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Interview with Dean Koontz

Happy Monday! Regarding the title of today’s post…how many of you thought that I actually interviewed Dean Koontz? Let’s see a raise of hands. Just kidding but, I do wish I had been the one to conduct the interview however I’m not quite that famous or well known in the industry. Not yet. So in the meantime, I have found an interview for you to enjoy. I think we can learn a lot from famous authors and how they got their starts. Taken straight from http://www.deankoontz.com/writing-qa/:

You had an agent in your early years tell you that you’d never be a best-selling writer. Did that discourage you or make you more determined to succeed?

 

I have more self-doubt than any writer I’ve ever known. That is one reason I revise every page to the point of absurdity! The positive aspect of self-doubt – if you can channel it into useful activity instead of being paralyzed by it – is that by the time you reach the end of a novel, you know precisely why you made every decision in the narrative, the multiple purposes of every metaphor and image. Having been your own hardest critic you still have dreams but not illusions. Consequently, thoughtless criticism or advice can’t long derail you. You become disappointed in an agent, in an editor, in a publisher, but never discouraged. If anyone in your publishing life were to argue against a particular book or a career aspiration for reasons you had not already pondered and rejected after careful analysis, if they dazzled you with brilliant new considerations, then you’d have to back off and revisit your decisions. But what I was told never dazzled me. For example, I was often advised, by different people, that my work would never gain a big audience because my vocabulary was too large.

 

It’s been said that writers reveal their own struggles, fears, dreams, etc. through their work. Which of your novels reveals the most about you?

 

Everything I believe about life and death, culture and society, relationships and the self, God and nature–everything winds up in the books, not in one more than another, but equally, title after title. A body of work, therefore, reveals the intellectual and emotional progress of the writer, and is a map of his soul. It’s both terrifying and liberating to consider this aspect of being a novelist.

 

I’ve read that you will rewrite a page until it’s right before moving on, sometimes redoing a draft thirty or forty times. This must make for a slow process. Approximately how long does it take you to write one novel?

 

I work 10- and 11-hour days because in long sessions I fall away more completely into story and characters than I would in, say, a six-hour day. On good days, I might wind up with five or six pages of finished work; on bad days, a third of a page. Even five or six is not a high rate of production for a 10- or 11-hour day, but there are more good days than bad. And the secret is doing it day after day, committing to it and avoiding distractions. A month–perhaps 22 to 25 work days–goes by and, as a slow drip of water can fill a huge cauldron in a month, so you discover that you have 75 polished pages. The process is slow, but that’s a good thing. Because I don’t do a quick first draft and then revise it, I have plenty of time to let the subconscious work; therefore, I am led to surprise after surprise that enriches story and deepens character. I have a low boredom threshold, and in part I suspect I fell into this method of working in order to keep myself mystified about the direction of the piece–and therefore entertained. A very long novel, like FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE can take a year. A book like THE GOOD GUY, six months.

 

You are one of the most prolific fiction writers of our time. What keeps you going?

 

In addition to the enchantment with language and storytelling, there is the fact that I wouldn’t know what the hell to do if I were not doing this. Some leisure is fine, but not an unrelieved diet of downtime. I’m also writing to ensure that our foundation–which focuses largely on organizations for the severely disabled, critically ill children, and dogs–will be deeply funded and able to support those organizations long after Gerda and I are gone.

 

You are known as perhaps the hardest working novelist of our time. To what do you attribute your work ethic?

 

Two things. First, I am enchanted by the English language, by its beauty and flexibility, also by the power of storytelling to expand the mind and lift the heart. Language and story offer possibilities –intriguing challenges–that I couldn’t exhaust in many lifetimes. The work is joy when it’s going well, even when it isn’t. Second, I believe that talent is a gift and that it comes with the sacred obligation to polish and grow it.

 

As a young writer, did you encounter rejection?–Allison, Pennsylvania

 

I sold the first short story I wrote. Then I received over 75 rejections before making another sale. My first four novels were never published. Later, after I’d been selling genre fiction routinely, I wrote a mainstream novel, ALL OTHER MEN. Editors sent me enthusiastic letters about it, said they loved it, but turned it down because they felt it was too disturbing and too avant garde to be commercial. But let me get to the heart of your question: young writer. There seems to be an implication here that I’m no longer young. I am as young now, Allison, as I have ever been, and not because of any form of dementia. I am young because my work keeps me young and the daily wrestling with our beautiful and supple language keeps me limber and youthful, as well. You may think that is bullshit, and it is, but it’s a sincere kind of bullshit.

