Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: books

Book Fair Bonus Post ~ with Free Downloads :-)


Do you know about the Frankfurt Book FairFrankfurt Book Fair

It was held from 19 to 23 October this year (2016) and will be from 11 to 15 October next year.

It’s a pretty big deal…

Plus, you can Download All 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair Show Daily Magazines !

As they say:

“Our show daily magazines include coverage of the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair discussions on copyright, freedom to publish, cross-media, rights and more.”

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A Few More Reasons to Consider #SelfPublishing


This will make the 148th post I’ve done about “Self-Publishing”.

To see all the others, find the word in the Top Tags widget (down a bit in the left side-bar…)—you’ll see this post there, too, since I’ve tagged it with “Self-Publishing” :-)

So, a few more reasons to consider this “new” (it’s been around since the ’90s…) way to publish

You may not have noticed that traditional publishers are floundering all over the place to “adjust” to the economic realities of the BookWorld.

You also may not have noticed that governments around the world are flailing about, nearly helpless to stop the global economy from unravelling.

About the only thing that’s positive about these situations is that the economies of most countries all depend on one another—unified whether they like it or not—so the “leaders” might just work out some solutions

It’s times like these that breed individualistic activity

Two cases that boldly highlight these issues are in Australia and Israel.

The Australian government has recently attempted to change the traditionally published authors’ protections—witness this articleCall for Clarity on Copyright.

I believe the government may have backed down but the situation is still a sign of the times.

Just one excerpt from that article:

“The government risks seriously damaging an Australian book market that generates $2b in revenue per annum – a healthy, competitive and unsubsidised creative industry — with its unproven plan to abolish the right to buy a licence to publish and market a book in Australia.”

Now, the situation in Israel

Amid Controversy, Israel Repeals Its Fixed Price ‘Book Law’

Again, just one excerpt:

“…the law resulted in a large increase in the price of new titles along with a subsequent decline in sales. Publishers say that while book sales overall fell by 20 percent, sales of newly published books–which fell under the law’s restriction on discounts–declined by as much as 60 percent…”

Something to consider:

As long as there are still governments and economic systems and global communication, self-publishing is “relatively” immune to governmental malfeasance—and, I should add, as long as governments don’t shut-down companies like Amazon and FastPencil and Smashwords and many other outlets for self-published books.

For instance:

I published my novel through FastPencil (though you can grab a free copy Here…).

FastPencil distributed it to Amazon, Ingram, Barnes & Noble, and Apple.

Primarily because it appeared on Amazon, it was picked up by retailers in many other countries, with FastPencil and I not lifting our fingers—just a function of the global economy.

Even in Australia, where they apparently have various restrictions on books from other countries, my book is available on AmazonAustralia

The main point is that my book is as open to not being available as traditionally published books, IF society in general unravels a lot more; but, if it can hold itself at its present wobbly level of functioning, self-published books are more immune from government interference than traditionally published books.

Do be aware, I’m not trying to present a “well-reasoned” “case” for the dangers of traditional publishing—just presenting a few situations that seem, to me, to indicate the worth of investigating self-publishing.

The only thing I can’t do in this post is predict the future………
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Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century


I don’t really “review” books here—I tend to mention them, make somewhat desultory comments that I hope characterize them (somewhat), then let you decide… Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century

So, this book—Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century.

I’ll first share what their blurb says:

“Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in the fifteenth century introduced an era of mass communication that permanently altered the structure of society. While publishing has been buffeted by persistent upheaval and transformation ever since, the current combination of technological developments, market pressures, and changing reading habits has led to an unprecedented paradigm shift in the world of books. Bringing together a wide range of perspectives — industry veterans and provocateurs, writers, editors, and digital mavericks — this invaluable collection reflects on the current situation of literary publishing, and provides a road map for the shifting geography of its future…”

I, personally, don’t feel it provides a “road map”—more like a large group of “potential hints”

Here are a few excerpts that I found to be particularly potent:

Most people walk around with some kind of device or have access to some kind of device that allows them to choose how to use their time. . . . In a world with that much choice, books need to continue to evolve to compete for someone’s time and interest.”

“Evolve” toward something more than “content” to feed the ravenous masses, I hope………

Books travel through the world collecting strangers. They are public spaces. Readers meet in the margins, at the edge of a text they share in common.”

“The audience is as ready for change as we are; they’re ready to be addressed as readers sharing the common space of a book, strangers ready to recognize each other across difference.”

“A culture of reading makes an economy that is, like reading itself, slower than shopping. It’s conversational, open-ended, interested in detail, difference; it goes on and on, back and forth; it accepts what is available, rather than unilaterally demanding satisfaction.”

Now, a few that trouble me (from a variety of essays in the book):

“How the digital age might alter attention spans and perhaps even how we tell one another stories is a subject of considerable angst.”

“As Wired put it, when you buy the Kindle Fire, ‘you’re not buying a gadget—you’re filing citizen papers for the digital duchy of Amazonia.’”

“Some people still confuse the newspaper literary culture—a small subgroup, almost a fetish really—with literary culture as a whole.”

“Today, not many university presses are flourishing…”

Now, a particularly damning statement:

“Those of us who’ve worked in literary publishing for years know that some pigs are definitely more equal than others. You add class into it and you see that the literary world at the highest levels is a group of tastemakers comprised by a majority of male writers and editors who frequently hand publications, prizes, and other essential forms of recognition back and forth to one another.”

Here’s one from an extremely clear-headed person:

“The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: ‘How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?’”

And, there are one or two very biased individuals in the book (the following quote omits to mention that traditional publishing is just as much “counting on a miracle”…):

“There’s a role for self-publishing, definitely. But just playing the odds, if you’re a new author, it’s almost always going to make sense to publish with a big or small professional publisher, if you can—a proper editor, some degree of marketing, some degree of professionalism and advice. Want to upload your book onto a self-publishing platform along with hundreds of thousands of others that month, and hope for the best? That’s fine, but you’re basically counting on a miracle.”

Also, that last quote makes the assumption that self-publishing authors don’t avail themselves of editors and never think about book promotion

Still, the variety of voices in this book, from a wide range of disciplines and businesses, is a valuable consideration for those of you who want some important issues to think about—issues that do and will continue to matter in the Book World

So, to bring this non-review to an end, one humble, pithy, utterly true quote:

“One may counterpose the book to many things, but technology shouldn’t be one of them. The book is not counter-technology, it is technology. It is the apotheosis of technology—just like the wheel or the chair.”

Table of Contents:

Reading the Tea Leaves: Notations on the Changing Look of the Literary SVEN BIRKERTS

The Ends of the Book: Reading, Economies & Publics MATTHEW STADLER

The Amazon Effect STEVE WASSERMAN

The Self-Hating Book Critic JESSA CRISPIN

The View from a University Press DONNA SHEAR

Poetry in Translation: Hemispheric Perspectives GABRIEL BERNAL GRANADOS, KRISTIN DYKSTRA & ROBERTO TEJADA

VIDA: An Interview with Erin Belieu ERIN BELIEU & KEVIN PRUFER

19 Things: More Thoughts on the Future of Fiction JOHN O’BRIEN

Hold the Damn Door Open: Idealism Is No Currency MEGAN M. GARR

Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing DANIEL JOSÉ OLDER

Comics Publishing DOUGLAS WOLK

The Art of Agenting: An Interview with Chris Parris-Lamb CHRIS PARRIS-LAMB & JONATHAN LEE

The Open Refrigerator GERALD HOWARD

A Culture of Competition: Some Notes on Writing Contests & Literary Publishing KEVIN LARIMER

Coming to Milkweed Editions DANIEL SLAGER

The Overnight Success of Lookout Books EMILY LOUISE SMITH

The Southern Review at Eighty JESSICA FAUST & EMILY NEMENS

What Is the Business of Literature? RICHARD NASH

The Future Value of a Literary Publisher JANE FRIEDMAN

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“What Can I Do With All These Books?!”


Too many books in your library?

No real library—just books all over the place?

Not sure what to eliminate?

It can seem like books multiple on their own…

Places to keep them can seem hard to find…

How to organize them can seem impossible…

Enter Alison Hodgson—writer, reviewer, speaker, and humorist—and her article on houzz, ‘Not My Precious Books!’ — Pain-Free Ways to Declutter Your Library.

Here are a few excerpts:

“Reading is my drug of choice, and I know I’m in good company.”

“Before our house fire, our family library included thousands of books…Now I can see I held onto books I didn’t love for one or more of the following reasons:

“Sentimentality….

“Cost….

“It was a gift….

“Pretty cover….

“Having it on my shelf made me look smart.”

“As I decluttered my entire house, I became quite ruthless in what I got rid of to achieve my goal of…But I completely missed the fact that I needed to extend that ruthlessness to the books themselves.”

“I’m a book reviewer, the friend of many authors and a committed book buyer, so there is a constant stream of books into the house, but this is what I ask myself to get some of them back out:

  • Do I love it?
  • Will I read it again?

“That’s it. Those two questions alone have enabled me to keep from holding onto more books than I care to maintain and leave room for those I still wish to replace. I’m having fun rebuilding my library slowly as I remember the books I miss and want to read it again.”

Do go read Alison’s full article—there are some gorgeous pictures of libraries—plus, check out her article, 4 Obstacles to Decluttering — and How to Beat Them.
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What Should You Read Next?


How do you choose what to read next?

Intuition?

Ask a friend?

Browse a bookstore?

Browse a WebSite?

Go to a library?

Well, I found another way—based on other readers’ favorites and used over 10 million times

And, it’s called, ever so appropriately, What Should I Read Next? :-)

I’ve checked it out and it seems to have some merit.

What I’d really like, though, is for you to check it out and come back and let me know what you think in our comments.

O.K.?

Good :-)
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