Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: The Lord of the Rings

What Happens to a Book After It’s Published?


To answer the question in the title of today’s post, I need to first bring up the differences between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing <— there, I brought them up with those links :-)

And, I shouldn’t ignore the common sentiment among authors that publishing can feel like giving birth

Plus, there’s the old adage that once a book’s published the author should respect its right to grow up as it pleases

The thing is, just like a parent’s “intercessions” in their child’s life after they’ve left home, an author isn’t “finished” with a book once it’s published.

Of course, whether traditionally or self-published, the author needs to be involved in the book’s promotion; but, there are many other exploits a book-child can become embroiled in

Take my book Notes from An Alien as an example. Notes from An Alien

I published it in 2011 and the print and digital editions are just like they were back then; but, when I’m able to spend $350 again, I need to bring out a second edition—a version without the typos that have been discovered

And, you may want to check out a past post about how a book review taught me something important about typos

However, I have free copies of Notes from An Alien and I’ve updated those as new typos were found—they’re Word .doc and Adobe.pdf editions

Then, there’s this other book of mine

It began as a series of fantasy short stories I published here on the blog every Friday, from December 6th, 2013 through July 18th, 2014.

Then, I decided to publish the stories as the book, Strange Fantasies, on AmazonStrange Fantasies

And, just a few days ago, I had a reason to open up that Kindle book on my Tablet

Big mistake on the first page

I’d listed the address of this blog right under the title

However, back then, this blog had a different address (a domain name I’d been paying for…)

But, since it was only published digitally, I had no concerns about saving money to pay my publishing-aid company, FastPencil, to update it

So, that’s what’s been happening to two books I’ve published, since they were born and left home—I’m sure there will be other intercessions in the future :-)

Yet, those changes in my books are Nothing compared to what an extremely famous author had to go through

Lord of The Rings
I’ll share a few excerpts from a past post I wrote—The Publishing (And Editorial) History of Some Extremely Famous Fiction—about all the trials and tribulations these books went through after they were first published

It “…was initially intended…to be one volume of a two-volume set…, but this idea was dismissed by [the] publisher. For economic reasons [it] was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955…”.

“A dispute with his publisher, George Allen & Unwin, led to the book being offered to Collins in 1950.”

“Tolkien eventually demanded that they publish the book in 1952. Collins did not; and so Tolkien wrote to Allen and Unwin, saying, ‘I would gladly consider the publication of any part of the stuff.’”

“‘the printing is very good, as it ought to be from an almost faultless copy; except that the impertinent compositors have taken it upon themselves to correct, as they suppose, my spelling and grammar: altering throughout dwarves to dwarfs, elvish to elfish, further to farther, and worst of all elven- to elfin.'”

“Tolkien was re-editing because…Ace Books in the United States published an unauthorised edition….Ace Books were exploiting a copyright loophole which meant they did not have to pay Tolkien or his publishers any royalties.”

If you’re a fan of Tolkien, you may want to go read the full post

So, If you’ve published, do you have any exploits you’d like to share in the comments about what your child’s been through since they left home? :-)
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What Are Humanity’s Most Popular Books?


I’m always happy when I can write a blog post that deals with all three of the major topics I cover—Reading, Writing, and Publishing.

Most Popular Books

Image Courtesy of Brendan Gogarty ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/brendan76

I’m sure readers want to know about popular books, even if they often love books that aren’t popular.

I’m sure writers need to know about popular books, even if they have no intention of writing a bestseller.

I’m sure publishers are ravenously interested in what makes a book popular.

Still, there are fleetingly popular books and enduringly popular books.

There’s a site in the United Kingdom called Lovereading that’s ranked some of the enduringly popular books by the number of translations, number of known editions, and the copies sold.

Lovereading certainly looks interesting but the infographic, The Most Popular Books of All Time, needs some “interpretation”

So along comes a site in Australia called Women’s Weekly that takes the data of Lovereading and orders it a bit in an article called, The 30 biggest selling books of all time might surprise you.

