First of all, this article validates much of the basic philosophy long held by Infinity Publishing which has always believed in the resilience of the nation’s independent bookstores and their ability to stay in business and go toe-to-toe with chain super-stores. The national chains are in bed enjoying sweetheart deals for deeply discounted bestsellers from major houses, whose intent of the super-discounts and making their famous authors available for book signings were clearly to out-price and upstage those nearby indies.
We have always stressed the importance of regional connections by encouraging our authors to schedule events in their local independent bookstores. The owners/managers know the value of community roots and the appeal of introducing a newly published author with books -- autographed for their customers. Niche market books have always sold well through indies, and Infinity offers a dazzling array of niche topics – fully returnable at a 40% discount is a good deal. Plus, we have authors in the store’s backyard poised to do readings.
It’s interesting to note that the chains and major houses who hooked up early on with POD publishing services haven’t done much that’s noticeable in support of the resulting books. Perhaps the universal fault in the business model was their impersonal approach with contracted and over-taxed authors.
By engaging in self-publishing through Infinity, the author retains all rights to the book and Infinity pays monthly royalties on every book sold – we earn our profit selling books to ever expanding niches and discount books to our authors who create and control the content.
The importance of increasing independent bookstore sales, coupled with expanding customer purchases of niche books from small presses and evolving publishers, demonstrates the ability of indies and small regional chains to thrive and profit under the giants’ shadow. They’re doing this by expanding their on-shelf selection of niche books, introducing new flavors of fiction, spreading out romance, and howling over a vast offering of how-to books. We live in fascinating times – and the happenings in our evolving branch of publishing are especially interesting. The content and course of the book in the market place is being returned to the control of the author to decide upon – and not the corporate bean-counters who have counted too long on formulated publishing to produce the over projected profit. Authors who know and care about the content, published by a cost-effective book publishing system, delivered to a customer-aware and author-friendly indie is a winning combination that’s producing increasing sales when the rest of the industry is rather flat.
-John F. Harnish
I recently took a trip with my brother to purchase a car. For 3 hours we were on the road together, with a chance to talk in greater depth than usual. My brother, Paul, is the sales manager for a Kia dealership, and he has been in car sales for years.
In fact, his first job in car sales was as a salesman for a Chevy dealer. He was Salesman of the Month 11 out of 12 months per year, every year, for about 7 years as I recall. I believe that he and I both owe our people skills to our father; who owned a butcher shop where my brother and I both worked. There is something about working in a family business, especially with a family like mine, that instills a very successful attitude.
My brother then went on to become a sales manager and has been one ever since. He's great at what he does.
Now, I have been in book publishing for over 12 years. And in all this time, I never knew something about my brother: He had written a book on sales.
There I was, on a road trip with my brother, finding this out for the first time. My energy level in the car shot right up, as I told him exactly what can be done, how many units I projected him to sell, who his target audience is, how he can best apply his marking efforts, etc. After all, book publishing is my passion (or at least one of them).
So where do books and authors come from? Some might say they come from excellence in a particular field. Or they may come from one with a gifted pen. But in my case, a book and author may come from a long road trip to Scranton, PA.
When did you first start writing?
“I have owned my own business since I was 21 years old and worked in the financial services business for over 30 years. 10 years ago, I was speaking publicly and discovered I could make people laugh and cry, while introducing concepts and ideas in an entertaining fashion. I founded the Wealth and Wisdom Institute for professionals from across the country who are dedicated to informing and educating the public regarding the follies of traditional financial thinking. I first started writing because I continued to grow increasingly frustrated with the financial services business where it was all about profit.”
What are your books about?
“My first book, Learning to Avoid Unintended Consequences, published in 2003, tells of the myths and realities of traditional financial thinking as well as the ten major transfers of wealth. Sudden Impact, 2006, includes the changing demographics and unsustainable government plans that are creating an impending crisis that will touch everyone. The Defining Moment, 2009, is the thought process needed to survive in today’s financial jungle. The Family Legacy, 2006, is about creating family wealth, security, and family fulfillment.”
