Traditional book publishers are constantly riding a balancing act between what’s being considered politically correct and what latest deviations are driving the current trends that can yield a profit before fading away. Infinity Publishing has always provided authors with a rather free and open press, willing to publish books on a wide variety of topics with deviations that are a matter of personal interests. Freedom of expression is essential for the creative author to share their storytelling effectively. The author and book publisher are both involved in varying amounts the promotional and marketing efforts to sell the book and share in the proceeds. There has never been a place in time when freedom of expression was more available and affordable to the inspired masses for their individual expressions.
Hopefully, this provides some understanding of the happenings taking place in our evolving branch of book publishing and brings you some insight as to why Barnes & Noble stores might be difficult to deal with, and thusly why we stress working with and supporting independent bookstores. So just when you thought the good “old boy’s” system of traditional book publishing was ruling the day and imposing their tattered ways, well, you might be right—for now...but as for tomorrow...and tomorrows...
We are living and writing in very exciting times! Welcome to the new frontier in book publishing. The publishing revolution starts here and the time is now. We can revisit history and we can certainly learn from it, but come along with us now as we, together, make it happen. And your inspired creativity and continued involvement makes it happen again and again and again!
by LinDee Rochelle
Some of you might recall that as a year-end roundup in 2008 I predicted great things for independent publishing in an op-ed piece, “Publishing’s Death Knell Premature,” which I reposted as “Timing is Everything: for savvy authors the time is 2009” on Infinity’s forum community, Author Nation.
In this defiant diatribe (with champagne glass in hand) I ranted about the premature predictions of demise for print books and the future of book publishing. Along with our changing industry, the infant recession was scaring the New Year and I was already weary of its gloom and doom personality.
“I’ve been accused of having a glass-half-full attitude, which some say is an inefficient use of a glass. However, I see it as an opportunity to fill the rest with New Beginnings; and even on the darkest day, with a shot of Hope. Not an easy task for a writer these days is it?” (AN version.)
I mocked those who proclaimed books obsolete and pointed a disdainful finger at their persistence in shunning independent authors who defied “tradition” and published without a prized mainstream publisher contract.
Let’s see where we are on the eve of 2012 …
Hmmm, well we are still hearing the death knell toll, albeit a bit softer, in hesitant cadence. Although printed books’ sales levels have continued to decline, they are still not likely to become completely obsolete any time soon, if ever. (Although I wouldn’t rule out a futuristic world in mid-century when they may be relegated to collectible and novelty status.)
I’m pleased to report however, that growth in the independent publishing industry has eagerly surpassed my modest ‘08 forecast, “Author-originated publishing has an opportunity in the coming New Year to make significant strides and rise to its full potential to establish itself as the ‘new publishing platform’ of the era.”
“Significant strides”?! It seems to have exploded like a hydrogen bomb. Although it needed more than just 2009, by mid 2010 with the explosive popularity of digital books, the industry pumped up. This book publishing format has not only firmly established itself but because of it, author-originated publishing (such as provided by Infinity Publishing) is now one of the most growth-oriented industries in the world.
So why are we still whining about not selling our books? Well … the proliferation of books published affordably is of course, accompanied by a glut of new authors—not all have polished and professionally edited their offerings—which has caused the media and reviewers (online and off) to continue to shun the vast majority of independently published books. It’s difficult to see the hand of a drowning book in a vast Sea of Authors.
But based on the comments I receive as an author advocate, independent authors are beginning to understand the tools needed to compete with what’s left of the New York publishers’ mainstream books—proper editing and focused marketing.
Not all are willing to go the distance. But traditional publishing with its elitist attitude and recent questionable quality continues to lose its edge. This creates an optimum window for independent authors and publishers.
Seven 2013 Predictions … will 2013 be book sales heaven?
Yes, I’m going to stick my neck out again and predict that independent publishing will not only thrive, but … are you ready? …
- author-originated book publishing will continue to flourish and dare I say it? … return to its Ben Franklin roots, as the new “standard” book publishing platform (firmly entrenched by 2015, in the event we survive 2012, heehee)
- however, quality expectations from readers and reviewers will heighten and just like the vintage traditional authors, only the best will rise to the top
- growing alongside will be the online (and traditional) marketing industry and editorial services
- eBooks and their e-readers will continue to prosper, until eBooks finally overtake printed books in consistent sales (this could take a couple of years, but I don’t rule out 2011 as the defining year—the writing is on the virtual wall)
- attractive retail book “packages” will sustain printed books along with digital; digital, print, and audio versions of each title in one versatile bundle will become a popular gift-giving purchase (especially for next Holiday Season)
- following in Publishers Weekly’s footsteps, mainstream publications will grudgingly relax their snobby coverage, and provide news and reviews for author-originated books (if they don’t already)—but a strict quality code will be in effect—you must be prepared
- 2011 will see our first “real” independently published best seller; we’ve had stars in niche markets, especially business books and self-help, but the book that will captivate the nation and validate author-originated publishing is on its way—will it be yours?
