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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bringing Books Back From The Dead ... And Preserving For Posterity

Discovering old literary masterpieces (40, 60, 80 and 100 plus years old) ... like stumbling upon great old movies (and actors) ... is a special joy that awakens the forgotten talent of past artists and gives them a sort of rebirth and appreciation.

Bloomsbury Publishing, with their new purely digital imprint Bloomsbury Reader 'has signed up a string of authors including Monica Dickens, great grand-daughter of Charles, politicians Alan Clark and Ted Heath, crime writer H.R.F. Keating and novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett.'

For now, Bloomsbury Reader will be concentrating on out-of-print crime and romance genres.

Mike Collett-White, writing for Reuters, has this to say about the Bloomsbury Reader "raising books from the dead" venture:

Bloomsbury venture to bring books "back from dead"

Bloomsbury Publishing, home to the Harry Potter books in Britain, launched its first purely digital imprint on Wednesday which it said would bring out-of-print titles "back from the dead".

Bloomsbury Reader has signed up a string of authors including Monica Dickens, great grand-daughter of Charles, politicians Alan Clark and Ted Heath, crime writer H.R.F. Keating and novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett.

The publisher is focusing on books which are out of print and where all English-language rights have reverted back to the author or the author's estate.

In several cases, for example Clark's famous political diaries, some of an author's work is still in print and remains with the original publisher. Those books that are not will be digitally published by Bloomsbury Reader.

"In my experience, if people read a book by an author and they love that author, they suddenly want to read everything by that author and that's where this can fit in," said Stephanie Duncan, digital media director at Bloomsbury Publishing.

"Once you've read every Inspector Ghote mystery then you think, well what else has H.R.F. Keating written, and that's where Bloomsbury Reader comes in because we'll be delivering all those books," she told Reuters in an interview.

Read and learn more

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Should You Judge A Book By It's Cover?

Judge a book by it's cover? No, definitely not when you are applying the golden rule RE judging humans (which we shouldn't do anyway, but, being imperfect Homo sapiens we do anyway) ... never judge the worth of a human being only by outward appearances.

But, judging a book is another ball game altogether. In fact, a good, pertinent cover could very well be a game changer in the success of the book.

With that in mind, here is an interesting insight into book covers by Andrew Pantoja on Publishing Perspectives ... with some great developing resources for all levels of competence and budget:

How Self-Published Authors Get Their Covers Right

Design-it-yourself or hire a pro? Either way, you want to weigh your options carefully.

For self-published authors visibility is key. Generating visibility takes time and persistence and includes everything from a Twitter feed to commissioned book reviews (John's Note: I have trouble with these type reviews). But a great book cover can generate more buzz and visibility than most social marketing plans and pay-to-play endorsements.

And in today’s online world, a book’s packaging -– binding, paper stock, etc. –- is thrown out the window. Online, the only distinguishing feature is the cover. With online book sales growing, and e-books taking off, cover design has become more important.

“If an e-book cover appeals to someone and speaks well on the book’s behalf,” said Chris O’Byrne who heads up The E-book Editor, “I think it could have a huge impact on whether a reader buys it or not.”

Without the budget or marketing team of a big publishing house, self-pub authors have to weigh their design options carefully. Options vary depending on the author’s skill set, time frame and resources.

A convenient option is to work with outfits like The E-book Editor that include a cover design as an add-on to their editing and digital conversion services. The E-book Editor charges $99 for e-book covers and $199 for print book covers. But only about 50% of the authors O’Byrne works with request a cover design. What are the other authors choosing to do?

The most affordable and in some cases cost-free option is to do it yourself.

Read and learn more

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Your Book Published ... Efficiently!

Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn) ... I admire her and her hard work and entrepreneurial skills; have followed her for some time, took advice from and learned tons just reading her publishing journey from her postings online.

She just had a "coaching session in public" with Corrina Gordon-Barnes from You Inspire Me to help Corinna self-publish her first book.

This is done in interview format and is literally crammed full of golden links to incisive self-publishing resources and go-to experts in the exploding self-publishing industry ... editing, cover designers, ISBN resources, legitimate reviewers, etc.

This video and written coaching/learning session is just too good not to pass along:

How To Publish Your Book
by Joanna Penn on September 21, 2011

It’s fantastic to talk with passionate people who take action on their dreams.

Corrina Gordon-Barnes from You Inspire Me is a coach helping others turn their dreams into businesses. In this interview, I help her with information on self-publishing her first book. It’s like a coaching session in public! We have a lot of fun laughs but there’s also a lot of valuable information if you are just starting out in your publishing journey.

In the interview, we discuss:

How I got started with self-publishing

and how The Creative Penn has evolved. How the publishing world is global now and the options are fantastic. Even if you want a traditional book deal, it’s good to know the options.

