Category: For authors

Happy Typewriter Day!

By Midge Raymond,

Typewriter Day…who knew?

I didn’t know either, until last year when I discovered the blog The Typosphere, that June 23 is Typewriter Day — the anniversary of the granting of the U.S. patent to Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868.

Just in time for Typewriter Day comes this article in Salon about the renaissance of the typewriter — and, of course, The Typosphere is a wonderful resource for all things typewriter-related (we particularly liked this piece about typewriter fashions).

And of course, we’re a little sentimental about typewriters ourselves — from our vintage typewriter notecards to our public service announcement to Save the Typewriters.

On behalf of Ashland Creek Press, we wish you a very happy Typewriter Day. And for all you typewriter fans out there, be sure to visit The Typosphere to share the love and find some ideas for how to spend Typewriter Day 2012.


Ashland Book & Author Festival 2012!

By Midge Raymond,

We’re thrilled to be participating in the Ashland Book and Author Festival on June 23, 2012, from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hannon Library on the campus of Southern Oregon University — and hope you’ll join us!

The festival, sponsored by the S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making a Reader Today) pre-K through 3rd grade literacy group and the Friends of Hannon Library, will feature authors of all genres including poetry, fiction, and drama, as well as health and wellness. Storytelling and a special tour for children and families will include how books are made and restored, samples of ancient books, and talks with artists Betty LaDuke (“Children of the World” paintings) and Meera Sensor (Nobel Peace Prize winners sculptures).

In a sort of literary Antiques Road Show, book restorer Sophia Bogle will give estimates on restoring treasured antique books to those who bring in a favorite book. Art books and fine art letterpress works by Cathy DeForest and Demecina Gray will be on display, as well as award-winning modern book designs by Sabina Nies.

Hear live Middle Eastern and Chinese music featuring Ronnie Malley of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Afternoon panel discussions will include the critical role of independent publishers, crime fiction writing with Tim Wohlforth (this panel features Ashland Creek Press author Cher Fischer and her eco-mystery, Falling Into Green), and a panel on health and fitness.

There is no charge for admission — and parking is free! For more information, click here.

Better yet, do you want to be a festival volunteer? The festival is hosting a volunteer sign-up coffee on Wednesday, June 6, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Hannon Library cafe (at the entrance to the library). Contact Laura Baden at 541-482-0654 for more information on how to be a volunteer.

Seven ways authors can make the most of Goodreads

By John Yunker,

So you’re an author and you’ve just registered with Goodreads.

Now what?

From both sides of the fence, as both an author and a publisher, I’ve got 7 tips for getting started and making the most of this amazing social network for readers.

1. First, claim your books. When you’re new to Goodreads, you first have to let Goodreads know that a book is your book. It’s a simple process — you look up your title and then let Goodreads know that this title is written by you. It takes a day or so for Goodreads to verify this and then you’re all set. And make sure the book data is correct. As an example, below is an excerpt of the book profile page for our title Out of Breath:

2. Next, fill out your personal profile. Naturally, you shouldn’t feel compelled to divulge everything about yourself — particularly any information that is better left private. But I do recommend that you include a link to your book’s website, your Twitter account (if you have one), your favorite books and genres, and a bio. If you write a blog, you can connect your blog feed to your Goodreads profile (a very good idea to expand your reach). I also think including a photo is important so people can be sure that you’re actually the same person who wrote the book they love. (Hat tip to Deb for noting that you need to claim your book before you can input additional bio data).

3. Invite your friends. Goodreads already has more than 7 million members, but when you compare this against Facebook’s 900 million members, there’s still plenty of room to grow. By inviting your friends, you can not only introduce them to Goodreads, you might also create your own virtual book group. Also important is that your friends are likely to be among your biggest fans, so encourage them to rate, review, and chat about your book with their friends.

4. Rate and review books. You need to review about 60 books for Goodreads’ recommendation engine to get a feel for what books and genres you like. So dive in and get a feel for how the engine works. Not only will you get a better idea for how the engine works but also for how it can benefit your books.

5. Join groups. Goodreads members have created groups ranging from We ♥ YA Books! to Ladies & Literature to Nora Roberts Groupies. And odds are good that you’ll find a group that might be interested in your book — or at least share common interests. Here’s one group that I’m a member of:

6. Sponsor a giveaway, or two. Authors are eligible to give away free copies of their books for up to six months after publication date — and I recommend taking full advantage of it. You can give away one copy of your book, or you can give away several during that period — either way, this will go a long way torward raising awareness of your book. Check out the Goodreads giveaway page for a list of titles being offered.

Here is one of our titles currently being featured in a giveaway — and there’s still time left to register!

7. Make a list. Add to existing lists. Listopia is a mini-site that includes lists upon lists upon lists. From best urban YA vampire books to best Argentina travel books, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Lists are great ways to make your book more discoverable to others — and to discover books yourself.

