Heidi Cohen has compiled the best book writing tips from successful authors into this article. If there is one thing that caught my eye in these valuable tips, it was the fact that so many authors emphasized two things: ensure you have a clear message or goal for your book and start marketing instantly when you know that you are going to get the book published (one way or the other).
Many travel writers (and writers of other genres) take their own photos for their articles and books nowadays. Writers may not want to dive deep into mysteries of photography technology, but capture moments, facts and sceneries with decent equipment. What is the best camera for travelers is the question that the long article answers in many ways.
Joanna Penn’s article on traditional publishing and self-publishing is almost like “Everything you ever wanted to know about book publishing” in one article. An excellent article to read, even if you already have published a book. I would categorize Klaava Media as a hybrid publisher, because we take every author and ebook as an individual project and tailor the co-operation with the author accordingly.
Ask a Digital Nomad: How Do You Choose Where to Go Next?
Digital nomads who have traveled and work for a year or more talk about the places they like to stay. How do they choose their destinations, why and how long do they stay in one place? Many nomads agree that moving too often is not the best way to go, but where they go is a surprisingly wide and open field. I am waiting for the moment when a digital nomad says he or she has spent a winter in Lapland.
This article gives plenty of insight on the freedom of blogging and on the realities when working for someone else. That’s the fundamental difference, and truly understanding it will save many writers from a lot of agony.
Author, journalist Russell Snyder moved to Finland from California in 1982. He has spent over 30 years exploring and enjoying the Nordic country. He has traveled far and wide searching for experiences, but has uncovered many cultural treasures right in Helsinki where he has mostly lived. “Finland is both a great place to visit and to live. The longer you stay here, the more you become hooked on the Finnish way of doing things.”
Here is what the author had to say about the new edition of his book about Finland.
The first edition was published 22 years ago. It reflected Finland as it was back then. However, Finland is constantly changing and redefining itself, so the book has been updated and revised to reflect those changes.
Why have you picked this year to publish this new edition?
Finland is celebration its 100-year anniversary of becoming an independent nation, so I wanted to celebrate the occasion with this book.
You use a lot of humor in your writing.
I believe humor is the best way to encourage people to keep reading. And if people are entertained and get a few laughs, they may even remember something.
What have been your favorite experiences in Finland?
Sledding on a hill with my kids. Walking around in a forest in Lapland during the autumn to experience the fantastic colors. Fishing on the Ruunaa River and smoking the freshly caught trout on a campfire. Dancing on a Saturday night in a small village and meeting new friends. Trying out the magnificent smoke saunas the Sauna Society. And many more.
Perhaps it is every professional travel photographer’s dream to be able to publish a book full of beautiful photos from exotic places. Travel photographer and writer David Noyes had another idea: he wanted to create a book that features photographs taken only in places where tourist sightseeing buses take travelers. His book is titled The Photographing Tourist – A Storyteller’s Guide to Travel and Photography, but it is only available as a paperback. Klaava Media is happy to produce an ebook from the manuscript so that travelers can save a little weight and space in their bags.
4 Truths That Will Change Your Perspective on the Writer/Editor Relationship
Good book editors can turn mediocre manuscripts into great, successful books, but only if the working relationship between the author and the editor is seamless. Jessica Strawser is the Editorial Director for Writer’s Digest, and she highlights four key elements that make or break the relationship. It is worth mentioning that writers who are planning to self-publish should give some serious consideration to finding someone who can help to finalize the manuscript. Applies both to fiction and non-fiction.
6 Insights into the Changing Role of Agents in 2017
Digital Book World 2017 conference was organized in the end of January. One of the expert panels comprised literary agents who discussed the state of the book business and its future. It is quite surprising how little the agents believe their world is changing despite the rise of digital media, independent publishers and self publishing. They acknowledge the presence of social media, at least.
10 Undervalued Up & Coming Digital Nomad Locations for 2017
Of ten locations listed in the article I would pick Malaysia, and a place in mainland Malaysia (not Borneo as the article recommends). Excellent Internet (depends on the location, of course), fabulous food, nice people, English spoken widely, low living costs, and good transport connections to the rest of the world. A place in the Kuala Lumpur region could easily serve as a base for exploring the rest of Asia. The top choice in the article for digital nomads is Algarve, Portugal, but can it really match Spain or France as a safe, affordable and civilized destination for remote work can be subject of a heated debate.
