Tag Archives: e-books

Hemingway and an E-book

ID-100101426-1I am sitting here wondering just what Ernest Hemingway would think of electronic media.  My first thought is that he would like the ability to quickly write whatever came to mind whenever, wherever.  Then I thought he must have always had a journal of some sort or Moleskine with him though so he was already doing that.  Electronic writing is only a convenience to those of us who didn’t want to be burdened with having pen and paper at the ready 24/7.  Now we aren’t even bound to our home PC.  In fact I am writing this from a hand-held device.

I believe nearly all of you will agree, it is a wonderful thing to be able to write and edit from an electronic format.  Ultimately I think Hemingway would have gotten used to writing electronically, eventually.  However, I believe he just may have found us a bit lazy as writers who must also be readers.  He and his famous writer friends were all about living in such a way as to have the best “experiences” to draw from in their writing.  They may have seen us as technology whores, waiting for the next post, waiting for the “like” or review; any instant response to our work.  They may have seen us keeping our “eyes on the screen” (nose in book) instead of living and capturing the life happening around us.

Who knows, maybe he would have been the biggest fan.  “Gertrude, you have to see this.  You can hold hundreds of books in the palm of your hand!”

Image courtesy of [adamr] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Print Books, E-Books, Print Books, E-Books . . . by Christine Husom

E-books have gained a slight edge over their printed counterparts this past year, but print books are hardly a thing of the past. Not yet, anyway. For many of us who spend a fair amount of time staring at a computer screen, we welcome picking up a physical copy of a book when we sit down or climb into bed at night to read.

In his article, “Why Ebooks Are Inspiring A New Age Of Print,” Andrew Losowsky wrote, “It may sound obvious, but books exist – in a way that memory on a microchip does not. Enduring physical presence is no small thing in an age when information appears on a screen, then changes, evolves, and maybe even disappears. And as efficient as ebook retailers are, clicking to purchase is a fairly soulless affair in comparison to the pleasures of browsing in a bookstore.

For many publishers and booksellers, that feeling of loss has provided an opportunity. Instead of killing physical books, ebooks have actually encouraged a new level of fetishization of the printed page. . . . This might be a generational anomaly, created by those with nostalgia for print and libraries, soon to disappear once the digital natives are in charge. Or this might be the moment where print, freed from its need to do everything, becomes even better at doing what it can do uniquely.”

I’ve been in two small, independent bookstores the past two weeks, Happily, both are doing very well. I loved watching the shoppers and browsers move through the shelves, reading titles, picking up books, turning them over to read the blurbs and the reviews, perhaps opening them to read the first chapter or page. Sometimes making the decision to purchase a book, or five.

My daughter recently gave me a Kobo e-reader she bought at a local independent bookstore. Every book I download through them gives them a portion of the sale, which I like. I have yet to download anything. But as soon as I have an extra minute, I’ll do that. I have to agree with Losowsky, though, physical books attract me in a way e-books can’t. For me, it’s a little like having a picture of someone, then when you finally meet that person, you barely recognize him because you’ve only seen a flat image of him. I’ve gotten caught up in books I’ve read on my computer and appreciated the stories. But to really enjoy the overall experience, I’ll be reading physical books for the most part.

Please give me your thoughts.

Christine Husom is the author of the Winndebago County Mystery Series: Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, An Altar by the River, and The Noding Field Mystery

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Book Award Season

I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous holiday season. 2011 is upon us, which means it’s time to get ready to submit books and short stories for award consideration.

My novels are released by Second Wind Publishing, therefore my latest title, SNARE, qualifies for the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY), and the Glyph Awards, sponsored by the Arizona Book Publishing Association. I plan to submit SNARE to the Suspense/Thriller and Multi-Cultural categories.

As for short stories, I submitted “Loose End” which appeared in the Sisters in Crime Chapter Desert Sleuths mystery anthology How NOT to Survive a Vacation for consideration to the Derringer Award.

The award possibility I’m most excited about takes place during the upcoming Left Coast Crime Conference (LCC) which will be held March 24-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is one of the most prestigious fan/writer conventions. I networked and mingled with readers from around the globe and some of the finest crime novelists in the publishing world at last year’s conference.

One of the locations of my latest thriller is set in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. The female lead is Native American and the other location takes place on New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo Indian reservation, therefore SNARE qualifies for The Hillerman Sky Award.

Since this pop/rock music-based thriller was only officially released 12.21.10 I’ve been doing all I can to spread the word about book two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela series. I unveiled the visual of the cover on the Second Wind Publishing blog titled: “Snare – Uncovered” and have received a fantastic response to the cover.

Writers and readers I’ve met since the release of book one of the series, STACCATO, have been very generous with their thumbs up based upon the first pages of SNARE. You can download this sneak peek from my website before the printed version of the book becomes available.

If you plan to attend LCC 2011, I hope you find SNARE to be worthy of a nomination to The Hillerman Sky Award.

Another Second Wind author, Eric Beetner, will be at LCC Santa Fe as well. He and J.B. Kohl co-wrote the fantastic 1940s noir novel Borrowed Trouble, worthy of the Bruce Alexander Award. I hope you will also consider this book for nomination.

Am I missing any other awards you’d like to share information about?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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RUBICON RANCH – The Suspects are Growing

Summer is over. Fall is upon us. Time for a new project. The second chapter of Rubicon Ranch is now available and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m thrilled to be one of the writers involved in this collaborative novel. This innovative concept of presenting chapters online, followed by a printed version of the book may very well become a standard, but Pat Bertram thought of it first and Second Wind Publishing is enthusiastically supporting nine of their crime writer novelists in this project.

The first chapter, by Pat Bertram, features Melanie Gray, the recent widow who discovers the body of a little girl stuffed into the console of an ancient television set. Chapter two follows the path of the county sheriff as he begins his investigation. Lazarus Barnhill presents a compelling character who begins to expose the seven suspects living in the upscale California desert community of Rubicon Ranch.

Chapter eight is when you will meet my character, Eloy Templeton Franklin, an 82-year-old ex-military man who acts as sentry of the neighborhood. Riddled with arthritis, all but feeble, he is an outsider who rarely leaves his porch . . . or does he?

Eloy has been a much welcomed break as I toil through the galley of my upcoming thriller in search of dropped words, misplaced commas, inconsistencies, killing passives, all the while doing my best to approach this arduous task as if it is the first time reading this manuscript when it’s got to be the fiftieth.

SNARE is Book Two of my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series which is scheduled for release in December. Chantelle Aimée Osman has come up with a striking cover guaranteed to entice every suspense lover. Look for “SNARE Uncovered” on this blog December 5th to get a peek at this extraordinary cover and to find out more about the upcoming release.

In the meantime, stay tuned to the Rubicon Road site where a new chapter will be presented every Monday.

 Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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E-Books – Shaking up the Industry

I’ve been sharing on Twitter lately about the growing trend of e-book publishing. Publishers Weekly announced that E-book sales jumped 252% during the first quarter of 2010. Here’s the link to their article: http://tinyurl.com/32fynza

Even the Independent Book Publishers Association has jumped on board offering great marketing tips for E-book sales: http://www.ibpa-online.org/articles/shownews.aspx?id=2953

Apparently, the best at marketing his E-books is J.A. Konrath. He touts 4,000 Kindle sales per month at $1.99 per download. Now Amazon has signed Konrath to a deal where he will provide content exclusively to them. He already has more than 20 Kindle offerings on Amazon, so this author has a lot of product available.

This author was unable to find a “legitimate” publisher, yet kept writing. With the advent of virtual publishing, Konrath has found a profitable niche.

Even J.K. Rowling is beginning to ease her distaste in digital publishing. Word is she’s considering making her Harry Potter series available for the Kindle.

Second Wind Publishing offers all of their titles for the Kindle and I am delighted my debut thriller STACCATO has been purchased by a number of readers.

Recently one reader friend couldn’t wait to pull out his Kindle and prompt STACCATO’s first pages. So very cool. The only complaints he voiced is the lack of actual page numbers, and one glitch with the formatting. Forced hyphenates show up as hyphens within words. What I mean by this is in order to visually make a line of printed text more appealing (without too much white space on a line) there are times when a hard hyphen is implemented to tighten the text. What appears on the page may appear as an actual line, yet on the Kindle unit the hyphenated word looks like: format-ting. 

Best of luck to you writers who decide to make your words available as Kindle downloads.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent bookstores.

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To Kindle or not to Kindle

Well, I finally did it. Since Amazon first started advertising the Kindle, I had pondered whether it was a new way of acquiring and reading books that I would actually use or just another gimmicky gadget that would eventually end up gathering dust in a closet. My frugal (read that, ‘cheap’) side insisted that the $359 price was too much, while my inner geek said, “So what?” For quite a while, I waited and watched, hoping for the price to come down. But when the ‘new and improved’ Kindle 2 came out at the same price as the original, I gave up the fight and bought one. Even then, I would have given you even money that the price would fall soon after. It has, to $299.

When the Kindle arrived in the mail, I charged it up and downloaded a book that I had been planning to read for some time, Pat Bertram’s “More Deaths Than One,” which is a great suspense novel, by the way. I have since finished reading that and am now in the middle of a new release from Jeffrey Deaver. So, what do I think of the Kindle so far?

