Friday, February 19, 2016

New News You Never Knew About Books, but no Gnus

As I write inside the cozy warmth of Insomnia Coffee Company it is a blustery-rainy day outside on the Oregon north coast. That's what you call perfection for a writer; no temptation to be enjoying the shoreline trio of surf, sand and sun. However I am enjoying a trail mix cookie and a white chocolate mocha while listening to big band tunes and working on a few writing related projects (including this blog post). Now here's the new news:

The New Book

The new book shipment arrived yesterday!

Earlier this morning I mailed out the first six orders of my new book, Hell, Heaven and Back. Signed, sealed, sent. Okay, one wasn't an order, it was a review copy. I have four local orders to deliver so leaves twenty out of my initial order.

If you want one (signed, sealed and sent for a flat $10) let me know. That's cheaper than Amazon ($9.99 + postage). Whatever I have left come next weekend I'll take to sell at the Portland Home & Garden Show.

Garden of Books

And speaking of the Portland Home & Garden Show: From Thursday, Feb. 25 through Sunday, Feb. 28 there will be thirty Oregon and Washington Author's books at the NIWA Garden of Books. That represents more than 100 titles in all genres (except Western, I don't think there are any of those).

Many of the authors will be making appearances to do signings. I will be at the show 2-6 p.m., Sun. Feb. 28 with all eleven of my titles, including my newest, Hell, Heaven and Back, hot off the press (no pun intended). In essence the official public launch party. There's a discount coupon for $2 off the show admission here and parking is free after 4 p.m. (before that it will cost you an arm and a leg).

Book Publishing Workshop

If you're close to the Oregon North Coast area and wish to know how to go about self-publishing with relative ease and little cost, I'm giving a two-hour workshop on the topic 1-3 p.m., Sat., March 26 at the Tolovana Arts Colony hall in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

If you click on the graphic on the left it will get larger and you can see all the things I'll be covering in this intensive workshop. (Plus, participation gets you some free consultation time, too, for when you're actually working on that book of yours.) Cost is $25.

Commute or stay, it'll be a great day.

Indie Author & Book Fair

Mark your calendar for April 10. That's the day of the North Coast Indie Author & Book Fair in the courtyard behind Jupiter's Books in Cannon Beach, Oregon. The book fair will follow on the heels of the weekend's Get Lit at the Beach event.

We're expecting 24 Oregon and Washington authors for the 12:30 to 3 p.m. fair. To date we have eighteen authors signed up with room for six more (contact me if interested in booth space).

Short Stories for New Book

My publishing company eyrie press is accepting short story submissions for an upcoming anthology called Chicken Poop on My Sole (subtitled Funny Fodder from the Farm). It is to be a collection of short, true stories of humor and inspiration about farm life and country living.

We need several dozen more stories to complete the collection before publication in time for the harvest season of 2016. So...

If you have a story to tell and share contact me for details on how to be included and get copies to sell or give as gifts.

Monday, February 15, 2016

North Coast Indie Author & Book Fair 2 Months Away

We're expecting 24 Washington and Oregon authors to join us for the second annual Indie Author & Book Fair on April 10, 2016. Eighteen of the twenty-four author spots have been reserved (we still have room for eight authors and expect the spots to fill quickly*).

The event follows directly on the heels of the Get Lit at the Beach event and creates a nice ending for the the weekend. To learn more about Get Lit click here.

*If you're an author wishing to participate contact:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Page is Turning: On the Future of the Bookstore

The Espresso Book Press

Anyone who buys or sells books these days is talking. They're talking about the future of books and book sellers. And they've been talking for a while now. 

Meanwhile, changes have been taking place.

We've seen many of the mega "brick and mortar" bookstores close; Barnes and Nobel, Borders and others have shut their doors across the nation.

Still, others (like Powell's and Books-a-Million) somehow manage to hold on.  Some small indie book retailers continue to do business, while others close up shop. We can probably all name a favorite indie bookstore that has disappeared.

Many blame the advent of e-readers and online shopping (Kindle/Amazon), which could well be the case. However, that doesn't explain why some stores manage to thrive while others cannot survive.

Certainly, Amazon has made a major effort to undermine (by underselling) the competition and has, therefore, contributed to the demise the local bookstore. One (now closed) retailer I know said, "Not a day went by when someone didn't say to me, 'Oh, I'll just buy that online.'" (As a side note I must add: How evil is that!?)

And now that the local competition has been driven into the ground it seems that Amazon has plans to open multiple "brick and mortar" bookstores nation-wide; having opened their pilot store in Seattle with a measure of success.

Still, for their version of the local bookstore to work, wouldn't it have to be quite different from the traditional model? What was "bad" or "wrong" with the traditional bookstore? And what's "good" about online shopping? And, finally, how can the two be integrated or hybridized to make a better product?

If Amazon (or anyone else, for that matter) wishes to succeed on the local scene they're going to have to offer a retail experience that combines the best of both worlds and becomes something altogether new and better.

One of the major concerns for any bookstore, big or small, is what to stock. No matter how big you are there are always more books than you have room for. In the USA alone there are more than 300,000 new titles published per year--that's printed books and does not take into account e-book-only titles. Amazon currently lists 32.8 million titles (hardback and paperback) and there's a new book added every five minutes! (Keep in mind that many of these are no longer traditionally published.) You can have that kind of volume in virtual retail, but not in a physical space.

Traditionally, retail stores stock only what sells well. At least they try to. There's a whole model for the traditional book business that, for reasons of length, I won't go into here. (Perhaps at another time.) Suffice it to say that if books don't sell the publisher buys them back and that, in the past, the publishers assumed all the risk (which is why they are reticent to publish just any old thing).

BUT, the industry has been challenged by the advent of e-books and the self-publishing impetus. And Print on Demand (POD) has revolutionized the book business.

So, if variety is indeed the spice of life, and you can stock only so many books, a hybrid is the only reasonable answer. Two guiding truths will shape the future of booksellers: One, in order for a book to sell it has to be seen (exposure) and two, in order for a seen book to be sold it has to be deliverable, and the quicker the better (immediacy). Exposure and immediacy means that the browsing and buying experience must go hand-in-hand.

If you know what you want, you need to find it. If you don't know what you want, you need to find something that appeals to you. Basically, that's why online shopping works so well, you can search by title or author or by any other set of parameters (search terms) you choose. You can either find exactly what you wanted or get a list of suggestions that might fill the bill. That kind of browsability must be available in the new book-shopping experience. But then, the problem with shopping online is that when you find an item you want to buy you have to wait for it.

In order for the shopping experience to be completed (immediate product delivery) what has been sought must be bought and then walked out the door right then and there.

Enter the POD Book Press (see photo above). Those familiar with CreateSpace know that your indie/self-published book isn't printed until it's ordered. Once ordered only the copies requested are printed and shipped. No stock on hand, no wasted paper sitting around in your garage or taking up shelf space. What's more every book added to the data-base--"out-of-print," rare, new, classic--will always be available (until the dystopian future, anyway).

Now imagine that POD Press in a bookstore like Powell's. You walk in, browse a kiosk for the book(s) you want, select them on the touch-screen, slide or bump your credit card, touch the "complete order" button and then go order a cup of joe or browse the internet. Five to ten minutes later you pick up your book hot off the press--every bit the quality you've always expected.

Think what this means for the traditional publishers (willing to survive the new model): less, risk, no waste, no back-orders, less overhead and more authors. Think, too, what it means for the indie-authors: more exposure, more availability, more sales and less footwork.

It's the model I foresee. The only model that will work well for publishers, authors, booksellers and readers. We live in a microwave, fast-food, instant gratification society and, in this model, everyone gets what they want...when they want it.

Click here to learn more and see a VIDEO of an Espresso Book Press in operation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Coming Soon: Home & Garden Show "Book Garden"

The NIWA Book Garden is coming soon to the Portland Spring Home & Garden Show! Don't miss out on the chance to pick a bouquet of beautiful books.

Dozens of LOCAL AUTHORS will be signing their books throughout the weekend.
Click the link above for more show info. Click here for a $2 discount coupon.

Monday, February 8, 2016

"Hell, Heaven and Back" is Now Available on Amazon

Twenty days early and my new novel is available on Amazon in print ($9.99) or for Kindle $2.99 or FREE for Prime members). 

I'll also have copies to sign and mail on the 23rd ($10 postpaid)!

Read earlier post below or at Amazon for the description. And here's the video trailer: