OMG! What if B&N Closes?

OMG! What if B&N Closes? “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” So said Mark Twain in 1897, and I’m wondering if Barnes & Noble might be saying the same thing right about now.   Over the last week, an article by Michael Levin has been making the rounds, causing fear and trembling among certain groups of authors and publishing folks.  Syndicated on news websites all over the U.S., Levin’s article predicts that Barnes & Noble may close all the rest of their stores by the end of the year. It proposes five reasons for B&N’s demise, and goes on to lament the awful tragedy this would be. (You can read a version of the article HERE.)   I just want to add my two cents to the pot:   Everybody, get a grip.   1. We’ve known for a long time that...

Books Covers and My Experience with 99 Designs

Books Covers and My Experience with 99 Designs Whether you’re self-publishing or working with a publisher, creating an effective book cover is extremely important. I’ve worked with publishers on hundreds of covers, and now I have the experience of working with designers on the cover of my own first e-book. From my perspective, the single most important thing to understand about book covers is:   Getting a powerful, appealing, and appropriate cover design is vital, and it’s more difficult than you might think.   Why is it so hard? First, it’s so subjective. One person’s great design is another’s “fail.” Second, it’s more than just creating an image you like—you should take into account the psychology behind what makes a cover appealing to the intended audience....

Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor

Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor I just finished reading a self-published book on a topic I’m passionate about, by an author whose blog I occasionally read. As I’ve mentioned before, I regularly read self-pubbed books, and the fact that I work in traditional publishing doesn’t mean I’m biased against them.   It does, however, mean I’m aware of the ways a book could have been better, had the author availed themselves of the best assistance available, whether in design, writing, editing, cover, or even title.   I was excited to read this book—a memoir—and it started out promising. But it quickly devolved into a self-focused, rambling hodgepodge of preaching interspersed with bragging. I did finish the book (luckily it was rather short) but I ended up with strongly negative...

Your Artist Self and Your Business Self

Your Artist Self and Your Business Self One of the biggest challenges for many writers is being able to separate the artist self from the business self, and figuring out ways to nurture both. I find this to be an issue for unpublished authors more than those who are published. Once a writer is published, they seem highly motivated to stay published, and therefore more open to considering ways to increase the commercial appeal of their work. But for some new or unpublished authors, there seems to be a resistance to “commercializing” their art. That’s fine, if you want to write for yourself, your family and your friends. But if the goal is to ask strangers to pay money to read your work, then it deserves a different approach. It recently occurred to me that writers might benefit by taking a break from reading books on...

Still Conflicted about Amazon

Still Conflicted about Amazon I’ve just finished reading Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. I’m still processing what I learned, and checking other sources for differing perspectives, but my initial reaction is that this is an eye-opening, clarifying, sobering yet illuminating resource for anyone interested in publishing or business in general.   I approached this book the same way I’ve always approached Amazon: (1) as an Amazon customer, and (2) as a person employed by traditional publishing. The two perspectives leave me feeling a little whiplashed at times, since they induce two opposing views of Amazon.   As a customer, I’ve always been extremely happy. I’m a Kindle reader, a Prime member, and I use Amazon almost every day.   As a...

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