Well, first of all, there’s the price of the books. For the two downloads, one normally available only in hardcover, I paid a total of $19.99 compared to $33.16 for the print versions from Amazon. Saved $13.17 on two books.  Not bad, but what really amazed me was how simple and easy the process was. The wireless download took a matter of seconds for each book, no computer or Internet connection required. Amazon automatically charges whatever credit/debit card you have set up in your Amazon.com account. There’s no extra charge for the download and no contract required for the wireless connection. Unless you purchase the Kindle as a gift for someone else, your account information is already installed on the device. No new registration or account set up. Pretty slick.

So the next question for me was, how does reading a book on the device compare to holding a copy in your hands. Before getting the Kindle, most of my e-book experience had been with downloading and reading in PDF or Microsoft Word format. This is very different from that. I believe they have done a good job of making the Kindle feel like an actual book. It’s not an LCD screen. I read somewhere that the display actually uses ink. And it does look like a printed page. You see one page at a time and the controls are very simple. Under each thumb is a button for NEXT PAGE and you can go back by pressing PREV PAGE. In this case, a ‘page’ is however much writing fits on the screen. You can change the font size. The Kindle does not display the actual page numbers from the book, just a completion percentage at the bottom of the page. For the fiction that I normally read, this works fine. I do wonder if that would be a problem in reading a reference book, where you might have an index that lists actual page numbers from the printed book. You might get around that by using the search facilities. There are other features I haven’t yet looked into, such as bookmarking and attaching your own notes to the text. And if you prefer audio books, the Kindle can read the text aloud. The volume and reading pace are adjustable.

All in all, for the type of reading I do, the Kindle 2 has proved to be quite impressive. I can see myself using it regularly and maybe even saving enough on purchasing books to make the initial price of the device seem a little less extravagant. I normally don’t keep a collection of the books I read, so this works well for me.

I’m sure there are some different opinions out there. Have any other Kindle owners had problems or complaints? Has anyone tried reading nonfiction material where the lack of page numbers might be an issue?

Norm Brown is the author of the suspense novel Carpet Ride, published by Secondwind Publishing, LLC.

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E-publishing , Print on Demand (POD), and Kindle Markets-Are They The Wave Of The Future?

Ms. Danzo writes fiction and has twenty years experience working in Sales and Marketing and has published various articles on a variety of subjects, including articles on professional/fictional writing and marketing. 

E-publishing , Print on Demand (POD), and Kindle Markets-Are They The Wave Of The Future?
by Sia McKye Danzo

For most of us, writing is a driving force within us. A passion. I’ve written and told stories all my life, but have only gotten serious about it the last couple of years. Some of you have been writing for many years.

Our goal, of course, is getting published. Getting noticed by an agent or publisher. We write to entertain others, to take them on a journey. To do that we have to have an audience, which means being published. We’ve worked hard towards that goal. We’ve entered contests, are trying short-stories and articles to build up our credits to get noticed. We’ve used other writers to read our stories and give us back constructive feedback all with the goal of getting published. We’ve queried. We’ve gotten back rejection letters and we sigh. We keep going, yet sometimes it’s discouraging. We get excited about an agent who requests more of our manuscript-almost afraid to hope because haven’t we all been there? Waiting on pins and needles for them to get back to us, hoping that maybe THIS time, it will be the one who gets our story published.

I get discouraged. I know some of you have as well. How many of you have really considered publishing to Print on Demand (POD) publishers or places like Kindle? It’s the wave of the future, I’m sure. One good indication of that is the hoopla with Amazon and e-books. Most major publishing houses have an e-publishing section because of reading the trends. Granted some of the e-books they offer are a bit out there. I know Harlequin has had down loadable stories, for a small price, for some time. I rather think they saw the handwriting on the wall and were testing out the market for e-publishing. They now offer some of their authors through e-publishing and some authors are strictly e-published.

A benefit of e-publishing and POD, is a bigger share of royalties, than with a traditional publisher-but not advances-as a rule. Your work is out there, but not necessarily on the local book store shelves like you pictured in your mind. Unless you are willing to promote yourself and your writing to get it there. You have to market, via blogs, websites, and social networks. Authors have to do that regardless of the medium, but the marketing is pretty much on you rather than assistance from a publisher.

Self-publishing/Vanity Press is where the author paid someone to print their book and not always a good quality of book either in writing style or subject matter. Unfortunately, some negative stigma of Vanity Press books still color people’s perception of e-publishing or Print on Demand publications.

Is e-publishing, not self-publishing, a good thing? Or do you think it’s harmful for an author in the long-run? Some of you have gone that route. What are your experiences now that you’ve done it? Have any of you been approached by an agent or publisher? Have any of you heard of anyone getting picked up by a publisher going this route? Does it count as being published when doing our queries?

Any thoughts?

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