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Monday, August 31, 2009

Smashwords Distributing to the Big Guys

If you've been published by an itty-bitty publisher or even self-published, you shouldn't forget about the world of E. Ebooks, that is.

Smashwords announced to its users that the distribution process will begin for selected books within a couple of weeks. The plan is to distribute through Fictionwise and Barnes & Noble by supplying a catalog of books that meet the criteria. The authors can opt out if they want or set their own price (sort of like William Shatner). The memo mapped out the criteria for a book to be approved for the program. A definite upside is that the authors don't have to pay anything for this service. As it should be. It's sort of like having a real publisher. Let's hear a big ol' LOL for that.

I uploaded my latest book to Smashwords at the recommendation of a fellow author. I had to un-fancy my file a bit, since Smashwords doesn't like a variety of fonts or font sizes, and drop caps are a big no-no. However, at the end of the (long) day, after uploading and fixing about ten times, I got a reasonable facsimile of an ebook. Even better, Smashwords provided several formats:

PDF - Reads well on the PC using Adobe Acrobat.
EPUB - My computer fired up Adobe's Digital Editions reader.
PDB - For Palm readers, but also appears to be a flavor usable on the B&N reader.
MOBI - Mobibooks are getting a good market share of the e-market. This format is great for uploading to the Kindle engine at Amazon.
HTML and Javascript - Okay for an excerpt, but tends to find ways to screw up even the most vanilla of Word documents.
LRF - For the Sony Reader.
RTF - Rich Text Format is a universal language for most word processors, however, I don't like the idea of my book being edited by someone without my okay.

I recommend Smashwords for those of you who'd like to publish your own ebooks. Cost to me to upload, have a product page, get into the distribution channels - ZERO. Can't beat that.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Espresso, Anyone?

I received a news update from Lightning Source the other day. They wanted to know if I'd like to sign up to have my books available on the Espresso Book Machine. It's a point-of-sale book printer/binder. Downloading files from the LSI database when somebody requests a given book, it high-speed laser prints, uses the book's cover (no generic covers), binds, cuts to the proper trim size, and spits the book out. Time from request to finish (depending on the state of the high speed connection: about five minutes.

While only dozen of the machines are currently in use, I sure as heck don't mind my book being available to just the current installations:

• New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA
• Internet Archive, San Francisco, CA
• University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, MI
• Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT
• University of Alberta Bookstore, Edmonton, AB, Canada
• McMaster University Bookstore, Hamilton, ON, Canada
• Newsstand UK, London, England
• Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt (my favorite!)
• Angus & Robertson Bookstore, Melbourne, Australia
• University of Waterloo Bookstore, ON, Canada
• Blackwell’s Bookstore, London, United Kingdom
• McGill University Library, Montreal, QC, Canada
Coming soon:
• Brigham Young University Bookstore, Provo, UT (2.0 beta test site)
• University of Melbourne, Australia

Eventually, your huge Barnes & Noble bookstore will turn into a mall kiosk. Drop by to select your reading material, pay, watch the machine run, go home with a freshly printed book of your choice. Cool, eh?

Watch the video and take a look at the FAQ from this page at Lightning Source.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Glengarry Glen Ross of Writing

I sat for six hours at the Oregon Authors table at the Lane County Fair. I had company.

Bob Welch - newspaper columnist. Everybody who walked up to the table knew who he was.

Dorcas Smucker - a Mennonite Erma Bombeck, Dorcas also has a regular column in the town newspaper. Everybody who walked up to the table knew who she was.

Two other regionally well-known writers also had table space: Bob Blakely writes historical non-fiction about Oregon, especially sports. Bill Sullivan has dozens of books out about every hiking trail in the state.

That’s platform.

I also sat next to Carola Dunn. She does not write a newspaper column. She writes cozy mysteries set in the 20's in England. Her Daisy Dalrympel is related by ink and blood to Miss Marple. Carola has 51 books in print. Her new book comes out in September, and her last book is going to paperback this month.

Yet, here she was, sitting next to me. Every time a person wandered by, she piped up "Do you read mysteries?" She got quite a few hits with that line.

Looking at her books lined up in front of her (she took twice the space as I did), then looking at my four (two published the "regular" way, and two self-pubbed), I tried to figure out how to get somebody to stop and look. If they looked at all, I sent out the telepathic message: Go ahead, pick up the book!

I let the covers for my scifi and two fantasies speak for themselves. Obvious what they were. But my "Stories about my father growing up in West Texas during the Depression Era, but it’s not depressing," was just a tad too long to grab the attention of the browser. Carola was already asking them if they read mysteries long before I finished the sentence.

I had plenty of time to ponder the life of a writer, and had a good look at several successful writers. What were they doing, sitting at an authors’ table at a county fair, pitching their works to passersby like carnival barkers? Didn’t having a big name publisher do enough for sales, that these folks felt compelled to sell their own books at a very non-bookish venue like a county fair? Apparently not.

An agent blogged the question "When to Hire a Publicist?" The answer "Maybe never because the writer will really do all the selling." Gee, I thought I was a writer, but apparently I’m also supposed to be a marketing person with a bubbly, outgoing personality, with buns of steel so you can sit at signing tables (like the one at the Fair) for hours on end without going to the bathroom. So, shy writers just give up now. Even if you get a publisher, you won’t get sales unless you’re a salesperson.

