Month: August 2011

Have your say on standards in publishing

The National Occupational Standards for Publishing were last updated in 2005 by the Publishing Training Centre. Needless to say, the industry’s gone through what might delicately be termed ‘changes’ since then. If you have a 211-page hole in your life, feel free to fire through that batch of Standards, annotating and amending as you go. For everyone else, Skillset is proposing a simpler solution.

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Ideally, all books about CBGB would be tattered, dog-eared and covered in mysterious stains. They’d be found in the dankest recesses of the most disreputable second-hand bookshops (or, better yet, “bookshops”). They’d be falling apart at the spine. There might be some pages missing, and, given some of the clientele, that might actually improve matters. Of course, ideally CBGB itself would still exist. It’s no longer an ideal world for sordid screeds or ramshackle rock clubs.

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If you’ve been on this site or checked out our Twitter feed at any time since Monday, you may have noticed that we’re in the midst of #kindleweek. I say ‘may’, as you could have missed such subtle come-ons as ‘why do you love your Kindles guys?’, ‘why is the Kindle best?’ and that video we put on YouTube where we took the scene from Being John Malkovich where Malkovich goes inside his own head and overdubbed all the Malkoviches with the word ‘Kindle’ (disclaimer: we only actually did two of those).

Anyway, what Kindle week has entailed in large part is soliciting the views of you and your ilk, gentle reader, upon the subject of the suddenly ubiquitous e-reader, and you have been nothing if not forthcoming, with a range of opinions expressed both for and against the device that is quickly challenging this canvas print of Paul Ross for the title of Amazon’s most beloved product.

 
This post is part of BookMachine’s #kindleweek. Join the debate on Twitter.

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Katherine Roberts
Katherine Roberts, founder member of Kindle Authors UK

 

Kindle Authors UK is a group of UK authors collaborating to publish new and out of print titles for the Kindle, whilst seamlessly combining their marketing activities. BookMachine interviewed one of the founder  members, Katherine Roberts.

This post is part of BookMachine’s #kindleweek. Join the debate on Twitter.

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A couple of weeks ago, word got out that Republic High School in Missouri had banned Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five from all classrooms and the shelves of its library. This decision was made following a complaint by one Dr. Wesley Scroggins, challenging its suitability for students.

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Printed books will never really go away. They’ll be superseded by e-books, sure. They’ll become a minority interest. They’ll be treated as relics of a bygone age, one where you had to actually leave the house to, y’know, get stuff.

But just as vinyl records have survived in the sweaty-but-carefully-dust-gloved hands of music geeks, and cinephiles are ignoring the convenience of watch instantly video streaming in favour of the hi-def glories of a decent Blu-Ray restoration, there will always be an audience, however small and specialist, for a nice binding and a dog-ear, ready and waiting for publishers to peddle their wares.

Alternatively, publishers could decide they’re not content to punt such simple pulp-and-ink pleasures, and instead chuck gimmick after gimmick at the reading public until something sticks. Either way. Here’s five of the latter.

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In arguably the week’s biggest piece of publishing news, Amazon registers KindleScribe.com and KindleScribes.com, but why? (hint: they’re probably not launching a new line of cookware). That revelation came as two equally persuasive cases were made for and against digital publishing: self-published American thriller writer Michael Prescott’s three 99-cent e-books hit the Best-Selling Books list, suggesting a healthy future for authors in the electronic age, whilst Ewan Morrison brewed a storm of controversy in Edinburgh by asking Are books dead, and can authors survive?

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HarperCollins Flash Mob

 

While rain bucketed down across London earlier in the month, the HarperCollins Marketing team took to Brent Cross with a troop of professional dancers who performed a Flash Mob Tango Dance to shoppers throughout the afternoon.

The event was so successful that the dancers, usually seen treading the boards in the West End rather than in shopping centres, performed two extra times to keep the crowds happy.

The occasion marked the launch of Daisy Waugh’s  new novel Last Dance with Valentino, based on the life of the screen legend and heartthrob. Waugh spent more than a decade researching Valentino’s life.

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8 questions for Judy Piatkus [INTERVIEW]

Judy Piatkus

 

First things first, why did you start up a publishing company?

In the 1960s there wasn’t much careers guidance but I was told I would be good at selling and I always wanted to work with books. I worked as a secretary (the forerunner to a P.A) for several publishers and a literary agent and when the chance came to start my own business, I took it.

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Amazon have done well from the Kindle – a contraption that, for some, seems to look like a relic from 10 years ago, running books produced in a format from 20 years ago. For others though, it’s the peak of human achievement in the field of plastic, e-ink and clumsy button-based technology, justifiably colonising handbags (yes, mostly handbags) across the planet.

But what now for the Kindle? Here are 5 things Amazon might do next.

 

This post is part of BookMachine’s #kindleweek. Join the debate on Twitter.

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I’ve been producing Kindle-ready ebooks for a while now. Through a process of trial and error (sometimes it’s been a trial, and I’ve made lots of errors…) I’ve realised that the whole experience needn’t need tooooo difficult, provided you keep a few basic do’s and don’ts in mind…

This post is part of BookMachine’s #kindleweek. Join the debate on Twitter.

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The relationship between an author and editor is a crucial one. If you get it right, it can help the whole publishing process. Here Becky Hearne interviews Nicola Morgan, author of around 90 books, to find out more.

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