Thursday, January 12, 2012

Seth's Big Ideas


I love Seth Godin's blogs. I may not always agree with him, but I usually come away with at least one tantalizing idea.

Here are Seth's big ideas:

* The launchtime for books is measured in years, this is often longer than the selflife of the ideas it contains. *

* Most book publishers do not effectively promote most of the books they publish. *

* That said, it's not easy selling books. It's difficult to get folks to read ANYTHING because reading takes time and, usually, it costs money. *

* Being a publisher is like being a venture capitalist. *

Publishers INVEST in writers; they give them an advance, spend time creating and selling the book and give printers money to produce the book. After doing all this, of course the publisher wants a large return on her investment.

Do you, as a writer, need the advance to live on? If so, then it makes sense for you to go the traditional route. If you don't, though, and if you're primarily interested in spreading your ideas, then self-publishing is something to look into.


The above is a paraphrase of some of the points in Seth Godin's article, Advice For Authors. So, what, according to Seth, is a poor author to do?
Build an asset. Large numbers of influential people who read your blog or read your emails or watch your TV show or love your restaurant or or or...

Then, put your idea into a format where it will spread fast. That could be an ebook (a free one) or a pamphlet (a cheap one--the Joy of Jello sold millions and millions of copies at a dollar or less).

Then, if your idea catches on, you can sell the souvenir edition. The book. The thing people keep on their shelf or lend out or get from the library. Books are wonderful (I own too many!) but they're not necessarily the best vessel for spreading your idea.

And the punchline, of course, is that if you do all these things, you won't need a publisher. And that's exactly when a publisher will want you! That's the sort of author publishers do the best with.
Isn't that always the way? The minute, the very second, you don't need something it will flutter into your hand.

Now if only I could think of an idea ...

Cheers!

(By the way Seth's article, Advice to Authors, was the first in a two part series. The second part, an article ALSO entitled Advice to Authors, can be found here.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Evernote: the everything app


Passive Guy writes:
Passive Guy likes Evernote because it helps him never to forget anything.

If you’re not familiar, Evernote is like a giant bucket into which you can pour anything from almost any device and find it when you need it.
. . . .
For writing purposes, Evernote can easily become your writing notebook. You might start a notebook for a new book with tags like Character Sketches, Settings, Jane, Bob, etc. If you see a photo of someone on the web who would make a great Jane character, you can clip it, drop it into Evernote and pull it up to help when you write Jane’s description. If you’re stuck in traffic, you can dictate notes into a smartphone and send those directly to your notebook in Evernote.
- Evernote: The Application That Becomes an Obsession
Honestly, I hadn't seen the need to use something like Evernote but after reading PG's article, I'm reconsidering. One thing that I wasn't clear on was the difference between Dropbox and Evernote, so I did a quick Google search. Apparently, and contrary to what I had thought, the two apps do not seem to be in direct competition.
These two great applications seem to have a lot in common. They both save information in the cloud and synchronize the information for you seamlessly on all your computers and mobile devices.

They serve very different purposes though.

Evernote is perfect if you want to easily capture ideas and things you see while you are online or out and about and access them from any computer. It is different from Dropbox in that it is a much more a note-taking application. It is also for syncing docs, notes/txt and webclippings, and photos of things. The OCR (optical character recognition) of Evernote makes finding the information back very easy. Even text found in photos will be recognized and thus found!

Dropbox is superior for syncing files, backups and storage. It creates a local folder on your harddisk of your PC or laptop, and synchronizes it with the online folders of Dropbox. This makes it easy to access by your mobile devices. Dropbox acts as if it is part of your computer, while Evernote really acts as program. This gives Evernote the advantage for finding stuff, categorizing them with tags and notebooks.
- Dropbox vs Evernote
Although I'm not going to quote from it, another interesting article is: Evernote and Dropbox: Why I Use (and Love) Both. Great reading for anyone interested in the topic.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Let your readers subscribe to your blog!


Jane Friedman has a great post on how you can set up email subscriptions to your blog and why you would want to. If you have a blog and haven't done this already, it's worth a read!

Jane Friedman: Why you should add an e-mail subscription service to your blog

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Dad

A few minutes ago I wrote my first email telling my friends and family that my father passed away last night. It was the strangest experience, to write of him, to THINK of him, in the past tense. His life is now final and complete.

I don't mean to be maudlin, but I am filled with a strong sense of appreciation and thankfulness for all the support I've received over the past months, much of it from folks who I don't know well. Doctors, nurses, home support workers, my fellow bloggers and writers, and of course my friends. 'Thank you' seems anemic, but it is heartfelt.

As my life (hopefully!) settles down into more predictable patterns, I look forward to blogging on a more regular basis and re-joining this wonderful community.