Friday, May 29, 2009
Author: Leo Stableford
Point of Sale: http://www.lulu.com/content/255254
Matty's just like any guy in his late teens who's come out of a long relationship. He likes freedom but hates loneliness. Steve is just like any guy in his late teens who's never had a relationship. He wants one. Especially with the delectable Sara Fischer. Amanda is like any average two century old Lux Sanguis being stalked by a psychopathic Lux Lupus. She's sick of floating around and ready to fall in love. Forever. Jakob Karver is unlike many Lux Lupus in that he's a sociopath obsessed with murdering the daughter of the man who murdered his father. And if he has to grow fur and claws to do it, so much the better. When a story of teen romance and another of centuries old supernatural blood feuds collide the result is a mess that a bunch of racist werewolves, a group of romantically befuddled teenagers and a recently recommissioned Lux Sanguis soldier will take a whole summer of blood, love and vengeance to sort out.
I didn’t read this book. I bought if for my YA niece to read when she came up to visit with me. She liked it. The cover is less than spectacular, and the interior formatting needs a bit of work. As far as the writing or story is concerned, I can't make comment since I didn't read it. I am not a big fan of the genre. So, I hope the winner will let us know what they think. I heard the book has some rather bloody bits and some sex, so I would say NC-17 is the way to go here.
Leave a comment by midnight May 31, 2009. A winner will be drawn and announced on Monday June 1st. Good Luck to All.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Congratulations, your book has been selected for listing on Amazon.com's Marketplace! As a result, your book will now be easily found on the world's largest online bookseller.
There will be some differences between your listing on Lulu and your listing on Amazon. Amazon charges a fee to list your book, and in order to cover that cost your book will be listed with a 30% markup; however your royalty will remain the same, and your book's price on Lulu will not change. Furthermore, your book sales on Amazon will reflect in your Lulu account immediately. Lulu is committed to helping you increase your book's sales and we hope you enjoy the benefits of listing your book on Amazon.com.
Kind regards, Lulu
You are free to opt out of the program if you are not interested in the benefits associated with having your book listed on Amazon. To do so, please reply to this email with the Project ID of the book you wish removed.
Copyright © 2002-2009 Lulu, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
OK, now I am no genius when it comes to business decisions, but I am not mentally challenged either ... so, am I missing something here in this announcement from Lulu.com? Why would anyone in their right mind pay a 30% markup to buy a book from Amazon Marketplace when they can buy it cheaper from Amazon directly???? Were they eating hash-brownies at the executive brainstorming session? Lulu, if there is more to this rather lackluster marketing strategy, I wish you would enlighten us, and more importantly, enlighten your client base. Those who have paid for full distribution are not going to profit from this random marketing tactic. If it's for clients who haven't paid for distribution and just want to be listed on amazon, then why have you selected books already in distribution? I am sorry, help us out here with the logic. Thanks to Shannon over at LLBR for giving us the heads up. I am sure he will posting something about this as well.
See Also: (added by veinglory)
Lulu forum thread
Bibliofaction promises to be to the world of stories what Facebook is to friendship, Google to searching, and YouTube to home-made videos.
By combining new short stories with the best in accessible and user-friendly website design, reading and writing can once again become an engaging pastime for the internet generation.
Getting lost in a good read will soon be second nature to anyone who visits Bibliofaction.
"There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories." Ursula K. LeGuinStorytelling is one of the oldest art forms. It is hard-wired into human nature. We interact with stories everyday and Bibliofaction aims to harness this latent energy.
Anyone can have a go. Bibliofaction welcomes seasoned authors and new writers alike to the amazing world of storytelling. Our aim is to cultivate a friendly community in attractive online surroundings, where you’ll enjoy spending time with other members of the community. So, if you think you’ve got a story in you – and let’s face it, who hasn’t?
The site is nicely set up, easy to navigate, and splendidly designed: I didn't get that hokey self-pub feel at all. I would liken it to a Goodreads for short story writers. It's a non-paying social site for the most part, but it is another avenue for promotion. It has some author friendly areas as well: there is a book review section, an advice section, and a news section. It seems to be in Beta right now, but the selection is quite nice. If I find something I like, I might just review it on the peeps, not to mention that I have a few experimental shorts lying about with nothing to do and nowhere to go. -- c.anne.gardner
Monday, May 25, 2009
Publishing Acquisitions Pros
If there were a service designed to facilitate publisher searches of indie books, making it easy for them to find books that meet their specific needs, are well-reviewed and selling in respectable numbers, would you want your book to be listed with that service?
Read Full Announcement Here.
Enter the Publiteriat Vault: an Authonomy of sorts, without the American Idol voting system or the Publishing House backing. All in all, I think it's a terrific idea in theory. I assume they will catalog based on key words to get the most value from their search engine, which will mean that authors will have to be meticulous about wording their synopses. I will be be waiting patiently for the site to go live, and I am very interested in how they will drive traffic to the site. How will Acquisitions Editors know that this is the place to find what they are looking for? Stay Tuned. -- c.anne.gardner
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Thanks to Floyd over at Podbram, and I echo Floyd's concern. I hope this one outlasts the others we have given the welcome to of late.
One thing: I do particularly like the Strengths and Opportunities part of the review. Nicely Done. On an opportunities note, I feel submission guidelines should be outlined before the site goes live. As of this posting, the page states: coming soon. Maybe he had to get his toes in before he started compiling the list of dos and don'ts.
So, Welcome to you Boogle. I hope you have got that shiny armour I am always mentioning.
