expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>


Friday, November 30, 2012

Self-Publish with Simon and Schuster?

Simon & Schuster hiking
into self-publishing

How's that prospect grab you? It just shouts out publishing intrigue and further delineates the rapid changing world of publishing.

"According to data from research firm Bowker, some 211,269 books were self-published in 2011, up more than 60 percent from the previous year, as reported by Shelf Awareness."

This fact (super growth), coupled with the old TP model crumbling in traditional publishing, shows why you can't blame the publishing 'big houses' for finally pursuing self-publishing.

BUT, are they charging too damn much money for their self-publishing services? Especially when technology has made it so economical for one to directly self-publish?

A hard, detailed analysis of their peripheral benefits is highly suggested :)

Husna Haq writes this for the Chapter & Verse blog of The Christian Science Monitor:
Simon & Schuster will enter the self-publishing world

The publishing giant is teaming up with Author Solutions Inc. to create Archway Publishing, a publishing house which will focus on self-published works.

If there was any doubt in the publishing industry that self-publishing is here to stay, news that a top mainstream publisher is teaming up with a self-publishing company to create a self-publishing imprint should put those doubts to rest.

Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday that it is partnering with Author Solutions Inc. to create Archway Publishing, a separate publishing house focused on self-published fiction, non-fiction, business, and children’s books.

Self-publishing is a booming sector of the publishing industry, and Tuesday’s news reaffirms the significance of self-publishing.

“Self-publishing has become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers, including Simon & Schuster,” Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “We’re excited that we’ll be able to help more authors find their own path to publication and at the same time create a more direct connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to traditional publishing.”

Simon & Schuster is marketing Archway’s self-publishing offerings as a premium service – which comes at a premium cost to authors. Archway will offer authors a range of packages from a basic $1,599 children’s package that includes “editorial assessment” and “cover copy review” to a $24,999 “Outreach” program for business books that includes an “author profile video,” and a reception at BookExpo America, the industry’s annual national convention.

It might be a tough sell. Archway will be staffed and operated by Author Solutions (not Simon & Schuster) and final products will not have the Simon & Schuster name attached to them. “With no Simon & Schuster personnel involved, and without the Simon & Schuster name attached in any way to the final product, Archway’s prices – significantly higher than the competition – could be a hard sell,” writes the New York Times.

Read and learn more

The Writers Welcome Blog (WWB) is available on Kindle :)))

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Navigating the Many Roads of Alternate Publishing

Which Publishing Path
Should I Take?
In numerous previous posts I often said something to the affect that traditional publishing wasn't dying or dead but merely wasn't the only kid on the block anymore.

Publishing has indeed been changing --- BUT, it has always been changing --- since the beginning of parchment and quill (you get my drift; by the way the history of paper is interesting as well as writing instruments).

We have just been caught up in (experiencing) a link of time in the long chain of publishing change. Call it the digital link, if you will.

So, in this particular publishing link (change-cycle) we call digital publishing alternate publishing. Simply because it's new.

The new, faster and cheaper paths to publishing has caused confusion among writers.

What should a writer do? How should s/he publish? Traditional, digital, self-publish or otherwise?

Well, it depends on who your audience is and what purpose your writing serves.

You see, publishing has grown more hands and legs to shake hands with or dance with :)

This interesting insight is from Sharon Short and David Braughler writing in the Dayton Daily News :

Alternate publishing: What should a writer do?

Many writers wonder about the various paths to publication. Is pursuing a traditional publisher the best route for their work, or should they consider the alternate paths that have become seemingly more accessible with the digital age?

Those alternate paths include publishing e-books (electronic books) or self-publishing print books with a company like Amazon.com or with a more traditional printer. I’ve received numerous e-mails about this subject and thought it was time to pursue the answer on behalf of interested Literary Life readers.

Well, the answer depends … on the work, the writer, the writer’s goals and interests, say two alternate publishing experts. They spoke at Books & Co. on Nov. 18 as part of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop’s (www.antiochwritersworkshop.com) on-going free mini-workshop series.

“The most important questions we ask writers are ‘why do you write’ and ‘who did you write this for,’ ” says David Braughler, publishing advisor for Greyden Press (www.greydenpress.com) in Dayton. “Truly thinking about honestly answering those questions helps writers focus on their goals.”

For example, a writer who has a specific target audience, or a specific goal, such as capturing expertise in a book that would be made available at speaking engagements, might do well with self-publishing. “Not every solution is right for every writer,” Braughler says.

His company helps authors with their work, from editing to cover design to printing; the cost to the author varies by project. Although Greyden also helps authors find distribution through online vendors such as Amazon.com, and finds “grassroots” opportunities for promotion such as signing booths for authors at local festivals, the bulk of marketing and distribution rests with the writers. That’s why, Braughler says, it’s so important to embark on this path with clear answer to those two all-important questions.

Read and learn more

Get the Writers Welcome Blog (WWB) on your Kindle :)))

Monday, November 19, 2012

The First Kindle Grew Amazon’s Appetites

Jeff Bezos introduces first Kindle
Nov. 19, 2007, in New York

Do you know the Kindle is 5 years old this month?

My first thought on learning this fact was "Damn, the Kindle has only been here for 60 months. Seems its been with us much longer --- Time flies faster when you get older!"

Let's take a look at a little Kindle history tonight --- how and why it (Kindle) came about AND most importantly what was the single magic trick that made it a success (after other such devices failed) --- and further how it '...expanded Amazon’s appetites and put it on an inevitable collision course with other high-tech heavyweights making a play to dominate the coming age of digital media. “It’s no longer about Virgin Media or Barnes & Noble (BKS),” said Scott Devitt, an analyst at Morgan Stanley. “It’s Apple and Google and Samsung and Microsoft..."'

Brad Stone, Businessweek, relates:

Five Years After the First Kindle, Amazon Girds for the Digital Fight

five years ago today— Amazon (AMZN) Chief Executive Jeff Bezos appeared before a group of journalists and publishing executives at the W Hotel in lower Manhattan to introduce something completely unexpected from a company widely thought of at the time as an online retailer: an electronic reading device. Oddly shaped, with a sluggish black-and-white screen and a jumble of angular buttons, the original Kindle resembled the unholy spawn of a calculator and a BlackBerry more than a revolutionary piece of hardware. Despite its peculiar design, the Kindle was easy to use and allowed owners to quickly download a book from Amazon’s vast catalog without connecting to a PC. That, it turned out, was the magic trick that not only transformed an industry but also Amazon’s own image in the eyes of the world.   There are certain moments in the history of technology that demand special acknowledgement. The introduction of the IBM PC in 1981 was such an inflection point, as was Microsoft’s (MSFT) rollout of Windows 95, which made computers accessible in many regular households. So was Apple’s (AAPL) introduction of the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, and probably even the iPad in 2010. The first Kindle belongs in that high-tech hall of fame. Code-named Fiona, the original Kindle was out of stock for much of its 15-month life but showed enough promise that the publishing world finally began to embrace the long-heralded promise of digital books. “I spent literally decades trying to get publishers to pay attention to e-books and I know how resistant they were to the idea,” says Tim O’Reilly, the founder of computer book imprint and conference organizer O’Reilly Media. “Most publishers just weren’t willing to move. Jeff made them all move, and he took a bold bet on hardware and got into a different business that didn’t necessarily play to Amazon’s strengths.”
Investors and even some consumers underestimated the impact of the Kindle, at least at first. A litany of similar e-readers had already flopped, including the Sony (SNE) Reader, which went on sale first in Japan and then received a tepid reception in the U.S. The Sony Reader had to be connected to a PC and had a limited selection of e-books. The Kindle was a stand-alone device that gave users instant access to Amazon’s catalog of 90,000 titles. Still, most analysts weren’t impressed. “The Kindle is the thing that I got most wrong in the whole history of digital change in publishing,” said Mike Shatzkin, CEO of publishing industry consulting firm Idea Logical. “I thought it wouldn’t work.”

Amazon was forced into inventing its electronic reading device. Selling physical books was its first business and at the time remained its best one. The company had also just watched Apple’s iPod and iTunes devastate traditional music retailers—and undermine its own business of selling CDs. Bezos knew what fate awaited industry incumbents, like Kodak, who were unable or unwilling to adjust their analog business models. Following the lessons of Harvard professor Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma almost as if they were recipes in a cookbook, Amazon spawned an independent subsidiary called Lab126 in faraway Silicon Valley and then went about systematically disrupting its own bookselling business.

Read and learn more

The WWB (Writers Welcome Blog) is available on Kindle :)))

Monday, November 12, 2012

Publishing Folk Just Don't Know - Or - U.S. Needs a Minister of Culture

Publishing Storm
There is a higher level (or should I say different level?) thought process (like insider trading) that goes on among publishing professionals in the current publishing industry upheaval. This is evident in tonight's post.

Markus Dohle, The likely CEO of the Penguin and Random House merger; Jonathan Galassi, publisher and
president of Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Ira Silverberg, a veteran editor (Grove/Atlantic, Serpent’s Tail) and agent (Sterling Lord Literistic) now serving as director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts, are some of the insiders giving us a birds eye peek inside the thinking and formative strategies of the besieged publishing pros.

, a former Los Angeles Times arts and culture writer, writes this for Salon.com:

Book publishing crisis: Capitalism kills culture

Publishing teeters as Random House and Penguin plan to merge. It's time for a government policy to protect the arts.

Around the same time a devastating hurricane smashed and flooded its way up the East Coast, leaving millions homeless or without power, another storm collided into a professional subculture based in New York City. While the second storm is only metaphoric, the transformation of publishing could have far-reaching consequences not only for those who work on Union Square, but for readers and writers across the English-speaking world.
As with Hurricane Sandy, it will take a little while to discern the long-term consequences of the Penguin and Random House merger, the news of which was somewhat obscured by the storm and the election. But the short-term impact is not pretty — and it follows other recent bad news from the books world. The Free Press, known primarily for smart, contentious nonfiction from Emile Durkheim and Francis Fukuyama but also the publisher of Aravind Adiga’s best-selling Indian novel “The White Tiger,” just collapsed. Several well-regarded editors are now out of jobs as the imprint is merged into Simon & Schuster.

The Penguin and Random House merger would join two of the largest and most successful publishers in English. It’s likely to be completed late next year, and the new company will control more than a quarter of the global book trade. The number of major publishing houses will go from six to five, with credible predictions that it could easily go down to three. (Some in publishing note grimly that the publishers chose to announce this on Monday, Oct. 29, a day when the storm – which saw many editors and agents stranded at friends’ and relatives’ houses, without phone connections or power — would make meaningful news coverage almost impossible.)

The get-big-or-go-home strategy may allow bulked-up publishers to stand up to Amazon, which has become the industry’s Goliath. “The book publishing industry is starting to get smaller in order to get stronger,” the New York Times judged.

Lke a lot of publishing folks, Jonathan Galassi, publisher and president of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, doesn’t know quite how to read all this. But it’s significant: “Publishing is going through a sea change,” he tells Salon. “It’s going to be different when it comes out.” Whatever else is happening, “It feels like a contraction to me.”

The likely CEO of the combined publisher, Markus Dohle, sent a cheery note to agents, authors and booksellers. “For us, separately and in partnership, it is and always will be about the books. Your books,” he wrote. And he told the Times that the merger will not lead to the shuttering of imprints; there was no talk of “redundant” employees. “The idea of this company is to combine the small company culture and the small company feeling on the creative and content side with the richest and most enhanced access to services on the corporate side.”

That, after all, is what they always say.

But the implications are larger. If you work in, say, journalism, or the music business, you’ve seen this kind of thing before: the erosion and then collapse of an industry, often after mergers and acquisitions announced with buzzwords – “synergy”! – or reassurances that new ownership means that nothing significant will change because, after all, we really value the kind of work you people do. Will publishing continue to slide, gradually, or will it fall apart, like newspapers – which have lost approximately a third of their staffs since the recession and seen advertising revenue sink to 1953 levels — and record labels – where annual sales of the top-10 albums have gone from over 60 million to about 20 million in roughly a decade. Members of the creative class have been here, and it hasn’t worked out real well for them.

“It’s really painful,” says Ira Silverberg, a veteran editor (Grove/Atlantic, Serpent’s Tail) and agent (Sterling Lord Literistic) now serving as director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts. ”I’m sure I’ll have tons of former colleagues looking for work, and they won’t find it. Regardless of what [executives] say, it’s going to be a smaller business.”

Read and learn more

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on Kindle :)))


Monday, November 5, 2012

Will Newspaper Publishing Survive? - Inside the Financials

What will be the future of newspapers?
Newspapers (and all print media for that matter) have come under attack from free online digital content (remember the initial destruction of the music industry?).

But, it looks like print newspapers have a path to survival. Ahhh, the intrigue --- AND it is provided by the digital world itself:)

I have reported on the newspaper industry previously on this blog and on the Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog. Please feel free to read for great background information.

Newspapers have apparently found a new source for making revenue other than by paid advertising.

The new revenue model and all the other inside numbers are provided neatly and in some depth in this article by SiHien Goh for Kapitall and also carried on the Insider Monkey:

Newspaper Industry – Renewed Hope?

In the last decade, the print media and newspaper industry have suffered tremendously from the onslaught of free online content that besieged the music industry. Not only did the proliferation of free online news outlets hit newspaper circulation, it also introduced a new form of advertising media that successfully competed against the industry for advertising revenue. Furthermore, the advent of cable television and its successful draw on both viewers and advertisers alike meant valuation of newspaper properties on the market have taken a substantial hit.

However, recent moves by famous investors to pick up shares of publicly-listed newspaper companies have raised a few eyebrows. In November 2011, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) bought the Omaha World-Herald Company for US$150 million – giving the famed value investor ownership of the World-Herald, six daily newspapers and several other weekly newspapers in Nebraska and Iowa. The move was surprising especially after Warren Buffett said in 2009 at Berkshire’s annual shareholding meeting that “we would not buy them [newspapers] at any price.” More recently, Buffett doubled down on his bet on the industry as he reached a deal with Media General Inc. to acquired 25 daily newspapers for another US$142 million in May 2012.

Is the market undervaluing the print media industry? Are publicly-listed newspaper companies [listed below] poised to increase in value? And more importantly, can opportunities in digital media stoke growth in the industry again? This article aims to shed some light on the current dynamics of the industry – its risks and its opportunities.

Briefly, the U.S. newspaper publishing industry includes more than 5,000 companies that make annual revenues of around US$35 billion. The industry is highly concentrated, with the top 50 companies controlling close to 80 percent of the market. Major companies include Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), the Tribune Company and The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT). Because newspapers were traditionally largely funded by advertisers rather than the sale of its product, the general health of the economy is a key driver in generating revenue from the industry.

In advertising, newspapers have done horribly in either attracting or maintaining its traditional revenue stream. In 2000, advertising spending on the internet and mobile devices made up only five percent of the domestic market while newspapers held a commanding share of 30 percent (US$49 billion) in the same category. 11 years later, newspapers’ share of advertising spending has plummeted to 12 percent (US$21 billion) while internet and mobile devices grew three fold and captured an 18 percent share. This decreasing share of newspaper advertising revenue is a concern especially because the advertising market in general has improved during the same time period.

Read and learn more

The WWB (Writers Welcome Blog) is available on Kindle :)))