After spending the last decade laying waste to the bookstores of the world, it now seems vaguely possible that Amazon is about to build a few of its own. That's right: physical bookstores, with actual books on actual shelves. And actual customers, one assumes. Amazon doesn't do anything without a plan, and without a preternatural understanding of their customers, so their business model must be pretty robust. As this blog post points out, the massive number of print on demand titles that Amazon hosts gives it the ability to tailor store offerings in a granular way without having to maintain huge warehouses of stock. And no-one does logistics and fulfillment as well as Amazon. Lovers of books may find it reassuring that Amazon evidently subscribes to the view that print books will be around for the foreseeable future.
Free is the new black on the Web. Free digital resources of surprising quality are available for photographs, typefaces, illustrations, web wireframes and much more. Makerbook brings together some of the higher end sources of free material and organises them in a simple and visually attractive way.
As the biggest seller of advertising space in the world, Google knows a thing or two about marketing. They have distilled some of that knowledge into a series of lessons. Topics include "Create a Landing Page that Lands Customers", "Segment Your Customers to Reach the Right Ones" and "Keep Customers Interested with Email Automation".
Best known as the organisers of the CBCA awards, the Children's Book Council of Australia also offers (but does not guarantee) to review childrens and YA books sent to them at this address:
Reading Time Online
PO Box 216
Kallangur LPO QLD 4503
The reviews are published at readingtime.com.au
The overwhelming majority of reviews are of books published by mainstream publishers, but independent authors should still give it a go. The criteria for inclusion genuinely seems to be quality rather than origin.
Despite the presence of 'book' in the name of social media's behemoth, Facebook is usually not associated with book selling or promotion. But with 1.6 billion regular users (about which it knows a great deal), Facebook offers a massive opportunity to engage in savvy marketing. Digital Book World recently published an article by Mark Dawson, who describes himself as "pretty much the definition of a midlist author". He cites specific strategies, gives his own sales figures and engages with commenters. Well worth a read.
A very interesting discussion on the topic of content marketing. Mark O'Brien, CEO of Newfangled (a US-based agency partnering with agencies "to make digital business development platforms for themselves and their clients") makes a good case for highly targeted content-based marketing. He discusses the approach with one of his clients, who gives many examples of the effectiveness of this approach. The client has gone from trying to attract clients from many industries to focusing on one very small industry segment. Using social media tools and creating useful, responsive content, the client was able to reposition his business, resulting in a massive increase in client engagement, meaningful lead generation from his website, all through quality content. No hard-sell, no desperate cold-calling.
Deb Campbell is a passionate advocate for voluntary euthanasia. She believes that risk averse politicians have quietly kept the issue out of the public debate, despite broad public support for greater patient control over the end of one's life. We used a bold, highly visible sans typeface with a touch of personality for the title and author name (Sinkin Sans) and used Impact Label Reversed for the subtitle. The delicately shaded background artwork was supplied by the author.
Joe Reich's latest book is an enjoyable journey through the vanished world of 1970s Melbourne — focusing on the intersecting lives of a doctor at a major urban hospital and an engineer working on the doomed first attempt to build the Westgate bridge. It is a masculine world of prejudice, misconceptions and cigarette smoke. This draft of the cover features an inverted image of the bridge in its incomplete stage and a troubled Melbourne sky.
Only the British Museum could bill itself as the Museum of the World without straying too far into hyperbole. With the fruit of centuries of acquisition (imperial or otherwise) at its disposal, the BM has allied with Google to showcase some its most impressive items online. Users can scroll along an interactive timeline and drill down to objects of interest. Along similar lines to their very successful "A History of the World in 100 Objects" collaboration with the BBC.
A tale of growing up on the shores of Port Phillip in the 1980s, featuring a lad with attitude, problems with the authorities, and a taste for booze. Out soon from Brolga Publishing.
One of the benefits of digital printing combined with online bookselling is the capacity of printing books as they are ordered, rather than pre-printing and warehousing. This massively reduces costs for small presses and self-publishers. Two major players dominate this field — Createspace, owned by Amazon, and Ingrams Spark (Lightning Source in Australia). The two services offer a very similar level of functionality, but there are differences in pricing, approach, assistance and sales channel availability. Check out these interesting articles discussing the relative merits of each service, and identify which one better fits your particular use-case.
While parts of the world have endured a litany of horrors, 2015 was (perhaps surprisingly) the best year in history for the average human. Multiple indicators (income, health equality, life expectancy) continue to trend upwards. Many challenges remain, but the world in general is far from the dystopia suggested by disaster-biased news services.
Despite the advent of web-served type, Arial is still Queen of the Internet. 616,000 of the Web's top million websites use this rather unexceptional typeface. Fontreach gives an useful snapshot of font use.There are several old standards originally commissioned by Microsoft, a few freebies served by Google and finally, further down the list, some interesting new typeface designs.
Deborah Benson recently wrote "Judicial Murder — the Crown VS David Young", published under the Eaglehawk Press imprint. Here is her account of a recent promotional trip to the Goulburn Valley.
