Friday, September 29, 2017

Cookbook author in Australia has book withdrawn over her conduct regarding charities


A blogger in Australia had a cookbook withdrawn after it was revealed she had apparently lied about charitable donations she had made, and apparently was fined.  It isn’t necessarily the case that American law would have treated her conduct the same way. Here’s a typical news story. Amazon has a database entry for the book but says it is "unavailable".

But what was also interesting about the case that the publisher, Penguin, had given her “media training” and then put her on notice about questions concerning her charitable giving.  That’s the first time I’ve heard of this issue coming up between a trade publisher and an author.

However trade publishers are concerned about the “conduct” of their authors.  Simon and Schuster withdrew publishing Milo Yiannopoulos in February (“Dangerous”) after a supposed “scandal”, which I’ve discussed elsewhere (I think the matter was greatly overblown by the media and not based on the real facts).  Milo went on to self-publish the book.


When trust or estate money is invested in media projects (especially independent film), concerns can arise over whether beneficiaries have been properly notified.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The legacy of slave essayist and poet George Moses Horton


A lost essay, in cursive penmanship,Jenn found in the New York Public Library, called “Individual Influence”, by a former slave, George Moses Horton, back in 1817, is said to predict today’s debate on free speech on campus. The poet had worked on a plantation near Chapel Hill, NC. site of today’s UNC.

Jennifer Schuessler presents the material in the New York Times, although the manuscript handwriting is very hard to read.


The piece is said to be a 500-word sermon.
  

One of his most important poems is “Of Liberty and Slavery”. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Andrew Sullivan's booklet on tribalism: "America Wasn't Built for Humans"


Andrew Sullivan offers a booklet-length article in New York Magazine Sept. 19, 2017, “America Wasn’t Built for Humans” with the byline “Tribalism was an urge our Founding Fathers assumed we would overcome; And so it has become out greatest vulnerability”.


The article roughly equates American tribalism with hyper partisanship, but it also promotes intellectual reduction, especially the over broad ideas of what comprises a “hate crime” or “white supremacy”.  It seems intellectually lazy but also reflects on what my own mother used to call “real life”.  He points out how Chadwick Moore was ostracized merely for giving Milo Yiannopoulos credibility in an otherwise reasonably funny and critical piece in “Out”.

I certainly experienced the same sort of tribalism in many episodes of my own life, as leftist leadership in much of the gay community demanded loyalty to its own imposition of identity politics
Sullivan sees our historical denial of our “tribal nature” as a flaw in the way the nation was set up after the Constitution was adopted. Then later, this little snarky, timocratic gem: “One of the great attractions of tribalism is that you actually don’t have to think very much.”  You can watch your whole life’s output grow less bad.

Sullivan refers to Sebastian Junger’s “Tribe” (WP review) and Wades’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” (review), where civilization tried to gnaw away at tribalism. 


Michael Gerson review’s Sullivan’s essay on p. A17, “A Triumph of Tribalism”, on p. A17 of the Washington Post today.  l

Thursday, September 07, 2017

"Real Fast Indie Marketing" for self-published books to wholesalers and independent bookstores presented in webinar


I got an email informing me of the “Real Fast IndieMarketing” service by Amy Collins (emailed by New Shelves Books).

Amy offers classes and webinars, and there is a 2-hour video of some of the classes.


Amy stresses several important points.  Independent and chain bookstores often do well with physical books, even though the popular myth is that Amazon kindle and BN Nook are destroying books.  Her course material (there are packages that range up to about $700) cover how to design a marketing campaign, which should start before the self-publication of a book, either by a print run or by POD.

She stresses the importance of finding a wholesaler.  Ingram may not be willing to wholesale self-published books and POD unless through its affiliated Ingram Sparks;  but I know that other POD companies (Authors’ Solution) do offer packages that include wholesaling and independent bookstore campaigns.

She says that there are reputable companies that do provide third-party reviews.
   
She emphasizes that authors need to learn people skills and awareness of the business needs of stores. 

She suggests that authors spend 20-30 minutes on marketing every weekday starting before publication.  Well written cover letters and marketing plans are essential. 

She spends sometime on niche books, which can sometimes be placed in specialty stores like gift shops. Hospitals, airports, supermarkets, convenience stores, pet or sporting goods (depending on content). 

She talks about cover design.  If you have a science fiction novel set on another planet, show what a community on this other planet would look like.  
She talks about categories of readers, including "avid" readers who usually will go to book stores, or to the public library, where, according to Reid Ewing in his little 2012 film, "It's Free". 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Boy Scout arranges mechanism to donate books to homeless shelter in MD


WJLA7 (Sinclair) reports that a Boy Scout in Montgomery County, MD has donated (probably by getting donations first) about 2000 books to a homeless shelter (not sure if it is in DC or MD).  
  

It looks very much like I will do a downsizing and household move soon, and some older books could be donated.  But many are policy books and of a nature not likely to work well in a shelter.  But it’s a definitely a good idea to consider. 



But I would definitely keep the 1950 set of World Book Encyclopedias, with their wonderful elevation maps of all the states and Canadian provinces. They've never reinstated them in later versions.  I don't know why.  These were a favorite in my high school days. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

How authors self-publish fiction series and actually make them sell to "addicted" readers


There’s a site called Self-Publishing Advice and I found a long blog post and interview on how fiction series authors can get started, when the author intends a series, with a technique called “Perma free” (the first book follows “it’s free” on a table) and then Kindle Unlimited (KDP). There is a debate as to whether this is more effective than trying to use as many retail outlets as possible.
  
Here is the blog posting by Jay Artale as Pippa Da Costa and Susan Kaye carry on a discussion, link .


The article, dated today (Sept. 1) is quite long, but I was surprised at the claim by many author that they can get readers hooked on their series, especially in romance, fantasy, or sci-fi.
  

It’s true, I see people reading tablets and Kindles on the DC Metro, but I don’t see a lot of hardcopy texts.  OK, one day I saw a hunk reading a philosophy textbook for college, rather like seeing a young math professor looking over a calculus quiz he was going to give.