Friday, May 22, 2009
For Immediate Release
May 21, 2009
For over a year, the Lulu Book Review has been offering Lulu authors a chance to shine. With some exciting new changes, the site will now reach out to more indie authors and do it in style. In March of 2008, the site started offering reviews for Lulu authors, insight to the self-publishing industry, and news and opinions devoted to all things POD (Print on Demand). Starting in May 2009, The Lulu Book Review will now be called The LL Book Review. Our new domain is www.llbookreview.com, which reflects the inclusion of authors publishing with Createspace.com and Wordclay.com. The site has been completely revamped to be easier to navigate and use.
The reviewers at LL Book Review are fellow indie authors who have published and promoted their own books and want to give back to the community. As always, reviews are provided free of charge. Reviews will now include a link to the author’s website and a link to a preview of the book if applicable. LL Book Review will also be reviewing poetry again due to Lulu.com’s recent purchase of the poetry.com domain. Our one stipulation for poetry reviewing is that the book must be available on Amazon. Authors will still be required to post a query on our Pick Me! tab to be considered for a review.
The new site features a scrolling marquee at the top displaying the latest six posts. Below the marquee, browsers will find more recent posts with older posts divided by categories below that. All posts can also be accessed by clicking on the various tabs across the top. The sidebar and blogroll have been revamped and still include our indie brothers and sisters (Please update your blogrolls and links to include the new domain!). All reviews are now divided into categories by genre. Other posts are also categorized by subject material, such as news, interviews, and opinions, making the new site much more user friendly.
Welcome to the new LL Book Review!
We here at the peeps wish Shannon and his team a heartfelt congrats. It's nice to have another review site in it for the long-haul. Thanks LL Bookreview.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
It's similar to the so-called 'vanity publishing model, where people can self-publish their own books by submitting a manuscript, and letting the firm handle the physical publishing and distribution. In Scribd's case, there is no physical book for them to have to put together. You simply can post your work (and after assuring the site that you are the copyright holder), and sell it for a price you name as an e-book/article/manuscript.
Scribd also lets you set distribution rules, and lets you create versions that could be read on the Amazon Kindle or other devices. The New York Times and other publications are also sharing their thoughts today on the new store.
Of course, the site plans to keep its free documents repository going as well.
Read Full Article Here.
Looks like Smashwords might have some competition. I only see good things in this; however, I really wish these sites didn't look so hokey. To me, they just scream self-publishing, and not in a good way. But then again, a lot of booksites look hokey to me. Come to think of it, the only booksite I like as far as web aesthetics is Barnes and Noble. Abe Books is good too. We always talk about presentation when it comes to self-published books, so I think this applies to the Indie bookselling websites, as well. Lulu might have its issues, but it is one the best DIY/self-publishing/bookselling sites out there as far as site design is concerned. -- c.anne.gardner
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I have been asked fairly often, "What do you read besides review books?" Well, I have a Goodreads page and an Amazon page where I review and rate traditionally published books, but I thought I might share some of that over here as well. We are all readers as much as we are writers, and discussing literary tecnique is one of the many things we do here at the peeps.
Over the weekend, burdened with a particularly heinous bout of insomnia, I finished the book. The take on vampirism was indeed unique, one of the best I have read, but that wasn't what struck me most about the "story." This was as far from traditional storytelling as one can get, and would probably have lesser experienced literary critics up in arms. There is only one traditional scene to speak of and that doesn't appear until the very end of the book, which is only 143 pages in total. Dialog is practically non-existent for the exception of two interviews between patient and psychologist, and the remaining narrative is completely exposition. As far as character arc goes, well, don't look for growth here. The monster is created and subsequently remains a monster.
There are a lot of different telling techniques used here to great effect. The book begins with a series of letters back and forth between a couple of Army psychologists who have initially conflicting views on a patient by the name of George Smith. Smith was thrown into lock-up for punching an officer who had become alarmed by a letter Smith had attempted to send home to his girlfriend. The book then flows into a third person narrative of George's life, written by George as instructed in the course of this therapy. Everything seems pretty standard fare for an abused backwoods undereducated -- possibly mentally retarded -- child. But ... nothing should be taken at face value here. Intuition plays a huge role in this story. The intuition of one psychologist who wouldn't give up digging until George's pathology, in all it's horror, is finally laid bare. We don't even know what the letter to his girlfriend said until the very end of the book. Every move each character makes is based on gut instinct. Everyone is speaking in code, hiding and yet revealing their intent at the same time. This is what gives the book its brilliance, not the gripping action, of which there is almost none, but the characterization. The style is very reminiscent of Stoker's Dracula, and George Smith was nothing less than Frankenstein.
Put all your notions of storytelling aside and pick this one up. Its nature is entirely subliminal versus visceral, and it strikes to the core. Very frightening, and yet in the end, disgusted, our sense of humanity shattered, we can't help but feel for George.
Cheryl Anne Gardner
Monday, May 18, 2009
Misreading the end of literary culture
We should not rue the passing of a bookish golden age that never existed.
"I reorganised my books last week. In the course of culling and re-ordering a chaotic library I found myself pondering some recent myths about books.
These myths, I noted, are all the more potent right now thanks to the internet and ebook revolution. Nostalgia has become a default position for every book-lover – and why not? Today, every Luddite is inclined to locate the golden age in the 1960s and 70s, a time of plenty when Old Style Publishing was at its zenith. Looking back to those glory days, it's difficult not to fall prey to the persuasive allure of at least five myths." Read Full Article Here.
With all the media spin about the "Indie Book Revolution" ruining literature as we know it, I thought this article offered a bit of much needed perspective. -- c.anne.gardner
LOS GATOS, Calif., May 5 /PRNewswire/
Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/), an ebook publishing platform and online bookstore that launched one year ago to serve self-published authors, today expanded its focus to serve publishers as well.