 

How important were college creative-writing courses to your success?—Alberto, Washington

 

I’m sure that the right teacher, in a well-designed course, can be a great help to beginning writers who are trying to find their way, but I have no personal experience of that. I found my own way by doing two things. First, I read 150 books a year, sometimes more, (very little TV, later no blogging, no e-mail, that’s how), fiction in all genres, contemporary novels but also the classics, poetry, and a variety of nonfiction. Second, I revise every page of a novel twenty or thirty times, whatever it takes, before moving on to the next page. This line-by-line immersion focuses me intently on language, character, and theme. I began this ceaseless polishing out of self-doubt, as a way of preventing self-doubt from turning into writer’s block: by doing something with the unsatisfactory page, I wasn’t just sitting there brooding about it. I have more self-doubt than any writer I know, which seems healthy to me, and now this method of working, this line-by-line immersion, no longer seems arduous; instead, it delights me. While my conscious mind is on the micro world of a single page, my unconscious is always working on the macro world of the entire novel.

 

When did you decide you were destined to be a writer? At what point in your life? —Marcy, New Jersey

 

After a devastating ankle injury forever ended my ice-dancing career. Actually, nothing is destined. Everything depends on the unstinting exercise of free will, and hard work.

Have a good one. (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 

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Dog Eat Dog

For lack of a better term…yesterday I was flamed on a popular social networking site. Suffice it to say, I was flamed for offering advice to an author. I mentioned pricing in the comment and was not aware at that time that mentioning pricing in the group was not allowed. I do not use that as an excuse however because I should have made myself aware of the group rules.

Another group member decided to flame me, letting the group know that due to the low cost I was charging a client, that my editing was horrible and I was only ripping the client off because his/her book would need an additional edit due to the horrible edit I was going to give him/her.

I emailed this individual privately to take it off the board because I ashamedly let myself get into a flaming war in the group, for everyone to read. The response from this person was calling me foul names using language that I won’t even attempt to use here.

I let this get to me because for one, this person knows nothing about the quality of work I do. Secondly, I’m wondering to myself as to how an adult could act this way. At first, I wanted to hang up the towel and leave this business. See, Sapling is a part-time job for me at the moment. Writing, publishing and anything to do with books has always been a passion of mine. I began writing creative stories as early as grade school. I always excelled and received very good grades in my creative writing and English classes.

I’ve always wanted to me a writer, but never took any advanced classes because like many, I grew up hearing, “You’ll starve. Only a very few make any real money in it.” As a result, I set off in a completely different direction and have worked in many different positions. Currently I work full-time as a technical writer, which is now a position I’ve worked in for over 10 years. It’s writing, but maybe not the type that most people think about when they think of a writer. I have a graduate degree in education, primarily adult education. Now at the age of 40, I am working on my first novel and wondering if I should actually take some of those advanced writing courses. I do write and sell articles and have written numerous short stories but have yet to have any of my actual stories published.

I’ve gotten off track here. I wanted to throw in the towel yesterday and leave the world of publishing. Why? Because sometimes it’s dog eat dog. I wondered further last night however as to what would happen if a majority of people in this business decided to throw in the towel, simply because of the derogatory comments of one person (or even more for that matter). Heck, this could be said for anything and anyone’s dream really. Very few come without sweat, blood and tears from time to time. Most people fall flat on their backs before truly succeeding in something. Although not really verified, I’ve always heard how Stephen King has decorated one wall of his office with rejection letters by various publishers. Just imagine if he had let those drive him away from his dream.

So I want to tell all of you…yes, there will be times you will want to give up. There might be flaming and hateful words. There might be someone out there telling you that you are not good enough, or that you need to find a “real job.” Don’t listen. If this is what you want to do, don’t listen because at the end of the day, YOU are the one that has to look at yourself in the mirror and YOU are the one that knows what you dream truly is.

Go forth and conquer, my friends. (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Cover Design

Hello and a beautiful Tuesday morning to you all. Today’s topic is none other than cover design which I personally feel is a topic I probably haven’t covered enough, if ever.

I will begin by saying this….I always feel you should have your cover professional designed unless you are a graphic artist or know someone who is. Why? Your cover is the first thing potential buyers will see. Chances are that it will go right back up on the shelf if it doesn’t look professionally done. I’m not just talking about the actual artwork itself, I’m talking about the decision as to what should go on the cover and so forth. The professionals are trained with this knowledge, so I say to let them do their job!

On the flip side however I know that cover design can be expensive and well, not all of us have enough to drop on a professional cover right off the bat. So…keeping that in mind I have found an article that will hopefully help.

This article is titled, “Judging a Book by Its Cover.” Unfortunately I am unable to find the author of this article however if you’d like to view it, please click http://www.completelynovel.com/self-publishing/writers-toolbox-cover-design. You will also be able to view a video. Enjoy:

 

“The cover of your book is very important so it’s definitely worth spending some time on. It is probably one of the key areas that self-published writers fall down on. If what you have produced doesn’t look great on the outside then people are going to be much less likely to take a peek inside.

