Market Update – August 2010

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Here’s What’s New

Smashwords has partnered with Wattpad. What does this mean to you? According to Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, “Wattpad represents a fabulous training ground where authors can hone their craft and prepare their writing for distribution and sale at Smashwords.” He says that current Smashwords authors can benefit from Wattpad by using it to share stores, gain feedback and develop fan followings. Wattpad is considered the world’s most popular ebook community while Smashwords is the leading ebook publishing and distribution platform for authors and publishers. And both of these services are free to writers. Learn more at: http://www.smashwords.com or http://www.wattpad.com.

Hay House has launched a new self-help, “self-publishing” imprint they’re calling Balboa Press. The promo on this says that Hay house is committed to helping more authors get published and providing more choices for readers. The president of Hay House (Reid Tracey) has indicated that this could also be a feeder program for Hay House. Their editors will keep an eye on what’s being produced through their imprint in case they want to pick up any of these projects and publish them through Hay House. http://www.balboapress.com.

A Book Inside Forum at Ning is closing. Sign up at their new site at http://bookeventcenter.spruz.com

Our newsletter editor, Sandra Murphy, sent this item my way. She thought you should know that Level Best is shutting down. Level Best was evidently responsible for publishing the winners of the Al Blanchard award presented through the New England Crime Bake organization. Unless they find someone to fill in for Level Best, the winners this year will not be published in an anthology. http://www.crimebake.org.

Many of you (us) subscribe to HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Well, founder, Peter Shankman, has sold out to Vocus. It sounds as if Peter will remain involved and that things will remain pretty much the same, except for the fact that they plan to “take it to the next level.” http://www.helpareporterout.com

Enjoy FREE membership in WriteLink for limited time. The $15 fee will be waived through October, 2010.  http://www.writelink.co.uk.

Publishers Weekly has a new blog. http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz.

Susan Walker, executive director of Midwest Booksellers Association for 23 years, is resigning and they’re accepting resumes for her position. Deadline for resumes is August 15, 2010. http://www.midwestbooksellers.org/2010/07/mba-news-executive-director-job-opening/ or go to http://www.midwestbooksellers.org and click on “Executive Director Job Opening” (Under MBA News.)

Midwest Booksellers Association has a new address:

Midwest Booksellers Association
2355 Louisiana Avenue North
Suite A
Golden Valley, MN 55427
Phone 763/544-2993
Toll Free 800/784-7522 (same)
Fax 763-544-2266

Opportunities for Freelance Writers

Military History Quarterly (MHQ) is reportedly paying from $800 for feature articles on some aspect of military history. If you have an interest in military history and excellent research skills, you might score with this publication. Contact MJQ@weiderhistorygroup.com. http://www.historynet.com.

NetSetter is soliciting articles from web entrepreneurs in the areas of writing, editing, market research, analyzing traffic, search engine optimization, accounting and business management skills, working with teams, clients, partners, start-ups and more. They pay only $50. http://www.thenetsetter.com/blog/guest-post.

Miller-McCune Magazine is soliciting features and news stories ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 words. They should focus on options for solving major policy problems, be deeply researched and include the scenes, characters and engaging storylines often grouped under the umbrella called “narrative journalism.” Check out the departments that need shorter pieces. http://www.miller-mccune.com/write-for-us Contact the editor concerning ideas for the print magazine: john.mecklin@miller-mccune.com. And contact michael.todd@miller-mccune.com for Web submissions.

Travel is a suitable theme for summer submissions. Here are a few magazines that might be open to travel pieces: Coastal Living features articles for those who vacation (or live) along America’s coastlines. They pay $1/word. http://www.coastalliving.com. Contact the editor here: mamie_walling@timeinc.com.

Coast to Coast Magazine focuses on travel in North America including outdoor recreation, camping and RV parks. They pay anywhere from $75 to $1,200 for articles of 800 to 2,500 words. http://www.coastresorts.com. Contact the editor at vlaw@affinitygroup.com.

Islands publishes book excerpts, essays, interview, general interest and travel all related to island living or traveling. They use 2,000 to 4,000 pieces and pay $750 to $2,500. Learn more about the magazine at http://www.islands.com. Send your ideas to storyideas@islands.com. Write to editor@islands.com for submission guidelines.

Travel Smart pays $150 tops for stories featuring travel bargains. http://travelsmartnewsletter.com.

Northwest Travel needs articles related to history and travel in the Northwest. They prefer articles of 1,000 to 1,500 words and will pay up to $500. http://www.northwestmagazines.com

Writing Raw circulates a free literary ezine dedicated to new and emerging writers. As the editor says, “We have blank pages for writers to fill.” http://www.writingraw.com.

Poets and Writers has a large list of submission requests at their website. Check it out and soon, because some of the deadlines are this month. http://www.pw.org/classifieds

Opportunities for Authors

Foreword Magazine is presenting the 2010 Book of the Year Awards again this year. This includes books produced in 2010 by independent publishers. The deadline is around the first of 2011, so you have plenty of time to enter. Learn more at: http://www.forewordreviews.com.

New publisher seeks submissions. AuthorMike Ink, AuthorMike Dark Ink and Dirty Ink need submissions of high quality fiction and nonfiction in a variety of genres. http://www.authormikeink.com.

Poets and Writers has a long list of contests posted at their site. http://www.pw.org/classifieds

Book Promotion Opportunities

Some experts recommend that you create an ebook as a sales tool for your print book. Or, perhaps your book is already in ebook form. Here is an online ebook store you may want to check out: eBookMall.com will convert your manuscript into an ebook or accept your ebook in a compatible format and offer it for sale at their site. There is a $19.95 listing fee per ebook (there’s an additional fee when they do the conversion for you). They ask that you charge somewhere from $2.98 to $9.99 for your ebook and eBookMall pays you 50 percent of the cover price quarterly. Visit http://www.ebookmall.com for more information. Contact Bonnie Martin at generalinfo@ebookmall.com with your questions.

eBooks.com accepts only books from traditional publishers. If your book was traditionally published, ask your publisher to contact eBooks.com about showcasing your book as an ebook. http://www.ebook.com.

Craig contacted me recently to tell me that he is looking for radio show hosts. If you’re interested in having your own show, check out http://www.themixtalk.com and/or call Craig at 717-222-1681.

Writing Raw gives writers a place to promote their novel or poetry collection for FREE. http://www.writingraw.com.

Military History Magazine publishes book reviews related to military history. If you have such a book, contact the editor at militaryhistory@weiderhistorygroup.com or write to The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Weider History Group, 741 Miller Dr., Ste. D-2, Leesburg, VA 20175-8994.

The Reporter Connection provides an opportunity for authors to get free publicity for their books. All you have to do is sign up for FREE daily media leads and they will let you know when journalists and producers are doing stories on your subject. http://www.reporterconnection.com. I attempted to join the Reporter Connection and discovered that they do not actually send you leads related to your subject—they don’t even give you the opportunity to provide them with your subject. You are asked to identify your interests: “author, publicist, coach/consultant, etc.,” but that’s it. It appears to me that all authors will receive the same leads whether it is for someone with expertise on tree-trimming, figure-trimming, tatting, grooming cats or accounting. That’s a disappointment. I opted out. However, you might want to follow through and see how this service might help you. Let us know!

Scott Lorenz has posted his list of summertime book fairs and book festivals worthy of your attendance. Here are some of his recommendations for the coming months.

September

Decatur Book Festival

Decatur, GA

http://www.decaturbookfestival.com/community/index.php

Carolina Mountains Literary Festival

Burnsville, NC

http://www.cmlitfest.org.

Fall for the Book Festival

Fairfax, VA

http://www.fallforthebook.org

Baltimore Book Festival

Baltimore, MD

http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com

National Book Festival

Washington, DC

http://www.locgov/bookfest.

Sonoma County Book Festival

Santa Rosa, CA

http://www.socobookfest.org

West Hollywood Book Fair

Hollywood, CA

http://westhollywoodbookfair.org

Wyoming Book Festival

Cheyenne, WY

http://www.wyomingbookfestival.org

Do you attend book trade shows? It might be beneficial to your book project. The Book Mark, BookMasters’ newsletter for July, 2010, lists 7 trade shows scheduled for September and October of 2010. If you are in the RI, CA, MN, FL, NJ, MI or OR areas of the US, you might want to check them out. Http://www.bookmasters.com/bookmark. Subscribe free to this enewsletter at http://www.bookmasters.com/subscribe.

