In this special Between the Covers, Part 2 host Ed Goldberg speaks with Portland writer Caroline Miller, author of “Heart Land,” stories of Depression-Era Ohio and “Gothic Spring,” a novel of passion and bad behavior in rural 19th Century England.
Caroline Miller has published numerous short stories in publications as diverse as Children’s Digest, Grit and Tales of the Talisman. Her short story, “Under the Bridge and Beneath the Moon,’ was dramatized for radio in Oregon and Washington. Her novel, Heart Land was published in 2009 by Schiel & Denver Book Publishers, and Gothic Spring was also published in 2009 by Asylett press.
It’s no secret that the world of traditional book publishing is an elite place, even by the most progressive of standards. Although you might not see governments talking about Microsoft-type anti-competitive lawsuits against NYC publishers; or turn on your TV to watch newsreels of G20 anarchists rioting with police and trashing the glass windows of big commercial publishers (like what is done to Macdonalds and other corporate conglomerates that are perceived to have too much control) a common thread that is often voiced between many independent, self published authors is that unless you’re a national celebrity, been through an ivy-league school or have wealthy contacts, getting a big publisher or major agent to look at your work with a serious eye, is nigh on impossible.
Most of the ‘commentators’ on the internet who attack self publishing companies, and criticize authors who choose to pay to publish, while complaining at the same time about the difficulties of finding a publisher, are actually helping to support the very same old, elite and tightly controlled industry that is stopping them, and the many good authors across America, who after many dedicated years of trying still can’t get a publisher. Books is an industry where all of six companies control every bestseller list in the country, and alone decide what goes and stays on all the shelves at bookstores nationwide, even if it is celebrity drivel.
Some watchers believe this kind of control limits intellectual output to a small, relatively narrow political pool; when the world is getting bigger and more complicated by the day; yet the number of traditionally distributed new voices that you can find on a bookshelf is declining. This isn’t to say that the big publishers don’t publish great books, just that there are many very talented authors out there who are continually shut out and we at Schiel & Denver recognize this, and seek through our international publishing infrastructure to give a voice to independent talent.
The economic reality of this recession, perhaps spurred on by the exponentially growing marketshare of Amazon.com and the cultural change towards ebooks and away from printed media, is necessarily going to change the author-publisher interface, but so far, not clearly in favor of independent authors. A few weeks ago, under heading 11 in the FAQ lists of Penguin UK, the book publisher began to accept unsolicited manuscript submissions, by email.
To be exact, the Penguin website writes:
“People frequently ask us how to go about getting published … for a limited three-month period from the beginning of August until the end of October 2010, we will be inviting submissions to be sent in electronically to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
That’s unprecedented, and nearly unheard of for a big publisher (or any of it’s imprints) to accept direct submissions from independent authors and it suggests that the recession might also be having another effect – causing some major publishers to follow Macmillan New Writing, and look for ways around having to pay agents’ and their advances. Whatever else is said, agents’ have always been a bone of contention for publishers, because the contractual presence of an agent obviously has a negative effect on publishers’ balance sheets.
About 3 out of 5 traditionally published books don’t even earn out the advance, let alone make money, so it will be interesting to see if Penguin’s new ‘trial’ submissions policy might be here to stay and whether their elite cousins will follow suit. If anything the recent dispute between the Andrew Wylie literary agency, and Random House, who have refused to work with the agent worldwide after it forged a controversial rights deal with Amazon, adds weight to the idea that the role of agents might be about to undergo drastic change. Afterall, agents will always need publishers, but not vice-versa.
Mirroring the recent changes that are taking place in other parts of the book world – i.e. the Riggio Family at Barnes & Noble; the success of Amazon’s Encore imprint (and the continued march of Amazon generally), together with the changes that the Google Book Settlement is bringing, mean that while it’s unlikely that companies as powerful and innovative as big commercial publishers will ever be under threat of becoming obsolete, a possibility that does exist as the traditional publishing community ruthlessly restructures to absorb this recession, is that literary agents might get eliminated.
If you’ve just published your book, or are planning your book launch, there’s a few easy ways you can use the internet to promote your forthcoming publication.
1. Join Writer networks like WriterFace.com and Redroom.com. (Remember to link to your book!)
WriterFace.com enables authors to connect with eachother all over the world. It’s completely free and enables you to focus on writing and let browsing literary agents sample your work!
What can authors do on WriterFace.com?
• Create a free webpage and blog, post videos and image galleries
• Showcase your writing with excerpts and more
• Link to your publisher and book on sale at Amazon
• Build your fan base, communicate with friends and colleagues, promote your work
Other writer networks
The RedRoom.com is a good place for authors to engage with an international literary community to promote work and meet other authors (including some famous ones like Maya Angelou and Khaled Hosseini who also have accounts at Redroom) Pay the $30 per month fee to RedRoom, and you’ll also be able to add links to your publisher and get your profile featured.
