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To: skinowski who wrote (5026)12/23/2011 11:53:59 AM
From: ManyMoose
   of 7264
 
I can't tell you how much that response encourages me. Thank you.

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From: Glenn Petersen12/25/2011 11:26:24 AM
   of 7264
 
How Amazon is helping to sustain long-form journalism

By Mathew Ingram
Gigaom
Dec. 22, 2011, 3:01pm PT

Amazon has been taking a beating recently for what some see as its attempt to cut in on the business of independent booksellers, and for its ongoing disruption of the e-book market via its Kindle lending library and other moves. But whether the traditional publishing industry likes it or not, Amazon is also helping authors of all kinds reach readers directly — and that in turn is helping writers find outlets for long-form journalism that might never have existed, including one foreign correspondent who spoke recently about his experience publishing a Kindle Single based on a reporting trip to Libya.

Marc Herman says he went to Libya in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and wrote about what he found for The Atlantic magazine. But Herman says when he was done, he realized he had more than enough material for at least another story, and possibly a short book. So he published an e-book as a Kindle Single called “The Shores of Tripoli” and sold it for $1.99. In a recent interview that was published recently at Forbes ( and earlier at the O’Reilly Media site), Herman talked about why he did it and what he learned about the process.

Foreign reporting that pays for itself by going direct Although he didn’t say how much he has made from the e-book, the writer said that it has been in top 500 titles in the Kindle store since it launched two weeks ago, and he added that he is on track to recoup the cost of going to Libya for the reporting trip in the first place. Herman also said that he has sold more copies of his latest e-book in just two weeks than he has of the digital edition of an earlier book that his publisher released for $10 four years ago. As Herman put it in his interview:

The scheme of doing some on-scene journalism for a known title… as a loss-leader, and then using that work as the basis for a direct-published, long-form item, seems to be working out [and] already, I feel like I’ve reached a community of readers that compares favorably to my more traditional work — and the work is able to pay for itself.

As newspapers and even magazines have declined in both reach and financial health, there has been a lot of concern expressed about the future of journalism — particularly longer-form or what some call “investigative journalism.” This is arguably where the most value lies, especially when breaking news can easily be aggregated by outlets like The Huffington Post or distributed widely for nothing. But how does this kind of journalism pay for itself? Herman’s example is one potential answer to that question: it pays for itself when readers subsidize the writer directly for content that they appreciate.

Herman also notes that there is an even better example, and one that he looked to for inspiration when he was writing his own piece: Alex Berenson wrote an e-book called Lost in Kandahar about his experiences in Afghanistan, and it quickly became a Kindle best-seller. Berenson is a former New York Times reporter and popular spy novelist, so that likely helped him find a wide readership, but the model is still there for a writer to pay for the work they have done by publishing their own Kindle novel instead of “cutting it for a magazine,” as Berenson put it on Twitter after finishing his time in Afghanistan.

Is it a book? Is it a magazine piece? It’s both And Amazon isn’t the only one helping with this process — new publishing ventures such as Byliner and The Atavist are targeting writers who want to publish longer-form journalism that is partway between a traditional book and a magazine-length story. As I’ve pointed out a number of times before, the term “book” has become so fluid that it can now mean almost anything a writer wants it to. What that does to traditional publishing is a question mark (it’s probably not good) but what it does for writers is almost unquestionably good. As Herman notes, his example could help other freelance journalists and writers find a market for their work as well:

There will inevitably come a point where the editors and producers at legacy titles start saying, “Okay, this story is finished.” I’d hope this is an example that can say, “No, this is a richer story than that, and we know so because we can point to a place where a lot of people are still reading and commenting and talking about it, and even paying $2 for the opportunity.”

