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Monday, February 20, 2017

ABC For Book Collectors



John Carter died more than four decades ago.  But his work lives on.  In 1952 his ABC for Book Collectors was published.  The fifth edition, revised, was released 20 years later, in 1972.  I came across a copy of that final edition, published by Knopf, and found it most interesting.

The book jacket aptly describes its contents and significance when it stated:

“Here, under more than 450 alphabetical entries, ranging in length from a single line to several pages, may be found definition and analysis of the technical terms of book-collecting and bibliography.

“This is an essential reference book for every book collector from aspirant to addict.  It belongs on the most omniscient of antiquarian booksellers.  And it will entertain any general reader who relishes the niceties of connoisseurship for their own sake.”

Carter was a vice president of The Bibliographical Society in Britain, a published author, and a regular contributor to The London Times Literary Supplement.

Library Journal praised his masterful work, stating:

“John Carter, already somewhat of a legend in the world of young bookmen, has performed a fine service for librarians and collectors in the carefully and delightfully prepared manual.  In a dictionary arrangement he has set fourth, with the authority of Webster and the wit of Ambrose Bierce, the essential terms of the world of books and illuminated them with specific references and practical examples.”

His first entry is “abbreviations,” where he goes on to identify over 100 terms, such as “printed by printed,” “signed,” “gilt,” and “binding” by their abbreviations.  He concludes with an entry for “yellow-back,” which used to describe a particular type of cheap edition of fiction that was usually colored yellow.”

Carter goes on to describe and define many terms, such as
·         Americana – books about or connected with or printed in America.
·         Association Copy – a book which once belonged to, was annotated by, the author.
·         Bibliography – the love of books.  A lover of books is a bibliophile.
·         Doublure – a binder’s term, meaning that the paste-down (or inside lining of the covers) is not of paper but of leather, usually decorated.
·         Emblem Books – A specialized type of illustrated book popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.
·         Provenance – the pedigree of a book’s precious ownership.
·         Quarter Bound – a book with leather back (spine), sides covered with cloth or paper, and no leather corners, is said to be quarter bound.
·         Watermark – a distinguishing mark or device incorporated in the wire mesh of the tray in which the pulp settles during the process of papermaking, and visible in the finished product when held against the light.

One can learn about the history and nuances of books and book publishing by consuming a book like this.  But, as Carter points out in his preface, this book has an intended readership.  He writes:

“This is not an encyclopedia.  It is an ABC and bibliography, or of printing or binding, or book production terms, though many of these come into it.  It is an ABC of book –collecting, for novices, would-be collectors and that section of the literate public which takes an interest in our pursuit without necessarily wishing to share it.”

The book now lives on, to a degree, as an artifact in the world of book collecting, a book for book collectors to now be seen as a collector’s item itself.

The Writers 2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit!

Do All Writers Matter?
Here’s clear defense of why all writers are to be valued – and an explanation of what they go through to produce the words that influence the world.

Good book PR podcast -- Book consultant Cathy Fyock interviewed Brian Feinblum, Book PR Expert https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3708542050358744066  

How Will US Supreme Court Straighten Out The Slants?

An interview With PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel

Why book marketers & authors must improve their vocabulary

The writer who went off a mountain and lived to tell about it

Save The Media, Arts & Books! Fight King Trump’s Era Of Big Ignorance

Should all writers get an ID card?

Do you live the writer's affair?

How To Craft Press Releases That Net Your Book Media Exposure

How To  Overcome Book Marketer's Block in 10 Easy Steps http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/overcoming-book-marketers-block-in-10.html    



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

How Good Of A Researcher Are You Really?



Writers need a number of skills to be successful, from great writing abilities and excellent editing capabilities to possessing a wonderful imagination and being strong book marketers.  But one overlooked area every writer needs to master is research skills.  The Craft of Research: 4th Edition can help in this area.

Writer magazine said of this book:

“For those writers in search of solid research to fuel their writing, this well-structured, accessible, and affordable book is a gem.”

I would agree with this assessment.

The book tackles every imaginable aspect about research, including these topics:
·         How to make an argument of fact.
·         How to check your sources and make sure they are reliable.
·         How to guard against inadvertent plagiarism.
·         Common citation styles.
·         Filtering information on the Internet.
·         What research really is.
·         How to question the information you are presented with.
·         Knowing when you need to revise your research.

But the most interesting I found was on ethics and research. The book, written by five authors, says:

“In short, when you report your research ethically, you join a community in a search for some common good.  When you respect sources, preserve and acknowledge data that run against your results, assert claims only as strongly as warranted, acknowledge the limits of your certainty, and meet all the other ethical obligations you have as a researcher and writer, you move beyond gaining a grade or other material goods – you earn the larger benefit that comes from creating a bond with your readers.  You discover that research focused on the best interests of others is also in your own.”

It lists these six no-no’s for today’s researcher-writer:

·         “Do not plagiarize or claim credit for the results of others."
·         “Do not misreport sources, invent data, or fake results."
·         “Do not submit data whose accuracy you don’t trust, unless you say so."
·         “Do not conceal objections that you cannot rebut."
·         “Do not caricature or distort opposing views."
·         “Do not destroy data or conceal sources important for those who follow.”

There are too many minefields to conducting research today, yet the writer depends, more than ever, on research to produce quality, informed and persuasive books.  Research is what separates one book from another – and that puts books above all other sources.  

Learn the art of research and you’ll become a much better writer.

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Book By Any Other Name



Back in 1994, Andre Bernard, then an executive editor at the Book of the Month Club, penned her follow-up to Rotten Rejections:  A Literary Companion, with the release of Now All We Need is a Title:  Famous Book Titles and How They Got That Way.

Bernard researched the stories behind more than 100 of the most famous titles in the English language, producing a nicely, packaged volume rich in publishing lore, literary anecdote, and a ledger of historical second-guessing.

Around the time this book was published (I only came upon a copy of it while browsing the shelves of Strand bookstore in New York City, the best bookstore in America), I was working as an editor and publicist for a mid-size publisher in Florida, Lifetime Books, now defunct.  I had the pleasure of helping the publisher and authors determine what their book title and sub-title should be.

It appears Rule No. 1 in fiction title-naming today is it must have “girl” in it.  So many books use it.  Are there no women, ladies, or females anymore?

What does a title mean for the sales success of a book – or the media attention and critical acclaim it hopes to garner?  Who is to say what any book should be called?

So how did the famous book, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) by James M. Cain get its name?  Bernard writes:  “Cain said that his mailman would ring twice whenever he was delivering, a manuscript of Cain’s that had been rejected by a publisher and returned to the author. Can was rejected so often he came to expect the mailman to ring twice every day.  One day he range only once.  Alfred Knopf had taken his book on for publication.  To celebrate, Cain named his novel for his days of struggle.”

The book tells how titles such as Gone with the Wind, Alice in Wonderland, Catch-22, Brave New World, The Grapes of Wrath, Treasure Island, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, War and Peace, The Hobbit, and The Maltese Falcon came to be.  In case you were wondering, Bernard shares how George Orwell came to name his dystopian novel, 1984:

“Novelist Orwell began his frightening portrayal of life in a future totalitarian state in 1943, when World War II had entered its darkest hour. He didn’t complete it until after the Allied victory, but even with the war’s conclusion, the world was still facing grave dangers.  The Cold War had begun in earnest.  Physically and morally Europe was in a shambles, and Orwell’s choice for a title for his grim vision reflected that despair, The Last Man in Europe.  It seemed too bleak though, and in an effort to postpone the reality of his fictional world he decided to call in 1984, which was both far enough away to seem unlikely and a simple reversal of numbers of the year in which he finished writing his book.”

Today, a lot of marketing analysis goes into a title.  Is it a title that:

·         Is too long?
·         Not easily understood?
·         Gets your attention?
·         Exploits a popular book, event, personality, or place?
·         Seems unique?
·         Could create controversy?
·         Conjures up alluring images?

For some, a title is just a necessity.  A book needs to be called something just for the purposes of identifying it.  Or the title comes from something meaningful or personal to the author.  Or the title purposely sounds generic, in hopes of being confused with 20 other best-selling ones.

Some titles just write themselves, but however they came about, they’ll only be remembered if the book sold well.

The Writers 2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit!

Do All Writers Matter?
Here’s clear defense of why all writers are to be valued – and an explanation of what they go through to produce the words that influence the world.

Good book PR podcast -- Book consultant Cathy Fyock interviewed Brian Feinblum, Book PR Expert https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3708542050358744066  

How Will US Supreme Court Straighten Out The Slants?

An interview With PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel

Why book marketers & authors must improve their vocabulary

The writer who went off a mountain and lived to tell about it

Save The Media, Arts & Books! Fight King Trump’s Era Of Big Ignorance

Should all writers get an ID card?

Do you live the writer's affair?

How To Craft Press Releases That Net Your Book Media Exposure

How To  Overcome Book Marketer's Block in 10 Easy Steps http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/overcoming-book-marketers-block-in-10.html    



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Support The NEA



The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has flourished over the past 50 years, serving as an independent agency of the United States federal government, offering much needed support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence.  It was created by President Lyndon B. Johnson under an act of Congress in 1965.  The NEA is the largest grant maker to arts organizations in the country. However, it has been under repeated attack and is under threat with a Republican Congress and president who makes open statements about eliminating it or severely cutting its funding.

Here are some problems the NEA has confronted:
·         In 1981, upon entering office, President Ronald Reagan pushed for a three-year plan to phase out the NEA.  This from someone who came from the arts, who was a famous actor. However, his plan was foiled when his special task force on the arts and humanities talked him out of it.

·         In 1989 there was a huge controversy over the NEA-funded exhibition of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe.  His work included a photo called Piss Christ, where a crucifix is depicted as being submerged in the artist’s own urine. Though the controversy yielded congressional debate and protests, efforts to defund the NEA failed again.

·         In 1990, NEA grants for artists were vetoed by President Bush appointee, John Frohnmayer.  A court overruled this three years later and they were awarded their grant money.

·         In the mid-1990s House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for the NEA to be dumped, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  There were massive budget cutbacks and an end to grants to individual artists, but Newt ultimately failed to eliminate the NEA.

Below are excerpts from the NEA website, www.arts.gov, showcasing their good work:

“An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.  Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.  The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection.

“Since 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,300 NEA Big Read community programs providing more than $18 million in grants to organizations in every district in the country.  In turn, these organizations have leveraged more than $42 million in local funding to support their NEA Big Read programs.  More than 4.8 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 79,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 37,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible.

“To learn more about the books or to apply for an NEA Big Read grant, go to www.neabigread.org.

“Literature inspires, enriches, educates, and entertains.  It reminds us that there is beauty and joy in language, that others have insights worth paying attention to, that in our struggles we are not alone.  By helping writers and translators create new work and connect with audiences through publishers and other literary organizations and programs, the National endowment for the Arts celebrates literature as an essential reflection of our nation’s rich diversity of voices.

“The National Endowment for the Arts supports writers of all levels in developing their creative abilities.

“The NEA supports craft workshops, retreats, and educational tools for both emerging and established writers allowing them to receive the mentorship and community support they need to create their best work.

“The NEA is instrumental in bringing a diversity of literary programming to such venues as senior centers, prisons, hospitals, libraries, grocery stores, and parks across the country, providing opportunities for a variety of audiences to engage with, and learn from contemporary writers.

“By engaging high school students across the country in the public recitation of poetry, the National Endowment for the Arts’ Poetry Out Loud program builds students’ self-confidence and encourages a lasting love of poetry.

“Since 2005, the Poetry Out Loud program has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 45,000 teachers from 10,000 schools nationwide.

“Through its creative writing fellowships program, the National Endowment for the Arts gives writers the time and space to create, revise, conduct research and connect with readers.

“Since 1967, the creative writing fellowships program has awarded more than $45 million and more than 3,400 fellowships to a diverse group of nearly 3,000 writers, many of them emerging writers at the start of their careers.

“Since 1990, 95 of the 164 American recipients of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were recipients of NEA Fellowships earlier in their careers.

“The NEA’s support of local book festivals, literary centers, reading series, and online endeavors allows readers to engage with the written word more deeply and directly, and for writers and readers to meaningfully connect.

“The NEA’s investment in nonprofit journals and presses fosters an environment in which a diversity of literary work – in many cases, work overlooked by mainstream publishers – is realized on the page and screen, and widely available to American readers.

“The NEA strengthens the network of literary organizations by facilitating conversations about challenges and opportunities within the field of literature, as well as across all arts disciplines”

SUPPORT THE NEA NOW !!

The Writers 2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit!

Do All Writers Matter?
Here’s clear defense of why all writers are to be valued – and an explanation of what they go through to produce the words that influence the world.

Good book PR podcast -- Book consultant Cathy Fyock interviewed Brian Feinblum, Book PR Expert https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3708542050358744066  

How Will US Supreme Court Straighten Out The Slants?

