Constant Evolving

 

Reading a collection of words, more commonly known as reading books, has been the oldest form of entertainment for the privileged. As time has gone on and reading has become necessary and accessible to more…and let’s be honest here, illiteracy is an issue and we should acknowledge that…we want to ask the question: what’s next?

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We have traditionally-printed novels, in the masses. There are eBooks, in the millions, for those who like to read on the run. The technology which has given us audiobooks makes it easier for those just as busy to listen and work, not losing out on the art of reading. Visual storytelling, choose-your-own adventure stories, Kindle in Motion…the list goes on!

But what technology is on the current rise? What can inspire the next generation of readers – to keep the act of reading alive?

Do you see yourself creating a robot, or purchasing one, to have creative discussions with about the books you’re reading? Or maybe using voice tech, we can pick and choose who we want to narrate the book we’re reading when it’s convenient for us.

What do you think is next? And what’s your favorite way or ways to read?

We want to hear!

Box Office Seller!

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okay. This may not be about the film industry, or who we think is going to top the box office charts next, but it is about how your book could be top of the selling charts in one way or another!

Awhile back we wrote a post about the art of creating a book trailer. We’re bringing it up again because IT IS IMPORTANT.

Social media and streaming services have become a big part of our society and our culture. I mean, hi, we’re talking to you through a screen!

If you haven’t already, work on a trailer to boost your exposure on YouTube or Vimeo and repost this video on all social media platforms. Show it to your family/longtime fans, provide a link so those fans can share around their platforms.

It’s all about word-of-mouth…or rather word-of-typing?

Metadata & Me

A little late to the BookExpo train, but we’re here to update you all on one of the most important parts of our day.

In our opinion, the best panel we attended was the impromptu one. Long story short, the panelists who were supposed to be in attendance and speak got stuck somewhere else and two agents took over halfway through the wait.

One of the most talked about points of the conversation was about metadata. In book publishing, metadata was stressed so much and we’re here to help you understand why.

What is metadata? … I asked myself the same thing. I knew it had something to do with the discovery of online destinations, but I didn’t know the breakdown. Book metadata, specifically, consists of the details that help the exposure of your novel on the internet. But what does it consist of? Let’s talk about that.

Before the publication of your novel, you should consider opening up another document and writing out three basic points:

  • Keywords / key phrases
  • Book description using keywords
  • Author bio, using keywords

Do you see the common trend? I do. Keywords.

Keywords will become your best friend and your book’s best friend. But stay away from the generic words and “less important” ones. Your work could easily get lost or misplaced on the internet. Double check those words on a search engine to see what comes up. If it is similar to your work, then you hit the jackpot.

good to be back.gifYour list should be narrowed down to 10 – 20 words. You’ll be able to use this same tactic for the book description and author bio to reach a max audience.

To continue to thrive in the market, revisit this and re-brand yourself every so often. When you do this, you’re re-entering the market to a new wave of potential readers and fans.

At It Again!

About a year ago, we talked about how the online writing community we all know as Wattpad has its pros and cons for the published community. Maybe you want to dive in and work on some short prequels. Or possibly write a quick spin-off for your begging readers. The site has wonderful resources to both expand on your writing abilities and become a platform for you to share the little details about your world to a new generation.

But it doesn’t stop there. Wattpad has had more than one success story.

There are authors who have signed traditional book deals for their works on Wattpad’s shelves. But just this past weekend, Publisher’s Weekly wrote up a great article discussing the most recent optioned pieces. You read that correctly: OPTIONED.

hollywood.gifHollywood has decided that maybe the comic book movies and remakes are not cutting it for the box office. It’s now very possible to be recognized by studios and producers who are trying to find the next big thing! All they have to do is refresh their page and see what everyone is reading!

So upload everything you can onto Wattpad. You’re (hopefully) going to Hollywood, baby!

HRM Goes To Frankfurt

I’m back! Some of you may have noticed (while others could probably care less) but over the last couple weeks I have been on a writing ‘hiatus.’ That’s because I was on an Eastern Europe tour, which ended at The Frankfurt Book Fair. One of my main objectives since founding HRM has been to build more connections with publishers internationally and The Frankfurt Book Fair is the best possible place to do that. Feeling refreshed and motivated, I am back and operating in a somewhat ‘normal’ schedule.

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This was my first trip to The Frankfurt Book Fair and it didn’t disappoint. I have been attending The Book Expo of America (BEA) since 2012, so as far as book fairs go I thought I was prepared. Physically, I was. I spent hours prepping and making packets to hand out to publishers about my authors, I researched publishers whose booths I wanted to visit, and studied the maps of the book fair to see who would be where. But, mentally I don’t think you could quite prepare for The Frankfurt Book Fair. I’m not sure that despite how many times you have been there, you could ever mentally prepare yourself. Don’t get discouraged because I mean this in the best possible way. It’s an experience that anyone even slightly connected to the publishing world should indulge in at least once in their lifetime.

I attended the book fair on the third day, the last professionals only day (before it’s open to the public- eek!). After my experiences at BEA, I expected the day to be a little slower, easier to navigate, and less going on since for sure people were eager to get home- right? To my delight (or initial fright) that was not the case and it seemed busier than ever. Attendance to this year’s book fair was actually up from last year, which is something that you don’t see very often with book fairs nowadays due to the changing evolution of the publishing industry and how deals/connections are now made. The Frankfurt Book Fair is compiled of four or five different buildings, each building consisted of multiple floors in itself. The trickiest part of the excursion was remembering what entrance you came in from and what coat check you left your belongings at. Oh yeah, and how to get back to that spot is helpful too (don’t worry, I managed). Then the exploring can begin. I am always impressed at the work, creativity, and time that goes into designing and erecting each booth. Some are rather simple, but others are nicer than my own house (I’m only somewhat joking here). Just walking through and looking at each booth alone is stimulus enough to make your mental capacity fizzle out. Nonetheless, it’s incredibly inspiring to see all the talent that there is across the world displayed in one spot. It really makes you stop to think about writing, it’s impact, and the role publishing has played from it’s very beginning.

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At each book fair, the changes that the publishing industry are undergoing is evident. We can read countless articles about it or see the changes in our sales, but seeing it all first hand is refreshing. Looking at the lectures, courses, and panels available at the book fair it was nice to see that many of them were centered around learning what the consumer wants. We constantly hear that publishers are shifting gears from what they want versus what consumers want. And I am happy to report that isn’t just false jargon meant to appease readers. Publishing professionals are really starting to hone in on what readers are looking for and what they will be looking for ten years from now. The digital publishing landscape and it’s visibility, compatibility, and accessibility has made the reader very important. It’s easier to get content than ever before and that ease make us want more and faster. What we want, how we want it, where we want it, and when we want it is everything that publishers want to know. Readers have a huge opportunity to impact the publishing industry right now, and that’s just the way it should be.

It’s also always interesting to see how much of the fair is digitally centered. Even today, many people largely think of the publishing industry as physically and print based. A physical book is always the prime example of a publishing product, no matter how pro-digital you are. Attend any book fair and you will see quite the opposite. Yes, there are still thousands of print books on display throughout the fair and that is never going away. But, every year publishing is getting more and more digitally centered. Many booths have some form of digital element to them and more digital based companies are sprouting up, advertising their services to authors, agents, and publishers. The demand for print based services isn’t quite as strong as it once was (although it’s certainly still there), but we just can’t get enough digital help at the moment. It’s an interesting time for start-ups, especially in the technology field. Everyone wants to know how to maximize their digital dollars and are looking for the right tools and knowledge to help them do just that.

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After being able to catch my breath, I had a wonderful time at the fair and got to meet so many interesting and amazing people all working towards the same goal- to share the talent that exists in the world to as many people as possible. Here’s to many more book fairs! Write on.

Books, Books, Books!

The publishing industry is constantly changing and evolving, with that said many things aren’t changing despite what we may be led to believe. A few days ago I came across an article on NPR’s website entitled, “Technology Of Books Has Changed, But Bookstores Are Hanging In There.” Personally, I could get lost in a bookstore for hours. Even if I don’t make a purchase, I find the whole environment and experience mesmerizing and comforting. To be able to hold a tangible item in your hands and flip through it, absorbing a vast amount of knowledge with each page is an experience you can’t find anywhere else. The concept of holding a piece of someone’s life work in your hands with the ability to carry it with you wherever you go is inspiring. Books are safe; they provide constancy in our crazy, chaotic world. They let us escape into our imagination, unplugged, whenever we need it the most. We can rely on them to always be there- no charger, no cable cord, no outlet needed.

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It makes my heart smile to realize I am not the only one who feels this way. Many people in the NPR article talked to the significance of a print book and why the print industry is most certainly not “dead.” Technology always gets all the buzz because it’s new. Our society is driven to always want the best of the best, to have the newest cell phone, car, tablet, or computer. Whatever it is, once a newer version comes out, we all forget about the old. We forget why the ‘device’ was so great in the first place and that its relevancy is still as it always has been. Print books are very similar to products such as the ipod (why do I need one of these anymore when I can get all the music I want right from my cell phone?) and the older generation ipads (why wouldn’t I just buy the smaller, slimmer version with better display and faster processing?). The invention of reading tablets enabled us to carry as many books as we wanted around with us all day on one small device and even pay less for them. Tablets take up less room, are often lighter, and make us look “hip,” why wouldn’t we give in?

As mentioned in the article, there are many studies that suggest we absorb less material digitally. Some agree, some disagree, and some are mislead/brainwashed. I happen to be someone who wholeheartedly agrees with this. When I am reading something on any type of digital computer screen I feel so removed from it. I find I have a harder time connecting to it. It doesn’t feel real to me, it’s just a bunch of words thrown together to make a sentence. Its tangible quality leaves me wanting more, I feel empty. Whenever I am sent a manuscript or draft that I really need to read, I print it out and the whole experience instantly changes. I can put myself directly into its literary world, free of any digital influences or distractions that always find a way to pop up. I can hold each page as I read it, make marks and comments where I need to, and hold the lump sum of all the project’s pages in my two hands and feel accomplished. I feel like I actually did something with my time and all my work didn’t just sink into digital oblivion.

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This is why I  believe the print book will never die. The digital age always has us feeling like we should be doing five different things at once or getting our work done faster. We are scared to immerse ourselves fully into one thing anymore. Publishers are well aware of the print book’s staying power. They are dedicating more and more time to making cover art, cover material, and paper quality decisions. The art of reading a print book is one of the few things that has transcended throughout all of history. It’s a commonality that threads each time period and person together. We can’t let it die, we won’t let it die- making it impossible to kill. Write on.

Speaking Well vs. Writing well

Here I am again… with editing on my brain! As I mentioned in my last post, much of what I write about on this blog deals with the importance of editing. If you are one of the few who can actually afford to pay someone to edit your book, or if your publisher handles the editing process for you, then editing is not a problem. But, for everyone else editing is super important and often very stressful. I didn’t think it was possible, but today I realized that editing is even more important than I had previously thought.

I came across an article written by Jill Rosen on Hub, in the Science and Technology section, that discussed how writing and speaking are actually supported by different parts of the brain. Meaning, someone can speak properly but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can write properly and vice versa. It’s actually a pretty cool concept to think about, but what does that really mean for writers? Especially in terms of editing?

Some writers/authors have extensive training in writing- they studied it in college, attended workshops, and possibly even went on to masters/graduate programs. These people have a huge advantage when it comes to editing because they have trained their eye to pick up on things that are on the paper in front of them, putting aside words that are floating through their brains or coming out of their mouths. Their focus is on what they can see on the paper in their hand, on their desk, or on the computer screen. Most writers don’t have that trained background. Maybe they only took a couple English classes in college, or maybe they did not even go to college. Self-publishing opens many opportunities for people to become authors, who never would have been granted that chance before. This is great, but it always comes with it’s challenges. Editing is one of those major challenges, especially when our brain can tell us one thing but we actually do another. Just because you speak with perfect punctuation and grammar does not mean that you will write with the same perfections.

It is important to keep that in mind when considering self-editing. Just because you may say the sentence as it’s supposed to be written, that does not mean it transfers to paper the correct way. Many errors can be overlooked because we are actually saying it correctly so the error doesn’t pop out to us. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about this (except to have multiple people look at our writing before publishing). Our brains work the way they work. But, it’s something that we need to be aware of and something that needs special attention. Speaking well does not equate to writing well. Getting as much editing help (free or paid) as possible while writing a book is imperative to its success. Write on.

Books Are Still Alive

Today I came across the results of a survey conducted by Publishing Technology that sent that giddy child in a candy store feeling throughout my body. The survey asked people between the ages of 18-34 about their reading habits and how they get their information/news. At first, I braced myself for what I thought was inevitable. I thought the results would surely show that all things digital were on the rise, slowly killing the art of reading a print book since that is what we are continually told is the current publishing trend.

But, the results were quite the opposite. Here are the two results that might have just made my entire year:

-When millennials (individuals who were born between the early 1980’s through the early 2000’s) were asked what they read, 71 % said print books and 63% said print news/magazines.

-Second, when they were asked how they acquire print books, 47% said bookstores and 37% said libraries. Being in the publishing industry, I hear about how bookstores are always looking over their shoulder and competing with online retailers, but these numbers say just the opposite. I made a recent a visit to Portland, Oregon where of course the famed Powell’s Books was one of the top spots to visit on my list. Although I do realize this is one of the most popular bookstores in the country, I was still surprised to see how PACKED it was.I went there twice, both at weird hours, and both times it was PACKED. I always love seeing people enjoying a bookstore rather than surfing the internet for their next read. Looking back on this experience, it was really awesome to see these survey results played out in real life.

With self-published authors quickly taking over more and more of the publishing stage I think these results are very important for them to take a look at. A decent amount of self-published authors just release e-books and they might be losing a large part of their audience. That being said, each format has its importance and each is necessary in its own right. I am a big proponent of both formats. E-books open up a world of unknowns for an unpolished writer, a medium through which they can showcase their work in the crazy stew that is the publishing universe. But, we must also remember that print books are indeed still very much alive.

You should check out the full results for yourself here.

Write on.