What advice do you have for other writers and authors in terms of publishing and marketing their books?
“Marketing and promotion is a daily event. Getting in front of people is the key – also getting endorsements. We’ve sold about 40,000 books with no marketing, only word of mouth.”
Why did you choose Infinity publishing?
“Infinity Publishing opened a new door for my career. I now have several books published by Infinity.”
by Brian Jud
Have you wondered how celebrities being interviewed on television can look so calm when millions of people are watching them? And have you ever wondered if you could do that?
You can appear on national television and radio, and you can appear calm and collected, just like the actors you see every day. And like actors, you cannot simply show up for performances. Actors learn their lines and rehearse them until they create a believable, entertaining performance.
The key to any good performance is preparation. Good media guests need to know what they are going to say during all their performances and practice their delivery of each word beforehand. Adequate preparation will make you more confident in your ability to perform and help you relax while you are on the air.
You have heard it said that practice makes perfect. However, that is not necessarily true. Practice makes permanent, so you have to make sure you are rehearsing the right things. Before you appear on any media event, engage the services of a professional media trainer so the techniques you make permanent are the right ones.
Practice on a regular basis and you will conduct professional and successful interviews. Your practice sessions can be as formal or informal as you want them to be. They run the gamut, from talking into a cassette recorder or performing before your video camera. One technique is to have someone who knows nothing about your subject ask you questions. This simulates most interviews, and it will help you practice responding to unexpected questions.
Practice can be as easy and fun as listening to or watching talk shows. On television, watch how successful guests interact with the host and audience. Try watching the show on which you are scheduled to appear, with the sound off to focus your attention on the guests. How do they sit? What do they wear? What are the seating arrangements and backgrounds? What are the predominant camera angles? Incorporate what you see into your own performance.
Turn the sound back on and listen to the host. How are questions asked? How does he or she stimulate audience participation? What is the pace of the show? On radio, listen to the interaction between guests and host and between guests and callers. What makes one show better than others? How are stories woven into the author’s answers? Does the guest answer the host's questions directly or follow his or her own agenda? The important point is to do something every day to improve your media skills.
Brian Jud is host of the television show, The Book Authority, a media coach and author of the media-training video program, You’re On The Air. Brian also hosts Book Central Station, where you can find rated lists of suppliers to help you write, publish, and market your books.
The Audio Book Publishing industry has had one of the more fascinating histories over the past decades, compared to other industry segments.
While it is true that technically speaking, the concept and execution of recording spoken word read from a book has been around since a third of the way through the 20th century, it's really the past 10 or so years that things have gotten interesting.
And by interesting, I mean widespread; sonically excellent; transportable, lucrative; etc.
Consider the millions of iPods and iPads on the market, each able to retrieve and play audio book content. Millions. And they are not the only devices on the market, as Sony, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and others have all created playback devices that will support the audio book format.
So when publishing your book, keep a keen eye on the audio rights, taking care to do your best to keep them. You'll notice that top publishers covet these rights, and for good reason. And therein lies the Zen message of how important and lucrative these rights can be.
by Brian Jud
Television is the glamour medium in the broadcast industry, making you instantly recognizable to millions of people across the country. But appearing on the air does not guarantee book sales. There are three major elements that control the way you are perceived by the viewers: your physical features, clothes and body language:
1. There’s not much you can do to change your physical features, but you can work with them. Use makeup to hide or accentuate certain physical features. Most women use makeup regularly and feel comfortable wearing it. If you are not familiar or comfortable with makeup, get assistance from a media trainer or from a sales representative at a local theatrical or cosmetic shop.
2. Dress to feel comfortable and create the image you want. Choose clothes that will not distract from your message. People should pay attention to what you say, not what you are wearing.
Choose colors that are best for you, given your hair and skin coloring. In general, dark colors are best for suits, and blue is a safe color. Earth tones and neutral colors work well on television, too. Before you choose your attire for any particular show, watch it or call ahead to find out the background color of the set.
