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  • 9780955341519.jpg Interesting post over at Danuta Kean's blog extolling the routes of the DIY route to publication:
    Do-it-yourself publishing has become the new route to success for struggling authors. Several have recently won lucrative contracts from the biggest publishers after proving the worth of their books by first printing them themselves and selling them in local bookshops. The falling cost of self-publishing means that authors whose work has been turned down by literary agents or publishers are now able to prove that their books will sell. Among the success stories is Peter J Murray, a former assistant headmaster from Cheam, Berkshire, who will see two of his children's books published on Thursday by Hodder Children's Books. Murray's debut, Mokee Joe is Coming, which was inspired by stories he told to his own children, was self-published last autumn and sold 12,000 copies after he promoted it in local bookshops and schools.
    I think the important thing here is that in such a flooded market, where being lost in the crowd is the most likely thing to happen to any author who has worked hard to get their work out there in book form, the DIY route forces the author to think about marketing. If the expectation from any new author is that their publisher will have much time or energy to really get behind their book and push it for all they are worth they are, in most cases, likely to be very disappointed. Taking the DIY route means taking on to your own shoulders the responsibility for getting other people thinking and talking about your book: it means getting a website up and running, and a blog, and a presence on the social networking sites, and touring the bookshops, and padding the streets. And
  • Steiner's covers

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    SteinerUSA.jpg Is it me or is the US cover (above)
  • Free book. Kinda.

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    9780755322817.jpg Increasingly, publishers are wondering just how exactly they are going to cope with electronic books. Here is an example of HarperCollins getting it exactly wrong (via Snowblog):
    If you let people read an electronic copy of your book for free, will that increase or decrease demand for the printed copies you want to sell? The first thought is that, well, giving anything away for free means someone isn't paying for it who might otherwise have done so. But then radio gives songs away for free and that's seen as one of the best ways of boosting sales of paid-for versions of the same thing. But that's music not books. Cory Doctorow gives electronic copies of his books away and he reckons it generates word-of-mouth and so gives an important boost to his printed sales. Neil Gaiman's publisher, Harper Collins, is just trying it out with American Gods. Except that Cory's books are available formatted for your phone, your iPod, your PDA and your whizzy e-book reader.
  • Blogging and the "common reader"

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    After reading Vulpes Libris's recent overview of the current state of play of the war of words between bloggers and journalists/non-blogging commentators -- and being reminded of two emblematic quotes: from Nicola Beauman, "Hurrah for blogs, we say - but only if they are never mistaken for anything but yammering" and from William Skidelsky, "The authority of critics is being undermined by a raucous blogging culture" -- I have to confess that I'm more than rather bemused that the attacks on bloggers, blogs and the blogosphere continues apace. I'm bemused because the attacks are, quite simply, moronic. It is the job of journalists, one would have thought, when they write for or against any particular thing, on this or that subject, at least to mount a coherent argument. What strikes one most forcibly about the flurry of attacks on blogs is that they are entirely incoherent. Further, they almost always betray the journalist as having little or no knowledge of the subject at hand. Lastly -- and one would have thought that journalists and "intellectuals" would have been particularly alive to this -- they show little or no recognition that their communal cri de coeur about the state of reviewing and criticism has a long history. Attacks on blogs are only the most recent incarnation of attacks on "men of letters" by journalists and academics (and attacks by each of these on each of the others). Why incoherent? The search engine Technorati currently tracks "112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media" on the net. The number keeps growing. In the face of 110 million of them, simply by saying "all blogs are X" the person who utters (or writes) that sentence betrays themselves as foolish. Like newspapers, magazines and books, many blogs are poor, many are so idiosyncratic or personal that only a small number of family, friends or insiders will be interested in their contents, and some are extremely good. Beyond this, we need to name names and get specific e.g. (with regards to my own website) ReadySteadyBook is not bad at covering literary fiction, but terrible when it comes to its coverage of crime fiction. True. Guilty as charged. Specificity, it comes to pass, is something that the journalists (in the UK, I'm thinking here) are very bad at. Most, now, know ReadySteadyBook, they know dovegreyreader scribbles, John Self's Asylum and Scott Pack's Me and My Big Mouth, but beyond that they seem woefully ignorant of the rest of even just the UK lit-blogosphere (initially, I point folk to BritLitBlogs to get them started). One rule of thumb might be: don't pay attention to anybody when they are talking about the blogosphere
  • Bravo Oprah!

    Fri, 12 Dec 2008 06:24

    0385519311.jpg Martyn Daniels brings my attention to a recent successful experiment in freeing up the content of Suze Orman's Women & Money (more on the original story at Amherst Daily News):
    Last week we wrote about the Oprah touch and her 48 hour offer to download Suze Orman's book Women and Money for free. According to reports, more than 1.1 million copies of Orman's book were downloaded in English, and another 19,000 in Spanish... The offer for Women and Money, originally released a year ago by Spiegel & Grau, has not impacted physical sales... Will Richard and Judy now follow? Will an "A" list author now take the plunge and fordge their name in history as the tipping point?
    It would be wonderful to see a well-known British writer
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