Posts Tagged 'publishing'

More library love

I am such a soft touch.

My husband can tell you. I cry when the confetti comes down on the winner of American Idol, and I cry when someone wins a car on The Price is Right. I cry at the end of The Muppet Movie when Kermit sings the reprise to “Rainbow Connection.” It’s something about happiness and love and people having their dreams fulfilled.

And because I love libraries, and their stories, so much, Heather McCormack’s post about the publisher-library connection struck me as sweet and wonderful and made me tear up.

Libraries, as Heather says, are an integral part of the “reading ecosystem,”

a gorgeous little loop that leads to innumerable sales and circs that no one’s bothered to measure.

Library patrons are book buyers. They feed the cycle with their passion for stories, knowledge and information. Heather, in talking about one particular patron, says

This is just one story, but I bet you know five people who know five people who have used a library, then shopped in a bookstore, then gone back to a library before returning to a bricks-and-mortar or Amazon. And so on and so forth it goes…

And if you like sharing library memories, don’t miss the continuation of library week over at The New Sleekness with posts from Shayera Tingri and Kassia Krozser.

If you have other library links, please share them!

The view from here…

DBW seminar
The view from the lobby at today’s forum.

Today’s Digital Book World forum, Digitize Your Career: Editorial and Marketing, gave me a lot to think about. Ideas for me, ideas for my company and lots of notes. (Did you doubt the last?)

But the two parts I can share right now, while my kid is getting ready for bed, are: 1) The view from the 50th floor lobby is GORGEOUS. Skyscrapers, Central Park, the rivers and the GW Bridge highlighted by spring greenery. How the receptionists keep from staring out the gigantic picture windows all day I don’t know. 2) The folks who presented at and attended today’s session were awesome, entertaining, thoughtful and full of practical advice.

If this is the future of publishing, I like the way it looks.

My picture is in the “paper”!

original photo of TOC
(Original photo courtesy of James Duncan Davidson)

When I was a kid, my family used to squee when anyone got their picture in the newspaper, no matter the reason.

So I loved that my face showed up in a digital “paper,” Publishing Perspectives, this morning. See, here I am, circled.

circled at TOCCON

Squee!

Also, the Perspectives discussion piece poses an interesting question. Are the many recent book conferences creating a “paywall around best practices” to keep the democratic means of production (read: publication) out of the hands of the masses? Or are the conferences the result of old industry leaders paying for the seeds of new industry innovation so they don’t become obsolete?

Maybe it is an attempt at the former, but the tone of the sessions leaned toward the latter. I learned a lot of specific and useful information, but I also heard a lot of ego-stroking (e.g., the new way needs you and your content) and pitches for products aimed at the pub biz market.

Several of the sessions and keynotes were from folks who had innovated at somewhat of a distance–or even completely separate–from the business. If they can do it with sweat equity, why not anyone else?

The tools of change are out there, free for the learning. A conference is just a filter, a way to cut through some of the noise on the way to finding out what you want to know.

My personal TOC

There are a lot of solid wrap-ups for the Tools of Change for Publishing conference making the rounds today. DBW’s webinar chose TOC Take-Aways as today’s topic, though technical problems and catch-up work prevented me from listening. Mark Coker had a piece, as did Publishing Perspectives. [Update, 2/27/10, a few more TOC links: an insightful observation about the value of chance and open-mindedness at conferences from Debbie Stier; Kirk Biglione’s DRM slides; Don Linn’s observations; and a summary of Tim O’Reilly’s speech on Teleread.]

I’m still working my way through my notes, which are way more detailed than usual, thanks to typing them instead of writing them. But I do have some personal take-aways from the conference.

1) It’s really fun to take your computer into a room with free wifi and interesting speakers. I took notes, looked up URLs as they popped up on the big screen, added books to my Goodreads to-read list as they were mentioned and had my RSS feed right there for reading should I get bored, which only happened once or twice. I wish actively using your device was socially acceptable at every conference.

2) Social media is the new SEO, especially when it comes to selling more books via word of mouth. I found the panels by Bob Carlton, Chris Brogan and Angelina Ward to be immediately applicable in my daily business.

