.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

If you need a name for your publishing venture, ignore what Juliet Capulet said

Shakespeare's Juliet told Romeo, "That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet." Juliet's admonition is bad for publishing.
  • Don't use the name of a self-publishing company on your books.
  • Don't give your publishing company a name that stinks.
Independent authors have to make many choices. One of the most important choices -- which is often ignored -- is whether to have the name of a self-publishing company on their books, or a name that makes it seem like the book was not published by one of those companies.

Booksellers, readers and reviewers may have strong opinions about publishers. I confess that if I see that a book was published by Outskirts Press, PublishAmerica (now America Star Books) and some others I assume that the book is crap.


Some self-publishing companies allow authors to use a different brand name and logo on their books. Do it.

Fortune 500 companies often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and many months to develop names for household products, cars and websites. It's possible to do it in less time and at little or no cost, but be careful.

Here are some tips:

(1) Pick a name that sounds substantial. If your name is Joe Smith, don't use "Joe's Book Company." "Smith Publishing" sounds a little bit better, but I recommend not using you own name in the company name. When you write a letter on your new letterhead, it's better if the name in the logo at the top is not the same as the name in the signature on the bottom. Let people at least think that there might be more than one person on your staff.

Obviously not a big company

Too small to have a name?
(2) Don't use a name that's too limiting. You may think you'll publish books only about car repair, ballet or vegetable-growing, but a too-specific name will hurt your chances to expand if you change your mind later. It may be tough to market a sci-fi book if your company name is "Ballerina Books" and your logo is a tutu or ballet slippers.

(3) Don't pick a name that's already in use. You probably don't have to pay a lawyer to do a trademark search, but at least do a web search with several search engines, and check Writer's Market to make sure that no other publisher is already using your proposed name.

It's not a good idea to grab the name
of another company in a similar field.

(4) Don't pick a name that sounds like another publisher. Calling your new company "Random Home" or "Random Books" will invite a lawsuit from Random House. I don't know if Esquire Publications (above) has been sued by Esquire Magazine. Be cautious about using the name of another company even in an unrelated field. Although Cadillac pet food and Cadillac cars coexisted for years, the Toyota Motor Company sued the company that intended to market Toyota recording tape. You could go broke defending a lawsuit.

(5) Pick a name that works with a logo. It could be an actual photo or drawing, or just interesting typography. It's nice to have more than a name to put on your books, business cards, letterhead and website.


(6) Unless your specialty is grunge or mayhem. Try for a name that sounds pleasant. I named my company "Silver Sands Books," after a local beach.

(7) Try for a short name. It will be tough to fit "Xylophone Publications Internationale of Philadelphia" on the spine of a thin book. Also, the longer a name is, the more likely it is to be spelled wrong in emails and web searches.


(8) Register the name in the local municipal office that registers names, often the town clerk's office. You will get an “assumed name” certificate or a DBA (Doing Business As) certificate. Even if you are not incorporating as "ABC Books, Inc." you should get a legal document to prove that you have the right to use the "ABC Books" name. You'll need that paper to open a bank account in your new business name. You should also consider registering your business name and logo as a trademark with the Feds. Ask an attorney about it.


(9) Start using the name. Even if your first book is six months away, establish a website immediately to announce your planned books and talk about your company. Send out a press release to announce the new business. Order business cards. These simple and inexpensive activities will help establish "prior use" if another company later wants to grab your name. Within a few weeks of registering your name, you'll probably start to receive letters from local insurance companies and accountants and the Chamber of Commerce who pay your local government to receive lists of new businesses. Even if you have no plans to use their services, the letters addressed to your business may help to establish legitimacy later on.


(10) Get a business-like email address. "JohnSmith@ABCbooks.com" is more impressive than js38647252@aol.com.


(11) For your website and email address, avoid hyphenations and top-level domains other than "dot com." The more unusual your company name is, the more likely you are to get a dot com web address.I have SilverSandsBooks.com.  


(Cadillac photo from http://andreadisaster.com/. Thanks.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

There are many ways to show how many


There are several standards for printing numbers ("figures"). One calls for spelling out one through nine, another says you should spell out one through ten. In “serious” literary books you may even see “ninety-three” or “four thousand.”


Select a system and stick to it. One book in the For Dummies series has “10” and “ten” in the same paragraph!

One of my personal rules is to use the same style when numbers are nearby: “eight to twelve” or “8 to 12”—not “eight to 12.” However, to avoid confusion and misreading, I write “four 10-lb bags, not “4 10-lb bags.”


I don’t spell out numbers in addresses or prices, except for low numbers like “One Main Street” or “five bucks.”


When numbers are approximate and used to present a mood rather than data, I usually spell the number, as in: “The chairman was surprised when more than fifty people showed up for the meeting.”

(from my upcoming No More Ugly Books!: design help for writers who don't hire artists)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Do you know why an ebook is like Pizza Hut pizza?


Maybe an ebook is to a pbook as Pizza Hut is to pizza

I live and work in Milford, Connecticut. Milford is in New Haven County, an area known for and proud of excellent Neapolitan pizza. (Many of our traditional pizzerias spell pizza as "apizza" and pronounce it "ah-beetz.")

According to a "study" published by USA Today three of the nation's best pizza joints are located on one street (Wooster Street) in the city of New Haven.


Some of our local pizzerias have been owned by the same families for two or three generations, and new ones seem to open every few weeks. Because of the loyalty of the locals it has been hard for the national chains, which have been so successful elsewhere, to build business here.

Everyone in this part of Connecticut has one or two favorite pizzerias. We are experts, fans, aficionados and snobs. People here are less likely to switch pizza sources than to switch cola or jeans brands.

By Mafia decree (or maybe because of simple collusion) local pizzerias are closed on Monday so the pizza makers can spend time with their families.

Apparently Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's and Domino's have dispensations from the Pope or from il Capo di Tutti Capi ("boss of all bosses" in the Mafia), and are open seven days a week. This means that locals who must have something vaguely pizza-like on the first workday of the week, will go to the Hut, Caesar's or Dom's on that day -- but probably not on other days.

On all days of the week, the pizza chains serve customers who have recently moved from places like Kentucky or Utah and don't know what real pizza is supposed to look and taste like.



(above) Vaguely round, sloppy and delicious traditional New Haven "ah-beetz" from Frank Pepe, and perfectly round and bland pizza from a national chain's factory

And now, about Hut-like books:

I hate the bad typography common to ebooks. But ebooks have made ugly books seem normal, and they are apparently acceptable to a great many readers.

I faced a personal dilemma with ebooks. A few years ago I published a few ebooks as PDFs which maintain the page formatting of my pbooks. I was reluctant to release the books in the more popular -- and uglier -- ebook formats. Because of my elitist attitude I missed readers and income, but I just don't like ugly books. I ultimately gave in, and now make much more money each month from ebooks than from more expensive pbooks. Readers have not complained.

I really enjoy the convenience of ebooks. I am currently having a great time reading Voices in the Ocean on three PCs, my Kindle Fire, my iPad and my phone. I hate the silly hyphenation, but love that Jeff Bezos keeps track of my reading progress and "opens" the ebook to the right page no matter which device I use to read it with.


I suppose at some point I will stop comparing ebooks to pbooks and will come to accept a Kindle page as normal. Maybe it's part of a parallel universe of publishing.

My cousin Dave is a pizza maven with very high standards -- but he will sometimes tolerate chain pizza. Rather than dismiss Pizza Hut's mass-produced products as substandard pizza, Dave says, "It's not pizza. It's pizza HUT."

Maybe I should be able to say, "It's not a book. It's a HUT BOOK."

(photos from http://www.foodgps.com/ and Domino's)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mamma mia!
Nobody alliterates like the Italians

(above, Fiat Cinquecento/500)

Alliterations are awfully appealing.

They show a bit of creativity in a tiny space--like haiku and Tweeting. They can be memorable and effective book titles and names for people and products. Even without an effort to be cute, a real name can be alliterative, like publisher Doubleday, General William Westmoreland, sing-alonger Mitch Miller and me--Michael Marcus. My brother Marshall and sister Meryl are alliterative, too. So are Mommy Marcus and my father--Mister Marcus. Mom's father was Dr. Jay Jacobs. One of my author buddies is Barbara Barth. Belle Barth was a very funny and dirty comedienne. Barack oBama has vestigial alliteration.


