Friday, March 30, 2012

The Art of Outdated Books

It is a shame when any book becomes outdated. Instead of throwing those old computer manuals into the fireplace, why not get creative with them. That is exactly what Artist Maskull Lasserre did with his creation tittled, Incarnate (Three Degrees of Certainty II) where he carved a human skull into old software manuals. Check out the artistic process and final product below.





Human skull carved into old software manuals 
2012
Books, steel, hardware
40 x 8 x 11 inches

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How To Successfully Promote A Book On Social Media With A Little Help From Your Friends

Most Authors realize early in their careers that in order to become a successful well known writer, they must know how to market themselves and their book. The problem is know what one needs to do and knowing how to do it, are two different things. Forbes contributor and Author Cathy Scott details what she did the day of her book launch to get all the way up to #22 on the Amazon list for her category. The best part is she did it all without spending a dime on marketing. Check out the article below to see what she did. 

Cathy Scott, Forbes Contributor

Tuesday of this week started out like any other day – except that it marked the official release of my eighth (and sixth true crime) book.

It was March 27, and I had nothing formally planned for the release until April 13 for a joint book launch with friend and fellow Forbes blogger Victoria Pynchon and her latest book, Success as a Mediator for Dummies.The Marriage Of Two Genres -- True Crime And Animal Rescue -- And The Book Deals That Follow.

So, I hit the ground running. It turned out to be a remarkable book day.

I first emailed friend and columnist Steve Miller, who writes an eZine he sends to a mailing list of readers for his daily missives about the latest goings on in big crime cases in the Las Vegas Valley. I provided him with the verbiage and the links and asked if he would mind sending it out to his eZine list. This is what he sent (thanks, Steve!):

Recommended reading
The latest book written by Cathy Scott, a true crime author, award-winning journalist and Las Vegas resident, is THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE, which was officially released today. THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE is a true story of a Manhattan real estate tycoon and a marriage that ended in murder. It has been submitted for an Edgar Award.
Here’s a link to the book. And here’s a link to her latest post on the Forbes blog ‘Crime, She Writes.’
Then I went to LinkedIn and posted, along with a link to the Amazon book page in my status bar, by writing: CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Author Platforms...Can Collapse

By: Jeff Herman

If you have spent any time pitching your work, you've heard the mantra about "platforms". My definition for the term in context is: assuming the publishing does nothing to promote your work, will you still be able to sell a reasonable number of copies through your own efforts and resources? If yes, how many and how will you do it?

Let's deflate the elephant in the room. The so-called assumption about the publisher's absence as a marketer is what usually happens in reality, which explains why the publisher is dependent upon the author's platform. The obvious outcome is that publishers will judge books on the basis of author platform at the expense of editorial quality. But there's nothing new about this; what's changed is that publishers explicitly demand platforms more than in the past. Naturally, many books that aren't the best will get published anyway, and many books that are the best might not ever get published. A profit based market creates a wide spectrum opportunities and consequences. Here's a situation I experienced as a young hungry agent 20 years ago.

She was a high-priced matchmaker. $20,000 and up. For the money She provided many valuable services. All suitors were vetted by top-notch private investigators. You would only be set up with individuals who were deemed to be ideally suited for you. She wanted to write a dating book consisting of all her proven "secrets". She promised to promote the book through her own $million marketing budget, and to get herself on all major media. There was a marketing plan, but no proposal to speak of. No problem, publishers were fighting for the book. If She hadn't offended some of the publishers we met with, the low six-figure advance might have been much closer to seven-figures. A ghostwriter was hired. 200,000 books were printed and ready to ship. And then the NY Attorney General publicly announced a huge class-action lawsuit against Her for millions of dollars. All kinds of fraud, false advertising, embezzlement were alleged. It turned out that most of the "well vetted" suitors were actually married, bankrupt, ex-cons, you name it. Her face was all over the media, but it was the wrong story. All advance book orders were cancelled. The publisher had to eat the 200000 hard cover printing. Her platform was perfect; Her, not so much.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How To: Marketing Books to Libraries

Peter Brantley -- March 20th, 2012

Last weekend I was invited to pull together a library panel at this year’s Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) meeting, the IBPA University, in downtown San Francisco. I quickly enlisted two of my favorite local library friends, Sarah Houghton (aka, the Librarian in Black) of the San Rafael Public Library, and K.G. Schneider (aka, the Free Range Librarian), of Holy Names University’s Cushing Library.

Our panel was “Marketing to Libraries” and amazingly, we had a packed room of engaged and attentive publishers in the first session of the morning. After introductions, I led off with a 10 minute explanation of the issues arising from agency pricing, and then we really got cracking. Questions from the audience on how publishers can better engage with libraries started rolling in even before we could say our opening piece, and they never stopped until we ran out of time. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Monday, March 26, 2012

So You Want To Be A Writer? Here's How To Make The Transition From Your Day Job

Lisa Quast, Forbes Contributor

Ever dreamed of being a writer? Not sure how to get started or make the transition from working 9 to 5 in an office to becoming a published author? Meet Pam Binder, an award-winning and New York Times best-selling author, instructor for the Popular Fiction course at the University of Washington Extension, and president of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association (PNWA). Pam made the transition from working full-time as an office manager for a middle school while raising three children to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. Find out how!

Back in the mid-1990s Pam Binder had a dream of becoming a writer but wasn’t sure she could turn it into reality. Ms. Binder knew she loved to write stories. She’d drawn inspiration from her experiences with an imaginary friend when she was three, a near-death experience at eight, and adventures in New Orleans with her poet-grandmother, but realized she needed to better understand how to craft her ideas into a novel. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Advantage of Low Priced Digital Books

With all the recent media reports about digital book prices, one thing seems to ring true, and that is the digital bestsellers are consistently filled with low-priced titles. As Publishers Weekly recently reported;

"The three titles in Michael Wallace's Righteous series (priced at $2.99, $3.19, and $3.19) have all made it into the Kindle top 10. The three books, published by Thomas & Mercer, are ranked #5 (The Righteous), #6 (Mighty and Strong), and #8 (The Wicked)."

So we will have to see how this all pans out, but either way publishers of both digital and print books need to start paying attention to the numbers.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

5 eBook Publishing Experts To Watch

The eBook business is still somewhat new, but there have been a few experts that have been at it for some time now. eBookNewser named the 5 eBook publishing experts to watch and they are;

Mark Coker, founder of digital publishing site Smashwords

Jane Friedman, CEO/cofounder of digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media

Molly Barton, Global, Digital Director at Penguin

Andrew Savikas, CEO of Safari Books Online

Jesse Potash, founder of Pubslush

CLICK HERE to learn more about them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good Pitch. Bad Pitch

By: Jeff Herman

Setting: A generic writer's conference somewhere in America, filled with the usual suspects: Inbred coastal agents and editors; white bread middle Americans (Nixon's Silent Majority); the proverbial "fringers" who will give everyone else something to talk about. The agents/editors sit and maybe listen to dozens of writers; while the designated writers sit, talk and maybe listen to the handful of agents/editors. Below are the beginnings of pitches that capture attention, followed by ones that risk immediate nullification. Warning: The material is partially contrived and not relevant to anyone who is dead or dying, and isn't for anyone who won't like reading it. Jeff Herman, The Literary Agent Next Door, to at least two households.

Good pitch: I've read and heard so many amazing things about you as an agent . . .

Bad pitch: Here, read this.

Good pitch: If I wasn't already married, lesbian and a recovering neoconservative, I would . . .

Bad pitch: More than 50 agents already rejected me.

Good pitch: I really respect your brilliance.

Bad: I really don't care about getting published.

Good pitch: I feel so blessed to have your attention.

Bad pitch: I've been trying to get someone to read this for more than 29 years.

Good pitch: Can I get you a cold drink or cup of coffee, even though it will eat into my allotted time?

Bad pitch: S%&t, they don't give us much time.

Good pitch: So how do you feel about the conference?

Bad pitch: It's my grand-mammy's autobiography about farming in Delaware during . . .

Good pitch: I would love your job.

Bad pitch: It's like Grisham and King combined into literary meat grinder . . .

Good pitch: Every agent and editor I've met so far is interested ( avoids defining "interest")

Bad pitch: No body here likes this.

Neutral pitch: Mets or Yankees?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Encyclopaedia Britannica Ends Print & Starts Digital Only


The Encyclopedia Britannica had one of the longest runs in publishing history with over 244 years, and 32-volume print editions. Those of us older than 25 will miss the early version of google, but on a more positive note, the digital edition will continue, and the publisher is offering free access to the subscription service for the next week. 

