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Showing posts from September, 2010

Cyclops 2

I love you Kindle, Text-to-Speech!

Cyclops

I bruised my eye, and I'm supposed to rest it by not looking at glowing rectangles. Or reading. Or writing. Or painting. Or watching tv. That eliminates every single one of the my normal activities, both for work and for play. This sucks. And I should stop writing this. :(

Quote of the Day

"The times are such that one should think carefully before writing books." - Antonio de Araoz, Spain, 1559 (during the Spanish Inquisition)

How to Introduce Stories in an Anthology

I decided to write introductions to each story in the anthology, because the anthologies I like best include the author's behind-the-scenes comments. However, I had a problem because in some cases what I wanted to say risked spoiling the story. I moved the "introductions" to the end of the story and made them "comments." Some of the comments are fairly neutral, discussing the techniques and inspiration for the story; others speak a little more personally. Although I've kept the Comments short, my word count for the anthology as a whole is a little longer than expected: 47,000 words.

A Virus Walks Into a Bar...

This is Why You Should Keep Your Notes

Argh. I am down to writing the last introduction to a story in the anthology. I saved it for last because it's a hard sf story, and probably the least accessible in the anthology. It takes place in the fraction of a second after the Big Bang before the hadronization of quarks took place. What is driving me crazy is that I did a TON of research for this novella. I read physics papers, pop science books on the Big Bang, philosophical musings by scientists on the nature of the cosmological constant, and on and on. Most of that, I left out of the story, of course, but I wanted to talk about it in my comments. But, because I was writing fiction instead of an academic paper, I just tossed all good academic instincts out the window and did not keep a bibliography. In fact, I can't even find my notes. I know that I have -- or should have -- many of the papers I read on my computer, but lord knows where. I am so mad at myself for not keeping better notes. I am tempted to yank the st

Humble Assistance

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Dear Friend, As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday. My name is William Makai,a business merchant in Europe,I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous,I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now i regret all this as i now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money inthe world.I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world i would live my life a different way from how i have lived it. Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family membe

Ingram and the Sea Change in Publishing

Ingram wants to lead the sea change in publishing : While digital is growing rapidly, Ingram continues to invest in print technology to maintain its leadership position in a segment it all but invented: print-on-demand. Its Lightning Source division now has 4.4 million titles and has added more titles this year than at any time in its history. "We've seen an explosion of titles," Prichard said, attributing that to a number of factors: traditional publishers doing shorter first printings and reprinting using POD; the growth of aggregators that print public domain titles; more self-publishing; and greater use of POD by academic presses. ... "We expect to take over more publishers' back-end operations as they move from print to digital, and business models change like never before," Prichard said. As digital publishing commands more resources, publishers will want to move the management of slow-moving titles to Ingram, freeing warehouse space and "turn

That Boy Girl Thing

So why don't boys read more books, and girls do more math? Just kidding. I'm not going to attempt to answer that here, because I would inevitably just piss everybody off. Pub Rants joined the fray, which is where I caught some amusing contribuions to the debate, such as My Writer Bloggy Woggy: The Anti-Penis Bias in Pubbying! I'm somewhat sympathetic, except for one thing. Some study somewhere, which I should cite, but I'm too lazy, and honestly, I have other things I should be doing now than writing this blog post, have found that female readers will read books by male authors and aimed at male readers, but not the reverse. Which makes me feel just a bit less sorry for the male readers who are complaining. It is also why, despite this evidence about females dominating both the professional and readership sides of publishing, I have had cause to regret not choosing a gender-neutral or even masculine pen name. Because I write sf, and even hard sf, and I wonder if

Bollywood Goes Sci Fi

If you were wondering, why the Terminators sent back in time never succeeded in killing John Connor, we now know. Turns out, because most of them skipped town in order to start a new career as Bollywood dancers. And that army of iMac-styled robots from iRobot, the ridiculous Will Smith adaptation of Azimov's I, Robot ? Ditto. I guess Wall-E is not the only robot with a secret love for musicals. No civilization can advance without science fiction. Seriously. Look at the countries that produce science fiction and then look at the countries that produce new science. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. Glad to see Bollywood going sci-fi; it bodes well for India's journey towards superpower. And that gun is totally what Shiva would be totin' if he packed heat, you know it. I guess my question is whether we'll really see sci fi take off in Bollywood or if this is just another anomaly, like this classic, which features A FIGHT UNTO DEATH between flying saucers and hippies with gui