3) Analytics will become (or have already started to become?) the new sales numbers. The amount of information that will soon be available…I mean, you can actually know if the book was bought and not read. Or, if the reader started, but then lost interest at page 20. As one presenter put it, you’ll know the multiple differences between those who read at 2 am in bars and those who read at noon during lunch. Talk about niche markets.

4) Technical guys who can create their own version of xml, automate all of their publishing systems (e.g., turn a 2-day process into a 37-second process), publish all of their royalty data for everyone to see and make money…well, they make me wish I could write a book about code and publish it with them right now.

5) I don’t like to feel that my content is brought to me by sponsors. I found suspicion creeping in every time there was a product related to a presentation, even when some of the products were ones I want to try.

6) Mobile is everywhere, even in emerging markets. The coverage is only growing. So who needs ebook readers?

7) And the most important point: It’s all about the customer–know them, meet them, talk to them, engage them, give them all the information you can, give them their choice of devices and formats, add value for them. Then maybe you can publish what they will pay to read.

#DBW–day 1

So not only did I miss what seems to have been great discussions at Digital Book World today, I have been nearly offline for the last week and a half catching up on reading for work.

Now that my deadlines have loosened their grasp just a bit, I scrolled through as many #dbw updates on Twitter as I could handle.

I was especially impressed to see Angela James’ (@angelajames) impact on the New Business panel.

amywilkins: Heehee RT @IrisBlasi Audible gasp from the audience when @angelajames said Carina’s books have no DRM–across the board. #dbwnewbiz #dbw

booksquare: RT @rilnj: RT @calreid: #dbw @angelajames No advances, 30% royalty/cover price & no DRM. R. Nash howls “you’ll be pirated!” angie: probably.

Love the gasping visual! And I’m intrigued by Angela’s response to accusations of letting in the pirates.

The DBW webinar last Thursday dealt with piracy, in a limited way (focused mostly on O’Reilly titles.) But the guest researcher, Brian O’Leary, said the initial data shows that the most pirated titles are also the titles with the most sales. Correlation? Causality? It’s unclear. (If I remember correctly, he said that the titles that were the most pirated also had 2/3s more sales than titles that were not pirated.) It seems to lazy-ol’ me that when it’s easier to buy than to steal, people will pay for the convenience, if for nothing else.

Also, aren’t publishers always giving away free reads? Like dope pushers, they know a good book will bring the addicts back for more. Samples, excerpts, advanced review copies, and libraries. Free e-books, just from anecdotal evidence, seem to do the same job. So maybe encouraging piracy is a good thing?

And then the conversation took a turn:

IrisBlasi: Discussion about ebooks getting heated. @angelajames offers to “take it outside.” #dbw #dbwnewbiz

A duel at dawn? Thunder Road? If only… It was probably more like, “Time’s up. If you want to keep chatting let’s go outside.” In any case, I can’t wait to read more about this panel from Angela and others who were there.

A few other updates stood out that were not Carina Press-related.

concentricdots: Most crucial message for publishers from #dbw today is STOP marketing products and START cultivate customers. Use the tools of change

This is where social media comes in, I suppose–but only when done right. IMO, Harper Studio’s blog is an example of the publisher getting it right. I read their blog because the posts are interesting. The blog writers, who all work at Harper Studio, cover timely topics related to publishing, media, entertainment, editing and, of course, their books. But when they do get around to writing about their books, the posts are about more than just what’s coming out and why it’s great. Instead they discuss something cool or personal that is related to their books.

