Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category.

How not to promote your crappy self-published book, part II

I just received the following email:

My name is Sterling Nixon.  I recently published a book entitled The Sea Kings of Rome: Champions of the Naumachia through Black Rose Writing (ISBN 978-0-9825823-2-9).  The novel is appropriate for individuals 13 and up, and yet complex enough to thrill adult readers.  It is as historically accurate as it is exciting.
Publishing a book is a new experience for me and I am constantly searching for ways to increase my local exposure.  I know how influential library selections can be and I am hoping that The Sea Kings of Rome: Champions of the Naumachia is something that you will consider stocking in your library (It is available for sale on the Barnes and Noble website).  I am also interested in setting up a local Q&A at the library-if that is possible.
The Sea Kings of Rome chronicles the lives of two famous gladiators and their difficult choices between good and evil.  My book reflects the moral and ethical struggles we all encounter in life.  The Sea Kings of Rome is a story of redemption and culminates in the Roman Coliseum with an account of the only gladiatorial battle ever recorded.

Thank you for your time.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions..

You just can’t make this stuff up. I’m guessing that wherever my new buddy Sterling found me, it wasn’t from this blog… :) Maybe it was at “the library.” You know the one, The Library. Or maybe Benito Lombardi told him.

Going to Internet Librarian?

Going to Internet Librarian this month? Want to talk about publishing with InfoToday? Have book ideas to kick around? Drop me a line… and I’ll buy you a coffee! Or maybe even lunch — yes, lunch. Such a deal. :)

There’s a tag cloud in my Chicago Tribune

Tag cloud in my trib

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

I’m always taken aback by efforts to translate things that work well online into print. This showed up in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune — although they call theirs a “word cloud.”

On meaning to blog

I’ve been meaning to blog about Greg Schwartz’s decision to table Uncontrolled Vocabulary. (Walt Crawford provides a list of some other former and current “unique, passion-driven experiments in non-institutional, freely available  “periodical media” serving the library field–making a distinction between things that appear on a fairly regular basis and the hundreds of blogs and other wholly irregular sources.”

However, I haven’t had the time to blog — or think — enough about Greg’s decision. Which probably tells you something.

Thinking about:, The Tech Static, Beyond the Job, Info Career Trends, the forums, and this blog… I’m more entangled with librarianship now than when I was working as a librarian, but not so much getting paid for these “experiments,” and it’s taking time away from both the kids and the work that I do get paid for. Something here might have to go, but how to choose?

I’m glad that Greg is getting so many positive comments about his decision — which I also wholly support (and understand!).

Does anyone still work at LJ?

One wonders.

Among other changes taking place, the group will suspend publication of Críticas, the twice monthly online newsletter for reviews in English of Spanish-language titles. Plans are underway to continue coverage of Spanish books in the existing publications.

The moves were announced in the wake of staff layoffs at parent company Reed Business Information dictated by the declining advertising market, the company said in a statement. Among those leaving LJ are long-time, valued staffers Ann Burns, Book Review Associate Editor; Ann Kim, Special Projects Editor; Lynn Blumenstein, Senior Editor, Library Hotline; and Aida Bardales, Críticas Senior Editor.

I’m at a loss for words right now.


Top Editor at Publishers Weekly is Laid Off

Sara Nelson, the editor in chief of Publishers Weekly, the main trade magazine to the book industry, has been laid off in a restructuring by the publication’s parent company, Reed Business Information….According to a statement from Reed Business Information, the layoffs affect about 7 percent of the staff. Reed operates a broad range of a broad range of trade magazines. In publishing, the company owns School Library Journal, Library Journal and Criticas. As a result of the restructuring, Brian Kenney, editor in chief of School Library Journal, will now be editorial director of that magazine along with Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.

Editorial director of all three? And we complain about doing more with less…

The now-liminal status of the printed word

I had to link to this Christine Rosen piece from The New Atlantis on “People of the Screen,” largely because it uses the phrase “the now-liminal status of the printed word.” (I just don’t get to see the word “liminal” thrown about enough.) Yes, another doom-and-gloom article about the demise of print, wrapped up in an “I’m so intellectual” package — and, oddly enough, available to read in full on the screen. To wit:

Such is the end of the tragedy we are now witness to: Literacy, the most empowering achievement of our civilization, is to be replaced by a vague and ill-defined screen savvy. The paper book, the tool that built modernity, is to be phased out in favor of fractured, unfixed information. All in the name of progress.

There’s so much to take issue with in this mish-mosh of an article that one hardly knows where to begin. A little research here and there, however, might help clarify matters. For instance, Rosen bemoans the fact that:

Rather than reading deliberately, when we scan the screen in search of content our eyes follow an F-shaped pattern, quickly darting across text in search of the central nugget of information we seek. “’Reading’ is not even the right word” to describe this activity, Nielsen pointedly says.

People have being doing these sorts of “eyeball studies” for years, and guess what? People don’t “deliberately” read newspapers in a nice straight line, either — they tend to read in an “S” or a “Z” pattern, looking for clues in photos, headlines, graphics, and captions before settling into the meat of a story. And, go figure — the Poynter Institute reports in the results of a recent eyeball tracking study comparing print newspaper reading with online reading that:

Once people chose what they wanted to read they read more thoroughly online than in print.

  • Online readers read both short and long stories more completely than either broadsheet or tabloid readers (online 62% of the text of stories longer than 19 inches was read compared to 52% in tabloid and 49% in broadsheet.)
  • Online readers, overall, read an average of 77% of the stories they chose to read.
  • Implication? Can we get over the longing for the “good old days” when supposedly people sat and read the newspaper cover to cover? It is clear that once engaged, the online reader stays with the text of a story longer than the newsprint reader.