Reverend Feelgood - Book Trailer of the Day

Not my usual genre, but Lutishia Lovely and her film crew caught my attention with this one. The scenes are simple, and the cuts are standard, but what carries is it is the sound track and voice over. The actual trailer is one minute, with the rest showing the name of the book and scrolling the credits, so it's not too long. Eugene Long, sweetheart, you have a hell of a sexy voice. I hope you aren't really a preacher. ;) I had to post this one on a Sunday.

Weekends Are A Lot of Work

I used to be a normal person. I used to look forward to weekends. Now, I see weekends differently. They always come too soon and I always give a little sigh of relief when they are over. That's because Monday through Friday, I work: do research, read books, write stuff. Whether it's for school or for my fiction, it's enjoyable. On weekends, I do a lot of things I don't particularly enjoy. Clean the house. Drive all over the place. Shop at Costco. Drive all over the place. Try to fight the crowds at Fun Places we are taking the kids. Don't get me wrong, the part I enjoy is spending time with the kids. But if we "do something" with them, beyond just crashing at my brother's house for the day, it's exhausting. For instance, yesterday we took them to a birthday party and to an aquarium and it took us FORTY MINUTES just to find a place to park the car. Circling and circling three levels of parking lot, with three crying kids in the car. Can I just sa

Ann Brandt's Journey to Publication

An interesting journey to publication that starts with self-publishing, travels through mainstream publishing with HarperCollins and ends as an ebook. Ann Brandt tells how she published Crowfoot Ridge" Of the eight agent responses from my submissions, seven were encouraging, but rejections none-the-less. One was a request to send fifty pages of "Crowfoot Ridge" to Jillian Manus. Three months later her rejection arrived. I did a lot of rewriting after the conference, then proceeded with a small press in NC and self-published. The jacket photo they wanted to use belonged on a Mad Magazine cover. I contacted DeWitt Jones, a photographer/speaker at Maui and asked for a mountain scene. He provided one for four hundred dollars. When the book came out I sent a few copies to him as a thank you. He sent one to his good friend, Jillian Manus, who read it and called to ask if she could represent me. She had no memory of our previous encounter. I signed her contract and she put th

Jane and the Damned - Book Trailer of the Day

Three minutes plus -- on the long side. I didn't watch it all the way through the first time. But I did come back to it, because it's well done. This uses a technique of "pseudo-animation": A series of cartoons or illustrations that accompany the text, or, in this case, voice over, at a sentence-by-sentence pace. Unlike a random jumble of stock images, the succession of cartoons gives the trailer a unified motif, holding it together with greater style. A few stock photos are thrown in, for instance, a shot of Bath. It works okay. The color scheme is simple but striking. The cartoonish b&w drawings are highlighted by red. A nice way to quietly shout: Hey! Vampires! The voice over and sound effects really carry this trailer, even when the cuts could use a brisker pace. I laughed my head off when the ridiculous French accents began at 1:39. "Those English bastards! They cut of my...!" The premise of the book is also a riot. Here we have the Jane Austen

Dumb But Hilarious Writing

"I did it with my last baby and it wasn't totally accurate." -- referring to a test that predicts the gender of a baby Hm. It wasn't "totally" accurate? Either it was accurate or it wasn't, riiiiiight? Unless what you really mean is, "Well it predicted a male, but my baby boy is suspiciously fond of Tinky Winky." (The real answer, in case you were wondering? The test is a scam.)

Harry Potter Trailer

There are some people who assume that just because a book is popular, it is well written. There are other people who assume that just because a book is popular it is poorly written. Don't make assumptions.

Facebook Down!