In a recent blog post, Herman wrote about why he decided to publish a Kindle Single instead of a traditional book — a post that was in response to an essay by author Edan Lepucki, who argued that traditional publishers still provide a lot of value. Among other things, Herman says that his experiences with both magazines and book publishers haven’t exactly filled him with confidence about their commitment to the values of journalism (he describes in another post how one famous publisher told him to create a “composite” character for his non-fiction book because his characters weren’t interesting enough).

Obviously, not every writer is going to be able to write a best-seller, or get the kind of deal that Herman got from Amazon — his agent negotiated a 70-percent royalty, even though the book was priced below the traditional $2.99 threshold

gigaom.com 

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From: Glenn Petersen12/25/2011 1:00:06 PM
1 Recommendation   of 7264
 
Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War

By RANDALL STROSS
New York Times
December 24, 2011

LAST year, Christmas was the biggest single day for e-book sales by HarperCollins. And indications are that this year’s Christmas Day total will be even higher, given the extremely strong sales of e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. Amazon announced on Dec. 15 that it had sold one million of its Kindles in each of the three previous weeks.

But we can also guess that the number of visitors to the e-book sections of public libraries’ Web sites is about to set a record, too.

And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones.

Borrowing a printed book from the library imposes an inconvenience upon its patrons. “You have to walk or drive to the library, then walk or drive back to return it,” says Maja Thomas, a senior vice president of the Hachettte Book Group, in charge of its digital division.

And print copies don’t last forever; eventually, the ones that are much in demand will have to be replaced. “Selling one copy that could be lent out an infinite number of times with no friction is not a sustainable business model for us,” Ms. Thomas says. Hachette stopped making its e-books available to libraries in 2009.

E-lending is not without some friction. Software ensures that only one patron can read an e-book copy at a time, and people who see a long waiting list for a certain title may decide to buy it instead.

Explaining Simon & Schuster’s policy — it has never made its e-books available to libraries — Elinor Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief digital officer, says, “We’re concerned that authors and publishers are made whole by library e-lending and that they aren’t losing sales that they might have made in another channel.”

Ms. Hirschhorn says the reason publishers didn’t worry about lost sales from library lending of print books is that buying a book is easier — no return trip is needed to the bookstore — and the buyer has a physical collectible after reading it. (One of my books was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008.)

To keep their overall revenue from taking a hit from lost sales to individuals, publishers need to reintroduce more inconvenience for the borrower or raise the price for the library purchaser. If making the books more costly to libraries seems a perverse idea, consider that the paperback edition of a book provides an artificially costly experience for its buyers too, in terms of waiting time. The delay in the paperback’s availability permits the publisher to separate those book buyers willing to pay a premium to read the book earlier from those only willing to pay less for what is essentially the same thing, but later.

Ms. Thomas of Hachette says: “We’ve talked with librarians about the various levers we could pull,” such as limiting the number of loans permitted or excluding recently published titles. She adds that “there’s no agreement, however, among librarians about what they would accept.”

HarperCollins is the one major publisher that has taken the step of changing the traditional arrangements with libraries.

Beginning last March, it stopped selling e-books to libraries for unlimited use, which it had been doing since 2001. Instead, it began licensing use of each e-book copy for a maximum of 26 loans. This affects only the most popular titles and has no practical effect on others. After the limit is reached, the library can repurchase access rights at a lower cost than the original price.

The move was prompted, the company said in a statement, by concerns that continuing to sell e-books on the old, unlimited terms would “in the end lead to a decrease in book sales and royalties paid to authors.”

HarperCollins was brave to tamper with the sacrosanct idea that a library can do whatever it wishes with a book it obtains. The publisher’s action arguably benefits the most parties because it gives library patrons access to the latest titles in e-book form while still protecting the financial interests of publishers, authors and booksellers.

Robin Nesbitt, technical services director at the Columbus, Ohio, metropolitan library, says she does not object to HarperCollins’s limit. “At least HarperCollins allows me to have access to their titles,” she says. “I don’t mind buying a title and then might have to buy it again — I do that now with print.

“I know many libraries are mad because they think the 26 loans is too low — well, how do you know 26 is too low until you try it?”

Ms. Nesbitt adds, however, that many of the library’s patrons aren’t aware that other publishers are withholding e-books from it. She says it is hard “to explain to our patrons why we don’t have something.”

THE publishers that are holding back are watching for an industrywide approach to gel. But agreement doesn’t seem imminent. David Young, Hachette’s chief executive, says: “Publishers can’t meet to discuss standards because of antitrust concerns. This has had a chilling effect on reaching consensus.”

While many major publishers have effectively gone on strike, more than 1,000 smaller publishers, who don’t have best-seller sales that need protection, happily sell e-books to libraries. That means the public library has plenty of e-books available for the asking — no waiting.

Making those lesser-known books available to patrons renews libraries’ primary function: offering readers a place for discovery.

Randall Stross is an author based in Silicon Valley and a professor of business at San Jose State University. E-mail: stross@nytimes.com.

nytimes.com 

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (5028)12/29/2011 2:02:51 PM
From: Sidney Reilly
1 Recommendation   of 7264
 
Amazon has a subsidiary called Createspace.com that enabled me to publish my book and have it for sale on Amazon.com. It's a tremendous opportunity for budding authors because the traditional publishing avenues are hopelessly clogged and inaccessible to unknown authors. And the old way of self publishing where you had to pay large fees up front and receive a minimum order of books that they printed made that option very expensive. Check it out...my book is for sale and the printing technology they are using allows them to print the books as they sell and there is no minimum order that has to be printed. Get orders for ten books ... they print ten books and ship them! They wire you your royalties into your bank account once a month.

amazon.com 

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To: Sidney Reilly who wrote (5030)12/30/2011 3:14:31 AM
From: ManyMoose
   of 7264
 
You just made your first sale. Please report to me how your program works. I may want to try it myself.

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To: LindyBill who wrote (5019)12/30/2011 1:11:19 PM
From: JohnM
   of 7264
 
A bit more reading to recommend.

1. I'm reading the latest Stephen Cannell, Vigilante, and have almost completed it. You'll like it. Starts slowly but once it gets going it's his usual style and read.

2. Just finished the latest W. E. B. Griffin, Covert Warriors. Still not as good as his early work which he wrote by himself but getting better. The dumb trick of trying to fill in back material on characters and actions in the midst of narratives is now, almost completely gone. So those paragraphs/pages of simply skipping to the next event are much less of a problem. The dialogue is getting snappier, back to the earlier novels, though still a bit more juvenile than the earlier. Not a problem, however. You'll like it.

3. Also Patricia Cornwell's Red Mist is one you won't like given that you don't like her work. It's very much within the middle of her Kay Scarpetta novels range. She's done worse work and better but, for me, it was well above readable.

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To: ManyMoose who wrote (5031)12/30/2011 3:00:41 PM
From: Sidney Reilly
   of 7264
 
Thanks! I'll post about it soon. ;)

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To: ManyMoose who wrote (5031)12/31/2011 1:56:50 PM
From: Sidney Reilly
2 Recommendations   of 7264
 
The program works pretty good for the cost. It cost about $538 to get my book in print. I bought the packages for the exterior and interior of the book and also the "Pro Plan" which I added (for $39) because it gives you a better royalty and also you can buy copies for yourself at a better than normal discount. The exterior templates they offer are limited but it worked out ok. I got to choose the cover art, font and the colors but had to conform to one of their cover templates for the arrangement. The interior file is the entire book itself. You send them the file (I had it in word) and they send you their file to proof read. You get to make small edits to the file one time. I think I had 15 edits, mostly grammar and sentence structure...I did delete and rewrite one paragraph. They made the changes and sent me a proof file again which I proof read and returned. Then they printed the book and sent me a copy. I approved it.