The United States is responsible for Blonde Bombshell Marilyn Monroe ("va-va-va-voom!"), Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, Piper Palin, Gordon Gekko, High Heavens, Blues Brothers, Baby Boomers (now becoming Senior Citizens), Social Security, Beach Blanket Bingo, Hamburger Helper, Big Bang, Big Box retailers like Circuit City, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Fortune Five hundred, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse,  Betty Boop, Beatle Bailey, Sad Sack, Roger Rabbit, GooGle, Mutated Monsters, Biker Babes, Sailor Suit, Derring-Do, Double-Dare, Nightly News, Swinging Singles, Sylvia Sidney, Moms Mabley, Motor Mouth, Bird Brain, Meow Mix, Corn on the Cob, Elephant Ears, Triple Treat, Ice Cream Cone, Denizens of the Deep, Cap'n Crunch, Dragon's Den, Tonka Truck, SuperSonic, Tony the Tiger, Fred Flintstone, Janis Joplin, Helen Hunt, Mad Max,  Chuck E. Cheese, Krispy Kreme, Intel Inside, Pizza Parlor, Johnson and Johnson (sorry!), Minute Man, Minute Maid, Friendly Frost, Sweet Sixteen, Sin City, Seven Sisters, Star-Studded, SuperStar, the Seventh Seal, the Great Gatsby, Great Gildersleeve, Wild Women, Chevy Chase, the great White Way, Mad Men, Lady Levi's, Big Balls, Ball Breaker, Best Buy, Paypal, Palm Pilot, Pink Panther, Rocky Road, Coca-Cola, Boing-Boing, Party Pooper, Pig Pen, Piss-Poor, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Braves, Black and Beautiful, Crispy Critters, Colby College, Kurt Cobain, Killer Kowalski, Ku Klux Klan, Seven & Seven, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Weight Watchers, Wendell Wilkie, West Wing, Department of Defense, Ronald Reagan, Roy Rogers--King of the Cowboys, Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, Chainsaw Charlie, Lucky Lindy, Janet Jackson, Holly Hunter, Martin Mull, Frankie Fontaine, Son of Sam, World Wrestling Entertainment, World Wildlife Foundation, Sex Star, Solar System, First Family, Family Feud, Ford Falcon, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Dart, Mercury Marauder, Mitsubishi Montero, Ferarri F-50, Olds Omega, Hudson Hornet, Master Mechanic, Family Physician, Family aFfair, Road Rage, Road Rash, Cool as a Cucumber, Crystal Clear, World War, World Wide Web, Wonderful World, Wild Wild West, Wild One, Clem Kadiddlehopper, Sid Caesar, Danny DeVito, Sly Stallone, March Madness, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bra Burning, Vivid Video, Samantha Sterlyng, Savanna Samson and too many other other porn stars to list here. Chris Christie is both alliterative and repetitious.

The United Kingdom has given us Big Ben, Big Brother, Enery the Eighth, Herman's Hermits, Mannfred Mann, King Crimson, Merry Men, Peter Pan, Peter Piper's Pickled Peppers, MG Midget, and the Vauxhall Victor.

The Spanish are responsible for con carne.

From France, we get cherchez la femme, Brigitte Bardot, and the Franco-American Michelin Man.

Sweden was the source of the Saab Sonnett.

Germany was the location of Checkpoint Charlie (but it was named by English-speakers), and made the Volkswagen Vanagon.

But Italian--the most musical of languages--is il campione del mondo (the champion of the world) in alliteration.

My three favorites:

Mille Miglia (pronounced mee-luh meel-yuh) means "Thousand Miles," an open-road endurance race which took place in Italy from 1927 to 1957, with time out for Word War Two.

Cinecitta (pronounced cheena-cheeta) means "Cinema City," a huge movie studio in Rome founded by Mussolini in 1937 and used by Federico Fellini for La Dolce Vita and Satyricon. The studio was also used for "American" films including Gangs of New York.

Cinquecento (pronounced cheenkwuh-chento) means "500"--Fiat's popular minicar, first made in 1936, and revived in 2010. Pope Francis uses a large derivative 500L as his small Popemobile.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If you want your writing to be funny, insert some ducks


David McCallum played agent Illya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E on TV in the 1960s. Since 2003 he has played Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard on NCIS. The doctor's last name could have been Jones, O'Hara, Liebowitz or Spock -- but "Mallard" permitted him to be nicknamed "Ducky."

I don't know why, but there seems to be something inherently funny about ducks. Maybe it's the feet, or the beak or the quacks.


If you want to get some smiles from readers, take advantage of ducks. Warner Bros. has made lots of money from Daffy Duck. Donald Duck and his family have been very good to Disney. Maybe a duck can make you rich, too. 

“Wanna buy a duck?"
Joe Penner

Q: What’s the difference between a duck?
A: Each of its legs is both the same?
—My Father

Two ducks are sitting in a bathtub.
The first duck says, “Please pass the soap,”
The other duck says, “No soap, radio.”
—Unknown

A duck walks into a pharmacy, and asks for Chapstick. The cashier says, "Cash or check?" and the duck says, "Just put it on my bill."
—Unknown

A duck walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “Do you have any grapes?" 
The bartender says, "No we only have beer here." The duck leaves. 
The next day the duck walks back into the bar and asks the bartender, "Do you have any grapes?" 
The bartender says, "No, I told you we only have beer; and if you ask me again I’m going to nail your beak to the bar.” The duck leaves. 
The next day the duck walks back into the bar and asks the bartender, “Do you have any nails?" The bartender says "no." 
The duck asks, “Do you have any grapes?"
—Unknown

A motorist in a Mercedes was driving through the countryside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon when he came to a large puddle of water from a previous rain storm. Worried that he was going to damage the car in the deep water, he asked a local farmer (who was standing near the puddle) how deep the water was. "Arr", said the farmer "that water only be a few inches deep!" Relieved, the motorist edged his car into the water, expecting to come out on the other side with no trouble. Instead, as he drove in, the water came right up the side of the car, and the engine sputtered to a halt. Sitting there with the water lapping at the window, the motorist yelled at the farmer angrily: "I thought you said this water was only a few inches deep!!!" "Well", replied the farmer "It only come up to the waist of them there ducks."
—Unknown

CLICK for dirty duck jokes. 




 











“Why a duck?”
—Chico Marx



The Marx Brothers starred in an extremely funny movie called Duck Soup (1933).



On  Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life"  TV quiz  show  (1950 - 1960), contestants could win extra  money by saying an ordinary word while speaking to Groucho. A fake duck would drop down with $100.

-----------
Illustrations above came from the obvious sources and I thank them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Make sure your price is right. How much is your book worth to readers?

I've previously written about the low profit for an author caused when a self-publishing company dictates a book's retail price based on the number of pages in a book without considering prices of competing books or the perceived value of the new book.
  • Unfortunately, authors who have the freedom to set book prices can cause even worse trouble for themselves: very low sales.
It's important that authors write books they can be proud of, and that authors be proud of their books. Unfortunately, some authors seem to have too much pride. They have an unjustifiably high opinion of their work and their position in the marketplace. The authors set prices that are so absurdly high that sales will be hurt.
  • Sometimes the high price is not caused by author's pride, but by the need to make a profit. Some pay-to-publish companies charge so much to produce books that an author must choose between noncompetitive retail pricing and losing money. That's not much of a choice. Some of these companies dictate noncompetitive prices. They don't care about selling books because they make their money by selling services and supplies to authors.

For a mere $7.95, readers seeking WW2 love stories can purchase the hardcover Love Stories of World War II, compiled by Larry King. Or, for $37.95, they can buy the hardcover Every Thought of You, compiled by Paula Berryann.

Readers who like epic fantasy tales can purchase the hardcover Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling for just $13.67. Or, they can buy the hardcover A Chronicle of Endylmyr by Charles Hill for $27.95.

Study your competition before you decide to put a high price on your book. Will your book be perceived as several times as good as a book from an established pro like Rowling or King?

Probably not.

Hmmm. Is it a coincidence that both of the overpriced books were published by inept Outskirts Press?

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Readable" beats "Pretty," "Innovative" and "Dramatic"


The plain old basic black-on-white is obviously much easier to read than black or red on royal blue.

I'll never understand why people who put great effort into their words make it so hard for people to read them. This happens with books, websites, magazine articles, advertising, store signs, menus, catalogs, maps, graffiti. . . any appearance of text.

People shouldn't have to squint, magnify, adjust, or solve a puzzle to read what you wrote.

If you have an unstoppable urge to use reverse type (light text on a dark background) limit it to a small block of type, such as a headline, but NEVER put an entire page in reverse. And if you do use a dark background, provide a lot of contrast. White on black or yellow on navy blue are OK. Red on purple sucks. A web page or book cover is NOT a Day-Glo concert poster.


And don't use a decorative typeface that looks like it was attacked by bacteria, or those annoying distorted letter sequences you have to retype to prove that you're a human being and not a robot in order to subscribe to a blog.

And choose a type size that's big enough to be read without a microscope. A book or a website has more space than the back of a credit card.

Don't let your medium hide, harm or destroy your message.

Eschew obfuscation and espouse elucidation, in content AND in form.

Friday, September 18, 2015

What if Fiorina refuses to write a blurb for your book?
Also, beware of blurb whores and blurb swappers.


Every author dreams of having cover blurbs (endorsements) from famous people who'll say nice things which may entice people to buy books.

Often, especially for a new author with a new book, it's just not possible to get the attention of a celebrity or expert who will add authority to yours.

That doesn't mean your book has to be blurbless.

There's nothing wrong with asking for and using blurbs from friends and family if what they say will be appropriate to your book. Later on, if the President or Oprah falls in love with your words, you can revise the cover to incorporate the new comments.

My first self-published book was I Only Flunk My Brightest Students: stories from school and real life (2008). It deals with my life. It made perfect sense to use blurbs from people who know me, rather than some distant Nobel Prize winner.

The book is funny. Identifying Howard Krosnick, the source of my front cover blurb, as "author's classmate since first grade" is almost a parody of the traditional stuffy IDs ("professor of Indo-Eurasion folk medicine at the University of Guatemala), and reinforces the mood of the book. Howie said, "I couldn't stop reading. I couldn't stop laughing." blurbs don't get better than that.

Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults) is an updated replacement for the 'flunk' book. It has a fantastic cover blurb which says, "This book is so funny that I nearly peed in my pants. My girlfriend didn't think it was funny, so I got a new girlfriend."

The blurber, Nicholas Santiago, is someone I know through business. His words are sufficient. I see no need to explain who he is, and I doubt that Lindsay could have written a better recommendation. I received "five stars" and some nice words from the Midwest Book Review -- but those words are not as funny as Nick's words.

Most blurbs I've seen are written by authors, and many of them are not well known authors. Apparently "Author A" thinks she or he will gain some useful publicity by having a quote printed on the cover of a book written by "Author B."



(above) Barbara Barth wrote a wonderful book, The Unfaithful Widow: Fragmented Memoirs Of My First Year Alone. The back cover shows great reviews from authors Philip Nutman and Patrice Dickey. I never heard of them. The reviews on Amazon from 'ordinary' readers may be more persuasive. 
  • Try to avoid obvious blurb swaps (“I’ll kiss your ass if you kiss mine.”) Tit-for-tat is tacky.  
  • Some authors are apparently so desperate for publicity that they become 'blurb whores.' I know of one author whose name seems to be on many more book covers as a blurber than an author. When someone writes a huge number of blurbs -- particularly for books in the same field -- the blurbs (and the blurber) lose credibility. 
  • Avoid blurbs (and reviews) from people who are connected with your book. I know of one book that carries a blurb from an employee of its publisher, and another with an Amazon review from the book's editor. 
There's nothing wrong with your acting as a writing coach for your blurbers. You can even write a complete blurb and ask someone to "adopt" it.

If you’ve written a how-to book, the best blurbs will come from people who have actually been helped by it. A good way to find “amateur” blurbers who might write sincere comments about actually benefiting from your book is to observe online communities that are concerned with your subject. If you find articulate people with problems your book solves, offer to send them free advance copies (even PDFs if bound copies are not yet available or if you will not be publishing on paper) in exchange for their comments. You can say that you’d like to know if the book was helpful and how it can be improved. Mention that you might like to quote their comments, but don’t guarantee it.


