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New Authors Have a Reason to Smile

Dellena Ludwig shows off her new book, “Where Did Dinosaurs Come From? ” In her book, children will learn just that! A poetic, biblical look at the history of dinosaurs is sure to teach you but also entertain. You’ll laugh and smile as you learn the important history of the origin of dinosaurs and where they are now.

Dellena is putting the finishing touches on her book release party slated for this upcoming weekend.

Dwayne Carl kicked off the first signing of his memoir,” Out of My Second Closet: I Have AIDS Get Ova It,” last week at the Gay Pride Parade and Festival in Long Beach, CA. Dwayne’s book is a compelling journey of one man’s plight from a deadly illness, to a life of prejudices, inequality, stigmas, the world’s misunderstanding the pain of a person living with the aids diagnosis.

Both of these authors have a reason to smile because they followed a dream of sharing their compelling stories when most aspiring authors never do. It is believed that 4 out of 5 people want to write a book but most never do. That puts Dellena and Dwayne in rare company, along with my other successful clients.  By the way, their books are available on Amazon.com and from other major booksellers.

How about you? Are you ready to experience the smile that only holding your new book in your hands can bring on? It’s not magic. It requires taking the first step and following through with determination and courage.

If you are ready to go, I’d love to be your travelling companion to make your writing journey a fun trip with a soft landing. Send me an email at flora@florabrown.com with “Ready” in the subject line along with your phone number and best time to call. I will call you at your next availability.

I’m going over to check for your email right now.

What's Trending When Publishing and Literacy Shake Hands?

The publishing industry and literacy efforts seem to be trending in favor of authors and readers. A few emerging examples:

  1.  Pubslush Press in New York lets readers decide which books will be published and then donates a book to a child in need for every book sold. After reading an excerpt of manuscripts submitted by authors, readers pledge support for their favorite. Fans don’t have to honor pledge until the book gets 1000 supporters.
  2. The Catalan Government Railways in Spain  has placed QR codes with links to the first chapters of popular novels on its trains as part of the National Reading Plan, with the aim to encourage citizens of Spain to get into a good book.
  3. A Brazilian company 24×7 Cultural recently launched an initiative enabling customers to choose the price they want to pay for the books sold through its subway station vending machines.
  4.  VertragingsApp now offers travelers stories organized by the time it takes to read them for those stuck on a delayed service.
  5. If you’ve heard that print is dead, you’ve been misinformed. One of the newest gadgets, The Little Printer, prints out a miniature newspaper for your subscription.

Brave New Word: Ebook–What is it and how does it fit into our lives?

According to Wikipedia the first ebook (electronic book) was created by Michael S. Hart in 1971 when he typed the United States Declaration of Independence into a computer.  Hart, an author, had been given unlimited computer time by the operators of the Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois and wanted to do something worthy of his time. While computers were being used mainly for data processing then, Hart decided to use it for information distribution.

It wasn’t until 1992 when Sony created the Discman that there was a reader for the ebook. Now the ebook has grown in such popularity that not only have many new devices sprung up for reading it, but it is an alternative format for print books, with its own category on Amazon.

Ebooks have many benefits for authors and readers.

  • Ebooks enable authors to get their books disseminated widely and more quickly. Some authors test the market with an ebook version of the first few chapters of their book and finish their work according to reader responses.
  • Ebooks incur no production costs  and  are much more affordable to purchase. With no startup or setup costs involved, an ebook is almost all profit for the author or publisher. Then with an average cost range of 99 cents to $7.99, the ebook is much more appealing to readers.
  • Ebooks are so much more accessible and portable. One frequent traveler and avid reader shared how he was slow to embrace the Kindle when it first appeared on the market, until he discovered the joy of being able to carry up to 1500 books in a device he could slip into his briefcase.
  • As eReaders have become more and more sophisticated, one of the biggest benefits of an ebook is its hyperlink capability. Now when an author mentions a source or website in the text, you can visit the source with one click. You can take notes, save your spot, look up terms and interact with a text in a way not possible with print books.

Ebooks mean no amassing and storing inventory

  • Ebooks and magazine articles can now be available in digital libraries, enabling educators, researchers and students to access information instantly and conveniently without geography or limited copies being a barrier. At a meeting for online teachers recently, one of the university librarians shared the ease with which our students can now access books and articles from the library from within our online courses. We were also learned that the library will create  digital guides specific to our courses if we will identify the materials we want our students to access.
  • The popularity of the ebook has lead to it being accessible even if you don’t own an eReader.  While eReaders must still be purchased, the software for reading ebooks  is available for free for your computer, smartphone and other devices.

Books are no longer the only material that is digitized and available in electronic form.

Magazines, journals and newspapers are now easily accessible in e-versions, saving money, sparing trees, but unfortunately also leading to the demise of major companies that were built on print reading materials.

