Now Comes the Shameless Self-Promotion

From the New York Times, How Writers Build the Brand, by Tony Perrottet:

As every author knows, writing a book is the easy part these days. It’s when the publication date looms that we have to roll up our sleeves and tackle the real literary labor: rabid self-promotion. For weeks beforehand, we are compelled to bombard every friend, relative and vague acquaintance with creative e-mails and Facebook alerts, polish up our Web sites with suspiciously youthful author photos, and, in an orgy of blogs, tweets and YouTube trailers, attempt to inform an already inundated world of our every reading, signing, review, interview and (well, one can dream!) TV appearance.

In this era when most writers are expected to do everything but run the printing presses, self-promotion is so accepted that we hardly give it a second thought. And yet, whenever I have a new book about to come out, I have to shake the unpleasant sensation that there is something unseemly about my own clamor for attention. Peddling my work like a Viagra salesman still feels at odds with the high calling of literature.

In such moments of doubt, I look to history for reassurance. It’s always comforting to be reminded that literary whoring — I mean, self-marketing — has been practiced by the greats. Continue reading

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Penguin Adds Self-Publishing

From, an introduction to the article:

Aspiring writers come to Book Country, Penguin Group USA’s online genre fiction community, to post and workshop their romance, science fiction/fantasy, thriller and mystery manuscripts in progress. Now Book Country is adding a self-publishing option, with packages ranging from $99 to $549. While companies like HarperCollins have launched their own writing communities, Penguin is the first “big six” publisher to add self-publishing tools to its offerings.

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Amazon Cutting Out Publishers

From CNBC: Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal (Hat tip: Instapundit—”Goodbye Middleman”) has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.

Rapid change continues to occur in the publishing industry.

Update from Instapundit:

REGARDING AMAZON ENTERING THE PUBLISHING BUSINESS, a reader emails: “Amazon isn’t getting rid of publishers, it’s becoming a publisher. This means the group that controls the distribution also controls the content selection. Not exactly a blow for the Army of Davids in my opinion — when all the publishers are gone, who will publish the books critical of Amazon? Bottom line: It’s not getting rid of middlemen, it’s just muscling them out so it’s the only middleman. It does however reveal that in the age of digital publishing, discoverability and promotion on the digital storefront is the only thing that actually matters. The role of publishers in curation is almost totally abrogated to the sellers. When anyone can publish a book, it’s no longer the publishers that are the gating factor to what we read, it’s the digital storefront. It’s a very interesting shift and definitely good news for Amazon and the like.”

That’s a good point. I like Amazon, but if they become a chokepoint that would be bad. Right now their platform is very open to self-publishers and others, but if that were to change it would be a bad thing. There would probably be antitrust issues, too.


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Best-Selling Author Gives Away His Work

From The New York Times:

A publishing industry that is being transformed by all things digital could learn some things from Paulo Coelho, the 64-year-old Brazilian novelist. Years ago he upended conventional wisdom in the book business by pirating his own work, making it available online in countries where it was not easily found, using the argument that ideas should be disseminated free. More recently he has proved that authors can successfully build their audiences by reaching out to readers directly through social media. He ignites conversations about his work by discussing it with his fans while he is writing.

That philosophy has helped him sell tens of millions of books…
Hmm…food for thought.


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A Brave New Book World: How Authors Become Entrepreneurs

From MediaShift, an assessment of social media, e-books, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype—all this stuff I thought I’d never do:

So this is what it’s like to be an author now – finishing the book is only the beginning. New technologies allow writers to seek out and engage with their readers more than ever before, and to participate in a community of readers and writers that isn’t limited by geography. The drawback is that for many authors who want people to buy their books, social media isn’t optional. In the years to come, the image of a reclusive writer, isolated in his garret, might become an antiquated one, like that of someone pounding out a novel on a typewriter or reading an actual book made of paper.

I’d actually prefer to be the reclusive writer, but it doesn’t auger well for actually selling books to follow that path—one must get with the times, which involves shameless self-promotion.

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Black Sparrow: The Publisher Who Backed Bukowski

From Abe Books:

Literary America owes a great debt to the Black Sparrow Press. This visionary California-based publisher was prepared to gamble on Charles Bukowski - the low-life, alcoholic writer other publishers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole – and a swathe of other avant-garde authors who didn’t fit in.

Founded by John Martin in 1966, Black Sparrow also published Paul BowlesJohn FanteDiane Wakoski and other so-called ‘alternative’ writers as well several more mainstream names inJoyce Carol OatesD.H. Lawrence and Wyndham Lewis

(Hat Tip: Frank Wilson)

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10 Myths About Social Networking For Business

From Forbes, Ten Myths About Social Networking For Business. The introduction:

There is so much noise about social media, much of it not very helpful. Myths about how and why to use these networks abound, spread by networking neophytes and so-called experts (like me) alike.

The truth is the answers to these questions keep changing, because we are only beginning to understand how to harness social networks to unlock the Web’s true potential. We are learning, day by day. What none of us can afford is to stand by and watch it all unfold….


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‘There are three rules for writing the novel’

“Unfortunately, no one knows what they are”—a great quote from How to Turn a Debut Book Into a Best Seller.

A “best seller” would be nice.

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Archiving every book ever published

From the Los Angeles Times,

Brewster Kahle is trying to build an archive that includes a copy — a print copy — of every book ever published. Kahle is perhaps both the best and oddest person to take on the task.

Kahle founded the Internet Archive, which has been taking and storing snapshots of the entire Internet since 1996. It now has a digital library that includes video and audio files, live music and the Open Library, which is building a single Web page for every book ever published.

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The True Price of Publishing

The true price of publishing, from the Guardian, asks:

Ebooks have reignited the question of what we’re really paying publishers for – the physical product, or what’s written inside?


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