A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Free speech, literacy, and great books are also discussed. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Long Live The Writer -- And Words!
feel, when faced with an empty canvas (in the form of a lined yellow pad), that
the words will just come to me and flow out of me, onto the page as if they
were being dictated. I rarely am unsure
of what I’ll write next. It comes
naturally, if not necessarily. I want to
write. I must write. This is my purpose – and pleasure and
words are supposed to get us somewhere – both you, the reader, and me the
writer. The words should help us
understand and appreciate the lives we lead and the world we live in. They help us fill in the blanks, supplement a
life that’s incomplete and a world that often makes no sense.
words have meaning and a past and relevance to one another. There are no unknowns with words. They are predictable. It’s other parts of our world that seem
unknown and unknowable. Words should not
fail us. They are assigned a value and they reflect what we understand,
experience, think, feel, and desire. But
life goes beyond our words and sometimes no combination of existing words can
explain how we feel nor comfort us nor make us any better than we really are.
can lead to fights even wars. They can
lead to death and destruction. They can
also bring people together and tell us what love is all about.
elevate our society and those who read, write, and teach with words should be
our leaders. Without intellect we have
our words get twisted in lies and are abused by marketers, politicians, lawyers, and
desperate people. It’s when we misuse
words and say what we don’t mean that we fall into a trap, where words become
weapons for our enemies.
love to play with words. They don’t just
use them as the building blocks of some magnificent architectural marvel. They toy with words and tinker with them. Writers want to own words, even coin a
few. But really they are merely renting
have access to the same resource as everyone else -- we each can use the same
words, even simultaneously. It’s an
unlimited energy source in the sense that billions of people can use the same
words, with no scarcity of usage. You
using a word doesn’t stop me from using the same word, but, due to copyright
laws, we can’t arrange the same words in the exact same order.
is a limit to how many words exist at any point in time but nothing stops the
writer from making words up and creating a new language. Some of the best books include fake words, some of which would later get adopted by the dictionary.
writer, especially of books, sees words as valuable tools in which he or she
uses to convey ideas, inspiration, information and visions of a better life and
world. The writer knows that there’s a
challenge – for him to say the right thing and for readers to correctly
interpret his intentions; for the reader to feel so moved that the book impacts
his or her life; for that changed individual to make a positive difference in
the lives of others. All of that can
come just from the juxtaposition of words.
live the writer!
One of the earliest best-sellers in
America was Webster’s Spelling Book,
published in 1783. By 1890, 60 million
copies had been sold.
Best Seller Lists – Origins
According to the book. The
Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers, the word
“bestseller’ entered the dictionary in the late 18th century, around
the time the first list of books ranked by consumer sales was crafted. They write:
“While it should be a neutral term,
it has developed some connotations that are likely misleading. The literary magazine TheBookman started to
print “Sales of Books during the Month” in 1891 in London and in 1895 in New
York after the International Copyright act of 1891 slowed down the distribution
of cheap pirated copies of British novels.
Until then, no sales statistics had really been possible. From the beginning, the lists – which were
printed in each major city and typically reported the top six sellers of the
month – were about two things that were new to the book world. The bestseller lists were about sales as the
only criterion for inclusion, and a proxy recommendation system for what to
Authors Owning Bookstores
We’ve heard of authors who become
publishers, as more books are self-published than produced by traditional
publishers. But do authors now need to
open bookstores too? Some small presses
recently opened up bookstores, so why not an author? Novelist Alex George (A Good American-Putnam, Setting
Free the Kites-Putnam) and founder of Unbound Book Festival, opened an
indie bookstore in 2018 in Columbia, MO.
It’s a general bookstore that fills the void for an area that’s lacking
According to The Books in America, “The first full-scale advertising campaign
for a book was probably mounted in 1898 with Charles Major’s When Knighthood Was in Flower. Full-page advertisements were displayed in
magazines that compared the author, whose name was not revealed, to such
literary greats as Shakespeare, Scott, Dumas, and others. The public was fascinated, and the publisher
encouraged highly publicized attempts to discover the author’s name. Sales were huge, and the publishing world was
duly impressed. Advertising was here to
stay, and without the publishing industry firmly entered the twentieth