A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
The World Almanac and Book of Facts: 2018 celebrates 150
years of informing us of all kinds of things, including statistics, facts, and
history as it relates to sports, politics, culture, entertainment, science,
arts, and other areas. Every year since
I was a boy I’d get the new edition to read up on things.
number of items covered relate directly to books, including stats on libraries
(p. 248), most challenged books in libraries (p. 249), best-selling books (p.
250), best-selling books (p. 250), winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature (p.
261), Pulitzer Prize winners for Fiction (p. 263), new words in English (p.
208), writers of the past (p. 209), Poets Laureate (p. 214), and foreign words
and phrases (p. 709).
The World Almanac claims it is the
best-selling U.S. reference book of all time with more than 82 million copies
sold since 1868. It actually disappeared
for a decade, from 1876-1885, when the newspaper that published it, The New York World, folded. In 1886, famed newspaper publisher Joseph
Pulitzer revived The World Almanac
and has published it annually ever since.
what happened of interest back in 1868, the year of the inaugural edition? It was a time of rebuilding a tattered
post-Civil War America -- and it was a year before professional baseball leagues
would be formed.
literature, Willkie Collins published what is considered to be the first
full-length detective novel in English, The
Moonstone. Also penned that year was
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and
Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick.
century ago, in 1918, some of the headline stories included:
pandemic begins, killing up to 100 million worldwide, of which some 650,000 die in the U.S.
War I concludes.
Sedition Act is signed into law, forbidding “disloyal, profane, scurrilous or
abusive” speech about the U.S. government or its military.
50 years ago, in 1968, some big books were published, including:
·The Double Helix by James D.
by Paul Ehlrlich
·Couples by John Updike
·Welcome to the Monkey
by Kurt Vonnegut
·The Electric Kool-Aid
by Tom Wolfe
I leave with some predictions of the future that were made in the past. In 1968, to celebrate the book’s 100-year
mark, Professor Isaac Asimov made a number of predictions for 2068. We’re now within 50 years of those bold
insights. Here are some things that he
will become the product of gigantic laboratories and the percentage of space on
land and sea which must be devoted to food will be decreasing in 2068. More and more of the Earth’s surface can be
turned into amusement resorts, parkland, and wildlife refuges.
the declining birth rate, the rise in ectogenesis (the development of fetuses
outside the human body) the disappearance of routine housework, and the
conversion of all work into low-muscle, high-brain endeavor that can be
performed by either sex, it is clear that the woman of 2068 will be completely
equal to the man economically and socially…Sexual associations will be looser
in 2068 and more casual." SAVE THE ARTS!
“To have a National
Endowment for the Arts is to sanction creativity to provide space to support
the poetic and to give meaning to struggle, hope and life. Whether it’s transcribing Great Negro
Spirituals, protecting indigenous Native languages, attending outdoor jazz
concerts, preserving quilting b the Amish and the Gee’s Bend women, singing the
Delta blues, weaving narratives of neglected LGBTQ history, creating plays of
the immigrant experience or collaborating across state lines, we are a country
of expression. Art is the bridge when
walls of fear keep us insulated and reactive.
A society loses meaning, purpose and direction without it.”
is my favorite kind of book. I love
books that talk about other books, publishing, writing, literacy, free speech,
authors, book history, bookstores, language and all things bibliophile. My never-ending fascination with such books
is embraced by a minority of people, but it’s a sizeable group.
know the kind of people that like such books.
They are wordsmiths, maybe writers, professors, educators, or
historians. They love the smell of books
and engage their senses to consume books that touch upon history, communication
are even lists devoted to identifying such books. Many stores have sections dedicated
is a sample of books that talk about books or have a central theme built around
Customers Say in Bookshops
·The Man Who Loved
Books Too Much
·Book List: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment,
·So Many Books, So
Little Time: A Year of Passionate
·The Jane Austen Book
·A Novel Bookstore
Changed My Life
·The Book Thief
·The Case of the
·Book: A Memoir
·The Bookshop Book
·1001 Books You
Must Read Before You Die
·A History of Reading
·How to Read a Book
·When Books Went to
War: The Stories that Helped Us Win
World War II
·The World Between
Two Covers: Reading the Globe
·The Year of
Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great
Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life
·The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You
·The Pleasure of Reading: 43 Writers on the Discovery of Reading and
the Books that Inspired Them
·Book Crush: For Kids and Teens – Recommended Reading for
Every Mood Moment and Interest
·The Book of Lost
Books: An Incomplete History of All the
Great Books You’ll Never Read
you book curious? Do you find yourself
more fascinated with a book about some aspect of books than by some ordinary
books? We are so inquisitive about writers
and their creative powers, their checkered pasts, and their struggles to
influence others. We want to be taken
behind the scenes of the publishing industry and into the lives of those who
impact it – from editors, literary agents, book critics, and press agents to
those influenced by books – society and its institutions.
you read any book this year, read one about books!
