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Archive for the ‘Bibliophilia’ Category

15 Books about Fireworks to Celebrate Independence Day

 

Thinking about naming your new patriotic book Fireworks? I wouldn’t if I were you – not if your goal is to be original. In my Amazon search tonight for fireworks, 3,320 titles came up. The following are a selection of these titles. Please understand, I am not endorsing them, as I have never read any of them. I chose them based on covers I liked, titles that intrigued me, and just plain ol’ strangeness. The descriptions are direct quotes from their Amazon write-ups or published reviews. Think some of them may be telling about the quality?


 

1Fireworks, by George Plimpton. I first read this book while sitting in the office of our fireworks shop in NJ. I got about 12 pages in and realized that Mr. Plimpton knew the fellow I was working for. When I questioned my boss about this, he said ‘George? Hell, he used to come down and shoot with us – he loves fireworks’. Unfortunately he had passed on before I read the book, it would have been interesting to shoot a show with him. However the stories and information in the book show how taken he was with the craft of fireworks. For the casual fireworks fan, or for the dedicated pyrotechnician, you will find this book most enjoyable. 


2Fireworks Fiasco: A Very Smell 4th of July, by PJ Ryan. Rebekah, RJ and Mouse are very excited because they are all going to celebrate the Fourth of July together. There will be great food, a pet parade and a fireworks display that’s about to get VERY interesting after they put there heads together to come up with a magnificent prank that is sure to surprise everyone.

 

 


3Fireworks, by RaeAnne Thayne. Rachel Lawrence hasn’t been back to Wyoming since her husband died fighting a brush fire, but if seeing her beloved nephews again means facing rancher Sam Wyatt and the guilt she still feels, she’s willing to take the risk. Sam has plenty of his own guilt. He walked away from fighting fires and built a comfortable life on the ranch for him and his sons in Whiskey Creek. The last thing he needs is for Rachel to come back with her green eyes, her long legs and the smile he’s never been able to forget. 

 


4Fireworks over Toccoa, by Jeffrey Stepakoff. An unexpected discovery takes 84-year-old Lily Davis Woodward to 1945, and the five days that forever changed her life. Married for only a week before her husband was sent to fight in WWII, Lily is anxious for his return, and the chance to begin their life together. In honor of the soldiers’ homecoming, the small Georgia town of Toccoa plans a big celebration. And Jake Russo, a handsome Italian immigrant, also back from war, is responsible for the elaborate fireworks display the town commissioned.

 

 


5Destiny Center Success Journal – Fireworks, by Diane Wigstone. Congratulations on taking your next step towards a new you! Your purchase of this Journal means that you are serious about making some changes in your life and becoming all that God created you to be! [NO idea what the fireworks have to do with your success or God…] 

 

 


6Quackers and the Fireworks, by Candace Hughes. This sweet little duck is back for adventure! This time around he celebrates the 4th of July with his best buddy Nickolas. Nickolas helps Quackers with his fear of fireworks so they can both enjoy the celebration together. [Wondering, just a little, why the namesake duck doesn’t seem to make an appearance on the cover…] 

 


7The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, by Philip Pullman. Lila dreams to become a firework-maker, just like her father. In order to become a true firework-maker, she sets off alone on a perilous journey to reach the terrifying Fire-Fiend. She travels through jungles alive with crocodiles, snakes, monkeys and pirates, and climbs up the scolding volcano. 

 


8Faith, Fireworks and Fir, by Pam Andrews Hanson. David Maxwell is on a mission. He’s come to Evergreen, Michigan to persuade his beloved elderly aunts, Carrie and Cora, to give up their bed and breakfast and retire to Phoenix to be closer to him. His aunts have no intention of retiring and enlist Faith Turner, who manages a year-round Christmas store, to persuade their nephew to change his mind. 

 


9Fireworks on the 4th, by CR Hiatt. WARNING: The exploits of the sleuthing duo of McSwain & Beck are not fanciful fairy tales, or made for TV love stories. Though the series is fiction, the crimes depicted are straight from the headline-type stories, developed from interviews with big city and small town detectives. The situations are real. Ruthless corruption is real, and the perpetrators and victims are getting younger. 

 


10Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces, by Angela Carter. In Fireworks, Angela Carter manages to tell stories dealing with Japan, medieval torture tactics, incest, gender-bending, and mirrors (LOTS of mirrors). 

 

 

 


11Selling Fireworks for Profit! “I Made Over $40,000 in 16 Days,” by Will West. [Sure you did.] If you’ve ever wondered about Selling Fireworks for yourself, your business or a non-profit group or charity, this books is an introduction to the business and the best way to make money selling fireworks. You’ll learn about the business and what it takes to sell fireworks.

 

 

 


12Fireworks and Darkness, by Natalie Jane Prior. The temperature in the room dropped, like the bitter cold before a storm, and the smell of magic gathered like a mist. Then the windows rattled, the floor shook and the paper stars and firework cases and all the trumpery tackle of Casimir’s trade suddenly lifted off the shelves and whirled around him in a blinding, stinging storm… Simeon Runciman is a firework maker who used to be a dark magician; a difficult man with a dangerous past. His son, Casimir, has always known part of the truth about him. 