Accessories should be simple, non-distracting and quiet. Use them to complement your intended image. Jewelry should be functional, subtle and not so bright as to cause camera problems. Glasses may be worn if needed to read.
3. There are volumes written about body language and how you project an image through your posture, movements and gestures -- intentionally or unintentionally.
Here are a few tips.
Be seated comfortably with your forearms placed on the armrests. Sit toward the front of the chair and lean slightly forward. If you are seated in a large sofa, sit near the front edge so you are not enveloped in it, particularly if you are short.
Use your hands strategically and naturally. Do not use quick, stiff, contrived gestures, but practice making smooth ones that appear spontaneous. Use your hands and arms to reinforce what you are saying. Do not look into the camera as you answer the interviewer’s questions. You are having a discussion with your host, so focus on his or her eyes.
Relax, enjoy yourself and you will sell more books when you are on the air.
Brian Jud is host of the television show, The Book Authority, a media coach and author of the media-training video program, You’re On The Air. Brian also hosts Book Central Station, where you can find rated lists of suppliers to help you write, publish, and market your books.
I'm pleased to report that we continue to have a wide variety of Infinity authors achieving success with their ongoing efforts to promote their books in the market place by utilizing a assortment of techniques. We hope sharing what has worked to increase their book sales will stimulate some ideas for ways to increase your book sales.
Two common factors in successful book sales are: one, the importance of the buzz book generated by folks who have actually read your book-word-of-mouth is the best way to spread the word about your book; and two, the value of accumulated sales, each and every copy of your book that is out in the world is a planted seed with the ability to grow interest in your book-especially in niche areas. Now it might be a bit of an oxymoron, but the truth of the matter is accumulated sales do continue to add up month after month to become significant numbers-this is so very true of books that never go out of print.
Curtis Seltzer - January 2011 Top Selling Author: How To Be a DIRT-SMART Buyer of Country Property
"When John F. Harnish told me that I was one of Infinity's three top-selling authors for January, 2011, I was floored.
I am Infinity's least computer-savvy author. I hate self-promotion. I have a website, www.curtis-seltzer.com, only because a friend took pity on me. I don't Twitter. I don't network, socially or otherwise. I'm not all that friendly, and I don't like telephones. I do Facebook only because my daughter stuck my stuff up there, and I'm too stupid to get it off.
I've published two books with Infinity: How To Be a DIRT-SMART Buyer of Country Property (2007, 750 pages, $34.95) and Land Matters: The "Country Real Estate" Columns, 2007-2009 (2010, 365 pages, with a CD inside the book; $29.95). Both are in 8.5-x-11 formats. DIRT-SMART is a comprehensive how-to guide for finding, buying and managing rural real estate of all types.
I started writing Country Real Estate (CRE) to promote DIRT-SMART. CRE began as practical, boots-on-the-ground advice, but it has evolved into a humor/lifestyle/op-ed column. Land Matters collects the first 117 CRE columns and includes 14 commentaries on CD that I've done for Virginia public radio.
I email CRE weekly on a pay-for-use basis to about 750 newspapers, reporters, magazines, real estate blogs, individuals in the land industry and friends. It goes to the membership of the National Association of Real Estate Editors and about 500 independent bookstores, (a list I purchased from John Kremer).
Throughout 2008 - 2010, I wrote a paid weekly column for www.LandThink.com. These 111 nuts-and-bolts essays were about the practical issues involved in buying, selling and managing farms, land investments, conservation properties and second homes. They were based on my 40-year experience investing in land, the 15 years that I've consulted with clients on these matters and my 30-year experience owning and operating a cattle-and-timber farm. (I'm no gentleman, and this farm isn't one of those kind of farms.) That column established me as a more-or-less, half-credible authority on the subject and brought some book sales.
I did two new things during the fall that might explain why I did well in December.
First, I spoke at two land-oriented conferences, one at the end of September, the other conference at the beginning of November. I sold about 25 books altogether, mainly DIRT-SMART. Both speeches went well, and I may have created some word-of-mouth buzz for my books.
My sophisticated point-of-purchase marketing consisted of giving books to anyone who showed an interest, along with my business card and a request to send me a check. Everyone did.