2. Get your own author website!
Whatever you’ve read or been told, you will NEED to have a website if you are promoting your book. An author website is a direct link to your readers, so make sure it is organized, clutter-free and has plenty of background info about you and your work: including author biography, prior publications, resume, articles, associations, etc. Don’t forget to include links to your books for purchase at online retailers like B&N and Amazon.
Schiel & Denver will create and maintain an entire social media suite for you, imcluding social media fan pages and profiles (populated with custom photos, videos and tailored-widgets) and an exclusive professional author blog to help you reach out to fans and readers through multiple sites, all for just $2,499 – which is equivalent in quality and much more affordable than the tens of thousands that authors from traditional publishing houses have spent online during a professional book launch.
A marketing note on Facebook
It’s worth noting that Facebook.com which is the largest U.S. based social networking site, now boasts over 500 million active members, with more than 275 million logging on at least once every 24 hours. Interestingly, from new authors’ point of view, the fastest growing demographic on the site isn’t actually college students, but mature people who are 35 years and older, right in the heartland of the traditional book buying public profile.
Facebook therefore represents a powerful way to connect and build relationships with your fans/readers, help grow your audience online but also reach new fans that might not come across your publication through traditional channels.
If you’re interested in reaching this demographic, Schiel & Denver can help tailor an exclusive facebook advertising campaign for your book targeting specific areas, ages, interest groups (and by gender) to help get your book’s message out. Publishing a book is a great way to make money through sales, so investing in promotion early on in the book launch can help you reap the rewards.
Click here to learn more or call 888-629-4449 toll free to speak to a book marketing consultant about how Schiel & Denver can create a custom marketing plan and online presence for your book today.
In addition to your own professional author blog, it doesn’t hurt to setup other blogs where you can relay (or ping) information to; or put up as free information pages to gain additional traffic online.
Here are some good places to start:
Helpful video on how to create blogger blog in 5 minutes:
Book trailers are the newest way to promote your book – they’re similar to a movie trailer, as they’re aimed at building interest in an upcoming or current novel. The trailer must convey your book through a short theatrical film and commissioned photo shoot, casting actors that look like your main characters (it’s a big task!), and without giving away any spoilers….just enough to tantalize the audience to get them to visit a bookstore or go online and buy a copy. Schiel & Denver’s UK Book Publishers can help you simultaneously promote your book trailer in Europe.
Schiel & Denver can produce and film full-feature book trailers that are TV-ready for just $8,999 which is a fraction of the cost it takes big-time studios and NYC publishers. View example of one of Stephen King’s book trailers:
WriterFace.com, the social network that Schiel & Denver started as a writer’s resource for beginning and professional writers across the world to connect with blogs, forums, photos, videos and share ideas, has reached 992 members and is finally going ad-free. We hope the network will continue to attract talented writers and that members continue to enjoy the benefits of the network. The WriterFace Galaxy Awards will celebrate achievement in independent writing, and will be open to all new authors who have published a book in the last 18 months.
If you’ve written an original work or manuscript, then under U.S. constitutional and statute law, you have the legal right to be recognized as the author of that work whether or not you decide to publish it. Even internationally, due to the Berne Convention, copyright is respected and requires other countries to recognize your right of original ownership as much as they do their own citizens, and vice versa with the United States and foreign nationals.
The Berne Convention therefore provides a very helpful principle in the field of ebooks and digital publishing, where books and ‘original works of authorship’ can be easily transmitted into other jurisdictions, because as nearly all first world countries and a good number of developing countries are signatories of the Berne Convention, your work in theory is protected around the world. There is of course alot more you can do in practice as an author to implement and ensure your copyright is protected.
Understandably alot of new authors are unsure about copyright, what it means, and the best way to go about safely copyrighting their intellectual property. It’s not difficult however and is definitely worth taking a few moments to understand copyright and how to protect your manuscript from future theft.
Here’s some simple advice for understanding copyright and how to simply go about copyrighting your book before you submit to a publisher:
1. The first step to take is to print a copyright notice, like a declaration of your origination authorship, on each page of your unpublished manuscript.
To many authors this doesn’t seem like a protective step, but in fact, if at a later date in the event of a copyright infringement you can show that you had indicated your original authorship of your manuscript, a court will take this seriously and it may even deter future infringement by showing that you held the intention to declare your right of copyright ownership at the time your wrote or composed your original work (even if the work is subsequently stolen or later copied without the copyright notice)
2. Old methods still work best, so when you’ve finished your manscript, seal it, and mail it to yourself by registered mail, then keep the unopened parcel secure in a family safe or with your attorney. You would be able to hand this unopened document to the judge in the event of an infringement, and contrary to what is written elsewhere online, this would still be considered as a admissible evidence by a court.
3. File a claim with the U.S. copyright office – if you’re a Schiel & Denver author, click here to learn more, as the publisher will take care of all administrative hassles and legal tasks in the process so you can have peace of mind.
We hope this information is helpful, for more advice on how to copyright your work and ensure your legal right of authorship is upheld, visit: