Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Supporting Bookstores

An interesting article by M.J. Rose with advice from best-selling authors and from booksellers on what authors can and should do to support their local bookstores and improve local sales of their books.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

E overtakes Print at Amazon

So, are you a member of the "print is dead" party? Or the "there will always be both" group? Or the "If it isn't in print I won't read it" fringe? Where do you see print books five years from now?

Here's the first section of the press release:

Amazon.com Now Selling More Kindle Books Than Print Books

SEATTLE, May 19, 2011

Amazon began selling hardcover and paperback books in July 1995. Twelve years later in November 2007, Amazon introduced the revolutionary Kindle and began selling Kindle books. By July 2010, Kindle book sales had surpassed hardcover book sales, and six months later, Kindle books overtook paperback books to become the most popular format on Amazon.com. Today, less than four years after introducing Kindle books, Amazon.com customers are now purchasing more Kindle books than all print books - hardcover and paperback - combined.

"Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly - we've been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years," said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.com. "In addition, we're excited by the response to Kindle with Special Offers for only $114, which has quickly become the bestselling member of the Kindle family. We continue to receive positive comments from customers on the low $114 price and the money-saving special offers. We're grateful to our customers for continuing to make Kindle the bestselling e-reader in the world and the Kindle Store the most popular e-bookstore in the world."

Recent milestones for Kindle include:

Since April 1, for every 100 print books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.

So far in 2011, the tremendous growth of Kindle book sales, combined with the continued growth in Amazon's print book sales, have resulted in the fastest year-over-year growth rate for Amazon's U.S. books business, in both units and dollars, in over 10 years. This includes books in all formats, print and digital. Free books are excluded in the calculation of growth rates.

Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.

Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, Amazon.co.uk is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, Amazon.co.uk customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blue Collar Erotica

Okay, you absolutely must go watch this video. It's long, but sheer entertainment to the end. George Lopez promotes romance heroes who are plain, working class guys rather than millionaire businessmen or SEALs. He and some audience members read some sample ideas. Hysterical!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fun With Adjectives

by Kelli Collins

**Note: “Fun” as in “making fun of”. Because that’s how I roll.**

I see a lot of original adjective use during the course of an average submission read. And that’s cool. I’d rather authors take a stab and get creative, even if it ultimately doesn’t work, rather than bear witness to the word “hot” or “wet” 192 times in a 10K sub. Again. Adjective abuse, my friends, is no laughing matter.

I’m lying. It’s funnier than a rubber crutch. Especially when the adjective lends impossible action to body parts. That’s the best. For instance, we’ve all read about the mythical Pulsing Penis, right? I hate to be a wuss but if my man stalks toward me with his love muscle visibly pulsing, I’m frickin’ outta there. Or setting him up as a human carnival ride and making a TON of money.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of what I suspect is the female counterpart to the glut of pulsing penises—the Fluttering Pussy. And after pausing to pull myself together because the very sight of those words together makes me giggle like a five-year-old, I just shrug and let it go. Because most authors can restrain themselves from using a humdinger like that over and over and over. I mean, something that phenomenal should be reserved for special occasions, right? Sort of like your heirloom china or your best rubber sheets.

Then I read a sub last week that used the magical phrase 34 times. Now, I know it was probably meant in the “throbbing” definition of the word, but still…34 times. I had to make fun, right?

And of course I have to share the fun that resulted from that fun, right?

Right. So for those of you not down with the Twitter, please enjoy the Tweet spawned by this abundance of Fluttering Pussies, along with some of the responses. And authors…you don’t have to choose your adjectives with more care. But you might end up in a post if you don’t. You’ve been warned. *evil grin*

Original Tweet:

@EditMeThis: The book I’m currently reading is chock-full of “fluttering” vajayjays. #fly! #flyawayvajajay


@caitmiller: I can see where a vajayjay would flutter…but not so much it’s in danger of taking off.

@DelDryden: LOL Okay I’m picturing like some sort of SF/F horror thing where the fluttering vajayjay is 1st clue she’s an alien. Not good.

@AnnMayburn: I’ve heard of fluttering your eyelashes to get a man’s attention…maybe my flirting techniques have been too subtle.

@Christine_dAbo: I hate it when that happens.

@shainorton: Please tell me they don’t also have butterfly tattoos.

@victoriablisse: I am pretty sure my vajayjay has never fluttered. Unless it was very windy I suppose…

@andrewtshaffer: Flying vajayjays? Say it ain’t so.

@marifreeman: Noooo. Stay, vajayjay. Stay.

@sommer_marsden: Oh look! There goes one! Hand me the net…

@LeighElwood: I need to read this now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blunt Truths for Aspiring Authors

Writer Chuck Wendig's "Terrible Minds" blog offers what he describes as rants, rambles and babbling. Plus some frank and brutally honest advice to authors. Things that editors wish they could bluntly say to submitting authors, but they can't because they have to be polite and professional. So cheers to Chuck for throwing reality into everyone's face. I recommend all authors read these two "reality checks" in full. Just remember when you get to the brutally honest parts, I didn't say any of this--Chuck did, blame him.

25 Things Every Writer Should Know
1. You are legion
2. You better put the "fun" in "fundamentals"
3. Skill over talent
4. Nobody cares about your Creative Writing degree
5. Speaking of luck
6. This is a slow process
7. Nobody "gets in" the same way
8. Writing feels like--but isn't--magic
9. Storytelling is serious business
10. Your writing has whatever value you give it
11. You are your own worst enemy
12. Your voice is your own
13. Cultivate calluses
14. Stones are polished by agitation
15. Act like an asshole, you'll get treated like an asshole
16. Writing is never about just writing
17. This is an industry of people
18. The worst thing your work can be is boring
19. No, wait, the worst thing your work can be is unclear
20. Writing is about words, storytelling is about life
21. Everything can be fixed in post
22. Quit quitting
23. No such thing as bad writing advice
24. Though, nobody really knows shit about shit
25. Hope will save you

Why Your Novel Won't Get Published

1. Them brownies ain't done baking
2. Your training wheels are still attached
3. You're allergic to following instructions (AKA you suffer from "The Special Snowflake" conundrum)
4. Novel's great, but the query letter sucks eggs
5. You're a dick
6. What genre is that, again?
7. Deja vu
8. The book is not, how you say, "commercially viable?"
9. Sometimes, even the brightest spark won't catch fire
10. Unfortunately, you're a deluded, talentless hack

Friday, May 6, 2011

Random Snippets

Margaret Atwood:

"...the Bayeaux Tapestry which is sometimes called the first comic book. It’s a series of panels with text here and there, and a frieze along the bottom which consists basically of people getting their heads chopped off and their clothes pulled off. It’s very non-linear, but also quite linear because you read the panels in sequence; but you also read them back and forth and up and down."

Nancy Werlin: The Anatomy of a Book Cover
YA author talking about the development of the cover art for one of her books
"Then there’s the mission of any cover: to represent the book’s contents authentically enough while appealing to the tastes of those most likely to want to buy it and read it.

“Authentically enough.” What do I mean by this? Well, I’m a veteran of YA book covers (just take a look at my website’s Cover Gallery, in which you’ll find my sometimes trenchant comments on the covers of my books over time). I used to want covers that represented the book’s contents very closely, and were also pretty. Many folks automatically believe that this is what makes a good cover.

But I’ve changed my mind about this. While the cover should not lie (by implication or outright), its job is simply to say: “Pick me up!” to someone who might like the book. That is all. "

Gail Rebuck, the chief executive of Random House in the U.K., recently described her “idea of hell” as a website ‘with 80,000 self-published works on it’ – a world where publishers and bookshops are replaced by a sort of online, super slush pile.

Authors occasionally ask what is meant by the "Big Six" in publishing. It's the major U.S. New York-based traditional publishers (used to be referred to as print publishers, but now of course also offer their books in digital).

Random House
Simon & Schuster

Need to remember that? Raelene's mnemonic (memory trick): Heros and Heroines: Most Prefer Romance and Sex.

And each of those publishing houses has multiple imprints. It's not unusual for the house to reorganize and rename imprints, so any list can become outdated. But for example, a not-too-old list of Penguin imprints: Berkley, Berkley Sensation, Gotham, Heat, Jove, Obsidian, Onyx, Prime Crime, Putnam, Signet, Signet Eclipse, NAL, Riverhead, Viking.

Of course, because the Big Six refers to U.S. publishers, it is missing the largest romance publisher: Harlequin.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Typewriters to Dodo-land

by Raelene Gorlinsky

It's official - manual typewriters are about to become extinct. The last manufacturer of them is closing their plant. The world of documents is now officially all-electronic.

Godrej and Boyce has announced that it is shutting down its plant in Mumbai, India, which is the last typewriter manufacturing facility in the world.

Milind Dukle, Godrej and Boyce's general manager said, "We are not getting many orders now. Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year. But this might be the last chance for typewriter lovers.”

He also said that the main market for the machine include defence agencies, courts and government offices. Godrej and Boyce, which has been in operations since last six decades, has been producing and selling tens of thousands of units annually. However, it was struggling with sales and managed to sell only about 800 in the year 2010.

Godrej and Boyce has about 200 machines in inventory of mostly Arabic language. Anyone one wishing to buy the machine will probably have to look for a used on or in antique shops.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Latest Study of Ebook Reading

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has been conducting surveys since November 2009 to track book consumer attitudes toward ebooks. They just announced the results of the latest survey. (Survey results available at $500 and up, depending on how much detail you want.)

"The surge in sales of e-reading devices like Amazon’s Kindle during the 2010 holiday season launched a turning point in e-book history according to the Book Industry Study Group (BISG).  The second installment in VOLUME TWO of BISG’s closely watched Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey shows the percentage of print book consumers who say they download e-books jumped from 5% in October 2010 to nearly 13% in January 2011. In addition, fully two-thirds of survey respondents said they have moved exclusively, or mostly, to e-books over print. Finally, despite declining sales of pricier hardbacks, overall spending on books shows an uptick over the past six months, with 44% of respondents reporting higher unit purchases and 34% reporting higher overall spending on a combination of print books and e-books."
And just what type of ebooks are people buying?

"Fiction continues to dominate downloads, with literary fiction, science fiction, and romance each comprising over 20% of all format purchases."