Smashwords helps book publishers make the transition to ebooks, and offers an attractive alternative to traditional online retail outlets because it pays publishers 85 percent the net proceeds from sales of their titles. Ebooks are sold to customers DRM-free and multi-format, making them readable on any e-reading device.
The first publisher to take advantage of the new Smashwords publisher solution was eXcessica Publishing, an indie e-publisher of quality erotica. eXcessica now publishes nearly 200 titles with Smashwords from 61 authors. About twenty small independent publishers have beta tested the new Smashwords publisher solution over the last three months.
"Smashwords represents the future of ebook publishing, distribution and retailing," said Selena Kitt, president of eXcessica Publishing. "Their publisher-friendly royalty structure recognizes that ebook publishers deserve more favorable terms than offered by conventional ebook retailers. Smashwords backs their so-easy-even-your-mother-could-use-it publishing platform with super-responsive support that enhances the reading experience for our customers."
The Smashwords service is free to publishers. Each publisher is provided a custom-branded online bookstore, and can list an unlimited number of ebook titles from an unlimited number of authors. Publishers gain access to numerous free promotion and selling tools offered by Smashwords, including the popular Smashwords Coupon Generator which makes it easy to run creative promotions across online social networks, blogs and web sites.
"Smashwords makes it easy for publishers to publish, promote and sell their ebooks," said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. "Publishers simply upload their books as Microsoft Word .doc or .RTF files and we automatically convert them into multiple ebook formats, ready for immediate sale online at a price set by the publisher. Our books are also distributed in the native catalog of Stanza, the popular e-reading app used by over 1.5 million iPhone and iPod Touch owners to read ebooks."
Prior to Smashwords introducing a publisher solution, publishers had difficulty listing titles with Smashwords because the service was architected for individual self-publishing authors, as opposed to multi-author publishers.
How Publishers Can Register
The Smashwords Publisher program is open to any publisher of more than two authors or pen names. To register, simply visit Smashwords.com, click join, and then follow the instructions. For an overview of publishing options, visit http://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords
Smashwords to Launch Affiliate Marketing Program
In the coming weeks, Smashwords is preparing to release a new affiliate marketing program that will allow publishers, authors, third party online marketers and specialty bookstore operators to receive generous commissions on Smashwords ebooks, simply by sending book buyers to Smashwords titles. Authors and publishers who opt to participate in the affiliate program will receive up 70.5 percent net royalties, and affiliates will earn 11 percent or more.
About Smashwords, Inc.
Launched in 2008, privately held Smashwords operates an ebook publishing platform and online book store for independent ebook authors, publishers and their readers. The free service puts authors and publishers in full control over the publishing, pricing and marketing of their works. In addition to receiving exposure to hundreds of thousands of potential readers on the Smashwords web site and via distribution on Stanza, authors and publishers receive up to 85% of the net proceeds from sales of their works. For readers, Smashwords offers the opportunity to discover exciting new voices in fiction and non-fiction. Smashwords, Inc. is based in Los Gatos, California, and can be reached on the web at http://www.smashwords.com/. Visit the official Smashwords blog at http://blog.smashwords.com/
Friday, May 15, 2009
Author: Shannon Yarbrough
Genre: Literature/Contemporary/GLBT Romance
Publisher: TOSOW Publishing
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed By: Cheryl Anne Gardner
The Blurb: What's more important? A perfect cup of coffee or a perfect date? Blaine -- a photo taking, obsessive compulsive, coffee barista -- steals money out of fountains and can't find a date. Obsessed with the number 32, Blaine blames his lack in love as the reason for his habits. Everyday is timed and in sync to Blaine's magic number! When his friend Sallie sets him up on a date, Blaine is convinced that Edward, the new love interest, will cure his compulsions. But when Blaine discovers they have nothing in common, complications ensue. Auden, an artsy tattooed coworker, tells Blaine about a local photo contest, so Blaine sets out to capture a winning snapshot. Just as Blaine thinks he has his illness beat, his unvarying world spirals out of control when he skips part of his daily routine, ultimately making Blaine realize that Mr. Right has been in front of him the whole time. STEALING WISHES is a caffeinated romantic comedy with cream and sugar! Every reader will relate to Blaine's obsessive outlook on life.
I agree with the blurb. I liked Blaine instantly. Blaine, a self-proclaimed man of no opinion, a man searching for life’s great metaphor only to find a thousand clichéd similes, and his slapped by reality philosophy made me throw my hands in the air and want to be his fag-hag. I really do hate that term, but you get the point. I felt comfortable with him straight away and have probably uttered of few of the same words in my day. He is bit insecure and more than a bit obsessive, very melodramatic, and the narrative, just like Blaine’s mind, tends to meander off on irrelevant tangents. I found it quite amusing.
Now I don’t know much about the barista life -- I don’t visit coffee shops -- but I assume that any service industry job can be challenging, though I don’t agree that caffeine is the last legal drug, unless this book is science fiction of some sort, which it isn’t. But this is Blaine, and his logic can be exasperating at times, and I quote: “And that’s just coffee. I haven’t mentioned the mochas, lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. When you add a shot of espresso to milk or water, a chemical reaction takes place creating a new Italian-sounding name that is somehow responsible for dividing customers into social classes.” Yes, Blaine has quite the disturbed logic about everything -- flamboyant and disturbed.
The narrative is relaxed first-person conversational style, which is mostly a telling style. I like story telling, and Blaine is eccentric, so who better to tell a story. I warmed up a cup of hot chocolate and settled in for a rather sentimental, albeit colourful, romance.
