Sunday, 31 January 2010

Zondervan and Baker Publishing Group Refer Rejected Authors To Authonomy

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Christian book publishers Zondervan and the Baker Publishing Group are now referring all their rejected authors to Authonomy, specifically to, a Christian publishing community both publishers have set up there. They describe Authonomy in the headline of their press release as a 'Free, Easy Alternative to the Self-Publishing Model'. Now, Authonomy may indeed be a free service and relatively easy for authors to load up their manuscripts to, but it is certainly no good alternative to self-publishing. See the article coming on this site later today. For now, I'll say no more, than leave you with the press release. Oh, by the way, just in case you are not aware, Zondervan is owned by HarperCollins, who in turn created Authonomy two years ago.

"GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., January 28, 2010 – Authors of unsolicited manuscripts will no longer see their work returned to them with a "Thanks-but-no-thanks" letter from Christian publishers like Zondervan and Baker Publishing Group. Instead, they will receive a letter or email encouraging them to post their manuscripts, free-of-charge, on

" allows authors to quickly get valuable feedback from consumers on the relevance of their work and gain traction in the market without giving up any of their publishing rights," said Steve Sammons, Zondervan’s executive vice president of Consumer Engagement. "It takes only five quick steps to get a manuscript on the site, and you start getting feedback on your manuscript quickly without the usual weeks or months of waiting and hoping." is a unique free online service that connects readers, writers and publishing professionals. It invites authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project. Visitors to the site can and will comment on these submissions – and they personally recommend their favorites to the community. counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.
"We believe the strength of is that it allows authors, free-of-charge, the ability to get honest feedback from readers, editors and agents as to the relevance and quality of their work," said Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group. "That is why we feel the combination of features offered by will provide authors the largest audience, exposure and best potential entrée into the world of publishing."
Not only will Zondervan and Baker promote the site to agents and other Christian publishers, their editors, as part of their editorial review process will track and review those books in the Christian section of that have the highest rankings and provide feedback to the authors.
" is a tremendous idea that creates a community linking writers with their readers," offers Steve Laube, president of The Steve Laube Agency. "Making it free is both revolutionary and very exciting. Where else can you get objective and instant feedback, and then use those comments and critiques to improve your work?" was created as a better way to access the best new work out there based on real customer input. Thousands of manuscripts come through publishers’ door every year and is a great tool for improving an author’s work and increasing his or her chances to be discovered by avid readers, editors and agents.
"I believe that is an excellent tool for the Christian publishing industry," said Sealy Yates, founder of L.A.-based agency Yates and Yates. "There certainly is a serious need for our industry to serve all those who would desire to be published authors. The current system does not provide ready access or even helpful information about how the system works. It supplies support for would-be authors, publishers and agents and is efficient and effective for all involved in the process." completely levels the playing field for a profession that heretofore was dependent on who-you-know or who-you-are. For the authors, the best part is that it is not just Baker and Zondervan looking for promising books; the site is open to other publishing houses and agents. Zondervan or Baker won’t ask for a ‘first option’ to publish or take away any of rights of ownership, and the author can continue to submit to publishers and agents by other methods.
To learn more visit the website at:"

Friday, 29 January 2010

Patience May Be A Virtue For Arrival of UK Apple iPad

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Following the initial fanfare for Apple's iPad media party on Wednesday and considerable review and discussion on the tablet device, more sobering reflection and comment is beginning to emerge. Much focus has been made of Apple's mirror sites globally and the fact that iBooks, the device's dedicated store platform for e-books will only be available in the United States for the March launch. Other Apple sites (Austrailia) make 'small print' mention of the unavailability of e-books outside of the US, but many more sites do not even make reference to the existence of iBooks!

The iPad is slated for a June/July UK release, but at this stage, without publication territory rights in place with the big publishers, and no iBook presence, it's hard to see any European launch going ahead at this time unless these critical supports are all in place. It would be like if Amazon had launched their dedicated Kindle device without the Kindle stores.

So, if you are eagerly waiting for a UK released iPad, you may have to wait a little longer than otherwise expected. Watch this space...

As an aside to this particular discussion - Publishing Perspectives this morning looks at the plans Apple might have for the iPad and how publishers may not be entirely thrilled with those prospects.

"I would argue that Apple is in an equally strong position to become a publisher. Apple’s iPhoto software already offer users the opportunity to create photo albums based on templates which can then be easily converted into attractive bound books. It would take only a little effort for Apple to add similar functionality to its iWork software and to allow users to easily convert a document and images into an e-book, which could then be instantly uploaded to iBooks for sale."

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Jerome David Salinger (1919 – 2010)

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The death of novelist Jerome David Salinger, (J.D.), has just been announced by his literary agent, Phyllis Westberg. Salinger died of natural causes yesterday at his New Hampshire home aged 91.

“Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he published the critically acclaimed story ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his subsequent work. In 1951 Salinger released his novel The Catcher in the Rye, an immediate popular success. His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers. The novel remains widely read and controversial, selling around 250,000 copies a year.

The success of The Catcher in the Rye led to public attention and scrutiny: Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently. He followed Catcher with a short story collection, Nine Stories (1953), a collection of a novella and a short story, Franny and Zooey (1961), and a collection of two novellas, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). His last published work, a novella entitled "Hapworth 16, 1924," appeared in The New Yorker on June 19, 1965.

Afterward, Salinger struggled with unwanted attention, including a legal battle in the 1980s with biographer Ian Hamilton and the release in the late 1990s of memoirs written by two people close to him: Joyce Maynard, an ex-lover; and Margaret Salinger, his daughter. In 1996, a small publisher announced a deal with Salinger to publish ‘Hapworth 16, 1924’ in book form, but amid the ensuing publicity, the release was indefinitely delayed. He made headlines around the globe in June 2009, after filing a lawsuit against another writer for copyright infringement resulting from that writer's use of one of Salinger's characters from Catcher in the Rye."

(Wikipaedia entry)

The iPad Won't Kill The Kindle - NYT

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Brad Stone gives his reasons why he believes the Amazon Kindle will continue to prosper in spite of the arrival of Apple's iPad in this morning's New York Times.

"When you read a book, you just don’t want to have e-mail, Twitter and the ESPN Web site beckoning from the browser. The absence of those services on the Kindle — sure, it’s also a flaw — actually make it better for focused leisure reading."

Publetariat Vault opens To Small Independent Press Authors

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The Publetariat Vault has opened to authors who have been published by a small independent press and are looking to use the vault as a way to land a larger publisher or gain literary representation. The Publetariat Vault listings are free of charge through until June.

What is The Publetariat Vault?

"The Publetariat Vault provides a groundbreaking service: the opportunity to get your self-published or indie-published book in front of the agents, publishers and producers who are seeking proven books for representation or low-risk acquisitions. If you've ever thought that if agents, publishers or producers only knew how much readers like your book, or how well it's selling, or what a great job you're doing to promote both it and yourself, they'd sit up and take notice, then the Vault was made for you..."

Digital Book World: Day Two in The House

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This morning Angela Bole of Book Industry Study Group presented the results of a study on e-books with a pretty wide diversity of people. The crunch over their print cousins was that consumers found e-books cheaper and quickly accessible, and that had a knock-on effect with one third of consumers choosing not to buy a hardback as a result.

We should not underestimate our e-book readers. They know what they want – the ability to immediately talk to other readers of the e-book they have just read. That means publishers are going to have to see e-books as more than just electronic book files, but windows to an entire readership platform. We touched a number of times yesterday in sessions about the need for more community strategies from publishers as well as authors. The survey trends also suggested that once consumers choose e-books they tend to stick with them as a purchase option. Dedicated e-book buyers will remain loyal to e-books as long as publishers don’t start pissing about with a first print edition and later e-book edition. We can talk all we want about Kindles and Apples, but almost half e-books are downloaded to the humble PC, rather than phones or dedicated e-reader devices.

Liza Daly of ThreePress Consulting reckons some e-books from publishers are simply uninspiring, filled with pointless blank pages and even the wrong ISBN’s are used. All in all, there is a worrying degree of downright sloppiness out there. A great deal more colour, dynamics and basic ability to take the format of e-books seriously is required. Stand up publishers—you know who you are!

We had a session which looked at the big players in the e-book market. The consensus seemed to be that Apple and Google’s presence in the e-book market was good for publishers and will help to relinquish some of the stranglehold Amazon has. They jury was out on Apple’s entry with the iPhone and release of the iPad, but the real contender is going to be Google. That doesn’t mean Amazon is going away any time soon and may shift focus to more application, rather than device. Will they let the poor Kindle die? Yikes!

I murdered a Cornish Pastry for lunch and couldn’t get my normal brand of cigarettes, so I had to smoke lights. I hate lights. They’re crap, like sucking on a straw!

A selection of kids-on-the-publishing-block discussed and gave their opinions on e-book pricing.

Tim McCall, Penguin Group USA, reckoned cost is paramount from the moment of acquision to the point the book reaches the customer. As yet, e-books remain less than 4% of the market and need to be looked at more generally rather than individually until they increase in growth and find their market value based on their merit. The pricing of $9.99 does sell more ebooks but not enough to really count. The prices are lower at the moment than their merit but that will help longer term growth.

Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown Agency said Amazon told agents the $9.99 price mark was fair for ebooks. He revealed that converting a book to electronic format cost a publisher about $200 and Amazon sales are driven by location of purchase and not where the buyer happens to be located

Michael Tamblyn of Kobo said his customers bought e-books in the $6 to $12 area for the most part. The Kobo customer wants simplicity in the process of purchasing e-books and the immediacy of attaining those products. We heard something very similar in one of the morning session.

Kassia Kroszer of Booksquare suggested the immediacy of e-books meant the right e-book could be sold for $75 if later editions could lead to updates in information. Publishers need to look at the e-book format and see it as more than just a book. Kroszer echoed Liza Daly’s point in the morning session that dedicated digital publishers produce a better e-book than many large publishing houses. She gave a particular example of a SEO (search engine optimization) non-fiction book.

“[Aaron Wall] spent years writing a book, updating, got a lot of offers from traditional publishers. It sold for $75 and every dollar went to his own pocket. There's a lot of information on the Internet about SEO, but most of it is free. He used his experience and expertise, and made something people would pay for."

The Untangling and understanding the ebook supply chain featured Neil De Young, Hachette Book Group; Peter Balis, John Wiley and Sons; Andrew Weinstein, Ingram Digital; Leslie Hulse, HarperCollins – the moderator was Mark Coker of Smashwords.

Ingram Digital
There is still an important role for wholesalers to play in the e-book supply chain. Ingram provides many different platforms for their retailers of sales tracking for publisher’s books. The Adobe platform should be watched closely in 2010 – they are trying to foster innovation. They have many colour edition books but the dominance of the Kindle makes it harder for Ingram.

