Perfection in Publishing: No Excuses

noexcusesOur Fearless Leader, Stephen Hise, recently was featured on a blog talking about what it takes to be a successful indie writer. Or rather, what it takes to not be a successful indie writer. He points out all the places were a writer might fall short, either in expectation, attitude or in deed. One of the reasons an author might not do well is:

You are big on excuses.
Indie-land is a no-excuse zone. Don’t put out some typo-riddled book with a cheesy, amateurish cover and expect people to overlook its flaws just because you’re an indie. Help is out there. You can hire it or you can learn some new skills. You can even find folks who will help you get it right, or trade their services for something you do well.

This reminded me of something I read, oh, about 35 years ago in a photography magazine. I am a photographer in my spare time, sometimes professionally but mostly not. I had my own photography business ages ago—shot some weddings, shot some portraits, even won some awards. I used to read photo magazines religiously. I don’t now remember which magazine it was or who the author was, but I read this article about being a professional photographer. I will paraphrase what I read, or at least what I remember through the lens of all those years: Continue reading “Perfection in Publishing: No Excuses”

Every drunken man’s dream is a book

Anna Castle
Anna Castle

Guest post
by Anna Castle

Every month or so we get another outcry against self-published fiction. Some are aimed at the Beast of Amazon, destroyer of standards and scourge of literature, like George Packer’s bitter lament in The New Yorker (“Cheap words,” February 17, 2014) or Thad McIlroy’s anxious number-crunching on his blog (“How amazon destroyed the publishing ecosystem,” March 12, 2014.) Others, like Donald Maass, rail against self-publishing in general, on the grounds that it produces far more chaff than wheat (Writer Unboxed, “The new class system,” February 5, 2014.)

This dire transformation, this destruction of literature, is blamed on new technologies which have made it far too easy to produce a book, drastically lowering the necessary barriers to publication that have kept the riff-raff out for centuries.

I’m talking about the Internet, right? Continue reading “Every drunken man’s dream is a book”

Lessons I Learned in Publishing

Robin Tidwell

Guest post
by Robin Tidwell

For years, decades really, I’d been saying I was going to write a book. In fact, my family had always expected that I would, even when I was a child. As a teen, I submitted my share of drama-filled angst to magazines, and collected the usual rejections.

I started writing for websites, opinion and experience pieces mostly, and then more non-fiction and news articles. But it wasn’t until my husband and I opened our bookstore (2011-2014, RIP), that I finally got cracking on that book.

Naturally, it wasn’t The Great American Novel that I’d started a few years prior, but a dystopian suspense story fueled by a late-night salsa snack. Continue reading “Lessons I Learned in Publishing”

NewsBites: Now for Boys AND Girls

NewsBitesLive, from Dead Penguin studios, in the beautiful and scenic Indies Unlimited Deathstar, we are proud to present NewsBites.

All around the globe, while hard-working indie authors slave away at their keyboards, stuff is happening. We track down that stuff, beat it up, and take its lunch money.

So, grab a beverage and warm up your grimaces. Here are some things that recently occurred:

In the Telegraph, Lynne Truss writes an article questioning whether people really have any right to be protected from spoilers. She states:

Does anyone else think that all this pandering to other people’s elective ignorance is turning a bit sinister and disproportionate? It isn’t yet an enshrined human right to be protected against spoilers, is it?

I won’t tell you how her article ends, but I will say that I found it irritating to learn that a few people had read the last page of my novel, Upgrade,  to see how it turned out before beginning to read it. That’s different. Such readers are spoiling it for themselves. I don’t know if it is a reasonable expectation, in a society that could not keep the Manhattan Project secret, to believe we can be protected from hearing about the endings of books we might read, or may be in the middle of reading. Maybe one way to deal with it is to write books that ends in mid-sentence. What are your thoughts?

The fluttering death spiral of the NOOK continues, but is Microsoft working on its own e-reader app that will use NOOK content?

Amazon is raising the cost of Prime membership:

The retailer told the 25 million members of its Amazon Prime program on Thursday that it was increasing the annual fee for the two-day shipping service by 25 percent, to $99. The new price takes effect on the renewal dates for existing customers, starting April 17.

Will this impact indies? Of course it will – everything does. Indie titles are already so under-priced that many authors make more money from a loan under the Prime program than from an outright sale.

If you are having trouble slogging through a huge TBR pile, you may be heartened by an app that can facilitate speed-reading up to 1,000 words a minute. Now maybe reviewers can get to your books more quickly.

If you are a children’s author, you might want to be sure your books are not aimed at a specific gender. Waterstones, a handful of publishers, and a few poets I never heard of are among the 3,000 signators of a petition calling on children’s publishers to “stop labelling books, in the title or on the packaging, as for girls or for boys:”

The campaign is attacking titles such as Usborne’s Illustrated Classics for Boys, described by the publisher as “a collection of stories of action, adventure and daring-do [sic] suitable for boys”, while its Illustrated Stories for Girls contains “brand new stories about mermaids, fairies, princesses and dolls”.

I find this interesting because one of the standard questions authors are always asked by publishers or agents is, “Who is the intended audience for your book?”  Now, we can just say, “It’s none of your damn business.”

It’s no secret that print industry profits are buoyed in large part by the sales of textbooks at a very high markup. Well, big ink’s gravy train is pulling into its last station as digital books are replacing expensive print textbooks.

What if you could sell your books directly through your social media? Ron Martinez, founder of Aerbook, believes his company represents a nexus between social media marketing and e-commerce.

That ability to sell directly to consumers via social media is key to Aerbook’s utility, Martinez said. When a Facebook or Twitter user clicks on an Aerbook link in his or her timeline, it opens the Aerbook Cloud Reader, which can be used to read a sample chapter (or the entire book if the publisher chooses), share the excerpt, download it, or buy the book outright. The Aerbook Cloud Reader can be viewed on laptops and mobile devices, and publishers can use it to sell print or digital books.

Finally, the seventh seal has been broken. Keith Richards is writing a book for children. I know, right? The book is entitled Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar. Megan Tingley from Little, Brown said, “We are excited to be bringing this vivid and moving story to children and families…”

Vivid and moving are not words I generally associate with Keith Richards. Oh well, move over, Snookie. The celebrities-as-authors boat is getting crowded.

That’s it for now. Join us next time, as we take a look at Franklin W. Dixon’s newly re-branded series, The Hardy Children’s Mysteries.