Tag Archives: ebooks

Reader Poll: What Length Fantasy eBook Do You Like To Read?

Hi, all,

I’ve decided to run a reading poll. It’s very brief, but the code may be a little twitchy. Anyway,

What is your preferred book length for a fantasy ebook?

Take the poll here.

Book Review: Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel

“Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel” by Jeffrey Marks isn’t one of the usual books I review for this blog. It’s not a novel; it’s non-fiction with the noble goal of helping the novice writer do that most difficult part of writing: marketing. I can tell you from my own experience that writing the novel is only part of the battle. Once it is written and polished to perfection, the next step is getting the word out. To that end, Jeffrey Marks wrote “Intent to Sell.” It’s not a long book; it consists only of thirteen short chapters; but it covers a lot of ground.

 

The first chapter begins with the basics, covering some of the concepts behind marketing etiquette. According to the author, you have to walk a line between successful marketing and being obnoxious. There is such a thing as being too pushy in your marketing and that is something you need to avoid. From there he moves on to other things like getting blurbs for your book (a very lucrative thing to do, if you do it right), building relationships with bookstores, and establishing an on-line presence (what he calls an electronic business card). Every author needs a web-site these days with author photos, a booklist, biographical information, the latest news, contact information and whatever else might add to the site.

 

Near midway through the book he starts with the social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc… He discusses how to effectively use these sites to leverage your book into public consciousness. He also discusses the press kit: what makes one, why it’s important, and when you should use one. There’s a lot more in the book; I can’t really cover it all chapter by chapter, but I can say I found it all useful and informative. The book was worth the couple dollars I spent for the ebook.

 

Anyway: Strengths: It has a wealth of information; what I listed above and much, much more. Also, there are two appendices that are crammed with pertinent information: web-sites, urls, and permanent addresses the genre writer needs to have at his or her disposal. Weaknesses: not many. There were a number of typos in the book—it probably could have used at least one more scan by a good proofreader—but other than that it was a strong, informative work.

 

After all is said and done, I’ll give it four stars out of five.

 

Remember, I’m running a month-long contest with a signed hardcover copy of my novel Drasmyr ($25 value) and a Drasmyr bookmark as the prize. You can find the details of the contest: here. I encourage everyone to sign up for my newsletter and post a response.

No Bookstores in My Hometown: The Death of Brick-and-Mortar

This past year, the Borders bookstore closed in my hometown. It was one of a succession of bookstores that opened in our local malls, remained open for a number of years, then closed from economic pressure. The first that I recall, many years ago, was a small bookstore called “The Friar Tuck Bookshop.” I purchased my first fantasy novels there. “Friar Tuck” was followed by “Waldenbooks” (I think that’s the same company as Borders), and then “Borders.” There may have been another one or two stores in the line, but those are the ones I remember. I was kind of annoyed that Borders closed. Now all we have left is “The Cornerstone Bookshop.” It’s a decent enough shop, but it only deals in used books.

 

I guess my question is: are we seeing the end of the brick-and-mortar bookshops? I know this question was raised when Amazon first came on the scene, and despite Amazon’s success, brick-and-mortar shops have been putting up quite a fight for the last decade or so. But this past year,  Borders, which happened to be one of the retail book giants, filed for bankruptcy, and was then liquidated a short time later. It is gone, now. And this, of course, spawns the “is the brick-and-mortar bookstore doomed” question anew.

 

The problem, as I see it, is not simply the business model, but the merchandise. Hard copies of books are nice, but ebooks are cheaper, easier to carry, and easier to purchase. Why go to a bookstore to get your favorite author’s next novel, when you can just download it on the Internet from the Amazon or Barnes and Noble website? Or, if you must have a hardcopy, just order one from the Internet and wait for the mail. Add to that the growing number of free ebooks, and I really do have fears for the brick-and-mortar industry. The only convenience a large brick-and-mortar store has over an Internet website is the ease with which one can browse the titles. But I think that will change in time as well. All someone needs to do is write a program that randomly picks out titles, and you have the online version of browsing. Actually, the websites may have that functionality already. If they don’t, it’s only a matter of time. I mean, really, if I want the computer to give me a list of 10 random fantasy books, ebooks or hardcopy, how hard can it be to program. You have the genre, ten books, and I know there are random number generators for the computers. It should be relatively easy. And how about sitting down in one of those nice comfy chairs to browse through a book you are thinking of purchasing? Well, ebooks already have similar functionality allowing you to sample before you buy. The only real reason left to go to a bookstore is to socialize. And I’m a naturally shy person who rarely talks to strangers anyway. What is left?