I imagine Readers can enlarge their horizons by checking out these books

I’m sure Writers would improve their craft by reading these books

I honestly wonder what Publishers think about all this

Here’s a list of those books (ranked by total sales):

The Holy Quran

The King James Bible

Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

She: A History Of Adventure by H.Rider Haggard

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by CS Lewis

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne

Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Odyssey by Homer

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Nineteen Eight-Four by George Orwell

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Anderson’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Are any of your favorites in the list?

Are there some you’d consider reading?

Why do you think these particular books became the Most Popular?

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How To Make A Book A Bestseller


Some folks think every writer tries to write a bestseller.

Bestseller

Image courtesy of Lisa Kong ~ http://www.sxc.hu/profile/sabercat

Well, many writers just write what they want because they feel they must.

If the money comes, fine; if not, write more

Some folks think bestsellers are hard to write.

Some writers think they know a “secret” to writing a bestseller

I should, at this point, refer you to one of my past posts:

Want To Be A Bestselling Author? ~ Don’t Read This Blog . . .

In that post, I reference four writers who pretty much smash the idea that there’s a “formula” for bestsellers.

In fact, even the best-written books have only a crapshoot chance of being on The Lists.

However

If you can find enough up-front money, you can, it appears, buy your way to the top.

Let me quote the Los Angeles Times :

“Every author wants a bestselling book — and those who can pay for the services of ResultSource Inc. just might get one. The company describes itself as ‘a boutique marketing firm that works with today’s thought leaders to build bestsellers’, which it has.”

The article that quote is from is, Can bestseller lists be bought?

It talks about the book Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together by evangelical pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace.

More from the article:

Their “contract was for ResultSource ‘to conduct a bestseller campaign for your book, Real Marriage on the week of January 2, 2012. The bestseller campaign is intended to place Real Marriage on the New York Times bestseller list for the Advice How-to list.'”

And, it did appear there, for a week

That was the first signal the book was a bogus bestseller.

Do read the article about how ResultSource made that happen.

Also, the ResultSource presence on the web is mostly a 404 Not Found error now

If you’d like to see some lists of books that seem to have earned the Bestseller title, check out these 100-million-copies-sold books. (Scroll down a bit to see the top three in each category…)
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Bestsellers . . .


That title up there has a definition that rather surprised me. I typed it in and used the handy highlight-and-look-up-dictionary I have to check the spelling ( it’s very late and I worked very hard today :-)

I’d spelled it right but the definition wasn’t just something like: books that sell a lot of copies.

Here’s my dictionary’s entry ~ “A book that has had a large and rapid sale”

So, slightly taken aback by that “rapid” part, I’ll forge ahead and recommend an exercise for Readers, Writers, and Publishers.

Whether you read books, write books, and/or publish books, it might be of some aid if you could familiarize yourself with books that fall into these categories I plucked from Wikipedia:

I’m sitting here trying to grasp the concept of 100 million copies of the same book and being hindered by being just as incapable of comprehending 20 million copies

In case your not the type of person who clicks all the links in a blog post, I’ll list the top three books in each of the three 100 million-catagories:

Best-selling single-volume books ~ More than 100 million copies

A Tale of Two Cities

The Lord of the Rings

The Hobbit

Best-selling book series ~ More than 100 million copies

Harry Potter

Goosebumps

Perry Mason

Best-selling regularly updated books ~ More than 100 million copies

Xinhua Zidian / Xinhua Dictionary

Scouting for Boys

The McGuffey Readers

Have any surprises?

Think they got the numbers wrong??

Wish other books had been in the top three???

Before you answer those questions, I’m compelled to put their disclaimer about why certain books were not included. I’ll make it small in case you don’t care about disclaimers:

“Religious books, especially the Bible and the Qur’an, are probably the most-printed books, but it is nearly impossible to find reliable figures about them. Many copies of the Bible and the Qur’an are printed and given away free, instead of being sold. The same goes for some political books, like the works of Mao Zedong or Adolf Hitler. All such books have been excluded from this list for those reasons.”
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