Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Tuesday Links Roundup:

Did I blog yet about how the nook is not going to be available in store and any pre orders won’t be shipped until after the holidays?   How about Oprah’s shuttering of her daily talk show beginning in 2011? Or that Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue, sold 300,000 copies last week. Conservatives read (or at least buy the book).   If I did, I’m sorry!

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Jesse Kornbluth argues that publishers and authors should forego the web as promotional vehicle and instead focus their attentions on their first love, the brick and mortar store.

But publishers have had more than a decade to come to terms with what too many industry people still like to think of as "new media." Instead of cultivating online book sites, publishers have focused on their own Web sites, as if readers care about imprints. Even now, their advice to writers doesn’t go much beyond "You need a Web site."

Online outreach to book blogs? Web ads targeted more precisely than Predator drones? Effective social networking? In each case, those campaigns would be better undertaken by experts.

David A. Rozansky, Publisher of Flying Pen Press, posts a counterpoint at Gather.com. He argues that the attempt to stem the tide of published books is more futile than the little boy at the dam wherein one leak blocked results in hundreds of more leaks occurring. Rozansky argues that online marketing isn’t a few banner ads and a website, but elbow grease in the form of social media and networking.

But here’s the rub. Writers build their careers by building their platform. Having a slick website or buying online banner ads won’t do that, it never has. It takes a lot of social networking and publishing, blogging and reporting, expertise and entertaining. While this is a lot of work that does not involve actually pounding out a novel, it does not require any money at all. Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, Amazon reviews, conferences and e-newsletters are free to use. If a writer needs $10,000, $5,000, or even $100 to promote herself, then she is doing it all wrong. It’s all free, I assure you. It takes a lot of time and social skills, but money is not really going to help one bit.

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Joe Wikert believes that Amazon will cease sales of the Kindle in the not so distant future.   Fascinating take and consistent with the TBIResearch claim that money is in the content not the device.

Closed platforms are dead. Even Apple opens the iPhone platform for extensibility. Amazon should have not only allowed but encouraged third-party extensions and apps for the device. What sort of new and exciting functionality would exist for the Kindle today if Amazon would have created a Kindle app store 2 years ago?

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Smashwords has been closing deal after deal. Smashwords is a digital publishing platform that allows publishers and authors to keep 85% of the net.   It has distribution deals with Sony, Barnes and Noble, and now, Kindle.    According to this article, authors and publishers would be entitled to 42.5% of the digital list price at Amazon.    Smashwords is definitely an entity to watch. For readers, you can buy direct from the Smashwords store.

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Speaking of publishing services companies like Smashwords, Jane Friedman offers her thoughts on the Harlequin Horizons move.

It should be no secret to anyone that publishing today is undergoing immense transformation. But many writers don’t see or understand what that means for them or how that change will manifest itself in a way that affects them.

In my time in the industry, I’ve always seen  Harlequin as a progressive and innovative company. I don’t think that has changed. But this latest move fundamentally questions what it means to be a publisher. And it’s a fascinating question.

Friedman calls the move “not shallow” and I think that resonates with many people as they stare into the uncertain future.

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Nathan Bransford wrote a great post about the top ten myths of ebooks and points out that if you read hardcovers, the digital book savings will earn out the cost of a digital device in 20 books.

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Remember when Victoria Laurie said she was going to write a reviewer into her book and make her “certain transvestite prostitute with a piss poor attitude and a bad case of V.D?”   She might want to rethink that idea.   A Georgia woman won $100,000 damages in a libel suit against author Haywood Smith whose character so closely identified this former friend of Smith’s but was characterized as a sexually promiscuous alcoholic.

“SuSu,” a character in Smith’s   novel about Buckhead socialites, shared many similarities with Stewart, including where she grew up, her jobs and the circumstances of her first husband’s death.

Via Sarah Weinman

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When Under the Dome was released at the high price of $35.00 and the ebook would not be released until end of December, Stephen King supported this move as being supportive of independent bookstores.

In an exclusive comment to EW, the author himself was more blunt: "It’s time to give the smaller bookstores a little breathing room (although not much chance of that, with Walmart offering  Dome for nine bucks.)"

Yet, King is seen at Wal-Mart signing his books.   Wal-mart is engaged in the price war and King’s book is priced at $9.oo online.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

10 Comments

  1. RStewie
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 12:36:52

    So Amazon can’t introduce a software or firmware update and start a Kindle app store now? It would have been a smart move on their part to open the device up to third-parties at the start, but I don’t see why they can’t migrate toward that now. I’m always amazed at what a software or firmware update can do. My friend has a G1 and TMobile did a software update through their network and added a bunch of new functions to the thing.

    So far as forgoing the web as a promotional vehicle: under what rock is this person living? Why would you forgo one of the easiest and least expensive ways of appealing to one of the largest demographics in the world (Internet Users)?? That’s beyond ridiculous, and heading into the realm of ludicrous at the speed of plaid.

  2. Jane O
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 14:16:15

    if you read hardcovers, the digital book savings will earn out the cost of a digital device in 20 books.

    And if you read library books?

  3. the Harlequin hubbub « Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 15:46:44

    [...] nice summary and links to other commentary over at Jane Friedman’s Writer’s Digest (via Dear Author).  Friedman’s philosophical musings get to the heart of the matter:  the publishing model [...]

  4. Anion
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 16:06:19

    Actually, the Palin book sold 700k in the first week; the 300k number was first-day sales.

    I’m not a Palin fan, I’m just passing on the info.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jlxDCO3o2Lipkwnit2WjvF0TCa5gD9C5KEL00#

  5. DS
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:24:37

    @Anion: There’s been some suggestion that a lot of the sales are “fund raising”. It used to be a pretty common thing to do– publish a book and your supporters bought lots and lots of copies. The ones who got called on it though were the ones who self published and sold the books by the pallet load.

  6. brooksse
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:46:36

    Did I blog yet about how the nook is not going to be available in store and any pre orders won't be shipped until after the holidays?

    The nook not being available for Christmas is bad news for B&N, but it could prove beneficial for Sony. I bought a cover for my reader a few weeks back. The guy who waited on me mentioned the Sony readers were hot sellers this year. And that was a few weeks before the holiday shopping season officially begins. People who were thinking of buying a B&N nook for Christmas probably won’t have a problem finding a Sony reader, online or in stores.

  7. mina kelly
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 07:29:26

    And if you read library books?

    Then you borrow some library books…. You don’t even have to pay the cost of gas/petrol to get to the library. Admittedly, it’ll take slightly longer to earn back the cost of the ereader just in travel expenses, but it depends how far away your local library is.

    (okay, so it’s a relatively limited scheme so far, dependent on library, ereader and publisher, but it is taking off)

  8. A Reader
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 07:40:24

    Jesse Kornbluth argues that publishers and authors should forego the web as promotional vehicle and instead focus their attentions on their first love, the brick and mortar store.

    Where does the article say or imply that? I thought Jesse Kornbluth was stating the exact opposite, for authors at least. What did I miss?

  9. Jane
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 08:38:21

    @A Reader: it was early in the article:

    For that reason, I believe publishers should immediately abandon their efforts at digital marketing and limit their publicity and marketing efforts to the traditional media that is their first and truest love.

  10. A Reader
    Nov 25, 2009 @ 09:26:23

    Traditional media is brick and mortar stores than? I didn’t get that–thanks for clarifying.

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