Self-publishing is not just a negative end-result of being rejected. There are now people actively choosing to self-publish. There are people with Kindle success who have got book deals because of it, and also authors leaving traditional publishing to go indie. It is a fast-moving world right now.

Vanity publishing vs self-publishing/indie and print on demand

I explain the difference between vanity publishing/assisted publishing and self-publishing/indie-publishing. I’m all for author services but not thousands of dollars for a load of printed books in your garage. Indie publishing does involve partners e.g. book design, ebook formatting, editing.

How print on demand publishing works. You load your book and each sale gets printed and sent, so there is no upfront bulk cost, no postage and packaging, no storage. Options include: Lulu.com, Createspace.com, LightningSource.com or Blurb.com. These all have varied packages for publishers and there are pros and cons of each. I get very excited about print on demand (here, I explain how it changed my life!) All these sites have good help information. You can also order books directly from the site, not from Amazon so you get it cheaper.

NOTE: It now looks as if Amazon has changed the way they work with other companies and CreateSpace may be the best option. Read this article on Amazon & Lightning Source: End of an era.

A book designer like Joel Friedlander, will give you print ready files. If you work with a site directly, there will also be wizards and ways they can help you. There are options for all levels of knowledge.

ISBNs can be bought per country – I mention Thorpe Bowker which is for US and AU, but it is Nielsen for UK. Also, check out this page on ISBN from TheBookDesigner

On pricing and print books – and we discuss the options for Corrina who wants to include the audios for her book. She was going to include the audio within the book and include it in the price so the book would be more expensive. I suggest perhaps selling the audio package separately so people will pick up the book and may buy the extra.

Kindle publishing

Corrina starts by suggesting she will start with print and then do ebook later. I explain my lessons learned and why it’s a good idea to do ebook first. (1) People will pick up any mistakes and you can fix them more quickly than with a print book (especially if your print book is in In Design or another package professionally formatted) – but you can upload a new version with any print on demand (2) You can get reviews on the Kindle version early and they will synch with the print book when it’s up (3) You can start earning money earlier as the print book takes longer to get ready.

Read and learn more

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reformatting Publishing as We Know It ... Even Today's Publishing!

Many individuals, companies, technologies and other entities have been, are presently involved in or are aspiring to do just that ... reformat or redo publishing as we know it.

In fact, a lot of reformatting has already taken place, right?

Now Google is getting ready to enter and 'improve' the social publishing genre. It’s not just about sharing content anymore, it’s about apps that magically reformat content that’s out there ... for a better sharing experience!

Technology is moving at warp speed, and much is above my head anyway :), but you will find these details from Silicon Republic.com reported by John Kennedy deliciously riveting and informative:

Google wants to reformat the publishing business

It has emerged that Google is about to take on the social publishing revolution and beat early proponents like Flipboard and Pulse by helping the genre to flourish on its Android platform for smartphones and tablets.

Anyone who is familiar with apps like Flipboard – an elegant iPad app that takes feeds from Facebook, Twitter and a plethora of mainstream publications liked Forbes and the New Yorker and turns them into an elegant table-top magazine – will realise that the era of social publishing is well and truly upon us.

It’s not just about sharing, it’s about apps that elegantly reformat content that’s out there – whether it’s an online news piece, a blog or just a tweet – for your reading/viewing pleasure.

Apps like Pulse on both iOS and Android devices beautifully rend all your feeds from Google Reader into a tabular array to ensure you miss nothing.

It has emerged that Google is now working on a product that will take content from Google+ and other social sources to compete with Flipboard and Pulse in the growing social magazine space.

Read and learn more

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Epitome of Great Writing Translation - Coming to America!

I have often thought about all the great writing and written stories/ideas born in other countries and wished I could read these works in my native language; to really get a first-hand idea of what people in other parts of the world were reading, thinking, appreciating and talking about ... Know what I mean?

There have been translated works done before, but now we have a company devoted to translating all kinds of great modern and classic literature ... AND the translations are accomplished by reknowned authors in their own right!

Introducing Europa Editions.

Brittany Hazelwood of Publishing Perspectives writes this and interviews Michael Reynolds, Editor-in-chief, Europa Editions:

From Italy to NYC: Europa Editions Translates Success

“We feel there is a lot of good work out there . . . our job as publishers is to find it and publish it so that American readers can know what is being read, appreciated and talked about in other parts of the world.”

NEW YORK: “We are not peddling literature in translation as if it were a medicine that could cure all ills,” says Michael Reynolds, Editor-in-chief of Europa Editions. “We believe in reading, in literature, and we feel there is a lot of good work out there . . . our job as publishers is to find it and publish it so that American readers can know what is being read, appreciated and talked about in other parts of the world.”

Founded in 2005, Europa has emerged as one of the premier publishers of translated fiction in the United States, first coming to the attention of readers after the surprise success of its 2008 translation of Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which started with a print run of 15,000 and has gone on to sell and extraordinary 800,000 copies so far.

“It’s been,” says Reynolds, “like riding a wave.”

The surfing analogy comes perhaps a little too naturally to Reynolds, who was born in Australia. But like his list, he’s both eclectic and extremely international, having emigrated in his 20s, living on and off in the United States before settling in Italy. There, while running a literary festival in Rome, Reynolds heard the owners of the publishing house Edizioni EO were interested in launching a new publishing house in the U.S. He landed the gig.

In the intervening six years, Europa has published 115 titles — typically doing 20 books a year, a little more than half of which are in translation. The staff has grown to three, including Reynolds, publisher Kent Carroll, publicist Julia Haav, while the production, sales and marketing managers support Europa from Rome.

The publisher is continuing to expand operations as well. In August, Europa launched a new imprint, Tonga Books, in which prominent writers pick the titles. The first selections were made by Alice Sebold and include Alexander Maksik’s You Deserve Nothing, which has already won high praise from critics, and Ian Holding’s Of Beasts and Beings. In November, Europa will open a London office, with plans to launch a first full season — 15 books selected from the most successful US publications — in the UK in January. The director of the UK operation will be announced just prior the Frankfurt Book Fair.

We recently spoke with Reynolds, who now lives in New York, about Europa’s unique market position and plans for the future. Be warned: Reynolds issues some tall orders to emerging editors and publishers in the world of literary translation that have kept Europa strong throughout the years.

PP: How would you characterize Europa’s publishing philosophy?

It’s an extension of the original idea of Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola. They started publishing authors from Eastern Europe in Italy about 35 years ago, when very few other publishers were doing so. Europa Editions is an extension of this same idea. Six years ago when the company was founded there were so few non-anglophone authors being published in America. It struck us as a shame that readers had no access to these authors, and, at the same time, it presented itself as a business opportunity.

How have you developed such an avid fan base in such a short time?

Read and learn more 

Writers Welcome Blog on Kindle :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Publishers’ Why’s and Wherefore’s When Migrating to Digital (are all the damn apostrophes correct?)

Indeed, when the current publishing upheaval began (it seems just a little while ago in the scheme of things) and the conqueror ‘Digital’ came swaggering into the publishing world, publishers were at first completely devastated; then were bombarded by all kinds of options and questions for their very survival!

You can just imagine publishers’ mental angst deciding “Should I get out of this rapidly changing fireball of an industry or should I admit that the old ways are going down the drain and commit to learning a whole new process … dealing, perhaps, with an entirely new and separate tech industry?”

Karina Mikhil (pictured), a publishing executive with a Master’s in Publishing from New York University, has some excellent questions and analyses that will help these publishing execs and their firms reach a viable decision.

From Karina Mikhil in Publishing Perspectives:

Migrating to Digital Publishing? The Six Key Questions to Ask

Here are the six “Ws” you need to ask yourself before transitioning from the old to the new: why, who, what, when, which, and where.

The publishing industry is not generally known for being agile or quick to change, yet it is facing one of its biggest times of change probably since the invention of the printing press. At the heart of this is the migration to digital.

Prior to this migration, a time-tested process and structure existed for getting books printed: from acquisition, copyediting and typesetting, to author reviews and proofreading, to print. Although hiccups occurred and no two companies had the exact same workflow, the foundations were the same and ensured quality products got released in expected time frames.

Whether publishers are dealing with online content or e-books, digital only or both print and digital, publishers are now faced with more questions than answers as to how to incorporate the new with the old. Below I provide a framework for those questions, using the traditional 6 Ws: why, who, what, when, which, and where.


Of the six questions, this is the easiest to answer. No publisher can afford to ignore the digital any longer: the tipping point has come and gone; more and more e-books and e-readers are being sold weekly; and authors will begin demanding this, if they haven’t already. And traditional publishers need to offer all things digital to compete with the emerging “digital publishers.”


Even prior to the migration to digital, publishers would do one of two things to keep costs down: outsource as much as possible, keeping headcount down, or the reverse, which is hire talent to keep all services and costs internal. With digital, publishers have to make this decision anew. Should they invest in new talent from other industries (e.g., technology) or in educating existing talent, those who are eager to learn and have a background in publishing? Or should they turn to one of the many conversion and content solutions providers that exist in the market?


Read and learn more

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Berlin’s 'Txtr' Goes From Stumbling E-Reader Startup to Global Digital Distributor

Txtr wanted to create an e-reader ... and actually did produce the first German e-reader prototype ... BUT, increasing competition and speed of associated technology, caused the Txtr powers-to-be to shy away.

What they did do, instead, was to give up developing the hardware RE an e-reader device and devoted their energies to creating apps and platforms for distributing e-reader content.

In other words, Txtr turned would-be, growing, e-reader competitors into clients! A neat business coup, indeed.

Now, this from Amanda DeMarco in Publishing Perspectives:

Txtr Transformed: From E-readers to E-book Distribution

Berlin’s txtr has evolved from a stumbling e-reader startup into a global digital distributor with e-bookstores in 12 countries, 400,000 titles, and several blue chip partners.

BERLIN: In 2009, Berlin-based startup txtr debuted a prototype e-reader — the first for a German company — at the Frankfurt Book Fair. But sometime in early 2010, however, that became an overly ambitious and much-delayed e-reader. On top of the difficulties of getting the device right, an incoming wave of competing e-readers from Asia “looked scary,” says Thomas Leliveld, txtr’s Chief Commercial Officer. It was clear there was “no money to be made” if txtr continued down the path it was on.

Distribution Instead of Devices, Clients Instead of Competitors

Developing hardware is an unforgiving process; you can’t sell an e-reader in beta. Software and services, on the other hand, can be improved incrementally, so txtr shifted its focus to distributing e-books, with device-makers (former competitors) as its main customers.

Basically, if you make an e-reading device, you probably want that device to have its own store. But if you put your resources into the difficult work of developing an e-reader, you may not be well-equipped to create such a platform. That’s where txtr steps in and provides a white-label store for your device. Now that “scary” wave of devices from Asia represents potential clients for txtr.

The key word in txtr’s online bookstore strategy is local: local language, locally relevant content, local payment infrastructure, local management. It has e-book stores in operation in 12 countries, with more opening in the coming months. (txtr accesses experts in each country via a German organization.) txtr powers Acer’s Lumiread store, as well as Asus’s store, and Bol.com (the largest Dutch online bookstore), among others. In all, the company offers more than 400,000 titles available in Western languages; txtr offers 50,000 of those titles in German and has standing distribution agreements with publishers such as Random House and Holtzbrinck.

If you ask Leliveld about competition from certain behemoth online stores, he’ll enthusiastically point out that the market for e-books is expanding rapidly, everywhere, and will probably continue to do so for a long time. There’s room at the table, which is evident when you look at txtr’s recent successes.

An investment from 3M — making it txtr’s largest stakeholder — came as a surprise to many when it was announced in May of this year. The two parties had started talks in April of 2010, and discovered they had “clear similar interests.” In their first collaboration, txtr is providing the e-reading platform for 3M’s Cloud Library eBook Lending Service (but not the hardware, as has been rumored).

Read and learn more (and watch a demonstration of 3M’s Cloud Library in action:

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Monday, September 5, 2011

E-Books and Serialization

Stories told in bits or chunks, rather than in a complete book format all at once, is an old, established, storytelling technique known as 'serials' ... and was best suited for magazine or newspaper formats.

Apparently, e-books are now going to experiment with this type of storytelling structure. In fact, the idea was conceived and brought to the forefront almost simultaneously by two different entities thousands of miles apart!

I think serialization of e-books is a great (actually inevitable) idea ... What do you think?

This from booktrade.info 

How To Come Second In A Publishing Race ... And Still Win

It's good news all round that an independent publisher can gallop hard and fast, lose by a nose to an author: and still make friends and influence people.

It happened to BeWrite Books when renowned best-seller Roz Morris – a world-class thoroughbred – pipped them at the post on the same new idea both, unknowingly and thousands of miles apart, had been working on simultaneously for months. And it was smiles, good humor and fun all round when BeWrite Books sent an email of congratulations to Roz on her win. But the story got better ... and it's about how to win even when you lose.

Although they'd never met before, BB chief editor Neil Marr and Roz made a virtual, long-distance handshake to team up, there and then, to share and broadcast the new system they had developed independently. They co-wrote a special article telling all here at: http://www.bewritebooks.blogspot.com/.

It's all about a new approach to ebook novel structuring that allows a fully prepared novel to be built, satisfyingly to the reader, in four regularly and shortly-paced episodes of equal length, craftily making use of the old and well loved newspaper and magazine system that pre-dates even Dickens and Doyle to build a complete book in bite-sized chunks that all but died out in the latter half of the last centuries as newspapers and magazines cut back on serialized fiction or folded.

But the new scheme is subtly differences to the old grand masters in its fresh approach to serialization and marketing works.

BeWrite Books was busily preparing the first six titles from its existing catalog for simultaneous release in the new form in late September, when Roz, took them by surprise and released her own new book, My Memories of a Future LIFE, last week.

Read and learn more

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