Second, I posted email feedback on my books and CRE on Amazon. DIRT-SMART has nine email comments, and Land Matters has more than 50 remarks from readers.
More optimistic feelings among real-estate buyers in the late fall of 2010 may also have improved my book sales.
I will subscribe fellow Infinity authors for free to my Country Real Estate newsletter. Send me your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe, you'll buy a book or two. How's that for cutting-edge marketing?"
Andrew J. Seubert - January 2011 Top Selling Author: The Courage to Feel: A practical guide to the power and freedom of emotional honesty
"It was great news to hear that The Courage to Feel: A practical guide to the power and freedom of emotional honesty is one of the top three best sellers for Infinity Publishing for January 2011. First of all, it's been a delight to work with the people at Infinity who have made it so easy to update and refine my book and to order copies whenever needed. So thank you all.
As a psychotherapist, most of my sales have come as a result of presentations, workshops and trainings I give. These take place at professional conferences, as well as independent ventures.
Needless to say, the creation of a website for our practice has also been a helpful marketing tool. I've appeared on a National Public Radio program, which showcases local authors, and continue to give free talks about all kinds of related topics (my area of specialties are trauma, PTSD, eating disorders and the integration of psychotherapy and spirituality).
I've also found that sending free copies to other therapists, asking for feedback, as well as requesting that they pass the word on to their own clients, has helped immensely. I'm now looking for ways of getting the word to schools and various facilities that focus on emotional healing.
I'm now getting my feet wet with the social media, particularly Facebook and Linkedin. The viral effect of these opportunities is amazing. And, finally, I'm presenting my book in both eBook and audio formats, and am planning on a follow-up book, which will be The Courage to Feel for young people."
Ronald Gunn - January 2011 Top Selling Author: Matrix Management Success: Method Not Magic
"Hello John, thanks for the good news. Well, the blurb here is fairly short but here's how it's been working for us...
Matrix Management Success: Method Not Magic is featured prominently on our consulting firm website, which is www.strategicfutures.com. We have several consulting product lines and one of these lines relates to matrix management. When someone Googles on "matrix management," our website comes up early and often because we pay Google for prominent visibility, e.g., so called search engine optimization with pay-per-click.
The book really is positioned as a marketing tool for our consulting services and it has worked well for us in that way. The CEOs of several organizations that have become clients have "prescribed" our book as required reading for the leadership team and for mid-level managers. We'd like to see more such prescriptions, to be sure! The book is also featured on Amazon.com and so people doing a search for a book on matrix management will find it there.
This is a rather specialized management topic so, to my knowledge, there aren't any bricks-and-mortar book stores that carry it on the shelves although I wish that there were. Therefore, we have never had a book signing event or other kinds of traditional promotional efforts. Everything that we have done to promote the book is strictly electronic or, "virtual" as it were.
So in terms of secrets of success, write your book to a tight niche of interest and make sure that anyone who would use the Internet to find out about that narrow interest will "discover" the book. Hope this helps! Infinity Publishing has been great for us. We just made the volume available as an eBook through Infinity and we are hoping that this will not only achieve eBook sales, but that it will cause folks to order up "hard copies" of the book as well. Cheerio, Ron Gunn"
[Editor's Note: Due to the holiday schedule and a snow storm, Katherine Blanc's remarks about her book selling success where received after the deadline for the January 2011 Author's Advocate. Thusly her remarks are included in this issue.]
Katherine Blanc - December 2010 Top Selling Author: Gold Mountain Girl
"Hi John, This is embarrassing, but the only promotional thing I did was submit the book to the Combined Book Expo exhibit at the California Library Association convention. But that was nearly two years ago. It's actually selling more copies now than it did in its first year of release!
The book appears to be gaining a following via the word of mouth buzz about the book. Since it's a children's middle grade novella, I'm guessing that one child (or parent) reads it, and then shares it with another, and then with another, and so forth. Or perhaps several online reviewers and bloggers have discovered my book and have written good things about it.