John Wiley & Sons
Wiley have not implemented a standard operational procedure for digital publishing, but rather see it as part of their whole plan. They support the open formats of PDF and epub. There are other reasons why publishers do not bring out digital editions of titles – not being able to get digital rights to images, especially of older out of print books.

There is a definite need for an independent auditing body for digital sales. The dark horse for 2010 will be Blio/Microsoft. They should be watched closely.

Hachette Livre
They use ePub but restrict e-book sales to the USA because territories can change quickly and it is hard to track the supply chain to ensure that proper territorial information is been transmitted and complied with. The last mantra of the day was again watch Blio/Microsoft.

[A difficult two days with so much to go through and so many various resources and notes to plough through. Excuse the lack of links and look for the follow up discussions and reviews on all topics here and elsewhere. Thank God the London Book Fair is not till the summer!]

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

ePub The Standard For Apple iPad (Updated - Thurs 28th Jan)

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What will Apple's iPad mean for self-publishers? Well, it's early to over-speculate and second-guess publishers, particularly e-publishers and independent and small presses. Apple have spent the past few weeks getting major New York publishing houses on-board. Indeed, rumors suggest some of those deals were only signed off in the past few days. We have not heard all the responses and opinions and the first iPad devices will not ship to customers until March this year. One thing that is clear is Apple's decision to support epub, an open standard format of e-book I believe should ultimately become the global standard for the sales and distribution of e-books. Having multiple formats for e-books creates a ghetto mentality from manufacturers in the e-book business, and if anything, will stifle the development of e-books universally.

Yes, the Kindle format has also been good for self-published authors, but in many ways though it has had a significant head-start on Apple's iPad, you get the feeling sometimes it's more about Kindle devices sold for Amazon than Kindle books. Kind of like shooting ducks in a barrel. That's why I believe the development of e-books needs to be lead by format rather than device.

In many ways, though Apple have a lot of catching up to do, the iPad may prove in the longer term to be the better friend to the self-published author.

This as an update from the Adobe Blog on Apple's iPad using ePub:

"It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers. Unlike many other ebook readers using the ePub file format, consumers will not be able to access ePub content with Apple's DRM technology on devices made by other manufacturers. And without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web."

Apple iPad Website Opens Its Doors

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Apple now has the official website for the Apple iPad up and running. The iPad was launched today by Steve Jobs in San Francisco. The initial response seems to be very positive with particular attention being focussed on the device's gaming capabilities and its launch in March may help to accelerate the print media’s desire to move to subscription newspaper content. The 9.7 inch screen lends itself easily to this format than previous small screen devices. You can visit the Apple iPad site on the link below and find plenty of images, features and video like the one below.

Apple iPad Unveiled by CEO Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, unveiled the much anticipated Apple Tablet today in San Francisco. The new touch screen tablet will be officially known as the Apple iPad. In many ways the iPad looks distinctly like a giant iPhone, or exploded iPhone as it was described at the unveiling demonstration showcase. The Apple iPad is intended to bridge the gap between an iPhone and a laptop computer. Steve Job’s described the new Apple product in his hands on stage in San Francisco as ‘a magical and revolutionary product.’

The iPad comes with pre-installed iTunes, a touch screen QWERTY keypad, email and web browser. After months of speculation, Apple Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the computer giant's latest creation today at a special event in San Francisco. The iPad’s screen is pretty impressive at almost ten inches in size (9.7). It weighs 1.5 pounds and is about a half inch thick.

Apple 1 GHz A4 chip processor
16 – 64 GB of Flash storage
Bluetooth 2.1
10 hours of battery life (1 month stand-by)
Speaker, microphone and 30-pin connector
Fully multi-touch
QWERTY touch screen keypad
9.7 inch IPS LCD
Half an inch thick
Accelerometer and Compass
Multi directional screen view like iPhone
IPhone apps functionality
HDTV functionality

Game software studio, Electronic Arts (EA) will support games for the iPad and the showcase today featured Major League Baseball. iBooks is the name of the software supporting e-books and the download of digital e-books will be from a new webstore called ibooks. The catalogue of books available will be supported by leading publishers like Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, McGraw, Penguin and others.

Where the Apple iPad may really excel is in downloadable newspapers with embed functionality for video within text. There are expected to be three specs of the iPad with price point breaks of $499/$599/$699 to be confirmed.

Follow The Apple Tablet Launch Live

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The Apple Tablet will be launched later today. If you want to follow the unveiling live, go to The Wall Street Journal link here.

Digital Book World: Day One in The House

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Following the introduction by Conference Chairman, Mike Shatzkin of The Idealogical Company, Shiv Singh, VP at Global Social Media Lead, Razorfish delivered the keynote speech. We have become pretty familiar with the mantra of publishers needing to step beyond the confines of the models which have pre-existed for years in the industry. Singh, from his experience of social media, emphasised the importance of branding—something I spoke about in some detail here and over on earlier this month in relation to authors needing to discover their brand and identity before they could so much as contemplate putting together a competent marking strategy for their books.

“Today, publishers are looking more to cut back on the amount of titles they release and focus their marketing clout and expenditure on extracting as much as possible from the branding of high-end authors. That doesn’t mean mainstream publishing editors aren’t open to new authors with an original book or voice. It just means the playing field is getting a little less hospitable. There seems to be a lot less players on the playing field and the substitution bench is getting crowded and our publishing managers are getting ever-more conservative, unwilling to risk a late substitution from an unproven player in an effort to hold out and still win the game. Author solutions services will often use this argument to hook you into their services. Consider that almost all writers you read started out as unknowns, published a first book, broke the so-called mould, achieved what you might consider impossible or hopeless, but remember, they almost all did it by pursuing the commercial route, either directly, or via a literary agent. They, and the people who represented them, read their first book, believed in their brand, and managed to connect and sell it to readers.”