Blaine is a coffee shop barista and his boss and friend, Sallie -- self-proclaimed bi-sexual -- frequent the bar and nightclub scene. I have had many a gay man best friend in my day, so I could relate warmly to the bond Sallie and Blaine share: it was authentic. With the sexual tension removed, friends can just hang and be friends. Intimacy and depth abound here, and the friend-scapade evenings include some cliché gay nightclub references, but even Queer as Folk had Babylon, so I let it slide. The book is definitely not TV sit-com gay, and what I really liked about the story was the initial one of many metaphors. How a photograph compares to our rather unreliable memory. How even a photograph, a still image in time, can be just as subjective as the snapshot in our head. Nice angle, nice message, but the even nicer more romanticised message lies within the title; however, I won’t spoil it. For Blaine, for someone who needs routine and logic, for someone who needs a hard and fast record of history, this reality poses some issues. The camera recording every mistake you make in your life is not a nice thought, so there is a lot of inward reflection here, and I like that. I am a reader who likes internal action more than a suspenseful plot with shit blowing up. I like to feel humanity, and in Stealing Wishes, we get that, we more than get that. Blaine is honest, even when openly discussing his thoughts on his own sexuality. It’s the honesty that endears us to his character. He is just a man, a young man struggling with life, love, sex, and obsession, and when Sallie meets a man, things begin to unravel for Blaine.
“Maybe he likes frosting,” she says?
Maybe he likes kitchen knives and handcuffs. I couldn't fathom going on a date with someone without first asking for a resume, reference check, and a urine sample. Sure, I'd be willing to sleep with them without the urine sample first, but a date is a commitment.”
Blaine is a consummate people watcher, and a people creator, so we get a full cast of characters, from Auden, the punk-rock art graduate to every kook and duke-in-a-suit that could possibly wander into a coffee shop. Every stereotype is represented: bull-dykes to Horst the g-string German bartender. While the plotline is a common theme, you know where the story is going because Blaine isn’t subtle. His obsessive behaviour has infiltrated every aspect of his life from his daily routine to his hobby, from his pummelling narrative style to his relationships with others -- casual or intimate. When Blaine latches onto an idea, he goes full blown manic about it. Everyone and everything has to fit into Blaine’s world -- a world fabricated completely within his own head and divisible by the number 32, and if he can’t make it fit, jealousy, paranoia, resentment, and pining guilt ensue. The imaginary scenarios he creates are frightening and hysterical at the same time; and this is simply because Blaine’s sarcasm is snarky but not snarky enough to put you off. Sometimes, he is just so damn funny in a reality sucks sort of way you can’t help but giggle aloud. I giggled a lot.
“Is he cute?”
“Does it matter?” Sallie asked, paying the bill.
“He’s very cute. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.”
I think I’d be more surprised if he turned out to be a troll. I’d wonder what in the hell was Sallie thinking trying to set me up with some ugly guy like that. I don’t want to be surprised. I want to be elated.
And then this one...
“Test it out. Take my picture,” Edward said outside.
He straightened his shirt, checked his teeth in the rearview mirror of his car, and asked how his hair looked. I felt like a fool standing there while he primped. I laughed to myself with the thought of the camera breaking when I snapped his photo.
“Be sure to print a copy of that for me if it looks okay,” he said in the car as we drove away.
I’m sure it looked just fine. I’d left the lens cap on, purposely this time.
And then, sadly, here is the real reality of life for Blaine...
Few gay men see a one month anniversary, much less one week. One month is one year in gay years.
I noticed some minor formatting issues in the PDF download, and the fiddly editorial faux pas noticeably muddle the writing. I stumbled here and there, and there was a minor inconsistency or two, but it was nothing too egregious to ruin the story for me, and it’s nothing an objective editorial eye couldn’t clean up. My big issue is that I would have liked if the other characters had been fleshed out a bit more. They seemed a bit contrived because they were so thin, and I think Auden’s story could have been expanded a great deal. He was beautiful and interesting, but he seemed reduced to a catalyst. Like Blaine’s obsessive need to turn everything into a metaphor of some sort, he obsessively needed to “tell” the story: I understood that, but I, personally, would have liked more interaction, more backstory and more voice, from the other characters.
Other than that, the plotline plays out smoothly. Sallie sets Blaine up on a blind date, and we all know about blind dates. The agony of being with someone who is obviously not right for you is almost as unbearable as the loneliness, but this inevitably leads into the main character epiphany and the derailed but rather sentimental and bittersweet ending, which I will let Blaine explain: “Consequences. They can change everything, including what I’ve set up here for you as a no guess happy ending. I know. I know. I spoon fed you this cutesy lil romance story, and it’s probably not fair that I’m about to tell you how it all goes astray. I’m even warning you that it’s going to get off track. But I don’t like surprises. And remember. Obsessive compulsives don’t like change, especially when it fucks with their routine. So blame me.”
Overall, I was very impressed with the subliminal aspects of the story: the symbols, the metaphors, and especially the non-traditional ending. I just had a few issues with the delivery and that affected the score somewhat. Some structural editing and a bit more character development would have made this near perfect in the genre. If you are looking for a feel-good quirky romance, an eccentric yet insightful main character, some real life truths, and a good dose of sarcasm and existential rumination to boot, this story is for you. I would say it’s a gay man Reality Bites.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
By Rachel Deahl -- Publishers Weekly, 5/14/2009 7:50:00 AM
In its most significant foray into publishing, Amazon has acquired world English rights to a self-published novel by a midwestern teenager called Legacy. The acquisition is the first for the e-tailer's newly launched publishing banner, AmazonEncore. Amazon is re-releasing the fantasy title, in hardcover, in August. The book, by Cayla Kluver, is part of a planned a trilogy--it was published under the banner Forsooth Books, founded by Kluver and her mother--and, according to Amazon, is the first in a currently unknown number of titles from AmazonEncore.
