Archive for April, 2012

No Contest

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Industry News

How can a contest end with no winner? Apparently the Pulitzer Committee has no problem answering that question. There were three finalists for the 2011 fiction award, and NONE of them received a majority vote. What does that mean? Did they all tie, or did none of the judges cast a vote?

Let’s form our own Pulitzer committee.  Cast your vote below:

Not this year. For all those novelists who were lucky (and talented) enough to be nominees for the fiction award, the finality of a winner isn’t there. Because there isn’t one. It’s unsettling.

It was a real WTF moment for the literary world. Most of us Pulitzer watchers thought the prize would go to David Foster Wallace for his novel, The Pale King, which was published posthumously last year. Wallace, who suffered from crippling life-long depression, hanged himself in 2008. He was 45.

The Pulitzer committee announced that there had been three finalists–Wallace, Karen Russell for Swamplandia! and Denis Johnson for Train Dreams.(Johnson was also a finalist in 2008 for “Tree of Smoke.”)

In declining to give the award, the Pulitzer Board noted that none of the three finalists had garnered a majority vote.

Seriously?…..  read more.

via No Good Novels in 2011? For the First Time in 35 years, the Pulitzer Committee Declines Award for Fiction | Lambda Literary.

A couple of years ago, Publisher’s Weekly decided that for the low, low price of $149, self-publishers could buy the right to MAYBE get reviewed by them.

One blogger, a self-published writer herself, says that she feels PW is so entrenched in the “traditional” publishing model that they are deliberately trashing self-pubbed novels in their reviews.  She gives statistics that of 99 novels submitted one quarter, only 25 merited a review and of those 25 only 4 were at all complimentary.  In fact, she calls the other 21 reviews “scathing.”

I do not see any proof of her implication that PW is deliberately trashing these books in order to squash traditional publishers competition.  I’ve always heard that 99% of queries received by publishers are rejected.  By those numbers, giving 4 good reviews out of a total of 99 books sounds like a win.

What do you think?  Is big publishing and their cohorts trashing indie books unfairly, or no?

I know there’s a lot of bad writing out there (I’m not defending it!) and that self-publishing was, and a lot of the times still is, a venue for vanity. But it’s becoming more and more mainstream, the way to go, and I find it hard to believe that of the nearly one hundred novels submitted, PW couldn’t have found a few more things to like. You can practically sense the glee emanating from the reviewers as they rip apart these books. …read more

via Publishers Weekly seems to relish scathing reviews of self-published books | A City Mom.

Are You “In” BranchOut?

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Social Media

On Fridays I try to spend a little time understanding Facebook and how it works to expand my reach and build my “brand” as an author and freelance writer.

Today as I was creating groups to make it easier to filter posts from friends, family and acquaintances, I noticed that at some point I apparently accepted a request to join an app called BranchOut.  Not knowing what the heck it even is, I did a little Googling and found several articles including the one below.

Bottom line, it sounds like it is Facebook’s version of LinkedIn, though there are differences, as noted in the article.  Now I am a huge fan of LinkedIn.  It is largely due to the groups I’ve joined there that I have been able to participate in so many interviews and guest posts.  So I’m thinking if BranchOut can do more of the same, I should participate more actively.

My main concern is how my participation will impact my Facebook friends,  As I started building my BranchOut network, is it going to start pestering them to join also, increasing their spam posts and cause them to block me on their news feeds?  I’m gonna risk that, I guess, but if you already have experience with this app, I would welcome any comments telling me what you think of BranchOut.   And after I’ve played around with it for awhile, I’ll come back on here and tell you how my experiment went.

That being said, does BranchOut really compete with LinkedIn? In social media marketing, I teach my clients that everyone has their own preferred social network, and they use it in their own particular way. For that reason, while these communities don’t really compete with each other (unless you look at ad revenue competition from their owners), I believe BranchOut is a natural complement for those who want to use social media for professional networking:

via Why Branch Out on Facebook for Networking Instead of Linking In?.

Murdering Twitter

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Social Media

Oops, I suspect I may be one of the people mentioned below who are cutting their own throats by abuse and misuse of their Twitter accounts.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cruel, it’s only that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.  There are almost as many articles out there about how to use Twitter as there are tweets by all the twits who use the social medium.

Can anyone tame the Twitter monster, or should we just steer clear of its mouth?

Twitter, much like all of social media, requires time, patience and focus. Doing Twitter halfway is worse than not doing it at all. Name your favorite company. Now, imagine you go to that company’s Twitter page and its most recent tweet is from last summer. Obviously, that’s not a company that cares enough about feedback from its customers to be bothered with paying attention to Twitter. You don’t want to gain that reputation. The first thing you have to do is make a commitment to spending time every single day monitoring your Twitter page, your followers and some other things we’ll point out a little later. Twitter success is not found by doing the bare minimum.

via How to Best Use Twitter in the Market Place | Smedio.