There’s plenty more on Goodreads to explore — from favorite quotes and trivia to author interviews, but these 7 tips should get you off to a good start.

Finally, be prepared to hit a few speed bumps along the way. That is, Goodreads is growing quickly, and sometimes web pages load very slowly or not at all. Over the past year I’ve noticed fewer hiccups, but they still appear now and then. The good news is that the Goodreads staff is very responsive, so if you have problems or suggestions, let them know.

And if you have any tips to add to this list — please add your comments below…

The joy of Goodreads – for readers and authors

By John Yunker,

I use Goodreads fairly regularly, both as a reader and as an author.

As a reader, there is a geeky thrill to keeping track of every book you’ve read. I don’t have every book I’ve read up there, but I try to add the new ones as I go along. But Goodreads also helps me discover new books. That’s because Goodreads has developed a recommendation engine that looks at your reading list and your reviews to offer you new suggestions. And there’s also an active community that introduced me to, among other books, The Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee.

Goodreads has been invaluable to me as an author in helping me raise awareness for my book The Tourist Trail. After my book came out, I gave away two free copies using the Goodreads giveaway program. This is something that all authors can do within six months of their book’s publication — and I highly recommend it. Because one thing you want people to do on Goodreads is add your book to their shelf. There’s no guarantee they will ever read your book, but it’s better to be on that virtual shelf than in the virtual closet. After two giveaways, several hundred people added my book to their shelves. If you’re considering a giveaway, I recommend that you schedule it roughly a month out, which gives people plenty of time to discover your book. And be sure that when you do mail out that free copy, you send a note to the lucky recipient asking for a review if he/she enjoys the book.

Speaking of giveaways, our author John Colman Wood will be giving away a free copy of his novel on Goodreads  — enter to win your free copy now!

For authors, giveaways are just the beginning. Otis Chandler, CEO of Goodreads, recently presented on How Consumers Discover Books Online at the Tools of Change conference.

You can download the presentation here, and I recommend checking it out.

Goodreads is learning a great deal about how people discover books. I pulled out two slides that I found most interesting.

This first slide details how people discover new books. This chart makes it clear that word of mouth sells books. Your “offline” friends as well as your virtual Goodreads friends play a big role in influencing your next read.

The publisher’s website doesn’t do much, I’m afraid. Nor does TV and radio. Word of mouth is what matters most — and virtual world-of-mouth services like Goodreads and Facebook can certainly help.

The next slide details how people on Goodreads discover books — and it’s comforting to see that people have many different ways of discovering books. Which means that authors don’t have to rely on just one approach. But these individual approaches do add up. A giveaway may only make a 2% difference, but if a lot of people review your book highly, this will improve the odds of your book being recommended via the Goodreads engine.  That is, success breeds success.

So if you’re not on Goodreads yet, check it out.

And if you’re an author, what are you waiting for?


What you can do for your favorite authors…

By Midge Raymond,

I came across an excellent blog post (with thanks to Serena at the fabulous Savvy Verse & Wit blog) by author Alma Katsu called Five Simple Things You Can Do To Help Your Favorite Author, which not only offers insights into what it’s really like to publish a book but delivers a call to action for friends/fans of writers. For all of you readers out there who love a yet-undiscovered author, this post offers invaluable ways to help that author out.

As Alma writes, “the mainstream book media tends to feature the books that the publishers have put the most money behind. This excludes all but one or two debut novels a year” — so true. And so sad. She offers five ways readers can help, all having to do with word of mouth. (And I’ll add something for the writers out there: If your friends aren’t already doing these wonderful things for you, ask them to. They may not realize how much it means to you and your book.)

In addition to Alma’s five excellent tips, I have a few to add as well…

  • Feature the book in your book club. When my book, Forgetting English, came out, I was absolutely thrilled when a few friends chose it for their book clubs, and I joined a few of them, both in person and via Skype. It was so fun that afterward I lost all shyness and humility when it came to suggesting Forgetting English when someone mentioned being in a book club.
  • Give your favorite books as gifts. The gift of a book, hand-picked and personalized by an author, is a beautiful thing. Most authors have extra copies of their books on hand, so when a holiday or birthday comes along, ask them if they might sign a copy (or two) for a few people on your gift list.
  • Donate a copy or two to charitable auctions. I’ve done this many times with Forgetting English (which is a teeny item by itself but goes very well with, say, a trip to Hawaii or Africa), and I’ve also been honored and grateful to be included in gift packages that other writers put together for fundraisers. It’s a great way to find new readers and do a little good for an organization.

There are so many ways to support your favorite authors — and unless they’re already on the bestseller lists, they will probably need it — and they’ll always appreciate it. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to market a book. Alma says it best in her post: “Remember to tell others about the book. It’s as simple as that.”