Of course, the full switchover to Amazon sales tax collection nationwide won’t take place until April 1, but PG will be interested to see if third-party sellers on Amazon are included or excluded from Amazon’s sales tax collection policy.

Tencent plans e-book IPO

25 March 2017

From LiveMint:

Tencent Holdings Ltd is planning to spin off its e-book business as it boosts spending on payments and content to lure users and keep them glued to its WeChat service.

An initial public offering of the Kindle-like business is planned for Hong Kong, the Shenzhen-based company said on Wednesday after posting quarterly earnings that trailed analyst estimates. While net income surged 47% to 10.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), that trailed the 11 billion yuan expected by analysts.

. . . .

China Reading Ltd, as Tencent’s literature unit is known, is said to have asked bankers to pitch for a role arranging an IPO that could raise about $500 million. President Martin Lau said it would also consider other spinoffs without identifying targets. The company also operates a music and video-streaming service.

While Tencent’s services have a massive reach in China, growth is slowing as it nears saturation in its home market. In addition to new games, it’s funding blockbusters including “Kong: Skull Island” and “Warcraft” and sitting atop a plethora of intellectual property for anime and online novels distributed via its websites. The company has aspirations to eventually create a Marvel-like movie empire, as it competes with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd for users.

Link to the rest at LiveMint

A Journey Into the Merriam-Webster Word Factory

24 March 2017

From The New York Times:

 Merriam-Webster, the oldest dictionary publisher in America, has turned itself into a social media powerhouse over the past few years. Its editors star in online videos on hot-button topics like the serial comma, gender pronouns and the dreaded “irregardless.” Its Twitter feed has become a viral sensation, offering witty — and sometimes pointedly political — commentary on the news of the day.

Kory Stamper, a lexicographer here, is very much part of the vanguard of word-nerd celebrities. Her witty “Ask the Editor” video contributions, like a classic on the plural of octopus, and personal blog, Harmless Drudgery, have inspired a Kory Stamper Fan Club on Facebook. One online admirer has carefully tracked minute changes in her hair (which, for one thing, is purple).

But the company remains very much a bricks-and-mortar operation, still based in this small New England city where the Merriam brothers bought the rights to Noah Webster’s dictionary in the 1840s and carried on his idea of a distinctly American language. And this month, Ms. Stamper, the author of the new book “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries,” was more than happy to offer a tour of some of the distinctly analog oddities in the basement.

. . . .

But the real jaw-dropper was the Backward Index, which includes some 315,000 cards listing words spelled … backward.

“It was conceived of as another way of shuffling information,” Ms. Stamper said of the index, which seems to have been produced intermittently from the 1930s to the ’70s. “Basically, someone sat here and typed up all the entries backwards. And then went crazy.”

Craziness is a bit of a leitmotif in “Word by Word.” The book, published last week by Pantheon, mixes memoiristic meditations on the lexicographic life along with a detailed description of the brain-twisting work of writing dictionaries. The Atlantic called it “an erudite and loving and occasionally profane history of the English language” that’s also “a cheerful and thoughtful rebuke of the cult of the grammar scolds.”

Ms. Stamper calls it “a love letter to dictionaries in English,” if one that allows for some mixed feelings.

“People have so many fears about what their use of language says about them,” she said. “When you talk to people about dictionaries, they often start talking about other things, like which words they love, and which words they hate. And it’s perfectly fine to hate parts of the language.”

Link to the rest at The New York Times

Who is to say

24 March 2017

Who is to say who is the villain and who is the hero? Probably the dictionary.

Joss Whedon

« Previous PageNext Page »

WordPress SEO Manager Internet Marketing Tools