My 2008 New Year’s Eve declaration still rings true: “Author-originated publishing has suffered long enough as the industry's redheaded stepchild! It was shunned in its infancy, kicked around in its adolescence, and is finally ready―with the help of the economic crisis―to experience its final growth into adulthood and stand proud as publishing hope for authors who have real talent.”
Do you believe in yourself and your writing talent? Then go forth into the New Year with confidence and renewed dedication. Whether it’s your first, fifth, or tenth book—you will publish in 2011! See you in the title credits.
Cheers to a happy, creative, prosperous New Year!
Infinity Publishing was quoted in Publisher’s Weekly regarding the changing face of the publishing industry as self-publishing becomes more and more prominent.
The article, written by Jim Milliot and Michael Coffey states that “self-publishing industry is growing up in a hurry. Not only are more books than ever before being published by a growing number of self-publishing companies, but authors are becoming more knowledgeable about the publishing process and demanding more services from vendors.”
One of the growth areas of the industry is partnerships between self-publishing and traditional publishing companies. Another area that adds self publishing industry is education. According to the article. as this industry continues to expand, the education of its authors will be the first priority.
Infinity says: for small companies like his that get a slice of book sales, working with authors benefits everyone. "We want our authors to know we are on the same side of the table as them," Gutch says. "We make more money when authors sell more books."
Click here to read the full article.
Director, Author Services, LinDee Rochelle, December 22, 2010:
“Mommy, where did I come from?” the baby word boldly asked. Everyone is tracing their roots. With the relative ease and affordability of book publishing, our ancestral origins have become books of genealogical fun and sometimes profit. The advent of DNA analysis has identified many a skeleton in the ol’ family closet; and some ancestral histories rival the best bodice-ripper!
We’re not the only ones, however, with captivating inherited stories. Word origins
are also a fascinating and informative discovery that can lead you to breathing new life into an old word, or turning a more unique phrase, to the delight of your readers. With the right amount of talent and promotion, one word could throw your next book
into the annual top ten lists…
An interesting comment that speaks to our word origins and usage as a whole is quoted in a 12/20/10 AP article, “Audacity of 'austerity,' 2010 Word of the Year” by Russell Contreras. Along with “austerity,” “socialism” made Merriam-Webster’s top ten list this year. Contreras offered an observation by Allan Metcalf, an English professor at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., and author of OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word.
“Around 20 to 30 years ago, everyone would know what 'socialism' was. Same with bigot [also on the list]. That fact that they have to be looked up says something about us." Unfortunately, we never learn from the article just what that says about us, but nevertheless …
Many moons ago I picked up a 1968 edition of Wilfred Funk’s Word Origins and their Romantic Stories (© 1950). It is still my go-to authority for distinctive words or common words with fascinating foundations. Funk’s cover example is priceless, “Apparently our English forefathers didn’t take too bright a view of marriage, for with them the word wed once meant ‘to wager’ and later on ‘to marry.’ You could weddian your money on a racehorse. Or you could weddian a woman ‘for fairer, for fouler.’”
But consider this: if you re-discover a word that has not been in recent use and offers a particularly vibrant meaning for a key phrase in your book, with some savvy marketing you might even spawn the 2011 word of the year. At the very least, your unique use might interest the media and attract some quality PR.
Let’s take “mugwump” for instance.
No, it is not a directive to mug the wimp—although, you could create that definition (taking liberty with spelling) in a coming of age story as youthful slang—see how easy that was? Actually, the term enjoyed its heyday in 1884 during a split in the Republican Party—not surprising, this odd little word is pretentiously political in origin.
The century-plus Algonquian Indian word meaning “great man” or even “chief” was coined in the press to address the superior attitude of members who refused to support James G. Blaine for president. Its common usage is as one who acts independently, especially in politics. But have you heard this term applied to anything—even political commentaries—lately? As we all know it could have aptly applied this year!
Perhaps a book slated to publish in the 2012 political year would benefit from the use and marketing of mugwump. Funk’s humor reigns supreme in his treatment of this word as he repeated a joke thought to be older than his attributed quote, but still, “Albert J. Engel is reported to have said in the House of Representatives in April, 1936, that a mugwump has ‘his mug on one side of the political fence and his wump on the other.’” Love it
In the sandlot ballgame that is currently independent book publishing (lots of players, but few who make it to the major leagues), your book needs more than the ubiquitous hook. Send it sailing over the heads of the crowd with contrived creativity, sans perilous hyperbole.
According to Funk: “Hyperbole—A term in rhetoric for an absurdly extravagant overstatement. The Greek hyperbole gave us the word, and the idea for it is made up of hyper, ‘over,’ and ballein, ‘throw.’ You have picked up that ball and thrown it much too far.”