They have marketing you can buy from them but after it's printed they put it on the website and you have to market it yourself. They do have a forum and give you tips and ideas. I think it's a great way to get into print because traditional publishers are closed to new authors. Also there is no minimum initial book order that you have to pay for. The printing technology is now so computerized that they just print your book as it sells...even one at a time I am told. A friend of mine self published a while before me and she had to pay over $4,000 and got 300 books for that. That's over $13 a book! I bought 10 books for $3.56 each. I can order as many or as few as I want for that price anytime I need them. Tell them I sent you!

amazon.com 

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To: Sidney Reilly who wrote (5034)12/31/2011 10:16:16 PM
From: ManyMoose
   of 7264
 
I will indeed.

I don't want to give anything I write the kiss of death by self-publishing. SmoothSail tells me a few books for family and such should not do that.

Please do keep me posted on how well your program works out.

Thanks.

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To: LindyBill who wrote (5019)1/1/2012 7:11:47 AM
From: Tom Clarke
3 Recommendations   of 7264
 
Crime master
BY PETER MCDERMOTT

Michael Connelly really likes it when a fan at a reading asks: “Is it true that the LAPD does that, or did you make it up?”

The best-selling crime writer can invariably respond: “No. That’s how they do it.”

Authenticity has paid dividends for the Philadelphia-born Connelly, who with more than 40 million copies of his books sold worldwide is one of America’s most successful writers.

This week sees the publication of “The Drop,” his 25th novel since he began in 1992 and the 19th featuring LAPD Det. Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch. His second best-known character is Mickey Haller, who after years of research was unveiled in the 2005 novel “The Lincoln Lawyer” and played by Matthew McConaughey in this year’s film of the same name.

The former Los Angeles Times staffer Connelly is at ease with the facts and the real world. The source for some of his material comes from a “small cadre” of detectives in the LAPD’s cold-case squad. He’s become friends with them over the years. He’s in regular e-mail contact and when in L.A. meets them for breakfast or a meal or a beer.

“We go to baseball games together,” Connelly said.

It was a cop in another era, however, from whom he learned something more central than the facts. The best-selling author wrote two crime novels in his 20s, but even his wife hasn’t read those trial runs and he never sent them out. Something was missing, and he realized he’d stumbled upon it while working on a story about a homicide squad for his South Florida newspaper.

At a crime scene, the detective he was shadowing, Sgt. Hurt, always took time to squat down next to the body. At such moments, he would put the earpiece of his glasses in his mouth. Connelly didn’t know what it meant, but it was apparent that the detective took the murders personally in some way.

Some of the cases required Hurt work through the night and he was exhausted when the young reporter went to thank him for allowing him to tag along for the week. The detective took off his glasses behind his desk and rubbed his eyes.

“I could see that there was a deep groove in the plastic earpiece and that was a killer moment, a very telling moment, a moment I had to have seen,” Connelly said. “I suddenly realized that his teeth were clenched so tight studying these victims that he was cutting into his glasses.

“I knew there was a lot of internal world there, a lot of internal things going on,” he continued. “And in my first efforts at writing novels that’s what I was missing – the internal world, the internal cost. If your job takes you to the dark corners of humanity, murder scenes, how do you keep any of that darkness from getting inside of you.”

Connelly quoted veteran novelist and former LAPD officer Joseph Wambaugh as saying that “stories are not about how cops work on cases, but on how cases work on cops.”

“That’s kind of what I saw in that week,” he added.

He said of Bosch, a Vietnam War veteran and long-time detective: “He’s pretty much relentless as a bullet when it comes to his mission. At the moment, his mission is to solve all murders that were given up on.

“He’s a kind of a court of last resort for victims, and I think in a way he revels in that. He has this ability to make cases personal, if they’re not. The key for him as a detective is to get angry about cases and that gives him the juice he needs to be relentless to carry out the mission,” Connelly said. “He’ll find the little thing that gets under his skin, that makes it personal. And he does this knowingly. It’s not subconscious. He knows he’s got to start a fire somehow and he looks for it in each case.”