James & Geoff. Which one did I sit next to on a plane?

Don’t be too timid to approach famous authors, politicians, business leaders and celebrities, especially if you have something in common which can create a bond. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Write a good letter and explain how you think the book relates to the prospective blurber. Find a reason to compliment the candidate. If possible, refer to a time when you were in the same place, perhaps during a speech or a book signing or on an airplane. (I once sat next to James Earl Jones. Hmm. Actually, it may have been Geoffrey Holder.)

Short blurbs are usually better than long blurbs. Humorous blurbs (if appropriate) are often better than serious blurbs.

Request blurbs as long in advance as possible -- as soon as you have a draft of your book that is good enough to show. The book does not have to be complete. You can probably get by with an introduction, a table of contents, and a few chapters sent as a PDF. If you want a blurb from someone famous, it’s probably better to send an ARC than a PDF.

Incorporate good “early” blurbs into your back cover and first page as soon as possible. If other blurbers read them, they may be more likely to write similarly positive comments.

Mike Duran discusses blurb etiquette.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The inventor of English did a terrible job



Please consider the simple letter sequence GHOTI.

Pronounce the "gh" as in "rough."

Pronounce the "o" as in "women."

Pronounce the "ti" as in "nation."


Brad Bitt pic from mirror.co.uk. Fish pic from Coloradofisherman.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kindle pages don't have to look like crap, so why do so many of them look like crap?

With most ebook formats, designers don't have the freedom they have with pbooks. The constraint is not an excuse to produce and distribute ugliness. It's possible to publish very nice ebooks -- but knowledge, taste and care are vital.


Above, from I Call Him King by Quiet Storm, published by Esquire Publications: 



-------------------------------------------



from I Invented the Modern Age by Richard Snow, published by Scribner


(Minor criticism: the diagonal stress of the old style drop cap "O" is disconcerting. Also, maybe the drop cap makes the page too busy. Five stacked-up graphic elements are a lot.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Publishing advice from Erich Duncan sounds like it's from Borat

Although the following sounds like it was written by Borat  (Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan), it actually comes from Erich Duncan. Erich probably should not be giving advice about publishing -- at least not in English.

Just how with Select a Self Publishing Hit

For brand-new writers without agency representation, it has become increasingly hard with break into main publishing houses. As more and additionally more editors become uneager with take chances on untried skills, authors tend to be turning with regard to better numbers toward the actual self-publishing path. Not just does this particular give them better control over the actual completed product and additionally its pricing, it additionally invites them with participate on to a better degree with regard to the creative (and additionally aggressive) marketing of their titles. Here tend to be a number of methods on exactly what to take into account with regard to choosing the actual self-publishing entity that is right for a project.

Within the example that your needs will actually need to be able to economize much more with regard to the event that shopping from the internet try using barnes & noble promo code.

1)Determine how much time your needs can reasonably commit with the actual self-publishing process once a book is completed. While the actual turnaround at multiple of today’s self-publishing companies is very fast once you possess submitted a material, it’s going with take a a good deal of legwork on your own piece with promote its launch, solicit book reviews, do podcast interviews and additionally give talks.

2)Define a target market for the actual book. The particular amount of money and additionally time your needs program with invest is based on regardless of whether your needs program with give the actual book away with friends and additionally relatives because sentimental keepsakes, make use of with regard to combination alongside a great ongoing workshop and / or class that you are teaching, and / or take it on to a broader mass media system.

3)Assess that self-publishing business is going to give your needs the actual best contract based on the projected amount of duplicates your needs want to market plus the in-house distribution mechanism with regard to put (i.e., Amazon, Ingram, Barnes and additionally Noble, etc.).

4)Research the actual various pricing packages granted through various self-publishing companies. Various of them, by way of example, is going to publish a book at no charge but yet the actual completed product is going to probably be of inferior high quality and additionally make use of generic covers. A few is going to provide titles only with regard to a great ebook/downloadable formatting while others provide choices for hardcover, softcover and additionally sound versions (see Resources below).