"OPB BREAKING NEWS: Facebook is down ," read a message on Oregon Public Broadcasting's feed. "Worker productivity rises. U.S. climbs out of recession." But not really, because Twitter and Blogger are still working. ;)

Twelfth Planet Press

Whenever I find a new small publisher, I'm going to just toss it up on the 'ole blog, mostly so I don't forget it. So here's Twelfth Planet Press, "an Australian indie publishing company focussing on publishing innovative, fresh and exciting speculative fiction projects." Books: Anthologies 2012 edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Ben Payne New Ceres Nights edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Tehani Wessely Sprawl edited by Alisa Krasnostein (September 2010) Speakeasy edited by Alisa Krasnostein (April 2011) Collections A Book of Endings by Deborah Biancotti Glitter Rose by Marianne de Pierres (September 2010) Twelve Planets (starting January 2011) Novella Series Angel Rising by Dirk Flinthart Horn by Peter M Ball Bleed by Peter M Ball (September 2010) Doubles Series Roadkill/Siren Beat by Robert Shearman/Tansy Rayner Roberts The Company Articles of Edward Teach/Angaelian Apocalypse by Thoraiya Dyer/Matthew Chrulew (October 2010) Above/Below by Stephanie Campis

Self-Imposed Deadlines Are Real Deadlines

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>rant< I work from a home office with a large whiteboard. I put all my deadlines for the next three months on this board, with little boxes to check them off when I finish each item. I put my classes for graduate school up there, and also my writing projects. I was speaking with a friend on the phone the other day and stressing a little because I was behind on one of my writing goals, which meant that the due date for another writing goal would be pushed up to coincide with a school goal. I didn't want that to happen, so I dedicated a few nights to stay up until three or four in the morning to put in the extra work to meet the deadline. I still have to get up in the night to nurse, and then rise early to send the hubby and toddlers off to work/preschool, so that meant I didn't get much sleep. This had consequences. I was tired and grumpy, which annoyed my friend. "You keep talking about writing deadlines, but you don't have any real deadlines," she sa

King Rolen's Kin and Death Most Definte - Book Trailers of the Day

This is interesting because it uses computer animation, very well executed. This trailer was produced by Daryl Lindquist of R&D Studios. I especially like the way the trailer leads into the dramatic framing = book cover. Then the covers of the trilogy pop up in tempo to the ringing bells while snow continues on the black background. Nice. This trailer has only one problem; it's a problem with the cover too. Who is the author?! The name is so small I couldn't read it after several replays. I don't want to have to expand the video to full screen just to know who wrote this book, it should be splashed across the screen for my Lazy Reader convenience. Ok, ok! I expanded the video to full screen. It's Rowena Cory Daniels. Her Facebook slogan is, "Pour your heart and soul into your books in the hope that other people will want to read them!" Amen. * * * R&D Studios does some classy work. Here's another one, for Death Most Definite by Trent Jam

If Ghengis Khan Had Written Fiction...

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Check Out My New Website!

I HAZ NEW WEBSITE! I've owned Tara Maya's Tales for a while, but until now, it was just a sad, broken page. Now it jumps you to a flashy flash site for my new book! Yay! Check it out.

A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor - Book Trailer of the Day

This is another book trailer that is driven by the premise. There are words and one picture. That's it. But the words appear at the right pace -- on the screen long enough to read, but not so long that it drags -- and they lead up to a surprise. Bam! The picture is just frosting. Indeed, the picture could not have appeared any earlier without give away the cake. It's a shame the book cover is not quite up to professional standards. The cover picture is fine; its the placement of the font that is subtly wrong. Nonetheless, the fascinating premise means I will definitely be adding this book to my Wanted list.

Who Are The 10 Richest (and Poorest) Writers?