The cover of your book is the first thing people will see – so you want to make sure that it looks professional. Bear in mind the people that it will appeal to: what kind of image would draw in the right readers? Whilst we would always encourage you to be creative and original, you should be mindful of your customers and remember that if someone is looking, for example, for a crime/thriller, there is a certain type of cover that will attract their attention. Emma Barnes, the co-founder of the award-winning Snow Books offers some excellent advice on this theme on the Snowblog. She stresses the importance of a cover positioning a book in its genre:

“Take a copy of your book cover into the store, go to the relevant shelf and see if it fits. Does it stand out? If it does, it’s probably wrong. The blurb and the cover and the writing is unique, but the only way the reader will discover it is if the packaging explains, at a subconscious level, what the words are about. You wouldn’t expect to open a cornflakes pack and find pasta, would you? Same deal.”

Scott Pack, the head of the innovative publisher The Friday Project and a former book buyer at Waterstones also has some great tips on cover design in this short video.

Diy cover design

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create some great results if you have the time and the tools to do so. Perhaps the most important and striking part of a cover is its main image. Take your time to select a good photo and your job will be half done. For even more professional results, programs such as Adobe Illustrator are great for creating graphics. Adobe Photoshop or its free alternative Gimp are excellent for manipulating photos to make them look great.
Although Gimp has a useful online users’ guide, it and the Adobe programs are quite complicated and will require quite a lot of time to learn to use them properly. If you are after a quicker solution it might be worth using a program you are more used to such as a word processor or a simple graphics application. With a bit of time and effort you can produce good results yourself.

Titles – big and bold!

The best book covers, particularly those that are going to be seen as thumbnails on a computer screen as well as across the floor of a bookshop in hard copy, should have a large, easy-to-read title and author name on them. This makes it much easier for the reader to identify the book.
Emma Barnes (of
Snow Books) has some excellent advice on titles: she warns against covers where the title looks “plonked” over the background image. The font and the text spacing and position should be integrated with the image. She also has some helpful rules of thumb to make sure your cover typography observes the conventions of the genre.

Finding Images for your book cover

Perhaps you have a great photo that you think would be perfect for the cover? You can use programmes such as Adobe Photoshop, widely used by professional designers. If you are looking for a cheaper option, there are a few web-based photo editors that you might like to try:

Image Resources

If you don’t have exactly the right photo, remember that the internet has some great archive images that are a great resource. Some you will need to pay for, others are free. If you do use someone else’s image, just check that you have permission to do so! Make sure you get an image that is 300dpi as this is the standard resolution used by printers. To get a decent sized hi-res version of an image on these websites you might only need to pay £5 or less, so it’s definitely worth investigating.

How CompletelyNovel can help

If you publish your book yourself on CompletelyNovel, you can use the CN cover creator for free. If you don’t have your own complete design, you can either choose from a selection of stock images or you can upload your own picture and then add the text.”

 

Get to it! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Indie Book of the Week

TGIF, my awesome blog readers! Today we have an Indie Book of the Week rather than an Indie Author of the Week. This one is available on Goodreads and hint, something you might want to check out!

Without further adieu, welcome, “Cure for Pain” by N.M. Facile:

“Ty Jaden isn’t what society needs. At twenty-six, he’s a charismatic and intense heroin dealer turned user who landed himself in jail. Now he’s out, clean and just wants to get away from the city that is still his prison. But it won’t happen when powerful men have a vested interest in making sure he continues his trade. So, now he has a plan: keep his head low, do what is expected of him, ignore all distractions and wait for his opportunity to finally get away. What he doesn’t need is to get involved. Mary Flynn is a doe-eyed small town woman trying to make the world a better place by volunteering at a Minneapolis Safe Works chapter and teaching at-risk youth. Mary, an angel with inner fire and intimidating intelligence, is trying to save the world from people like Ty. He didn’t want to drag her into his world, but like a moth to flame, she was drawn to him. Like an angel, she might just be his redemption.”

 

Check out the book trailer here: http://nmfacile.com/index.php/blog/cure-for-pain-trailer/.

 

And last but not least, click http://www.amazon.com/Cure-For-Pain-ebook/dp/B00AAMO1AI to purchase.

 

Enjoy your weekend! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)


 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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How to Navigate a Book Contract

Have you ever actually seen one of these things? I’d describe it as lengthy, full of legalese and well to be honest, intimidating which is precisely why I’m going to provide you with an article to help you navigate!

Morris Rosenthal (http://www.fonerbooks.com/contract.htm) shares tips and advice to help you navigate the contract, before you sign. Click on the link for the full article and to watch videos (for a more personal flair!):

“Grant of Rights

Here the author grants the publisher the right to publish the work, as protected by copyright law. For most authors this means the exclusive worldwide rights, including all derivative works, etc. While it’s not in the interests of the author to give up anything without negotiation, the publisher is frequently in a better position than the author to exploit these rights (such as publishing translations), which will result in further payments to the author. If the author believes the work is likely to become a smash TV hit or the next big Christmas toy, the derivative rights could be the plum of the book contract.