I saw the most recent First Chapter Plus Catalog. Check it out at: http://www.firstchapterplus.com (Read the story of how First Chapter Plus Catalog came to be below under Bonus Item.)

Opportunities for Screenwriters

Scriptapalooza Television Writing Competition is open. Deadline for receiving pilots, sitcoms and one-hour dramas and reality shows is October 15, 2010. http://www.scriptapalooza.com

Get your script analyzed and critiqued by the professionals for $175 to $250. www.scriptcoverage.com.

Going, Going, Gone

Boards Magazine has closed

Playback has gone out of business.

Vibrant Health and Balanced Living have ceased publishing.

Resources for Authors/Writers

FirstWriter.com offers resources galore. I recommend spending some time there sifting through their directories of 850 agents, 1,200 book publishers, 1,100 magazine publishers as well as a contest directory and a writing site directory. http://www.firstwriter.com.

The Ojai Playwright Conference is being held August 10-15 in Ojai, CA. This is the 13th season and the featured playwrights this year are Jon Robin Baitz, Kate Fodor, Thomas Higgins, Len Jenkin, Mona Mansour, Ben Rosenthal, Trieu Tran and Bess Whol. It’s $190 for an all access pass. Learn more about the event at http://www.ojaiplays.org. Or call 805-640-0400

http://www.underdown.org/chchange.htm for an interesting article on changes in the world of children’s book publishing.

ScreenwritingU put out a piece focusing on the “10 Commandments of Screenwriting.” I think it’s worth reading whether you are a screenwriter or novelist. http://www.screenwritingu.com/blog/2010/general-screenwriting/the-new-10-commandments-of-screenwriting-please-rt

WritersRelief.com is an interesting site that appears to be a submission service. If you are seeking the assistance of others when it comes to placing your work, spend a little time getting to know about these folks and their offerings. http://www.writersrelief.com.

Bonus Item

Interview with Irene Watson of Reader Views and First Chapter Plus

Q:  Let’s start by learning a little about you, Irene. Mainly, I want to talk about your newest project—FirstChapterPlus.com. But first, please tell us something about your background in writing, publishing and book promotion.

A: Thanks for asking me to talk to you Patricia. I started in the publishing industry six years ago by publishing my own book, “The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference.”  During online research to get reviews and publicity for the book, I realized there was a void in what I needed. I didn’t want to hire a publicist because I honestly couldn’t justify the expense, and I also have an intense marketing background, so I just needed someone to fill in what I didn’t have the skills to do myself. As well, it was hard to get reviews. So, one boring day in the middle of December 2005, I started Reader Views. I was just going to do some reviews. Well, I put a call out for books and got an overwhelming number of requests for reviews. So, I put a call out for reviewers and was inundated with interested people. I put together a team and started a review service, Reader Views. Once that was well on its way, I started adding interviews, press release-writing and distribution, video production, and other forms of publicity. Basically, I listen to the authors and fill a need.

Q: It seems that you have a strong interest in helping authors to promote their books through your coaching business, Book Marketing Connection and your Reader Views book review program. Can you talk about these services and how they led to your latest venture, FirstChapterPlus.com?

A: My philosophy is to find a need and fill it. I bought the domain name FirstChapterPlus.com many years ago for another purpose, but it didn’t materialize. A little over a year ago I realized that no one was representing self-published authors, subsidy press authors, or small publishers in getting the word out to libraries and independent book stores. (I have to retract—there is one other company publishing an e-Catalog, but their listing fees are extremely high and, as an author myself, I couldn’t see myself paying the high fee.)

Q: I understand that you did your homework before launching the catalog project. Tell us what sort of research you did and what you learned.

A: I did an extensive feasibility study that took a year. I contacted librarians and independent bookstore owners/managers with a survey and found that they are willing to purchase or stock indie or small publishers’ books. As well, I found out that some libraries do purchase books through amazon.com rather than distributors. Many of the librarians do have the capability of purchasing books rather than having some “head office” do the purchase.