James Patterson - $70 million Stephenie Meyer - $40 million Stephen King - $34 million Danielle Steel - $32 million Ken Follett - $20 million Dean Koontz - $18 million Janet Evanovich - $16 million John Grisham - $15 million Nicholas Sparks - $14 million J.K. Rowling - $10 million Via Forbes. I was surprised J.K. Rowling was so low on the list, but remember, this was just the income for last year, not over the author's whole career. For comparison, Bruce Springsteen made $70 million and Kobe Bryant makes $30 million a year. * * * Who are the 10 Poorest Writers? In reverse order, here they are: Ama Sweetey - made more money last year knitting doilies than writing That Dude in Front of My Supermarket Who Handsells His Books - paid more in fines than made selling books, but this is part of the very conspiracy he is warning us about and just PROVE HE IS RITE, CANT YOU SEE THAT U.W. Taken - Spent way too much money on Publish America, first publishing with them, th

How to write a novel

How to write a novel.

Examples of Indie Publishers Who Inspire Me

Domey responded to my Growing Up in Public post with a blog post of his own. Appropriately, in public. I'm going to respond to his post with another one. He's struggling with the same questions about self-publishing as I am. Last week, Tara Maya had a great post on Growing Up In Public. It hit on some ideas that I've been thinking about as well over the last few months. I've been so scared to publish my books because of the dreaded "record" in which bad sales of one book supposedly destroys all of your chances of ever publishing anything else. I'm wondering, what if that actually isn't true? What if I can get away with publishing my little runt Rooster just for the sake of bringing to life the results of seven year's hard work? I guess you could call this, mulling over decisions in public... (which, I have to admit, as a historian, I can only commend). Today I'd like to compare two very different indie publishers who make indie publishing lo

Dear Jill - Book Trailer of the Day

The premise of this book and execution of this book trailer struck me as really original and intriguing. You read the first three chapters of Lauren McLaughlin's book for free.

"The castle is burning. Prithee, let us away."

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“Your sciences could lead to a world where earthly kings, and even God Himself, is of less import than a bear.” “My lord, I am as fond of bears as any. The castle is burning. Prithee, let us away.” I can't wait for this book to come out. The draft is done, so hopefully it won't be long.

Night of the Living Trekkies - Book Trailer of the Day

Hat tip to Athena Stephenson for the link. Okay, this is just cheating. This is not a book trailer. This is a frickin' full on MOVIE. And it is AWESOME. I mean, what can I say? It is funny, has great acting, hilarious costumes, setting, special effects, a huge production cast and Cthulhu only knows what size budget... Am I jealous? Hell yes. Also in awe. I expect a real movie to follow shortly. Full Disclosure: I dressed as a Green Orion Slave Dancer to a Trek convention once. I won first prize in the costume contest and was asked out on a date. A pity I was only eleven.

Rigor Amortis - Book Trailer of the Day

hat tip to Anthony Pacheco for this one! It's done with Animoto, and it looks pretty slick, doesn't it! The music and the pace makes this 1:24 seconds fly by. I love the cartoons. I wonder if they are in the book? I wasn't quite clear if this was a graphic novel, an illustrated anthology. I'm assuming its a short story collection because of the editors. The premise of this anthology made me snarf.

Growing Up In Public

If you skim through You Tube, you'll notice a lot of videos of kids doing cute, crazy stuff. Like this adorable French girl, who is "publishing" her first story -- it happens to be Winnie the Pooh fan fic, and I dare say, it is the most awesome Winnie the Pooh fan fic ever. New technology shifts paradigms. One worry I have always had about self-publishing is the fear that I would publish something too soon. When I read the first books I wrote, including fan fic, back when I was 12, 16, 22, I am horrified at how juvenile it was. My first thought was, "Thank goodness it wasn't as easy to self-publish back in those days, because I would have probably done so and this crap would be haunting me." But maybe that was the old paradigm speaking. In the old paradigm, a writer toiled in secret for years, crumbling up paper from the typewriter, hiding manuscripts under the bed, slowly accumulating a million words of dreck in desk drawers and trashcans, until final

Agent Beauty Contests

Power comes from having choices. When writers query an agent, the agent usually has all the choices: hundreds of other queries to choose from. But very quickly, that situation can be reversed. If a half-dozen agents all court the same author, then the author is the one who has to make the choice, and the agent is the one who has to live with it. I’ve been in this situation a handful times in the last six months or so. I recently saw two of the books I’d offered on announced as sales in Publisher’s Marketplace, under other agents’ names. I was happy for the authors and I love the books, obviously, but gosh darn, I sure wish I could’ve been the happy agent listing those deals. I’m not whining about losing out on these manuscripts at all, and it’s not sour grapes. The author went with the best fit for them and that, at the end of the day, is the best possible thing for everyone involved. The clients I get and the books I sell all happen for a reason. And I do genuinely mean it when I te

Advances in Romance - How Much Money Do Authors Make?