With social networking spreading our words as contagiously as a virile virus (remember when “viral” only applied to ailments?) this marketing ploy is entirely possible. Contreras quoted John Morse, president and publisher of Merriam-Webster, "‘What we look for ... what are the words that have had spikes that strike us very much as an anomaly for their regular behavior,’ Morse said.”
So next year, let’s have more profitable fun with words! Check out Merriam-Webster’s words of the year since they began the lists in 2003, on the Savannah Morning News site. What’s the good word for 2011?
Warm wishes to you and yours for a wonderful Holiday Season! … LinDee
Mickey Spillane's series of Mike Hammer detective murder mysteries are acknowledged as one of the all-time top sellers in that genre. His straightforward titles like More Than Murder and Murder Me, Murder You made book buyers out of browsers. He created a storytelling style that immersed the reader in detecting who did what in the compelling plot. In the middle of the 20th century, all of Spillane’s Hammer books sold millions of copies, a major achievement back when the counting of books sold was more accurate then present-day. Back then, there were no bookstore chains – today’s quagmire of returns didn’t exist!
Throughout most of his career, Spillane didn’t get reviewed by the major reviewers. Their collective position was they didn’t review “poorly-written trashy crap.” Mickey replied that he didn’t care what critics said about his style; all that mattered to him was what his readers thought. Mickey’s who dunnit-style of books were in ever-increasing demand by a massive army of readers – one being my dad. Spillane was interviewed by Life magazine – the major weekly news/photo magazine of the time – and he was asked if he wanted a fan club. He quickly replied he didn’t want fans – he wanted customers!
Mickey was a true author of pulp-fiction. His novels didn’t benefit from pre-release reviews in the major papers, nor did he have a new book release announcement in the trades. But as soon as his latest novel was released, the word spread like wildfire that Mickey’s new Hammer was on the rack in the drug store. It usually sold out in days – and he sold millions in his lifetime. Mickey died recently, but his contribution to writing will never be forgotten!
There’s no doubt that novels are a challenge to sell, and a first-novel by an unknown author can be especially daunting. From a marketing point of view, the challenge with every novel is to sell the storytelling ability of the author to write an entertaining and gripping tale for readers to enjoy. It’s convincing the buyer that your novel is a highly entertaining book with a creative plot. The sizzle of your plot line is what hooks the customers and your wordsmithing skills are what people will be talking about when the reading is done.
Novels are indeed a novel challenge because each one is a unique story created for the sole purpose of entertaining the customer. Just remember Mickey Spillane’s credo – never forget your reader!
CEO of Eco-Libris, Raz Godelnik, December 20, 2010:
Last month we celebrated the 2010 Green Books Campaign. On November 10, at 1 p.m., 200 bloggers simultaneously published reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco-friendly paper, Eco-Libris aimed to raise consumer awareness about considering the environment when making book purchases.
The idea was very simple - although there’s so much hype around e-books, books printed on paper still dominate the book market (with at least 90 percent share of the book marketplace) and we want them to be as environmentally sound as possible. Still, only very few books are currently printed responsibly. With this campaign we wanted to encourage publishers to increase their green printing options and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.
The books participating in the campaign represented a great variety of subjects including cooking, poetry, travel, adventure and children’s books. It was important for us to show that printing books on eco-friendly paper shouldn’t be limited only to books on green issues. This is a practice that should be used for all genres.
The participating books were published by 56 publishers from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. that took part in the campaign. This diversified group of publishers includes both small and large presses who all print books on recycled and/or FSC-certified paper (Infinity Publishing was one of them).
This year’s campaign was supported by Indigo Books & Music, the largest book retailer in Canada, as part of its efforts to draw attention to the need for more environmental paper in book publishing. This is a core goal of Indigo's environmental program, reinforced by Indigo's industry leading environmental paper policy. Currently Indigo is the only book retailer providing information online and through in-store kiosks that allow consumers to make informed decisions about where the paper content of their book comes from.
The campaign was very successful and we got great feedback from everyone involved – readers, bloggers, authors and publishers. Questions that we were asked again and again were: "Do readers care about “green” books?" and "Why does it really matters?"
Starting with the second (and easier) question: we are positive that readers’ preferences matter because they are the end-consumers and if they would demand books to be printed in an eco-friendly manner it will provide a significant incentive for publishers to move forward and adopt greener practices. If readers are indifferent to the type of paper books are printed on then it will be more difficult to convince publishers that using eco-friendly paper is beneficial – to succeed in this sort of change it needs to be a win-win strategy that benefits not only the environment, but also the bottom line.
Now to the first and more difficult question – do readers care? I believe they do. People are looking for ways to support the environment and take positive action and book readers are no different. I believe that two steps are required to get readers into action – the first is to provide them with information and educate them about the alternatives available. The second is to find ways to reward them for taking a positive green action. The Green Books Campaign, which we ran this year for the second year, was aimed to meet the first need (information). Now our goal is to find the best ways to meet the second need (rewards that will incentivize green action).
While working on the new challenges we defined to ourselves such as finding the right rewarding model and looking for ways to make e-reading greener, We will continue and run the Green Books Campaign next year and hopefully every following year, as we believe that educating the readers is a prerequisite for any change to come. With the strong support we have from bloggers, authors and publishers that want to see more books with a smaller footprint, we are positive we can succeed in making this change happen.
Raz Godelnik is the co-founder and CEO of Eco-Libris. He also writes regularly on green business for the second-largest newspaper in Israel and teaches a course on Sustainability and Green Business at the University of Delaware's Business School. Founded in 2007, Eco-Libris is a green company working with publishers, authors, bookstores, and book lovers worldwide to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. For more information, go to http://www.ecolibris.net
by Dave Giorgio
If you are an author, the importance of having a Web site can't be overvalued. These days, a Web site is like a Swiss army knife of utility.
It serves as a business card. It is like a having a listing in the phone book. It is your own personal book store, where people can read about your book, and even purchase it, provided you have e-commerce functionality.
It is a place where people can see pictures of you, watch video, and read about who you are. It is a place where your voice can be heard and where your words can be read; you're own personal message to the world about who you are and what you do.
A Web site consists of pages. Some sites consist of a handful of pages, while others have hundreds. It all depends on what your Web site is about.
Good design and good content are essential. Once someone visits your site, they should be impressed by what they see. The navigation should be logical and allow visitors to find the content the want. The pages should not be too wordy because visitors loose interest if they have to scroll and scroll down a page that never seems to end.
There are professional companies that create Web sites, and it isn't extremely expensive. Do a web search for "Web design" and you'll find hundreds of options: From do-it-yourself vehicles to companies that will work with you to get your message across.
There isn't an important author today who does not have a dedicated Web site. So if you are aiming to play in that league, having your own Web site is a best bet.
by LinDee Rochelle
Sometimes the landscape of life – family, work, responsibilities, recreation (hopefully), and the myriad of other consuming chores – deter us from the pleasures and needs of our writing. This is especially true during the Holiday Season, as we add a round of social gatherings, gift-shopping and perhaps travel, to our already hectic schedules.
With this level of activity, it’s a wonder our books ever see publication! But we squeeze in a little “me” time for our passion. In haste, however, we can overlook learning some of the important nuances of our trade.
Rushing past yet another jolly gentleman dressed in red, swinging his bell, we may not have proper time for due diligence, and may neglect to discover publishing characteristics that could be of value to our books.
In speaking with hundreds of authors each month, many questions are oft-repeated; some may be less common but still impact your book’s content, appearance, marketing, distribution, or simply make you more knowledgeable about the industry.
L’s Seven Suggestions … for Author Awareness:
- Why should I know about Publishers Weekly
- “We are returning to our earliest roots,” said PW president George W. Slowik Jr. in an August 23, 2010 article (“The New PW Select: A Quarterly Service for the Self-Published”). “PW dates to 1872, when it was first known as Trade Circular Weekly and listed all titles published that week in what was then a nascent industry. We have decided to embrace the self-publishing phenomenon in a similar spirit. Call it what you will—self-publishing, DIY, POD, author-financed, relationship publishing, or vanity fare. They are books and that is what PW cares about. And we aim to inform the trade.”
- What that means to you is a highly respected and reputable source for publishing news and trends - “Subject areas covered by Publishers Weekly include publishing, bookselling, marketing, merchandising and trade news, along with author interviews and regular columns on rights, people in publishing, and bestsellers.” (Even not opting for the rather pricey subscription, their website hosts plenty of free information.)
- What is Books in Print®?
- Aka Bowker Books in Print, “Bowker® is the leading provider of global book information and decision-support solutions through services that support an efficient supply chain to publishers, books sellers and libraries,” says their mission statement.
- What that means to you is every self-respecting book title should be listed with Bowker. They are the go-to-guy to learn if your book is a viable title in the industry. Only your publisher can list with Bowker, as does Infinity – a free service for all of our titles.
- What is a book’s Front Matter / Back Matter
- Although these terms should be self-explanatory their content remains a mystery for some. Front Matter refers to everything in the beginning of the book, up to the first page of the body text. This includes the title page, dedications, Table of Contents, and more. Conversely, the Back Matter is comprised of everything after “The End,” to include index(es), appendix(es), author’s bio, et al. And, there is a specific order that is expected for each. The Chicago Manualhas a great line-up of the front and back matter pages, with brief, helpful explanations of each.
- What that means to you is you could be leaving out some information that might be valuable to your readers, or simply present a book that does not compare favorably with the mainstream industry. A paraphrased and partial list of CM’s is in my Author Nation article, “Front Matter / Back Matter – Does it Matter?”
- What does a Distributor do?
- Ingram Content Group, Baker & Taylor, and others are pure and simple, middlemen. They take book orders from retail outlets and place those orders with the publishers.
- What that means to you is unfortunately, you need them. Why do stores use them rather than going directly to the publisher for a better deal? Because they can order many books from many publishers through one distributor and write just one check. Talk with your publisher – what distributors do they list with, and what is the distribution coverage?
