Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Publishing Your First Educational Book

Every aspiring author eventually will try to get his or her educational book published...preferably with a well-known publisher with a good name in the market.

The first step to be able to publish is to have a manuscript ready that is above average in writing style and covers a topic you know a lot about. This could be because you already are an expert in the field or by doing much research to become an expert.

To get you past the first shifting your manuscript must tickle the publishers interest. This can be done by presenting a book that shines a whole new light on a subject. It could be by presenting the topic you write about in a controversial manner. The thoughts you express in your book do not have to be mainstream to get published.

It also helps if you style your manuscript to be fitting with the catalogue a publisher already has. For instance. If you wrote a book on the medical subject of depression and want to send it to publisher XYZ it can come in handy to do some research on the titles this publisher has on the shelf.

It does not make sense for a publisher to have a series of approximately similar books on for instance the topic of bipolar depression. If however you find out that publisher XYZ has a whole range of self help books on mental health issues. And you notice a self help book on bipolar depression is missing you might want to consider fine tuning your manuscript on bipolar depression to become more fitting as the book on bipolar depression self-help. You then great enhance your chances to become a member of the published writers guild.

Now lets say you have past the initial barriers the publishers build to keep their workload manageable. You will most certainly be awarded with an editor who will help you rewrite or improve on the manuscript. This can be an exhausting but nevertheless interesting experience. Exhausting because you probably have spent many hours working on the manuscript by yourself and you might have seen enough of it already. Interesting because often the manuscript will be a better one after having been taken care of by the editor in cooperation with you, the author.

Finally there are contracts to be drawn up. Be sure to study them thoroughly before signing them.

If all goes well your book will be published and you will receive a huge kick seeing your baby in print, like most other aspiring writers have received before you. Enjoy this moment to its fullest.

(C) http://www.bookcatcher.com/

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Creative Byline Invites Writers To Honor Arbor Day

Recognizing the impact of the submission and publishing processes on the environment, CreativeByline.com offers writers a chance to make a difference--and be rewarded for it, as well. For each manuscript submitted between April 25 and May 2, Creative Byline will donate $3 to the Arbor Day Foundation's Trees for America reforestation program. The writer submitting the manuscript will receive a 33-percent discount on the submission fee.

"We at Creative Byline certainly believe it's worthwhile to produce books," says Brad MacLean, founder and CEO. "But we encourage people to take advantage of opportunities to use technology to minimize consumption of natural resources when it's not adding value. The manuscript submission process, to us, is an example."

The U.S. is the world's largest producer and consumer of paper, using 8 million tons or more of office paper alone each year. The mind-boggling numbers of 3.2 billion reams and 178 million trees can be translated into individual impact: Each ream of paper used requires about 6 percent of a tree.

The Creative Byline website equips writers to submit manuscripts digitally for a modest fee -- $19 for full-length manuscripts, $9 for children's picture books. Writers can find editors with specific interests, submit directly to them, and get a response much more quickly than through the traditional, paper-and-snail-mail-based process.

Three well-known publishers are signed on to Creative Byline: Dutton Children's Books, St. Martin's Press, and Tor/Forge. Their editors can provide descriptions of what they're looking for now and rely on Creative Byline's expert readers and process tools to save them time in reviewing manuscripts.

Website: http://www.creativebyline.com/

2008 Betty and Edgar Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest

Six prizes have been awarded in the 2008 Betty and Edgar Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest, sponsored by the Friends of the Johns Hopkins University Libraries. Begun in 1993 by the friends group and endowed this year by long-time friends members Betty and Edgar Sweren, the contest recognizes the love of books and the delight in shaping a thoughtful and focused book collection.

Open to all undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in a degree program at Johns Hopkins, this year's contest attracted 26 entries from six of the university's schools. Participants wrote essays describing how and why the collection was assembled and submitted a bibliography of up to 50 titles and a wish list of up to 10 titles to reflect their future goals and areas of interest. Cash prizes of $1,000 and $500 were awarded to first-and second-place winners, and $250 to honorable mention.

Colin Azariah-Kribbs won first prize in the undergraduate category for her collection of otherworldly and supernatural fiction, "A Library of Weird Fiction." A freshman from Athens, Ga., Azariah-Kribbs is pursuing a bachelor's degree in English in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Matthew Gibson of Washington, D.C., a first-year graduate student in the Krieger School's master of arts in applied economics program, won first place in the graduate student category for his collection of Russian literature, "Learning to Read Russia."

Sophomore Alexander Baish, from Rockville, Md., won second place in the undergraduate category for his entry, "For the Love of Birds," a collection devoted to finding, identifying, studying and protecting birds and their habitat. Baish is an environmental engineering major in the Whiting School of Engineering.

Jeremy Pope, a doctoral degree candidate in Egyptology in the Krieger School's Department of Near Eastern Studies, won second place in the graduate division for his collection of works on Africa's ancient past, titled "Africa in Antiquity."