Branding and Publishing Strategies – Mick Rooney

Singh spoke in terms of publishers and the need for them to extend and identify their brand as well as the brand of the author. Publishers must become much more involved with their listed authors to create and drive fanzines and blogs and not relinquish control of the creator of the content they are publishing. Singh also looked at the relevance of book reviews and the work publishers need to do to ascertain whether they have a true value to make a purchase.

He suggested publishers needed to look beyond the book as the sole product, but rather see it in the light of the author within their community. There is no doubt authors in the midst of the digital revolution should never forget what really sells books. I think this is what Singh was getting at—that publishers should never forget the humble book club, local or community, and that in spite of the millions spent on advertising products in the world—word of mouth is still the most powerful medium to sell books. Singh suggested we are becoming less individual – more community.

In a newer model of publishing, both readers and author need to be involved in the development of a book, and that means publishers engaging on a new level with the reading community to achieve this. Singh pointed out the modern reader has little involvement in the traditional publishing process and both author and reader are segregated from the ‘front end’. Social media has its place to guide publishers towards what readers want and how books should be put together. Singh rightly noted that authors are ahead of publishers in realising this.

Publishers spend great amounts of money on marketing and advertising books, yet, readers listen and are far more influenced by peers and friends in making a decision to purchase. In short, Singh proclaimed that publishers and authors already have the tools to hand to explore a new model of publishing.

Amanda Edmonds, Google’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, stressed the importance of iphones and highly portable notebooks—reminding us that we need to think carefully about dedicated devices like e-readers. I think this was one of the most fundamental points made all day and one we would return to in greater depth in the afternoon.

She expressed the vision that Google saw a future where the consumer wanted the tools of methods of entry to be simplified. She reminded us that the work of Google is to place a focus and serve the need consumers have to access back catalogue material.

Google’s ideology and strategy is the fact that the consumer wants to access, purchase and share what they find.

Over lunch at the conference, Jack McKeown, Business Development director at Verso Digital, shared the results of analysing 110 million Internet users and their varying reading habits. You might think this poor fair for lunch with a roll and soup. Actually, it was perfect, and set the tone among delegates for the rest of the day.

The Survey told us:

E-readers are currently used as a supplement to gaining information and reading – not a replacement. (There is a definite theme here on day one!) How ultimately the percentages on e-book and print purchases pans out remains conjecture, but print publishers shouldn’t pack their bags and leave the Sheraton Hotel too suddenly!

Publishers have a real challenge on their hands. How do you satisfy the new young reader, comfortable with iphones and e-readers and the purchasing of content as download, and placate the traditional reader, open to a degree of change, but not entirely willing to embrace every aspect of the new content mediums.

Holy Shit! Pricing! We knew this was coming. Maybe Amazon got it right. Those dang stuck-in-the-mud avid readers (28%) might shift, but not for anything more than $10. Another 37% said, well, ‘Maybe a little more, but impress us, entertain us first’. They’re obviously the percentage some large publishers are after with their new fangled all-sing, all-dancing, ‘enhanced e-books’, where the latest feature available is to have your e-book edition make you coffee while you read.

E-book readers also say in the survey that they hold the moral ground and wouldn’t indulge in piracy...honest. Didn’t we hear the say chime ringing when DVD recording reached the masses?

E-book share could rise to 12-15% in the next two years.

There remains a considerable resistance to e-books in the 45+ age bracket.

There was some degree of discussion in the afternoon about optimising e-books and making them better. It must have been the soup and roll at lunch and crunching those survey figures. Here is the person who should have been at the ‘optimising e-books’ session; she wrote sharply and accurately on the subject here – Kassia Krozser over on Publishing Perspectives.

The most pointed discussion of the day—New Business Models, and one that helped to pull some common themes together for the whole day.

Richard Nash, Cursor;
Eoin Purcell, Green Lamp Media;
Chris Morrow, Northshire Books;
Angela James, Carina Press;

This is purely an analysis of the business models presented by each participant involved:

Northshire Books

Importance on physical bookstore placement and sales.
Print on demand provide to retail bookstores
Using Espresso Book Machine

Carina Press

Digital e-book publisher
Harlequin first digital division
May expand beyond romance genre
No advance
Higher royalty
Rights for only 7 years

Based on Softskull Press model
Cursor is a portfolio of branded publishers
First imprint will be Red Lemonade and then two to four a year
$8 and $30
Editions - Not just volume
Priced from $0.99 to $10
Three year licenses
No use of law to demand control over author’s output

Green Light Books
Hybrid, experimental publisher
Part-traditional model
Will do print, but differently
No advances
Shorter licenses, higher royalties for digital content
Print for domestic market, online for overseas
Not big believer in ebook
POD. Digital and POD titles offered to authors’ not first tier
Will probably start a subscription model
Doesn’t see ebooks as viable long term prospect

A very long day and lots and lots of material and conversation you know doubt we see on blogs over the coming week. It’s like an open workshop with an audience of a thousand an each person a single good thought or idea. You try to get it all down on the whiteboard, and you’re doing well if you go away with ten good inspirational things through debate, email, resource and your own insight...

I’m going to bed to rest my weary head...

[excuse the lack of links, I’m sure they will come here and elsewhere over the coming days as we do a collective meditate!]