 


13Fireworks at Dusk: Paris in the Thirties, by Olivier Bernier, portrait of Paris during the 1930s. Among the characters featured are some of the best-known names of the period – artists, writers, designers, party-givers and political figures, including Elsa Maxwell, Picasso, Dali, Gide, Cocteau, Schiaparelli and Pierre Laval. 

 

 


14Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse, by Otsuichi. Summer is a simple story of a nine-year-old girl who dies while on summer vacation. While her youthful killers try to hide the her body, she tells us the story – from the POV of her dead body – of the boys’ attempt to get away murder.  

 

 


15Katy Perry: A Life of Fireworks, by Chloe Govan. How Katy made her transformation from demure choir girl to sexy household name. Accounts of the conflict Katy had growing up with a deeply religious minister as a father and her penchant for skimpy attention-grabbing outfits and subversive lyrics. Details the story of her ill-fated early career, including an early gospel album released by a small record company which went bankrupt soon afterward. Her eventual rise to fame and her controversial first chart-topping single “I Kissed A Girl,” her bisexual affair and the struggle Katy faced between her sexuality and her religious background. Exclusive stories revealing the making of her albums. Tales of the love affair and marriage to notorious television presenter Russell Brand.

Wishing all of Marcie’s American readers a happy, fireworky 4th!

Laura

__________________ Summer Author Event PHOENIX-AREA AUTHORS: If you or someone you know is an author in Phoenix, please consider participating in the Summer Author Event on August 16. This multi-author book signing and meet-and-greet will put you in front of hundreds of readers in a casual environment where you can sell and sign books. There are three levels of participation. The first 100 attendees will receive goody bags – and for just $25, you can put a promo for your book into the goody bags!  Learn more or register at SummerAuthorEvent.com.

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A variety of GORGEOUS handmade books

One of the most popular posts we ever wrote was about how to create a zine – an 8-page booklet created out of a single letter-size sheet of paper. They are certainly fun to make, and quite easy. And they are a simplistic version of a handmade book.500 Handmade Books volume 2

The images below come from a book by Lark Crafts that contains creative, sophisticated, intricate, and interesting handmade books of all shapes and sizes. The books, juried by Julie Chen, are among the 500 books in the aptly titled 500 Handmade Books, Volume 2.

This is the description of 500 Handmade Books, Volume 1, from the Lark website:

Interest in bookbinding and the related arts has exploded in the past decade, inspiring artists to explore the unlimited possibilities of the form – and delighting collectors, crafters, and gallery owners. [T]his collection is a provocative on-the-page-gallery of show-stopping artistry from finely tooled leather covers to books with mysterious accordion folds.

I’m thinking I want to try one or two of these – particularly the ones that lend themselves to the use of postcards – as collector book perks for my forthcoming PubSlush campaign for Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

I love the multimedia aspect of these books, the dimensionality, the texture, the colors. OK – I’m not a big fan of smoking, but the concept is clever. And the love interest in Stan is an artist, so I love the watercolor tray idea!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. And keep in  mind, this is just a taste of the 15 I really liked. there are 485 others in this book, and 500 more in the first book, so check them out!

p. 18

p. 18

500 Handmade Books volume 2

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500 Handmade Books volume 2

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500 Handmade Books volume 2

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500 Handmade Books volume 2

p. 156

500 Handmade Books volume 2

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500 Handmade Books volume 2

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500 Handmade Books, volume 2

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500 Handmade Books, volume 2

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500 Handmade Books, volume 2

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500 Handmade Books, volume 2

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500 Handmade Books, volume 2

p. 268

500 Handmade Books, volume 2

p. 373

500 Handmade Books, volume 2

p. 67

 

 

500 Handmade Books, volume 2

p. 55

 

If you have handmade books you’d like to share, please put the links in the comments below.

Laura

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Check out Laura’s newest book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. A percentage of all book sales is donated to Art4TheHomeless.org and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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A massive wake up call… 493 million women worldwide cannot read this headline

For someone whose chosen career is to help authors publish meaningful books and connect those books with the readers they will benefit, I am, perhaps surprisingly, a fairly light reader. I love to read; I just haven’t done very much of it lately. Let me clarify – I haven’t read many books lately. I have a Kindle Fire with nearly 100 ebooks on it, but I use it mostly to check email and read articles and blog posts. My husband and I own hundreds of books – and I still buy them frequently enough. But sometime over the last few years, I’ve gotten out of the habit of making dedicated time to read books.

illiteracy

Until one Sunday about two months ago, when my husband and I decided to go to the library and explore. Since then, I’ve been reading more. But I still hadn’t committed to reading one book all the way through. I’m a reader who always has multiple books going at one time. One in my bag, one in the car, one by my bed, one in the bathroom (yes, the bathroom). Until my last visit to the library, when I picked up a brand new paperback copy of the 1996 novel Pope Joan, by Donna Woolfolk Cross.

This book captivated me from the first page. I’m now 143 pages into a book that truly lives up to that frequently-bandied-but-seldom-true description: page turner. It is the fictional account of the 9th century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female to sit on the papal throne. Of course, detractors say her existence is mere myth – but whether she was an actual person or not has absolutely no bearing on this fantastic story.

The initial part of the story deals with Joan’s desire to become educated at a time when women were considered “by nature, quite incapable of reasoning.” … “Their natural humors, which are cold and moist, are unpropitious for cerebral activity. They cannot comprehend the higher spiritual and moral concepts.” (Pope Joan, p. 82)

So here’s this impactful story about a 9th century girl who bucks trends and odds to become educated when even most men could neither read nor write. She read not one, but at least three languages. And while her struggles were a  moving part of the story for me, they were simply plot points. Until, this morning, when I found myself pausing in amazement, yet again, that this story was devised from 26 characters that its author has turned into words that paint such vivid pictures that I can imagine the scenes as if I were watching a movie.

And then it hit me – what an utter misfortune it is for those who cannot read a book for pleasure. And then, of course, the next natural conclusion finally struck me: What about those who cannot read, period?

I set the book down and jumped online to do some basic research, and the statistics are amazing!

  • Approximately 14 percent – or 32 million – U.S. adults are unable to read.
  • In the U.S., two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
  • One in four American children grow up without learning how to read.
  • Literacy is a learned skill. Illiteracy is passed down from parents who can neither read nor write.
  • As of 2011, the U.S. Was the only free-market OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country where the current generation was less  educated than the previous one.
  • Nearly 85 percent of youths who face trial in the American juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
  • More than 70 percent of America’s prison population cannot read above a fourth grade level.
  • Of Americans who receive food stamps, 75 percent perform in the lowest two levels of literacy, and 90 percent of high school dropouts are on welfare.
  • Teenage girls ages 16 to 19 with below-average literacy skills are six times more likely to get pregnant than girls their age who can read proficiently.
  • Reports show that low literacy directly costs the healthcare industry more than $70 million every year.
  • Long Beach, California has been ranked the country’s most illiterate city, followed by Mesa, Arizona (neighbor to my home city of Phoenix), and Aurora, Colorado.
  • Worldwide, 774 million people are unable to read – 66 percent of them (or 493 million) are women.

I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired to do something about this. ProLiteracy is one place to begin. Or you can do a search for Literacy Volunteers in your area.

Definitely more on this to come – maybe even my next book. A bit ironic, isn’t it?

Laura

RESOURCES

https://beta.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-literacy-america

http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read

http://www.proliteracy.org/the-crisis/overview

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below."Practical Philanthropy" book cover

__________________

Check out Laura’s newest book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. A percentage of all book sales is donated to Art4TheHomeless.org and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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14 reasons I love books…

What better time to celebrate our love for books than Valentine’s Day?

Here’s a collection of gorgeous book images, with a little about how I came to be a book person, why I read, what I read, and how I read. Please share your own similar stories in the Comments section below.

Book-Love 10

I taught myself to read at about age 4 because I wanted to be able to read the comics in the Sunday paper to myself. I had my dad read me the same Golden Books again and again so I could memorize the words.

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Book-Love 3

I was in second grade when my dad took me to the library for my first “research project” on the Great White Shark. He taught me how to use the card catalogue so I could find my own way around the library later. It worked. I seldom needed help again.

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Book-Love 1

My favorite thing about elementary school was the chance to order new books through the Scholastic Book Club leaflet. The longest days of the school year were the days between handing in my form with my dad’s check, and the day that magical brown box showed up on the teacher’s desk so she could distribute our books.

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Book-Love 2

Summers were spent reading 40, 50, as many as 100 books as part of the library’s Summer Reading Program. Encyclopedia Brown. Nancy Drew. Madeleine L’Engle. Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read them all…

“You have to write the book that wants to be written.
And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups,
then you write it for children.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

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Book-Love 6

I met my best friend in a summer program at ASU between eighth grade and our freshman year in high school. The classes we took together included an etymology class and a sentence-combining seminar. My writing improved vastly that summer! I went from an average of 6 words per sentence to an average of 21 words per sentence. Thirty-some years later, I still find the information and processes I learned in those classes helpful.

Jane lived in a small Southern Arizona town; I lived in Phoenix. This was before the Internet. So we wrote letters – the old-fashioned kind with ink and paper. Jane’s letters were long, funny missives in purple ink, most of which I still have.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I began at the University of Arizona, each freshman was required to take a Library Skills course. Again, this was pre-Internet. The course was supposed to take up to 21 hours to complete. I did mine inside of 3 hours – and I remember being very grateful to my dad at the time.

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Book-Love 5

I’m not a person who can read just one book at a time. At any given moment, I’ve got a book in the bathroom, one in my shoulder bag, and at least one on my nightstand. That doesn’t even take into account the Kindle.

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Book-Love 7

I read all kinds of things – fiction and nonfiction. Love stories, historical novels, literary fiction. Spiritual books, marketing and business books, political books, personal growth books. Our reading taste is one place my husband and I diverge. He reads music biographies and autobiographies, as well as horror/thrillers from Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and the like.

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Book-Love 8

Did anyone ever finish The Thorn Birds? When I read it, I got within about 50 pages of the end of Colleen McCollough’s 692-page tome before simply losing interest. I didn’t intend to abandon the book; it just happened. But then I began asking all my friends who’d read it/were reading it, and no one finished the thing. The first book I ever quit on purpose was Pat Conroy’s Beach Music. Having really enjoyed Prince of Tides, I had high expectations for this book. It was boring and tedious from the start. I kept thinking it would get better, but by page 120, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. It was a big deal to give myself permission to quit reading a book. So glad I finally got over that issue.

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Book-Love 13

I love libraries and bookstores because I love the touch and feel of books. I love knowing that people spent hours researching and writing them. I love the thought that I might be one of hundreds of people to read a single library book. I love the concept of BookCrossing.

It’s really astonishing to think that all our communication, all the English-language books and letters, are derived from 26 little symbols:
a – b – c – d – e – f – g – h – i – j – k – l – m – n – o – p – q – r – s – t – u – v – w – x – y -z.

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Book-Love 9

I love that books can take us places, create visions, share knowledge, engage ideas – in short, call us to a higher purpose. Certainly not every book serves those roles, but they are, to be sure, the books toward which I gravitate. And in my work with self-publishing authors, my goal is to work with socially conscious authors and would-be authors.

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Book-Love 11

Chick lit is my guilty pleasure – along with romantic comedies, when it comes to movies. But good stories with well-drawn characters. Remember, I’m not afraid to drop a book like a hot tamale if it’s not worthy of my time. I bought 50 Shades of Grey out of curiosity. Didn’t make it past the first gawdawful chapter. One massively underrated book is Helen Fielding’s (Bridget Jones) first novel, Cause Celeb.

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Book-Love 12

This weekend my sister, husband, and I will attend the 58th annual VNSA Book Sale in Phoenix, where we’ll surely by a couple dozen more books. We had a yard sale in the fall which allowed us to clear out space in our floor-to-ceiling bookcases, so now there’s at least a little room for the newcomers!

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Book-Love 14

While I fully appreciate the ease, necessity, practicality, and inevitability of ebooks, printed books will always be first, and forever, in my heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the readers, writers, authors, and book lovers among us!

Laura

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Amazon has hit a new low in punishing successful authors

I first learned of this story from Ruth Ann Nordin at Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors.

Then I read the first-hand account from Jamie McGuire about her situation with Amazon.

The capsule version is that Jamie McGuire was successful enough with her book, Beautiful Disaster, that a publisher picked it up. Now, Amazon is offering to issue everyone who originally bought the self-published version from them a refund PLUS the $7 difference in price for the new version with the publisher (seemingly to punish McGuire from bailing on Amazon), but Amazon is debiting McGuire’s account to pay the refunds.

Please read McGuire’s full first-hand account to be sure you understand all the nuances and details.

I have long defended Amazon when other authors were railing against them for one thing or another, but this is simply EVIL! If McGuire’s account is true and accurate (and I have no reason to believe it’s not), we absolutely must band together to support each other so that this WRONGwrongWRONG practice does not gain momentum or support.

stop amazon

Laura

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Green publishing and book recycling: Steps in the right direction

For those of us with a concern for the planet, one of the best things to come from the move toward eBooks is the reduction of paper consumption, and therefore the wholesale harvesting of trees. For Earth Day, I thought we might examine some important numbers related to the ways the publishing industry affects the planet – and then look at some ideas for recycling your old books.

Trees that would be saved if the book industry shifted to a collective
average of 30 percent post-consumer (i.e., recycled) paper.
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Publishers, printers, and mills that have developed strong
environmental policies, and/or signed the
Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper Use.

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Pounds of greenhouse gas emissions prevented
by replacing one ton of virgin fiber with one ton
of post-consumer recycled fiber.

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Rank of the pulp and paper industry on the list
of largest industrial greenhouse emitters.

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Kinds of new book paper with environmental
attributes that have been developed recently.

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Wood harvest committed to industrial use
(i.e., everything except fuel wood) that goes
into paper production.

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Amount of solid landfill waste that is paper.

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These numbers are a bit dated, as they come from a 2007 post from TreeHuggers.org titled “How to Go Green for Publishers; however, they still tell a shocking story about the effects of traditional print book publishing on our forests and land.

Please make a point of reading the full post for other fantastic information, like:

Top Green Book Publishing Tips

Green Book Publishing: Getting Techie

Where to Get Green Book Publishing Materials

Green Book Publishing: From the Archives

Further Reading on Green Book Publishing

In addition to being planet-conscious with your publishing, you can also help Mother Earth by recycling your old books. If you’ve amassed a large library and it’s time to downsize or you need to make room for new titles, here are a few ways you can recycle your old books.

  • Resell them at a local used book store.
  • Sell specialty books on eBay or Amazon – it may be too much effort and too little reward for run-of-the-mill titles.
  • Host a book swap party – or find a book exchange on Meetup.com.
  • Donate them to your local library.
  • Donate children’s books (toddler to age 18) to foster homes and programs for at-risk youth.
  • Post them on freecycle.com – since you’ve got to give something away before you accept any items.
  • Donate them to Goodwill or other second-hand store.
  • Donate them to a nursing home, hospice or hospital – even if they’re not large print, the staff and visitors would welcome new reading material.
  • Donate them to a prison library – especially textbooks and nonfiction educational books.
  • Leave a book on a train, in a waiting room, or some other public place – a potential found treasure. Tag your book with a unique code and use Bookcrossing.com to track who finds your book.

We have one home, so it’s up to each of us to do our part to protect her. If you have other ideas about green publishing or ways to recycle old books, please share them in the “Comments” section below.

Happy recycling!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Why did the writer cross the road?

Because she was driven.

Yes, today we’re going to lighten things up a bit with some literary humor. I strove for variety and, of course, things that made me chuckle. Please feel free to share your own writing jokes below in the COMMENTS section.

Enjoy!

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A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell and decided to check out each place first. As she descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

“Oh my,” said the writer. “Let me see heaven now.”

A few moments later, she ascended into heaven and saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

“Wait a minute,” said the writer. “This is just as bad as hell!”

“Oh no, it’s not,” replied an unseen voice. “Here, your work gets published.”

How many screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Why does it *have* to be changed?

Punctuation Parable

Dear Rhet,

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.
You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?

Scarlett

**********

Dear Mr. Darcy,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.
You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours,

Elizabeth

Charles Dickens: Please, sir, I’d like a martini.

Bartender: Sure thing. Olive or twist?

Make some time to laugh every day! It unleashes the creativity and helps you feel wonderful! Oh, and it burns lots of calories, too!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Audiobooks vs. eBooks vs. traditional paper books: A professional book person’s comparison

I’ve been reading since I was 4 years old, having demanded my dad teach me how because I got tired of waiting around for him to read me the Sunday comics. I think a Berenstain Bears book may have been the first one I ever read on my own. Not surprisingly, I got A’s in elementary and high school English and went on to select nonfiction writing as my college major, with journalism as my minor. My first job was in a newspaper library. My career of choice is helping people self-publish their books. Words, reading, books, and research have always played giant roles in my life.

But, as we’re all well aware, books are changing, as is the experience of buying them. While you can still wander from stack to stack and genre to genre at your local bookstore – or library – that opportunity is unfortunately shrinking, as we head into the digital age. There are definite benefits to these new methods of reading, but there also are drawbacks.

I’ve never been much of an audiobook person, but I recently decided to give this format a try, checking out Mike Dooley’s Infinite Possibilities from the library. I loved the book and loved listening to it on my computer while I was doing other tasks. I listened to it three times before returning it, each time hearing new things I’d missed the previous time(s), no doubt do to my multitasking. The next audiobook I checked out was Life Visioning, by Michael Beckwith, who with Dooley, was featured in the movie version of The Secret. Different from Dooley in style but similar in content, I found Beckwith a bit more challenging as an audiobook because he punctuates his chapters with meditations that required my full attention, forcing me to stop what I was doing or risk skipping out on those segments in the hope of eventually returning to them.

Soon after that, I signed up for Audible.com, Amazon’s audiobook outlet. One of the first books I purchased was Rachel Maddow’s Drift. A radical departure from the self-improvement genre of Dooley and Beckwtih, I found myself facing a new challenge with Drift. I needed to pay a lot more attention to the content in order for the details of the book to actually make sense. Occasionally, I’d find myself wondering, “Wait, what did I miss?” and needing to “rewind” because in my distraction or multitasking, I had missed a key component of the message.

The same was true when I borrowed the audiobook version of Paul Krugman’s The Conscience of a Liberal. Like Drift, this book required my full attention when listening. The benefit of owning Drift, though, is that I can go back and listen to the whole thing in its entirety, anytime I want, whereas with Krugman’s book, I’ll have to check it out again if I want to hear it again.

For me, this multitasking experience is exclusive to audiobooks. I sometimes see people at the gym paging through magazines or juggling a book to pass the time while doing cardio. But I learned from my personal trainer a long time ago not to try reading on the treadmill or stair stepper, as you never get the same quality of workout as when you are focused on exercise alone. So when I read, the physical book in front of me has my full, undivided attention. And when I do encounter a distraction, I put the book down, attend to the issue, and then resume reading. With audiobooks, we may not even realize we are distracted until we’ve missed a significant enough section of the text to be jogged into that whole “Wait, what did I miss?” awareness.

In a recent post about book blogger statistics, I mentioned that I was startled to find out that of 300 book bloggers surveyed, 71 percent did not even OWN eReaders of any type. I somehow mistakenly believed that avid readers like those who blog about books would be early adopters. My husband thought he would be an eReader holdout until I got him a Kindle for Christmas – now he loves it. I asked him why he likes his Kindle so much, and he tossed of three reasons quite easily:

  1. Without a the cover of a traditional printed book, an eReader makes it easy to conceal your reading materials from passersby, something he often finds useful when reading during his lunch break on his commercial plumbing jobsite. Regardless of what book he’s reading at the time, when people ask, he automatically answers, “Stephen King,” as this both satisfies their quasi-curiosity and shuts them up.
  2. Another benefit my husband finds with the Kindle is having a wide selection of books at your disposal. Whether he’s in a Deepak Chopra mood or wants to read Sports Illustrated at lunch, he’s got both choices at his fingertips.
  3. Perhaps the biggest benefit of the eReader is the ability to purchase in an instant. “I can learn about the latest rock autobiography in Rolling Stone and be reading it in a matter of minutes,” explains my musician hubby.

My friend Carol, on the other hand, finds the impersonal technology of an eReader distracting. “You can get what, a third or a quarter of the contents of a printed page on that thing,” she said pointing to my Kindle Fire. To her, having to sweep your finger across the screen every two or three paragraphs is just plain annoying.

As more and more people make the transition from paper books to audiobooks and eBooks, it’s important for you to get your books out there in as many formats as makes sense. You can best determine this by knowing your readers. Print books are the most expensive to produce, but audiobooks also require a significant investment of time and dollars. eBooks are no doubt the easiest to take to market. If your readers are older church ladies who don’t read eBooks, though, it wouldn’t make much sense to go that route, now would it? While I think each format has place – and its fans/proponents – I suspect I will remain loyal to paper books for while still.

Happy formatting!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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11 ways authors can celebrate National Library Week

Even though I grew up in libraries, it wasn’t until I got my first “real” job at the Arizona Daily Star library while I was attending the University of Arizona in Tucson that I first heard of National Library Week. Observed annually in April, National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries, librarians, and other library staff and to promote the use and support of libraries. The Arizona Daily Star library is what as known as a special library. These include corporate libraries, law libraries, medical libraries, museum libraries, and news libraries. Special libraries, sometimes known as information centers, generally are not open to the public.

This year’s theme for National Library Week is “You belong @ your library.” The goal is remind the country that the library is a place where everyone belongs. First observed in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries across the country. All types of libraries – school, public, academic, and special –participate. Best-selling author Brad Meltzer is the Honorary Chair of National Library Week 2012.

In addition to being home to National Library Week, April also is School Library Month. Specific observances for National Library Week include today, April 11, which is National Bookmobile Day and tomorrow, April 12, which is Support Teen Literature Day.

Here are 11 ways authors can celebrate National Library Week:

  1. Write the story of why you belong at your library in just six words! Tweet your story using the hash tag #nlw6words for a chance to win a copy of Brad Meltzer’s DVD, “Decoded”/Season 1.
  2. Share a longer story about how the library has impacted your life.
  3. Blog about it!
  4. Get active on Twitter by following @AtYourLibrary. Use the hash tag #nlw12 to help keep it going as a trending topic.
  5. “Like” National Library Week on Facebook.
  6. Put your book cover on some blank greeting cards and send “Happy National Library Week” cards to your favorite librarians.
  7. If you don’t have a library card, get one!
  8. Take your kids to the library. Think about making a trip to the library a weekly or monthly family outing.
  9. Research ways to get your self-published book into libraries. It’s not easy, but it is possible.
  10. Most libraries have community rooms. Even if your library does not carry your book, make time this week to inquire about hosting a reading at the library – especially if your book is NOT brand new and you haven’t done much to market it in a while. What better way to get to know your local library staff and cement your presence in your community?
  11. If there’s a special library related to your genre, find it and contact the head librarian. If possible, make an appointment to stop by! Take (or send) the staff some cookies – and, of course, plenty of bookmarks, business cards, and/or postcards with your contact info on them.

If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. Even though more patrons than ever are using them, libraries are facing a huge funding challenge right now. As an author, you have a special reason to and means of promoting them this week!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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A virtual tour of an editor/book marketer’s library

I remember visiting the home of a business acquaintance some years ago. She had one book on her coffee table that she admitted it was taking her months to get through. “We used to have all kinds of books cluttering up the place, but we got rid of them,” she explained to me cheerily. “What’s the point of having those things around just collecting dust?” Are you kidding me? I remember thinking. You just got rid of them like they were a bunch of knickknacks taking up space?

A home without books is a body without soul.

— Marcus Tullius Cicero

If the above quote is true — and I happen to believe that it is — our home has soul to spare! Someone on Facebook recently asked me which books had made the most lasting impression on me. It was a difficult question to answer because, for me, every book leaves an impression of some sort. So, at the risk of being somewhat self-indulgent, I thought I’d take you on a virtual tour of our home library, which is not confined to a single room, but spreads out across the house, into virtually every place a book could wedge itself.

The first stop is the coffee table, current home to some of the books John and I bought at the recent VNSA Charity Book Sale. Yes, it’s true. They still have not found a forever home on the bookcase, as that will likely mean weeding and donating some of our books in order to make room for them.

Next up is hubby’s corner. John is a commercial plumber, but he’s thinking about making a move out on his own as an indie residential plumber. These were some of his recent purchases so he can review the stuff he’ll need to get up to speed on the residential side of things.

Our recreational reading is one of the places where we have the most divergent interests. Hubby reads thrillers. I read literary fiction, chick lit, spiritual titles, and marketing books  — yes, even in my “down” time.

Here’s proof of the above statement, a look at the books stacked on our bedside table.

This is a stack of library books, ready to go back tonight. I used them for research for a recent client project.

OK,  when you ask me about influential books, these two are at the top of my list. Although I was already quite familiar with the Law of Attraction by the time Secrets of Attraction jumped off the shelf at me, mis-shelved as it was in the midst of the religion section at a local indie bookseller, it changed my perspective on things considerably. In fact, it was the reason I created my box of affirmation cards, which had a direct impact on the trajectory of my business and my life. Not sure where or how I came across From Beginning to End, but it is, without a doubt, the book I’ve given most often as a gift to others.

If you’ve written a book and hope to sell any copies, besides reading this blog, you MUST buy and read this book by John Kremer. It would take you years to implement every strategy and idea it contains, but without it, you’ll be flailing in the wind.

These are two books a client recently recommended to me. I’m pretty sure 7 Rules You Were Born to Break is headed straight to the top of my all-time favorites list!

This is the most recent book I purchased, at a neighborhood yard sale. I don’t know much about it yet, but the blurb that hooked me says:

In this deliciously mordant send-up of the publishing world, Elise Blackwell conjures up a universe filled with talentless novelists, reptilian publishers, unprincipled agents, and brain-dead critics. Thank God this is only a fantasy. Thank God any similarity to real life is entirely fortuitous.  — JOE QUEENAN

These are the books I am, without question, most honored to own. This is a selection of my clients’ books. I recently took them with me to a presentation I did about using a book as a way to build and brand your business. I put little bullet lists on the front of each book, explaining the role I had in each one. My functions ranged from editing to typesetting to marketing, and a lot of other things in between. It was an excellent exercise to see how far I’ve come and how many clients I’ve helped.

Lastly, we come to my Kindle Fire, a Christmas present from my wonderful husband. I’ll be honest, though, and tell you that I use it much more often for the mobile Web features than I do for reading, except while I’m in transit or hanging out at a place that doesn’t have WiFi.

So that’s it. You’ve seen the wide variety of books that permeate our house, my office, and our lives in general. I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments section below!

Happy reading!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Please check out our new PUBLISHING GLOSSARY!

If you’re observant and have been reading our little blog for a while, you may have noticed we only had one page, other than the home page with the posts themselves: our About page. Well, today that changes! I’m pleased to announce our newly published Publishing Glossary and invite you to review it! It would probably be better titled Publishing and Printing Glossary, but that’s a mouthful, so I opted for the shorter, if less complete, version.

My reasons for compiling this glossary are twofold. Of course, we always want to include content that will boost our SEO rankings – hey, we’re the original SBMs* and we want people to read this blog as much as you want folks to read yours! Secondly, and perhaps the more important reason, is that many self-publishing authors are brand new to the whole publishing world, and everything is a bit unfamiliar to them. This is a VERY comprehensive glossary containing many words you will likely never need to know. But it also includes very important words that you will need to understand if you are to successfully self-publish your book.

Some of the most important terms my clients have not known before they got started include:

BACK and FRONT MATTER: The pages that appear before the main body of a book’s text and the sections following the text. These include such things as the dedication, acknowledgements, table of contents, endnotes, index, bibliography, author biography, and appendix.

TRIM SIZE: The finishued size of the printed material.

TRIM MARKS: Register marks indicating where to cut or trim the pages.

BLEED: Printing that extends beyond the trim marks on a sheet or page; pictures “bleed” if they reach to the edge of the page; this technique often is employed intentionally.

PERFECT BIND: To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue; common technique used for binding paperback books.

Crop marks

We tried to include useful images where they seemed important or necessary. If there’s a term for which you believe we should have an image but don’t, please give us a shout and we’ll see what we can do about correcting things!

Of course, this blog is really about marketing, so keep a lookout for the forthcoming list of Marketing Terms as well as a general list of Grammar Terms! In the meantime, please enjoy the publishing and printing terms. And if you feel we’re missing a term, please let us know in the comments section on the Publishing Glossary page!

Happy reviewing!