President Jorge Cauz said on their blog:
I understand that for some the end of the Britannica print set may be perceived as an unwelcomed goodbye to a dear, reliable, and trustworthy friend that brought them the joy of discovery in the quest for knowledge. I would like to take this opportunity to share with them a different perspective, one shared by all of us at Encyclopaedia Britannica and by the more than 100 million students and knowledge seekers who have access to www.britannica.com, our educational sites, or our apps. By concentrating our efforts on our digital properties, we can continuously update our content and further expand the number of topics and the depth with which they are treated without the space constraints of the print set.
CLICK HERE to read the full story. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

ACADEMY GRANTS FUNDING FOR BOOK PROJECTS

March 16, 2012

ACADEMY GRANTS FUNDING FOR BOOK PROJECTS

Beverly Hills, CA – The history of documentary filmmaking in Cambridge, Mass., and the growth of "orphan" films will be the topics explored by Scott MacDonald and Dan Streible, respectively, who have been named Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s Institutional Grants Committee selected the pair for the honor on the basis of their manuscript proposals. Each scholar will receive $25,000 from the Academy to aid in the research and writing of his project.

MacDonald, professor of critical studies at Hamilton College, will examine the history and analyze of two particular forms of nonfiction filmmaking that have developed in Cambridge: ethnographic filmmaking and personal documentary. The Cambridge Turn in Documentary Filmmaking will investigate why these developments occurred specifically in Cambridge and discuss the careers of such filmmakers as John Marshall, Robert Gardner, Timothy Asch, Ross McElwee, Robb Moss, Alfred Guzzetti, Nina Davenport, Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. The book will also explore how the accomplishments of these filmmakers have helped transform the understanding of "documentary" films.

Streible, associate professor of cinema studies at New York University, will offer a detailed account of the growth of the "orphan film" phenomenon in the U.S. since the early 1990s and analyze the dynamic that the movement has established among film archivists, preservationists, scholars, curators and filmmakers. This book will be the first to analyze orphaned work (defined as films that have been abandoned or have suffered physical, historical or cultural neglect), including newsreels, silent movies, shorts, independent and studio features, documentaries, outtakes and animation. Streible’s book will be titled Orphan Films: Saving, Studying, and Screening Neglected Cinema.

MacDonald and Streible will receive the first half of their $25,000 grants at a luncheon on March 19. The remaining half will be presented upon completion of the manuscripts, when the scholars will present their projects in lecture form at a public Academy event.

Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars program is designed to "stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures."

MacDonald and Streible will join 13 other Academy Film Scholars who are currently working on projects: Cari Beauchamp; John Belton, Rutgers University; Donald Crafton, University of Notre Dame; Jane Gaines, Duke University; Jan-Christopher Horak, University of California, Los Angeles; David E. James, University of Southern California; Patrick Keating, Trinity University; Peter Lev, Towson University; Stuart Liebman, Queens College of the City University of New York; Charles Musser, Yale University; Harlow Robinson, Northeastern University; Shelley Stamp, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Emily Thompson, Princeton University. Anne Friedberg of the University of Southern California passed away before significant progress could be made on her project.

Academy Film Scholars who have completed projects are Tino Balio, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Beauchamp; Peter Decherney, University of Pennsylvania; Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University; Richard B. Jewell, University of Southern California; Dana Polan, New York University; David Rodowick, Harvard University; and Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California.

The Academy’s cultural and educational wing – the Academy Foundation – annually grants more than $1 million to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. It is also through the Foundation that the Academy presents a rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year.

For grant guidelines and information about the Academy Film Scholars program, contact Grants Coordinator Shawn Guthrie at (310) 247-3000, ext. 3306, via e-mail at sguthrie@oscars.org, or visit http://www.oscars.org/filmscholars/.

Is There a Self-Publishing Bubble?


There has been a lot of talk lately about a self-publishing "bubble." There was the Guardian article in January, a response by Melville House, and the idea has been percolating around the Internet ever since.

Having emerged from a decade of bubbles in our economy, it may be natural to see some parallels between the self-publishing revolution and a new gold rush. There were a few early people striking the mother lode, a rush of excitement, and now it's off to the races.

So is it a bubble? Is all the initial enthusiasm about self-publishing going to wear off? Is the bubble going to burst? CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

WAE Network is Looking for Beta Testers for New Publishing Software

WAE Network and BP Wiz were created to fill a void in the publishing space. It all started when founder of BP Wiz, David Borish, wanted a software to help him write his book proposal and there wasn't one on the market. The WAE Network was created after Co-Founder Jeff Herman realized the significance of having an online network that brought writers, agents and editors together.

The success of both sites has proved to us that the publishing industry is in need of more innovation. And as long as we see a need, we don't plan on stopping.