Read Full Article Here. And the Article on Amazon and Blog Publishing for Kindle Here.
Yup, we can all nod our heads now, cause we knew this was coming. And really, is it such a bad thing. Seems Amazon wants a piece of the slush-pile too in this slightly altered version of Authonomy. Why not let the retail book giant have a spot on the playing field. A monopoly just won't fly, we know that and so does Amazon, and if it helps Indie authors, I am all for it. My experience with Amazon, as far as my own imprint goes, has been exceptional. My book buying experience with them since their inception has been exceptional, what's to say they won't do well in this, their latest endeavour. Maybe they can work something out with IndieReader.
Cheryl Anne Gardner
1) "... we will promote, market and sell your book on the premier, Indies-only website."
2) "The fact is, self-published authors know it's a rough world out there. They get no respect from publishers and little attention from consumers."
Oh, the poor little me mantra. So if consumers pay no attention, how is putting all the books in one place going to change that?
3) "I think that it's stupid and unfair to brand an entire category of books as crap, just because the "traditional" publishing industry doesn't embrace it."
I think that is a straw man argument.
4) "IndieReader is part of a vast sea change in publishing."
Somebody drank the Koolaid... and has a large punch bowl.
5) "Why will the world welcome IndieReader.com? People are naturally drawn to what’s unique and genuine, be it Indie movies, Indie music...or Indie books."
The 'if you build it, they will come' argument. The equal and opposite truism being 'on the internet no-one can hear you scream'.
6) "The fee for inclusion is $149 per year, but if you sign up prior to IR's going live (in early June) we are offering a discounted rate of $99 per year."
Okay, so 25% off the top and a flat fee that would cause most "indie" books to run at a loss=sudden and complete loss of interest.
7) "However, good books must be in good company, and so we reserve the right to exclude books that don’t meet certain standards of quality, both in terms of basic spelling and grammatical errors and content."
Heh, isn't this the key irony? In order to raise quality standards you have to do the very thing "traditional" publishing is denigrated for doing? (i.e. be selective in one's embraces, see 3 above).
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
From United Hemispheres 5/1/2009
Author Willa Paskin Photography Rodrigo Corral
The Price Is Write
NOT SO LONG AGO, self publishing was a dirty word. For the serious literary artiste, there was only one route to success. First, you’d find an agent to submit your proposal — or perhaps a finished book — to the major publishing houses. Then, with any luck, an editor would take the bait, treat you to a few boozy lunches (preferably at the Four Seasons), fork over a hefty advance and enlist the marketing department to propel your masterpiece onto best seller lists. Most self-respecting authors would sooner have used their manuscripts to line hamster cages than turn them over to a vanity press, traditionally viewed as the last resort of the vain, the foolish and the hopelessly amateur. But as an increasingly mercurial economy forces the publishing industry to rethink its modus operandi, book deals (not to mention advances, lunches and expensive publicity pushes) are becoming harder to come by — and self publishing suddenly seems reputable. Read Full Article Here.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Don't forget, if you see the podpeople "Peas" logo on any post, make sure to leave a comment and Claim Your Free Mystery Book. See details on the side panel: first one to comment wins, so watch for our new logo.
9. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
8. The Devil in the Flesh Raymond Radiguet
7. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
6. In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust
5. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
4. The picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
3. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
2. Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
1. Doctor Zhivago Boris Pasternak
Monday, May 11, 2009
POD books and Information Overload
By Phil Elmore
Posted: April 30, 2009
The smells of desperation and need were heavy in the air as I stepped into the community room of my local library. I hadn't realized what it meant when I saw the sign, taped to the elevator door in the parking garage, that said, "Welcome, Authors!" As it turned out, my library was hosting local self-published authors to help them promote their work. [...] I had broken the first rule of shopping for books: Never, ever make eye contact with a self-published author promoting his work.
Remove the gatekeepers and we simply produce ream after further ream of garbage through which consumers must sift to find the content that suits them. While some self-published authors do make it, and even see their first POD works go on to be printed by "real" companies, this is rare. The majority of POD authors' work is chaff, often incompetently written and frequently poorly edited. It gives the POD industry a bad name and makes the majority of POD authors look like what they are – writers who lack the talent, the ambition, or the connections to get published "for real."
Read Full Article Here.
I know, we have heard all this before. No Ra Ra Ra in this article, that's for certain, but all opinion is welcome, and it gives Indie authors something to prove wrong, eh? -- Cannegardner
Sunday, May 10, 2009
By Wendy Werris -- Publishers Weekly, 4/30/2009 7:41:00 AM
“Writing and reading are doing just fine. It’s the intermediaries that are failing,” commented Nash, referring to ineffective supply chain management among publishers. That supply chain needs to deal with 300,000 books published annually, which led Nelson to two points. “This is a gatekeeper issue,” she said. “We simply publish too many books. We need more midlist novels and less of the celebrity books that challenge the bottomline of publishing conglomerates. The supply chain is broken. In the 20th century you got books to distributors and they got books into stores, and reps from publishers into stores telling buyers what to order... that doesn’t work anymore. The more you publish, the more overwhelming it is, and you need somebody to help you through the morass of choices. Goodreads is one of those gatekeepers.”
"Chandler then noted that because of blogs and additional book Web sites, people can more easily find – and buy – the books they like, which is also advantageous to writers."
Read Full Article Here.
