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Friday Midday Links:  Promo is an author’s friend

Friday Midday Links: Promo is an author’s friend

A British betting firm has set the odds for the Nobel prize for literature. A.S. Byatt, author of Possession (which is essentially a romance book), is on the list at 50 to 1 odds.

Washington Post tells the woeful tale of a newbie author who had almost no publisher support. Publishers are basically executing the Poor Law and driving authors from their books to the promotional table. (Yes, I am being sarcastic here). The tale has a happy ending, though. In the face of Dickensian oppression, the author is able to make a video and fund her own book tour which led to the sale of many books for herself. Lesson: Promo is your friend dear author because your publisher is not going to do it for you particularly when yours is just one of 560,000 books published in one year.

Poor Kelly Corrigan, first-time author, didn’t get invited to this weekend’s National Book Festival on the Mall to plug her 2008 memoir, “The Middle Place.” She won’t be rubbing shoulders with heavyweight authors such as Sue Monk Kidd, John Grisham or Pulitzer winner Junot D?az. No major newspaper bothered to review the California mom’s tale about cancer and family and recovery when it was released. Her publisher didn’t send her on tour. All the old-school staples of book promotion — the book festival, the tour, the glowing newspaper review — Corrigan got none of them.

Barnes and Noble is rattling its sword by requiring authors to place a buy link to Barnes & Noble on the authors’ websites. I checked with other publishers and was told that this is a strongly worded request made by all accounts but not a requirement. Authors routinely link to Amazon because its affiliate program nets them about as much as the royalty on the book sold however if authors are concerned about Amazon’s market dominance, then they should link to all the sites on the web. Barbara Vey was unhappy during her recent BN encounter when she asked why romance books were never a “staff pick”.

Update to add: Joe Gonnella from BN states that BN does not boycott based on websites. Me thinks that the publishers got a little heavy handed with the emails to the authors.

There are dozens of questions about “what’s next” for the Google Book Search. The Department of Justice has laid out what it thinks are the legal parameters of the settlement and Judge Chin seems inclined to approve one that is “fair and reasonable” (PDF Link). At status conference will be held on October 7 wherein Chin will presumably set new deadlines. A case cannot languish on a docket indefinitely. A note of caution for published authors under contract, any new settlement agreement will likely contain changes to the orphan works provision and very little for those works that are in print.

Bob Miller of Harper Studio notes that publishing’s downsizing is probably here to stay and that this means there will be more work for less people. Undoubtably, this means that quality will suffer. Go to the store and take a look at Lora Leigh’s HeatSeeker. She just hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list with her last book, but in the St. Martin’s release, the line under Chapter One reads “One years Later”. (jpg). This Amazon review recounts other editing errors in the book. Or perhaps it will mean delays in publishing. One publicity account of a major house tweeted that all summer 2010 titles were late.

Wendy, the Superlibrarian, is sharing her love of categories at author Victoria Janssen’s site.

Author Jill Myles posted a Day in the Life of a Kresley Cole Valkryie:

9:25 PM – After some name-calling and trash-talking, it is determined that the war will be decided by a game of Quarters. Some idiot invites a Lykae to be the judge. Pfft.

9:30 PM – Lykae shows up, wearing no shirt. Mmm, shirtless Lykae. Begin to see merits of male judge.

9:35 PM – Lykae tries to claim Daniela. Idiot. Quarters is temporarily called off as bar fight ensues.

9:49 PM – We win. Not a surprise. Nix also predicts we will win at Quarters, too.

9:53 PM – Mariketa the Awaited casts a spell to find a new judge for us. While we wait, Regin licks the backs of the quarters and sticks them to Daniela’s freezing skin.

9:54 PM – Daniela kicks Regin’s ass.

I’m not a huge fan of Michelle Buonfiglio as she goes to concerted efforts to slyly bash every community online but her own, however, today’s post by Gwyneth Bolton regarding the history of African American romance and the inspiration she derived from that history is really wonderful.

Dear Author

Thursday Midday Links Roundup: DWEBs Still Thwarting the Women

emoticon_smileTomorrow is the last day to Opt Out of the Google Book Settlement Agreement. You can do this online. The biggest question you have to answer is what do you get by opting in that you don’t get by opting out, other than $60 per book? The publishers are all participating and to the extent that they currently hold your digital rights, they can include the book in the Google Book Settlement, but an author is bound by the terms of the settlement unless she OPTS OUT. (Do nothing and you are included by default). Do you know how your existing contract is modified by the GBKS? If you don’t know, you should find out.

I find it interesting and depressing that Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have taken a stance (it is anti GBKS) but RWA has not.

eyeGovernor Schwarznegger is exploring his own public option but this time its with education. California is struggling with an immense budget deficit and Schwarznegger is looking to save money everywhere including holding a huge government garage sale. One of the other cost saving measures he is exploring is moving away from paid textbooks to free textbook content. Read the entire article by Michael Cairns at Teleread.org.

In May, Governor Schwarzenegger established a “Free Digital Textbook Initiative” to review free digital high school textbooks to determine which met the state’s established academic standards. State education officials asked content developers to submit content. Then the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) facilitated the review of the submitted content.

Most of the free textbooks scored highly.

emoticon_smileMayor John Hickenlooper of Denver has established a program in which he supports one book for a citywide read along. How neat! This year the book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Paperback copies of the book, as well as reading guides, are available at bookstores and the Denver Public Library.

Denver Post via Michael Cader’s shared feed.

eyeOver at GalleyCat, there’s a rumble taking place in the comments over MJ Rose’s argument that authors need to be paid more if they are going to be expected to do publicity too. Some comments veer toward the ridiculous “Sure, I get that they work hard to produce their art, but if its something they love, they should get satisfaction simply out of it getting published and put out to the public” but it’s an important conversation for authors and publishers to be having. Bob Miller of HarperStudios suggests that authors and publishers should be partners, splitting the profits 50/50. This, of course, is a situation in which an author does not accept an advance. This, in turn, is the digital publishing model despised by many.

emoticon_smileSmartBitches noted that Powell’s will be adding a romance blogger to its coterie of bookbuyers and booksellers talking about books. It’s a welcome addition given the unique perspective the blogger has as the romance buyer for Powell’s airport store in Portland.

Our strongest categories have been professional reference/textbooks and romance. We’ve worked a lot with Mia Amato at Harlequin on Harlequin promos, but of course no one can touch Harlequin in terms of the technology and vision in terms of how best to market their stuff.

We included Powells in our romance ebookstore pricing comparison and they came out favorably.

emoticon_surprisedFor those with a number of portable electronics around the house, you might want to take a look at the new Duracell rechargeable batteries. The lower cost model at $20 will charge anything that uses a USB port, like the iPhone. Gizmodo was very pleased with these devices.

emoticon_smileRomance ebooks are the most popular library downloads according to Overdrive that fulfills over 7500 + libraries, retailers & schools in the US. Lisa Kleypas books dominating the list with 6 out of the top 10 spots. The upcoming Sony Digital Edition will allow you to check books out directly from your device. In the UK, the British Library will launch digital ebook loans.

emoticon_smileJessica, a professor of philosophy and romance reader, discusses the prejudice against romance books in the academic world. Apparently anime, hip/hop, food, supervillians/superheroes, all have a place but romance does not. I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be for Jessica and those of her ilk. My philosophy professor called Philosophy 101 the study of the DWEBS – Dead White English Boys – and it looks like their hold over academia is still strong.