At this point, our e-Catalog goes to over 20,000 librarians and over 3,300 indie bookstores in the United States. As well, we have readers, reviewers, and bloggers receiving the e-Catalog. We work on an opt-in basis so everyone that gets an e-Catalog opted-in.

I did the study because I didn’t want to create a project that wasn’t needed. It’s not only a waste of my time and efforts, but also a waste of money for the author/publisher.

Q: Okay, now to the best part—please describe your new catalog program—give us the pitch.

A: First Chapter Plus publishes and distributes a monthly e-catalog to librarians, independent bookstores, readers/bloggers/reviewers of recently published books. Each listing includes the First Chapter of the book plus all the essential information to help the recipient make that important decision of whether or not to pursue a specific book. If the First Chapter hooks the reader there is an option of contacting the author, publisher, distributor, or Amazon.com to request the book.

Q: I am usually reluctant to recommend a program that requires a fee. So many of them are outrageously expensive. Your fees seem quite reasonable, however. How did you come to set your fees and what does the author/publisher get for his/her money?

A: Yes, of course there is a listing fee. No different than any other publication that has advertising, we have to charge to cover the costs. However, like you say, our fees are extremely reasonable. And, no different than any other business owner, I tested how long it takes to create a listing (keeping in mind not all authors know how to follow directions,) how much I have to pay staff to create the e-Catalog, and averaged out the other overhead that pertains to the publication and came up with a bottom-line fee.

The author/publisher has options of what size of listing they want and how long they want to run it for. However, with whatever size of listing is purchased, the First Chapter of the book stays on the site indefinitely.

Q: I would love to hear some of your success stories. Can you share some of them here?

A: Our e-Catalog (June) is our third publication. We haven’t been around long enough to test it properly so I can only go on the responses I get. I’ve had over 50 librarians send me emails saying how pleased they are with the e-Catalog, I’ve had numerous authors tell me their Amazon sales have spiked the day of the e-blast and within a few days of the publication going out (I found the same thing with my book, as well). And I’ve had bloggers and reviewers tell me they love the e-Catalog because they can read the first chapter to see if they want to actually review the book.

However, I have to be honest. Not all authors found an increase in sales. I can’t specifically say why not, but there could be various factors involved. I don’t know what they would be except I venture to say that no one was interested in that specific book at that time, or maybe the synopsis wasn’t hooking the reader, or the book isn’t relevant to current social issues. I don’t know and I really don’t know how anyone would measure that.

(Editor’s note: Something that I feel makes Watson’s program unique is that she requires that the books entered into First Chapter Plus Catalogs must be professionally edited.)

Q: Our readers would probably like to know how your marketing program differs from similar ones—or is there really anything else like this, yet?

A: As I mentioned before, there is one other company that creates an e-catalog. It is very different from ours and the fees are high, (in my opinion). I don’t know of anyone that actually listed in it to know what the results were.

I can only talk about First Chapter Plus and reiterate that the year-long feasibility study I did proved there is a need. As well, our e-Catalog gives a link to the first chapter of the book which the other one doesn’t. Our e-Catalog is very user friendly and buyers can connect with the authors or make immediate purchases.

Q :  While we have the attention of your audience, what would you say to them about book promotion? What is the key message you would like to share with them?

A: Two words:  relevance and credibility.

Relevance: You must prove to your potential reader how pertinent, connected, or applicable your book is to them, current times/ social issues, or currently popular.

Credibility: You must prove to your potential reader you are trustworthy and an expert on the subject. This also includes your personal code of ethics, integrity and reasonable grounds to be believed.

Relevance without credibility is just hype and without substance. Credibility without relevance is boring. But combining the two together you get power. You get the potential reader’s attention, you get respect, and you create interest in your book.

Learn more about First Chapter Plus at http://www.firstchapterplus.com

Contact Irene Watson at: admin@firstchapterplus.com

Closing out some online stuff that’s not serving us and reorganizing. Many tasks checked off the list. Feels great to have it all gone

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