So, we know that bookshare sites are advantageous to writers. I have spoken to many authors who have had success with Goodreads. Why, because it's a social site that offers reviews and commentary by other readers in an interactive setting. Book blogs come and go on the Internet, review blogs come and go even faster, so what makes an Indie book review site attractive to potential readers and authors? It's about making connections, so I suppose it's about good old fashioned reputation building, a long and arduous process, one which can only be accomplished with time; patience; a knowledgeable staff, offering engaging commentary; and of course, good honest reviews, the best of the best, and lots of them. Trust isn't an easy thing to come by, and a good book blog has to gain reader trust just like a journalist would. We here at the podpeople, like many of our colleagues in the indie book blog world, are authors ourselves. Our hands are dirty from doin' grunt-work in the field. When we talk shop, we know of what we speak. We check our facts, and we stand by our assessments and our opinions. I think this again goes back to David Louis Edelman's article: What do authors want from reviewers? In my opinion those 10 commandments are what gives a review blog street cred. -- Cannegardner
Friday, May 08, 2009
Title: Culloden Tales
Author: James McCormack
Genre: short stories, historical fiction
Price: $8.50 (paperback) $2 (download)
Point of Sale: Lulu
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
Culloden Tales is an interesting series of interconnected short stories. It’s a terribly brief work, clocking in at a mere 61 pages, and the stories in the book are of uneven quality. Overall, I found the book enjoyable, but I hope that the author continues to work on it.
The book opens with the short story Culloden Lovers, which tells the story of two young lovers in Scotland during the last great anti-British uprising, that of Bonny Prince Charles in 1745. The author’s spare writing style well-used in this touching story. There is one fly in the ointment – a character (Andrew) appears without any introduction, which can be especially jarring in the short form.
The next story in the collection, Campfires, is closely related, telling as it were the other half of what happened in Culloden Lovers. It’s interesting, but suffers a bit from the attempt to compress a lot of time – nearly the entire uprising – in only a few pages.
In the science fiction world, a lot of classic SF tales are “fix-ups;” related short stories combined into novel length. The middle story, Bonnie Charles, which is set in modern times, was my first indication that creating a lash-up was McCormack’s goal. Bonnie Charles is the hinge story, the point about which the plot swings. It’s also the longest story, yet the least compelling of the tales.
Loch Lomond and Flight from Culloden return us to the events of 1746, and my complaint about both of these stories is that they are two short. McCormack’s prose is spare, but almost too much so – a bit of description and color would be wonderful. The last story, entitled 300 Years Later, puts a very nice bow on this collection.
Overall, I found Culloden Tales an interesting work, and the historical period covered is one overlooked by a lot of historical fiction. If the work suffers from anything, it’s the exceptional brevity of both the volume and the individual stories.
This is going to be a long one today, so settle in, but don’t have that bran muffin just yet!
This week I ran across two interesting and heated discussions: one over on Nathan Bransford’s site and the other over on Writer Beware. Both caused a mêlée in the comments section, but for me, the whole situation only had me shoving a pencil up my nose to scratch my brain in confusion.
Now I don’t think Nathan was trying to draw a line between who is a writer and who isn’t. I believe his point had more to do with crossing the line: when a writer’s obsession becomes more about the title, or label, than the act of writing in itself. On Writers Beware, we take that a bit further as the post there seems to be all about assigning and defining titles/labels, which digressed, yet again, into the arguing of semantics when it comes to who exactly is self-published/Independent or not.
My point with all this is: Why on earth does anyone give a frosty crap what we call ourselves? Indie, starving artist, delusional idiot, misfit, anarchist, sucker born this minute, masochist, drinker with a writing problem ... Why on earth do people friggin’ care so much how we define ourselves as authors?
So I am wondering, who does it actually affect in the long run??? It certainly doesn’t affect most of those discussing the issue with such fervour. So whom does it affect then? Well, it affects us: The Indie, self-published, subsidiary/vanity published authors; the authors not published by a traditional press in the traditional way with the traditional business model; the authors who are just trying to do what we love and are just trying to do it the way we want to.
The traditional business of publishing will go on with or without us, so we are told, and I actually believe that, which leads me to my next idiotic question: If we are insignificant and don’t really affect anything or anyone, why would anyone else care what we call ourselves? Why do these discussions take place at all, and what purpose do they serve? Are we eroding some label law that I wasn’t aware of? Are we some sort of infectious waste that must be labelled to protect the public? Makes you wonder, eh?
I guess it’s good to clarify the semantics for authors who are thinking of going Indie, or whatever, and have no general knowledge of the industry’s legal subtleties. I can accept that, if that truly is the intent of such discussion: to educate, not to ridicule. If not, then I don’t see the point really. So, for the sake of semantics, I will clarify my own opinion.
In my personal opinion, and this is based upon my own twisted logic, Independent Author (not press) equals Self-Published Author. Allow me to elaborate:
Independent, according to the dictionary, has many varied meanings, but for the purpose of this discussion we can use two all inclusive points: 1. An entity (author) not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself. 2. Executed or originating outside a given unit, agency, business, etc. In this case, an author who operates outside of the established publishing business model. We all know what the established business model is: some label that Traditional Publishing.
Self-Published authors are Independent because the burden of responsibility falls entirely upon the Author's shoulders. Now I am not talking financial burden exclusively here, I am speaking of the Decision Making Burden. The Self-Published Author makes all the decisions, every step of the way, including these top 10:
1. You, the author, decide how, when, and where to outsource, meaning what third party providers to pay or not to pay for whatever services they happen to offer. This includes the choice of Venue -- be it Subsidiary/Vanity Press, DIY site, or the creation of one's own imprint -- and it also includes what services you choose to pay for such as editing, cover design, marketing, PR, web hosting, distribution, ISBNs, etc., or what software you choose to invest in to do it all yourself.