5 Things You Can Do to Bring Your Writing Ideas (and Career) to Life
Many books have been published on the techniques and details of writing a book, but not so many about the mental challenges a long project sets on aspiring authors. Nina Amir has written a book Creative Visualization for Writers that gives advice on having a right kind of mindset and doing mental exercises that help along in the long and complex process of writing.
In some countries, like Sweden, public libraries have an advanced system for citizens to loan ebooks. All parties, libraries, citizens and publishers have been happy to the system, because it works, allows budgeting for libraries, and enables some business for publishers. Now, a Swedish publisher has discovered an old-school method to cheat the system. The publisher’s family members loaned as many their own company’s published ebooks as they could from the library in order to generate revenue from the loans.
This is how the library system works in Sweden. Digital media distrubutor Axiell maintains a platform that connects publishers and libraries. A publisher uploads ebooks they want to make available for libraries to the system, and sets the price per loan for each book. Libraries search the system for ebooks. When they discover what they want, and the price is right, they make the ebook available for their community.
Each loan of an ebook generates a small amount of revenue for the publisher of the book.
That is exactly what the family of the small publisher in southern Sweden had been ordered to do.
Helsingborgs Dagblad reported that the scheme was discovered in the library of small community Burlöv in South Sweden. The community is so small that library staff took notice of strange peak in loans on the first day of each month. That’s when six family members of the publisher loaned as many ebooks as they were allowed to loan each month. They could borrow 36 ebooks altogether, but in a small community, they had already consumed half of the monthly budget that library had reserved for ebooks.
Family members had been able to get library cards to other nearby libraries as well. They had implemented the same routine in three libraries, at least.
So far, the estimated total profit the publisher had managed to generate is less than 10 000 euros (82 000 Swedish kronor). More libraries may discover they have been cheated as the news spread.
Police report has been filed, and what-went-wrong analysis has started. Publisher’s all ebooks have been removed from the library system.
The case may not be as straightforward as one might think. The family members had legal library cards. They used their right as citizens and library card holders to loan ebooks from public libraries.
Surprisingly, the platform provider Axiell recalls a similar case that happened in 2014. A publisher had loaned its own ebooks, got caught, and was reported to the police. Axiell, however, didn’t modify the platform to detect behavior like this. When asked why, Axiell representative responds that the platform doesn’t store any personal information that could be used to track users.
Axiell has informed libraries that it will fully compensate them, and pay the estimated loss 82 000 krona back to libraries. Obviously, Axiell seeks to settle the case with the publisher in or out of court.
Ebooks have been, and are being, lended by public libraries in many EU countries, but on November 10th, 2016 the EU Court of Justice decided that libraries really have the right to do so. The court regarded that the principles for lending paper books and ebooks are the same. The most important point for authors and publishers of digital books is that the court specifically stated that the authors must be fairly remunerated for library loans.
The case was brought to the EU Court of Justice by Dutch authors’ organization Stichting Leenrecht which collects remuneration for authors. The EU court, however, saw the big picture and stated in its press release:
“That conclusion is, moreover, borne out by the objective pursued by the directive, namely that copyright must adapt to new economic developments.”
The EU Court attitude is warmly welcomed, and hopefully spreads to EU nations as well. Authors’ rights to benefit from their work is the number one priority for everyone in the business, but at the same time, the way the rights are used must be developed as the digital era progresses.
The EU Court states:
“[e-book lending] has essentially similar characteristics to the lending of printed works. That is the case as regards the lending of a digital copy of a book under the ‘one copy, one user’ model.” And specifically reminds “… provided that authors obtain, at least, fair remuneration.”
Currently, there are many practices in EU countries how libraries deal with digital books. For instance, public libraries in Finland don’t compensate ebook rights holders anything when citizens lend their works. That’s why publishers and authors are very reluctant to make ebooks available via libraries – one of likely reasons that has prevented ebook market to emerge in the country. In Sweden, publishers can set the price per loan that libraries have to pay for each loan. If a publisher sets the loan price too high, libraries won’t make the book available, but when the price is right, everyone is happy (including citizens who couldn’t get enough of football star Zlatan’s biography).
Surprisingly, The Federation of European Publishers opposes EU Court’s ebook lending decision. The organization represents national publishers’ associations, which tends to mean big publishers. The organization’s concern seems to be (according to the press release) piracy: ebook lenders would loan ebooks only to crack the DRM and keep the books forever, and not return them to the library.
Two things for the Federation of European Publishers to consider: the same piracy risk is present in all ebooks purchased from bookstores, and it would be a good idea for the organization to get familiar with the ebook lending system in Sweden.
Every writer has his or her own motivation for writing. It is lonely work that tends to continue in the author’s head even after the day’s work has been completed. It is also one of the most independent professions on earth: usually the writer can decide what he does and when. Every professional writer constantly tries to improve his output. Author Michael Grothaus argues that “dissatisfaction is a writer’s most vital resource”.
All travelers, digital nomads and tourists who haven’t given a second thought to image composition but who want to develop their photography skills in order to publish a blog or an Instagram image feed should ensure that they are aware of the seven sins Kav Dafdar so carefully explains in his article.
10 Tricks To Make Yourself A Kindle Master (Gizmodo)
Sure, we have been using a Kindle ereader (actually, a number of different models) for years, but didn’t know many of the tricks David Nield shows in his article. Our favorite tips? 8 (how take a screen shot of Kindle display) and 9 (sending documents to Kindle).
What I Learned By Writing 500 LinkedIn Articles (Forbes)
A writer who discovered a perfect way of making use of his skills. He used his creative writing skills to get more business on professional networking service LinkedIn. Smart, and reminds us how many ways there are for writers to benefit from their skill.
For some people – especially for graphic designers – fonts can be a passion. For an average reader or writer, fonts are a thing that they don’t take notice at all until something goes wrong. It actually is worth spending a little time on exploring the font selection on your ereader or tablet. As experts in this article argue, the best font is the one you like the best, but quite often it happens to be Georgia or Palatino.
Photo by Wolf G. https://www.flickr.com/photos/39559585@N00/
8 things I wish I’d known before writing my first novel (Marie Claire)
Author Kate Mosse shares a few tips for aspiring writers, and although her tips focus on novels, they are relevant for non-fiction writers as well. Once a writer has dived deep into the writing process, we would like to highlight two key tips that Kate Mosse shares: Success Is In The Editing Not The Writing and You Don’t Have To Write Chapters in order. In other words, the ugly truth in writing is that editing takes more time than the actual writing, and once you have a solid plan for your manuscript, you can write it any order you like. A tip from us: write the first chapter, introduction and opening paragraph last.
An Instagrammer with almost 2 million followers reveals how to take the perfect travel photo (Business Insider)
Seeking to Make Content ‘More Alive,’ E-Book Publishing Tool Takes Off (the algemeiner)
Creating an ebook that features nice, beautifully laid out images, perhaps video clips and even interactivity requires more work than writing a book with a few photos or graphs. That’s why an application that lets the author or the publisher easily and quickly produce a multimedia book is a valuable tool. Ourboox is an online tool that is trying to do just that. It is the first step into right direction, but at the moment it is primarily suitable for home users who want to share their memories with others. That said, Ourboox has potential. Commercial multimedia ebooks still require the use of a professional tool, like the Apple iBooks Author. View samples of travel guidebooks that feature multimedia here.
Edinburg author used Instagram as vehicle to showcase writing (The Monitor)
Victoria Lopez knew very well that Instagram was for photographs and videos, but she used the online service to share snippets of her book manuscript that she was writing. After getting a good number of followers, she was contacted by a book publisher who asked if she was interested in a book deal. She was, but she also realized that it was the opportunity of a lifetime: she contacted other publishers to get the best deal. Our take: An inspiring story, but it is truly exceptional to get a book publishing deal via Instagram.
In general, the large population of India maybe reluctant to purchase products online, but there are exceptions. The Economic Times reports of an ebook subscription service Matrubharti that has managed to establish new business on digital products. “As a consumer, I do have resistance to buy readable content online. However, if I’m given a subscription, like in a library, it makes the decision easier.”
Relative to the population, the number of new book titles published each year in Scandinavian countries is big. Books and reading are appreciated in the region, where the number of book publishers is relatively big as well. Each country, however, has its own language, reducing the potential market size for books that haven’t been translated. Ebooks haven’t made a major breakthrough in Scandinavia yet, but signs of change are in the air.
Successful digital media businesses that originate from Scandinavia and have expanded outside their home markets are, for instance, music streaming service Spotify and book streaming service Storytel. Schilling is a software and consultancy company that organizes an annual conference for Scandinavian publishing professionals. Inspired by the recently held 2016 conference, the company has written a report that outlines the trends in book publishing for 2016.
1. Think digital, or move over.
Traditional publishing business must adapt themselves to the digital era and transform their old business models. Often, established businesses only worry about threats, but forget to adopt new opportunities.
2. Streaming services are becoming the norm for books.
Spotify proved that people are willing to pay for a good service, even though it is easy to find music for free. Streaming of books may mean serialized flash fiction stories, or further development of services that we already have, like 24 Symbols, Bookmate and Scribd. Audiobooks are a prime product for streaming.
3. Student piracy and second-hand sales of books slow down the industry.
Young people tend to have time to enjoy books, music and movies, but little money to fulfill all their wishes. Piracy is a problem in some markets and in some genres. The industry should innovate and find solutions that satisfy both the rights owners and everyone else.
4. Mobile storytelling for a new generation of readers.
Mobile devices and multimedia technologies are present in daily life of all of us, but young generations have lived with them all their lives. Book publishers must take multimedia and mobile platform seriously in order to attract young generations to read, listen or watch books.
5. Digital voice technology is a new opportunity for audiobooks.
Audiobooks are quite expensive to produce and so far, the market has been small compared to the rest of the book market. Innovations in digital voice technology – computer voice reading a book, rather than a human voice – have made it possible to express emotions digitally. As the technology improves, it makes it possible for readers to read/listen books like they used listen to radio.
6. Video is the fastest growing content type.
YouTube, Netflix, and Dailymotion are only the tip of the iceberg when online video is considered. Billions of smartphone and tablets produce billions of minutes of video for Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat, and other platforms. Live broadcasts via the Internet are growing as well (at the expense of broadcast TV). One of the few – if not the only – media industry that has managed to avoid video is book publishing. Not for long. For instance, Klaava Media produces video clips that are included with travel guidebooks.
7. Ebooks and printed books will coexist.
There are people who only read printed books, and people who only open ebooks. Most readers accept both. This is the scenario for the foreseeable future as well.
8. Digital mindset for traditional publishing.
For established businesses, it is easy to protect the cash cows of today, and reject anything new that might disrupt it. The thing is that everything has been disrupted already. Only 10 years ago, who would have thought that ebooks will have about 25% market share in the US and UK in 2016? In 2006, ebooks didn’t exist (apart from some niche products – Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007).
9. Creative discovery of new revenue streams.
The business of book publishing is about finding talent and turning their thoughts into products that can be sold to large audiences. It doesn’t have to change, but perhaps it is possible to create additional revenue streams around the core product.
10. 360-degree management of assets.
360-degree management in music business means that a party takes responsibility of an artist’s all income sources: recordings, shows, merchandise, rights, and whatever can be thought of. This business model may have potential in book industry as well.
Three elements require careful consideration before a book is ready to be marketed at an online bookstore: title, cover design and book description. The fourth element – price – is equally important, but it is a business decision, unlike the three other elements that are often created by experienced professionals. The rise of ebooks has introduced plenty of new authors to the world, but also plenty of new cover designers have found interesting work in the world of books.
If you are a writer who is thinking of publishing an ebook or a cover designer, one of the best ways to learn about book covers is to study what others have done. In his The Book Designer blog, Joel Friedlander runs e-Book Cover Design Awards for new cover images.
Award winners for the best fiction and non-fiction cover designs have been chosen for April 2016, and they are Wrong Side of Hell, design by Lou Harper, and Are You Buying This?, The Book Designers. Just like with books, a cover design appeals someone while another person may dislike the same cover. It is a matter of taste, and above all, a matter of appeal. Does a book cover appeal to a reader? Is the cover so intriguing that it calls the reader to click it and open the book?
These two book covers (a fiction and nonfiction cover) from e-Book Cover Design Awards April 2016 selection were the favorites at the Klaava Media office.
What makes the ebook cover design more difficult than designing a printed book cover? For a printed book, the cover design has to look perfect in its actual size alone. Ebook cover, on the other hand, has to be perfect from thumbnail size to poster size. Often, readers only see a thumbnail image of the cover image when they find a book at an online store. The purchase decision maybe made based on thumbnail image alone. Yet, the same image has to be attractive even when viewed on a 26-inch PC monitor.
Practically all new ebooks are being published in EPUB and Kindle formats so that they are easily accessible on all tablets, ereaders, smartphones and computers (independent of their screen size). A number of books published years ago in print may only be available in PDF format, and the PDF file format was never designed with small screens in mind (it is simply a replica of a printed page). That’s why reading an PDF ebook or document can be frustrating on a small-screen ereader. So, a larger screen is required for PDF, and that’s what Onyx ereader is delivering.
The Onyx Boox Max comes with a 13.3-inch E ink screen which makes it a good choice for anyone who is reading textbooks and other non-fiction books in PDF format.
The Boox Max has a feature that is rarely included in ereaders: you can write on the screen. A stylus is attached to the side panel, and using that stylus it is possible to write on the screen.