Competing Works

Many non-fiction publishers try to get an author to commit to a non-compete clause. In a non-compete clause, the author agrees not to produce another work that competes with the title under contract without prior permission of the publisher. It’s usually not in the interest of an author to write books that compete with each other, since this fractionates the market and may cause both books to fail. Experienced authors will not sign a contract with a non-compete clause, and publishers aren’t going to promise not to publish books that compete directly with the author’s, so it’s just a bad deal. If the publisher insists on a non-compete from a new author, it should at least be narrowed to the point that the only way to violate it would be to write an essentially identical book. If you’ve signed a book contract with a non-compete, it’s worth talking to a lawyer to find out just how limited you really are.

Author’s Warranty

The author is asked to guarantee that the work is actually theirs to sell, not plagiarized, stolen, or already sold to another publisher. This includes rights for any materials or illustrations in the book that the author didn’t create. A paraphrase of the final line in this clause goes something like: “This warranty goes on forever and we’ll dig you up to pay our legal fees if we get sued.” This is really scary stuff because the author could get stuck paying NYC lawyer fees for a frivolous suit. While publishers will rightfully insist on an author’s warranty, the language should limit the author’s liability to pay the publisher’s legal costs for something that isn’t the author’s fault. Keep any permissions you get from contributors in your long term files and keep your fingers crossed.

Manuscript Preparation

The deliverable of a publishing contract is the manuscript, which is outlined here in size and content, including counts for the number of pages, words and illustrations. Acquisitions editors can be very casual about this description, even if the author has a pretty exact idea what the final numbers will be, primarily to maintain the maximum flexibility. There’s no reason they shouldn’t agree to describe the book as exactly what the author has agreed to write. The actual form of the manuscript is also detailed here, normally a Word file is required, though a couple printed copies and any artwork may also required. If the book will have an index, some reference to how that index will be prepared is often mentioned here or in a later paragraph. Authors shouldn’t be asked to pay the expense of creating an index, but some book contracts casually charge a couple thousand dollars against author royalties, or several dollars per book page. While the author should be willing to create an index if requested, paying the publisher to do it is ridiculous, and this language should be stricken from the contract.

Viability and Publication Delay

The publisher will also include language granting them the right to reject the manuscript the author presents, and either requiring changes or canceling the book contract. Determining the fitness of a manuscript for publication may sound like a subjective judgement, but a book contract should contain some description of what makes a manuscript “fit for publication” to allow the author to contest the issue if the publisher cancels the book after the manuscript is submitted. Some books are years in the making, and the more time an author invests in a work the more important it is to nail down the conditions that must be met for publication. The author should also seek some language limiting the publisher’s right to make changes beyond routine copy-editing without the author’s approval. If the book is cancelled for any reason, the author should retain the advance money paid, and the full rights to the work should revert to the author for potential sale elsewhere.

Copyright

The publisher will often seek to register the copyright in place of the author. There may be some financial benefit to the publisher in owning the copyright if somebody actually infringes on it, since the proceeds of a lawsuit might then go to the publisher and not the author. However, the author has already assigned the rights to publish the book at the beginning of the contract, so even if the author retains the copyright, it doesn’t mean the book remains the author’s property. For what it’s worth, the professional author’s organization I belong to strongly recommends that authors retain their copyrights.

Proofing and Editing

The publisher will reserve the right to make revisions, which will ideally be subject to the author’s approval. Whether or not that approval is required, the author must promptly review revisions for errors. Publishers also establish a level of changes which they will allow the author to make in the final stages of production, often 10% or 15% of the cost of preparing the proofs, above which the author will be charged against royalties. That may be fair if the author is trying to substantially rewrite the manuscript late in the production process. However, there should be no fee for correcting problems that are due to the publisher or their outsourced book designer introducing a large number of errors, whatever the cost. When an outsourced book designer ruined a book of mine such that every page had to be redone, the publisher “generously” agreed not to charge for the rework.

Publication

The primary thing separating a trade publisher from a subsidy press is that a trade publisher undertakes to pay the publication expenses of the book. The publisher will seek language that allows them to publish the book in the time that suits them, but authors should obtain some upper limit on this. It’s entirely normal for publishers to miss their target dates by more than a month, in part due to a constant turnover of employees, but they should be willing to set a date at which the manuscript will revert to the author if they fail to publish. If the publisher wants a clause that would return any advances paid in this case, it should be dependent on the successful sale of the manuscript to another publisher.

Royalties

This is usually the longest section in the book contract, and describes the division of the money, provided the author hasn’t written the book for a one-time payment in a work-for-hire arrangement. There’s no real standard for domestic royalties, which is the most profitable segment of sales for most authors. It depends on the genre of the work and the publishing house. Ignoring super-star authors who write their own tickets, the best rate most writers can hope for is 15% of the cover price of trade hardcover books, with this percentage being achieved only after a certain number of copies have been sold. Many segments of the publishing industry have successfully changed that maximum to 15% of publisher net, which amounts to less than half the cover price. The lowest royalties I’ve heard of are less than 5% of net in genres like romance literature, where the publisher may even own the rights to the pen name under which the books are published.

It’s common to set a number of steps with which the royalties escalate, setting a lower rate for the first 5,000 copies, a higher rate for the next 5,000, and only reaching the maximum rate after 10,000 or more copies have been sold. These break points may be one of the easier issues to negotiate. I’ve found it easier to move the break points, even eliminating the lowest category, than to increase the final royalty. Make sure you understand what books are actually being counted towards the royalty steps. In contracts I’ve signed, only the domestic full price sales have counted, which means that as much as half of my sales haven’t counted toward increasing my royalty.

Advances

One thing that should be included in any trade publishing contract is an advance against royalties. Advances are traditionally intended to support the author financially while they are in the process of writing the book. Advance payments may be split into multiple phases, with a payment for signing and further payments for reaching milestones in completing the contract requirements. Some publishers may spread partial payments over the whole proofing process, even all the way up to the publication date. Many publishers pay their bills so slowly that an author in a hurry may submit the final manuscript before receiving the signing payment. If the publisher cancels the book contract at this point, it may prove difficult or impossible for the author to obtain any advance money, as ownership is nine-tenths of the law. The lowest advance I’ve been offered by a trade publisher is $2,000 (split over four payments), the highest was $13,000.

Publishers can actually be very flexible on advances, which they use to try to lure authors into signing bad book contracts. Since so many writers live a hand-to-mouth existence, the promise of an extra few thousand dollars up-front may lure them into signing a contract with a lower royalty rate or longer escalation schedule. It’s always a gamble, and many trade authors never see any ongoing royalties because their books never sell enough copies to pay back the advance. Some authors and agents even feel that if the book does pay back the advance, it just means that they failed to negotiate a high enough advance to start with. I’m always optimistic that my books will sell, so I prefer a higher royalty to a larger advance, but if I thought I could get $100,000, I might sing a different tune.

Try not to sign any publishing contracts with cross-accounting schemes, where payments due on one title may be charged against debits from another of your titles by the same publisher. Authors are under no legal or moral obligation to make sure a publisher never loses money on a book, it’s part of the risk they undertake in claiming the lion’s share of the income. If you have signed a cross-accounting clause in a contract with a publisher and they want another book from you, you can probably get them to leave it out of the new book contract and modify the original contract so that the clause no longer applies. Otherwise, take the new title to another publisher. A cross-accounting clause shouldn’t be viewed as a deal-breaker for a first book, since it has no impact unless you go on to write more books for the same publisher or the book goes into edition.

Foreign Sales

Publishers will always establish a different royalty schedule for foreign sales. The rate may be a little lower than the domestic royalty rate, but it shouldn’t be a mere fraction. Publishers have been successfully sued for selling their own books to foreign subsidiaries at drastically reduced prices in order to reduce author royalties. It’s best for the author to have foreign royalties based on the cover price, since overseas net is so easy to manipulate.

Deep Discounts and Book Clubs

Publishers sell books into different outlets at different prices, and when they earn less they like to pay the author less. There’s no reason the author should agree to such an arrangement, but it’s become quite standard, and the best most authors can hope for is that both parties share the pain equally. It’s in the interest of the author to limit special pricing as much as possible, since the royalty will be greatly reduced while the special sales may cannibalize the author’s domestic sales. Authors should pay special attention to deep discount clauses, which allow publishers to sharply reduce, even halve author royalties, if the sale price falls below a set percentage of the cover. This creates a situation where it’s actually more profitable for the publisher to sell books at the deep discount than just above it, since the reduction in the author’s royalty more than offsets the amount of the reduction in the selling price.

Sale of Rights

Publishers who acquire the exclusive international rights for a book will set a royalty schedule for when those rights are sold to third parties or their own overseas subsidiaries. Splits of 50/50 on net receipts are common, though some publishers try to get authors to agree to base the split on the domestic royalty schedule, amounting to a quarter or a fifth of the amount a 50/50 split on publisher net would generate. Foreign rights are sold so cheaply for most books, sometimes for as low as a few hundred dollars, that anything less than a 50/50 split barely produces pocket change for an author. Translation rights for some of my own trade published computer books have been: $1,300 for a Chinese translation, $595 for Arabic, $2000 for Russian, $450 for Polish.