2. You decide what research to do or not to do on any of the above.
3. You decide what rights to sign over or not: ignorantly, naively, savvy or otherwise.
4. You decide how to market your title.
5. You decide how to represent yourself, i.e. your brand or public image.
6. You decide how, when, and where to interact with your readers.
7. You decide the level of monetary investment and where that money comes from.
8. You decide the level of time investment.
9. You decide the level of sweat investment.
10. You decide the level of angst and shame you wish to be burdened with for the mistakes you make along the way.
So, to recap, if you, the author, publish your book following the definitions of Independent listed above, and you, exclusively, made every single one of those 10 listed decisions when it came to down the publishing process, then you are an Indie Author.
Some argue that authors who do everything themselves from imprint to back cover are somehow the true Independents and those who pay for services are not. I don’t see it that way at all. Unfortunately, unless you have a printing company in your basement and a legion of elves who just happen to be qualified PR and Marketing reps, every Independent author has to pay someone for something, whether it’s an upfront payment or a cut of the profit on the backend: It’s called outsourcing, and it’s a viable business decision. Some authors just don’t have the skill set to get “in it” up to their eyeballs, but that doesn’t make them any less Independent or any less passionate about what they are doing. 100% cotton or a blend, it doesn’t really matter, unless you have allergies.
That to me is the definition of an Independent Author. It's about who makes the decisions, nothing more. It's all you baby, and that includes what to call yourself, so choose wisely. From now on, I think I will label myself a literary turnip, but if it doesn't look good on my business cards, I'll change it. In the end, label yourself; no one else has the right to do it for you. Ironically, Indie authors are not Pod People.
FYI: Irish Writer Brendan Behan was, to quote: “The drinker with the writing problem.”
Thursday, May 07, 2009
In any event, storytelling is storytelling, and I love discussing art, in any form, so this week I am going to share my thoughts on the film as well as my friend’s, using conversational format -- I have edited out any personal references from the emails for privacy. For a little background, my friend -- a painter and a graphic artist by trade -- and I have known each other since we were 17 years old, back when I was painting more than I was writing. We share similar artistic inclinations, proclivities, and preferences, so I found it interesting that we would have such a diametrically opposed view. I suppose that is my point this week as well: Every reader should seek their own interpretation of a book. Reviews are nice. The technical critique is helpful, but in the end, a review should rouse interest but never influence. Even if it differs from the Artist's intent, everyone has the right to his or her own interpretation. It is one of the great joys of being human -- our innate ability for thoughtful analysis.
Within the Vampire genre -- of which I am well versed -- this was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. The plot line is your standard cliché vampire seeks companion fare, so it’s predictable at the onset. The bloodshed is above average, so it’s not for the squeamish, and they kept the vampire trick pony stuff to a minimum, which was appreciated. There is only so much smoke, flame, fangs, and adult sexual enterprise that I can stand. I like a bit more of a Jungian view of this monster, if you will. So, what did actually impress me about the film? Well, it was all about the character depth and the subtle albeit twisted motivations behind the story. Mind you, the two main characters are 12 year olds. So, without further ado, our email discussion:
Cheryl Anne -- Subject: I watched “Let the Right One In” last night ...
I liked it. From a plotting standpoint, it was pretty standard fare, and the end was a little implausible for me.
Now, from a psychological standpoint, it was brilliant. I loved how Oskar and Eli were mirrors to each other. Eli was the instinctual, the feral, and Oskar was the innocence, both the missing part of each other. I like that they kept Eli dirty, very primitive, despite her true age. And Oskar, good lord, could they have picked a better actor for that part. His trembling pouty little lip, his snow-white hair, and I loved that his nose was running all the time, but he had a steely resolve that was frightening, and she had a naive sensitivity about her when she was with him that was unsettling. It was hard to tell who was the dweller at the threshold and who was the angel. That was what was so brilliant. The rest of the film, like I said, standard vampire fare.
I didn’t say the movie was perfect, but I liked the tautness. And I think she was luring and scamming him to be her new caretaker from the moment she got there.
Really??? I didn't get that from Eli at all. I mean, after the demise of her caretaker, it was fairly obvious how the plot was going play out, but, she seemed perfectly capable of taking care of herself. I didn't see the con-job there at all, especially since she left Oskar first. I saw a need for each other, that's all, an innocent need. I think that's what touched me so much. He wasn't even obligated, since he saved her life first, so the retribution by the pool was even-steven. I also liked how they kept the cliché vampire trick pony shit to a minimum. I did like what happened when she went into his apartment and he hadn't asked her to. That's what convinced me it was a sincere bond. She could have died, so both their faith was tested. Good stuff. Your jaded. :)
Ok, I’m sure there is a bit of misogyny, but what I saw was that the fellow we originally regard as her father was, from the start, an emotionally stunted man, whose life, like Oskar's, came to a screeching halt at 12. He clearly ceased his education, his interaction, his growth of any kind when she brought him into her service. The contrast between her berating him for failing to kill for her adequately and her tone with Oskar struck me as nothing so much as bait on a very barbed hook. She clearly divined that the older fellow was outliving his usefulness, becoming a husk from all he had seen and done. When he pleads with her NOT to go "see that other boy tonight" as he goes out to serve her, the callous nature of her refusal to dignify his request struck me. I guess that’s what I saw. Clearly, at her age, she has been through many many concubines, and she chose not to 'turn' him but keep him as a servant. One wonders if Oskar will fair better, I suspect not.