- What is BISAC?
- No, it isn’t a military term. It’s an acronym for Book Industry Standards and Communications which is a standards practice code list of book subject headings organized by the Book Industry Study Group. This not-for-profit US book trade association created the effective industry-wide list for physical and digital publications.
- What that means to you as author Walt Shiel explained in his 2009 blog, “Think of the BISAC subject heading as the shelf label in a bookstore, and ask yourself where in a bookstore you think your book belongs.” Give serious consideration to where you think your book fits best on store shelves and communicate that to your publisher.
- What is a backlist?
- Books generally are considered “new” for just one short, calendar year. (This is why I recommend inserting next year’s date on the copyright page if you’re publishing in mid-summer or later.)
- What that means to you is at 12:01a.m. of the New Year, they are still listed with your publisher, but are now on the “backlist” as perhaps a solid performer, but no longer new. (OK, I’m kidding about the time, but you get the idea.) I’m sure you can guess what “frontlist” means. J
- What is DRM?
- As author Nathan Bransford defines it in his 2009 blog, Digital Rights Management “… is software encryption that (theoretically) discourages piracy and which allows [the] publisher [or eBook facilitator] to do fancy things like sync your e-book between your Kindle and your iPhone.
- What that means to you is whether or not your eBook is as secure from illicit copying as possible. A publisher (like Infinity) that is concerned about this issue will ensure your digital rights are maintained at the highest possible level.
Have any questions class? Did you take notes? Please don’t hesitate to comment.
Author Advocate, Brittany Lavin, December 15, 2010
Infinity author Michael Kleiner was interviewed on “The Authors Show” Internet TV. His book “Beyond the Cold” was released in 2006 and chronicles the year he lived in Norway with his family. This brief stay developed in Kleiner a deep affection for the country and its culture. The book is about Kleiner living in Norway with his family for a year as an 11-year old child in 1969-70 and then returning several times as an adult, resulting in a four-decade relationship.
"The change in culture really impacted my life," Kleiner says. "The people and culture have truly influenced me and the book is a beautiful portrait of adopting another country as my own although I am not of Norwegian descent."
Kleiner is now an established expert on Norway. In 2008, Kleiner was invited to attend the Norwegian Fall Festival, in Minot, ND.
"It was an honor and an amazing learning experience," Kleiner says. "60,000 people were there. I definitely learned how to sell books in a different setting."
In 2009, Kleiner won first prize in the autobiography/biography category at the Beach Book Festival.
To market his book, Kleiner had local releases in his neighborhood. He also researched Norwegian American Organizations and sent the book out. He also stresses how easily adaptable the book is for children, as it is a portrait of his childhood memories. Kleiner has exercised this notion by going to his childrens' classes since Preschool and making presentations to their class. His children are now in fifth grade.
“The Authors Show” is the same group which produced the book “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” which includes Kleiner.
Click here to view "The Authors Show" interview!
For more information on Michael Kleiner and his book visit: http://www.beyondthecold.com/index.htm
Author Advocate, Brittany Lavin, December 14, 2010:
"A fantasy on the shoulders of a strong willed girl, Glory is not to be missed."
- Midwest Book Review
Glory, a novel by Infinity’s own Devin O’Branagan, has been nominated for the 2011 Popular Paperback for Young Adults list. This award is sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).
YALSA publishes list of recommended books for teens every year. The books are for teens between 12 and 18 years of age and include a range of reading levels.
In this instance, Glory is a fantasy novel that tells the tale of Glory Templeton, whose blood holds the cure for a deadly plague. With this knowledge, Glory goes on a quest to save the world as evil forces fight against her. Glory is the first in a planned series and is available in both print and eBook.
For more information please visit www.GloryLegend.com
For more information of Devin O’Branagan and her novels visit www.devinwrites.com
Click here to purchase Glory.
It’s the holiday season! It’s the time of year when we’re all contemplating what to get for that special someone. Well, if your special someone happens to be a writer- odds are they will need something unique.
Here are some great gift ideas for that special writer in your life!
- Notebooks- A writer can never have enough notebooks. Whether they are writing an entire novel or scribbling down an idea- it is always helpful to have a notebook handy.
- Writing instruments- pens, pencils, or even quills for the old-fashioned souls. A writer should always have something to write with.
- A digital voice recorder. This is a great gift for those more tech-savvy writers who see notebooks and pencils things of the past.
- A bed desk. Some writers don’t like to be confined to an uncomfortable chair and desk. Some writers (like me) enjoy writing in a more comfortable environment like an arm chair or even in bed! A bed desk is a great gift for these writers.
- The Writer’s Market Book is an essential gift for writers as it gives them the information they need to sell their books.
Click here for more holiday gift ideas for writers!
by Dave Giorgio
I often receive questions from authors who wish to narrate their own books. Some of the questions are along the lines of "can I be the reader, can I record it at home, can I record it at a 'professional' studio nearby?" etc.
There is a technically correct answer, and a practical answer. They don't always quite match.
Technically speaking, sure. An author can theoretically record themselves at home or elsewhere. But this raises more concerns and questions.
Does the author have a dialect that will distract from the listening experience? Does the author's voice have sibiliance or other audibility problems that will only be detected once put in front of a quality microphone? Does the author have a voice that records well?
Sometimes, the only way to know these answers is to do a sample recording. In most cases, regardless of the author's background; be it as an actor, radio person, or public speaker, the truth is that most authors don't have the best voice for recording. In many cases, aspects of their sound or delivery can attribute an annoying quality to the recording.
In the book publishing world, we have always placed the greatest weight on the words. As it should be. It is therefore easy to forget that audio books are a sonic, audible format. They are listened to, not read. We sometimes forget this, and in the process, overlook some of the most obvious aspects of these books.
The sound quality.
The listening experience.
How it sounds to the ear. How it impacts the listener.
Perhaps the biggest question to ask is this: Does the book deserve the highest quality voice available? Assuming the writing is great, will the audio quality, i.e. the reader choice and recording process, match the greatness of the written word?
Now, I've recorded my share of authors. Most are ineffective. However, one stands out as being just terrific. Dr. Victoria Zdrok.
Her book is The Anatomy of Pleasure. What a smooth and silky voice she has. Incredibly appropriate for the material, and infinitely produceable in the studio. She is definitely the exception to the rule. She is such a natural talent that she could add being a professional voice talent to her incredibly vast resume, which includes a doctorate in clinical psychology, a degree inlaw, and of course being a celebrity. She was a gem in my recording studio.
I find that if we respect the book, the written word, we will never be hesitant to ask, "Does this serve the book best?"
If we always balance our decisions against that criteria, with objectivity, clarity, and selflessness, we'll always be on the path to success.
Photo by: dh130i
Every writer has a different kind of writing process. Perhaps you draw an outline of the key plot points. Perhaps you start with character development. Or perhaps you sit down at the computer and just start typing. Whichever process you choose, it is what best suits your.
However, for those who are new writers and are unfamiliar with the writing process the basic writing process includes:
- Prewriting- The first step in the writing process centers around your ideas and where you draw your infomation. Take time to buold your ideas and let the characters, setting, and plot fall into place.
- Drafting/Writing- This is, for obvious reasons, the most important step in the process. This is where you actually take your ideas and put them down on paper. I recommend just sitting down and writing. Don't be concerned with proper grammar, structure, or punctuation. Just get those ideas out of your head! There will be plenty of time to revise later.
- Revising- See? I told you you would get here. Revision is a big part of the process. Perhaps a key point in the story isn't going as well as you had envisioned it. Try writing it from a different angle and see where it takes you.
- Editing- Editing should not be confused with revising. Editing basically involves either fixing something or taking it out entirely. This part of the process can be the most frustrating of all, but it is equally as important.
- Publishing- Last, but certainly not least, once your work is complete you can put it out in the world with publishing. Getting published is every writers drea and ultimately, their goal. It isn't easy, but remember to never give up.
Click here for extended information on the writing process!
by LinDee Rochelle
Ah, it’s a glorious feeling to hold your first proof book in hand. You did it! You actually completed a whole writing project, called a “book,” and your feeling of personal accomplishment is indescribable. (Cue tears of joy in this scene.)
However, this first-phase publication is more than an instrument for catching final typos and grammar errors. It is also “proof” that you are an author! For at least several minutes, allow yourself to be proud.
OK. Time’s up. Now let’s get back to work. By now you have rested for several weeks and should be able to turn a fresh eye to reviewing and correcting your proof book in preparation for final publication. Caution: Review and correct does not mean revise.
This is not the time to move paragraphs, modify chapter two, or add a new character. Those things should have been completed prior to submission. If you have not yet submitted your book for publication and have any qualms about possible significant changes, do not submit thinking you can make changes in the proof phase. Regardless of your publisher, you will likely incur additional costs and delay the publication process.
So assuming your book is finished to the point of no return, what should you hunt down with a powerful magnifying glass on receipt of your magnificent proof book?
There are many tricks and tips for proofing text – reading it backwards (that would take forever in a book!), reading it upside down (seriously?!), and reading it very slowly (yawn). Below are a few solid tips and reminders of what is important.
L’s Seven Suggestions for … proofing your proof book to polish your prose:
- Reading aloud is one of the most effective ways to proof; of course, if you’re caught, you might have to explain why you’re acting like a third grader.
- Proof for one aspect at a time; i.e., first the body/text, then the formatting/spacing, etc; break it down so you’re concentrating on just one review area.
- Keep a list of every error and clearly mark it in the proof book; this provides a checks and balance for both you and your publisher.
- If you or your editor created a Style Sheet for your book, keep it handy while you proof.
