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Newsletter Dated: 7/3/2007 1:41:41 PM
Subject: Soup*s On
Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and hope you will stay around to see new features in every
In this issue:
• From the Author*s Desk
• Pete Masterson and Book Design
• A Lesson in Sticktoitiveness
• Symptoms of Inner Peace
• Crime & Family Watchdog
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
You wouldn’t believe the cool write-up about me and my new site design with the 10th annual Dynamic Graphics Design Makeover contest! I just got two copies of the July issue of the magazine and the feature is terrific.
Blow the Horns! My new publishing company is officially launched. It’s called Primate Press, LLC (yes, I do think the name is kind of cool, especially if you know me you get it). We have four titles scheduled for production over the next year and a half. The first is a hoot! It’s called: Love Monkey: A Tail Tale of Desire, Romance and Intrigue. More about this book and its specifics later, I’m really psyched about it. And, if readers will let me know they’re interested, I will write about some of the specifics required to start-up in publishing and the steps I’ve taken thus far.
A couple months ago I got a great little note from Kristin von Kreisler telling me that she voted for me and I’d won the At-Large Board Member position for the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Wow, great! Then I got a message saying the vote was being redone. I was out of town when our “pledges” went online and mine was a letter I had written to a member for consideration. Uh-oh, it was about my qualifications—and not what I had hoped to do for the organization. Hrumpt! I lost by two votes.
I am happy to announce that InColdBlog: http://incoldblogger.blogspot.com/ has launched. Started by my author friend, Corey Mitchell, it’s a composite of true crime writers, criminal justice commentators, forensic science professionals, and an editor and publisher here and there (did I get everyone?).
Did you catch my product review in the July issue of The Writer?
In upcoming e-newsletters will hear about Nancy Drew, my novel-writing bootcamp experience, and great tips for connecting to readers.
Starting up Publish That Book! How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal That Sells for Absolute Write. The first 8-week in-depth course starts August 14th. Email me for information.
*** Peter Masterson and Book Design ***
Q.: Can you tell Readers a little about your background?
My first involvement with publishing started when I became Tariff Publishing Officer for Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1982, I designed a publishing on demand system for the company's price lists (tariffs). This was in the early days of that technology. I left in 1987 and opened a small print shop that featured "desk top publishing" with copying and printing services. Although reasonably successful (we were #1 in our franchise in No. California), I sold the shop in 1991. I became General Manager of a book oriented typesetting service -- we did work for HarperCollins, Addison-Wesley, Univ. of California Press, and others. Subsequently, I became a contractor to NASA where I supervised production of 200 publications each year at Ames Research Center. When that job ended, I became a freelance book designer (for the past 15 years) and I've served 3 terms as President of the [San Francisco] Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.
After my experiences, I wrote Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers to help educate beginning authors and small publishers in the art and craft of book production.
Q.: How important are book covers?
Book covers are vitally important. The book cover is your "billboard" and must attract a potential reader's interest so they'll pick up the book and look it over. The cover art and the title must communicate an immediate understanding of the topic -- a reader will only glance at a cover for a couple of seconds before deciding to look closer or move on.
Q.: What is the single biggest mistake in book design?
It’s in my book... but, very briefly, it's lack of attention to the details of good typography. The interior of a book must be made as easy to read as possible for your intended audience. A major error is to use inappropriate software to typeset a book -- a word processor. Books should be typeset using a true professional-quality page layout program: Adobe InDesign, Adobe Framemaker, Adobe PageMaker, or Quark XPress.
However, just using the "right" tool does not guarantee a professional job. Book design and typesetting require certain skills and experience to be done well. Self-publishers need to learn what is good and what should be avoided. Then they need to identify books that look good and learn how to emulate those designs.
Q.: For self-publishers, Pete, how can you tell what is professionally produced by a traditional publisher versus what is self-published?
The major publishers do cut corners, so often their books aren't as polished as they ought to be. Nonetheless, the major publishers do have art directors and typesetting supervisors who attempt to produce good to excellent quality books. University presses tend to focus more seriously on good typography than most.
A self-published book can be made to exceed the standards of the mainstream trade presses. Indeed, I submit, that a self-publisher ought to strive for a high level of excellence. Your competence as a publisher and the veracity of your message will be measured by the presentation of your book. If the book is poorly designed and executed, it reflects poorly on the ideas expressed. While content is important, the presentation will have a large impact on the perception of that content. (Many authors -- with their personal emphasis on words and language -- may fail to appreciate the importance of the "packaging" around the words.)
Many self-published books simply don't use good design. Common errors are too-narrow margins, crowded pages, use of a word processor (that gives exceedingly poor letter and word spacing). It's easy to forget, in this era of computer software, that book design and typesetting have 500 years of history -- the errors have all been made in the past. The best typesetting and design pay close attention to the craftsmanship and careful attention to detail. While the skills can be learned, it takes time and a willingness to learn -- something that many authors do not wish to do.
Q.: How do you assess the nature of publishing today? And do you have any insight into the future?
No crystal ball here... but I think that printed books will have a role to play for many years to come. I can see reference works and textbooks migrating to electronic formats -- at least as a supplement to the printed edition. Indeed, I find the electronic version of my dictionary quite helpful-- but sometimes I prefer the written version as the serendipity of scanning the pages will often turn up terms or ideas that hadn't occurred to me otherwise.