Day One: Digital Book World

Print Friendly and PDF's on it's way..a lot to get through...working on notes...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Irish Author Paul Reid One of Four Novelist To Be Published by AmazonEncore

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We may still consider Amazon one of the leading online retailers, but today’s announcement from their Seattle headquarters reinforces the status and development of Amazon as a publisher in their own right. Four novels will be published this spring by Amazon’s own imprint, AmazonEncore, and all of them were entries in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

The four novels are:

A Cruel Harvest, by Paul Reid
(Published, April 2010)

Page from a Tennessee Journal, by Francine Thomas Howard
(Published, March 2010)

Greyhound, by Steffan Piper
(Published, March 2010)

Crossing, by Andrew Fukuda
(Published, May 2010)

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is co-sponsored by, CreateSpace, their print on demand service, and Penguin Group (USA). The four novels are the first original manuscripts to be published through AmazonEncore. It has been a very positive and encouraging program for Amazon to instigate. Something I’d like to see a great deal more of from the e-tailer, and I do suspect AmazonEncore will grow. Amazon may at times come in for criticism on these pages, but I think credit must be due where it is fully deserved. Without Amazon, one wonders if self-publishing authors would have nearly as big a platform to success.

I am personally delighted to see one of the books is from Irish author Paul Reid from Cork with his novel, A Cruel Harvest. A Cruel Harvest tells the epic tale of two young lovers who are separated in a pirate raid on their Irish fishing village and forced to face terrible danger at the hands of tyrants in order to be reunited. The novel is set in 1790 and stretches from the windswept coast of Ireland to the sun-baked hills of Morocco.

Francine Thomas Howard Page from a Tennessee Journal is based on a well-guarded family secret. Her debut novel is about the lives of two Southern farming families—one white, one black—and their interconnected lives set in racially oppressive Tennessee a century ago. The San Francisco Bay Area-based author left her career in paediatric occupational therapy to pursue her first love: writing. Her novel will be published in March 2010.

Steffan Piper's Greyhound is set in the early 1980’s, and tells the story of 12-year-old Sebastien Ranes, who travels 2,000 miles across America on a Greyhound bus, chronicling the lessons he learns and people he meets along the way. Piper, based in Los Angeles, had previously self-published one novel and three books of poetry. Greyhound will be published in March 2010.

Andrew Fukuda's Crossing is a debut novel exploring the Asian-American immigrant experience in modern-day America, and exposes the day-to-day cruelty of life in high schools. The book was inspired by the author's time spent working with immigrant teenagers in Manhattan's Chinatown. The half-Chinese, half-Japanese Fukuda lives on Long Island, New York. Crossing will be published in May 2010.

All four published books from AmazonEncore will be available in print format on as well as wireless digital downloads from the Kindle Store. For more information on AmazonEncore and upcoming titles, visit

"Now in its third year, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest brings in many worthy manuscripts. We've identified these four manuscripts as examples of authors whose work we think deserves a larger audience, and we're excited to help these authors find their readers."

Jeff Belle, Vice President, Books

About AmazonEncore

Announced in May 2009, AmazonEncore is a program which identifies exceptional books and emerging authors using information on, such as customer reviews and sales data. Amazon then works with the authors to introduce or re-introduce their books to readers through marketing and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store,, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers.

Galleys of these titles are available for media and can be obtained by e-mailing

Monday, 25 January 2010

e-books: Kassia Krozser on Publishing Perspectives

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Kassia Krozser has written an article today over on Publishing Perspectives about the development of e-books and that it's time for us to learn to walk before we try to run. She argues publishers and authors have yet to perfect the presentation and potential of the e-book in a envoirnment where we are already talking about 2010 being the year of enhanced e-books.

Krozser herself will be appearing at this week's Digital Book World Conference in New York.

Digital Book World Conference - New York 2010

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The two day conference, Digital Book World, at the Sheraton Hotel, New York, starts on Tues 26th. We will be covering the highlights of events there this week. Here is a snippet from the official site for Digital Book World.

“Digital Book World isn't just about strategies; it's also about the network. Because of our focus on consumer publishing, our speakers and attendees represent publishers of all sizes and niches – from HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House to Tor, Chelsea Green, National Geographic and Ellora's Cave – as well as literary agents and other allied professionals, and vendors with an interest in the future of consumer publishing.

Our goal is to have the most digitally knowledgeable and globally connected publishing staff in the industry. Digital Book World offers a good overview of the ‘state of play’ for digital reading to start off 2010.

It's a great next step in digital engagement for employees of editorial and publicity--those departments who are most often speaking to our agents and authors."

Carolyn Pittis, Global Author Services, HarperCollins Publishers

The website for the event is here, and their daily updated blog is here.

The following is a full listing of sessions over the two days with some pretty illustrious speakers, including Richard Nash, Angela James of Carina Press (think Harlequin from last year!), Richard Curtis, Eoin Purcell, Michael Cader, Mike Shatzkin, and Kassia Kroszer. All publishing voices you will have seen many times referred to here on POD, Self Publishing & Independent Publishing.