An interesting list of advances for various imprints in the Romance genre. http://www.brendahiatt.com/id2.html The first three publishers already give you an idea of the range: Asylett (4 titles) Average advance: $0 Standard royalty percentage: 40% of net (digital) Average earn-out: $100 Median: $70 Avalon (20 titles) Average advance: $1030 Median: $1000 Advance range: $1000 - $1200 Standard royalty percentage: 10% Average earn-out: $1250 Median: $1000 Range: $1000 - $2400 Avon/HarperCollins (53 titles) Average advance (first book): $19,700 Median: $8000 Average advance (subsequent books): $28,000 Median: $15,000 Advance range: $5000 - $100,000 Standard royalty percentage: 8% Average earn-out: $23,000 Median: $26,500 Range: $12,000 - $35,000

In Advance You Pay

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"But the great choices, the long-term aims that mean high character, high intelligence, great service -- the bills for all that come first. In advance you pay for that with devotion, concentration, self-discipline." -- Harry Emerson Fosdick I have two friends who have good novels out on submission. One book involves butterflies, the others cerebral food cravings. Did I miss anyone? I'm pulling for you, guys! I want to see those books in print. :D

Editing Giveaway Contest

C.A. Marshall is giving away a Substantial Edit of a mss on her blog! She is a Freelance editor, YA writer and literary agent intern. I seriously need this service. I've been going over the numbers for the book I'm publishing, and it looks like it will put me in the red, mostly because of the cost of editing. Oh, to have a free edit... *grin* By substantial, she means plot, characterization, etc. up to 100,000 words. My anthology is rather less, and Dindi is bit more, but I still think it's a pretty cool prize. And you know what, beta readers? Thinking about this contest made me realize how much this is worth. I LOVE YOU. Okay. Enough with the mushy stuff. Resume work. ADDENDUM She used Google Forms to make this cool form thingy. I want to learn how to do that.

You Tube Version of Book Trailer ...and Animoto

I have class today, so I'm a bit rushed this morning. Here's my booktrailer from You Tube, and here's the url. Feel free to repost. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHfM-zdPw2g UPDATE: I wanted to talk a bit about making the booktrailer. I used Animoto and I wanted to talk a little about it. I mentioned before it was easy, although it still took me four trys to get it right. Then I accidently uploaded to my You Tube channel titled, "Conmergence.4" which wasn't a good name. Also, I made a few mistakes. Instead of "Coming Soon," I should have put a date, like "October 2010," so that in a year, when the video will still be floating around You Tube, it still makes sense and people can tell it is already available. Of course, I could have had more pictures, not just thrown the book cover in your face over and over. This was my fault, not Animoto's. I couldn't upload pictures directly from my computer. Animoto would only take them

Speculative Fiction Anthology Announcement, With Cover

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Here it is, my official announcement. I'm going to independently publish a novella-length anthology of my short stories. It will be called Conmergence, and you can see my design for the front cover above. I've given a lot of thought to this. I have, in fact, been considering publishing my epic fantasy (Dindi) series independently, but I'm not sure yet, and I don't want to screw it up. Certainly, I don't want to do a shoddy job, so I decided I needed a trial run first. (I may have mentioned this before, here, on Facebook, on Twitter, in an email...I have basically been thinking in public for the past several days, a habit which is a disturbing by-product of imbibing social media too frequently. I apologize if I became boring or tiresome or tried to bully you into beta reading... I was drunk on a new idea.) One reason I decided to try independent publishing is that several people I respect have tried it and done well with it. I don't necessarily mean financia

Domey's Booksigning

Earlier this evening, I had the delightful opportunity to pop over to Skylight Books for the booksigning of Strange Cargo, an anthology of the PEN Center USA's Emerging Voices, including Davin Malasarn, my friend from The Literary Lab. They even had wine. It was classy. Sadly, I missed the readings, but even though I arrived quite late, the bookstore was packed. You have to understand, Domey and I met in cyberspace; this was our first meeting in person. I had a feeling I knew which one Domey was, but the crowd kind of freaked me out, and I hid in the children's section, hiding behind my toddlers (they're pretty short, so this is less effective than I'd like) until the mob thinned. Then I edged near the person I thought was Domey. He was talking to someone else, so I did that obnoxious cocktail party trick, where you loiter just close enough to a conversation that you're no part of that eventually one of the participants nods uncertainly in your direction. The l

"Are you being sarcastic?" - Zoe Who?

These are made with Xtranormal. I've signed up for it and played around with it a bit. It's a fun service to use. Unfortunately, I have not been able to think of anything nearly half so funny as the Zoe Winters series about self-publishing. Each episode stands alone, but they are all worth watching, and it doesn't hurt to watch them in order. If you haven't seen the rest of the series, check it out.
Of all the problems I worry about digital books, them being too clear and easy to read is not the most pressing issue for me. But I still found this interesting. Stanislas Dehaene, a neuroscientist at the College de France in Paris, has helped illuminate the neural anatomy of reading. It turns out that the literate brain contains two distinct pathways for making sense of words, which are activated in different contexts. One pathway is known as the ventral route, and it’s direct and efficient, accounting for the vast majority of our reading. The process goes like this: We see a group of letters, convert those letters into a word, and then directly grasp the word’s semantic meaning. According to Dehaene, this ventral pathway is turned on by “routinized, familiar passages” of prose, and relies on a bit of cortex known as visual word form area (VWFA). When you are a reading a straightforward sentence, or a paragraph full of tropes and cliches, you’re almost certainly relying on this vent

Dark Symphony - Book Trailer of the Day

This is a pretty upscale book trailer for a paranormal romance, Dark Symphony by Christine Feehan. I have no idea how much it cost, but I'd guess, $5000 or more. It has elaborate video, of reasonable quality -- both the acting and the cinematography -- a voiceover, and a good soundtrack. The song was created just for the video. It's done by the wonderful folk at Circle of Seven, or "cosproductions." They even do wire work I think! Notice the floating at 1:37. On the other hand, the voice over for this should have been low and sexy, whereas this voice as a dead ringer for my gay camp counselor. (He was an actor/waiter, so it's possible! *waves*) When he said the line (1:47) "But a darkness followed them... something ... EVIL!" I snorted my drink. Oh, you were serious. Sorry. It's four minutes long. Aiya! But there is an advantage to accumulating a lot of video book trailers (this is just one of many)... fans can do their own remixes: Swee

9-11 Ruminations

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On September 11, 2001, I was living overseas. I remember that a local newspaper carried the headline, the next day, "Superman Cries." I very much wanted to buy a copy, but I had other priorities at the time. My mom was scheduled to be on an airplane on that day, and I was trying to track her down, make sure she was safe (she was), and then I spent a lot of time on the phone or trying to get online to talk it over with her and other loved ones. By the time I tried to pick up a copy of the newspaper, they were sold out. It's interesting that at a moment like that, people would turn to a fictional character to try to make sense of the tragedy. They could have used the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam, the more usual allegorical figures of nationhood, but instead featured the comicbook Superman, with a single tear. * * * Via, Mind Hacks, An emotional timeline of 9-11. UPDATE: See my thoughts 2011 reflections on 9/11 here .

New Agent - Denise Little

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There's a new agent who handles science fiction and fantasy, among other genres: Denise Little. As you can see, she's already up to her ears in slush. She seems quite nice, and experienced in the publishing world. I’m excited to be trying something new, after over thirty years in the book business. I’ve sat on every side of the table in this field, from bookseller to chain book buyer to editor to book packager, and now–I’m an agent. I’ve got a head full of industry knowlege that’s uncommon for anyone in publishing, simply because I’ve worn so many hats in the the book field. Lots of agents have publishing experience, for example, but I don’t think too many other agents have first-hand inside knowlege of what goes on at the world’s largest bookseller, Barnes & Noble. I think it gives me an edge in figuring out what will sell that few other agents have. In addition, I’ve been an author myself. I know exactly what it feels like to submit, then wait for an answer wit

Towers of Midnight - Book Trailer

Just to be completely unfair, I'm going to contrast the video in the book trailer of the previous post with this one. See? That's how video and voice over should be, if you are going include them. Of course, the budget for this was probably larger than the budget for my wedding, because we are talking Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Tor could afford to make this look good. It's pretty hard to compete with the flagship title for a major publisher. Still, it gives all of us little guys something to aspire to. Oh, and I have this theory that the sweet spot, length wise, for a trailer, is 70 seconds, or one minute, ten seconds. Notice the length on this one.

China Doll - Book Trailer of the Day

This video tackles two of the problems we've seen before: (1) trying to make video look professional, (2) combining what seems to be a documentary with the trailer for a novel. I feel the same way I do about Druids and Ghost Horse Hollow. Folks, I love that you tried, I really do. The acting and cinematography in this is surprisingly good. But it still just doesn't look professional. If you compare this video to the quality of a lot of book trailers out there, it stands head and shoulder above the rest, but if you compare it to standard Hollywood output, it comes up short. The problem is that the viewer subconsciously thinks if the video quality is not top notch, the writing won't be either. This is a fallacy, of course; writers are good at writing, not necessarily video production. But subconsciously the thought is there. Finally, length. Very, very seldom does a book trailer need to be long. I would target 100 seconds as the upper limit. This book trailer could have en

Cinders - Book Trailer of the Day

This trailer is by Michelle Davidson Argyle, my friend, for her recently published literary fantasy, Cinders. Read my interview in an earlier post, if you haven't had a chance yet. I believe she did it herself. It's simple, and low-budget, but the pace is good, the stock footage is well-integrated and doesn't feel like modern pictures just slapped into the trailer of a story sent in a medieval kingdom. One thing she did which makes this trailer stand out is that you will notice several shots of the title character, in appropriate attire, in different positions. This helps give the whole thing a unified feel. How did she do that? Well, she designed the dress, had it sewn and then took the pictures of the model herself. Michelle is also a photographer. One question I asked myself is whether video would have worked better. She had the model and the dress -- she could have done video easily. But I'm not sure it would have improved it. Unless you have a professional set

How Much Money Should You Spend to Self-Publish?

The comments in the Gizmodo article by FastPencil are quite lively. I'd like to respond to a few of the points brought up: Banana Fish Today wrote: Fastpencil is a scam. This is not real publishing. This is a combo vanity publisher/editing service. A real publisher approves only the best writing, then handles the publishing at no cost to the author. Fastpencil here charges $200 to put your book on Amazon. And the link at the bottom of this post is their full pricing page. Cover design starts at $400. Illustrations are $140-$240 apiece. Line editing costs $.029 a word. A novel is generally 80,000 to 140,000 words. So the top-end would run about $4000. And that's just to fix typos; if you'd like advice on your ideas, just triple that number. They also claim to offer marketing, but they give out quotes for that. I get the feeling the price is pretty steep. Real publishers do all this for free. A publisher's business model is "sell books to readers." They fil

5 Reasons Bestselling Authors Are Going Direct

Gizmodo looks at pupblishing: Just recently the Association of American Publishers reported that ebook sales have increased by 176 percent in 2009, while print-book sales continues to decrease. The list of benefits for ebook writers is endless, but one major upside is that the authors are taking home more of the book sale profits. Not to mention that the editing process is simplified and that ebooks are produced much, much quicker. It also helps that authors have more control during the entire book production process and access to a whole new audience. The article is by Michael Ashley (a.k.a. "Mash") the founder of FastPencil, Inc. "which helps authors connect, write, publish and distribute books with just a few clicks." For the other side of the argument ( "but this isn't an argument!" ), check out Behler Blog, both her entry and the discussion in the comments.