My publisher, New Libri Press.  has some concerns that the Science Fiction Writers Association is too commercially focused.  What do you think?

First, let’s examine the continued prejudice against self-publishing. You might think that as an editor at a small press, I would be for this sort of prejudice, as it steers some authors toward a publisher, rather than toward self-publishing. I am not, for a variety of reasons.

via Small Press Dances with Elephants: Irony: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America stuck in the 20th Century..

Facebook Timelines

Posted: April 20, 2012 in Social Media

Social Media Examiner has proven to be a fun and informative site.  Check out the link below for samples of how companies are using Facebook’s new Timeline view.  Even though the examples are of commercial companies, they can be good tips for authors as well.  This article highlights 5 specific things you can do:

  1. Adding Interesting Milestones
  2. Incorporating the Profile Picture Into Your Cover Photo
  3. Telling a Story With Photos
  4. Branding With Apps
  5. Using the About Section to Give a Call to Action

#4 Apps is one that I was trying to figure out the other day, and lo and behold, Social Media Examiner has a post about that, too.  Really, you should check these guys out and share with me what you find.

Are you wondering how businesses are creatively using Facebook’s Timeline features?  Business timelines are blooming all over Facebook.

via 5 Ways Businesses Are Using Facebook Timelines | Social Media Examiner.

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Traditional Publishing

This was too good to post on just one blog.

Debra R. Borys

Technically, this post should go on my Writers Resources blog where I post tidbits about writing and publishing that I find while I am researching ways to succeed at freelancing with lots of really trying.

But Chuck Wendig writes such a damn good post, I just had to share with everyone.  Read his hysterical take on the publishing apocalypse and while you’re there, click around a bit and see what else the man has to say.  You won’t be sorry.  I promise.

Stories aren’t going anywhere. Books still exist, both inside Kindles and on meatspace shelves. If a major publisher goes down in flames, a smaller publisher will wink, shake its hips, and step up to the plate. If a major bookstore chain shits the bed, indies will fill the gap, or another chain will rise. If libraries suck the pipe — well, that’s bad for a community and not…

View original post 47 more words

POD Does Not Mean Poo On Demand

Posted: April 18, 2012 in Links

As an author whose publisher uses Print on Demand (POD) through Lightening Source, I’ve already come across some misconceptions about POD when I tried to convince some local bookstores to carry copies of Painted Black.  Some people don’t get that POD with Lightening Source is a technology, not a business model.

Here’s another take on some of the stigma attached to POD.

Next time you order a book online, consider this: odds are increasing that the book itself hasn’t been printed yet. Welcome to the world of on-demand printing, where books live electronically on a hard drive somewhere until someone wants a copy.

via On-demand printing helps sustain the printed page | Marketplace from American Public Media.


Breaking into the Library

Posted: April 14, 2012 in Marketing

Libraries may seem like dinosaurs to some in this digital age. But it’s a great way to get your book read and isn’t it the dream of most authors so see their book on those hallowed shelves?

For small press and independent authors, however, you have to be willing to exercise some muscle to accomplish this. One simple way that might help is to request your book from the library and have your friends and family do the same.  If there are enough requests asking to borrow a particular title, the library might be willing to invest in a copy or two.

Here are excerpts and links to articles that talk about two other suggestions for ways to break into the library scene.

Get a Library of Congress Control Number. For instance, Wordclay offers this service. Otherwise, apply directly for an Pre-Assigned Control Number.

The CIP program is more complicated: “Only U. S. publishers who publish titles that are most likely to be widely acquired by U.S. libraries” – i.e. traditionally published books, though self-publishers are certainly eligible. The difference between the programs is a full listing with author name/subject or just a control number. The Library of Congress will catalog how your book is listed. Otherwise you can draft your own and label it a Publisher Cataloging-in-Publication, as opposed to Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication. Hiring a catologing company may be necessary to produce an accurate listing. The advantage to a more extensive listing is a greater likelihood that it will be bought by libraries.

via How to Get a Self-Published Book into Libraries | Self-Publishing Review.

One of the best ways to get in front of librarians is to submit your book to be reviewed by one of several publications that librarians turn to for recommendations. You aren’t promised a favorable review. But if you get one, you can use it in your marketing materials, excerpt a blurb for your book jacket, or include it on your website.

via How to get your book reviews in front of librarians.

The changes Facebook Timeline has made to Pages might be a mixed bag, but I am liking the detailed view you get of who has been looking at what on your page.  I plan to keep on eye on this in future to hopefully improve my content and give people what they seem to want.