Family ties

Bosch has not been lucky in love nor been particularly happy in general. “It really seems like I’ve been torturing the guy for 20 years,” the author said.

“You have to have a character who has conflicts, who has flaws, who has obstacles,” he said. “If he’s fulfilled by life, he’s not going to be as interesting.”

But things are getting better for his detective. For one thing, he has another important mission: caring for his teenage daughter, who had lived apart from him in her earlier years.

The author is clearly not much like the loner Hieronymous Bosch, named at birth for the Dutch painter who dealt in themes of sin and redemption. Connelly was born in 1956, the second of what would eventually be six children. His mother was a homemaker and his father a builder, like his father before him. During an economic downturn, his father moved the family to South Florida, where he found work in property development. Michael was 12 at the time. The Connellys were the only branch of the extended family to leave Philadelphia. The author still has 25 cousins in the city.

He was educated at Catholic schools, except for one year. The family’s sense of its Irish identity was, he said, “I think pretty typical.” All eight of his great-grandparents were Irish immigrants, most of them from Cork. “I’ve not been back there myself, but a lot of my brothers and sisters have,” said Connelly, who was in Eason’s of O’Connell Street in Dublin to sign books earlier this month.

The Connellys, whose parents are deceased, are now scattered around America. One works for the writer, managing his Web presence, and the others have made their way in a variety of professions. They live in Seattle, Boston, Nashville, Colorado and Chicago.

Last week, they all gathered with their spouses and children and other relatives in Siesta Key, Fla., as they have done for each of the last 12 Thanksgivings.

Connelly lives an hour and a half away with his wife and their 14-year-old daughter.

Being a father, he said, “makes you more hopeful for a better world because you’re going to leave somebody behind. That kind of carries over into my fictional world.”

He’s not sure where publishing is going, though. “I’m a story teller. The story is not in danger. It’s just how the story is delivered. And that’s obviously changing very quickly,” he said.

Connelly’s e-book sales have gone from zero to 50 percent in just five years. “I hope we can have both,” he said. “It would be awful if we lived in a place without book stores.”

He believes it’s important to be able to “discover stuff on your own in a book store or a library.”

Critical respect

Connelly’s demeanor is low-key and his manner friendly. He said he doesn’t believe there’s anyone luckier than him on Earth.

“I wanted to be a writer. That was my goal. I didn’t then think in terms of what writing could bring me,” he said, referring to the trappings of success, which include an apartment overlooking New York’s Central Park. “You never think about that stuff. You think about writing stories and characters, and hopefully keeping them alive

“I’ve been lucky that the characters than I’ve wanted to continue to write about, people respond to them,” said the author, whose literary hero is Raymond Chandler. “So it works that I get to keep coming back to someone like Harry Bosch. It’s an amazing gift that I’ve been given.”

By “gift,” Connelly was referring less to his own talent than to the signature character he hopes will keep on giving even after he must inevitably retire from the LAPD. To that end, Connelly has been researching Los Angeles in the early 1970s and has talked to cops from that era.

But talent he certainly has, according to Joyce Carol Oates, one of the nation’s most prolific authors and literary critics.

“It means a lot to me. I assume it helps,” Connelly said. “The thing with Joyce Carol Oates was quite amazing because she is a highly respected writer, someone I respect, and when she has a point of view, it makes people look at it and think about it. That she would acknowledge the work of a some crime writers, myself included, is just a fantastic thing.”

On one Youtube video, he is introduced to a 2009 conference as “America’s greatest crime writer.” In response, Connelly asks jokingly if the guy could open all of his book-tour events. But when interviewed, he put the emcee’s comment down to hyperbole in a public setting.

“You’ve just got to keep your head down and not worry about any that,” Connelly said. “All those accolades are great, but when it’s time to sit at the computer and write something it doesn’t really help you.”

irishecho.com 

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