Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Last Short Comment

We've been talking about the short story form for the past few weeks, one that is slowly gaining in popularity again ever since e-readers took over the market. There are a couple of reasons for this phenomenon.

First, short stories are a handy on-the-go read when you can just dig a Kindle out of your bag while standing in the check-out line. That's just one example. Second, writers are cluing into the idea of giving away a short story to tempt readers who might not know their longer works. Authors are giving away their work to promote sales. Read what Seth Godin has to say about free samples.

Morgan Mandel shared a post about a project the BBT Cafe (the alums from my Blog Book Tours classes) put together. The blog book tour for The Corner Cafe e-book release begins on June 4th. This week, I'm still writing blurbs, getting the tour schedule up on my Blog Book Tours blog, and editing the manuscript for those pesky little last minute changes.
What? Editing the manuscript? The week before the grand tour?

Yes, my friends, I've discovered one of the hidden beauties of e-books. I can find mistakes after publishing a book, and can correct them at any time. Granted, it takes a bit of doing as is always the case with software and technology. I have to change a Word file, create an HTML file from that, and then re-upload it to my KDP account on Amazon.com. Then it takes a few hours for Amazon to approve my changes. But those changes do get made very painlessly and quickly, and I don't have to live with an aggravating typo or poor punctuation until the second print run, which might be years down the road. If, indeed, there is a second run!

Technology is a marvelous thing, and authors interested in succeeding and making a living at writing need to keep up with the changes in today's publishing world, or be left in the dust. Most publishers have switched to electronic editing. Few houses will accept paper submissions any longer, and if they do, they are at the bottom of the list of manuscripts to read. More and more publishers are printing new releases in e-book format first. I saw this trend coming several years ago, and it always made perfect sense to me. Why risk the environmental nightmare of remaindering books, when you can publish a trial run in digital format first? If the books turn into sellers, you can print a collector edition then.

In June, we'll explore some of the technological changes barreling down the publishing slope. Can we even predict what some of them might be?

Oh, and it's Audio Book Appreciation Month. Do you listen to books on tape? Leave us a comment if there's a particular technological invention or trend that completely amazes you. Mine? Following Book Expo America on Twitter as participants tweet from the floor (hashtag is #bookexpo). It's almost as good as being there - no wait - it's better. I get all the news without aching feet.
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Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil, runs the BBT Cafe, is writing a Quick Blog Book Tour Guide, and is Special Projects Coordinator for Little Pickle Press.Bookmark and Share

12 comments:

  1. I finally bought an ereader. As a writer, there are some books I want to study and some I just want to read for pleasure. For me my Nook is for reading books for pleasure. :)

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  2. I'm with you, Sharon. I have a Nook and most of the books on it are for entertainment. Also, e-books my friends have written. I'm guessing half of the titles are $2.99 or less. And a gazillion free classics. I'm reading Pollyanna now! I think I might have to buy a Kindle Fire though - I could use a small tablet for when I travel and need to check email, plus I want to see if the formatting on my own e-books looks okay. Must really consider this though, as I hate having more than one gadget that does the same thing. It doesn't seem very environmentally conscious, if you know what I mean.

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  3. I stand in stupifying awe of the technology onslaught ... kinda like a deer in the headlights ... hope I don't end up an inch thick on the roadside with MACK imprinted on my forehead.

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  4. Ah, Dani, for those of us who are dinosaurs, this is a tough sell. Having said that, I must also note that dinosaurs are extinct. Do I, as a writer, want to be extinct? The answer is a reluctant but resounding "No!"

    Next question: Do I want to embrace technology and its constant changes and upgrades? To a woman who shunned typing class as a student because she feared typewriters, this is a bit intimidating. Nonetheless, it is the way of the publishing industry -- whether I like it or not.

    One answer: I do work with people whose knowledge has shielded me from the frustration (aka learning experience) of finding a comfort zone somewhere in the world of technology. One dear soul, however, has nurtured me into the ability to manage a good portion of my website, so I think this is a baby step in the right direction. Still, a competent team of players seems sensible to stay in the game -- but perhaps not at the expense of my remaining in the dark corners of the how-to department.

    Next step: Figuring out such entities as Twitter and Pinterest so far has left me out in the cold, but I suspect I will have to find a warm coat. Why? I love to write. I love to work with writers who want to master their craft. I want to be able to guide them in the best direction to get their works out and find their audience. I want to sell my own books.

    This post reminds me of something my grandfather told me. As a boy, he traveled from Indiana to Oklahoma in a covered wagon. As an old man, he sat in front of his television and watched an astronaut walk on the moon. This leap in technology is mind-boggling. Yet, during my lifetime, I have seen manual typewriters, typesetting machines, and massive presses evolve into technology that sends books, newspapers, magazines, etc., worldwide in the blink of an eye and has totally reinvented publishing. And all this without the loss of a single tree to the paper-making industry. It has opened wide opportunities that never would have existed for writers in traditional publishing during in its heyday.

    I think you made your point, Dani. It's time to put on my boots, wade into the technology river, and find my way across without drowning in one of its whirlpools. Who knows? I may even buy one of those Kindle Fire things myself.

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  5. Yay, Linda! :) Just remember that some of the technology stuff can be farmed out for a nominal cost. For example, I just edited and uploaded a book for Kindle. It was both complicated and simple. Mind-boggling in the beginning, but once it was done and I'd made several revisions, it seemed so simple. This is it? This is all there is to this? I can very easily see how someone can offer Kindle formatting for under $100. It's not rocket science once you get it.

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  6. LOL, Christopher, I'm with you. We can share scars.

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  7. Dani, thanks for the nudge to embrace technology. Not that I am ready to, but the nudge didn't hurt. (smile)

    I am listening to the audio version of my book, One Small Victory, and it is amazing to hear one's words read dramatically. There are places that are making me smile and places where I get a little teary-eyed. Then there are places that I forgot about, and I am delightfully surprised. My husband and I started listening to it on a recent short trip, and I had to bring the rest in the house so I could finish on the computer.

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  8. Maryann, how about turning that experience into a blog post for June? Fits right into the theme and more readers can smile and get teary-eyed with you. I've heard quite a few authors mention they get goosebumps listening to their books read by a skilled voice. Why not interview a few authors who have audio books and get their comments?

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  9. I do love the fact that you can go in and correct mistakes. That's super. But the speed with which you can go to press is rather astounding, and allows the inpatient author to make a slew of mistakes without thinking things through.

    I just helped a friend correct mistakes in her debut novel, put out through a small press. It was POD of course, so for a fee, the publisher was willing to make the changes. But here's the thing: there were a lot of them. And the hundreds of copies of that first version that were already sold (and read, and made an impression) will remain in existence.

    So even small presses have been bitten by the speed bug. Sad but true: whether you self publish or go through a small press, people are cutting corners on copy editing. Authors are ultimately accountable, so rather than speed to publication, observe the yellow light. Take your time. Get proofreading help if you need it. Writing is hard work and you want the fruits of your labor to be something that you can be proud of.

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  10. Big presses are bitten by the speed bug. Read an expose or a political memoir by a rising star. Mistakes. The playing field is pretty level all the way around in this modern world.

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