Publishing Tales: Stories about Literature from across the Web (March 6 – 12)

Each week, we collect stories about self-publishing and authorship in the digital age. These are some of our favorites. If we’ve missed a good one, leave it in the comments. Or send us a note.

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Ebooks + Technology

  • E-Book Readers Want A Trashier Experience: Fay Weldon suggested at The Independent Bath Literature Festival that authors should write different versions of their work for digital and traditional publishing: racier, trashier, and easier to understand storylines for e-books; more drawn out and complex for traditional.
  • Fay Weldon has misread ebook readers as ‘non-literary’: Fay Weldon doesn’t see the idea of books being books no matter the medium they’re published in. Different versions of stories would be interesting, but they versions shouldn’t be dictated by the medium.
  • European Court Rules Ebooks Aren’t Goods: The European Union has said that ebooks are not products, they are services, and as such their tax rates are higher than printed books. The digital market’s tax laws in the European Union are still changing, and the distinction may be eliminated in the future.
  • DBW E-Book Bestsellers: Penguin Random House Still Sweeping E-Book Best-Seller List: Penguin Random House is the largest trade publisher in the world, and has continued this trend even with digital books. Over half of the E-book Best-Seller List is comprised of Penguin Random House books.
  • Researching Reader Intent to Fine-Tune Book SEO: Search engine optimization could be better utilized by marketing content with searchers’ intentions through crafted landing pages. Author sites are a good starting point, but you also have to research  what your audience wants and incorporate that into what you have.
  • New Kobo eReaders to Launch by Easter, Cost Less Than You’d Expect: Kobo will be releasing two new e-readers this spring: the Pika and Alyssum. There have been no FCC filings, but they both should be touchscreens with Pike having no frontlight and being the smaller choice, and Alyssum having a frontlight.
  • So What’s Up (and Down) with Ebooks?: You don’t have the same rights with e-books as with regular books, so to pay close to regular price for a digital book doesn’t make much sense. You can’t re-sell, borrow, or lend an ebook, and yet book sellers expect you to buy them for close to $13.

Self-Publishing + Small Presses

  • Why Jamie McGuire Returned to Self Publishing: Jamie McGuire is a New York Times bestseller who started as a self-published author, published two books traditionally, and then returned to self publishing because she wanted to keep her digital rights, and printed books just aren’t moving as quickly as they have in the past. She goes over her experiences in a Q&A format in this article.
  • Self-publishing lets women break book industry’s glass ceiling, survey finds: FicShelf published a report that says women authors tend to do better than men in the self-publishing medium, while the opposite is true in traditional publishing. While the numbers show that women write, buy and read more than men, males are given more preference in traditional publishing
  • How Independent Publishers Can Stay Profitable: Sandy Grant gave a keynote at the UK Independence Publishers’ Guild on March 5, and urged independent publishers to use “transformational solutions.” Indies need to develop global strategies, work on digital markets, work to have good relationships with independent booksellers, and to nurture good relationships with investors.
  • Publishizer Is A Crowdfunding Solution That Aims to Bring Authors and Publishers Together: Publishizer works with pre-order books by letting authors craft their pitch and then if their pre-order pledges meet their goal then Publishizer collects the money to give to the authors. While the site works like Kickstarter, it’s also a way for authors to get noticed by traditional publishers.
  • Amazon’s Writing Community WriteOn to Exit Beta: WriteOn, a Wattpad competitor, is leaving beta and will soon be open to anyone. It lets users post stories, read stories, and chat about writing techniques and storytelling.
  • Still think Amazon’s not a gate-keeper?: Amazon has created a system that allows people to have a viable avenue for self-publishing that connects them directly to readers, but it’s also a gate-keeper. Amazon is the middle-man that keeps email addresses and other analytics that authors could utilize in their marketing and other efforts for growth.

Writers + Writing

  • AUTHORS AND THEIR OPINIONS: Having an opinion isn’t a bad thing, and even though there are potential pros and cons for voicing opinions it’s the authors themselves who should decide whether or not they want to voice that opinion.
  • Elmore Leonard on Bad Movies and Good Writing: A five minute video of Elmore Leonard speaking with The Atlantic about successful and unsuccessful adaptations of books, and how the difference is made when the director actually uses the book versus when they make stuff up. He also talks about the difference between good writing and bad, and how bad writing can show that an author is inexperienced.
  • The death of writing – if James Joyce were alive today he’d be working for Google: Writer’s aren’t merely novelists, they have the potential to occupy a variety of roles and functions. Documentation is a part of many occupations, such as anthropology, but skilled writers seem to be unimportant and quaint in the shadow of all-knowing data.
  • What Authors Can Learn From Startups: Authors need to recognize that their costs for editing, designing and marketing are important investments. Authors are their own business, and they need to market themselves creatively, plan launches, set reachable goals, and they need to realise their accountability in this process.
  • Writing and Publishing that Second Book: Michele Young-Stone and Heidi Durrow talk about how an author’s second book is nothing like the first. Thoughts about what the readers want, doubt, the business aspect, and expectations can curtail creativity.
  • From a Dinosaur Publishing in a Digital World … by Chris Goff: Technology led to the digital world which led to digital publishing. Today, authors need to be both writers of good books and social networkers, authors need to evolve with the times while still writing great books.
  • 8 Pro Tips to Becoming a Successful Fan Fiction Writer: Fanfiction writers should focus what interests them, work for mass appeal, don’t worry too much about originality of the story, incorporate Easter eggs, don’t make the story depend too much on the original story, update on a schedule, connect with other writers and fans, and use their stats to take the next step in publishing.
  • Authors ‘more committed to agent than publisher’: The “Do You Love Your Publisher” survey showed that 31 percent of respondents would stay with their publisher if “a similar house came along with the same deal,” in comparison to the 45 percent who would stay with their agent under the same circumstances. Marketing and communication levels of publishers were problems for some respondents.

Books