Here is the full list of sessions:

Tuesday, January 26
 7:30 am:  Registration Opens, Exhibits, Coffee

 8:30 am:  Welcome Introduction by Mike Shatzkin, The Idealogical Company

 8:45 am:  Opening Keynote: Engaging Readers in the Digital Age with Shiv Singh, Ad Age Media Maven and Social Media Lead at Razorfish

 9:30 am: 90 Days In with Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks

10:10 am:  Google Editions: Books in the Cloud with Amanda Edmonds, Google

10:35 am:  Digital Book Piracy: It's Here. Let's Deal With It with Brian Napack, Macmillan

11:00 am:  The Cash Cow That Isn't Milked! with Steve Walker, SBS Worldwide

11:25 am:  Morning Break and Exhibitors

11:55 am:  Lunch and Verso Digital Presentation: Book-Buying Behavior in Vertical Channels:

Results of Verso Ad Network's 2009 Consumer Book Survey with Jack McKeown and Tom Thompson

 1:00 pm:
Digital Tools: How the Sales and Marketing Process Is Changing

Speakers: Noah Genner, BookNet CanadaJohn Rubin, Above the Treeline, LLCSusan Ruszala, NetGalley; Amy Williams, Ingram Content Group

Moderator: Ted Hill, THA Consulting

Getting Comfortable in the Niches: Reports from Publishers Working Their Verticals

Speakers: Brent Lewis, Harlequin; Reid Tracy, Hay HouseMargo Baldwin, Chelsea GreenRebecca Smart, Osprey Publishing

Moderator: Michael Cairns, Information Media Partners

Back-Loaded Book Deals: No (and Low) Advance Contracts, Profit-Sharing and Other Innovative Business Models

Speakers: Roger Cooper, Perseus VanguardRobert Miller, HarperStudioIra Silverberg, Sterling LordMary Ann Naples, The Creative Culture

Moderator: Lorraine Shanley, Market Partners International

 1:00 pm: The Next Generation of eBooks: Invent It or Witness It! with Sameer Shariff of Impelsys, Inc. and Scott Chambers of Sesame Workshop

 2:15 pm:
Optimizing eBooks: Cost-Effective Enhancements, Updates and Multimedia Options

Speakers: Josh Koppel, ScrollMotionBrad Inman, VookAndrew Malkin, ZinioMaja Thomas, Hachette Book GroupEric Freese, Aptara

Moderator: Laura Dawson, LJN Dawson

Selling Direct to the Consumer: What are the Best Practices for Publishers?

Speakers: Rick Hunt, SharedBookReid Tracy, Hay HouseSara Domville, F+W Media, Inc.Mary Aarons, Quayside Publishing

Moderator: Ted Hill, THA Consulting

Tomorrow’s Book Contract: New Language and Provisions to Reflect New Conditions

Speakers: Miriam Kriss, Irene Goodman Agency; Simon Lipskar, Writer's House; John Schline, Penguin Group USA; Devereux Chatillon, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, LLP

Moderator: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates, Inc.

  2:15 pm: New Ways for Old Ideas: An Innovative Approach to IT Co-Sourcing with Kamalpreet Virdi of Aequor

  3:15 pm:  Afternoon Break and Exhibits

  3:45 pm:  

Synergizing the Book and Web: Books Plus In the 21st Century

Speakers: Will Schwalbe, CookstrLisa Holton, Fourth Story MediaAlison Norrington, AuthorHillel Cooperman, Jackson Fish Market

Moderator: Lorraine Shanley, Market Partners International

New Business Models: Changing the Commercial Rules of Publishing

Speakers: Richard Nash, Richard Nash Group; Eoin Purcell, Green Lamp MediaChris Morrow, Northshire BookstoreAngela James, Carina Press

Moderator: Don Linn, Linn & Company LLC

The Changing Agent-Author Relationship: How it Will Affect the Business Model

Speakers: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.Scott Waxman, Waxman Literary Agency; Brian DeFiore, DeFiore and Company; Wendy Keller, Keller Media, Inc.

Moderator: Sara Nelson, Oprah's Book Club

 3:45 pm:  Winning and Retaining Customers: What Publishers Can Learn From Social Gaming with Richard Caccappolo of ORCA

 5:00 pm:  Cocktail Reception

Wednesday, January 27
 7:30 am:  Exhibits and Coffee

 8:30 am:  Welcome Introduction by Mike Shatzkin, The Idea Logical Company

 8:45 am:  Today’s eBook Consumer: A Look at First-Round Data from BISG’s On-Going Survey of Consumer Attitudes Toward eBook Reading with Angela Bole of BISG and Kelly Gallagher of RR Bowker 

 9:05 am:  Ellora's Cave: A Conversation with Raelene Gorlinsky

 9:25 am:  Getting Past "Good Enough" eBooks with Liza Daly, Threepress Consulting

 9:45 am:  Leveling the Production Playing Field: Print, Web, eReaders, SmartPhones and Beyond! with Samir Kakar, Aptara

10:15 am: Panel--The eBook Tipping Point: The New Issues It Creates

Speakers: Michael Cader, Publishers Lunch; Larry Kirshbaum, Literary Agent; Ken Brooks, Cengage LearningEvan Schnittman, Oxford University Press Moderator: Mike Shatzkin, The Idea Logical Company

11:15 am:  Morning Break and Exhibits

12:00 pm:  Lunch and Baker & Taylor BLIO eReader Presentation

  1:00 pm:
eBook Pricing: What They Should Cost, and Why

Speakers: Tim McCall, Penguin Group USA; Michael Tamblyn, KoboKassia Kroszer, BookSquareGinger Clark, Curtis Brown Ltd.