Digital printing seems to be catching on. The ability to print a very short run of a book makes publishing more affordable to more people. Of course, the number of titles have "exploded" in recent years. I can recall, about 20 years ago, a big year might have seen 60,000 new titles. Now the count approaches 300,000 new titles.
The downside of this explosion of publishing is that the number of readers is not increasing and it becomes increasingly difficult to get out the word about a new book due to the noise in the marketplace.
Sadly, too many self-publishers are being attracted to the subsidy publishers. I say "sadly" because subsidy publishing is a dead end for most books. The typical subsidy-published book sells between 40 to 100 copies -- mostly to the author. (According to iUniverse, out of 17,000 titles, only 87 have sold more than 500 copies.) Subsidy published books do not get reviewed by the important reviewers. The last nail in the coffin is that they rarely offer the economics that allow them to be profitably sold through the standard publishing distribution channels (at a reasonable price).
Pete Masterson, Author of Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers
Aeonix Publishing Group http://www.aeonix.com
*** A Lesson in Sticktoitiveness ***
My fascination with fungi began when I was invited to join a group of writers going to Mexico to partake of the hallucinogenic mushroom and write while under the influence. I didn’t go – fortunately, because the Mexican government arrested them all. Soon afterwards, in connection with an article I was writing, I toured a brewery, and again, there were fungi. I began to notice fungi in whatever I read or heard – about the origin of life on earth, its likelihood on other planets, in wine, bread, penicillin, infections, plant blights – and I saw the vastness of this kingdom and its influence on every one of us. No one else had seen fungi in this way, and I felt compelled to present my vision.
I wrote a proposal at white heat. And then came reality. Publishers were convinced a book on fungi could not sell. Finally, John Day (Pearl Buck’s publisher), which had published some of my juvenile books, agreed to take a chance on it, but clearly took a dim view, as the advance offered was minimal. As I felt this book had to be written, I took what was offered and spent several years on researching -- doing as much first-hand interviewing of major sources as possible – and then writing the book.
The publisher had already said that the print order was small and there were no plans for publicity.
The first sign that things might change came when I submitted the manuscript to my agent. Two days later, the receptionist called to say she had seen the manuscript, thought fungi had to be boring, but read a few pages, and kept on reading through the night. Then the bound galleys went out to reviewers and John Day was inundated with phone calls. Time magazine sent a photographer to my house, John Day increased the print order, put their publicist on it and a book party was scheduled, a book tour and all the rest. Later, one edition after the other and excerpts appeared. So “Mushrooms, Molds, and Miracles” has always had a special place in my heart.
It was in print for many years and even afterwards, people kept discovering it in libraries and getting in touch with me, seeking permissions to Xerox, etc. A Cornell professor based an entire course on the book, and it was written up in the college newspaper. Used copies were sold on Amazon with a 5-star rating.
I wanted to present my vision of all the wonders of fungi to new readers. And so I turned to the Authors Guild. This organization has created a Back-in-Print series of books, and made an arrangement with iUniverse.
“Mushrooms, Molds,and Miracles” has just been published and I am happy that it will have a second life.
Lucy Kavaler was "discovered" by a book publisher when she wrote a series of articles for the Sunday magazine of a newspaper. Since then, she has had 17 books published and has gained the reputation of writing about science as if it were the plot for a novel. Reviewers praise her "exceptional narrative gifts." In addition to "Mushrooms, Molds, and Miracles, The Strange Realm of Fungi," her books include "Freezing Point, Cold As a Matter of Life and Death," "The Astors, A Family Chronicle of Pomp and Power," and the novels, "Heroes and Lovers, An Antarctic Obsession," and "The Secret Lives of the Edmonts." Her books are published in hardcover and paperback, in anthologies and foreign editions. They appear on Best Books of the Year lists. She lives in New York with her husband, Arthur, and is the mother of Roger and Andrea. Currently, she is working on her third novel, "In the Company of Evil."
*** Symptoms of Inner Peace by Saskia Davis ***
Symptoms of Inner Peace
by Saskia Davis
Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This can pose a serious threat to what has up until now, been a fairly stale condition of conflict in the world.
Some Signs and Symptoms of Inner Peace:
A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
A loss of interest in judging other people.
A loss of interest in judging self.
A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
A loss of interest in conflict.
A loss of the ability to worry (this is a very serious symptom).
Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
Contented feeling of connectedness with others and nature.
Frequent attacks of smiling.
An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make things happen.
An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
WARNING: If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only at your own risk.
Many Blessings, Saskia Davis, author
*** Crime & Family Watch Dog***
This site was developed by John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted. It is another tool to help parents keep their children safe.
When you visit this site you can enter your address and a map will pop up with your house as the small icon of a house. Red, blue, green, dots will surround your entire neighborhood. When you click on these dots, a picture of a person will appear with an address and the description of the crime he or she had committed.
*** Shelfari ***
Shelfari, an Amazon site where you can spend a couple hours building your page and stocking your own bookshelf. Add a personal reading list, discuss books with new friends and connect with other readers.
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters we will answer reader’s questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2007 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.