Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Does Barnes & Noble Stock My Book?

November 4, 2017

Yesterday, I learned something by accident, the way I learn most things. Another writer on a forum I follow asked if there was a way to see if Barnes & Noble stocked her books in their stores. Out of curiosity, I tried to find out if they stocked my most recent book, Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists, in any of their stores. So, I searched on BN.com Glorious Times and, near the top of the list, was a link to my book’s page on BN.com. Clicking on that brought up this page:

Barnes and Noble

Several lines below the price, just above Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought, in small print, is a link titled Check Store Availability. Clicking on that brings up a window into which you type the ZIP Code for a specific area. I found no way to search nationwide or even statewide with a single ZIP. I typed in 17011 for Camp Hill, PA, where the nearest Barnes & Noble store is located. Up popped a photo of the store and (drum roll here) IN STOCK. Below it was a photo of the Lancaster store and NOT IN STOCK.

It appears that the search is done for what looks like a 50-mile radius. Typing in 20001 for Washington, DC confirmed that guess because it listed 18 stores with some as far away as Baltimore and Frederick in Maryland and Fredericksburg in Virginia.

A bonus for authors wanting to set up book talks in an area is that the mailing address and phone number for each store, whether it stocks your book or not, is listed.

 

 

 

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A Great Book Cover for $100

December 15, 2015

Glorious Times front cover lores zealousAs my book on the Craighead Naturalists inches toward publication, a cover is needed. Using a single photo for a background image wouldn’t work because the Craigheads are identified with so many things. A collage of several photos would be too cluttered. Original artwork is needed. The rub there is that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. References to a site named Fiverr.com piqued my interest. Each job (gig in Fiverr parlance) starts at $5 and goes up from there with addons, typically such things as higher resolution, commercial license, color, etc. After spending $31.50 (Fiverr charges a 50 cent commission, sometimes more, on each gig) on an unsuitable cover, I decided that going with the basic five dollar gig to see if the artist would likely generate something useful before purchasing any addons. Those can be bought later once you’ve decided the artist is the one you want to use. To speed up the process, I ordered basic gigs from three artists to see if any of them would likely create a useable cover design. Soon, I saw that a book cover designer wasn’t what I needed. Fiverr book cover designers do not usually create artwork for you, they use stock photos or artwork you provide.

After realizing it was artwork I needed, I looked at samples of art done by various artists, I selected one whose samples included one for Denali I especially liked and thought he’d be a good fit for creating something that says “Craighead.” In a few days, he sent me a back and with drawing that included a wolf and a hawk. Perfect. Except the drawing didn’t allow enough bleed area for trimming when used on a book cover. Unable to get across what I needed, I created the bleed area myself, which wasn’t too hard to do because the area that needed to be replicated was black. I gladly paid for the necessary addons and shifted my focus to overlaying the title, subtitle and author’s name onto the cover.

I experimented with various shades of green and came up with nothing useful. I went back to Fiverr book cover designers and tried a few five dollar gigs. All were duds but one. And it jumped off the page at me. He extended the black area at the bottom of the artwork an inch more than I had to allow space there for the author’s name. He put the first word of the title and the author’s name in a piercing red and the rest of the title and subtitle in black. His first choice of fonts and placement of the title and subtitle against the artwork didn’t work but, with a few adjustments, a cover I like immensely emerged. This experience taught me that, with some patience, even I can have a great looking front cover for a hundred dollars.

 

 

Typesetting The Summer of the Falcon

May 31, 2014

A significant part of the work we do on Craighead House Committee toward preserving Craighead House at this stage involves finding ways to raise money to fund repairs and to pay off the mortgage. A recent task for me was to typeset a book, which required me to learn a little about typesetting. Jean Craighead George’s heirs graciously allowed Craighead House Committee to reprint The Summer of the Falcon, a book that was set in Craighead House in the 1930s. No professional typesetting agreed to donate his services, so it fell on me to get the job done. Not wanting to invest the substantial amount of money required to license Adode’s professional typesetting software, I studied Perfect Pages, a book by Aaron Shepard on typesetting with Microsoft Word, a word-processing program not intended for book production. Shepard convinced me that I could do a credible job with Word, especially for a relatively simple book to typeset.

I started off by sending an old copy of the book to be scanned into a text file to eliminate the extremely tedious job, especially so for a slow, error-prone typist, of typing the entire text. Scanning is an imperfect process. I had to correct numerous errors from the scanning process and an experienced proofreader donated fifty hours of her time finding the errors I missed and those I introduced. Through trial and error, I eventually got headers and footers to appear as they would appear on professionally-typeset books: on the bottoms of the first pages of chapters and on the tops of the rest of the pages, except those that only contained photos, which have neither headers or footers. I scanned Jean’s drawing from a book and cleaned up spots introduced by the scanning process. I placed her drawings at the beginnings of chapters as she had done decades ago. I also included photos given me by family members to illustrate sections of the text.

I used a 1933 group photo of the Craigheads for the cover because, although classified as fiction, the book is autobiographical in nature and the characters are thinly-disguised versions of family members. To assist readers, I created a cross-reference that tied characters to real-life names to images on the cover and inserted it as a frontispiece. The finished books arrived from the printer this week. Readers have especially appreciated this key to the characters in the book.

I closed the book out with reflections on the house and family that were written by friends and family members. These musings summarize what the people and place meant to those writing them. At $10 a copy, this book is quite a bargain and can be purchased at www.CraigheadHouse.org.

Front cover

Problems with Warner’s Correspondence Course

March 20, 2012

In 1910, Warner had three sets of customers all expected to pay the same $10 for that year’s course but, depending on the set they were in, received something different.  Old customers who first bought the course in 1908 or 1909 received the annual supplements where new customers received all the pamphlets from the original course plus the 1910 supplements.  This surely created a logistics headache for him.  To simplify things, he might have packaged a set of course pamphlets with the first supplement he released for the year, thus giving old customers a second or third copy of the course.  Arguing against him doing that is the likelihood of subscribers giving their duplicates to friends.  Warner would surely have foreseen that possibility.  Evidence to support that he didn’t send duplicate copies of the pamphlets to old customers is that none of the (few) archives that have copies of the course mention having multiple copies although some have annual supplements.

A hint that Warner received static from his old customers over the pricing is that Warner addressed that issue in the ad copy when he wrote, “The latter manual or pamphlet, diagramming and explaining an entirely new system of offense, will alone be worth many times the subscription price of the course which remains but $10.00.”

Not having a copy of the 1911 Spalding Guide yet, I don’t know what the ad copy for that year stated, but do expect that logistics problems and complaints over pricing from old customers compounded over time.  These issues may have become great enough by 1912 to cause Warner to take his training course in a different direction while making it affordable for a broader audience. The next installment in this conversation will discuss Warner’s new approach.  In the meantime, if you know of anyone who has copies of Warner’s correspondence course, particularly the Offense pamphlets, please let me know.

Ads for Warner’s Correspondence Course

March 16, 2012

The copy of the 1909 Spalding’s Guide that I have doesn’t include an ad for Warner’s correspondence course. It could just be missing a page as the advertising pages at the backs of those books are often in bad shape or, not infrequently, missing. If you have a copy of the 1909 Spalding’s Guide that includes an ad, please let me know. Moving on to 1910, we find a very different ad. This time, it is titled “FOOT BALL COACHING {BY CORRESPONDENCE FOR} $10.” The text-intensive ad copy begins with Warner’s name in bold print the size of the title, followed by two paragraphs that extol the virtues of his correspondence course and that is has been in use for two years. That implies that, even if he didn’t advertise it in the 1909 Spalding’s Guide, he continued to offer it. Looking at the copy of A Course in Football for Players and Coaches: Offense on my bookshelf, I see a 1909 supplement for the offense pamphlet. It appears that Warner continued to sell the basic course from 1908 but supplemented it with updates. Since he refers to the cost of the course as a subscription, he implies that those who bought the course in 1908 would pay an additional $10 fee each year for supplements.

The first paragraph includes a curious phrase, “…has been given this page….” Whether he wrote euphemistically or not is unknown. Ads for products, other than books written by Walter Camp, do not regularly appear in the pages of the Spalding’s Guides as the advertising space was reserved for the company’s own products. It is understandable that Walter Camp would be provided space because of his close relationship with Spalding. Whether Warner given the space as a reward for using or extolling the virtues of Spalding’s products is not known. That Walter Camp endorsed Warner’s course is clear.

<to be continued>

If you have, or know of someone who has, a copy of either the 1911 Spalding’s Guide or the 1911 Offense Supplement for Pop Warner’s correspondence course, please let me know.

Pop Warner’s Correspondence Course

March 14, 2012

While preparing the Spalding’s Guides for reprinting, I noticed ads for Pop Warner’s book in the backs of several of them. On closer inspection, I noticed that they changed a bit from year to year. Today, I will discuss these ads in sequence from when they first appeared to when they disappeared and conjecture why the ads no longer ran.
The first ad that I found appeared in the 1908 Spalding’s Guide. It is probably not a coincidence that 1908 was the year in which Warner released his then untitled correspondence course on football. The ad was boldly titled “EXPERT FOOT BALL COACHING FOR $10.” The text-intensive advertisement made the case for the need for such a book by stating that the new rules in place since 1906 “…have so radically changed the game that all writings or books on the subject are practically of no use.” Warner’s credentials as an experienced, innovative coach: “The originator of this plan is Glenn S. Warner, who has acted as Head Coach of prominent foot ball teams for the past thirteen years, and whose coaching and training enabled the Carlisle Indians to make such a remarkable record last year, and to be given credit for playing the most scientific and up-to-date game of any team since the adoption of the new rules. Mr. Warner has for many years been most successful in teaching the open game and there is no one in the field today who is better qualified to carry out this plan than he.”
The ad goes on to describe how Warner’s correspondence was organized as a set of pamphlets or letters on a number of subjects. The first group of subjects were aimed at teaching players how to best play the game and were sold or $5 as Group One. The pamphlets covering equipment, strategies, signals, formations and plays among other things comprise Group Two. Coaches, captains and teams would buy the entire course, including both groups, for $10. Warner promised to start sending the pamphlets around September 15, the traditional start of practice at that time.

A Small Brag

February 21, 2012

Today’s blog message is in the form of a small brag. Please bear with me. Publishing via Print On Demand was the topic of this month’s meeting of the Washington Biography Group meeting. Unfortunately, I was unable to be present due to being out of town but, due to my experience with the topic, was asked to provide some notes about what I would have contributed to the discussion. So well received were my notes that Pat McNees, recording secretary for the WBG, posted them on her blog, Writers and Editors. If you have any interest in knowing something about printing books via Print On Demand, you might want to read these notes: http://www.writersandeditors.com/blog.htm?post=839828.

Should I Write Customized Books?

October 29, 2011

This week I succeeded, after considerable struggle, to create ebooks for Prostate Cancer and the Veteran. Now, people who have a Kindle or a Nook or another device, including a PC with ebook software, have this book available to them—and at a lower cost than the print version. I won’t go into the gory details of converting a print book to an ebook but converting to the Kindle was easier than converting to the Nook (ePub format). I won’t bother with other formats unless there is demand for them. Also, I understand that some devices have software that allows them to read books in Kindle or Nook format.

Writing this short book and creating print and ebook versions along with receiving requests for information on various Carlisle players has caused me to think about making little books on individual players or families of brothers who played. Each book would contain the three introductory chapters that provide background on the Carlisle program, the team and Pop Warner. That would be followed by a chapter or chapters on the player or players being covered in the book. Ebooks could also be created when requested.

I don’t plan on charging off on a project to create any individual player books but will seriously consider it if enough people request them. So, if you’re interested in a single player or family of players, let me know. Otherwise, I won’t know that there is anyone out there interested in a book on a specific player. I could also create books based on a specific relationship. Two that come to mind are Carlisle Indians in the NFL and the Carlisle Indian School – Washington State College Connection.

As I said before, if there are no requests, I must assume that there is no interest.

My Absence

October 7, 2011

Early in the summer, I announced that posts to this blog would be irregular for a time without stating a reason for the disruption. The reason for my absence was that I was spending the summer in Bloomington, Indiana receiving treatments for prostate cancer at the Indiana University Health Proton Center.  Choosing a treatment modality, proton therapy, that is not widely known was the result of extensive research. The research uncovered some things that were completely unexpected. The one that had the greatest impact was that I was probably exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam in 1967. Those who served in Vietnam during the time that Agent Orange was sprayed are eligible for disabilities and treatment from the Veterans Administration.  Unfortunately, the government does not put the same emphasis on informing veterans who were harmed while serving their country that it does soliciting “clients” for its welfare programs.

Knowing that I was far from being an isolated case, I decided to write a small book that veterans can use to help them navigate the VA and healthcare systems. My treatment for prostate cancer is complete and, after only seven months since first applying, my VA disability was approved. Prostate Cancer and the Veteran should make their process a bit easier than mine was.

This blog won’t be back to its old regularity just yet because, the day before my last treatment, I had a bicycle accident that fractured a vertebra. I’m far from being 100% yet and it appears it will take some time for that to happen. I do have a blog article underway. Carlisle Indians vs the Big Ten may surprise some people.

Google Bookscanning Settlement Rejected

March 24, 2011

Beginning somewhere around 2004, Google scanned something like 15 million books from the libraries of several prestigious institutions such as Harvard University and the University of Michigan. Google, with the assistance of these libraries, scanned books regardless of their copyright status. Not surprisingly, Google was sued for copyright infringement in 2005. In 2008, a settlement agreement was hammered out between the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild that would have apparently benefitted those organizations greatly. Others, however, weren’t terribly pleased. Some of the sticking points were that, for an author to have his or her book removed from Google’s database, the author would have had to explicitly opt out of the settlement. If the author was unaware of the settlement, too bad. If Google didn’t honor an author’s opt out, the author would have had to sue this megabillion dollar corporation. Good luck with that.

Other corporations weren’t happy with it either. Google would have had a monopoly on millions of books and intended to print and sell copies of those scanned books. Lest you think that because Google demonstrates a cavalier attitude about others’ copyrights, they would grant free access to all the books they scanned, think again. You haven’t seen Google’s own algorithms and program code made available have you?

An extremely problematic area is that of so-called “orphan books.” Google and its supporters claim that, out of its beneficence, Google was making long out-of-print books available for everyone. That sounds good on the surface, but what they fail to mention is that Google made no attempt to locate the copyright holders of these orphan books. They also skim over the part of the proposed settlement that would have established Google as the determiner of when a book becomes orphaned. Authors feared that, if a book, especially those from small or self publishers, was between printings or being revised for a new edition, Google would claim it as being orphaned with the burden of proving otherwise placed squarely on the shoulders of the copyright holder.

Earlier this week, Judge Denny Chinn, in the U. S. District Court in Manhattan, issued a ruling rejecting the proposed settlement. What’s next? Criminal charges against Google? Lawsuits from numerous authors and publishers for copyright infringement? We’ll see.