Selected Excerpts From Trivium: The Classical Liberal Arts of
Grammar, Logic & Rhetoric (Bloomsbury)
“The word ‘grammar’
comes from the Greek term gramma (a
letter), itself related to grapho (to
draw or write). The invention of script,
around 3000 BC in Sumeria and India, suddenly made it possible to write and
read texts of law, commerce, ritual, poetry, history, philosophy, and
science. And, perhaps most important of
all, it gave birth to the detailed discussion of the correct form of such
scripts come in two types. Logographic
systems try to depict the meaning of
a text without relating to the sound of language (the Chinese script being a
prime example). Phonographic systems, on
the other hand, record text as it would sound
when spoken. The Roman alphabet, which
we use to write English and other Western European tongues, is phonographic, as
are the scripts used for Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, and Sanskrit. Today’s International
Phonetic Alphabet is used for correctly writing the pronunciation of
language uses a distinct set of sounds as building blocks, these generally
being classified as either consonants
or vowels. Distinguishing how and with which parts of
our speech organs these sounds are formed can be of great help in the
acquisition of a language. The science
of sounds in speech and language is called phonetics.
humanity’s primary vehicle for though and communication, both internal and
external. Indeed, the ability to learn
the complex system of symbols and rules which underlie syntax and grammar is
arguably the most distinctive feature of the human race. Grammar enables us to inform, edify, and
entertain; it allows us to reason, debate, and argue; it helps us study, build,
and use complex things, from recipes to spaceships.
“One of the earliest
written languages for which governing rules were established is Indian
older languages have more complex systems of inflection, while the grammar of
younger languages is more simplified.
Immigration, trade, invasions, and occupations may have forced villagers
to learn more languages over time, and, rather than mastering the intricacies
of any particular tongue, they muddled along with a simplified speech which later
became the rule. Perhaps the finest
example of such a process and its result is English.”
Fetus Chronicles: Podcasts from My Miseducated Self” (A mostly true memoir)
Tomczyk is a memoirist and humorist blogger whose work features the musings of
an engagingly funny ex-Evangelical Conservative Christian, African-American
Baby Boomer. Not many authors can begin
a book with words such as “I was born in a toilet,” literally mean it, and live
to tell about it with such grace and humor.
At the age of 60, the wife, mother, singer, actress, motivational
speaker, and award-winning voice-over artist set out to establish a new career
in retirement as a storyteller, using her life as fodder. Currently in her late 60s, the mother,
grandmother, and wife of 38 years has published three books: Monsters'
Throwdown (2013), Fleeing Oz (2015),
and The Fetus Chronicles: Podcasts from
My Miseducated Self (2017). She also
posts a humorous weekly blog: How the Hell Did I End Up Here? Website:
1. What really inspired you to write your
book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
old—that is what prompted The Fetus
Chronicles, which is the third book of a trilogy about my life. Before I wrote TFC, I saw a picture of myself stuck on a zip line 200 feet above a
rain forest, twirling around in the air like a random leaf stuck in an errant
cobweb string. I couldn’t move forward
and I couldn’t move backwards. In my
panic, all I could think about was the Internet meme that was going to headline
that picture being uploaded by all the cameras taking pictures of my
misfortune: “Old Fat Black Woman Didn’t
Get the Message to ‘Stay Home’!” For years that photo mortified me until one
day I looked at it again and decided “this shit is funny as all get out!” I soon realized that I had scores of stories
about my life (some horrific, some extremely sad, but many that were hilarious
because they were so embarrassing) that dealt with universal fears from which I
had gained deep insights that might be worth sharing.
2. What is it about and whom do you
believe is your targeted reader?
target audience is Baby Boomer women of all ethnicities, races, and religions,
and the men who love them (although the men may need a hazmat suit). As an African-American woman who grew up in
the ghetto of Cleveland, Ohio, got carried on the wings of the Civil Rights Act
into higher education and freedom, and almost squandered that gift of
intellectualism and freedom in White, Evangelical, Right-wing churches for 30
plus years, I felt that I had a lot to say as a woman about the universal
missteps of life and the issues we face just by being born a woman, as well as
the grace needed to overcome those situations.
I wanted to leave the next generation of women a bird’s eye view of what
it means to try and let go of shame (“My rape and sexual abuse does not own or
define me”), laugh at ourselves (“Embarrassment won’t kill me even if it seems
the entire world is watching”), and shake off all those things that try to
thwart women from evolving (“You can’t because…”).
3. What do you hope will be the
everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them
long after putting it down?
hurts…everybody suffers…nobody is perfect.
At the risk of going all Oprah on you, what I hope would remain with
readers is the strong incentive to try and become their “best selves”—to exit
the stage left of life living their most authentic selves. Do what you
want. Go where you will. Say what you mean—regardless of what others
think. If it’s your truth—live it!
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you
have for fellow writers?
you want to write—just do it! Don’t wait
for someone else’s permission. I had 235
rejections from literary agents for my first memoir Monsters’ Throwdown, and I realized (after reading that 16-year-old
Justin Bieber got a book deal for his memoir) that I’d be dead for a hundred
years before anyone gave me the green light to write, simply because I didn’t
bring to the table a platform of several million followers on social media. I
knew I had something to say, and nobody had the right to tell me I couldn’t say
5. What trends in the book world do you
see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
the book publishing industry is headed is already here and it is fast becoming
the trend: independent book publishing
and author-generated promotions. The
five major publishing houses don’t have the inclination nor the desire to
“waste their time” or budgets on writers who don’t bring them a built-in audience
who will bring the publishers immediate guaranteed sales. Thus the book deal for the memoir of a 16
year old who was still wet behind the ears as opposed to someone who brought
gravitas but no hysterical teenage fan base to the table. Even if an unknown author is “lucky” enough
to garner a book deal, there are no glory days of book advances anymore, no
sitting back while publishing houses create publicity for the unknown writer, and
most times, once the publishing house is paid, the author rarely sees a cent—not
to mention that the final result of the product may not be what the writer
intended. At least when an author
independently publishes, he or she has total control over the work and stands
to receive a good portion of the returns to invest in future books and
promotions. If writers have to do all
the leg work, why pay a middle man?
6. What great challenges did you have in
writing your book?
idol is Maya Angelou, and she once said: “There are teachers who write and
writers who teach.” I am a teacher who
writes. I am always trying to point the
reader to hope, truth, light, grace, and mercy through my life stories. My challenge is to do so without preaching.
7. If people can only buy one book this
month, why should it be yours?
book (actually all three of my books) is made for such a time as this. We (especially women) are really hurting as a
culture and as a nation. I personally
think that our hope is not in a leader or a political party but in ourselves
portraying authentic lives filled with truth, love, forgiveness, mercy, and
grace that we want to see played out in our relationships, communities,
government, religious centers, and activism.
128 Billion to 1: Ten Steps to Beat the
Odds and Win Your NCAA Tourney Office Pool
is a novelist, blogger, former AAU basketball coach and former Information
Technology executive. He is also a fan of NCAA basketball, and his passion
inspired him to write his new book, 128
Billion to 1. Nemeth is known for his crime thriller, Defiled, which became a bestselling book on Amazon. Mike now lives
in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, where he enjoys spending time with his
wife, Angie, and their rescue dog, Sophie. Please see: https://nemosnumbers.com
1.What really inspired you to write your book, to force
you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
In 2003 I watched
my under-respected alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, defeat a team the
experts considered far superior to win the Big Ten championship. None of the
experts on TV could explain the outcome using traditional statistics and
inside-the-box thinking. Intrigued, I did a forensic study of the game and
discovered that traditional statistics and inside-the-box thinking misrepresent
hundreds of games and dozens of teams every season! As a hobby I collected
statistics and tracked the experts’ erroneous predictions for thirteen years
and eventually realized that the game simply needed a new set of statistics to
properly explain outcomes and accurately rank teams relative to one another.
