Friday, October 22, 2010

Common Mistakes Made by Self-Publishers

As self-published books multiply, a new generation of amateur designers are working on their own book covers. We attended the inaugural day of the  Blurb Pop-Up store in New York City (pictured) this afternoon, covering  the “Compelling Cover Design Workshop.” Designer Alan Rapp shared the most common mistake he saw amateur cover designers make–lack of experimentation.
He explained: “One of the tendencies that people have–I don’t even know if I would call it a mistake–is to be too conservative with topography. At publishing houses, when designers are submitting book designs, they don’t present one idea. They present at least three to five ideas. It manifests something that’s latent, something you didn’t imagine. What I like about Blurb is you can do that kind of experiment. I can do a number of versions, and I can see how they will feel.”
If you want more book cover deign resources, check out our collection of book cover resources for self-published authors.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Seven Authors Who Wrote While Nude- Oh, come on, it's interesting!

Writers have always had interesting stories beyond the ones they put down to paper. Here’s the naked truth: Neatorama has outed seven well-known authors as nudist writers.
Hemingway’s cousin, Edward actually opened Britain’s oldest nudist colony during the 1930s and called it Metherell Towers. So far, there are no accountings of Ernest having visited the colony. Most of the authors don’t give an explanation for the unclothed state, but French novelist Hugo had a legitimate methodical purpose behind his nudeness.
Neatorama reports: “When Victor Hugo, the famous author of great tomes such as Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, ran into a writer’s block, he concocted a unique scheme to force himself to write: he had his servant take all of his clothes away for the day and leave his own nude self with only pen and paper, so he’d have nothing to do but sit down and write.”

Ted Kennedy's Son to Publish Memoir

Rhode Island United States Representative Patrick Kennedy has signed a deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to write his memoir. Publication is set for next fall.
Throughout his lifetime, Kennedy has dealt with mental challenges including depression, alcohol abuse, and drug addiction. The book will deal with these topics. Kennedy hails from the illustrious Kennedy clan and the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy‘s son.
Kennedy had this statement for the Associated Press “I realize that I have an enormous opportunity to turn my biggest liability–my illness, which includes addiction–into an asset to help countless numbers of Americans who quietly suffer and cannot afford treatment or risk telling their employers…That’s why I’m writing this book. I hope that by telling the real story of my own personal struggle, I can kick off my lifelong mission: to destigmatize addiction and other neurological ailments, and break down the barriers between research and treatment of different types of brain disorders.”
Senator Ted passed away in August 2009 at the age of 77. Three weeks following his death, Hachette’s Twelve imprint released his memoir, True Compass. The book sold 170,000 copies during its first five days of publication. (Via the Associated Press)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Excerpt from my memoir

My neighbor’s daughter, Gina, says she doesn't mind the ghost in the house. Visiting her parents during a college break, she tells me she saw him while catching up on laundry in their basement. 

What do the young know about living with ghosts?  When you're young, youth seems like the natural state.  It's as hard to imagine living beyond sixty, as it is dying at twenty-four.  In middle age, you have been relieved of the vague notion that the people you know will be around in their seventies.  After a few phone calls about hit and run accidents, a suicide, heart attacks, and an overdose, the knowledge that you might not see next year becomes a part of your general understanding of life.  Parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, teachers, sometimes your own children, are gone without warning.  When so many of the people you know are only available in your memory, you straddle that space between the living and the dead. 
Oh, ye Dead! oh, ye Dead! whom we know by the light you give
From your cold gleaming eyes, though you move like men who live.
It is true, it is true, we are shadows cold and wan;
And the fair and the brave whom we loved on earth are gone,
But still thus even in death
So sweet the living breath

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Billy Idol Writing a Memoir

Rock and roll legend Billy Idol has landed a book deal with Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint.
The memoir will be entitled Dancing with Myself, named after his famous tune. Touchstone publisher Stacy Creamer acquired the book. Kirby Kim from William Morris Endeavor negotiated the deal. Publication is set for late 2011 or early 2012.

Here’s more from the release: “Idol, a natural-born storyteller who helped forge the early punk music scene on his way to multiplatinum worldwide success, will write the book himself. His bold, strikingly literary account will capture not only his remarkably colorfully life, but also an extended period in music history that saw punk rock’s emergence through to its lasting impact on musicians around the world.”

Monday, October 4, 2010

Barnes and Noble Launches PubIt, a self-publishing resource for writers

Here's how it works;

Barnes & Noble has entered the self-publishing realm with the official launch of PubIt!. We shared the original announcement back in May, but now the tools are available for authors to use.
Here’s more from eBookNewser: “Using PubIt!, publishers can price their titles between $0.99 and $199.99. For those eBooks priced from $2.99-$9.99, publishers will receive 65 percent of the list price for sold content. For those priced at $2.98 or less, or $10.00 or more, publishers receive 40 percent of the list price. Newly submitted content will be available for sale within 24-72 hours after it is uploaded.”
We’ll be reporting on self-publishing stories all week, supporting our ongoing Book Pitch contest. Earlier today, we shared local marketing and book pitch advice at the Self-Publishing Book Expo.

What makes for effective work in groups?

The Gibb Theory of Group Development provides insights useful for writers in collaboration.  Writers groups can be magically inspiring or drudgery.  Acceptance and open communication reduce defensiveness and posturing.  This report reminds us of the importance of direct discussion about communication.

I so appreciate all the amazing writers I've met since embarking on my memoir.  Thank you for expanding my world as well as my knowledge base.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recommended Free Readings at Powell's Featuring Memoir and Nonfiction in October


Kim Dower

Lost languages, locomotives pummeling through dreams, taxi drivers thrown by the earth's rotation, and shadows in closets all come together in Air Kissing on Mars (Red Hen Press), Kim Dower's latest opus of shining and startling poems.
Preorder a signed edition of Air Kissing on Mars .
Thursday, October 7th @ 7:30pm Powell's Books on Hawthorne
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd. (800) 878-7323

Jonathon Keats

In Virtual Words (Oxford University Press), Jonathon Keats, author of Wired magazine's monthly "Jargon Watch" column, investigates the interplay between words and ideas in our fast-paced, tech-driven, use-it-or-lose-it society.
Preorder a signed edition of Virtual Words .
Tuesday, October 12th @ 7:30pm Powell's City of Books on Burnside
1005 W Burnside (800) 878-7323

Mark Bittman

From Mark Bittman, the award-winning champion of conscious eating and author of the bestselling Food Matters, comes The Food Matters Cookbook (Simon & Schuster), offering the most comprehensive and straightforward ideas yet for cooking easy, delicious foods that are as good for you as they are for the planet. Cosponsored by Slow Food Portland.
Preorder a signed edition of The Food Matters Cookbook .
Monday, October 25th @ 7:30pm Powell's City of Books on Burnside
1005 W Burnside (800) 878-7323

Dinaw Mengestu

In the searing and powerful How to Read the Air (Riverhead), the adult son of Ethiopian immigrants sets out to retrace his mother and father's trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to his life in the America of today.
Preorder a signed edition of How to Read the Air .
Tuesday, October 19th @ 7:30pm Powell's City of Books on Burnside
1005 W Burnside (800) 878-7323