Laura

*Savvy Book Marketer

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Encyclopedia Brown and the case of the disappearing Britannica

I recently took a road trip to California with my husband, my sister, and a friend. My friend was driving and my sister was in the front seat when the following conversation caught my attention:

“Where are they?”

“I don’t know. They were just here.”

“I know! I saw you with them. Where did they go?”

The “they” and “them” in question was a bag of mixed nuts. The consternation over the misplacement of the nuts was comical, and I was immediately cast back into my childhood as I found myself saying aloud, “Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disappearing Nuts.” Everyone laughed. (The missing nuts were eventually located under the driver’s seat.)

Then my husband chimed in, “Hey, speaking of encyclopedias, did you hear they’re going to stop printing the Encyclopaedia Britannica?” As a matter of fact, I had heard a day or two earlier. Interestingly, one of the culprits in the death of the 244-year-old Britannica is that 11-year-old online whippersnapper, Wikipedia.

According to a NY Times blog post:

In an acknowledgment of the realities of the digital age — and of competition from the Web site Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools. The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.

+ + +

The 2010 edition had more than 4,000 contributors, including Arnold Palmer (who wrote the entry on the Masters tournament) and Panthea Reid, professor emeritus at Louisiana State University and author of the biography, Art and Affection: A Life of Virginia Woolf (who wrote about Virginia Woolf).

Sales of the Britannica peaked in 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold in the United States. But now print encyclopedias account for less than 1 percent of the Britannica’s revenue.

We have entered the digital age, and there’s no going back.

Britannica isn’t the only encyclopedia making changes, however. A visit to that young usurper Wikipedia revealed something I did not know about my childhood friend, the floppy-haired Encyclopedia Brown: Donald J. Sobol, the series creator, is still cranking out the titles! Beginning with the very first book, Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, which was released in 1963, he’s written a total of 27 of the lithe kids’ mysteries. About halfway down the list, I found the 13th book, Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Midnight Visitor, published in 1977. And his most recent work was Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Carnival Crime, which came out just last year (2011)!

Encyclopedia Brown isn’t what he used to be, though. No – he’s had a makeover; the amiable, hand-drawn boy on the covers of old has morphed into a Justin Bieber knockoff. Nevertheless, could it be that good old Encyclopedia Brown will outlast the Encyclopaedia Britannica?

No 21st century mention of encyclopedias is complete without a note about A.J. Jacobs’ fantastic book, The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World. This book, truly one of the best I’ve read in the last 10 years, follows the author’s successful attempt to read the entire EB (Encyclopaedia Britannica) from cover to cover. Of course, it’s interwoven with Jacobs’ wry humor and delicate attention to personal matters, like his and his wife’s attempt to have a baby. Sample entries include:

Abbot, Bud and Costello, Lou

After a bunch of Persion rulers named Abbas, I get to these two familiar faces. But any sense of relief fades when I learn about their sketchy past. Turns out that the famed partnership began when Costello’s regular straight man fell ill during a gig at the Empire Theater in New York, and Abbot – who was working in the theater’s box office – offered to substitute. It went so well, Abbot became Costello’s permanent partner. This is not a heartwarming story; it’s a cautionary tale. I’m never calling in sick again. I don’t want to come back after a twenty-four-hour flu and find Robbie from the mail room volunteered to be the senior editor. It’s a tough world.

ABO blood group

Stomach cancer is 20 percent more common in people with type A blood than those with type B or type O. That’s me, type A. This is even more disturbing than the tale of the backstabbing Costello. Clearly, I have to be prepared to learn some things I don’t like.

MARKETING TAKEAWAYS

As always, there are a few marketing lessons to be taken from these stories:

(1) Adaptability is key. Some might say EB waited a bit too long to make the transition to digital, but at least they’re now willing to try to adjust and keep up. Likewise, the genius boy detective has undergone his own metamorphosis. And as much as it pains me to say this, probably rightly so. Which book would your kid (or your child readers) be more likely to pick up, the ages-old cartoon or the cool-looking modern boy?

(2) Once you find something that works, do  more of it! Seriously – the first Encyclopedia Brown book was written a few years before I was even born, and I probably didn’t read my first of his books until the mid-70s. Yet at age 87, more than 40 years later, the author is still churning out new books! There were also an Encyclopedia Brown comic strip and TV series.

(3) Make something old new again. I promise you that A.J. Jacobs wasn’t the first person ever to read the EB from cover to cover, all 26 volumes and 40 MILLION words. But he was the first (or best) to chronicle his experience.

Lastly, speaking of Wikipedia, the free online multilingual encyclopedia project is written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers who write without pay. It is the #5 site on the Web, serving 450 million people every month, with billions of page views. To give you a sense of what the folks at Wikipedia accomplish with very little, Google has close to a million servers, and Yahoo has somewhere in the neighborhood of 13,000 staff. Wikipedia runs on 679 servers with less than 100 people on their staff. If you’ve used Wikipedia even once in the last month, please consider making a donation.

Happy researching!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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