The ah ha moment led to the realization that diehard basketball fans don’t make
poor guesses when filling their March Madness brackets; they make poorly
informed guesses. I believe all fans should know how and why they go wrong.
2.What is it about and who is your targeted reader?
The book is about
two concepts that travel hand-in-hand. The first is that a correct set of
statistics better explains the game and better reveals the relative strength in
the tournament field. The second is that the tournament is not designed to
reveal the best team in the country; it is designed to produce chaos and reward
a fortunate survivor with the trophy. When fans take these two facts into
consideration they will improve their chances of winning their office pool. My
target reader is anyone who fills a March madness bracket.
3.What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for
readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting
relevance to basketball, I hope the book makes readers aware that over one
hundred years of conventional thinking can easily be overthrown by a little
critical investigation and simple logic. If true in basketball, where else
might that be true?
4.What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow
easiest, most rewarding, most beneficial, when the author is making the reader
aware of a truth or an injustice or a social problem. Writing with a purpose
should be the goal of all writers. So, pick a cause and write about it. That’s
when we’re meaningful to society.
5.What trends in the book world do you see and where do
you think the book publishing industry is heading?
The obvious trend
is toward an oversupplied marketplace with too many books, too few readers, too
little time and not enough profits. Most of us write because we are compelled
by some invisible force to do so, but most of us would also hope that someone
other than our moms would read what we write. I also see a resurgence of
independent booksellers who provide access to more diverse titles than do the
major chain stores.
6.What great challenges did you have in writing your
challenge was to find a medium and format that suited the material. An
explanation of the new statistics was first published as an article in the New
York Times in 2011 under the title The
Missing Ingredient but the article length could not do the whole story
justice. On the other hand, the full story, now published as 128 Billion to 1, was too short to
qualify as a trade paperback. Luckily, Morgan James Publishing has introduced a
Minibuk format, a paperback of around
one hundred pages that can readily be displayed at checkout counters. Voila! 128 Billion to 1 had a path to market.
7.If people can only buy one book this month, why should
it be yours?
128 Billion to 1
is short, fun to read, relatively less expensive than other books, and is
timely. The official release date is December 12, 2017 which means it can be
read before March Madness brackets have to be filled. It also makes a great
Holiday present for that person who already has everything else.
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from
taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The original story was in the form of a screenplay by
Nick Fletcher. These are his words…
As a young
man, I went to live in an old Indian beachside house. The house had belonged
for generations to the family of a man back in the UK who had now made London
his home. I volunteered to go with his
daughter to close up the house for its imminent demolition and put down the
family dog who still lived there. The
house had a small dark room, where I found family albums - evidence of when the
house was alive with extended family, socialites and parties. However, I also
found articles on the owner pertaining to a darker past and perhaps a reason
for him to leave the country forever. However, there were other things to think
about - notably the dog. I had the
feeling that she had long resigned herself to the fate that now awaited
her. On her last day we walked her by
the sea, where she bit the waves relentlessly as they broke upon the
shore. A futile and desperate gesture in
the face of something immeasurably powerful.
In a fanciful moment I saw the sea as something symbolic, something that
represented the force of life and death.
years later, my own father’s passing had a profound effect on me. I began writing after a long lay off. It was a cathartic experience and I allowed a
story to evolve as I wrote. It began to
take form almost on its own with those distant memories of India propelling the
story. Soon a universal theme became
apparent in the narrative, that the spirit of loved ones can indeed live on in
our hearts.… and inform and inspire us.
We just have to let them. Monsoon
Tide was born.
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Tide is the story of Anni, a young Anglo-Indian aid worker who returns to her
beautiful, tropical birthplace in India in the wake of the Asian tsunami. There she encounters her reclusive and
seemingly haunted stepfather in his isolated beachside house. She soon discovers that her mother's death
sixteen years before was not the accidental drowning she had been led to
believe. Armed with her mother’s diary which she finds hidden in the depths of the
house and with the aid of the local Chief of Police, Anni embarks on a mission
to discover the truth whatever the cost. It is a haunting story of loss, love
and secrets told in a unique way.
target readership for Monsoon Tide is quite wide-ranging as it encompasses a
number of popular genres; mystery, suspense and romance. Basically, if you like books and films and
are willing to try a new format which combines the two types of media, then
Monsoon Tide may well be for you.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for
readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting
theme of the book was certainly reinforced on a film-location expedition by
watching ashes being cast into the Indian ocean and contemplating the eternal
cycle of life and death, with loved ones living on in the hearts of those who
are left behind. We hope these
sentiments live long in the minds of the readers after they’ve read the book.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
is already a host of information available to writers to help them hone their
writing skills but an important factor for any aspiring author who wants
commercial success is to consider how his or her book is going to stand out
from the rest.
business terminology; what is your unique selling point? Is there something in
the content of the book, its unique perspective, its topicality, its author or
any other factor that would attract media attention? Although this might sound like it’s not a very artistic basis to start writing a
book, if you consider a book’s marketability beforehand, you
will reap the rewards further down the line.