- Of course, you’re looking for pure and simple typos – misspellings, capitalizations, punctuation goofs; but don’t forget to look for little-word-syndrome: inadvertent substitutions of “is” for “in” or vice versa, et al.
- Did you make global name changes while writing, or other revisions that affected the whole work? Did you get them all? (Even the find/replace function is not infallible.)
- Review formatting for anomalies and inconsistencies, as well as widows and orphans, which may require very light editing to resolve the issue – but first, discuss with your publisher, as often the problem can be corrected with format spacing:
- widow: a paragraph line that lands in another column or on another page, separated from the rest of its text
- orphan: paragraph ending with a word or few words appearing on a line by itself/themselves
While this is obviously not a comprehensive list, hopefully it will prime your thinking pump. Most of these items should have been caught prior to submission; but it’s nearly impossible to catch them all, no matter how many times you review, or how wonderful your editor is.
You may as well know this now – rare is the book that is 100% error-free. You perfectionists out there … get over it! (And yes, I’m talking to myself, as well.)
by John F. Harnish
Here’s a wee bit of publishing history. Once upon a time during the colonial days in America, stationary stores and book venders would pay for the printing of an author’s manuscript under the house name of the bookseller with the books being sold in their stores. Back then, books traveled along with the official mail and size definitely mattered. So authors were the source of books for established vendors to sell, and the vendors had the money to pay the book printers, and the booksellers extended the reach of their income flow by sending copies of their commissioned work to bookstores throughout the colonies.
We have to thank Ben Franklin, the British colonies first Postmaster General, for putting into place the special media postage rate we enjoy today. Of my forefathers, the smartest one of all was—without question—Ben Franklin. Talk about a driving desire to publish his work! In his early teens, Ben worked as an apprentice in his brother’s print shop but his brother refused to publish Ben’s youthful writing in the weekly newspaper.
So Ben rewrote one of his early essays as a letter from a subscriber, signed it with his pen name, “Silence Dogood,” and added it to the pile of letters from readers. His unknowing brother published the Dogood letter which was received with popular acclaim by the readers. Ben wrote as and for the middle class—the common folks—and his authored words rang true with them.
Ben wisely grew to discover that he could control the commerce of his writing, because he owned the printing press and he enjoyed an established distribution network based on the fair exchange of goods and services that were mutually beneficial all the way around. But of course as Postmaster General, Ben’s books and newspapers traveled for free under what was know as the “Franklin Privilege” which continues to apply to the U.S. government today as “Franking,” along with the popular “media rate.”
He believed it was a virtue to provide public service while earning a reasonable profit. Ben was also the first postmaster to be fired from the position because he got into a serious place of disagreement with the King of England about taxation without representation—most revolting to pay and have no say!
A book with a related CD included can be a valuable enhancement to readers. The reader benefits provided by the enhanced mixed-media book exceeds the higher retail price required to cover the cost of producing the CD and affixing it to the book in a tamper-proof Mylar sleeve.
There are many ways a CD can enhance a printed book. Poets can give voice to their poems by including a CD with a selection of poetry – hearing the poet’s inflections brings a new meaning to their words. Books with references to data bases of contact information, worksheets, and PDF forms could include a CD filled with a variety of different kinds of computer-friendly and printer-ready files.
Novelists could include a CD with an array of photographs, which may enhance the reader’s visualization of the plot and help set the scene in the reader’s mind. Historical novelists could show the dress of the period, military uniforms and weapons of the era – once-dry history can now come alive with the digital sparkles of a slide show.
An author can even have their book converted to an ebook and put on a CD. These are just a few examples of how additional information can be recorded on a CD that will ultimately increase the value of your printed book.
Photo by: jimmiehomeschoolmom
V.P. Spoken Books Publishing, Dave Giorgio, December 3, 2010:
Recently, you may have heard about a book being published by Amazon.com that caused a headline-sized commotion. The book in question is an unnamable book written on an unnamable subject. I'll say no more than that the book involved children.
If you heard the story, you were outraged. Your next thoughts would likely have been, "Why in the world would they publish such a title? What were they thinking?"
The very honest answer is that they were not thinking. In fact, there is not much of a "they" in that scenario. You see, that book was published by Amazon's publishing "machine."
And that's exactly what their publishing mechanism is. A machine. The machine does not care about books or content or authors. After all, it is a machine.
In some Orwellian way, you could say that this is what happens when you publish a book to a machine.
There's a reason why book publishing companies like Infinity Publishing exist. We are real people, right here in the U.S.A. who have spent years bringing quality content to light. The fiasco with Amazon is just plainly something that never would have happened with us.
Why? Because we are real people. Skilled people. Professionals. And we care about our books, and your books, too. Many of us have families and children of our own. That's perhaps the most important reason behind why we care as deeply as we do.
So when you are out there in cyberspace, don' lose sight of the fact that behind all the web sites, there are people, and there are machines. You'll be better off publishing with people. Because machines? They just don't care like we people do.
Inspiration can be hard to come by. More often than not, it is what writers strive to find. Gain inspiration from these words of wisdom. Let them inspire and inform you. And most of all, let them motivate you to write and keep writing!
- "One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from the experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give." – James Baldwin
- “The good writer seems to be writing about himself, but has his eye always on that thread of the Universe which runs through himself and all things." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
- "We don't write what we know. We write what we wonder about." - Richard Peck
- “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” - Winston Churchill
- "You see things as they are and ask 'Why?' I dream of things as they never were and ask, 'Why not?'" - George Bernard Shaw
- "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." - Jack London
- “Read, read, read. Read everything- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write." - William Faulkner
- "To produce a mighty work, you must choose a mighty theme." - Herman Melville
- No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader." - Robert Frost
- “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl
Photo by: this lyre lark
by LinDee Rochelle
We write our books hoping to paint a vivid picture for the reader, with every thousand words. But when it comes to your book’s cover design are you at a loss to express your thoughts?
That’s OK. A talented author does not necessarily go hand-in-hand as an inspired artist. Cover design help is available, but knowing how to convey a vague image that hovers in the corner of your mind is not easy. And actually should not be necessary.
Oh, I can hear you now. “Then how will I get the book cover I want?” The Rolling Stones were right-on in 1969 with sage advice, “You just might find, you get what you need.”
A true self publishing author is left to their own capabilities or affordability to hire a cover designer. However, if you’re publishing through an independent publisher (such as Infinity) your book cover will be placed in the capable and creative hands of their design department.
As John mentioned last week (“Pleasing Color??? Matching Color??? There’s a big difference in the perception of colors!!!”) it helps to know the differences in processing, as your perception of the final cover will be more realistic.
I’ve had two book covers created by Infinity’s cover design department. How I presented my desires for each was completely different, but ultimately left the primary design up to them, with terrific results.
Sent artwork only
With the first, a cover design for Love in Bloom / A Collection of Works by the Women Writers of the Desert, the anthology created with my Phoenix writers’ group, one of our contributors knew an artist who donated an original watercolor for our cover art. We simply submitted the artwork and asked them to “fill in the rest.” The result was a striking and attractive cover. Love it.
Submitted vague vision
The second, for my upcoming book, Blast from Your Past! / Rock & Roll Radio DJs who ROCKED Your World! 1954~1979, I merely sent the synopsis, told them I wanted red and black, rather than the ubiquitous 1950s turquoise and pink, and let them have their way. Wow. Talk about talent.
Of course, you want to be involved with cover design. After all, who knows your book better, right? Actually, that can be a problem. A good book cover designer or publisher’s design department should be able to not only see what you see, but offer elements you may not have considered that make an effective, saleable cover.
With the knowledge that digital publishers work in Pleasing Color mode, below are a few tips to help communicate your design thoughts that will go a long way toward crafting the book cover you need, to help sell books.
L’s Seven Suggestions … for a great Pleasing Color book cover design
(with contributions from Infinity’s Design Department)
- Always submit an excerpt, synopsis, and author bio to your design team, with your “broad overview” for the cover; a general idea is better than minute details because their creativity is not inhibited and promotes the opportunity for a different POV. You may think the cover should help tell your story – that may not be what’s needed to sell the book.
- It’s OK to request standard colors, like red, green, blue, etc., and even helpful to suggest a “light” blue, “dark” green, or perhaps “bright” red; but again, with Pleasing Color processing, the various color hues are representational, and not available in exact matches to PMS (Pantone Matching System); so “cerulean blue” and “chili pepper red” are not realistic to expect.
- Know who you’re working with – digital design departments are not comprised of freehand artists or illustrators (who may retain rights to their art), but they are master designers who manipulate royalty-free stock images and art to create a custom cover for your book.
- Feel free to suggest an online image or submit a copy of a cover you like; but realize that in order to make your book unique, there may be subtle-to-significant changes. Have you ever mentally dissected book covers at the stores, to discover you’ve seen that stock image before? Even traditional book publishers use them. And yet, most readers aren’t trained to see separate elements and won’t even notice.
- If you must offer details that you think are important to selling your book, realize that you will receive something as close as possible in stock imagery. However, any key changes may not be due to the unavailability of the image, but as a result of a designer’s expertise in creating a cover with marketing in mind.
- Be accessible for questions (especially via e-mail) by your design team. We all want our books published ASAP, but when a cover issue arises and you’re not available, time is lost.
- When your proof book arrives, try to look at the cover objectively; not with your preconceived idea of what the cover should have been, but what the designers are trying to tell you (and your readers) with their concept.
There are hundreds of thousands of online stock images – and your designers know what to do with them. In digital book cover designing it’s the tweaking to blend, enhance, change colors, layer, crop, which gives the design its personality to fit your book, stand out as unique, and entice readers.
I consider myself a relatively creative person, but could I design a book cover? Heck no! However, I know a good one when I see it, and appreciate the talent that went into creating it. Have you hugged your book designer today?