Ebooks have called many things into question

  • When aspiring authors ask how long is an ebook, there is no definitive answer. The number of words on a print page no longer applies since the page size of an ebook depends on the size of the device on which it’s being read. Then there are varying font styles and sizes which affect the number of words on a page.
  • The pricing of  ebooks has caused one of the biggest disruptions in the world of publishing.  The reading public who was quite willing to pay $19.99 for a 6″ x 9″ paperback, refuse  to pay the same price for the digital version.  This issue gained attention in the news when a lawsuit was filed against Apple and five major publishers charged with illegally fixing the prices of ebooks in an effort to fight back against Amazon.
  • While ebooks were at first the digital version of a print book, many authors are writing ebooks as the first and sometimes only version of a book.
  • Bestseller status no longer applies just to authors of print books. Bestseller is now based on number of sales whether they were print or digital books.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that book lovers are not ready or willing  to give up the touch and smell of  “real” books, much less the indescribable pleasure of browsing library or bookstore shelves and sharing copies with their friends.

While we have yet to settle on how we will spell ebooks (Ebooks? e-books? eBooks?) we can’t deny that they have changed writing, publishing and reading forever.

The ebook is indeed the Brave New Word.

Download the ebook version of my book, “Color Your Life Happy: Create the Success, Abundance and Inner Joy You Deserve”  here or the Kindle version here.

How Do You Write a Book Worth Reading?

When Jonathan Fields, blogger, author, and entrepreneur recently announced his book marketing program, Tribal Author, he wrote

This is the most incredible time in history to be an author. Power, freedom and, yes, money, are there for the taking…if you get what’s really happening and are willing to act on it.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve never published or you’re an established author. Nor does it matter if you’re a writer’s writer or a business person wanting a book to use as a business card. You don’t need to censor, cannibalize or sell-out to benefit from the revolution. In fact, it’s more important than ever to write a phenomenal book.

Further down the page he stresses the importance of building an enterprise (more than what most call a platform) and learning to launch a campaign because writing a great book is not enough. If you are scanning his blog page fast you may miss when he says this

(Hack alert: this assumes you actually know how to write a book worth reading. Nothing will save a book that’s horrid).

I  agree that this is the most amazing time in history for authors who grasp the part they must play in selling their book, but how do you determine if a book is worth reading?

Some pretty horrid books were forced upon me in college because somebody had decided they were great literature. I survived to go on and write some pretty horrid stuff myself, some of which a few people bought.

Who decides if a book is worth reading?

The road to writing success is paved with rejections. A few of these are legendary:

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul books were rejected by more than 100 publishers before they found one who would print their book.  They still had to create demand for the book, working everyday for a long time until their idea caught fire.
  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of ideas.
  • English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
  • By the time Stephen King was 14 he had received so many rejection slips that they were too heavy for the nail holding them up. He replaced it with a spike.
  • J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers and almost by a 13th publisher, who gave in when his daughter pleaded with  him to publish the book.

These authors could have been rejected for many reasons, of course, but it’s clear that their writing was not considered worth reading.

Who decides if a book is worth reading?

Since a publisher takes a substantial financial risk in carrying a book to market, it’s understandable that they get to decide if a book is worth reading. Publishers don’t like taking risks. They are like banks that only want to loan money to people who already have plenty of it.

If a literary agent is being asked to shop your book around to find a willing publisher, it is the agent who quickly decides if she thinks she can convince a publisher to take on your book.

But what if the end user, the reader, got to decide what is worth reading. Wouldn’t that be great?

That is exactly where we stand now with blogs, ebooks and other digital products. Because the reader is free to read these types of writing directly from the author, it is the reader who decides if your work is worth reading.

No one is born a great writer

“Some critics will write ‘Maya Angelou is a natural writer’–which is right after being a natural heart surgeon.”
– Maya Angelou

Like learning to play the piano, lining words up to convey our thoughts may come easier to some than others, but we all have to practice, refine and hone our writing skills. Who is to say when our writing is good, good enough or great?

Writing is a lifetime endeavor, in fact. Every time an author starts a new book, she is at the beginning again.

There is a point at which you must let a manuscript go, a point at which you must decide you’re finished. You remember that feeling when an assignment was due in high school or college and you had to turn it in, imperfect as it was.

Writers don’t have to be great to be worth reading

Changes in publishing  have made it possible for anyone  to churn out a book. Some may have to hawk their work directly to readers to find their audience. But every writer’s  goal may not be to please a big audience or to rake in millions.

Take the poems I write every Christmas chronicling the year’s events in my family, for example. My audience is small. My poems are corny and the ryhming fractured. And yet, if one of my friends fails to receive his copy of my Christmas poem, he calls requesting it.

Since greatness is in the mind of the reader, I encourage writers to write, to rewrite, to read what they consider good writing and then write some more.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”–Toni Morrison

If you intend to make your living from writing or will measure your book’s worth by how copies sold, then by all means you must turn substantial attention to marketing. Introvert or not you will have to hustle.  The traditional publisher, even after you win his blessings, won’t be much help with this. Dan Poynter, Mr. Publishing, points out that whether you go with traditional publishing or self-publish, you will have to market your own book.

How do you write a book worth reading?

Write a book worth writing.

How do you decide a book’s worth?

Writing a Book is the Rage: Are You a Published Author Yet?

Is it just me or does writing a book seem to be the latest rage?

My email bulges with announcements of teleseminars, conferences, retreats, summits and classes all set on helping aspiring authors and ambitious entrepreneurs write books, and fast. Workshops and packaged courses promise that you can write [Read more…]