Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: April 2013

Monday, 29 April 2013

Get ready for Independent Booksellers Week

A date for your diaries!

Independent Booksellers Week takes place from 29th June to the 6th July 2013!
for more information, as it becomes available, check out http://independentbooksellersweek.org.uk/

Monday, 22 April 2013

Music Out of The Pages: Busking It

And people didn't seem to want bards, even ones who'd won the mistletoe award and centennial harp in the big Eisteddfod in Llamedos.
He'd found a place in one of the main squares, tuned up and played. No-one had taken any notice, except sometimes to push him out of the way as they hurried past and, apparently, to nick his bowl. Eventually, just when he was beginning to doubt he'd made the right decision in coming here at all, a couple of watchmen had wandered up.
from Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Have you ever busked?
What's your attitude towards busking in general? 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Music Out of the Pages: Competition

"My dear child, did you not notice the difference in the chorus the second time? Your fire lizards have challenged them. Brudegan was only gruff with surprise."
 from Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey

Have you ever taken part in a competition?
Why not tell us about it in the comments.  

Friday, 12 April 2013

Book Tour: Angel Falls by Michael Paul Gonzalez (Review & Giveaway)

About the Book - About the Author - Prizes!!!

Welcome to Novel Publicity's first ever publishing house blog tour. Join us as three new titles from Perfect Edge--we're calling them the Perfect Edge Trifecta--tour the blogosphere in a way that just can't be ignored. And, hey, we've got prizes!  

About the book: It's been rough lately for the Lord of Darkness, with ex-girlfriend drama rearing its head at inconvenient moments, ancient gods returning to take over the universe, and Satan's own unstoppable laziness. But whatever. Satan is okay, and he thinks you're okay, too. This whole eternal damnation thing is all a bit of a misunderstanding. He runs Hell as a resort, kind of. A vacation spot. The point is, he's not a bad guy. He's trying to save Heaven and all of creation, and he only has a dimwitted giant, a surly waitress, and a monkey to help him. So, a thank you might be nice. Maybe buy him a cup of coffee next time you see him. And you will see him. It's the Apocalypse, and all that. Pick up your copy of this Fantasy/ Satire through Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Barnes & Noble.

My review:
A true fantasy novel, with theological impact, Angel Falls is a really original story. The characters are interesting, spoofs of those from myths and legends. The places are unique. The action is full of emotion, tense and dramatic, with hilarious inputs.

Overall: a good, fast-paced read.

Action Reader's Action: Try to let your good side show today.

If you could change the world, what would you do?

About the author: Michael Paul Gonzalez lives and writes in Los Angeles. He is the editor at ThunderDomeMag.com, an online lit zine and small press. He is at work on his next novel as you read this. Seriously. He probably just rattled off a really amazing chapter, and someday you’ll read it and think back to this moment, and exhale. Connect with Michael on his website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.  

About the prizes: Who doesn't love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Angel Falls, or an autographed copy of one of its tour mates, The Sound of Loneliness by Craig Wallwork or Stranger Will by Caleb J Ross. Here's what you need to do...
  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.
That's it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win--the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Perfect Edge Trifecta tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!  

Perfect Edge Books was founded in late 2011 to unite authors whose books weren't "obviously" commercial. Our books tend to sit in various genres all at once: literary fiction, satire, neo-noir, sci-fi, experimental prose. We believe that literary doesn't have to mean difficult, and that difficult doesn't just mean pointless. We prefer to cultivate a word-of-mouth approach to marketing, and keep production as simple as we can. Learn more at www.PerfectEdgeBooks.com.

Learn more about Angel Falls's tour mates HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Next Generation Indie Book Award Fiction Winners 2012

1st place:

The Parsifal Pursuit
by Michael McMenamin & Patrick McMenamin
(Enigma Books)
(ISBN 978-1936274239)

2nd place:
A Little Leg Work
by Royce Leville
(Rippple Books)
(ISBN 978-3981458510)

3rd place:

Walter's Muse
by Jean Davies Okimoto
(Endicott and Hugh Books)
(ISBN 978-0983711513)

Have you read any of these books?
If so, what did you think?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Music Out of the Pages: Organising Music

Technically, he should have been a musician. So he bought a comb and paper. Since up until that time the Guild had been run by real musicians, and therefore the membership roll was unrolled and hardly anyone paid any dues lately and the organization owed several thousand dollars to Chrysoprase the troll at punitive interest, he didn't even have to audition.
from Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Indepedent Bookshop Directory

Whilst researching independent bookshops, I came across this map made by guardian readers. Why not check it out to find your own local bookstores, or add one that they don't know about yet?

Is your independent bookshop listed?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Daunt Books (London)

It was a few months ago, when I was walking around London, that I came across Daunt Books. They have several stores in London, but the main (and one I had come across) is on Marylebone High Street.

What struck me immediately was how beautiful the store was. Its an original Edwardian bookshop with loads of original features. Inside you are surrounded by woodwork. Make your way back into the shop and you can climb sets of narrow steps up to long oak galleries, where its possible to look down on all the bustle of the main store.

The shop specialises in travel books, arranged by country, but it also houses lots of fiction (including children's) and some other non-fiction as well.

If you're in the area then its certainly worth popping in to enjoy a browsing session. And if you like going on holiday with a book (fiction or non-fiction) about where you're going then this is definitely the place to buy it!

Where do you buy your holiday books?

Friday, 5 April 2013

Guest Post: Devon Trevarrow Flaherty from Owl & Zebra Press

Today I'd like to welcome Devon Trevarrow Flaherty onto 'The Story Factory Reading Zone'. Devon is co-founder of Owl & Zebra Press. Benevolent, written by Devon, is the first book to be published by the small press.

I asked Devon to tell us a little about the process of setting up her own press. Here is what she had to say:

When asked to blog about setting up an indie press, I am of two minds. One half of me thinks, Surely they don’t mean me! I have no idea what I am doing. The other half of me chimes in with, Oh yes you do! You’ve done just as much research and way more work than the average self-publisher! Take a little credit, Devon! Self talk aside, the field is full of amateurs (of which I am not even strictly one), thus the nature of self-publishing and indy presses.

That said, one of my north stars during the whole process—from conception to promotion—was professionalism. I wasn’t trying to hide the fact that I was grass roots (as some might accuse me of), but I was trying to make the grass roots look good, if you know what I mean. I want to run with the big boys because one of the reasons I even jumped into this whole circus was to give my book the best opportunity it could have. 

Self-publishing is the best case scenario if and when your book does not fit the traditional slots of publication; if and when you have the resources (including time and energy) to start a business; if and when you like the sound of getting paid better for leg-work you were going to be forced to do even with a traditional publisher; and if and when creative control is of great importance to you. It took me years to get to this point, and the publishing industry and I collided and formed this perfect-storm-of-2012 that became an intense focus to self-publish Benevolent. And to do it as a professional.
From that moment on—the one where you decide to self-publish—there are winding paths off into the woods of uncertainly a-plenty. You begin with books (since that’s where you always begin) and with the internet. You explore your options and weigh the information you have been given. For me, I ended up deciding on CreateSpace as a printer and Catherine Ryan Howard’s Self Printed as my guide book. However, neither of those travelling companions made the fateful decision that I would make, with me; to not only publish my own book, but to begin a small press into the bargain. And to do it with professional aplomb.

First things first: my aunt is a non-fiction editor. I have been an editor here and there, as well as a freelancer, and between the two of us (very strongly on her side) we have more than thirty years of experience. That’s nothing to thumb your nose at. Even so, while both of us fall asleep dreaming of future novels, our experience was not in fiction. I guess that means anyone could do it? I can’t imagine going through this process without Aunt Shelly’s tireless editing, not to mention encouragement. The moral? If you don’t have experience, you have to hire out sometimes. I really mean it. Someone needs some experience, even it’s just your editor and cover artist. Otherwise, you can’t act as a professional and your product will be less-than.