There definitely is a large group of people who need a 13.3-inch ereader, but it is not for everyone. The device doesn’t fit into a small bag or purse, but you have to have something where you can carry it. For instance, would I take this ereader on a trip to Budapest? Probably not, I would take a 10 inch tablet and a smartphone. The current price for the Onyx Boox Max is $650, which means it has to compete against 12-inch tablets in price.
Having said that, an ereader with large screen would be nice to have in the office and at home.
Here is a video recorded by Armdevices.net where the Onyx Boox Max is demonstrated. It is a five minute video, but the 13.3 ereader is shown right in the beginning and after four minutes.
Onyx Boox Max key features and technical specifications
13.3 inch screen with 16 shades of grey, 1600×1200 resolution.
Flexible screen with handwriting input.
Full-screen touch with stylus, support handwriting and annotation.
Android 4.0, possibility to download additional applications.
CPU: Cortex-A9 1G Hz.
RAM: 1G LPDDR2
Storage space 16GB.
Memory card: Micro SD (up to 32Gb)
3.5mm connector for headphones.
Micro USB 2.0
Ebook formats: PDF, TXT, HTML, EPUB, CHM, PDB, MOBIPOCKET (Non-DRM), FB2, DJVU
Displays JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP images.
Plays MP3, WAV audio files.
Dimensions 325 x 237 x 7.5mm.
Weigth around 550g.
Operating Temperature 0°C- 50°C.
Battery 4100mAh LI-ION Polymer.
Standby battery around 4 weeks.
Charging takes about 3 hours.
Ebook retailer and ereader device vendor Kobo recently published a survey that confirms many assumptions we have had about people who read ebooks. Who are they? Young or old? Men or women? The Kobo survey tells us that the typical ereader/ebook user is a middle aged, or older, woman who is a voracious reader. That’s exactly the same group of people who is buying and reading the most printed books.
According to the Kobo ebook reader survey, 75% of the most avid readers are women (ed. note: occasional ebook readers is likely to be a larger, more diverse group of people). Out of these active readers, 77% are 45 years of age or older. The largest single group (30%) being 55 to 64 years. In the age group 65+, men represent 34% of the most avid readers.
Kobo is able to collect plenty of information on their customers’ buying and reading habits because the company has an online bookstore, it markets ereaders and provides reading applications for computers and mobile devices. When we buy products from any online store, the stores are able to capture many pieces of data about us – not only the compulsory fields that everyone has to fill in. In addition, companies that provide reading apps and connected devices tend to track our reading behavior in the background as we read, underline and possibly comment a book.
Kobo also asked a market research company to survey their customers. The combined results are published in the White Paper “How the Best Readers in the World Read”. Here are a few highlights from the paper. Where ebook readers like to enjoy their books?
By a clear margin, the most common places to read are home and while traveling. It makes so much sense to pack a tablet or an ereader with a stack of digital books into a travel electronics kit. No more carrying heavy printed books in a bag to the other side of the world. What was the key factor for the decision for the last book purchase?
It is remarkable how little impact recommendations by friends, critics, or online sources have on purchase decision according to the Kobo survey. Four key factors were:
Kobo also reports that since the beginning of 2016, they have seen a 60% increase in sales on titles generated through data-driven recommendations and related-reading suggestions. The retailer has simply improved its algorithms that provide book recommendations to customers. This must be the reason why Amazon has – for as long as we can remember – been keen to display recommended products on every page you visit. Many times, Amazon’s recommendations actually are very much to the point.
What does all this mean to the future of ebooks and ereaders?
First, the survey results largely explain why ebooks so far have been replicas of printed books. People who like the look of printed books want ebooks that look roughly the same. That’s what the industry has given to readers in simply laid out EPUB and Kindle titles.
Second, the survey results explains why ebooks have not yet developed beyond the look and possibilities of printed books. Middle aged and older readers are not necessarily interested in new features, like interactivity in books. Younger generations could be interested in new features that might attract them to read more, but they are not buying books as much as older generations. Middle-aged people are buying and, to a large degree, financing the industry.
As movies and music have gone digital, the products have changed, or they are under a long change development phase. Movies have adopted effects and animated characters that were not possible in the analog era. Music industry has changed focus from albums to singles as streaming and video services have become popular. Live performances are more important for artists’ livelihood than earlier.
The book trade hasn’t yet experienced major shifts like many other media industries already have gone through. It is not an option that everything stays the same in the book industry when products go digital. Things will change. Who knows how and when?