Tag Archives: change

What was Satan Thinking?

 

First, let’s be clear on what I mean when I say POD books. This term has become so misused and misunderstood that it has actually resulted in lost sales for many. This doesn’t need to be the case.

POD stands for PRINT ON DEMAND. You’ll notice the word PRINT. Not publish or promote, PRINT!

POD is the process used by PRINTERS to eliminate the need for excessive runs of print copies. The printer simply waits until there is an order and then prints the specific number of copies ordered, removing the immediate potential for wasted paper.

I’m not sure why POD books have received such a negative reputation, but most booksellers and librarians, and now due to the overwhelming number of authors arguing about it in public forums, readers equate POD with lower quality books. This simply isn’t the case.

For over a decade, a multitude of publishers, both big and small, have been using the POD method for fulfilling orders.

The quality of the written word is determined well before the actual book ever goes to print, thereby eliminating the misconception that POD books are “bad.” It needs to be understood by all that POD, the method of printing does not account for the number of poorly written and edited books being sold in the market.

The biggest problem with the misunderstanding of POD is the ability for companies and authors to market and promote the books. However, with the proper education within the retail (and library) industries, bookseller and acquisition librarians could not only increase their potential sales and titles available, but could increase the variety of stories available to their readers.

Readers crave originality. They are tired of reading the same recycled stories by the same authors. Yet, they are deprived of any freshness in their choices, because the larger and more traditional publishers are reluctant to take any financial risk on the newer and more exciting stories written by unknown or new authors.

I would encourage everyone in the book industry to educate themselves and to recognize the value of POD books and to acknowledge the potential for increased sales. Give new authors a chance to prove that they have writing skill and the ability to tell a good story, no matter how many copies of their book is printed at one time.

Furthermore, consider the environmental impact of POD books. A traditional publisher may print 5000 copies of a paperback novel by a new author, and only sell 1500 of them. This means that the remaining 3500 unsold copies will be put into waste. Had the publisher used the POD process to print those books, they would have simply printed the 1500 copies as the orders came in and eliminated the waste. If you did this for 10,000 books in one year, imagine how much paper would be saved and thus less trees.

Bottom line, POD is not the work of Satan. It is simply a process used to print books in smaller quantities. Sorry, Dude, you don’t get credit for this one.

My final point refers to the availability and returnability of books produced using the POD process. The status of returns is not determined across the industry, it is determined by the specific publisher or author. This means that it is an unfair assumption for a bookstore not to carry a POD book, without first determining its returnability status.

We all have choices, but when we make a choice, that doesn’t give us the right to complain when that choice cause a problem.

I hope that after reading this post, more people who speak ill of the POD process will reconsider their “choices” and give authors a fair chance to sell books and entertain readers.

Will you?

Originally published at ©Life as a Publisher by Karen L. Syed
This can be reproduced in it’s entirety with no additions or corrections.

 

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Help! I’m a Writer

So often people describe writing as a solitary endeavor. I have never agreed with this. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If a writer’s life is a solitary one, then it is by choice.

By design, writers are surrounded by others who are not only interested in their work, but eager for it. The world is filled with writers who crave support and encouragement. What they do [write] is for the masses. The stories and books are intended to be read and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of readers.

All that said, as writers, we also tend to let our insecurities get the better of us. We make our existence solitary by sequestering ourselves to avoid the shame of rejection. We are, also by design, a neurotic bunch.

In most cases, this does more harm than good. When we shut ourselves off from our peers, we miss out on many opportunities as well as crucial education that can possibly make us better writers and more successful authors.

We constantly hear about the value and importance of critique groups. Of course they have their place, but what about support. This is a whole different can of beans. Support, in my opinion, is far more important than the critique group, because if you don’t feel good about what you do, you probably can’t do it good…well.

Bottom line, before you tuck yourself away in your office, alcove, or other small hidey hole to become the next great American novel, find a few friendly writers you can spend a little time with and get things off your chest. Make sure that you can all talk shop, talk gardening, talk whatever you want, even bitching about the family.

I firmly believe whining is a necessity in life, as long as it has a specific purpose and is done in a specific environment.  😛

Stop Saying that, Damn it! (Rant)

Okay, I have held back long enough on this topic and now I am just going to speak my mind and get it off my chest.

Dear Librarians:

PLEASE STOP making generalized comments about publishers. I get that you are really mad at HarperCollins and MacMillan and whoever else is trying to screw you over with eBooks. There are MANY publishers of all sizes who are more than willing to work with you on selling you eBooks on fair terms.

For weeks now, there has been constant complaining and blogging about those FEW publishers who want to cheat you. How does this make sense? As you continue to spotlight them in your Blogs and tweets and so forth you continue to promote them and lead people who otherwise might not have sought them out right into their greedy little hands.

Why not focus your attention and energies on the publishers who are BEGGING to work with you? Why not work with your Boards to make it possible to order from organizations other than the Big publishers.

I BEG of you, please take all the negative energy you are expelling on the bad guys and get to know the rest of us. Some of us actually have great books, print and eBooks and we would LOVE to sell them to you so you can loan them to your patrons.

I’m just sayin’!

Selling Books the Old Fashioned Way

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A few minutes ago, I read a tweet from one of my authors, Gale Borger, that asked, “Where will authors sell books with so few indy stores willing to do author events and chains closing?” [Twitter: @galeinwisconsin]

This is something I have been working on for quite a few years, but now I am seeing others starting to get worried about it. We started Echelon Press ten years ago and from the beginning, we have been attending conferences, conventions, and books festivals. Why? Because, silly, that’s where the readers are.

“No, no,” you argue, “readers are at bookstores.

“No, not exactly. Consumers are at bookstores. They buy books. They also buy pens, journals, lap desks, games, music, and all kinds of other things that bookstores have included in their inventory.”

You’re shaking your head now, right? “But those are readers.”

“Not exaclty, but kinda. They are people who read. Oh sure, that is a pretty generalized statement, but I think that most of those people (not all) could do without books.”

“What do you mean?”

“My experience is that most people these days who go into bookstores are looking for something specific. A friend told them the latest Patterson is out, or there is a new diet book that is better than the Atkins Diet.” Okay, again, generalizing, but bear with me.

Lots of people read, but don’t you think that those who are real readers are much more organized and deliberate about their book habits? Readers keep track of their favorite authors, they log the books and the series they read, and they will read anything, including the shampoo bottles in the bathroom. How many diehard readers, can name more than a few ingredients off the back of the Lysol can? Seriously.

Those people are readers, and they will go where the books are and where the authors are. That is one of the reasons Echelon has always participated in as many book festivals as we can. Readers go to festivals and conventions. They crave books and they will spend their last dollar on a book and make the cat eat leftover meatloaf with everyone else.

Bookstores are great, but there is a lot of panic in society right now about where readers will be able to get books if the bookstores all go away.

First of all, the bookstores are not all going away. Some are going, others are coming. There will always be fluxuation. My suggestion to you readers, and especially to you authors who are seeing less and less opportunities to meet and interact with your readers in proper bookstores, is to check out the book festivals and reader conventions in your area. These are such awesome places to find books of all kinds and to meet new and upcoming authors. If you’re lucky you may even find a few of your best selling favorites.

If you’d like to meet some really cool authors, you might want to look into attending the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, SC. May 14-15, 2011. In my Opinion, this is the best book festival in the south.

Even better than that is the jewel in the Midwest festival crown. Printers Row Lit Fest. in Chicago, IL June 2-3, 2011. This festival is blocks and blocks of books and authors and so much fun it should be illegal. This festival has been a favorite of Echelon’s since we discovered it in 2002. We never miss it.

Hopefully you readers out there will stop by and visit the Echelon authors when you see us at the festivals and conventions. We LOVE meeting readers and trying to convert you into our fans. At Echelon we believe the best way to reach readers is go where they can find us!

Accidents Happen (Guest: Robert P. Bennett)

I’ve just signed a contract for my second novel, “Blind Traveler’s Blues.”

Wow, that feels good!

People ask me all the time. “How did you become a writer?” For me it wasn’t something I had always dreamed of being. It was an accident – literally !

Growing up I wanted to be a lawyer. Frankly, I always enjoyed arguing with people. My family would tell you that my ideas were not mainstream, and that I always find a different point of view than those around me. Alas, I was never a good student. I was not one of those kids for whom learning was easy. And, I was terrible at taking tests. I would study hard, feel I knew the material going in to test day, but then freeze up when the test paper sat before me on the desk. So, I never got the exceptional grades needed to get into a law school.

My saving grace was my mother. She convinced me that, since I always wanted to help people, and always argued the point of view of the disenfranchised, that I would make a good social worker ( her own calling by the way ). At the time I wasn’t sure I agreed. But, I finally decided, I could go to social work school for one year and reapply for law school ( with hopefully better grades ) if that was still what I wanted to do. I finished my studies, got my MSW, and went to work at a group home for mentally challenged men. And then I had a car accident!

Car accidents are great if you want to completely change the direction your life is going. Frankly, they serve no other useful purpose, and I don’t recommend them as a fun way to spend a few minutes. But, it was because of the accident I became a writer, again with my mother’s help (no, mom was not in the car when I had the accident).

At the time she was working at a mental health agency where someone, for some reason, had posted a notice for classes at a place called The New York Studio for Writers. As it turned out, the school was only a couple of minutes from our home. Well, Mom remembered that I had always been writing stories and little diddies growing up. She gave me the notice. I made a phone call. Soon after, I was sitting with a small group of wannabe writers learning the craft.

That was more than seventeen years ago. Since then I’ve devoted my life and my writing skills to what I call “issues of disability,” everything from sports to politics. I write about people who challenge societal views of what we commonly, and mistakenly, call ‘disabilities’ and ‘handicaps.’ I write about technology that helps people with disabilities lead better, easier, more productive lives. I write about social and physical barriers and how to circumnavigate them. You see, what I’ve learned over the years is that we’re all disabled in one way or another. Some disabilities, like my need for a wheelchair, are more obvious than others. Some, like glasses or hearing aides, are more socially accepted. In my worldview, it is society itself that is disabled because it consciously or unconsciously creates physical/intellectual/emotional barriers for people.

Some six years ago or so I wrote an article about a prototype device that would combine GPS and virtual reality technologies to allow blind people to navigate through their world. After the article was published, my brother and I thought, “what would happen if the device had a glitch, allowing the user to ‘see’ an event that was happening a few blocks away from where he currently was.” That became the impetus for Blind Traveler Down a Dark River, the first book in the Blind Traveler series. The second book, Blind Traveler’s Blues, is soon to be published, in ebook format, by Echelon Press.

If you have something to say, don’t wait for an accident – try writing.

Robert Bennett
Writer/Lecturer
Issues of Disability
Author: The Blind Traveler Series
http://www.EnablingWords.Com

I Sorta Kinda Wanted to Write This (Guest: Alan Cook)

I don’t text or tweet but I can see how using abbreviations and shortcuts while texting or tweeting can be helpful. I usually write complete sentences in emails, but if others don’t want to that’s fine. But as the son of an English teacher, I’d like to complain about the state of oral conversation, from newscasters on down to college graduates.

This situation with the way we speak English these days has been kind of nagging at me and I sort of wanted to write a little bit about it, but I’ve been, you know, kind of busy, and like, I haven’t been able to find the time.

The other day I did something for a man and he said “Thank you” and I said “No problem” and he said “Whatever happened to ‘You’re welcome?’” and I said “No problem,” because I didn’t know what else to say.

I’m pretty good at doing good deeds for people. A woman at the market was, you know, having trouble with a grocery cart and I said, “Can I help you?” and she said, “I don’t know, can you?” so I slapped her since she was being kind of a wiseacre.

The sun was warm and it was a pretty amazing day out so my wife and I went to the museum and we saw the most unique exhibit I’ve ever seen. It was, you know, one of those dinosaurs who was like, kind of big, like a T-Rex, and he was eating this other guy who was laying on the ground. I’m not lying when I say that. But I can tell you that if I met a T-Rex in real life I’d be a little bit scared because he was sort of awesome.

So that’s the, you know, reason I haven’t been working on this English project, because I’ve been, like, kind of busy, but I expect to do it soon, and when you read it you’ll say, “Wow, this Cook writes pretty unique stuff. He is amazing.”

Alan Cook began writing books after he abandoned the computer industry (or it abandoned him). He is the author of eight mystery novels. He has won two Silver Quill awards from the American Authors Association and two best geographical location awards from Reader Views. His latest mystery, Forget to Remember, features a young woman with amnesia. She is declared to be a non-person by the government and someone may be trying to kill her. Alan lives with his wife on a hill in Southern California. His website is http://alancook.50megs.com

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Carol Golden isn’t her real name. She doesn’t remember her real name or anything that happened before she was found in a Dumpster, naked and unconscious, on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California.

After helping her get some initial medical treatment, government at all levels officially declares her a non-person and doesn’t want anything more to do with her. She can’t work because she doesn’t have a Social Security number, which she can’t get because she doesn’t have a birth certificate. She can’t get a driver’s license, and, having no I.D. she can’t fly.
Fortunately, she receives help from Rigo Ramirez, the young man who found her, and his family. Frances Moran, a genetic genealogist who is an expert at identifying and finding people using DNA and the Internet, offers her services, but nobody appears to be looking for Carol. Nobody, that is, except whoever left her for dead. Is this person going to return to finish the job?
Carol must overcome the obstacles placed in her path by an unfeeling bureaucracy while she searches for clues to her identity. If the law doesn’t protect her, why should she stay within the law? In addition, as her situation gets publicized, the risk of her attacker finding out that she’s still alive increases.
Carol discovers that she’s an “action kind of girl” who doesn’t take kindly to being told what she can’t do, which is just about everything. She realizes that if she’s going to find out who she is, she has to travel to the East Coast and England and do whatever else needs to be done, regardless of the risks.

Authors Held at Gunpoint

I received a note from a friend recently that asked me a very disturbing question. She wanted to know if I would offer my opinion on whether or not I thought she should pay to have her books reviewed.

It seems there is an independent bookstore that requires “certain” authors to have their books reviewed by this specific service in order to be carried in their store. They have been carrying the author’s books, but now have decided that they will remove the books unless the author meets this new requirement. Furthermore, the author must PAY to have those reviews done.

Once the reviews have been done, the store will then take the books into the store on consignment only. It would seem that the store also receives a fee for the books reviewed.

Now, I fully understand that some stores (mostly chain stores) charge for shelf placement, but even under those circumstances it is prime shelf space, not the difference between in the store or not.

Is it just me or have the chances for an author actually selling books become as dangerous as driving through gang territory? There seems to be a constant barrage of bullets flying from all directions determined to take out the authors that some booksellers deem unworthy.

What of the readers? Don’t they deserve to choose the books they want and not have to settle just for what booksellers tell them the should read?