And what does it take to magically create a small press? For me it meant this: creating a name and a logo, a website and a Facebook Fan Page. Buying a website domain and an email address, as well as a PO box. Running up to the store for office supplies, which included tons of padded envelopes, paper, and especially a ledger for expenses, revenue, and deadlines, not to mention a receipt envelope. Creating a tax identity and perhaps even incorporating, eventually. And then doing all the work I was going to do anyhow; writing, editing, revising, mapping, illustrating, cover work, interior formatting, e-formatting, planning, creating a space and office work, designing and ordering promotional materials, proofing, book-keeping, budgeting, mailing, taxes, and last but not least marketing and sales (which is a huge, great, big deal). I’m sure I’m forgetting plenty.

But here’s the main thing: I also learned to take myself seriously. I think that’s one of the benefits of not just going solo but creating an indie press, and, of course, doing it with professionalism as a goal. (That, and the possibility of others approaching you later on asking you to help them in their great projects.) Eventually, somewhere on that long and winding path, you come around the corner and a ray of light shifts down into your eyes and it hits you; you are not just a writer, you are not just an author; you are a publisher. And doggone it if you are not also an entrepreneur.

Thank you Devon.

Readers, what are you experiences of indie presses? 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Indie Bound

Indiebound helps readers to get book recommendations from real booksellers, as well as other readers. You can also find local indie bookshops, join their campaign to keep books on the high street, or buy national book tokens.

How do you support your local bookshops?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

What is an indie publisher?

Some thoughts from around the web:

"The terms "small press", "indie publisher", and "independent press" are often used interchangeably, with "independent press" defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations."

"There has been a blurring of the line between indie author and indie publisher that seems to be mostly related to size and scope of the business. I am an indie publisher of my own books so it’s basically the same thing as being an indie author, but there are small & midsize independent publishing houses who don’t like the term indie being used for people like me. However, there are increasing numbers of micro-businesses being set up by authors who also publish other author’s books so these perhaps count as indie publishers.
John Austin (Writers Welcome Blog) 

"Independent publishers outside of the Big Six, like Soho and Algonquin, have been known as "Indie" publishers for a long time. The authors who are (traditionally) published by them wear their Indie cred with pride.
Nathan Bransford (Nathan Bransford author)

"Personally, I think "indie" should be reserved for publishing companies and businesses. Of course, in the publishing world it is an euphemism for "small"."
Timothy Klein on Book Blogs forum

"Indie Publishers – Indie publishers, are writers who take full control of their product from cover design, formatting, marketing, editing, etc. They feel more comfortable with the processes and technical aspects of the game. Indie publishers operate like a small press, doing every task in house or subcontracting to those more qualified. They not only hold the rights to their book, but they do not have to answer to a third party to make changes or upgrade quality. Indie publishers often spend far less money on the production of their books and are not restricted to specific price points, cover designs, etc."
 Jeff Bennington (The Writing Bomb)

"Indie publishing is when authors publish their manuscripts as ebooks with online e-publishers, use a print-on-demand company or publisher for print books (such as CreateSpace), or do both. There are no upfront fees; rather, the company/publisher/e-publisher takes a small percentage of the profits from each book/ebook that is sold. Print-on-demand companies/publishers print your books as consumers order them. Indie publishing is an affordable and convenient way to publish.
Self-publishing includes the two methods of indie publishing, but also includes publishing print books with a press. With the press method, authors have to do all the editing and formatting themselves, or hire someone to do it. Authors deal directly with the press. Authors have to buy a certain number of books from the press (which requires a large sum of money to be paid upfront), and the more books that are purchased, the cheaper the price of each book. Authors must then hold on to all of the books, and market and sell them themselves, or hire someone to do it which can be expensive. Whether the authors sell all of the books they purchased or not is another issue. Many authors buy too many copies and get "stuck" with extra boxes of books.
A vanity publisher uses the press method and charges authors upfront for the service. The amount authors pay the vanity publisher is usually more than when authors go directly to a press, because the vanity publisher serves as a "middle man" and charges extra for the service This is not a recommended way to publish a book."
Christine Rice on Book Blogs forum

Just a quick note as to my views:
I look at independent publishers as small publishing houses that put their authors interests first. I certainly do not consider vanity presses to be indie publishers. Authors who publish themselves are, in my opinion, self-publishing and also indie authors.

What do you think an indie publisher is?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

What is an indie author?

Some thoughts from around the web:

"An indie author is a self-published author: someone who takes the plunge to publish their work on their own, whether through a website designed for the purpose or self-printing and distribution."
Quill Cafe

"At its most basic, indie means there is no separate publisher involved. Many indies may have setup their own micro-press, so their books still have a publisher name that is not the author’s name but the publisher is n"ot one of the author services companies. The indie author most likely owns their own ISBNs. The indie pays the bills and is paid by the distributors e.g. Amazon/Smashwords directly. The only middleman is the distributor."

Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn) 

"The word "Indie" means independent. We are authors who choose not to publish through a publisher, especially since we can make 70% on our books instead of the 10-12% publishers offer. I expect to see a lot more authors becoming Indie Authors."
Marti Talbot on Amazon forums 
"The basic working definition at present on this site is that:  the author retains their rights in the work.  Either the author publishes in their own name, or sets up a publishing entity to publish, or is part of some co-operative, collaborative or company in which they have a significant input."
Indie E-book Review

"...it also includes authors published with small presses rather than the big mainstream publishers. They're often Arts Council funded etc and require the author to do their own promo."
Ali Cooper on Amazon forums

 "In my opinion, anyone who has been traditionally published (by mainstream publishers of any sort where you have an agent, editor and so on) is not an indie author.  This would include Raymond Benson, Barry Eisler, and others.  And yes, JA Konrath.  I would consider these authors as independently publishing books, but they are not true indie authors (a fine distinction maybe, but one I feel is there)."
Renee Pawlish (To Become a Writer)

"Here are the conclusions we came to:
  • Indie authorship and self-publishing are not quite synonymous but an independent author will have self-published at least one book.
  • Going 'indie' is, more than anything, an attitude of mind
  • 'Indie' does not necessarily mean 'self-publishing only' and even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers.
  • Indies are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriat, so long as the author's status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
  • Indie authors expect this equal partnership model to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
  • Because it involves us in every part of the process, self-publishing is the most creative choice a writer can make, and very empowering.
  • It does, however, require the writer to develop a variety of skills and aptitudes and keep up with a demanding and fast-changing environment. It is thus best suited to writers of an entrepreneurial bent.
  • The shift from the author as resource (in the new parlance 'content provider') to author creative director of a book, from conception to completion and beyond, is revolutionary and is prompting trade (nonwriting) publishers to rethink what they do and how they do it.
  • All of this is very good for writers. And what is good for writers can only be good for readers.
  • Self-publishers are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance 'content provider') to respecting the author as creative director. 
  • Self-publishers are now proud of the indie label, which they carry into your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for their own benefit and to the benefit of all writers."
The Alliance of Independent Authors

What would you say an indie author is?

Monday, 1 April 2013

Welcome to Independent April

Welcome to Independent April

This April we'll be looking into:
  • Independent Authors
  • Independent Publishers
  • Independent Bookshops
and how to support them.

As usual, there will be reviews, and the odd meme.

If you're an independent author, publisher, or run an independent bookshop then I'd particularly like to hear from you! There are still spaces for interviews, guest posts, and/or features this month!

If you would like to recommend an independent bookstore, then I''d also love to know about it!

Just post a comment below with how to contact you, or e-mail me at neeuqfonafamai(at)googlemail(dot)com

What do you of when I say independent?

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