My book has been welcomed in the Goulburn Valley book shops and newsagencies. Helen Sofra from Collins Bookstore in Shepparton suggested we arrange to visit to speak about DY’s story.
Jan Hutton the Project Manager of the Goulburn Valley Libraries went into action and had 3 venues organised, complete with media releases for each town. But before we began, we had an interview with the Shepparton News for the weekend edition. I say ‘we’ as my husband Chris shared the experience with me and during the course of the talk he read the hanging scene in his articulate expressive manner, resulting in numerous watery eyes in the room.
Numurkah library was our first appearance and the turnout of keen listeners was wonderful. Historical crime seems to be of interest and captures our imagination especially in the country areas where there is still a feeling of remoteness and a connection with the environment.
Our next engagement was in Nagambie again with an interested crowd of people and lastly at Shepparton. All venues supplied a good home made spread of delectable cakes and slices.
The fact that people were excited to actually meet an author said something about the way writers are removed from the general public who are their potential readers. Writers nowadays have to wear several hats to become known. A very enjoyable warming experience while sharing a story that has been waiting 150 years to be told.
Investigators trace the many identities of a man with a traumatic and complex past. Our client wanted us to work in the evacuation of troops at Dunkirk in WWII, identity papers and the man himself. We integrated the colour palette to give the overall cover a sense of unity. Typefaces used include Rex Bold, Rex Inline, impact label and Mom's Typewriter.
With millions of books in print, finding a completely original book title can be tricky. We are often asked about the legal / copyright situation regarding very similar or identical book titles. This post has a fairly commonsense take on the issue. For the Australian situation, the Arts Law Centre may be able to assist.
Some design projects were not meant to be. The rough concepts below for a farm-to-home fresh food delivery startup never went beyond the initial stage. The startup quickly ran out of funds, staff went unpaid, and the founder departed the sunburnt country just ahead of his very unhappy creditors. However, not every venture capitalist is kin to Arthur Daley — a second startup (qodeo.com) has been the exact opposite — a reliable client for many years.
Author Natalie Gretton recovered from the recent bankruptcy of her publisher by holding a very successful book launch. Here is her account of the event:
My young adult medieval adventure novel was due for release five weeks after the publisher went into liquidation. After negotiation with the printers, I purchased the 1500 copies of The Healer of Marchmont. Neither my husband Mike of I had much idea of how to market the book to sell so listened to anyone who had advice for us.
I was offered our local Neighbourhood Centre to have a book launch and chose a date some weeks from that. Flyers went out to the whole town and outlying areas of Trentham through the postal service advertising the launch using the cover of the book, part of the blurb and a little about me. I also placed books in the local Trentham bookstore, Aesop’s Attic in Kyneton, New Leaves bookshop in Woodend, Stoneman’s Bookroom in Castlemaine and Paradise Books in Daylesford. These are on a commission basis. Friends were contacted by email, on Facebook, through my new website set up by my IT guru son, and word of mouth. A visit by friends who live in Canberra was good, because they took a box of 64 books back with them to sell for me. At present there are 5 books in Harry Hartog book shop in Woden, Canberra and more are being advertised by the friends. Other people took 10 books and sold those as well.
The book launch went very well. The day was lovely, sunny, still and warm. People came from many different places and were old and new friends we have known for short times and long times. We had some local people attend as well. Fifty people were here altogether. Some people had bought the book earlier and came to give comments about it or to get it signed for their children and grandchildren. Diane Parsons, a local retired secondary school teacher launched the book for me and after that, a critique was given by Charlie Wells. Charlie’s mother is the manager at the Trentham Neighbourhood Centre and had asked Charlie to read the book. His comments were very interesting and insightful for a ten year old young man. All the comments we had on the day and in emails since have been very positive. The day of the launch we sold $500 worth of books which did not include more that were sold prior to the launch.
There are still very many books to sell but at least I have more than some other writers who were left in the lurch. I think I was more fortunate than some other writers as I now have my book in print. Others were left with nothing to show for all their hard work and will now have to negotiate with another publisher.
So with a bit of advice and some energetic emailing, phoning, flyer producing and a launch with a good afternoon, good friends, some lovely snacks and a few drinks, one can recover from what could have been a total disaster.
I must say here that Julie Athanasiou, my editor and Luke Harris, my designer, have been most helpful. Luke has been in contact regularly and is most supportive of everything I have done. Thank you, Luke.
Natalie's website can be found here.
Recently, a local publisher (Jo Jo Publishing) went into bankruptcy owing authors, printers and suppliers a great deal of money. The liquidators indicated the authors were free of any contractual obligations to the now-defunct company. Many of the authors published by Jo Jo wished to remove their books from Jo Jo-badged online listings (with Amazon in particular) so they could re-upload their titles with new ISBNs. As Jo Jo was now unstaffed, they had to take matters into their own hands. Amazon has a facility for authors in this kind of situation:
Amazon's requirements / contact details continue as follows:
- An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
- A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed upon;
- A description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the site;
- Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
- A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
- A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.
Amazon.com 's Copyright Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement on its site can be reached as follows:
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108-1226
Fax: (206) 266-7010