Payments

The book contract establishes a schedule for when the accounting is done and payments are made. Quarterly royalty payments are normal, though they will lag the actual sales period by a month or two. Some publishers still push semi-annual payments, with royalties for the January 1st through June 30th period being due before September 30th. Some publishers may agree to pay within 30 days of the end of the accounting period. Authors should try to have a clause inserted that allows them to have an independent auditor check the publisher’s accounts.

Reserve Against Returns

Publishers usually insist on a clause allowing them to establish “a reasonable reserve against returns.” The intention of the clause is to protect the publisher against paying the author for books that are sitting on store shelves but may eventually be returned to the publisher. It’s best to have this “reasonable reserve” spelled out, both in terms of the percentage of total sales to be held in reserve and the length of time for which the publisher can hold the money. A 20% or less reserve may be viewed as reasonable, though some publishers attempt to hold out for much higher amounts. The reserve retention period will likely be a year or longer, though two years is probably the longest period that can be justified by market economics. The main risk for the author is that the publisher goes out of business and any sums owed the author are unrecoverable.

Author’s Copies

The author can expect a dozen or more free copies of the book to give to friends and family. Publishers should always be happy to provide free review copies of books and may offer to take care of the shipping and handling. There is often the option for the author to buy more copies at a discount, though these books won’t be counted towards the author’s royalties and there may be restrictions on selling them.

Revised Editions

Publishers will insist on the right to publish revised editions of the work. The author should insist on the right to do those editions. The publisher will want the right to get another writer if the original author is unavailable to do a new edition on a reasonable time schedule after the publisher requests it. However, the original author or heirs should continue to receive royalties. These royalties will be at a reduced rate, and the author should try to negotiate that the reduction be based on the extent of the revisions. The author may also seek to negotiate the right not to have later editions published under the author’s name if the author doesn’t participate. An open-ended clause that would allow the publisher to spend profligately on producing a new edition and debit the amount from the author’s royalties should be avoided if at all possible.

Out of Print

A book is only out of print when the publisher declares it so and updates the ISBN record to reflect this fact. It may also be considered out of print for the purpose of reversion of rights to the author if it is no longer available from the publisher in any edition. The author may have to go through a set procedure, such as requesting in writing that the book be reprinted and waiting a pre-defined time period, but afterwards the rights should revert to the author. One of the problems with print-on-demand is it allows publishers to keep books in print indefinitely when availability is the only test. The author should seek to clarify this contract language as much as possible, setting a minimum number of books sold or moneys earned in consecutive royalty periods, after which the book will be deemed out of print.”

Write, write, write!! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Will Printed Books Fly Away with the Dodo Bird?

I’ve wondered about this over the past couple of years. Will our great grandchildren look back at printed books and laugh, wondering how archaic it must have been to hold a book in hand and turn *gulp* paper pages?

Let’s face it. E-books are easy. They are available for instant download, can cost only pennies compared to new release print books and they save trees.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an old fashioned guy. I love to hold a book in my hand. I love the way they smell (yeah, I’m twisted like that), the way they feel and the way they look lining my bookshelves.

I found an article online written by Josh Catone (http://mashable.com/2013/01/16/e-books-vs-print/) which contains his thoughts on why the printed book will never die:

“Measured en masse, the stack of “books I want to read” that sits precariously on the edge of a built-in bookshelf in my dining room just about eclipses 5,000 pages. The shelf is full to bursting with titles I hope to consume at some indeterminate point in the future.

It would be a lot easier to manage if I just downloaded all those books to an iPad or Kindle. None are hard to find editions that would be unavailable in a digital format, and a few are recent hardcover releases, heavy and unwieldy.

But there’s something about print that I can’t give up. There’s something about holding a book in your hand and the visceral act of physically turning a page that, for me at least, can’t be matched with pixels on a screen.

Yet the writing appears to be on the wall: E-books are slowly subsuming the printed format as the preferred vehicle on which people read books. E-books topped print sales for the first time in 2011, a trend that continued into 2012. Just this month, Bexar County, Texas announced plans for the nation’s first electronic-only library. A recent study from Scholastic found that the percentage of children who have read an e-book has nearly doubled since 2010 to almost half of all kids aged 9 to 17, while the number who say they’ll continue to read books in print instead of electronically declined from 66% to 58%.

The hits keep coming.

For those who prefer their books printed in ink on paper, that sounds depressing. But perhaps there is reason to hope that e-books and print books could have a bright future together, because for all the great things e-books accomplish — convenience, selection, portability, multimedia — there are still some fundamental qualities they will simply never possess.

Books have physical beauty.


 

That’s not to say that electronic books can’t be beautiful — as a medium, e-books are still new and designers have yet to fully realize their potential. But for paper books, we’re already there. As Craig Mod points out in his essay “Hacking the Cover,” the book cover evolved as a marketing tool. It had to grab your attention from its place on the shelf. For that reason, the best designed covers were often beautiful art pieces. Not so in the digital world.

“The cover image may help quickly ground us, but our eyes are drawn by habit to number and quality of reviews. We’re looking for metrics other than images — real metrics — not artificial marketing signifiers,” he wrote. And though that might eventually free book designers to get more creative with their designs, you can’t display a digital book, even if you wanted to. Any electronic book that boasts beautiful design, does so only ethereally.

Author Joe Queenan, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, argued that e-books are great for people who care only about the contents, have vision problems or other physical limitations or who are ashamed of what they’re reading.

But for people who truly love books, print is the only medium that will satisfy.

“People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred,” he wrote.

“Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel.”

“Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel.”

Web entrepreneur, designer and novelist Jack Cheng, who recently funded the printing of his book through Kickstarter, told me that printed books just offer a more robust experience to the reader. “I feel like with e-books, you often just get a meal on the same white plate as all the other meals,” he mused. “But a nice hardcover is like having a place setting, having dinnerware selected to suit the food. The story is still the main thing you’re there for, but the choices around it — the paper stock, the way the book is typeset, the selection of fonts — they add their own subtle flavors to the experience of that story.”

Books have provenance.


 

Your favorite books define you, and digital versions don’t seem to impart connections that are quite as deep.

Queenan again:

Books as physical objects matter to me, because they evoke the past. A Métro ticket falls out of a book I bought 40 years ago, and I am transported back to the Rue Saint-Jacques on Sept. 12, 1972, where I am waiting for someone named Annie LeCombe. A telephone message from a friend who died too young falls out of a book, and I find myself back in the Chateau Marmont on a balmy September day in 1995. A note I scribbled to myself in “Homage to Catalonia” in 1973 when I was in Granada reminds me to learn Spanish, which I have not yet done, and to go back to Granada.

This piece of the experience doesn’t translate to the electronic format. Someday in the distant future, maybe David Eggers’ Kindle will be sold by Bauman Rare Books on Madison Avenue, but it’s unlikely that digital books will ever be personal artifacts the way that their physical counterparts can be.

“I think print and paper has a lasting value that people appreciate. Pixels are too temporary,” said Praveen Madan, an entrepreneur on the Kepler’s 2020 team, via email. Madan and his cohorts are attempting to reinvent the business model for independent bookstores, including ways to sell and offer services around e-books. “Books have been around for a very long time and people have a deeper relationship with some books than most digital content,” he said.

Printed books are collectible.


 

They possess the quality of scarcity, which means that your copy is unique on some level. For readers who truly love a particular book, an electronic facsimile is not an adequate replacement for owning a physical copy.

“There are books that I need bound and sitting on my shelf. I need a copy of Fahrenheit 451. That book is important to me,” author Rob Hart, the website administrator for digital imprint Mysterious Press and class director at LitReactor, told me. “Digital technology is funny — you own an e-book, but you don’t … You’re paying for the right to access data.”

Cheng has also felt the draw of books as collectible objects. “Personally I’ve gone out and purchased hardcovers of books I first read on my Kindle because I wanted them in a more tangible form,” he explained.

“Having a hardcover on my shelf is like having a print by one of my favorite artists on the wall.”

“Having a hardcover on my shelf is like having a print by one of my favorite artists on the wall.”

He predicts that print might have a future similar to vinyl.

“The physical artifacts are beginning to feel more precious, more like gifts. And I can see publishing going the same way,” he said. “Maybe what we’ll lose to digital publishing are the cheaply produced mass market printings on poor quality paper. And what we’ll gain is a new appreciation for well-designed, higher-quality hardbacks, like the ones folks at The Folio Society are putting out.”

In a surprising flip of the traditional publishing cycle, Random House’s Doubleday recently announced plans to print hardcover versions of E.L. James’ bestselling 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, even though electronic and mass market paperback editions have already sold 65 million copies. Why? Reader demand. You just can’t collect an e-book.

Books are nostalgic.


 

The PBS website MediaShift recently asked a group of book lovers in Chapel Hill and Durham, N.C. which they preferred: printed or electronic books? Those who preferred printed books cited things like the smell, the feel and the weight as reasons.

“Paper books don’t get replaced by e-books, because there’s just part of the experience you can’t reproduce,” said one man. (Of course, nostalgia is generational.)

But if e-books just replace mass market paperbacks, as Cheng predicts, will books become merely art pieces? Some pundits think so.

Writing last year in Slate, Michael Agresta argued that printed books will only survive as art. Books are no longer a good “vessel for text,” he wrote. “Bookshelves will survive in the homes of serious digital-age readers, but their contents will be much more judiciously curated. The next generation of paper books will likely rival the art hanging beside them on the walls for beauty, expense, and ‘aura’ — for better or for worse.”

In some ways, Agresta is correct. It would be smart to bet that print sales will continue to decline, while e-book sales will continue to rise. Most people will own fewer printed books, and those they do own may very well be beautiful collector’s editions, like the 50 Shades hardcovers, meant for display.

But it’s a mistake to assume that this is a case of the MP3 replacing the CD, or the CD replacing the cassette.

E-books are not simply a better format replacing an inferior one; they offer a wholly different experience.

E-books are not simply a better format replacing an inferior one; they offer a wholly different experience.

Brian Haberlin is one of the co-authors of Anomaly, an ambitious printed graphic novel, augmented by a smartphone app that makes animations leap off the page while you read. I asked why he chose to print the heavy, unwieldy and expensive hardcover edition. His answer was simple: “Because books are cool! I love print, always will. I love digital, always will. But they will continue to be different experiences. It’s a different texture, a different experience and that alone warrants their existence.”

Yes, Anomaly is one of those beautiful, collectible art pieces. But it also highlights why print is here to stay. The experience of reading Anomaly on your iPad is vastly different than the experience of reading the printed version. The story is the same, but the medium affects the way you read it. It’s not totally unlike the difference between watching the movie version of Les Miserables and watching it performed live on stage.

There may come a time when we look at electronic books and printed books as similarly divergent mediums.

In a recent Fast Company column titled “The Future of Reading,” author and comedian Baratunde Thurston made a compelling case for why books might just be better in electronic form. Superior annotation tools, easier discovery, interactive content and shared reading experiences are just some of the things made possible because digital publishing has allowed us to, as Thurston put it, network our words “and the ideas they represent.” For Thurston, this is an either-or scenario. Digital books or printed books. And while he lamented our diminished attention spans — the result of distractions embedded in the digital format — he concluded that it’s all worth it because of the great things e-books can do.

But the choice between e-books and printed books is not a zero sum game. Print books do not have to disappear for e-books to flourish, and e-books don’t have to be the only choice.

“Printed books are for people who love printed books. Digital books are for those who love digital books,” Haberlin told me.

Maybe it’s just that simple.”

 

Turn those pages! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Marketing – Changes to Facebook

I must admit that I don’t keep on top of Facebook as a social media marketing tool much anymore. Due to their rapidly changing nature, I find it hard to follow their constant new endeavors. I’m not knocking them for this. I mean, we all have to make money somehow. Right? One of my clients asked a question however that forced me to do more research on their latest changes (thanks Christa!), which is a good thing. Now at least I’ll know what I’m talking about the next time a client asks me a question about them. 😉

I found at article written by Fidel Martinez (http://www.dailydot.com/news/facebook-paid-friend-posts-promotion-reach/). Hopefully this will answer some of your questions too:

“Facebook is tripling down on its Promoted Posts feature, confirming that it has begun rolling out the option of letting its users pay to to highlight their friends’ post.

The feature has been much maligned since it was first introduced in May 2012 for companies and then later for everyone else in October 2012.  

Among the feature’s biggest critics are the popular blog Dangerous Minds and actor George Takei, who assert that the company is purposefully throttling the reach of each post in order to force brands (and now, individuals) to pay to maintain the same level of exposure they once enjoyed.

Facebook has contested these accusations, claiming that their EdgeRank algorithm was designed to only show the most compelling content on a user’s news feed. They also stated that on average, brands reached 16 percent of their audiences. But a November 2012 study conducted by media investment management group GroupM claimed that the figure was closer to 10 percent.

When asked about the target audience for this feature—in other words, who would pay to promote their friends’ content?—a Facebook representative provided us with the following scenarios when this feature would come into play:

“If your friend is running a marathon for charity and has posted that information publicly, you can help that friend by promoting their post to all of your friends. Or if your friend is renting their apartment out and she tells her friends on Facebook, you can share the post with the people you and your friend have in common so that it shows up higher in news feed and more people notice it.”

Currently, the option to pay to promote your friends’ post is only available to people who have fewer than 5,000 friends or subscribers.

To use the feature, simply go to the top right corner of a given post and click on the drop down menu and click on the “Promote and Share” option.

You’ll then be able to add your own comment. Just hit publish, and the post will appear on your friends’ feeds.

The cost to promote another person’s content will be $7, the same amount Facebook charges to push your own posts.

The company also stresses that this new feature will respect the privacy settings of the original poster.

This is the latest in a string of attempts by Facebook to find new sources of revenue amid skepticism about the value of the company’s ad business. Since the social network became a publicly traded company in May 2012, it has experimented with various ways of making money from its 1 billion users, including adding the option to pay $1 to send a message to anyone’s private inbox.”

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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