We are now working on a few really innovative "crowd sourcing" publishing models and we need your help to test some of them out. If you are interested in being a beta tester for some of our new software products, please CLICK HERE to signup.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Publishers vs Readers

The media has been talking about the potential suit that the publishers are facing by the Justice Department, but until now no one has mentioned how the readers of the books feel about the situation, but maybe it is because they did not have to. I know personally I do not feel that I should have to pay $20 or more for an ebook when it takes so much less time and money to produce than a print book. Publishers Weekly posted a great article on the subject, CLICK HERE to read it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How To Be Discovered...By an Agent

By: Jeff Herman

It's not uncommon for writers to be contacted by excellent agents even in the absence of any solicitations. Many agents aren't able to find strong clients solely on the basis of their slush piles or referrals, and are strategically proactive as a result. They will cull the news; read well regarded short story journals; attend respected writer's conferences, and check out sites just like this one, WRITERS-AGENTS-EDITORS NETWORK, www.Waenet.com.

We're a very new site and the agent community is only just beginning to notice us. But once they get a whiff of the undiscovered talent blossoming within our digital Eden, the agents will descend like locusts. When they do, will you be ready? Will you be discovered? Do you want to be? Because hundreds of agents will be randomly scanning the more than 2500 writer pages on a recurring basis looking for potential clients to establish direct contact with.

Of course, the organized Pitch Fest is a perfect way to put your work out there, and agents will be paying increasingly more visits in the days and weeks to come. But that's not the only way to be noticed, and it's not the only place agents will go hunting. Every member of Waenet is provided the space to build and post their own unique page. Some of you are making much smarter use of this opportunity than others, and they have a huge competitive edge over the rest of you as a result.

Being a face in the crowd isn't considered an accomplishment, but it's better than not even being in the crowd. When agents scan through the writer sections they will notice the ones with faces at the expense of the ones that have no face, and the ones they notice are the ones they will click. This is a true phenomenon in any universe. It's why consumer products are embellished with eye-catching packaging and thought provoking names. You don't have to look like Bradgelina. This is the book business not show business. A respectable photo that doesn't emanate negative or disturbing feelings is OK. Don't be passed-over for a stupid reason. Post a head-shot yesterday.

Once an agent hits your page, they will read whatever information you post and then may want to click your linked web site for more information. If you don't have a web site or you have failed to link it, they will most likely move to "next". Make sure you have a basic site that says intriguing things about you professionally and personally, and what it is you have or wish to write, and that it can be easily clicked from your Waenet page.

Following these basic steps will help ensure your chances of getting noticed and contacted. On a regular basis I will randomly visit and explore writer-member pages, and visibly designate a small number of you as my favorites. By doing this I hope to set an affirming example of the kinds of things agents look for, and to also help my fellow agents discover a few of the jewels our site is loaded with.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Give Me Attention

By: Jeff Herman

That's what you want, right? Agents, editors, and of course readers, to pay attention to you. Because if they don't pay attention, you're SOL.

I can never over-emphasize that agents and editors are hardened by the relentless storm of queries, proposals and manuscripts that ask for a piece of whatever lurks between their ears. Of course, from that they will discover writers they want to work with. But getting there requires sifting through a lot of mud, and more than a few bad bets made on fool's gold.

Why should you care above the above? Because agents and editors are your customers and their problems are your problems. What do you want? Them. What do they want? Writers. How do we forge mutually beneficial relationships here? Agents/editors have the power because there are extremely few of them compared to the universe of writers. Yes, having good material is important, but it will amount to nothing if you won't/can't attract attention; which leads to access; which leads to deals; which leads to success; which leads to frustration; strike that last line until it's a bridge you come to.

There are recurring rivers of self-help material for writers telling how to get access; some of it by me. It's all good. Consume what you can of it. But guess what? We recycle each other without meaning to, because people in the same business inadvertently teach each other. Once in a while, one of us sees something new, and then it might become integrated into the sub-culture.

Here are a few somewhat original ideas that you might not have seen before. Because the whole idea is to get attention, what if you start your pitch letters or verbal pitches with absurd but interesting non sequitors?

Why do we call them "brokers" if they're supposed to make us money?

How come they don't make cat poop flavored dog food?

How come they don't make mouse flavored cat food?

Presumably, none of the above have anything to do with what you write. But if you opened a query letter that started with something nuts like the above, how would you respond? If you would stop reading it and trash the letter, then this technique isn't for you. But if it would make you continue to read the letter with more apt attention, then something useful has been accomplished by the person who sent it to you. You may or may not like the rest of the letter, but at least it wasn't added to the over-flowing "to read" pile.

Friday, March 9, 2012

President of Authors Guild says: "Amazon was using eBook discounting to destroy bookselling"


In response to the recent report that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers over e-book pricing, President of Authors Guild Scott Turow released an open letter and among other things he said "Amazon was using eBook discounting to destroy bookselling" I am not sure if readers will agree with him as much as Authors will, but I would like to know your feedback, CLICK HERE to read the letter.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Godin to Authors: You Have No Right to Make Money Anymore


Posted on GigaOm
By Mathew Ingram


Thanks to the rise of self-publishing tools, fromAmazon’s (AMZN) Kindle platform to Apple’s (AAPL)iAuthor software, anyone who wants to write a book can do so and theoretically reach an audience of millions—as self-publishing superstars such as Amanda Hocking and John Locke have shown. But this explosion of amateur authors and publishers also means a lot more competition for an audience. So how do writers make money? First, according to author and marketer Seth Godin, they have to give up the idea that they somehow deserve to be paid for their writing. CLICK HERE for the full story.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Distribution Rip-Off

By: Jeff Herman

Thousands of intelligent writers enter into hybrid self-publishing contracts that include traditional distribution, and even if no copies ever show up in a store, the contract hasn't been breached. Why? Because it's easy to establish all the requisite tools for stores to order copies and for the orders to be fulfilled. Any one can do that, even if you don't really have anything to sell.

Why should a store eagerly give the time of day to any of the legions of hybrid or self-publishers? There are already too many established publishers and books to keep up with, and keeping the store well stocked isn't an issue, especially if the entire inventory has been shipped on cosignment. A bookstore manager's primary obligation is to ensure that the right books are stocked for his or her customer base. Of course, some stores will step beyond their comfort zone and research other options, and sometimes a customer will ask the store to special order obscure books. The rarest exception is when a non-traditionally published author manages to bypass the obstacles, and somehow causes consumers en mass to demand copies from their local stores. This sometimes happens and when it does the stores will follow their customers and order copies from whoever can fulfill them. The phenomenon will be rapidly followed by a horde of agents and traditional publishers offering the writer traditional options. This also happens to writers who solely self-publish digital formats and are able to generate massive orders.

The original point of this blog is to emphasize that distribution is technically available for everyone, but only achieved by a tiny fraction of those who are eligible. This isn't presented to discourage you, but to simply enlighten you and perhaps save you from paying a hybrid publisher for a service they can't realistically provide in any measure. If the firm claims otherwise, then ask them to document it by showing you meaningful purchase orders from stores. Keep in mind that these firms are in the business of getting writers to pay them for a large menu of functions. In many cases, they provide exactly what they were paid to do and everyone is satisfied. Dissatisfaction prevails when the writer was enabled to have unrealistic expectations about what they would receive in return for the money they spent. Non-distribution is often the most painful surprise inexperienced writers encounter. Unless they can establish deception or negligence, moving on and warning others might be their next best move.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why I'm Breaking the Amazon Habit...And Why You Should Too

By: Joe Wikert

Kudos to Mark Suchomel and the stance he's taking with Amazon at IPG. As Don Linn mentions here, this is indeed a gutsy move but I hope Suchomel holds firm. I've written before about Amazon's formula and how it's slowly locking me into their platform. Interestingly enough, if you take a closer look at that formula post you'll see I was Mr. Amazon Advocate in a fun Apple vs. Amazon debate I had with Kassia Krozser.

A lot has changed since that friendly debate last fall. In a few short months I've gone from Amazon fan to Amazon critic. One reason I've become disenchanted has to do with Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library. As Amazon stated in the Lending Library press release, compensation to publishers for "the vast majority of titles" is on a "fixed fee" basis. I strongly feel this should be an uncapped, pay-for-performance model similar to what Safari Books Online and Books24x7 offer. Unless you have a perfect crystal ball anything less than a pay-for-performance model risks underpaying publishers and authors. And yes, it also risks overpaying but I seriously doubt that's happened up to now. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Apple blocks links to Amazon in iBookstore

Apple has reportedly blocked eBooks from being published in its iBookstore that contain hyperlinks to rival Amazon

According to an author’s first-hand account, Apple has begun rejecting eBooks containing links to rival Amazon for publication in its iBookstore. Seth Godin, a best-selling author 13 times over, and founder of Squidoo, reports that Apple rejected his new manifesto, “Stop Stealing Dreams,” due to the presence of hyperlinks, which woud send readers to the Amazon pages of the books he mentioned in his own work. Apple’s rejection letter stated the reasons for non-publication clearly and succinctly: “Multiple links to Amazon store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link,” according to an article Godin published yesterday on Paid Content. CLICK HERE to read the full article.