POD-Happy?

Skint Writer finally got his Pod proof copies and his post on that is here.

More importantly he has a really excellent review of the process for anyone interested in POD or self publishing. You can read it here. Here is a small flavour of what is a really great story and an exceptionally open discussion and journey:

For one reason or another I didn’t progress very much in my publishing plans and had only sold a total of about 400 books a year later when I started blogging. Initially I thought I might publish all my work online and promote it from the blog, but came to believe that that wouldn’t work as reading online doesn’t seem to appeal to many people.

After reading other blogs and getting feedback on my own blog for a couple of months I decided to revive my publishing plans by using POD as the initial cost would be minimal but I would still be operating as a publisher.

Busy at work
Eoin

A little more info: Russell

Russell
It seems statesmen are drawn to the history of the French Revolution. Last post mentioned that Thiers was almost certainly the same man that led France at a troubled time in its history and now it would appear that Russell or Lord John Russell was the Prime Minister of England. You can check his Wikipedia page here and also his biography on the Liberal Democrat history Group site.

It has been a tough mission to retrieve data on this title if only because the title is so generic and used so widely. I therefore confined myself to leafing though its fine pages and dealing with the book as a book. I highly recommend doing this. The process is very enjoyable and if you spend a little time reading this book in particular you will see what it was a good choice.

One of the most interesting passages I have found is here in chapter one where the author tackles the definition of “Revolution” and very effectively describes the differences between previous uprisings and revolts and the French Revolution. His reluctance to ascribe the word revolution to the American Revolution may be controversial but his logic is at least consistent leaving the title out of his description of the events usually referred to as the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Can we lay our hands on a copy?
You can but it is fierce expensive! See Abebooks here for more..

Wrap Up
Google responded quickly to my concerns about accessing public domain books and reminded me that I can print the books if I like, which I did for part but I do enjoy reading the whole. In any case for now we seem to be stuck reading on the Google web pages and not downloading a text from the site as say Gutenberg allows. This seems to be taking me longer than expected but at least I finally got another post up.

From a surprisingly still sunny Dublin.
Eoin

Sunday shake down

A new feature
Every Sunday from now on i will collect together the posts I liked or people liked and post them in a list for easy access. It means that I have a record visually over time and you can just access the shake down arcive to see popular and possibly decent posts as they build.

For the week ending 23rd July 2006:

Saturday 22nd July 2006: Blogburst: Good or Bad
Thursday 20th July 2006: And the charm continues . . .
Thursday 20th July 2006: The obviousness of Pew/internets results
Wednesday 19th July 2006: The heat and thinking
Monday 17th July 2006: Round Up

Hoping Monday’s good
Eoin

Blogburst: Good or Bad?

There has been some discussion recently on Blogburst a service that allows newspapers to access the work of bloggers. They describe themselves thus:

What is BlogBurst?

BlogBurst is a syndication service that places your blog content on top-tier online destinations. You get visibility, audience reach and increased traffic, while publishers get a wide range of new coverage to broaden their reach and increase page views.

How does it work?

Once you’re accepted into the BlogBurst network, just keep blogging as usual. Then, each time one of our publishers picks up your content, you’ll reach a whole new audience — and your byline link will drive traffic to your blog.

The reason I raise this now is three fold. Firstly I have my own Blogburst account. I have not had any of my material syndicated by this method and I suspect that unless I gained the over three hundred links or more that would qualify me for the A or B list of bloggers no editor would risk using my content or someone in such a low ranking on the blogosphere. Secondly Scott Karp and Jonathan Bailey have recently posted comments that intrigued me on the topic and lastly, I received this e-mail from one of my favourite bloggers Cas Stavert:

Hi Eoin,

You do a whole lot more surfing of blog and publishing stuff than I do, and I wondered if you had come across an outfit called Blogburst and if so what you thought of them.

regards

Cas Stavert

Flattery aside I was very interested in the question as I had already been pondering what to do with my account. So I wrote this:

I have a Blogburst account but I fear my postings have never been picked up. Which is fair enough. The questions I have are
1) What’s the point if they only use the already famous bloggers ie the A list, it hardly leads to diverse views.
2) Where’s the revenue stream going?

One blog I read regularly Publishing 2.0 by Scott Karp has a good post about being picked up and not being credited. He is well worth reading.

I can see Blogburst as the start of something pretty big. It’s like an early AP or Reuters of blogs and over time may well develop into something more akin to those news wire services.

You could argue that they are an intermediary between the audience and content and therefore like traditional publishers they just want a piece of the action. To be against Blogburst you would have to trust search to deliver the good content without bias to unskilled consumers.

It all reminds me of something i read an age ago on mark Cuban’s blog which really struck home about how expensive it is to create a mass market for an audience as fractured and broken as the market is at the moment: here is the link. Cuban can be arrogant and insulting and brash but he is very often on the money and I think he has a really good point to make here.

So to sum up, I just don’t know. I think it could be good to get new voices into established news sources. I think it would be nice if it happened transparently though. I fear it is an attempt to suck the juice from the blog writers in much the same way as publishers suck the juice from book writers. The costs of publishing books are prohibitive for one author so they rely on a larger body to do it for them in return for reduced returns. Getting your material promoted on the web is expensive so you give your content to someone else who pays you a tiny slice of what they earn in order to do it for you!

Sounds nasty but that’s my take.
All the best
Eoin

Cas responded with this:

To answer your questions, I would imagine that the revenue stream goes from the publishers to Blogburst, leaving the creators of the content with nothing but increased hits, which when you think about it, is rather like me sending my novel off to a publisher who then publishes it (yes I know, fantasy, bear with me but with the revenue stream going from the book buyer to the publisher who gives me nothing but the kudos of achieving x sales.

