Tag Archives: Publishing

A few links about reading, publishing, timeliness, & poems about dogs

Emotional intelligence, improvement of

For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov

But psychologists and other experts said the new study was powerful because it suggested a direct effect — quantifiable by measuring how many right and wrong answers people got on the tests — from reading literature for only a few minutes.

Does Reading Literary Fiction Make You a Better Person?

(Same story from Publishing Perspectives.) At the end of this article is a link to participate in the study. You don’t have to read any literature, just look at pictures of eyes and determine an emotion. But they do ask you how much fiction vs. nonfiction you’ve read in the past year. (Just so you know, I got 31 out of 36 correct. I think that’s pretty good. But then, I read literary fiction.)

Publishing: Traditional vs. Self (Before we die this will cease to be a story)

Is Publishing Still Broken? The Surprising Year In Books

Self-publishing is a huge and disruptive force in the publishing industry, but contrary to popular belief, it’s largely benefiting publishers.

Bowker Data Offers Surprising Insight into Traditional and Self-Publishing

First, more publishers than ever before signed authors who had previously self-published their books, a far cry from the days only a few years ago when choosing to self-publish was an all-or-nothing choice.

Just in case you were thinking about making a magazine app

Why tablet magazines are a failure

8 apps a day. (Average number of apps opened by mobile users each day. Out of an average number of 41 apps on the device.)

Manners, improvement of

On going over your time

Just don’t do it.

Marketing & Design & Creativity

From today’s Very Short List (@VSL), “the delightful email that shares cultural gems from a different curator each day.” Today’s curators were David Kelley, founder of IDEO and Stanford’s d.school, and Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and bestselling author. One link was to an article titled “Mermaids & pirates take the fear out of hospital scans” about the redesign of MRI scanners.

“I mean, some of the most effective insights we got came from kneeling down and looking at rooms from the height of a child.”

Good news on the one hand, except if you think that this insight is coming after the fact, it’s a little depressing that these machines and the experience for little children wasn’t considered beforehand. Oh well. Better late than never, right?

Curating this edition of VSL was also a good marketing venture for @kelleybros, whose book, Creative Confidence, publishes next week.

Poetry

Mary Oliver’s ‘Dog Songs’ Finds Poetry in Friends

Hey, I’m a dog owner.

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Some links about media piracy, online learning, + marketing

Piracy

Content creators use Piracy to Gauge Consumer Interest

Earlier this year Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, said on an earnings call that pirated content can be “a tremendous word-of-mouth thing.” While talking about HBO’s Game of Thrones, Mr. Bewkes said the discovery that the show was the most pirated TV brand of 2012 could be “better than an Emmy.”

Online (and offline) learning

A Surge in Growth for a New Kind of Online Course

While there are some significant differences among the major MOOC Web sites, they share several main elements. Courses are available to anyone with access to the Internet. They are free, and students receive a certificate of completion at the end. With rare exceptions, you cannot earn college credit for taking one of these courses, at least for now.

In somewhat of a reaction to the proliferation of online learning sites, Seth Godin and his team have put together a project called Krypton Community College. This form of education requires people get together in person with someone leading a group. It seems that a tremendously low percentage of people actually finish any of these online courses. Seth thinks that by people getting together with other people, they’ll actually get through the course material. And the courses are only four weeks long. Interesting concept.

Boomers, Marketing to Them

Racking focus: Indies Have Found an Unsaturated New Niche

We are seeing an increasing demand in the movie-consumer market for intelligent films geared specifically toward middle-aged and older adults. This is for two reasons. One is the fact that Hollywood studios are increasingly skewing younger with their offerings, and comic book tentpoles don’t exactly provide for the kind of thoughtful stimulation your parents or grandparents particularly care for.

(This will come as no surprise to people like Tom Peters and Marti Barletta and many others who have been preaching “marketing to boomers” for years. This market has existed for a long time; it has just taken Hollywood too long to figure it out. Also, it’s not a niche. Not by a longshot. How many boomers in this country? And the latest survey about the arts? Cinema viewing up in all age groups and demographics.)

Marketing (podcasting)

3 Ways to Get Started with Business Podcasting

How I created my first podcast

Social media, for yourself

Majority of online Americans ‘Google themselves’
(from @DavePell, NextDraft.com)

The surprise here is that the percentage of people who do Google themselves has not changed much between 2009 (57%) and 2013 (56%). (Just be reassured that you’re not alone when searching your own name online.)

Banned books, comic books (sort of), branding, and films

Books

One more reason to like social media.

Grassroots response to banning of Invisible Man in Randolph County, North Carolina

7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned

Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week

Comic books (sort of)

French Can Now Get Current Events as Digital and Print Comics

Branding (Personal)

Looking around I ran into the Book Whisperer Blog and one of the posts there has to do with what I consider personal branding. It’s a riff on the Kardashians but still I like it. It’s aimed at teachers and school librarians, but, you know, most of it applies to everyone, including you.

Bryan Cranston from the TV series Breaking Bad was profiled in the September 16, 2013 issue of The New Yorker. One paragraph begins: “Cranston says, matter-of-factly, ‘I often find myself in a pickle and having to apologize, because that’s what risk-takers have to do.'” This reminded of a quote that I first saw on a Tom Peters slide: “Don’t ask for permission; beg for forgiveness.” I often wondered who said that first. Turns out it was Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. Always a good mantra to keep in mind. Of course you have to be prepared for the trouble your actions may cause.

Maine!

Camden International Film Festival begins tomorrow, September 26. Camden, Maine is a beautiful place to visit this time of year. You could see a lot of great films, too.

Facebook page

Miscellaneous

The Scrabble Diet

Scrabble

flickr photo credit: Alex_untitled

(A few) links about books, bookstores, & self-publishing

bannedbooks

Continuing with the Banned Books theme of the week:

[Not your usual list of banned books]
Five Banned Books That You Should Read (That You Probably Haven’t)

Bookstores

What do bookstores supply that Amazon and other online retailers can’t? Personalized advice from a live person. And community. Events. People getting together with other people to talk about books. A place to hear authors speak and to meet their dogs. (I heard Theron Humphrey, author/photographer of Maddie on Things, speak at my local independent bookstore, The Brookline Booksmith. It’s a book of pictures of his coon hound Maddie standing on things all over the United States. He spoke about his adventures and what got him started and all the while Maddie the dog was wandering around and among the attendees. Very sweet. And personal. And something that just is not going to happen online.

The indie bookstore resurgence

Self-Publishing

Man recovering from an accident finds himself bored and writes a book for his grandchildren. I include the link because I think the important part of this little tale of success is that the book was written for specific people. The author knew his audience and he wrote it for them. It just turns out that what might interest his grandchildren probably interests a lot of other kids that age. But he knew precisely who he was writing for. That’s key.

Wordsley man who wrote a book for his grandchildren lands publishing deal

Not a book recommendation, since I haven’t read it, but it does sound kind of amusing:

Of course I thought all reading was a cure for something, but these women have been running a “bibliotherapy” business. Specific books for specific illnesses.  Who knew?

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You

One man’s guide to printing his self-published book

CreateSpace, Lightning Source, Lulu—Where Should YOU Self Publish Your Book: The Ultimate Resource

flickr photo credit: Okanagan College Library

Links about books, publishing, self-publishing, marketing, video, & photography

High Brow

Excavated Site in Denmark May Be The Royal Hall From ‘Beowulf’
Reminds that it may be time to re-read Beowulf. Last time I did that I was a freshman in college. Also happen to have a copy of the verse translation by Seamus Heaney (R.I.P.) sitting here on my bookshelf. (Though one of the commenters at Amazon thinks that the translation by Frederick Rebsamen is superior to Heaney’s.)

Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing An E-Book? Here Are 4 Ways To Leave Amazon’s 30% Tax Behind

Self-Publishing A Legal Casebook: An Ebook Success Story

(As evidenced by the two different versions of e-book/ebook above, Forbes copy editors may want to look into standardizing the spelling of that pesky word.)

Still banning books?

North Carolina school board bans “Invisible Man”
(from @DavePell’s NextDraft newsletter 9/20/13)

Still reminding us that books are banned

Did you know it is banned books week?