Moderator: Laura Dawson, LJN Dawson

How Publishers Can Build Their Own Communities: Using Social Media Tools

Speakers: Pablo Defendini, Tor.comJesse McDougall, Catalyst WebworksGuy Gonzalez, F+W Media, Inc.Jennfier Hart, HarperCollins

Moderator: Charlotte Abbott

Teach Them to Fish: Empowering Authors to Market Themselves

Speakers: Peter Clifton, FiledByChristina Katz, AuthorMatt Schwartz, Random HouseCecilia Tan, Circlet Press

Moderator: Michael Cairns, Information Media Partners

1:30 pm:  Three Challenges and Technologies You Need to Know for Digital Publishing with Michael McGinniss of HarperCollins and Todd Eckler of North Plains Systems

 2:00 pm:  Afternoon Break and Exhibits

 2:30 pm:
eBook Challenges: Competing with Free and Getting the Timing Right

Speakers: Mindy Stockfield, HyperionRobert Gottlieb, Trident Media GroupMichael Tamblyn, KoboSteve Ross, formerly of HarperCollins, Random House, Delacorte Press, Putnam's Sons and John Wiley & Sons 

Moderator: Brian O'Leary, Magellan Media Partners

Fundamentals of an Email List Management Strategy: Capturing and Utilizing Today’s Most Cost-Effective Asset

Speakers: Eleanor Elliott, HarlequinRachel Chou, Open Road Integrated MediaMitch Rubin, Applied Information GroupChad Phelps, F+W Media, Inc.

The New Farm System: Scouting Blogs and Self-Publishers for Commercial Books

Speakers: Byrd Leavell, Waxman Literary Agency; Kate Lee, ICM; Sulay Hernandez, Simon & Schuster; Patrick Mulligan, Gotham

Moderator: Victoria Sutherland, ForeWord Magazine

 3:45 pm:
Digital Content and Marketing for the Born Digital Generation: 
What Juvie and Young Adult Publishers are Doing in the New Marketplace

Speakers: Diane Naughton, HarperCollins Children's Books; Justin Chanda, Simon & Schuster; Holly Root, Waxman Literary Agency; Suzanne Murphy, Scholastic

Moderator: Dan Weiss, Macmillan

Get Noticed! How to Earn Attention for Every Book

Speakers: Debbie Stier, HarperStudio; Yen Cheong, Viking and Penguin Books; Peter Costanzo, Perseus Books GroupRyan Chapman, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Moderator: Kate Rados, Chelsea Green Publishing

Getting on the Virtual Shelves: Untangling and Understanding the eBook Supply Chain

Speakers:Neil De Young, Hachette Book GroupPeter Balis, John Wiley and SonsAndrew Weinstein, Ingram DigitalLeslie Hulse, HarperCollins

Moderator: Mark Coker, Smashwords

 5:00 pm:  The Future of Publishing is Bright with Guy LeCharles Gonzalez of Digital Book World

Please note this schedule is subject to change. 

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Gemini International - Reviewed

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Gemini International are an Irish-based printers servicing several Irish publishing houses as well as offering print services for self-publishing authors. Originally Gemini International Limited began in 1973 providing secretarial, copy typing, photocopying, publishing and printing services to Dublin's city-centre business community. Gemini invested very early on in the 1990’s in digital page-composition systems and was one of the first Irish printing companies to invest in digital printing technology, installing its first Xerox Docutech.

Gemini also provides Document Lifecycle Management Services which include Copywriting, Translation, Graphic Design, Web Publishing, Digital Printing (Digital Colour and Black and White), Lithographic Printing, Warehousing, Assembly/Fulfilment and Distribution. Gemini is currently providing DLM services to several multinationals, international and national educational Institutions, and exports to over 40 countries worldwide.

Self-publishing is the preferred route where the audience for a particular work is small, too small to be of interest to traditional publishers or printers. It may be an expert work in a specialised technology, a historical work of local or family interest, or it may be the work of an unpublished poet or novelist testing the market.

Self-publishing authors take responsibility for all aspects of getting their own book to market.

The resultant control and financial benefits more than compensate for having to do the work oneself. Control begins with the assurance that the book will be published, and within weeks instead of months, or possibly years. There will be no rejection because of market size. Authors will not be asked to make changes to suit the publisher and, most importantly, they retain all legal rights to their work.

Financial benefits begin by not having to find and pay a literary agent. Authors get 100% of sales revenue instead of a small royalty, and because of digital print technology at our Dublin facility, they can publish small book quantities initially and reprint any quantity ‘on-demand.

In a document management Company such as Gemini International Limited, the application of information technology, desktop publishing, pre-press software, together with high-speed black and colour digital printing, enable us to take the author’s content, convert it into a structured electronic document, then digitally print and bind producing any quantity, even as low as fifty or a hundred copies, very economically.

With over thirty years printing experience, Gemini can also provide authors with any of the ancillary services – design, layout, proofreading, etc, at competitive rates. We do not, however, promote or market authors’ works as offered by the somewhat suspect ‘Vanity Publishers’.”

More details on Gemini International‘s print options can be found here.

My experience has been for self-publishing authors to deliver a print-ready file to digital print services, though Gemini will work with an author to some degree to convert their submitted content into a PDF.

Gemini International is an award winning Irish printer and they do not engage in selling anything more to authors than what they can provide. Therefore, you won’t find any marketing services or dream-speak here. Unlike large unique digital book printers like Lightning Source, Gemini deal in short print runs ‘on demand’ as well as digital lithography runs. This is not a print service if you are looking for a handful of copies of your book, but ideal if you are looking for print and fulfilment services on short runs of 100 to 500, at a time.

For further details on pricing and requirements, Gemini International can be contacted here for quotes.

e-books: May The Battle Commence!