Those blogs that only say “see this book/interview/author”? Ugh.

charleenbarila RT @IrisBlasi: Mindshift: Publishers are not selling the book, we’re selling the author.-@R_Nash #dbw #dbwnewbiz

Is this really a mindshift for publishers? Hmm. Isn’t that what happens with those blockbuster names like Nora Roberts, James Patterson, etc.? Harlequin folks always talk about “growing the author.” The assumption is that authors will always write more than one book, and future books will be just as good as, if not better than, the one that first caught an editor’s eye. Holding that assumption as true, an author’s audience should grow as she becomes known by more readers. Other publishers don’t think this way?

geogeller we are in the business of selling experiences, food for imagination #dbw #140conf @jeffpulver @chrisbrogan @garyvee @lizstrauss

I love this! Reading is always about the narrative experience for me, even for non-fiction. Now we readers can add to the imaginary world with other virtual experiences. Like that time when I was ten and I baked scones to go with my Philippa Carr novel–except way better.

nyefwm RT @alicepope: Sara Nelson: One of the truisms in publishing is that publishers don’t spend money promoting their backlists. #dbw

As someone who works on backlist quite a bit, I found this truism interesting. If publishers don’t spend money promoting those older titles, and authors have nearly forgotten that they wrote those books, how can editors best help get the word out? Homework for me!

Horizons: The final word

I am distressed. Like, feeling-an-ulcer-boiling-up-in-my-gut distressed.

Even though this blog has my own given name on it, and it includes a sweet little “this ain’t Harlequin’s blog” disclaimer on the right sidebar, and I spent my precious library time posting about how this blog is my personal opinion blah, blah, blah, I’m still worried people might be mistaking my thoughts for those of the Harlequin PR office. (Yes, I tend toward paranoia.)

I’m not an executive, a director, a manager or even a senior person at Harlequin. I just work there, happily, and love publishing, a lot. Naturally, I thought it’d be interesting to discuss exciting developments within my favorite publishing company as one publishing professional to others.

Alas, that plan isn’t working for me.

I’m too much of a nervous Nellie. Even though Harlequin has a permissive blogging policy, it still feels weird to go from 16 page views to over a thousand on the back of a blogosphere fury. To lower my stress, I’m holding off on discussing Harlequin on this blog. (At least until the Horizons furor dies down.) That way I can assure my bile-filled stomach that I haven’t accidentally said something that someone else will take as coming directly from Harlequin.

I love my job and I want to keep it. Also, I hate ulcers.

So. I’m going to publish this little piece and then play around in the comments that have piled up over these last few days. I will respond to as many as I can, though I will not answer any questions specifically about Harlequin or Horizons.

I will, however, change the comments to unmoderated so you guys can better discuss things amongst yourselves, if you want to hang around. And, I will continue to discuss self-publishing, vanity presses, e-publishing and any other crazy mode of non-traditional publishing that catches my fancy. Because, in spite of the naysayers, I think they are interesting ideas that deserve further thought and discussion.

Horizons: Going over the edge

Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers! (And I’m still chewing.)

I cannot express how frustrated I am not to be able to further the conversation about Horizons right this very minute. NYPL has given me a computer reservation that lasts less than half an hour, with page-load times that could barely beat molasses in January. That’s just enough time for me to approve all of the passionate, insightful and thought-provoking comments I’ve received so far, and not enough time to respond to any of them in any depth.

The one thing I do want to say in my limited time is that on this blog I am not acting as a “representative” of Harlequin, as some commenters have indicated. (My disclaimer on the right-hand side says this clearly.) This is my personal blog filled with my personal opinions about publishing, an industry I care deeply about.

I actually started this blog not long ago because of the many, many articles, posts and tweets I have been reading this year about self-publishing, vanity publishing, e-publishing, and other new and changing options and distribution models. I have a collection of links waiting to be posted that have nothing to do with Harlequin. It’s just that the company made some exciting announcements recently. Since my goal is to discuss how publishing works now and how it is evolving, I couldn’t very well ignore the winds of change that were fluttering the papers on my day-job desk.

If the only thing you know about me is that I work at Harlequin, you might think I’m touting the party line. An understandable mistake since this blog is so new I haven’t even filled in my About page! Honestly, nobody read my ramblings until yesterday when Angela James kindly alerted everyone to my presence on Twitter. (Thanks, Angela. I think.)

So, please forgive me for not being able to address your comments right now. I’m ready to discuss the future of good writing, wherever it may be published. As soon as I can get my hands on a real computer.


DISCLAIMER

I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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