Thursday, 25 September 2008

Filigree & Shadow - Out Soon

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Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that the past month or so I have not been posting as often. I have been proofing and preparing the final files for my next book, 'Filigree & Shadow'. Some two or three months ago I wrote some articles on POD publishers and tried to give an unbias and balanced view on the services they provided. It is important that I emphasise that I do not use this site to promote these publishers nor do I use it to criticise them unfairly. This site is simply to underline my own experiences and advise other authors considering a route into self-publishing or using a POD/Subsidy service.

In the past review articles on POD publishers I said that I would choose one of them for my next book. There is a not publisher service I have reviewed here that I do not honestly believe is not suitable for the right writer at the right time, and for the right reasons. Ultimately, this will always be the writers choice if they have decided to go the self-publishing/subsidy service route. There are many articles here which help to guide an author to that decision, but I always underline this with the advice that they should thoroughly exhause the traditional methods and avenues before considering the self-publishing/subsidy route.

I have recently uprooted and moved from Dublin to West Meath in the midlands of Ireland. I have also had to look at my finances and re-evaluate so many things in my life. I am as as happy and in love with life as I have ever been.

Earlier this year I published 'Academy' through Lulu and the whole experience was perhaps the best in my life. The feedback and sales I have had from the book far outstretched anything I could have ever imagined. 'Academy' was a novel I had writen more than 12 years ago and about the same period of time I was writing quite a number of short pieces of experimental fiction. Much of the short pieces now forms the next book, 'Filigree & Shadow'. This book will be published through Lulu, who are still offering their 'Published by Lulu' package for free, having offered this free since May of this year. It was simply not an opportunity I could have refused, considering that using the same internal layout file, I can also include a hardback and paperback edition for publication. It is simply a deal I could not have got from any other POD publisher. Incidently, the 'Published by You' deal with Lulu is available at the cost of €89 at the moment. My suspicions are that this may well become the norm with Lulu as their costs seem to be in the most part made back through the sales of their author's books.

The experience this time with Lulu was much easier. I had 'My Lulu' page already set up and it was simply a case of setting up a new project. I used the original template I had used for the 6 x 9 hardback with this one, but this time I chose my own cover rather than using one of Lulu's templates. I found a wonderful website called some months back and came across something just perfect for the cover. This was my only area of 'shit, this might go wrong' but, having made sure the cover art was 300dpi and approximately the right size, it loaded perfectly to the Lulu site. I would add that you check carefully out the copyright legalities to any site that you load up cover art from, but there are many that are free and are very much top quality. I have to say that as much as I am ok with MS Word, I am still still having difficulties with section breaks in the internal files. It's all trial and error.

I have ordered the proofs from Lulu and they should arrive in the next week or so. I will keep you all updated on this.

About a month ago Shannon Yarbrough of Lulu Book Review asked me if I would be interested in doing an interview with him. So stay tuned to Shannon's site for this.

My next plans are to put 'Trees' out to commercial publishers over the next year and restart work on another novel 'Shadow & Orchid' over the next few months. 'Filogree & Shadow' should be available in about 4 to six weeks. Just click the link on the right hand side of the site to order your own copy.

My next article will be about the recent writers magizines that I have been reading.

Big Guys n Poor Guys in Publishing

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I posted this evening on Absolutewrite, a forum I regularly post on, regarding Lynn Osterkamp's article on the media and publishing. Here is the link to that posting.

The following is the posting I made.

Having read Lynn's posting and her blogsite for the past year, I'm not sure she is actually arguing the point of the little guy published by the small press vs the big published commercial author, rather, the manner in which the media treats the whole publishing business, and more to the point, the way in which the reading and buying public will hitch on to the bandwagon.

We only have to look at the publishing cases of 'The Hitler Diaries' and more recently, Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' in light of the sales of those books, even after the academic criticism they received.

The informed reader usually buys throught knowledge. Knowledge of the genre or the author. The casual reader is perhaps more guided and influenced by the various forms of media. The reality is that more books are going to be bought by the casual rather than the informed reader. Hence the astonomical sales of books some of us might rightly or wrongly frown upon.

There will always be a few exceptions like James Redfield's 'Celestine Prophecy' where pure hard work by the author and 'word of mouth' kicked the asses of the big publishers and media outlets into life. That is the common denominator all writers have to live with. Call it luck.. call it whatever you want. None of us have the perfect formula for success.

I've seen lots of changes in the publishing world over the past twenty years. Just today, I was in a Borders outlet in Dublin, Ireland, a retail book retailer who like to promote themselves on 'championing' the different and the independent published books. And let me tell you now, from experienced, that it is easier for a self-published author or a very small press to get shelf space here in Ireland than perhaps many other large cities throughout the world. Yet, I spent nearly three hours in Borders, checking the full a-z of fiction and several other catagories in the store, and yet I found just one local book of short-stories published by a writers workshop. I did find a 5 tier bookcase given over to 'Independent' publishers. All of these publishers were simply imprints of large commercial publishers bought out over the past ten years.

Keep in mind that AuthorHouse, one of the largest subsidy publishers has a tie-in with Borders, along with Waterstones, as part of their packages they sell to authors. These packages are even called the 'Borders' 'Waterstones' packages.

I'm not planning on rushing out to my local Waterstones to check them out just yet!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Diggory Press Case Update - Saturday 13th September, 2008

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I came across a short piece published in The Guardian newspaper this saturday by consumer rights reporter Tony Levene. It will be of interest to those who have being following the Diggory Press case.

You can find the published piece by following the enclosed web address.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Perseus Book Group Offers POD Service to Independent Publishers

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Small presses and independent publishers are being given a greater opportunity to utilise Print-On-Demand technology by the Perseus Book Group. The Perseus Book Group are one of the largest independent publishers of books, including the imprints Basic Books and Vanguard Press. It provides services such as sales, marketing and distribution to more than 300 independent publishers.

Perseus have been negotiating with a number of industry companies, and these companies will form part of the service when it is launched under the name, Constellation. These companies include, Sony (for their ebook reader), Google (search book features), Barnes & Noble (On-line sales) and Lightning Source (for print on demand technology).

The Perseus Book Group believe that this new service will allow independent and small publishers to get their catalogue of books more widely and quickly available in print and electronic form.

The full article on this story appeared this week in the New York Times. You can view it here:

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Ebook Readers Reach Out to the School Classroom

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There has been much talk in the publishing world about the evolution of electronic book readers and what impact they will ultimately have on the print media in general. It remains to be seen if these Ebook readers will do for print media, book publishers and online retailers, what the Ipod has done for the music industry and online retail downloading. Perhaps the key to the success of these electronic readers lies in a pilot programme in Caritas Girls College, in Dublin, Ireland.

Eighteen first year secondary students have become the first ever school pupils in the world to be issued with Ebook readers to replace their entire curriculum of academic books. Each Ebook reader is loaded with the Irish Department of Education’s First Year Secondary School textbooks, together with a package of fifty classic novels of literature.

The Ebook readers can also replace standard copybook jotters and could see all pupils one day travelling to school with just their Ebook devices and their lunches!

The pilot programme has been launched by Gill & Macmillan Publisher’s educational wing. According to Peter Thew, sales and marketing director at Gill and Macmillan, "Although we believe that the widespread adoption of e-readers is some time off, this project allows us to determine how well they work in the classroom, how the pupils interact with them and to examine their potential."

The iliad Ebook reader was developed by iRex Technologies and retails at around €600. It would be interesting to see what kind of true cost savings this technology would have for parents of school-going children and how much a scheme like this in all Irish schools could be properly subsidised by the Department of Education.

This pilot programme may ultimately provide the true gateway through which Ebook reader technology may make its way into our everyday lives. We may see more and more academic publishers making expensive books available exclusively through this medium alone, particularly considering the general economic downturn throughout the world.

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