How banned books week is being observed in my neck of the woods:

Read-Out for Banned Books Week

Video

Video provides payday for publishers
(thanks to @jwikert for the link)

Proof of what Joe describes is happening at the New York Times, where one of the video features is called Op-Docs. One of the recent videos there is:

56 Ways of Saying I Don’t Remember

Louie C.K. on Conan about cell phones
There’s actually a great line in here about letting yourself getting completely sad, embracing it, crying, in order to produce the “happiness antibodies” that will make you completely happy. But screwing around with the phone rather than just sitting there “being human” gets in the way of complete sadness, therefore getting in the way of complete happiness. Brilliant in a way.
(thanks to @DavePell’s NextDraft)

Photography

This Guy Turns OCD Hoarding into Amazing Photos
(thanks @Dooce)

Marketing

New Album “Sparks” Announced
Another musician doing some interesting stuff on the marketing front.
@imogenheap

Miscellaneous

Spam comment at this blog:
Now I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.

Links about books and marketing and publishing

Some random links about books and business of books and marketing of books. (And don’t forget it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day.)

Hugh Howey comes to Boston. Hugh Howey is a sci-fi writer who is massively popular. I’m not quite sure why. Clearly people like his stories. And he’s one of those self-publishing success stories. His writing style leaves something to be desired. Too many words. Even one of the commenters at Amazon says that Howey’s descriptions of things often go on too long and that reader has gotten in the habit of skipping over those parts. Hmmm. Whatever happened to editors?

Win a Literary Tour trip to NYC, courtesy of Kirkus Reviews. Just for fun. And who knows, you might win a trip to NYC. Even if you win, they don’t have the rights to your image or name to infinity and beyond, which seems to be the case with many of these prize giveaways.

Five Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform
From Jane Friedman’s excellent writing/publishing website/blog, a guest post by Lisa Hall-Wilson.

On a slightly related front: The Very First Step to Building a Business Around a Lifestyle Hobby (This guy says Facebook first, then a blog.)

My 11 Questions about Publishing E-books on Amazon’s Kindle

How to Host a Virtual Book Tour

Is bad book publicity better than no publicity at all? [Though the article really is about plagiarism…] I include this because the writer mentions Eugene Tobin, president of Hamilton College, who resigned over a convocation speech that contained some plagiarized sections. I graduated from Hamilton College.

Self-Published Title from Jim Carrey Very Telling about the State of Publishing
Jim Carrey has written a children’s book and the author of this article thinks it’s interesting that the self-published aspect is not the story. I think it’s odd that the book has a web page where pages are still under construction.

National Book Awards Long List for Non-Fiction

Collaborate with a Loved One Without Ruining Your Relationship Because I know Tom and David Kelley, who are mentioned, and because I know someone who might be writing a book about staying married while running a business together.

Two books about cities, New York and San Francisco, authored by men who did a lot of discovery by walking. I like the idea of long walks in cities. It is the best way to find things you don’t know about. I haven’t read either one of these books, but they both sound good.

A Walker in the City (An article in the New Yorker)

The New York Nobody Knows

The New York Nobody Knows (book cover)

San Francisco Treats (A book review from the New York Times)

Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco

CoolGrayCityofLove-cover

Some more thoughts on the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference

A continuation of people and things discovered at the O’Reilly TOC conference in NYC, February 13-15, 2012.

Valla Vakili, CEO of Small Demons  @smalldemons

The title of Valla’s talk was “Exaggerations and Perversions,” a phrase he borrowed from William James‘ book, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. James writes, “…it always leads to a better understanding of a thing’s significance to consider its exaggerations and perversions its equivalents and substitutes and nearest relatives elsewhere.”

Valla and his team have created what they call the “Storyverse,” where they bring all the details of fictional worlds to the real world. People, places, things. As they say at their site:

A place where details touch, overlap and lead you further. To new music to listen to. New movies to watch. Places to visit. People to know. And of course, new books to read. Getting started is simple. Just choose a book. See where it takes you.

This all seems very interesting. What does that character eat, drink. Where does she go? What other characters in other books end up in those same places? This can lead to an endless number of connections between an endless number of fictional characters. Readers have a passion, an obsession, for characters. I think of my own experience of reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises in college and always wanting to open a bottle of wine and drink along with the characters. The worry is that collecting all this information about these characters and connecting them to shopping opportunities will lead to a world where writers write with product placement in mind. Of course that’s already occurred a couple of times. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime go obsess in that fictional world.

Good blog, too.

Eric Ries: entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup. @ericries

His mantra: Build. Measure. Learn. His blog: StartupLessonsLearned

His provocative statement: if he were running a big publishing house he’d put together a group of 5-10 people whose sole job was to find manuscripts in the slush pile and turn them into bestsellers. Methodically. He doesn’t believe bestsellers happen by accident. Build. Measure. Learn. Test content with friends and their friends. Test different covers online. (He photoshopped different colored book covers into bookstore display shelves and asked people to tell him which one “popped” for them. [the blue one]) Test, test, test.

He took “pre-orders” for his book even before he had written the book. Charged people $30 even though he didn’t know what the publisher would charge. But put together 10,000 pre-orders before book was published. Kind of thing that gives everyone in the process a warm fuzzy feeling.

Len Vlahos (Book Industry Study Group) and Kelly Gallagher (RR Bowker) spoke on “Consumer Attitudes Toward Ebook Reading.” (And I was glad they used “toward” and not “towards.”)

Lots of stats:

E-book take-up flattened in 2011. Fiction is where the action is with e-books. When will other genres catch up? What does role of technology play in adoption.

And then this: heard from presenters more than once at this conference: “We tend to forget the reader.” (And people wonder why publishers are so terrified? Don’t forget your customers! Any first-day business-school student will tell you that.)

E-book buyer was originally male oriented but it is women with higher educations, higher income, homes. Perhaps women were waiting for the technology to shake out and settle down. Or is it just that women really are the readers and maybe it looked like men were readers because they were first to adopt the e-readers, but perhaps they were more interested in the technology than what you could read with it?

Fourteen percent of folks with an e-reader still haven’t purchased an e-book. What prevents people from buying e-books?

  1. More comfortable with print.
  2. Difficult to share with others.
  3. Inability to resell books.

Power buyers are social people. Power buyers need ability to share what they’re reading. While they buy 25 percent of physical books, they drive 50 percent of sales and value in the marketplace.

It seems that after two years of owning an e-reader, people to tend buy fewer books. In fact, there’s a slight increase in the number of physical books bought at the time. Technology backlash?

Erin McKean, CEO of Wordnik.com   @emckean

Everything is context. Wordnik is a large large dictionary. It connects words to other words. Words don’t have meaning without context.

She says your content is your core. Getting people to the core of who you are is the new holy grail. How to discover books without browsing. How do you get books into venues where people aren’t necessarily looking for books? People are reading blogs. Sweet spot for context/content delivery. But reaching out to bloggers is labor intensive. What if you could make an API for your content? And then people could connect your content to communities you might not even know about.

Bob Young, CEO of Lulu.com, @caretakerbob

Spoke about starting a business and how hard it has become since all the colleges now have entrepreneurial programs. Asking for a show of hands, turns out about half the people in the audience are either currently working for a startup or want to start a new business.

But it turns out that most of the people in the audience also say they were A students in college, and Bob says the chances of them succeeding in an innovative business are slim. It’s the C students who start and succeed in business. If you’re an A student, you’ve by definition bought into the system, the current education system, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Tom Peters once had a slide about this very topic. So Bob says, “please don’t start a business.” Well, he doesn’t want any more competition. More on that…

But then he goes on to say that if you are going to start a business, 1) have fun, and 2) follow your customers. Advice clearly not followed by many since they say “we’ve forgotten about the reader.”

What Bob set out to do at Lulu was to build a platform where authors could sell books directly to their customers. Books that generally have small specialty markets, e.g., cookbooks. Lulu really is fulfilling what Chris Anderson called “the long tail.”

But in an echo of what Erin McKean was talking about, sharing APIs, Lulu at first saw all the other people coming in to the self-publishing realm as competitors, but then realized that since they had been one of the first ones in, they could in fact share their knowledge with all the newcomers. Which is what they do at developer.lulu.com.

Seems the whole world these days is about opening up your API. Sharing, transparency, all that.

Good place to end the conference. Funny guy, Bob Young. No slides, which was nice.

Lulu blog

Complete list of speakers