Links of Interest (At Least to Me) 01/09/06

Sometimes there is just so much out there on the web it is hard to narrow down what to link to. Because of that I have decided today to do link clusters, a couple of links around each idea/concept. We will see how it works!

Promoting a book especially early in a career presents challenges in the modern atmosphere. A great post on the value of free from Jurgen Wolff’s blog should be read and his Gurellia Tactics post should not be ignored either. But by far the most impressive post to date is from A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and is a manifesto in a post if ever I saw one. Read it; it is called Do Something and if you do not get inspired to promote your book more effectively then I just don’t know.

I know I bemoaned memes the other day and so this is exceptionally hypocritical BUT the idea just got in on me. Stainless Steel Droppings Blog has launched the Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Autumn Challenge and the line up is impressive to say the least. You should follow SOME OF THE LINKS as they are pretty much all great book-blogs!

So there has been some incredible chat recently on Self-Publishing. Read the Blurberati Blog for the skinny on what is going on in the world of innovative self publishing facilitators. Read for industry reaction and read Organic Research (2 different posts) for some illuminating consideration. Marginal Revolution is sceptical (like all good economists I say) and finally for something COMPLETELY different.

That is about all I can reasonably fit it for today (And yes I am vaguely conscious that it is only technically the 1st for many readers but even though it is 40 minutes from the first where I am it feels like the 1st)
Eoin Upgrades, gets commented on in and generally attracts attention ponders Blurb, self-publishing & blogs
A very nice post on the Organic Researcher pointed me to a article on the self-publishing outfit that I have linked to several times before. The basis for the story is their new plan to introduce a blogbook.

The Booksmart Factor
I recently changed the RSS feeds on this blog to more accurately reflect the content and one of the feeds I added was the Blurberati Blog which is the blog of I added it because I have been impressed by their innovation and their ability to surprise me. By far the most impressive element of their offering is their technology. The Booksmart system for creating a book is so deceptively simple. And they have upgraded this piece of software. I would heartily encourage people to download and play with this little Gizmo.

Blurb have developed a way to remove almost all the professionals between the printing press and the author. It is flattening the industry. Oh for sure Boosmart does not solve the issues of PR and promotion, but it does resolve the issue of design and layout and in a way that presents books in pretty decent templates.

On the value of Self-Publishing
There is a wonderful Old School quote from the HarperCollins CEO in the article:

HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman says self-publishing is little more than a vanity press. “A good book will get published,” she said. “Self-publishing is denying that fact. The filters of agent, editor and publisher are still essential.”

I cannot get over the arrogance of this. Faced with a functioning and effective rival Ms Friedman is simply denying reality with that kind of talk. Clearly the filters she mentions are not necessary. Even of she has said desirable or that they are useful in judging or improving a book she might have made sense but thinking yourself indispensable is surely foolish when faced with the type of challenges that mainstream publishing currently faces.

As ever Jeff Jarvis has an interesting contribution:

“Every author I know says the publishers don’t get the job done on marketing — they end up having to do their own. As for a middleman, you can sell enough books on Amazon now to make it worthwhile.”

“The face of publishing will change,” he said. “As for who wins, the big guy or the little guy — I have no idea.”

What do I think?
Blurb are clearly innovative and forward looking. i like their product if not their prices. They are far from easily dismissed and certainly for publishers in niche sectors they are to be worried about. they may at some stage make the role of the niche publisher uneconomic. This is especially true if they begin to offer softback books at reasonable prices. I say this not because such publishers could not match them for book design, price and distribution but more because for a certain type of author the freedom and control offered by Blurb may prove irresitible.

As I have said before Authors Will Drive Change and Blurb is perfectly placed to benefit from that trend. Commissioning books within niches and genres will become more difficult over time if blurb and its fellows succeed in establishing the legitimacy of their business model in the mind of the consumer. Publishers will need to change and adapt to this threat. I wonder if we can?

Enjoying the possibilities

New York Times: From Blogger to Published Author, for $30 and Up Gets Book Smart