An interview With PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel

Why book marketers & authors must improve their vocabulary

The writer who went off a mountain and lived to tell about it

Save The Media, Arts & Books! Fight King Trump’s Era Of Big Ignorance

Should all writers get an ID card?

Do you live the writer's affair?

How To Craft Press Releases That Net Your Book Media Exposure

How To  Overcome Book Marketer's Block in 10 Easy Steps http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/overcoming-book-marketers-block-in-10.html    

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Writers & Artists Can’t Retreat From Threats Or Violence



The Museum of the Moving Image put up a controversial art installation on January 20th – the day Donald Trump was sworn in as our 45th president – but was yanked just three weeks later amidst controversy and safety concerns.  Is this all it takes to silence free speech or the display of art – just complain or threaten others and it disappears?  The museum needs a backbone.

The museum is reacting to a real concern, to be fair to them.  The exhibit, called He Will Not Divide Us, was a collaborative effort between actor Shia LaBeouf and artists, Luke Turner and Natsja Sada Ronko.  It was intended to provide a video forum to criticize the president.  The exhibit consisted of a video camera mounted on the outside wall of the museum.  Passers-by were invited to spew on Trump’s presidency and to repeat the phrase “he will not divide us.” It appears the exhibit divided us.

But it’s not into dividing between pro-Trump and anti-Trump.  No, it’s something bigger – there are pro-speech, pro-art defenders pitted against a growing faction that doesn’t believe in defending such rights and freedoms.

LaBeouf was arrested for confronting opponents.  Dozens of threats of violence were cited by the museum as its reason to fold the exhibit up.  Sure the museum doesn’t want people to physically fight on the street over this, but why should it run away from this golden opportunity to promote a debate on art and the First Amendment?  It appears the museum needs a primer for itself.

The art was supposed to be substituted for people punching each other in the face.  People can let out steam by participating in or viewing the video.  Maybe its existence actually helped avoid some fights.

By shutting art down and closing off a debate, it appears a blame-the-victim mentality is at play here.  We know not to deride a rape victim because her dress or beauty invited it.  And we don’t blame Americans for being attacked on 9/11simply because they displaced or expressed a lifestyle that terrorists disagreed with.  And when the Charlie Hebdo shooting took place we didn’t say the Islamist terrorists were in their right to silence a newspaper because it disagreed with its right to speak freely and engage in a conversation through political art.  No, we must protect free speech at all costs.

We know that liberals hate the idea the country is run by a man-baby, self-destructive narcissist.  Conservatives don’t like that too many whiny liberals complain while he gets to carrying out his elected mandate. Is art the new battleground – and not Capitol Hill?

The NEA is under threat.  The news media is under fire. Trumpwellian statements come out of the White House without apology or embarrassment.  And a simple art installation can’t survive a few verbal threats.  This is pathetic.

What if, instead of the crowd-sourced video art exhibit there was an effort to create a book through the contributions and comments of hundreds or thousands of strangers but the book was never published or it was and then yanked from bookstores because others didn’t like it, because they threatened bodily harm?  Will artists and writers simply be bullied?

Of course, it’s easy for me to have this debate safely from my blog.  I don’t have any consequences to deal with.  People aren’t sending me death threats or menacing contributors to a book or art installation.  But don’t we need to take a stand?  Don’t we need to not see cancelling art, a book, or a public appearance as not the solution to a problem?

By having books, free media, and public art we can challenge ideas with ideas.  Once we go straight to violence, chaos breaks out.  If artists can be threatened, do those who make these threats understand they are also subject to violence or arrest?  

To keep the peace, we need more art – not less.

The Writers 2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit!

Do All Writers Matter?
Here’s clear defense of why all writers are to be valued – and an explanation of what they go through to produce the words that influence the world.

Good book PR podcast -- Book consultant Cathy Fyock interviewed Brian Feinblum, Book PR Expert https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3708542050358744066  

How Will US Supreme Court Straighten Out The Slants?

An interview With PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel

Why book marketers & authors must improve their vocabulary

The writer who went off a mountain and lived to tell about it

Save The Media, Arts & Books! Fight King Trump’s Era Of Big Ignorance

Should all writers get an ID card?

Do you live the writer's affair?

How To Craft Press Releases That Net Your Book Media Exposure

How To  Overcome Book Marketer's Block in 10 Easy Steps http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/overcoming-book-marketers-block-in-10.html    


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs