Tag Archives: trends

Dear Lendink

 

I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of how this book business works, but I do know that I am offended on your behalf. Recently, your site was shut down because a group of authors decided you were a pirate. I visited your site. I read your FAQ page. I did some research and as far as I could discover you were doing exactly what you said you were doing.

I did NOT see any signs of a wooden leg, a hook where your hand should be, or a skull and crossbones flag hanging anywhere on your site. Nor did I see an eye patch, though you might have looked quite dashing in an eye patch.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you. Perhaps this is too late, perhaps not. I sincerely appreciate what you were trying to do buy leading readers by the virtual hand to the actual buy pages of the books I write and publish. I am constantly looking for new ways to market our books that do not require more time than I have to give. You did that, willingly, and legally, and you were cast out for your efforts.

::hangs head in shame:: I am sorry that not everyone felt the need to give you the benefit of the doubt and to take the time to figure out that you were acting on behalves and in fact doing us a FAVOR.

I would like to let you know that should you get your site back up and running, you have my permission to LEGALLY promote my books on your site. This goes for anyone who wants to LEGALLY introduce readers to the books of Echelon Press. Don’t steal from me, don’t distribute or lend our books without ensuring that the authors and I are being full compensated within our legal rights. But by all means, if you want to post covers and links to where readers can BUY our books LEGALLY, you have my blessing and my supports.

I am certain I am not the only one angered at your mistreatment. You can find another supporter at the blog of April L. Hamilton. http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Respectfully,

Karen L. Syed

 

 

 

 

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.

 

The True Beauty of Me and Ashley Judd

Recently, acclaimed actress, author, and all around cool human being, Ashley Judd responded to accusations about her physical condition. Her op-ed piece (you can read it here) has sparked a bit of outrage, but more than anything it may well have started a revolution. IF you haven’t already done so, you will want to read The Conversation. With everything going on in politics these days regarding women and our bodies, the last thing we need is to worry about what others think when we look a little different.

I will admit that I was furious when I read her piece. What right does anyone have to make public speculation about Ashley Judd or anyone? These people spouting lies and starting rumors call themselves journalists, but let’s be real. They are people who have a knack for spinning the ordinary into something outrageous, hurtful, and generally untrue.

The op-ed piece got me to thinking about my role in all this as an author and a publisher. Do I aggravate the situation by writing/publishing books with perfectly formed and wonderfully beautiful characters? Well, I may publish some, but I certainly don’t write them. I make a point to develop each of my characters as real people. You know the type, people with bad hair days, zits, a little bit of extra junk in their trunks, that kind of thing.

Books, especially fiction, have a tendency to paint pictures of things that are way better than real life. That is awesome, fiction is meant to be an adventure, an escape, if you will. But I think it is time we start looking at the entertainment and media venues with a little more responsibility. We cannot blame anyone’s actions on what they read, watch or listen to, but we can, and should recognize that those things do have a significant influence on the decisions we make.

When I opened my mail program this morning, I found my usual lists of Blogs that I subscribe to and read fairly regularly. At the top of the list was the Red, White, and Grew Blog with Pamela Price (who has an awesome Pinterest site.) Pamela has taken the next step in making her voice heard with regard to this issue. Check out her Blog to see what she has to say.

Now, that you’ve read my Blog, Ashley’s Blog, and Pamela’s Blog, I’d love to know how you feel, and what you might have to say about it on YOUR Blog. Now is your chance to be heard. Post your thoughts and comments on your Blog and then pop back over here and leave us a link so we can all read it. And this isn’t just about the women. How far can we spread this? It really does matter.

Once Upon a Crime (Bookstore Spotlight by Carl Brookins)

Just down the street from Nicollet Avenue on Sixth Street, is an unremarkable three-story brick building of apartments. Its back door faces a poorly lit, unevenly paved alley, with a couple of narrow parking spaces. The basement houses two retail establishments with neon advertising in the half-windows. Over one flight of stone steps is a dark canopy covering steps that lead down half-a flight to a room filled with floor to ceiling shelves. The wooden shelves are crowded with books.

Nearly all of the 60,000+ books are works of crime fiction. This is the home of Once Upon A Crime, Minneapolis’s award winning premier mystery book store. It has been so for twenty-four years. Present owners are Gary Shulz and Pat Frovarp, two of the most knowledgeable people in the field. If you need a specific book, chances are they’ll have it. If they don’t have it they can usually get it for you.

If you’re looking for something in the field to read, Pat or Gary will ask you some leading questions and promptly point you to authors/books that are almost guaranteed to fill your needs.

I asked why they would invest in a bookstore of all things and Gary said he needed a change after 30 years and Pat suggested that the former owner, Steve Stilwell was ready to retire. The store filled an important need, therefore should be rescued. So, for nine blissful (their word, not mine) years P & G have done just that, admirably filling the mission and meanwhile, picking up a few important awards along the way.

The mission of Once Upon a Crime, along with breaking even financially, is to promote local mystery writers and to maintain as comprehensive a backlist as humanly possible. Along the way they love exposing great midlist authors that readers might miss.

Awards? Yes, they’ve managed to collect a few, in 2009 CrimeSpree Magazine’s favorite bookstore award and “Best Hole in the Wall,” from Metro Magazine. Then just this year, Mystery Writers of America awarded Once Upon a Crime a Raven.

Among the many crime fiction writers who have commented:

Author PETER MAY said: “Pat and Gary are two of the nicest and most knowledgeable folk on the subject of mysteries that you are ever likely to meet!

Along the way, Pat and Gary have experienced some interesting events. They got married at the store a few years ago, and more recently acquired Shamus, a three-year old Store Dog.

Author WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER said: “I think OUAC is a really good bookstore because they usually know what I want to read even before I walk into the store. And even if they aren’t exactly on target, by the time I walk out, I’m always happy with what they’ve convinced me I should have wanted when I came in.”

Next year the store will celebrate 25 years in business and the tenth anniversary of WRITE OF SPRING, a massive annual one-day gathering of local authors, readers and assorted hangers-on. WRITE OF SPRING is a terrific event and lots of fun besides. An anthology of short crime fiction will debut at about the time of the tenth. The stories are all written by past attendees with profits from sale of the anthology to be donated to local Memorial Blood Centers.

Author ELLEN HART said: “All indie bookstores have a specific character. OUAC is no different. It’s cozy, funky in a Minnesota kind of way, comfortable, and always welcoming. It’s not only a good bookstore, it’s a great one because the people who run it (Pat & Gary) love books and share that passion with their customers.”

Although, because Pat was already working there and Gary was a frequent customer, the store lost two good customers when they bought the place, their dedication, hard work, and expertise has made the store a warm and welcoming place for authors and readers alike.

Along with WOS, of course, Pat and Gary host many book events for visiting and local authors. The schedule can be found at their website, http://www.onceuponacrimebooks.com/.

Their phone number is 612-870-3785, and their email address is onceuponacrime@earthlink.net. Next time you are up our way, drop by and join the thousands who find warm and welcoming hosts behind that door under the canopy.

Carl Brookins:

Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Brookins was a faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has reviewed mystery fiction for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and for Mystery Scene Magazine. His reviews appear on his own blog and on several other Crime Fiction blogs and Internet sites. Brookins is an avid sailor and has sailed in many locations across the world. He is a member of Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave. He writes the sailing series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney,(Devils Island)  the Sean Sean private investigator detective series,(The Case of the Great Train Robbery), and the Jack Marston academic series. (Reunion) Several short stories published by Echelon Press are available for download.

 

Following the Dream (Bookstore Spotlight by Ellis Vidler)

“In the days of the eReader, author events are the saving grace of the bricks and mortar bookstore. They provide opportunities for authors and readers to meet, and readers can ask questions and gain insights into the author’s thinking or reasons for a particular scene or character.” So says Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, an independent bookstore in Greenville, South Carolina. Ten years ago Jill, an avid reader and book lover, followed her dream and opened her own bookstore. She must be doing something right, because Fiction Addiction is still going strong. She features authors in the store, cooperates with a local restaurant in offering luncheons and talk or readings with visiting authors, and maintains a charming bookstore.

 Fiction Addictioncarries more fiction than non-fiction and has all genres, from mainstream to erotica to children’s books. Jill says they do the most business in mystery, then regional fiction. After that it’s science fiction, with children’s books their fourth largest-selling product. Series are quite popular—readers get to know the characters and want to see more.

While open to small presses that offer standard discounts and returns, Fiction Addiction works primarily with the three major distributors. It’s much easier for a bookstore to work through a big distributor and not have to go through setting up an individual account with an individual publisher for one book signing, when that may be the only involvement with that publisher.

Independent bookstores offer a number of services not always found in larger or big-box stores or online. They bring many authors to the store who wouldn’t normally be in the area, have a selection of used books, are happy to make recommendations, and will gladly order specially for a customer. One of the disappointments, however, is to have a customer take advantage of the extra services Fiction Addiction works hard to provide and then have that customer order online to save a little money.

She’s finding hardback sales are slowing in favor of eBooks, but mass market and trade paperback are still fairly strong. EBooks are certainly having an impact, and Jill would like to sell them but can’t at present. She says it requires an ABA website, which Fiction Addiction doesn’t have. Maybe there’s an opportunity for an individual publisher to set up something.

Jill definitely sees a new generation of readers coming along. One of the benefits of the Harry Potter series, aside from interesting children in reading, was convincing them they could read longer books and making them proud of holding up a 700-page book and saying, “I read this!”

Children are becoming more sophisticated in their reading now, looking for more involved plots. The Olympian series by Rick Riorden sparked much interest, and now young readers are clamoring for his new series. Another thing is that since the Twilight books came out, more adults are reading Young Adult (YA) novels.

 Fiction Addictionis located on Woodruff Road across from Costco in Greenville. The website is http://www.fiction-addiction.com Stop by and look around. Jill and her staff will be glad to recommend something to your taste or place an order for that special book.

Find Fiction Addiction:

Twitter: @FictnAddictn

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FictionAddictionBookstore

A Handshake:
1020 Woodruff Road
Greenville, SC 29607
(864) 675-0540

 

Ellis Vidler is a writer and editor. She won the South Carolina Writers Conference prize for short fiction and was a finalist in or won a few contests. Her first novel, Haunting Refrain, was published by Silver Dagger Mysteries. She is currently a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America and lives with her husband and dogs in the South Carolina piedmont.

Her new book, The Peeper, is co-authored with Jim Christopher.

This is the short version. If you really want to know more about her writing history, click here.

Insert YOUR Name Here

That’s right. I’m looking for the next round of guest bloggers for Life as a Publisher. If this is about my life, why am I bringing all these other people here? Simple. Everything in the world is part of my life and also because it’s my Blog and I can.

Here is what I would like to see on the blog:

  • Monday: Trash Talk (This is where we can all say exactly how we feel. If you’ve got a rant, tell us about it. Books, writing, mean people in bookstore lines, whatever, get it off your chest.)
  • Tuesday: Library Spotlights (I would love to have people (authors, readers, patrons) send posts on their favorite libraries. Librarians, this is yoru chance to get your library in the limelight!)
  • Wednesday: Topics for Writers (this would include anything that would interest writers or authors from craft to marketing)
  • Thursday: Bookstore Spotlights (This is where I would like to have posts on your favorite bookstores. If possible, please send pictures. Booksellers, feel free to spotlight your OWN store.)
  • Friday: New Book Releases (if you have a new book out, this is the day to announce it here.)
  • Saturday: Karen’s Kwips (I’ll post on these days.)
  • Sunday: Karen’s Kwips (I’ll post on these days.)

Signing up to be a guest blogger here is easy. A few simple steps.

  1. Check the schedule in the sidebar to make sure your date is not already taken.
  2. Send an email (echelonpress@gmail.com) that includes your Name, e-mail address, and the date you want to appear. Please make sure your topic works with the scheduled topic. Please place “GUEST BLOGGER REQUEST” in the subject line).
  3. Send me your articles/posts. These should be 250-300 words. I like to keep things short. Please try and get them to me at last 10 days in advance. I am slow enough on my own.

When you send your post, they should be as attachments. The email should include:

  1. The post.
  2. A photo of you and/or your book cover or something relating to what you are talking about. If you don’t include your choice of photos, you are bound to accept my choice of images.
  3. A list of any links you want included. Also include your social networking urls (please visit tinurl.com before inserting those 457 character urls.)

See, how easy is that? Now tell all your friends. Bring it on!

Emails should go to echelonpress@gmail.com

Vampires, Monks, English Lit Teachers and other Paranormals

Guest Blog: Donna Fletcher Crow

I was recently interviewed on a talk show where the hostess said what a change of pace it made to have a writer of ecclesiastical thrillers on the show because they had had a string of authors who wrote about vampires.

I laughed and said that I thought that to many readers the monks in my books would probably seem just as esoteric as vampires do to many people. My interviewer admitted that, to be honest, she was among that number.

All of which got me to wondering if my Monastery Murders could be classed as paranormal. But actually, it was Felicity, my heroine, who had the thought first.

Early on in A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, Felicity, a very modern young American woman who found she hated teaching Latin and didn’t know what else to do with her classics degree, went off to study theology in a monastery “in a fit of madness” as she says, muses:

What was the right term to describe how she was living? Counter-cultural existence? Alternate lifestyle? She pondered for a moment, then smiled. Parallel universe. That was it. She was definitely living in a parallel universe. The rest of the world was out there, going about its everyday life, with no idea that this world existed alongside of it.

It was a wonderful, cozy, secretive feeling as she thought of bankers and shopkeepers rushing home after a busy day, mothers preparing dinner for hungry school children, farmers milking their cows— all over this little green island the workaday world hummed along to the pace of modern life. And here she was on a verdant hillside in Yorkshire living a life hardly anyone knew even existed. Harry Potter. It was a very Harry Potter experience.

Therein, I think, lies much of my reason for choosing to write in this rather esoteric subgenre: This is a world — parallel universe— I have become acquainted with through my own research of English history, my own spiritual journey, and my daughter’s decision to— yes— study theology in a remote monastery in Yorkshire after finding she really, really hated teaching school in London. (Well, literature follows life.) And I found myself wanting to share this world and some of the amazing adventures I had tromping over ancient holy sites.

Background is always one of the most important factors in a novel for me— perhaps even the most important factor— so my books have to be set in places I love to visit, both for the research and for living there mentally while I write.

For me, if I am going to give my reader a “you are there” experience it’s much easier if I have had the experience myself— except for the murders, you understand. So I try never to put Felicity and Antony in a place I haven’t been myself, then I can only hope my reader will follow me there: St. Ninian’s cave on the edge of the Scottish coast, the windsweapt bluff of the ruined Whitby Abbey, the Holy Isle of lindisfarne in a raging storm. . .

Perhaps the greatest challenge for a writer is to lead their readers into dreaming the fictive dream. And once we’ve lulled them into that state, not doing anything graceless to jerk them out. This is especially true when one chooses to write about an unfamiliar world that many readers might consider paranormal, so I try to make that alternate universe feel real by using references to everyday things such as the weather— always lots of that in England— and food— not always easy to come by when you’re chasing and being chased by murderers.

Another interesting aspect in developing Felicity’s Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass experience (as she describes it in another place) is showing her delights, confusions and frustrations of being an American in England. Yes, the plumbing almost defeats her.

One of the major functions of fiction is to expand the reader’s universe (the English lit teacher speaking again) so if you, gentle reader, find monks as arcane as vampires, I invite you to take a glimpse at Felicity’s parallel universe. And, yes, she does visit Dracula’s home.

To see the trailer for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE , view pictures from my research trips or buy the book, to go: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 35 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning GLASTONBURY, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE , book 1 in the Monastery Murders series is her reentry into publishing after a 10 year hiatus. Book 2 A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH will be out in 2011. THE SHADOW OF REALITY, Book 1 The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries, is a romantic intrigue available on Ebook. A MIDSUMMER EVE’S NIGHTMARE, Book 2 in the Elizabeth & Richard series will be out spring 2011.

Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.