Senior Sarah Montague of Brookline, Mass., won honorable mention in the undergraduate division for "Fairy Tales and Folklore," a collection of tales from many cultures around the world. Montague is completing her bachelor's degree in biology from the Krieger School.

Dmitry Shapovalov, a doctoral degree candidate in astrophysics in the Krieger School, won honorable mention in the graduate division for his collection on climbing and exploring the great mountain ranges of the world, titled "Mountaineering in the Greater Ranges." Shapovalov was born in Tajikistan and grew up in Kiev, Ukraine.

In addition to the cash awards, winners receive a one- year honorary membership in the Friends of the Johns Hopkins Libraries. Top-prize winners in the Johns Hopkins contest are also eligible to enter the 2008 Collegiate Book Collecting Championship, sponsored by the publisher and editor of Fine Books & Collections Magazine. The three top winners of this contest receive cash prizes and a donation in their name is made to their library.

Selections from the winner's collections are on display on the main level of the University's Libraries Milton S. Eisenhower Library at 3400 North Charles St. through Friday, May 23.

How to Plan On Finishing Your Book by Melinda Copp

Do you want to write a book detailing all your business knowledge and your experiences in the business world? Writing a book is a great way to increase your sales, broaden your customer base, brand your business, and establish expertise. But if you've never written anything longer than an e-mail or letter, the thought of writing an entire book can seem complicated and confusing.

For all inexperienced writers, figuring out how to organize your book and how to get your thoughts and experiences out of your head and onto the page can be overwhelming. The key is to break the task down into smaller pieces and develop a plan for attacking your material. One of the most basic planning tools that writers use to keep themselves organized and on track is an outline.

Using an outline is the best way to organize your thoughts and effectively plan your book. It helps break down the writing task into small, manageable pieces. It also helps make sure that your book is organized in a way that provides the best direction for the information that you're writing about.

When you write a book, the ideas in the book need to flow from one to another in a logical progression. For example, if you're writing a book about how your company constructs a particular item as a sales tool the book should start with a chapter on the item itself, what it represents, and how you got started making the item. Then each chapter should describe part of the process of making the item in a logical sequence. First start with the materials used to make the item, talk about where those materials come from, and how they all work together through each step of the process until you arrive at the last chapter of the book, which describes the process of finishing the item.

Keep a good flow or sequence of information is very important when you're writing a how-to book because it helps keep you organized and makes the information easier for your reader to understand.

If you are not sure that your chapters are organized logically, ask a friend or a publishing professional to look over your outline and make sure that all the chapter ideas that you have come up with are relevant and have a good sequence. At this point, your outline doesn't have to be perfect because some changes will occur naturally through the writing process, but creating a topic-by-topic outline now will make your book will be easier to write.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck. Lots of people have trouble writing long works like books. It's understandable that you might be overwhelmed if you don't write books and lengthy reports during your day-to-day business operations. So don't put off getting the help you need to stay on track. Think of it as an investment in your personal and professional skills.

Melinda Copp is a writing coach, book editor, and ghostwriter who specializes in helping aspiring authors achieve their writing goals. She is also the creator of the FINALLY Write Your Book E-Course. Click here to sign up for Melinda's free e-zine, and get a free special report!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Introducing new Lulu-Branded Publishing Services

It has always been easy to publish through Lulu.com -- now it is just as easy to profit too. "Lulu at your Service," a new offering to help authors enhance their books -- and make them more marketable -- is now available at Lulu.com.

Need a cover designed? Unsure about formatting your book? Would you like to have a press release for your book, but are not sure how it's done? Now these professional services are not only available at Lulu, but a Lulu project coordinator will assist you through the process as well.

Over the years the Lulu.com community-driven "Services Marketplace," connected various Lulus with other Lulu creators with talents in editing, proofreading, designing and other post-publishing services. With "Lulu at Your Service" (http://www.lulu.com/en/services), Lulu wanted to add another level to the offering by including more tools to help and facilitate the publishing process.

There are two publishing bundles starting at $500.00. The starter pack is for those new to the world of self-publishing. This pack has all of the basic services needed to get your book created and marketable to the world and includes an expert text review, book formatting, a custom cover, one free copy of your book, author support and help creating your Lulu online storefront. The advantage pack is an upgraded bundle that includes everything in the starter pack as well as a professionally written press release, promotional materials, three free copies of your book, a custom cover and library visibility. An ISBN can be added to either of these professional bundles to add distribution and listing availability to over 60,000 online and brick-and- mortar retailers for your newly enhanced project. If you already have your book but aren't sure how to get the word out there is a marketing pack starting at $350.00. This pack focuses on making sure after all of the work is put in that you sell your book and includes online advertising, a professional press release, and promotional materials such as business cards, posters and bookmarks.

Individual a la carte services are also available from as low as $15.00. These Lulu-branded services range from text reviews and book formatting during the pre-publishing stage to the marketing and distribution of your final project. With "Lulu at Your Service" you receive top tier level support and vision from professionals in the publishing industry, including a former art director from Harper Collins.

"Lulu is still not the publisher," says Rob Katz, Senior Vice President of Sales and Communications, "but this new offering is more in the vain of Lulu empowering creators to take their projects to another level and have a great-looking book."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

An Author's Opinion of the Harry Potter Lexicon by Matthew Peterson

An author's writing is often their baby, and with any baby, you want to protect it. Most authors today would welcome fans creating lexicons, websites, and fanfiction of their work. That's because most authors have very small audiences and would love any free promotion they could get. However, popular authors, like J.K. Rowling, have more at stake when a fan pushes the envelope.

For those of you out of the loop, Steve Vander Ark, a 50 year-old former librarian from Michigan, created an online Harry Potter lexicon, which everyone could view freely. That didn't seem to stir the pot too much until he agreed with RDR Books to print the lexicon and sell it to the public. J.K. Rowling got wind of this and is taking the issue to court in New York. She feels that Vander Ark's lexicon has little value to Harry Potter fans and that it infringes on copyright laws. RDR Books claims that they are protected under the fair use laws.

As a new author, I initially felt that J.K. Rowling was making too much of a fuss about this. RDR Books was only going to do a first print run of 1500. That would hardly make a dent in Rowling's fanbase or in her pocketbook. Heck, I gave away more than 1500 copies of my new fantasy novel, Paraworld Zero, for free! And if the lexicon truly was substandard, wouldn't that just boost sales for the official Harry Potter encyclopedia that Rowling plans to write? So the issue must run deeper than money. The issue at hand is the plagiarism and mishandling of Rowling's "baby."

Rowling's complaint that the lexicon is poorly written does not warrant a lawsuit in my mind, but her argument that the lexicon is mostly filled with quotes from her books and has little original content does raise a red flag. The American fair use laws do allow for quotations of copyrighted material without permission, but Vander Ark might have overstepped his bounds. The courts will decide on that. In the final analysis, the lexicon will not hurt book sales of Harry Potter. It will not demean Harry Potter nor will it take away any significant amount of money from Rowling. In fact, the lawsuit and media coverage will probably increase the sales of Rowling's official encyclopedia when it comes out. So, again, that leaves the sentimental and legal issues of having someone else play with your work.

How would I feel if someone wrote a lexicon about my Parallel Worlds series? At this point in the game, I'd feel flattered. Ask me this question again in fifteen years when my "baby" has matured into a teenager, and I might give you a different answer. Authors, as well as parents, can be very protective of their children.

Matthew Peterson is an award-winning short story writer, second degree black belt in karate, Eagle scout, computer programmer, and former missionary. He lives in Arizona with his wife, five boys and their giant African tortoise. Matthew's debut young adult novel, Paraworld Zero (ISBN # 978-1-59092-491-4), hit the BarnesAndNoble.com bestseller list and garnered many favorable reviews. Reviewers say it's a "Harry Potter meets Star Wars." Website: http://paraworlds.com/media/

Viral Video Contest for New Teen Novel Audrey, Wait!

Votigo, Inc. has partnered with Penguin Young Readers Group to enable readers of the new teen novel, Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (Razorbill Books), to merge their print reading experiences with online social media. Penguin and Votigo have created an online video contest that allows readers to put the book's premise to music and broadcast it to their friends.

In the novel, Audrey's self-involved musician ex-boyfriend writes "Audrey, Wait!", a breakup song about her that he records with his band. The song becomes a success and Audrey is stalked by the tabloids and paparazzi, making her daily life a mess. In the contest, readers are encouraged to take the lyrics to the song "Audrey, Wait" and make music videos of their versions of the song at www.votigo.com/audreywait. Teens can share their favorite entries with friends across their social networks using Votigo's viral widgets, as well as vote on the video they like best.

Votigo developed the "Audrey, Wait!" Video Contest on its social media platform, which is designed to enable businesses and organizations to communicate with consumers through highly customized contests, promotions, and branded social networks. Features include a pre-screen entry moderation tool to ensure brand safety and quality, as well as fraud-free voting, commenting, and viral sharing tools. For the Audrey, Wait! Video Contest, Votigo developed a landing page that utilizes the book's cover art to maintain its look and feel across mediums.

The novel Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, published by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, is available on April 10, wherever books are sold. Contest entries will be accepted at www.votigo.com/audreywait until June 10, 2008 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. The $1,000 American Express Gift Card grand prize winner will be announced on or about August 10, 2008.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Unique Publishing Internship Breaks the Mold

An avid reader and book lover for most of his life, Patrick Tucker (Trinity College, '08) always wanted to get an insider's glimpse of the publishing industry. He just never imagined it would happen through an author's eyes, and in such an unusual (and horrifying) way.

Tucker is the first to enroll in a unique internship program co-sponsored by author Nate Kenyon and Dorchester Publishing, the oldest independent mass-market publisher in the US. It is believed to be the first such program where the intern is paired directly with the author, rather than the publisher, to work on the marketing and launch of a genre novel. Kenyon's first horror novel, Bloodstone, a Bram Stoker Award Finalist in hardcover, will be released in paperback by Dorchester imprint Leisure Books in May.

"The idea came when I started thinking about what I would have really loved to do, when I was in college," Kenyon, who is based in Boston, said. "There are opportunities to work at publishing houses and experience the process from that perspective. But what seemed far more interesting to me was the process from the writer's point of view, from acceptance to editing to the packaging and marketing of their novel."

The traditional model of a writer delivering a manuscript, then sitting back and watching the publisher package and sell it, is changing, Kenyon said. Publishers now expect authors to be much more involved on the marketing end, and author involvement is often vital to a book's success in the marketplace. The timing seemed right for the idea, and Kenyon was a good one to help launch it, with his own extensive marketing and communications background. When he approached Dorchester, they immediately saw the possibilities.

"We loved it," said Dorchester publicist Erin Galloway. "We always encourage our authors to get involved with publicity, and we are contacted pretty frequently by students looking for more experience in the publishing world, but we can't accommodate them all. This seemed like a great way to offer something pretty unique."

But there were challenges to the new internship from the beginning. One of them was that there would be no real office space for the intern to go to during the day. Kenyon and Tucker keep in close contact by email and phone, trading ideas daily.

"We're swiftly becoming a real team," Kenyon said. "It's great."

As for Tucker, he is impressed by the one-on-one experience he's getting with a writer, something not found in most traditionally structured internship programs. So far, he has come up with a survey on the reading habits of young adults, which he has distributed to classmates and online, and he's getting some interesting results that will help shape their approach. He's started working on a S.W.O.T. analysis, and he and Kenyon have fine-tuned the marketing plan for the novel together. As the book launch date approaches, he will be involved in helping to schedule events and will go to New York to meet with Dorchester executives in their offices.

"I love how the internship is constantly making me think about the broad scope of marketing while learning the fundamental skills as well," Tucker says. "There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes in this business, and I feel like I have a backstage pass to where the action is."

Nate Kenyon's website: http://www.natekenyon.com/

Dorchester Publishing website: http://www.dorchesterpub.com/

Blurb GroupBook Lets Facebook Users Create Books Together

Blurb, the creative book publishing service, has launched Blurb GroupBook, an application for Facebook that lets users make real books collectively. Blurb introduced community bookmaking last year to empower socially connected groups of consumers and professionals to create Blurb books together. GroupBook is the next step in the evolution of this concept. The Facebook community can now easily make Blurb books that capture and reinforce their shared experiences and passions, and help bridge their online and offline communities. With over 68MM active users, Facebook is the fifth most trafficked Web site in the world, and the number one photo sharing application on the Web.

As people share content in online communities like Facebook and Flickr, there is a growing need to take this content and create something tangible. Some content should live online, but other content is meant for people to keep, and its value is as much about "later" as it is about now. Books that memorialize shared experiences create a different impact and meaning than the same content viewed online.

Blurb, the creative book publishing service, today launched Blurb GroupBook, an application for Facebook that lets users make real books collectively. Blurb introduced community bookmaking last year to empower socially connected groups of consumers and professionals to create Blurb books together. GroupBook is the next step in the evolution of this concept. The Facebook community can now easily make Blurb books that capture and reinforce their shared experiences and passions, and help bridge their online and offline communities. With over 68MM active users, Facebook is the fifth most trafficked Web site in the world, and the number one photo sharing application on the Web.

As people share content in online communities like Facebook and Flickr, there is a growing need to take this content and create something tangible. Some content should live online, but other content is meant for people to keep, and its value is as much about "later" as it is about now. Books that memorialize shared experiences create a different impact and meaning than the same content viewed online.

Here's how Blurb GroupBook works:

-- Install Blurb GroupBook from the Facebook Applications Directory (http://apps.facebook.com/blurbgb).

-- Initiate a GroupBook project. (Whoever starts the project becomes the book's producer).

-- Use the Facebook platform to invite friends to contribute photos to the project. Once friends accept the invitation, they can easily upload photos, view other contributed photos, and make comments. (Content is stored as a free, hosted, private book project on Blurb's Web site).

-- Review the photos and choose which ones to include in the book.

-- When ready, slurp selected photos into Blurb BookSmart(TM) and get to work creating a book.

When users finish a Blurb GroupBook, they can announce it to their Facebook friends in all the normal ways -- via their newsfeed, on the wall, by posting to their profile, etc. Blurb also provides book badges that link a Facebook profile to a Blurb book in the company's online bookstore.

Website: http://www.blurb.com/

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Bible is America's Favorite Book Followed by Gone with the Wind

When it comes to reading, we know what genre Americans are reading (see Harris Poll #37, April 7, 2008), but what is Americans' favorite book? Across all demographic groups the number one book is The Bible. Behind The Bible, the Civil War is still being fought as Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind comes in second. Fantasy and a bit of fear round out the top five favorite books of all time: in at number 3 is J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series and number 4 is that other fantasy series, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. In fifth is one of the masters of scary books - Stephen King and The Stand.

These are the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 2,513 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive between March 11 and 18, 2008.

The next five start off with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, followed by To Kill a Mockingbird. Number 7 is another Dan Brown novel, the Robert Langdon prequel Angels and Demons, followed by Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged at number nine. Finishing off the top ten favorite books is J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.

The Second Favorite Book among Different Groups

While The Bible is number one among each of the different demographic groups, there is a large difference in the number two favorite book. For men, that belongs to Lord of the Rings while women cite Gone with the Wind as their number two. There is also a generational divide. For Echo Boomers (those aged 18-31) their second favorite is the Harry Potter series while Generation X (those aged 32-43) is split between The Stand and Angels and Demons. Baby Boomers (those aged 44-62) and Matures (those aged 63 and older) think alike and both cite Gone with the Wind.

While it's not surprising that Gone with the Wind is the second favorite book in the South, it's also number two in the Midwest. Easterners are more partial to the Lord of the Rings series and Westerners cite The Stand as their second favorite book. Whites and Hispanics also say Gone with the Wind is their second favorite while African Americans say it is Angels and Demons. Educational levels have the largest differences. Those with high school or less education cite Gone with the Wind as their second favorite book of all time while Americans with some college education say it is The Stand. College graduates go to Lord of the Rings and those with a post graduate education are tied as both Lord of the Rings and To Kill a Mockingbird come in number two for them.

Finally, they may not agree on candidates, but one thing that brings together partisans is their favorite book. For Republicans, Democrats and Independents, the top two books are the same – The Bible followed by Gone with the Wind.

Source: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Self-Published, First Time Author a Finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour

First-time author Terry Fallis managed the impossible. Unable to interest a publisher for his satirical novel of Canadian politics, The Best Laid Plans, he published it himself through iUniverse and made it available as a free podcast. His solo efforts paid off when The Best Laid Plans was named a finalist for one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards, The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. The other distinguished finalists are Douglas Coupland for The Gum Thief, Will Ferguson for Spanish Fly, Scott Gardiner for King John, and Ron Wood for And God Created Manyberries.

"My feet haven't yet touched back down to earth since the announcement of the Leacock Medal shortlist," commented author Terry Fallis. "To be mentioned in the same sentence with writers like Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson, is surreal and humbling at the same time."

Breaking through in the publishing world is as difficult today as it has ever been. Now, thanks to the Internet and iUniverse, and other print-on-demand publishers that make books available for anyone who wants to order a copy, Fallis wasn't shut out. The book has sold 500 copies and had more than 1500 podcast listeners around the world.

Fallis started by podcasting his novel one chapter at a time at http://www.terryfallis.com/, iTunes, and http://www.podiobooks.com/. To date, the free podcast version has gathered more than 1500 listeners from all over the world. The Best Laid Plans climbed up the iTunes charts and broke into the top 25 Arts and Literature podcasts. Even though the last episode was posted back in May 2007, every day new listeners are still discovering the podcast, driving word-of-mouth interest.

Fallis also blogs about his publishing journey at http://www.terryfallis.com/ and uses Facebook to keep his readers and listeners up to date. The response from the community has been very gratifying. In fact, readers have started posting Facebook photos of The Best Laid Plans shot where ever they happen to be in the world ranging from Melbourne, Hanoi, Dallas, Singapore, Boston, Ottawa and Kingston.

The podcast attracted Radioropa, Europe's leading satellite radio network, which aired the 20 episode podcast in a primetime evening slot on their English language service.

The Best Laid Plans tells the story of a young, Ottawa speech writer trying to escape the seamy world of federal politics. Despite best efforts to fail, he succeeds in helping a cantankerous but honest engineering professor, win an election against Canada's most popular politician. Scandal and politics come together in this hilarious take on the state of our democracy.

In the wake of the Leacock shortlist announcement, Fallis has rekindled his search for a mainstream publisher for The Best Laid Plans with the assistance of literary agent Beverley Slopen.

The Leacock winner will be announced on April 30th in Orillia, Ontario, the hometown of Canada's most-loved humourist, Stephen Leacock.

HarperCollins' New Imprint Will Harm Entire Industry

HarperCollins' new imprint will offer low or no advances to authors and won't accept returns from booksellers. Laine Cunningham, a publishing consultant for fifteen years, applauds the company for attacking the biggest problem in the industry today. But the damage to authors, she says, will cause publishers to suffer, as well. Cunningham recommends that authors use the FSA Rule when considering contract offers.

"Self-publishing by any other name," says Laine Cunningham, President of Writer's Resource, "is still self-publishing."

Cunningham is referring to HarperCollins' announcement last week that its new imprint will eliminate advances for authors and won't accept returns. With fifteen years of experience to draw on, she thinks offering a 50-50 profit split rather than paying authors up front will harm the entire publishing industry.

"That's only a step above the old vanity press system," she says. "Plenty of printers and hybrids that call themselves publishers already operate under this model." These profit-sharing publishers are widely considered to be the worst option for self-publishers because they offer so little in return for so large a chunk of the profits. When the model is applied to traditional publishing, the potential for damage grows.

"Authors these days from the mid-list down use part or all of their advances to market their books," Cunningham says. "A high profit split on top of zero advance means they'll have to sell twice as many copies to achieve the same reach. If they have no money in the kitty from an advance, the book sinks without a trace."

And that, Cunningham says, will hurt the entire industry. Readers faced with even fewer choices from a shrinking pool of authors will turn to other forms of entertainment. Authors who know they won't be supported will turn more often to the traditional self-publishing model where they might bear all the risk but they also reap all the benefits.

Rich Ehisen, a regular contributor to Comstock's business magazine, sees that starting to happen already. "At what point," he says, "do authors say the heck with chasing the big publishers and just do it ourselves anyway?"

Not all of HarperCollins' plans are detrimental. "Returns," Cunningham says, "have got to be the worst idea in sales and marketing ever. Everyone thinks book sales will plummet if stores can't return unsold copies. But no other product in the world is sold that way."

She compares the process to women's clothes. Multiple pairs of a single style of jeans are stocked in petite, average and long lengths. Stores buy dozens of pairs knowing that not all will sell for retail. "Guess what?" Cunningham says. "No one's refusing to stock Levi's because the company won't take returns. And you don't see the company eliminating entire lines or only manufacturing the most popular sizes."

Cunningham applauds HarperCollins for making a bold move against one of the industry's most antiquated procedures. Edmund Schubert, Editor of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show magazine, disagrees about remainders but is also critical of the loss of advances.

"The idea of a book being non-returnable is monumentally stupid," Schubert says. "It's so engrained in the business that no bookstore will order a book it can't return. So a 50-50 split on a book no one will order sounds even less attractive" on top of the missing advance.

Cunningham points out other flaws in the arrangement. Authors have always struggled with royalty statements because the percentages are calculated based on profits rather than retail price. An individual has no way to determine if a publisher's expenses are apportioned appropriately to his or her book. The 50-50 split on profits therefore looks even worse.

"HarperCollins is trying to make some big changes in an industry that does need to be updated," Cunningham says. "But if you have trouble reaching the market, you don't starve the horse thinking that's going to fix the wagon."

For authors considering any type of publishing deal, Cunningham offers the FSA Rule. She developed this rule over fifteen years of helping authors improve their work and approach agents and publishers. By considering three primary concepts, authors can judge whether a deal will work. The concepts to consider are:

-- Is it Fair? The contract must be fair to both sides. The publisher deserves to make money in return for its time, effort and investment. So does the author.

-- Is it Sound? The deal should make good business sense. Both the publisher and the author should be clear on what each will do to create sales.

-- Is it Acceptable? Although this isn't a quantifiable measure, it is as important as the first two. The author must be satisfied with the deal over the long run. Dissatisfaction can eliminate the potential for future deals with the same company.

Laine Cunningham, http://www.writersresource.us/

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Author Gives Phone Number to Readers, Asks for Advice

Michael T. Owens, a self-described scatterbrained writer, is asking the world to help with his next novel. He encourages people to call (815) 642-9687 to leave messages with ideas for main characters, settings, and basic plots.

"My problem is I have too many ideas. That's why I'm letting the people decide."

As a scatterbrained writer, Owens said focusing long enough to write a book is difficult but rewarding. "When I give lectures or speak to aspiring authors, I tell them how writing changed my life. I was on government assistance and eating Ramen noodles when I wrote my first book," he said. "That was six years ago. I've been writing books ever since."

When it comes to his writing, Owens is no stranger to out-of-the-box ideas. In 2005, he used eBay to auction a page of advertising in his novel A Dream Come True. The auction received national coverage by media outlets such as Yahoo News and Adweek Magazine.

An author of urban dramas, romantic comedies, and sci-fi adventures, Owens said he writes various genres to challenge himself. "This will be very challenging but I can't wait to get started," he added. "This is a writing exercise on a worldwide scale."

At the end of April, Owens will post the best ideas on his blog. Readers will then select which character, setting, and plot he should use. Owens added, "The more outrageous the ideas, the better!"

About Michael T. Owens
Michael T. Owens graduated from Florida State University. He has written several novels and short stories. His works appear in various anthologies and national publications. Visit him at: http://scatterbrainedwriters.blogspot.com/.

Bill Loehfelm Named Winner of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Amazon.com, Inc., Penguin Group (USA) and HP named Bill Loehfelm the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the contest in search of the next popular novel. The winner, who will receive a $25,000 publishing contract, was revealed in a ceremony in New York City this morning attended by Elizabeth Gilbert, the New York Times-bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love.

The novel will be published by the G. P. Putnam's Sons imprint of Penguin Group (USA) in Summer 2008, and is available now for pre-order on Amazon.com at www.amazon.com/abnawinner.

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, sponsored by Amazon Services LLC, Penguin Group (USA), HP, and CreateSpace, launched on October 1, 2007 and received nearly 5,000 qualified submissions, with representation from approximately 2,000 cities around the world and in every state in the United States.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sedona Author Albert Clayton Gaulden Offers Book for Free on Web Site

Sedona author, Albert Clayton Gaulden, offers his book You're Not Who You Think You Are free on his web site, http://www.sedonaintensive.com/.

Originally self-published as a 259-page hardback, Albert Clayton Gaulden's third book, You're Not Who You Think You Are, sold several thousand copies. But since publishing heavyweight Simon and Schuster recently picked up the book and will release the new version this December, Gaulden decided to give away the remaining original, self-published copies for free on his web site, http://www.sedonaintensive.com/.

"I decided to give them away off the Internet for free, while they last," Gaulden said. "This way people can have the chance to get to know me better - warts and all - and decide whether an 'Intensive' is right for them".

Sports figures, actors, royalty, Wall Street executives and people from all walks of life seek the guidance of Albert Clayton Gaulden. World-renowned astro-intuitive, author, transpersonal psychologist and founding director of the Sedona Intensive, Gaulden has quickly emerged as the face of mainstream self-help and spirituality.

Best-known for his no-nonsense style and direct approach, Gaulden helps people crack-open the self-beliefs that constrain them. In his new book, You're Not Who You Think You Are, to be published by Simon and Schuster this December, Gaulden takes a fearless approach at helping people uncover their authentic selves.

HarperCollins Book to Develop and Launch a New Global Publishing Program

HarperCollins Publishers has signed publishing veteran Robert S. Miller to develop and launch a new global publishing program based on a non-traditional business model. Miller will start at HarperCollins on Monday, April 14, 2008, at the London Book Fair, and will report directly to Jane Friedman, President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide.

After founding and building a very successful publishing company for Disney, Miller will join HarperCollins to develop an innovative and creative publishing "studio" that challenges conventional trade publishing standards. As President and Publisher of the yet-to-be-named entity, Miller will publish approximately 25 popular-priced books per year in multiple physical and digital formats including those as yet unspecified, with the aim to combine the best practices of trade publishing while taking full advantage of the internet for sales, marketing and distribution. Authors will be compensated through a profit sharing model as opposed to a traditional royalty, and books will be promoted utilizing on-line publicity, advertising and marketing.

Miller joins HarperCollins from a 17 year career with ABC's Hyperion Books division which he founded in 1991 for the Walt Disney Company. Hyperion has published such bestsellers as Richard Carlson's "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff," Oprah Winfrey's "Make the Connection," Caroline Kennedy's "The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis," David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter," Steve Martin's "Shopgirl," along with humor by George Carlin, Tim Allen and Chris Rock, and cookbooks by Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Mollie Katzen.

Prior to Disney Miller held editorial positions at Delacorte Press, Warner Books and St. Martin's Press.

Writers Find New Route to Publishing via Creative Byline

Writers have a new way to get book manuscripts in front of interested editors after the December 2007 launch of Creative Byline, Inc., a new web-based service. Specially developed software helps writers target editors and track responses. The same software lets editors communicate what kinds of manuscripts they're looking for.

"It's not uncommon for writers to wait for months to hear a response after they send a manuscript off to an editor," says Creative Byline founder Brad MacLean. "And then what they often hear from that busy editor is just 'no thanks.' I had to believe that with technology and the internet, there could be a more satisfying experience."

The first response a writer receives from Creative Byline is from one of the company's own readers, who review submissions to make sure they're ready to be reviewed by an editor. While not a complete and detailed critique of manuscripts, the review gives the writer enough information to complete or polish his or her work. "Writers have heard back from our readers in two or three days," MacLean says.

The writer can search the Creative Byline site for editors with specific interest in their genre. Once a manuscript, approved by Creative Byline's first reader, is submitted to an editor, Creative Byline guarantees that editor will review the manuscript within three weeks--or the writer can select another editor. The Creative Byline review and submission to an editor costs $19 for full-length manuscripts and $9 for children's picture books.

The Creative Byline website also contains helpful instructions for writers putting together a submission package, as well as links to resources that will help them develop their writing craft--or plan their next writing project.

Three well-known publishers have already signed on to Creative Byline: Dutton Children's Books, St. Martin's Press, and Tor/Forge. "They clearly see benefits for their editors," MacLean says, "that make it worthwhile to subscribe as publishing houses." Among the benefits are Creative Byline's assurance that projects are truly ready for an editor's review and the ability for editors to explore writers in new genres as the market's appetites change. The company is actively working to engage additional publishing clients.

MacLean was introduced to the publishing industry by his wife, Christine Kole MacLean. Having published half a dozen books for children and young adults, she provided an ongoing case study in the frustrations of the traditional process and communication methods. With the problem clear, MacLean made use of his background as an executive with over 20 years of experience working for a Fortune 500 company.

Before launching CreativeByline.com, MacLean spent two years researching the industry, interviewing editors, heads of publishing conglomerates, and writers. "I was sure it could be done better and faster," he says.

Website: http://www.creativebyline.com/

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Profile of a (Book) Composer by Hans Bool

The process of writing a book could be compared with composing. The composition of a song or more complex that of a symphony, for example. The parallel fits not completely because in composing the goal is to use the composition as a guide for distributing musical resources in the orchestra. The book composer writes with a single resource and not with the goal to use the work as a musical guide.

There is one book however where the term composition fits quite well. This is a book that "took neither pen, nor a word processor, only a sharp knife and a bottle of glue were used." It resulted in a "collage" novel named "Down Below" and was entirely composed from found sentences, gathered together from books.

"By means of a time-consuming" -- this writing process took about 15 years -- "process of clipping, shoving and pasting, Paul Bogaers managed to compose an entirely new and original story out of exclusively 'used' material."

Even the original paper of the sentences was used and shows how the novel was compiled. Yet the novel reads as a normal book.

There is a saying that it is hardly possible to write a really new book. Basically over all the years everything that could have been said has been said. It is the style that makes the difference. In this case, the style is very unique. First of all no sentence is from the author (the author, or artist, used up to 250 books to select the sentences), but the book on itself is. The style of a book is about the way to tell and express things, but after this experience the style is somehow absorbed in the composition itself.

Perhaps the true value is in the making of the book, in the process rather than in the result - I have to admit not to have read it yet. A work that took fifteen years to complete must be a real piece of art.

Hans Bool writes articles about management, culture and change. If you are interested to read or experience more about these topics have a look at: Astor White.

Young Adult Fiction - Literature or Fad? by Joy Cagil

In oral or written literature, telling the tales of adolescents is probably as old as human history. The type of fiction called young adult fiction, on the other hand, is the joint creation of the American experience and the second half of the twentieth century.

From ancient Greek myths like Daphnis and Chloe or Persephone to later works of drama, men and women have become the protagonists of adventures in their teen years. When Shakespeare told the tale of Romeo and Juliet, he was talking of adolescent lovers. After that time, novels and stories like Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Heidi, Little Women, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca of the Sunnybrook Farm found fascinated readers for decades.

What we call young adult fiction, shortened to YA fiction, came into existence after the Second World War with the onset of the Rock'n Roll era. The stories of young adult fiction are written for teenagers and are told from the point of view of teenagers. The protagonists are adolescents and a good number of the plots involve teen problems and the way the teens face and overcome them. Since with each decade the teen problems have changed, the stories portraying those problems have also changed.

From the inception of the young adult fiction, sociologists praise its stories, because the teens find out how problems similar to theirs can be handled. These problems can be loneliness, weight or health issues, family and peer troubles, teen pregnancy, or depression.

In contrast to those who applaud young adult fiction, a very small group claim that reading too much young adult fiction has been alienating the teen readers from real literature. Yet, the study of literature challenges these critics, because good fiction cannot be classified. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, some Stephen King novels like Carrie, and Lord of the Flies by William Golding may fit inside the definition of young adult fiction, but time has proven them to be a lot more than popular fiction of the moment. These books are classics.

In addition, quite a few young adult fiction awards have caused young adult fiction to qualify as literature. Some of these are: Newberry Award, National Book Award for Young PeopleĆ¢€™s Literature, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction, William C. Morris YA Debut Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Novel, Michael L. Printz Award, Margaret A. Edwards Award, etc.

First young adult novels in the US came into being during the forties and fifties. Then, between the sixties and the nineties, young adult fiction flourished. Writers like Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume led the way in addressing teen dilemmas to become the icons of such literature.

Today, with the advent of e-books, religious fiction directed to teens, manga, graphic novels, and techno-thrillers, young adult fiction is branching out into subcategories and becoming more deeply rooted in popular literature. Some of these stories, like that of J. K. Rowling's and Gabriel Zevin's, challenge the imaginations of teen readers by removing their plots and characters far away from reality into fantasy.

The history of young adult fiction may not be too old, but its future appears to be very bright. Since the best books are those that the readers can relate to, multitudes of teens have turned to reading voraciously, leaving unbeneficial pursuits aside. On the whole, this is no measly feat.

Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/joycag.