At the same time, getting my name to a wider audience can’t but help when my novel does get published, although of course I would be a lot happier if Blogburst’s clients included the likes of the Grauniad or the Indy.

Interesting post from Plagiarism Today – I had been wondering if reading that blog was making me too paranoid. I certainly felt looking at Blogburst’s site that there wasn’t a lot of upfront information about what I would signing up for, even after reading the T&C and editorial guidelines. So I don’t know either. 🙂 I expect I will sign with them – any additional exposure would be nice.

The Plagiarism Today post is here and is worth reading because it offers a detailed analysis of the system and its agreement.

Overall as Cas says the service is good if you intent is to build profile but I should think a blogger can expect no free traffic boost. Attention will only come to blogs well established and already to some degree acknowledged within the blogosphere. Of course it is good to think that building that profile on the web can result at least through using services like Blogburst an access point to print which no matter how negative we may be on the subject retains enormous power and great influence (lest you think I am the only one with this opinion read this blog post by Terry Whalin.

In judgmental mood,
Eoin

Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 21/07/2006

if:book has a very interesting article on print on demand, networked books and the reader as editor.
Here

The above link makes reference to an article in the NYT which as ever with the Times falls a little short of satisfaction.
Here

If you have heard the buzz around The Long Tail by Chris Anderson then these two posts and a guardian article (I know five links in a links post, shocking) will give some interesting detail and tangential thought.
Here,
Here
&
Here

And the charm continues. . .

GO GET INSIDE GOOGLE BOOK SEARCH’S FEED
Sorry to shout but this is getting really important. If you are an author, a publishers, an editor, a book marketer, a book seller or just interested you should be connected to Inside Google Book Search either by feed, or e-mail.

Today they have posted yet another piece on the ways of building audience and Helping your niche find you. It highlights some of the ways smart publishers, authors and marketers have spread word and news about their books:

For instance, Ballantine Books distributed gift bags containing copies of James Swain thrillers — which are set in casinos — to hundreds of people at the World Gaming Protection Conference. Jennifer Chiaverini, author of the Elm Creek Quilts series, appeared on a cable TV quilting show to talk about patterns and her latest release. But she didn’t stop with television — she also created a website where she blogs about quilting, shares information about her books, publishes a schedule of her appearances and more.

I have encountered some blogs that dislike Google Book Search and are sceptical (like this one by Bill Trippe) but I think over all I get a really positive impression from Google Book Search. Their customer service team responded within a day when I asked questions regarding printing and online access in the future. Does it dismay me when books clearly in the public domain remain either snippet or information view, it does but overall I love the service it provides and think it can only get better.

But more importantly I love the way Google seems to be offering an earnest partnership with the book trade, from Authors to Publishers. The “Don’t Be Evil” motto seems to run true here. They seem genuine, yes they have conditions and concerns for their own resources but embracing them and working with seems by far the preferred response to what seems a fair offer of assistance, know how and cooperation.

Accentuating the positive
Eoin

Telling Tales: the obviousness of Pew/Internet’s results

Obvious?
It should really come as no surprise to anyone that Pew/Internet [PDF of results] found in a recent study (read more here and here and here) that more people blog to “express themselves creatively” than for money or any other reason. It only takes a quick wander around the blogs tagged books, writing, poems, novel, and reading or indeed any other even slightly creative tag.


From the PDF Summary

Digital Self Expression
As was noted some time ago by a fine post on Gigaom by Robert Young on digital personal expression, the internet is enabling a radical change in personal expression making it easier for people to publish their work online. I am the publisher of my own work on this blog and anyone else who has a blog is too. The engines that facilitate this revolution are akin to presses, printers and broadcasting towers more than they are to actual publishers.

To think that frustrated writers and poet would not take advantage of this new forum is, to be frank, stupid. And it is not just authors and poets, musicians and artists have seen the light as it were. MySpace Music is merely the giant recognising the trend and going with it.

If you think on it this post is directly related to yesterday’s post on submissions. One element of artistic self expression has moved online, the marketing and networking side. Almost as important as getting exposure on the web is building a supportive group of likeminded friends and co-bloggers, taking part in the community might be a kinder way to put it.

Creative Destruction
Soon, and I think sooner than we realise, much more of the process that goes into the finding and weaning of talent will be done online. Authors, artists, musicians and every creative will be exposed much more easily to a global (fractured but global) market in talent. It will be, I suggest, a brutal exposure for many. There are legions of creatives that will survive just fine in their home market but will be slaughtered by more talented, more imaginative or simply more ruthless competition on the global scene. You just have to think of the numerous successful British acts that failed to “crack the states” or the Irish bands that live off gigging in Ireland and have sold maybe 2,000 records globally.

So what do we have?
Opportunities for sure exist and even more go untapped as I mentioned yesterday. But we are faced with a period of shake out too. Some people will benefit from the blogging and internet platform, they will gain links, attention, maybe even book deals and publisher(record company/gallery) interest, others will remain obscure get no links, no attention. The blogosphere already has a very defined power list. It will take a new blogger considerable time to generate the 30,000 or so links that will bump it to the top of the technorati.com rankings.

Even if that is not the goal, gaining exposure in a chosen niche is hard too and requires know-how and networking skill that many do not possess. This is especially true because the web moves so quickly and the early movers now have a massive advantage of links and attention. In short while offering enormous potential the web offers it only to those who know how to exploit it.

Considering the implications,
Eoin