Regardless of how it's happening, I'm proud that Gold Mountain Girl is selling on its own merit and is being enjoyed by so many readers!"
Director, Author Services, LinDee Rochelle, February 10, 2011:
It’s been said before, but after researching a couple of topics this week and visiting many, many websites, I’ll say it again: please, please, along with your book – edit your website – most especially the home page, if nothing else.
Websites are now the business card of choice. Isn’t it true that when you hand out a business card in a social networking event, the first thing one looks for on the card is your website address? Of course, as an Infinity author, even if you have not yet taken the plunge into your own website, you have your book’s pages in our bookstore, Buy Books on the Web (www.bbotw.com).
However, in order to market your book effectively, we also recommend establishing your own website, with related products and articles, to increase your reader awareness. (Of course, a link to your page on bbotw.com is where you receive the highest royalty amount on sales.)
Creating, designing, implementing a website is work—no doubt about it. And by the time it’s “up” you may have trudged your way through more than one designer and a couple of hosting companies, or have gone completely bald tearing your hair out in the DIY route. It’s possible that in the process you lose sight of the real reason for the website—your 21st century business card. That it can also market your book, and enhance your authorship is a plus.
Typos and common grammar errors can slip in, even if you paid a professional to create the website content and design. We use technology, but we are human. Mistakes will be made. But that does not mean you should leave them there indefinitely for all the world to see.
Some of the most sophisticated websites flaunt errors. Can you spot the real life website "oops"?
1-"Concession stands with food and berages are available."
2-"A short synapses about xxxxxx xxxxxxxx (identity protected), his accomplishments, and his life :"
3-"This page confirms the number and type of tickets you have selected. This page confirms the number and type of tickets you have selected."
4-"You loose clients because you forget to contact them for 6 months."
5-"Issues some to a head, making it possible to clear the slate and start over."
6-"The xxxxxxxx (protected identity) was created as a service to help find a community they can where participate, make friends and make a contibution." (Huh? Ouch!)
So … did you recognize all of the errors? A couple easy-to-miss reminders: #1, misspelled "beverages"—left out the "v"; #2, "synopsis" is not spelled with an "a" or “e” and there’s an extra space at the end of the line; #3, repeat that please (sentence duplicated); #4, common mistake substituting "loose" for "lose"; #5, well, "some" is spelled right, it's just supposed to be "come"; #6, someone got ahead of themselves and really didn't proof this sentence at all, don't you think? Scrambled word order and misspelled “contribution.”
And by the way, these examples were all taken from sites that want to sell us something. Of course, I’m a little hypercritical; however, if you think about it—and many customers do, even if subconsciously—a company or author with careless errors on their home page is perceived as careless in their book, product, or service quality, as well. Although one, even two, errors in an innocuous area of text may be acceptable, perfection is required in the focal text.
Recommendation: If time allows, take a breather of a couple of days just prior to “going live” with your site—don’t look at it even once—when you come back to it, you will be able to inspect it with a fresh eye and attention to detail. And if your site has been up for a while, perhaps it’s time to give it another in-depth review—can it use an update? (Home page updates are recommended every six to eight weeks, in order to freshen the SEO factors.)
A site free of errors is most critical for authors. Your website reflects your writing ability, whether you wrote the copy or not. It’s your name on the site and on the book you’re trying to market to your website viewers. Spotting typos and grammar goofs on your website will lead them to believe your book is pockmarked with them too.
And if you discover any errors in this blog, John Harnish wrote it! Haha. Just kidding—tell me! I deserve your jibes for it. But remember, you only get that one, all-important opportunity to make a great first impression.
Website blunders can happen to the best. But while you go on about your business unaware that goofs like this somehow escaped your intense scrutiny, they’re being spotted every day / hour / minute by your readers, clients, peers, business associates, and (gasp!) competitors, who snicker behind their monitor screens.
Strive for perfection … or at least the perception of it.
Ciao for now … LinDee
by: Chad Thompson
Whether you are a fiction or a non-fiction writer, start thinking of your self as a celebrity or an expert in your field, respectively. With that said, you will need a professional headshot. That’s not to say you need a glamour shot or that you should worry about competing with the faces of Hollywood. On the contrary, you want your photo to be sincere, professional, and most importantly you want it to look like you. Your photo should show you at your best.
If you take your career as an author seriously, so will your readers. Ensure that your photo represents you in the light that makes the most sense for your genre. For instance, as a mystery writer, you will have a little more liberty to do something edgy with your photo and further establish your brand as an intriguing person. If, however, you write non-fiction, you will want to ensure that your image is professional and that you appear trustworthy, confident and approachable.
As an important element of your marketing campaign, your photo will be used on your back cover, in trade journals, in your press kit and on your web site. It is often the first image a potential reader or client will have of you, so make it good.
Here are some things to think about when you go to have your pro shot taken:
1. Your headshot should look like you. Avoid glamour shots or pictures that make you look like someone else. You want your readers to recognize you. Avoid cheese—forget the soft light and the boa.
2. Stay recent: Renew your photo every five years. A photo from ten years ago is both confusing and unprofessional. If you have gained 50 pounds since your last sitting, it’s time for new a new photo. Imagine how embarrassing it would be to show up to a book signing and none of your fans recognize you.
3. Avoid wearing clothes with busy, colorful prints and patterns. A nice solid color will be the most flattering in print. Also, avoid wearing large, chunky pieces of jewelry that may distract the viewer. Your smile or your eyes should be the thing that interests your reader, not your clothes or accessories.
4. Consider having your makeup and hair done professionally and visit a color expert to see which colors work best with your skin tone. However, don’t overdo it—a natural look is important. For you males, consider using powder to minimize any glare and potential shine.
5. Take the time to have several pictures taken. Include varying angles, poses, and facial expressions. It’s nice to have choices when you start promoting yourself. Also, consider the type of shot that will work best on your web site—plan ahead. It’s important to have a photo of yourself with a plain backdrop so your web designer can knock out the background if needed.
6. Know your rights. Be sure to let your photographer know how you would like to use your photos and make sure you have permission in writing. It would be a shame to have to retake your photos because you can’t get the rights to use your image on your web site.
Your professional headshot will represent you as an author for the next several years, so make sure you pose with confidence. And remember, your readers want to know more about you, they want to know you—your photo is your chance to make a strong first impression!!
Chad Thompson shoots professionally for Outdoor and Lifestyle magazines in San Diego, Arizona and Oregon. He is also a co-founder of Monkey C Media a full-service design house offering web and print design, and photography services. Monkey C Media is known for their innovative designs and unparalleled website creation and makeover programs. For more information, visit Monkey C Media.
Photo By: Sirenz Lorraine
V.P. Spoken Books Publishing, Dave Giorgio, February 8, 2011:
Many authors ask about Marketing, and for good reason. It's easier than ever to write and publish a book, but once it is published, how do you drive sales and achieve some success?
There's not enough room in a blog to cover all of the ins and outs of marketing a book. Besides, the first step towards marketing your book is making that decision to commit to the idea, set goals, and really put your heart and creativity into it.
Here's a list of reasons why marketing your book can really pay off:
1) No one will do it for you. There isn't any among us who don't cherish the idea of handing this task off to someone else and then watching the sales come in. But it doesn't work that way unless you are already famous.
2) You have a unique qualification by being the author. No one knows or understands your book the same way that you do. While a professional can really help in your marketing effort, you have to be at the heart of the marketing of your book. No one will care the way you do, be as excited about the book as you, or have the same connectivity with readers as you.
3) Fame. This word natively conjures up a fantasy of big cars, lights, paparazzi and autographs. But keep in mind there are many aspects to this that are just as real, though less dazzling than those above. Imagine having a following of loyal readers of your novel, who await the next book. Or imagine being an expert on a subject and becoming a recognized authority for your non-fiction book. Imagine writing blogs that people read, because they are written by you. Imagine being desired.
4) Money. You'll be paid a royalty on the sales of your book. So by creating a name for yourself, you will put yourself in a position to make some money.
5) Self satisfaction. It is gratifying to write a book. But it is also gratifying to see the rewards of achieving sales.
In short, making the decision to devote yourself to your book will serve both you and your book very well as you keep moving into the future as a published AND selling author.
Copyeditors are, as a group, very patient and forgiving readers. We love noticing nitpicky details and fixing subtle errors to help you present your audience the most polished and professional version of your book possible. We could spend all day moving commas and repossessing possessives, and many days we do. Editors aren’t impervious to frustration, however, especially when we come across the same small exasperating errors over and over again . . . in the course of one manuscript.
What errors make us reach for our red pens every time? We asked the Infinity copyediting staff, “What is your biggest pet peeve?”
*One of the most common mistakes an author can make is punctuating dialog incorrectly — and if it happens once, it’ll probably happen many times. Here are a few simple things to check for when punctuating dialog:
1. Quotation marks should surround only the text spoken by a character — not the attribution (he/she said), and not reported speech (I told him yes).
incorrect: “The apple tree is too tall to climb, he said.”
correct: “The apple tree is too tall to climb,” he said.
2. When a character ends a statement, use a comma instead of a period if the sentence continues after the dialog. Similarly, if any text introduces the dialog, a comma precedes the quotation.
incorrect: “That is a tall order.” She said. He turned to me and said. “I don’t want to go home.”
correct: “That is a tall order,” she said. He turned to me and said, “I don’t want to go home.”
If a complete sentence follows the dialog, it is safe to use a period.
incorrect: “I’m a private eye,” my cigarette glowed in the dark room.
correct: “I’m a private eye.” My cigarette glowed in the dark room.
3. Punctuation (including question marks and exclamation points) lives inside the quotation marks.
incorrect: “Is there really a rainbow over there” she asked? “That’s amazing”, she yelled!
correct: “Is there really a rainbow over there?” she asked. “That’s amazing!” she yelled.
Another editorial pet peeve is:
*Dangling and misplaced modifiers are hateful things. Although the name might sound intimidating, they are simply descriptors that have lost their way in a sentence, so that they no longer explain what the writer intended. A dangling modifier seems to have no subject at all, whereas a misplaced modifier wants to be adopted by a new one. The easiest way to avoid this trap is to keep related words close to each other within a sentence.
incorrect: Being Saturday night, the student decided to procrastinate.
Being Saturday night is a dangling modifier — it has no subject, and so it seems that the student = Saturday night.
correct: Since it was Saturday night, the student decided to procrastinate.
incorrect: My phone has a specific ringtone for my girlfriend that sounded chipper.
That sounded chipper is a misplaced modifier — it’s been separated from its subject, a specific ringtone, and instead, seems to imply that the speaker has a harem of girlfriends, but only one who sounded chipper.
correct: My phone has a specific, chipper-sounding ringtone for my girlfriend.
And last but not least in editorial pet peeves:
*Homophone (or homonym) confusion is so rudimentary that it almost shouldn’t be considered a pet peeve, but it’s everywhere! Of course, many people have difficulty remembering the differences between words that sound alike, such as to/too/two, farther/further, and your/you’re; it’s harder to be patient with mistakes involving less common words that sound similar, but mean very different things, such as so/sew, cereal/serial, idle/idol, and except/accept. Many of these errors are made when an author is writing quickly and relies on a spelling checker alone to catch his or her mistakes; others stem from a lack of understanding of the words’ meanings. There are two techniques to help reduce homophone confusion:
1.) Read your manuscript multiple times, and have as many people as possible read and critique it.
2.) If you have any doubt about the spelling or use of any word, look it up in a dictionary.
incorrect: For a different prospective, I asked my dad, formally a minor, if a mining cart would need duel break peddles to keep access wait stationery. I listed to what I herd with wrapped attention.
correct: For a different perspective, I asked my dad, formerly a miner, if a mining cart would need dual brake pedals to keep excess weight stationary. I listened to what I heard with rapt attention.
Director, Author Services, LinDee Rochelle, February 3, 2011:
Many of us have a smart phone. Those who don’t—I think I envy you. Like before the computer, life was so much simpler without all the bells ‘n’ whistles; but here we are ringing and whistling—do we know what song they’re playing?
Today dear authors, we’re talkin’ about Apps. I confess, the only ones I have on my phone were there when I bought it from Verizon. In less than two years my near-top-of-the-line 3G phone has been supplanted by the new 4G network, the Droid, and the iPhone. Sigh. I haven’t yet even figured out all the features on this one—including its apps.
But whether you’re using your phone, PC, laptop, e-reader, or iPad, you likely have a desktop-full of apps. Unfortunately, many of us have no idea what the term “apps” really means and how it can be beneficial to you, a hibernating writer/author, if not now, certainly in the near future.
Let’s delve into it together
Definition: Do you believe there is a website named WhatIsAnApp? I never cease to be amazed. Alan Boris explains succinctly: “The short answer: App is short for "application," a software program that performs a (usually) useful function such as word processing; a tool provided by a computer that performs a task to benefit the user.”
Boris surmises that the shorter term “app” is preferred for marketing because in addition to saving space with fewer letters, it also denotes “software meant for smaller devices.” However, the overall term refers to the smallest iPhone app, to the most complex multi-use program. Think Microsoft Word and Excel. In basic terms, says Boris, “Application software performs a task for the user and often generates document files.”
You probably picked up on the reference to Word and Excel, but don’t confuse your individual files with apps—your files are documents, but the Word or Excel program you created (and use) them through is an app(lication). Why they don’t simply call them programs so there’s less confusion, I just don’t know.
Some apps are brand-specific and only perform with their brand’s support—as in Apple’s offerings—rendered usable solely for the iPhone and iPad. Others may work with a variety of phones and devices, but your experience with an app may also vary, per device. As much as Apple would like to keep things proprietary, users will ultimately demand multi-system capabilities.
So how do apps relate to authors?
An app could make one of your books interactive, and/or allow readers to purchase all of your books, and interactive products and writings you might create to brand you and your book(s). With an app readers can make purchases, link to your events page, blog, and bio, and experience you, the author, on a more personal level than ever before. Traditional publishers have been providing apps for their most celebrated authors for the past couple of years.
Where there were few apps for mobile devices back in 2001, as of September 2010, Steve Jobs announced a figure of 250,000 just in the Apple Store. That doesn’t count more than 113,000 in Google’s Android Market—and add hundreds of thousands more available in myriad places around the globe. For writers and authors, this means you can jump on the app bandwagon and create your own, so your readers will never be without you! But it also appears we’re already looking at another technology glut.
While you may be thinking that you’d better find your spot on the bandwagon asap, despite the plethora of apps already available, it may be wise to wait. Just like the e-book landscape, practically before the first wave catches on, the mobile apps industry is shifting with more force than the Earth’s tectonic plates.
From the Seattle Times (02/02/2011), “Apple confirmed that it would require app developers that sell e-books outside of their iPad and iPhone apps — through a website, for example — to also sell the books inside those apps. And purchases that originate in the app must be made through Apple, which keeps a 30 percent cut.” It’s all about the money.
But if you want to grab a side-railing on the bandwagon anyway, check out popular Corona SDK, which offers development software subscriptions from $199 to $349; so for some that price is reasonable if you are a DIY author and want to offer your books and products in the latest technology. However, be prepared to hone your “techie” skills.
Although you won’t necessarily need to learn HTML, you will have to switch off your right brain and engage your logical left brain to create an app. Other app development companies specifically for authors provide the service for you—albeit a bit pricey, averaging around $1,000. And of course, this will require a significant amount of time away from your right brain and your writing muse.
You might want to let the dust settle on the apps industry and watch a while longer. Perhaps a wait-and-see attitude is what’s required before we throw caution to the wind and hook our book to the mobile app bandwagon. Better to wait and find a solid seat rather than be thrown off at the first turn.
However, make no mistake, this is the wave of the publishing future and together with e-books, will rewrite the definition of “book.”
Ciao for now! … LinDee