5)Determine regardless of whether the actual companies assign ISBN numbers, make the books accessible through main distribution channels, and additionally provide ongoing creator support/resources without additional charge.

6)Visit author talk rooms and additionally solicit feedback from fellow authors whom possess gone the actual self-publishing path. Familiarize yourself alongside sites for instance Preditors and additionally Editors that delivers comprehensive scuttlebutt on publishing companies that will not be worth a time and additionally cash (see Resources below).

7)Order sample titles for review once you possess narrowed down a list of self-publishers with three and / or four and additionally compare their respective high quality with regard to terms of size, cover design, layout, paper and additionally binding. Don’t be shy regarding asking queries that will assist your needs make a great informed choice.

8)Compare the actual various bills associated alongside set-up, proofreading and additionally modifying services, visual design/photo uploads for covers, etc. Should you program with work modifying and additionally design jobs yourself, your needs can conserve a a good deal of cash.

9)Examine the actual pricing and additionally royalty structure of each self-publishing package. Conventional publishers regularly never exceed a 10 % royalty. Alongside self-publishers, however, the actual price tag that your needs set for a book (based found on the page size and additionally format) put together alongside the discount your needs provide with bookstores can easily cause a royalty because high because 65 %.

10)Read the actual fine print of the self-publishing contract with ensure that you are retaining every one of the rights because the actual creator and additionally you’re not locking yourself into a great inextricable relationship with regard to the event your needs choose to withdraw the actual book and / or market it on to a traditional publisher.

Contrary with prevalent belief, a conventional publishing apartment isn’t going with do that much buzz on your own brand-new book should you tend to be a genre and / or mid-list author; their focus is going to be found on the main names that tend to be already creating them cash. Accordingly, editors is going to regularly ask how much your needs program with participate with regard to the marketing of the book if they even choose to buy it. If you are going to be performing that hard with regard to promotions anyway, the benefit of controlling your product and additionally pricing structure through self-publishing additionally ensures that your book is accessible for purchase longer than it would certainly if put with regard to bookstores by a conventional publisher. (The particular average lifespan on a bookstore shelf for genre and additionally mid-list books by beginners is just regarding 6 weeks unless of course there’s a very high demand for it.)

While a conventional publisher is going to cover the actual expense of copyediting, layout and additionally cover designs and additionally piece of the total production cost, they additionally remove control of the layout and additionally design from the hands of the authors. Within many instances, they can easily even change the actual title of the book without the actual author’s permission. This isn’t going with result if you are the actual you who’s calling all of the shots.

The particular higher the actual discount your needs make accessible with bookstores, the actual more receptive they is with carrying a title. If a focus is primarily going to be online sales and additionally book fairs, bookstore discounts aren’t going to be because significant a factor with your needs.

Should you don’t already possess you, develop an url with help buzz a brand-new title. This could consist of a photo of the cover, a short synopsis, a great excerpt, and additionally reviews.

Set up a great account through PayPal thus that you can process orders online.

Be wary of self-publishers whose right discount contract is based on your own buying 100 plus duplicates of the title yourself and additionally taking responsibility for storing them and additionally delivery them out with consumers. Unless of course your needs teach classes and / or conduct workshops where the actual book is necessary reading for participants, selling 100 plus duplicates on your own own is going to be tough.

If a self-publisher is just going with make a book accessible through its own web pages, a book isn’t going with receive the actual exposure it deserves.

(Yes, I know that this word salad was probably assembled by a computer to attract search engine traffic, and that Erich Duncan may not exist.)






Monday, September 14, 2015

What year is this? (Also: the Jewish vuvuzela, Sadie Hawkins Day and Chinese food)

Today is the Jewish New Year's Day, "Rosh Hashanah" in Hebrew. (The o is long and the a's are short so its vowel sounds rhyme with "bo hahaha." 

"Rosh Hashanah" is a transliteration of the Hebrew words meaning "Head (of) The Year." "Rosh" means "head," "Ha" means "the" and "Shanah" means "year." "Of" is understood, so it doesn't have to be written.

As with most languages, Hebrew has varying pronunciations. Some pronounce the "Rosh" as "rawsh." A less-formal (and perhaps more Yiddish-like) pronunciation of "Rosh Hashanah" is Rusha (like Limbaugh) shunnah (like shunner).

Hebrew and Arabic are similar Semitic languages. The Hebrew "shalom" (which is used for "hello," "goodbye" and "peace") is "salaam" in Arabic. The Islamic New Year's Day is "Ras as-Sanah" and will be celebrated on October 14th. That's when the year 1437 begins.

The picture up above shows a "shofar." It's a ram's horn used to make toots and squeaks to celebrate the Jewish new year. It's kind of a Jewish vuvuzela. Some shofar humor is here and here.

The common New Year's greeting is "Shanah Tovah." (It rhymes with blah-blah nova.) There are longer greetings, too.
  • In Hebrew the word for "she" is pronounced like "he" and the word for "he" is pronounced like "who." The word for "who" is pronounced like "me." The word for "fish" is pronounced kind of like "dog." (And you thought English was confusing?) My first name in Hebrew is "Mee-cha-ail." means "who is like God." I'm not sure if it's a question or a comparison. Maybe my parents chose the name because they thought I was divine prenatally.
Today is the first day of the Jewish year 5776. Like every other day, it's also the first day of the rest of your life, and my life. In the Jewish calendar, "days" (and holidays) start at sundown -- not a microsecond after midnight.

Adapted from jewfaq.org: The Jewish calendar is based on three astronomical phenomena: the rotation of the Earth around its axis (a day); the revolution of the moon around the Earth (a month); and the revolution of the Earth around the sun (a year). These three phenomena are independent of each other, so they have no direct correlation. On average, the moon revolves around the Earth in about 29½ days. The Earth revolves around the sun in about 365¼ days -- about 12.4 lunar months.

In the Jewish calendar, months have either 29 or 30 days, corresponding to the 29½-day lunar cycle. Years have either 12 or 13 months, corresponding to the 12.4 month solar cycle -- which creates a problem.

A 12-month lunar calendar is about 11 days shorter than a solar year and a 13-month lunar year is about 19 days longer than a solar year. The months drift around the seasons on such a calendar. To compensate for this drift, the Jewish calendar uses a 12-month lunar calendar with an extra month occasionally added.

Instead of the February 29th Leap Day (also known as Sadie Hawkins Day, when women are allowed to propose marriage to men) the Jewish calendar can have a leap month.
  • Jewish holidays that have fixed dates in the Jewish calendar have changing dates in the western "Gregorian" calendar. Most western Christian holidays, like Christmas, have fixed Gregorian dates. Easter, on the other hand, moves around. Supposedly Jesus's "last supper" was a Passover seder. Passover and Easter are usually close. Christmas and Chanukah (often inaccurately called the "Jewish Christmas") may be very close together, or weeks apart.
The year number on the Jewish calendar represents the number of years since creation, calculated by adding up the ages of people in the Bible, back to the beginning. This does not necessarily mean that the universe has existed for fewer than 6,000 years of about 365 days each. Even religious people readily acknowledge that the first six "days" of creation are not necessarily 24-hour days. A 24-hour day would be meaningless until the creation of the sun on the fourth "day."






There is no universally agreed upon starting point for the Chinese calendar. Tradition holds that the calendar was invented by Emperor Huang-di in the 61st year of his reign in what is now known under the Gregorian calendar as 2637 BCE. Many people have used this date as the first year of the first 60-year cycle of the Chinese calendar, but others use the date of the beginning of his reign in 2697 BCE as the start. Chinese Americans use 2698 BCE as the basis for numbering the years. Some Chinese people are 60 years ahead (or behind) others.

Adapted from chinese.new-year.co.uk: The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the 12 years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all of the animals to come to him before he departed from Earth. Only 12 came, and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality.



The Chinese calendar provides leap months, like the Jewish calendar. Jews and Chinese have much in common -- emphasis on family, education, entrepreneurship and love of Chinese food. During World War II, some Jewish refugees from Nazi-dominated Europe found safety in China. Shanghai Ghetto is a great movie about that period.
  • So, if according to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5776, and according to the Chinese calendar, the year is 4712, what did Jewish people eat during the 1064 years (the dark ages) until Chinese restaurants appeared?
Happy New Year!