So what happened to the maxim that the money flows from the publisher to the writer? Apparently, the money flows from the writer, but it flows after the book is published. Travel, entrance fees to events (can you believe they charged vendors to get into the fair!?!?), conferences, a publicist. And the agent gets paid first.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quest on the web

Quest for the Simurgh has shown up as mentions in the following blogs:

Book Fizz - please vote

All Childrens Books

Where else will it pop up on its own on the web? I'll report when I find the links.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lane County Fair August 18-23

DAY-BY-DAY LISTING OF AUTHORS at the 2009 Lane County Fair (I'll be there Wednesday):
TUESDAY, August 18:
11am-10pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-10pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
11am-2pm, Bob Kono (history)
11am-2pm, June Harvey (biography)
11am-2pm, Merideth Ferrell (art education)
11am-2pm, Linda Rees (biography)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
2pm-8pm, Joey Blum (novel)
2pm-5pm, Katharine Emlen (self empowerment)
2pm-5pm, David Imus (maps)
2pm-5pm, Jane Lindaman (children's books)
2pm-5pm, Patrick Harrison (fiction)
5pm-8pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
5pm-8pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
5pm-10pm, Zed Merrill (history)
8pm-10pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

WEDNESDAY, August 19:
11am-5pm, Bob Welch (Oregon, history)
11am-2pm, Pat Edwards (Lane County)
11am-2pm, Katharine Emlen (self empowerment)
11am-10pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-10pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
11am-2pm, Ann Herrick (young adult)
11am-5pm, Marva Dasef (young adult)
11am-10pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
2pm-8pm, Dorcas Smucker (memoirs)
2pm-8pm, Emily Smucker (memoir)
2pm-5pm, Sharon Brandsma (fantasy)
2pm-8pm, Carola Dunn (mysteries)
5pm-8pm, T. L. Cooper (novel)
5pm-8pm, Gary Hartman (how-to projects)
8pm-10pm, Frog (humor)
8pm-10pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

THURSDAY, August 20:
11am-2pm, Jill Sager (self help)
11am-2pm, Patrick Harrison (fiction)
11am-5pm, Ed Osworth (self help)
11am-5pm, Mike Barker (history)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
11am-10pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-10pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, Sharon Brandsma (fantasy)
2pm-5pm, Judy Berg (nature)
5pm-8pm, Jane Capron (mysteries)
5pm-8pm, Gary Hartman (how-to projects)
5pm-8pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
5pm-8pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
5pm-8pm, Jeff Johnston (steam trains)
5pm-10pm, Dudley Clark (novels)
8pm-10pm, Merideth Ferrell (art education)
8pm-10pm, Jill Sager (self help)
8pm-10pm, Frog (humor)
8pm-10pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

FRIDAY, August 21:
11am-2pm, Jane Capron (mysteries)
11am-2pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
11am-2pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
11am-5pm, L. J. Sellers (novel)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
11am-8pm, Jill Williamson (fantasy)
11am-11pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-11pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, Bob Kono (history)
2pm-5pm, Sharon Brandsma (fantasy)
2pm-8pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
5pm-8pm, Carola Dunn (mysteries)
5pm-8pm, Dorcas Smucker (memoirs)
5pm-8pm, Emily Smucker (memoir)
5pm-11pm, Donna McFarland (children's book)
8pm-11pm, Bob Pedersen (fiction)
8pm-11pm, June Harvey (biography)
8pm-11pm, Merideth Ferrell (art education)
8pm-11pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

SATURDAY, August 22:
11am-2pm, Donald Webb (humor)
11am-5pm, L. J. Sellers (novel)
11am-5pm, Ed Osworth (self help)
11am-8pm, Kurt Cyrus (children's books)
11am-11pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
11am-11pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-11pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, Jane Capron (mysteries)
2pm-5pm, Joe Lieberman (school shootings)
5pm-8pm, Carl Johannessen (history)
5pm-11pm, Mike Barker (history)
5pm-11pm, Kris Ingram (religion)
5pm-11pm, Dudley Clark (novels)
8pm-11pm, Frog (humor)

SUNDAY, August 23:
11am-2pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
11am-2pm, Linda Rees (biography)
11am-2pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
11am-2pm, Linda Rees (biography)
11am-5pm, Ed Osworth (self help)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
11am-8pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-8pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, T. L. Cooper (novel)
2pm-5pm, Carola Dunn (mysteries)
2pm-5pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
5pm-8pm, Bob Kono (history)
5pm-8pm, June Harvey (biography)
5pm-8pm, Bob Pedersen (fiction)
5pm-8pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quest for the Simurgh - Print Edition


Quest for the Simurgh

Ebook in Several Formats at Smashwords Use Coupon Code LE99P for a free download
Print Edition Now Available at CreateSpace
128 pages
$7.95 (send me a message to get a $2.00 off discount code)
ISBN: 978-0-578-00499-0
Texas Boy Publications

The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quest for the Simurgh (Fre)Ebook


Quest for the Simurgh
by Marva Dasef
Enter coupon code LE99P at checkout

The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.