I saw the other "man" -- although he was probably a boy as well when he met her simply because he used the term "other boy" -- as being weak willed, definitely subservient, and a bungler, no less. But I didn't see that in Oskar, and clearly she took a different tone with him. Oskar took that beating with the switch and didn't even flinch. Walked home in his undies in the freezing cold versus putting the urine soaked pants on, challenged her resolve to enter his apartment ... not to mention, he didn't even struggle during the drowning. Impressive. Much much stronger, I saw an older soul in Oskar than I did in the other man. So, I felt if Oskar became anything for her, it was a companion not a lackey. I saw a respect there.
Possibly -- I’m conjecturing on the result of such an isolated life that the other guy led. I disagree that I could see Oskar in the same trap. Personally, I’d tell her to turn me or eat my garlic-laced shit. If she actually liked Oskar, she would be a real companion ... y’know, based on some kind of equality. I might keep a bird or a chicken as a pet, but neither of us would ever forget that at the end of the day it’s just food. And when pets die or get cancer and piss on the rug, too often we euthanize them, like she did to the old man, like, I bet she will do to Oskar. If he was a real emotional kindred she would make him equal, not a pig that cooks pork roll sandwiches.
I love people who make up their own speculative endings. It just kills me. In the end, to me, she was the one who seemed like the little pet: all boxed up, with Oskar scratching gently on the box to comfort her. She might be a bit feral, a scrappy little kitten, but those of us who have been charmed by a wild animal know what it is to sacrifice for them. So, who is to say how it all turned out. We can speculate based on our own personal psychology, and obviously, I imagined something a bit more sentimental and romantic. What can I say? I thought Oskar and Eli complimented each other quite beautifully. I know, I am a sap, and I am hopeless. Feel free to bitch slap me.
ssslllllaaaaaaappp. Check out the director's comments. I guess these vampire as anti-hero movies hit me a little off. I don’t have an emotional connection to my Easter ham, and I sure don’t consider f’ing it, either, but I might be a bit wily luring the pig to the slaughter. Sorry if I’m unromantic and uncool, and yes, I’d do my own killing.
I don't watch director commentary; I prefer to be of my own mind. Now, in this case, Eli was not a butcher standing over her Easter ham. She was the creature that is, not by choice, obviously. Innocence lost, humanity lost. Why wouldn't something like that seek a connection, if it hadn't gone totally feral, which she hadn't? We weren't watching 30 Days of Night, which was a completely different dynamic within the genre. Yes, I would want to do my own killing too, but that is not to say that I couldn't still retain a bit of my own human soul, the bit that could fall in love with the faint echo of what I once was.
If anyone has read the book, I would love to hear comments. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, by all means, find it. It’s worth it.
Cheryl Anne Gardner
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
AuthorHouse, the leading provider of self publishing and marketing services for authors around the globe, has launched custom video book trailers - produced exclusively for AuthorHouse authors.
Authors have the option of choosing trailers with or without a professional voiceover. Each 60- to 90-second custom-made book trailer will be featured on the author's AuthorHouse book page. As with all AuthorHouse books, authors maintain ownership of all rights to each book trailer produced.
The video trailers featuring a voiceover include e-mail circulation to 500,000 potential customers Trailers without voiceovers are circulated to 200,000 potential customers. In addition, AuthorHouse will circulate the book trailer through popular Web sites such as YouTube, Yahoo!, MySpace, and Dailymotion.
"These videos are another way of helping authors build a platform to promote their books. They really help engage potential readers. " said Keith Ogorek, vice president of marketing for Author Solutions - AuthorHouse's parent company.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Writing, Publishing, Interviews and Community
Q&A: Amy Edelman of IndieReader
by mariaschneider on May 1, 2009
By Michael J. Vaughn
The introductory email that IndieReader.com sends out to self-published authors contains two points that make it an immediately intriguing idea. The first is the statement that “…it’s stupid and unfair to brand an entire category of books as crap, just because the ‘traditional’ publishing industry doesn’t embrace it.”
The second is, “As Sundance has done for indie films—making what’s outside the mainstream cool—IR will do for indie books and authors.”
Read Full Article Here.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
May 2009 -- Managing Article
Are Self-Publishing Companies “Cheating” by Removing the Hurdles to Get Your Books Published Faster? By: Brent Sampson
In spite of growing evidence that self-publishing is poised to replace (or at least match) traditional publishing in the future, many conventionally published authors (and those striving to become such) still view self-publishing with contempt. They feel self-publishing companies and those authors who choose to use them are "cheating" somehow. After all, getting a book published traditionally has always been "hard work." Those who have done it (or long to) perhaps feel as if self-published authors are not paying their dues. But are self-publishing writers really "cheating," or are they simply taking advantage of widespread changes taking place throughout the entertainment and business worlds?
Why Should the Book Publishing Industry Be Any Different Than The Music and Entertainment Worlds?
How the D-I-Y Mentality Removes Unnecessary Hurdles...
How a Self-Publishing Company is Like American Idol for Writers...
Read Full Article Here.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Announcing the Self-Publishers Online Conference 2009!
The online conference runs May 13, 14, & 15 on a computer near you!
SPOC 2009 connects entrepreneurial, business and other non-fiction authors with resources that help you publish and promote your books and: Establish your expertise, Build credibility, Generate leads, Get quoted in the media, Create info-products to grow your businesses, share your mission, and create greater revenue.
Information can be found here:
July 18th, 2009--San Francisco
Join us this July for INSTOCK, a conference for book self publishers. Panels will address:
- Marketing your book
- Selecting a POD or printing house
- Understanding rankings
- Finding your audience
- Publicity tactics
- Pricing your product
... and more.