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Daily Finance this morning takes an insightful look at the imminent war in the world of e-book retailing. If we are to believe Sarah Weinman, Publishing Industry Reporter for Daily Finance, then the coming months may very well define who the biggest playmakers are going to be, and crucially, whether publishers can maintain control on pricing and the development of e-books in the marketplace. There are some pretty big playmakers on stage at the moment, like Amazon, Apple and Google, and these guys play hard and fast. They have built their corporate monoliths by never standing still, identifying and seizing on opportunity, creating new markets through innovation and technology, and running organisations were adopting flexibility and change is the oil for the engines of their development. Each one of these corporations has the same invisible motto written over their front doors for intending visitors—it’s our way or the highway.

The publishing industry may learn a lot this week. They will need no reminder of what is at stake for them and how they lost all grip and control on physical book products over the past twenty years to large high street retail chains—an act of commercial complacency they cannot repeat with a content format set to become the primary and leading edition of a book in the not-too-distant future. Weinman talks much about uncertainty and speculation on what is going on behind the closed doors of the big six publishing houses in New York. If we believe even a scintilla of speculation, that HarperCollins are lunching with Apple (the company – not the fruit), that Amazon are also pounding the New York pavements to the doors of several publishing houses and in no uncertain terms insisting simultaneous e-book release of new titles and pricing are king, then publishers are in for a rough ride. The battle to control and dictate the terms of digitization and e-book products is no longer being fought on the turf in publishers’ backyards, but on the highways and byways of the cyberworld. For a very long time publishers have been the self-appointed gatekeepers of literature—not any more. The advent of digitization in the print industry and the internet have made the dissemination and publishing of material for the ordinary person a global reality. The voices once silent can now be heard. The choice is now the same for authors as it is for publishers—what platform to chose?

“Which is why the timing of Amazon's newest initiative -- upping the royalty rates for authors who self-publish e-books through its Kindle Digital Text Platform to an eye-popping 70% by June 30 -- is highly suspicious: a move that would appear to fire another shot across the bow, both on asserting its e-book market dominance and saying to publishers that their way is the only way.

The conditions of these new royalty rates tell the story. Self-published authors get the 70% rate as long as they ensure that their books are available in every conceivable format Amazon offers, including text-to-speech capabilities; can be sold "in all territories where the publisher or author holds the rights"; and, most tellingly, is priced between $2.99 and $9.99. So to get that shiny new royalty, "books must be offered at or below price parity with competition, including physical book prices," and in particular, the digital list price must be 20% below the lowest possible physical price.”

Sally Weinman, Daily Finance.

Weinman is right to point to Amazon’s rigid restrictions on its new royalty initiative for authors and publishers, something authors may have a great deal more difficulty adhering to than they first might have thought on the wave of elation that greeted the announcement this week. The task for publishers to be the kingmakers in their own industry may be ultimately beyond them, but if there is one certainty on the rocky road ahead—publishers need authors on their side, and that includes the authors not on their lists, because the successful authors of tomorrow may very well turn out to be the self-publishing authors of today. That means publishers accepting they are no longer in charge of the keys to the gate. In the wake of a changing industry and the way we see publishing, with corporations like Amazon and Apple flexing their muscles, publishers need to embrace new models and platforms of publishing without dropping the ball. To retract to the stubbornness of attempting to apply an old model of business on to a new platform you don’t even own or control is tantamount to handing the industry to the wolves. To become a wolf – you must live with the wolves. May the battle commence...

Irish Publishing 2009: The Bookseller - Eoin Purcell

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Eoin Purcell, writing in, takes a look at the sales and industry trends in Ireland in 2009 and what might lie ahead in 2010. At best it looks like a year of consolidation and lip-biting. You can find the article here.

Further news on the Irish book market and industry can be found here.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Open Publishing Guide - Rochester Institute of Technology

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Rachael Gootnick is a recent graduate of the School of Print Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has written an introductory piece for selfpublishingreview on the work and research being carried out by students and directors Open Publishing Lab which provides a free resource for self-publishing and independent authors called The Open Publishing Guide.

"The Open Publishing Guide (OPG) is an open-source website created and maintained by the Open Publishing Lab (OPL) a research lab based in the School of Print Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The OPL is dedicated to researching new models of content creation and developing innovative, open-source and cross-media publishing projects."

This is a well-thought-out and invaluable resource providing listings of author solutions services, video tutorials, book templates and a clever eight-question service finder tool (Self-Publishing Advisor) to whittle down your choice of companies when you are considering what is the best self-publishing option for you. I did find a few glitches with the tool (when you select colour book option, it actually drops Blurb from the list of services!), but Rachael Gootnick does say that the Open Publishing Guide is about to get a website revamp with more companies to be included in their database listing. At the moment the list is made up of a lot of photo book services like MyPublisher, Picaboo, Blurb and VioVio.

"While there are massive amounts of information on self-publishing on the Internet, not all of that information is presented in a positive or non-biased manner. We wanted to give individuals who were thinking of starting the self-publishing process a centralized resource for gathering motivating and non-sales driven information."

For me, this is the most telling quote from Rachael's article on selfpublishingreview about the work being carried out for The Open Publishing Guide. It is hard to find resource information and advice on self-publishing which is unbiased. Authors often find their information from two extreme ports of call; author solutions companies who are more interested in selling their services at any cost and will dress up the realities and challenges of self-publishing; and staunch advocates of the mainstream publishing industry - often authors themselves - who believe anything outside of the recognized traditional path to publishing a book is simply vanity publishing and lacks quality and legitimacy.

The Open Publishing Guide will be re-designed for February 2010 with more projects and resources in the pipeline.

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