    More thoroughly? Say it ain’t so, Joe…

    But let’s step back and talk “liminal” for a minute. One important component missing from this article (and from most “it’s the end of the printed word as we know it” scenarios): Liminal implies potential and possibility. These are good things. If you find being on the threshold unsettling, you’re not alone; it doesn’t mean the sky is falling on us all.

    It’s also worth noting how people read different interpretations into the same thing, from Rosen’s interpretation of Jakob Nielsen’s eyeball research to the recent NEA report on reading. The Smart Bitches just linked, celebrating the finding that reading is on the rise for the first time in 25 years. Walt Crawford just linked, noting that the previous “fall” in reading rates “was nonsense and cooked data,” so why assume NEA is doing it right this time. Stephen Abram just linked, listing with little comment the report’s “key findings,” like “The U.S. population now breaks into two almost equally sized groups – readers and non-readers.”

    Discover recently posted a fascinating article on “How Google is Making us Smarter,” which notes near the end:

    That doesn’t mean we must approve of every possible extension of the mind, and even good extensions will have some drawbacks. Socrates worried that writing would make people forgetful and unwise. Sure enough, writing did rob us of some gifts, such as the ability to recite epic poems like The Iliad from memory. But it also created a much larger pool of knowledge from which people could draw, a pool that has continued to expand (or, dare we say, continued to extend?).

    Yes, gloom and doom scenarios are nothing particularly new. Just as writing enabled the creation of that larger pool of knowledge, though, the content creation tools of the read/write Web (and the interactivity it invites) similarly enable the creation of a new pool of knowledge, a new collective wisdom to draw upon. We may not know exactly where this all leads us, but we can explore the possibilities — speaking of being in a liminal state.

    Brief references to the whole OMG publishing as we know it is ending theme

    I blog, I blog again, then more articles cross my radar — while book publishing may be having its troubles, people aren’t running out of things to say any time soon. So, briefly noted, some recent publishing- and book buying-related squibs:

    • One thought on helping the industry recover would be: stop buying fake memoirs, people.
    • The Motley Fool thinks the publishing business will survive.
    • Used-book-buyer types might enjoy “Bargain Hunting for Books, and feeling sheepish about it” over at the NYT.

    And, on a semi-related note and taking an interesting approach, the post “Academic Evolution: The Book” over at Academic Evolution notes:

    This blog is intended to become Academic Evolution, the book. My model is Chris Anderson, whose Long Tail blog helped bring about his seminal book of the same name. Similarly, I am beta testing my ideas, developing them in keeping with the principle of transparency and with the goal of inviting public review and collaboration. I’m smart enough to know others are often much smarter, and I firmly believe that publishing one’s thinking process improves it.

    If I’m remembering right, The Long Tail grew out of the Wired article, with the blog collecting data along the way and post-publication, but I like the acknowledgement here of the inherently collaborative process involved in creating a book, and look forward to seeing how the project develops.

    More on the book buying theme/meme

    For more on the books make great gifts theme, check out “A Bookstore Stimulus Package?” over at the Freakonomics blog (, which contains a lovely letter from Roy Blount.

    We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

    If you prefer your book buying bailout nudges more on the visual side, though, enjoy “Mimi Finishes her Christmas Shopping” over at Will Write for Chocolate (!). And, if you prefer your publishing crisis stories on the auditory side, give a listen to “Book Industry Enters Shaky Chapter” (really, NPR? was that necessary?) over at I was somewhat amused by the hopeful thought in there of books being recession proof because they’re “cheap.” A) not so much, and, B) odd as it may seem, for most people books don’t fall under the category of “necessities.”

    Buy the book

    When we focus on the recent feel-good stories about people turning to libraries in tough economic times, I’m wondering if we think enough about the other side of the equation: More people visiting libraries instead of buying books doesn’t much help out the book industry, which has been feeling the economic downturn badly. If you’ve missed the many, many stories about this, see:

    Over at BookLust, Patricia Storm — herself a writer — says that:

    Sadly, one of the areas where I have had to cut back on is book-buying. I find this very, very hard, ‘cuz I walk into bookstores and see all the pretty new and delicious books and I just want to buy them all!! But I can’t. So instead, I trek it over to our local library and sign out books that only a few months ago, I would have bought.

    It’s fascinating to look at the effect the economy seems to be having on publishers’ willingness to experiment with older models. Over at the Issues in Publishing blog, Fran Toolan offers some predictions for the next year, suggesting that it’s “going to be a great year for small and nimble companies.” Although neither small nor, generally, nimble, some of the larger publishers are taking tentative steps toward mixing things up. For instance:

    Borders Group Inc. has agreed to accept books from HarperStudio on a nonreturnable basis, departing from a decades-old publishing tradition.

    Under the terms of the deal, the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain by revenue will get a deeper discount on initial orders of books published by the new imprint of News Corp.’s HarperCollins Publishers — 58% to 63% off the cover price, instead of the usual 48%. In exchange, Borders won’t return any unsold books to HarperStudio, instead probably discounting them in the store.

    In response to the crisis, The Association of American Publishers has also launched a “Books are great gifts” campaign at (Aren’t they?! And don’t forget that you can share the gift of Karen Schneider’s writing — or of mine, not to leave out the big ITI blowout sale :) .

    Maybe what we need here is a “Librarians buy great books” campaign. I always give books to the kids (and sometimes the adults) in my life, how about you?