Links of Interest

In no particular order:

Those of us who’ve been around long enough to remember actually mailing manuscripts may struggle with the new, ocean of online publishing (which is both wider and more shallow than the one we used to sail).

Michelle V Rafter of Wordcount rounds up some re-training resources.

Mark Coker of e-publisher Smashwords, has a few strong words of warning about the newish scam of private label articles.

The SFWA has reprinted an updated version here.

Micro Niche Finder isn’t the only operation promoting these shady private label rights articles. There are dozens of others. Their insipid content is popular with SEO scammers who use multi-level marketing schemes and affiliate programs to confuse Google’s search results by polluting the web with vapid ebooks, blogs and websites featuring this content.

If you’re a real author, this content makes it more difficult for your readers to find you on Google.

Last, we go back to that relic from last century, the ongoing debate among snobs of literary fiction vs genre fiction, and the hazards of mixing genres in general. Justin Allen, whose work routinely crosses multiple genres (but none of them “literary”, despite his MFA) breaks this and many other factors that control our “zombie feet” in the bookstore down in three parts:

Part 1 at SF Signal

Part 2 at Debuts  & Reviews

Part 3 at Grasping for Wind

[From part 3]

The thing is, if you write between genres you are pressing the buttons of prejudice in not one group, but in many groups, and maybe in all groups! You take the chance that bookstores are going to shelve you in a place where the readers who might have loved your work will be unable to find it (their zombie feet having taken them to some other section of the store). You inflict cover problems on yourself and your publisher, making it difficult to know how exactly to attract the eye of potential buyers (should it have a fantasy cover – metal bikini and all – or a romance cover – shirtless man embracing lady love on beach? It can’t be everything!). Reviewers on all sides may object to the very heart of your project, because they dislike one aspect. Others might make the assumption that it was never meant for them, and so not give it the time of day. You may, to make a long story short, find yourself slipping between fan-bases, and so between the cracks.


A few of the more sane perspectives on e-publishing

Publishing, like most contemporary media, is currently caught in an upheaval of format and business  models. These changes are either revolutionary or apocalyptic, depending on which extreme side of the field you stand on, but for most of us in the middle its just confusing and messy.

We have cruised the internet for some relatively rational perspectives:

“We’re at a happy point, not just with Apple, but with Barnes & Noble and the ‘Nook,’ the 23 devices that have been launched, and Google Books seems to be just around the corner,” a source in the publishing industry said

But as their advances are cut, authors have failed to notice that during the worst recession for 80 years, book sales went down last year by just 1.2% in value and only 0.5% in volume. Non-fiction titles suffered but fiction is booming and all the publishers I spoke to are secretly optimistic.

  • Finally, veteran RPG author, and master of the movie or game novelization Mike Stackpole has posted a must-read series of blogs on the business behind e-books from an author’s perspective. The RPG industry, as Stackpole has noted elsewhere, is the case study disputing that e-books will automatically cut into the profit of hard-cover books. His Authors Can Be Stupid starts here – and goes on for several posts.

A quick survey of similar sites

Not comprehensive. We came upon these sites more-or-less at random.

Self Publishing Review []

Self-Publishing Review is a central site devoted to self-publishing news and reviews. It is also a social network where writers, readers, and everyone can join and connect, so please register. The aim of the site is to improve the attitude toward self-publishing and help authors find readers.

Magazine-style articles but with blog-level writing. SPR reviews book design but not content (yet), and features articles on self-promotion, and various perspectives on the trouble(s) with traditional publishing.

Best part:

WRITING: You're doing it wrong!

I don’t know who owns the copyright to this, but it’s not me, and I doubt its SPR.

Pacific Book Review []

It is our primary desire to provide unbiased, honest and quality book reviews for the experienced author as well as beginner authors who are just starting in the world of writing.

That said, the book reviews very often read like jacket-flap copy. While a few books reviewed are from mainstream publishers, most are self-published or micro-press products.

They will review your book for free, with no guarantee when (or if)  it will appear. However, for $75 they’ll guarantee a review within two weeks. For $20, you can get a small button for your book on the site. (That is, as far as I can determine, the extent of their “promotion” activities.)

Allbooks Review International []

ALLBOOKS REVIEW is the review source for POD AUTHORS as well as Traditionally published authors.  We do not discriminate between TRADITIONAL AND POD PUBLISHERS.

ALL BOOKS WELCOME.  Great coverage for your book for twelve months +.

Our reviews are honest and forthright.

We wish to make it clear, we do not charge for reviews, only the complete promo package based on the review.

This is supposedly a professional site run by professional people, but the lay-out looks like it was slapped together WordPress after several beers and during commercial breaks.

The review on the cover used the sentence: The story goes pretty much like this: Which would lower your grade automatically in junior college ENG 102. They also have a “promotional package” which consists of a bit of space on their site.

I don’t wish to get snarky.This is a new industry, and just about everyone in it is doing this beside their real job. Yet – if this is to be our most visible competition (witnessed that I found them first), it is hard to be intimidated.

Hello world!

This site is by and for authors trying to publish and/or market their own work – because the days when the big publishing houses take care of that for us are long gone – if they ever existed at all.

We cover the following topics:

  • Writing and the creative process behind the writing
  • The business and business strategy of getting a book published
  • Techniques and strategies (and perhaps gimmicks) for marketing books
  • Trends in both the near and future of publishing
  • Ebooks, podcasts and other new technologies that expand publishing even as the book industry contracts

And anything else we feel might bring traffic to the site.

Check out the works of the members/contributors to this project.

The future of publishing is wide open, but those who keep track of what is really going on need not be afraid.

-Tony Padegimas