In the case of Monsoon Tide we have received a lot of media interest
because of the unique concept of the cBook or Cinematic Book in telling a story
through both written chapters and film clips.
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think
the book publishing industry is heading?
A lot is being made in the press currently about the relative demise of
ebooks and the resurgence of their conventionally printed counterparts. People seem to be reconnecting with the
printed book form and a major factor in our opinion is that e-books, for the
most part, are just replicating conventional books in an electronic
format. Why are ebooks content to plod
alongside conventional books when they can do so much more? Although there have been a number of enhanced
e-books which have featured audio tracks, film clips, ambient background noise
and interactive games, these are not redefining the format but merely icing the
Our new concept – the Cinematic book or cBook – actually cuts up the
cake and puts in whole layers of filling.
We have a chapter of prose followed by a film clip followed by another a
chapter and so on each taking the story forward. We are combining the media, but in a
sequential manner. The result is that
the reader can get inside the characters heads and in so doing, deepen their
emotional investment in the story.
Conversely, readers often complain about not being able to ‘get into the
world’ of the book and find it difficult to visualise the characters and
location (sometimes this is not the fault of the book but a common difficulty
for the reader to disengage from the real world and enter the fantastical new world
of the book). A cBook transports you
right to that world after a first short chapter.
The electronic book market must continue to innovate to prosper - it
must do things that a conventional book can not do.
6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
the general story and screenplay were written by Nick Fletcher, Elsa Evripidou,
who was the Script Editor for the film, wrote the chapters for the cBook
Elsa: The biggest challenge was the fact that no
one has ever really tried to do what we were attempting before, so we had no
blue print to work from. Monsoon Tide
already exists as a feature film and 15 clips from the film were selected as
the cinematic clips for the cBook. My
job as the writer of the chapters was threefold:
write in prose format the action between the selected video clips and to ensure
that these chapters combined in a logical way with the film clips.
2. To convey
the characters’ thoughts and motivations
imagine new events that happened before or within the same timeframe as the
events portrayed within the screenplay.
One of the greatest challenges was to use the
original story framework but at the same time come up with new events and explore the characters in
greater depth in a way that complemented and enhanced the original story. It
was important to keep a consistency of style and also to ensure that the reader
could move seamlessly from written chapter to film clip.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be
Monsoon Tide is the first ever cinematic book (cBook) - a brand new
story-telling platform. By taking the
best of the written word and the best of film and using them to propel a story,
each element dependent upon the other, we are redefining what electronic books
are capable of and delivering a fully rounded reading/viewing experience in
under two hours. We hope that other
people will make their own cBooks in the future so wouldn’t it be cool if you
could say that you were one of the first to sample this brand new concept?
Author; Elsa Evripidou
Elsa was born in London,
England the daughter of a Finnish mother and a Greek Cypriot father and went on
to study foreign languages at university.
worked in a variety of fields including human resources, teaching and tourism
but mainly in the film industry in the last decade.
written screenplays, worked as a script editor and is also a producer for Laid
Back Films. She has always had a passion for writing and wrote the narrative of
Monsoon Tide. She is currently studying for a Masters degree in creative
worked as an award winning photographer, travelling the world and putting on
exhibitions of his photo journalistic work. In the 1990's, he got involved in
the toy and game industry, inventing and designing products for Manik Games and
Seven Towns Ltd (they brought the Rubik Cube to the world). In the last twenty years, Nick has worked as
a producer, writer and director in the film industry, creatively involved in
projects such as 'Tales of the Fourth Dimension' with Richard O'Brien and
'Monsoon Tide' the film. Nick wrote the
original screenplay and invented the concept of the cBook whilst in
pre-production of Monsoon Tide.