Author: Jasmin Kirkbride

Jasmin Kirkbride. Jasmin is a regular blogger for BookMachine and Editorial Assistant at Periscope Books (part of Garnet Publishing). She is also a published author and you can find her on Twitter as @jasminkirkbride.
Self-employed in publishing

BookMachine July Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

This month in publishing news, it’s been all about the publisher’s best friend: the indie bookshop! The 2017 Independent Bookshop Week got well underway towards the end of June with the announcement of its annual Book Award, with winner Sebastian Barry praising the importance of independent bookshops and the culture they help to build. Publishers, too, seem to have thrown their weight behind this year’s celebrations with more gusto than usual, and the whole industry was set abuzz by hundreds of offline events and online by the lively #IBW17 hashtag.

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Self-employed in publishing

BookMachine June Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

This month in publishing, there has been much news from across the pond as BookExpo took place, with tweaks promised for 2018 to try to find the right balance between Expo and Con. The big books of the BookExpo show have been slightly overshadowed, however, by the continuing fuss over the size of advances being paid to American politicians for their books, including $795k for Bernie Sanders and former FBI Director James Comey is looking at a rumoured $10m bidding war.

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Self-employed in publishing

BookMachine May Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

Big news from Amazon once again this month, as it hit an all-time high in the stock market and revenue from Q1 is up, prompting CEO Jeff Bezos to sell some of his stocks in the business for the largest sum yet. The tech giant’s Japanese expansion continues apace and they are widely considered to be “eating the world”, but all is not well with Amazon’s relationship with publishing. The introduction of a new buy button programme has drawn criticism from publishers and authors alike – including in the independent scene. What’s more, Amazon has this month announced and released a new book chart system, in which – perhaps unsurprisingly – their own books are notably faring better than anyone else’s.

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Self-employed in publishing

BookMachine April Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

This month in publishing news, there has been an unusual obsession with the smell of books. Not only did scientists pin-point that distinctive smell of second-hand bookshops, but the Guardian discovered what you can tell about an individual book from its smell – and why the scent is so addictive.

In the bookselling sphere, Amazon once again dominated the opinions columns, as their forays into bricks and mortar bookshops continue. Plans for a second New York City bookstore, and another in Massachusetts are underway, while Seattle has been tipped as the next Amazon experiment ground.

These expansions go ahead despite the fact that bricks and mortar bookstore sales have dropped once again, and a drop in sales from some publishers, including Big 5 giant HarperCollins. The truth is, the BBC reports, that people don’t have enough time to read, though a rise in library usage by young people indicates this could be a temporary blip.

Online, the Amazon’s expansion into Australia is proving to be larger than expected but, in terms of eBook sales at least, they may soon face competition as, though Google Books continues to circle in “low orbit”, Microsoft has launched its own digital bookstore. Even so, Microsoft have their work cut out for them, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has just been named the second richest man in the world after a leap in shares that has kept investors keen, and revealed in his 2017 letter to shareholders that he has no plans for Amazon to go anywhere. What’s more, Amazon has just made it even easier for self-published authors to convert manuscripts for Kindle. Both tech giants had better watch out, though, as this experimental eBook could hail a new kind of publishing entirely!

April has hailed its fair share of author drama too, not least of which with the release of letters from Sylvia Plath, claim her husband and fellow-author Ted Hughes was guilty of domestic abuse. While Hughes’ widow says these accusations are “absurd”, others have noted that whether or not the accusations are true, they are unlikely to affect Hughes’ literary standing.  Elsewhere, Alec Baldwin has trash-talked publisher of his memoir HarperCollins over “typos and errors” he was “surprised to see.” At the other end of the scale, Trapeze author David Barnett has accused writers with unpublished manuscripts of being “quitters, not failures.”

It’s been a big month for prizes as well, with both Man Booker International and Hugo Awards shortlists being announced, amongst many others. Significantly, Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for The Underground Railroad, and Bob Dylan finally accepted his Nobel Prize for literature, months after the original ceremony.

In international news, Bologna confirmed an international rights show in New York for 2018; national financial woes hit the Nigerian book industry hard; CNN explored how book manuscripts are smuggled out of North Korea; the AAP honoured Hong Kong publisher and bookseller, Giu Minhai, who is currently imprisoned in China; and book piracy bites hard for Zimbabwean authors.

Finally, this month, the press has asked whether publishing has become too liberal. With Naomi Klein planning to battle Trump, Communism for Kids sparking a backlash from the conservatives, and “pawternity” leave granted to HarperCollins India workers adopting pets, you can see where the sentiment might come from. But when YA rising star Angie Thomas claims publishers “made the assumption that black kids don’t read”, and highlights the issues of diversity in the industry, I wonder if the question should be whether we’re liberal enough where it counts.

Self-employed in publishing

WYSIWYG: The growing importance of visual branding

Having a recognizable iconography associated with a brand has always been a crucial marketing techniques to draw in consumers. Yet, in a world where we are bombarded by an increasing number of advertisements every day, standing out and having a consistent visual brand is becoming harder, and more important, than ever before.

The stats: how much do we really see?

Every second, our senses receive over 11 million pieces of information from our skin, eyes, ears, sense of smell and sense of taste. Of these, the average person can handle a maximum of 40-50 pieces in their working memory, which means that we ignore 10,999,950 bits of data every single second we are awake. The job of a visual brand is to be interesting and engaging enough to become part of the 40-50 pieces of information committed to memory, and then draw the consumer towards its products.

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Self-employed in publishing

Imaginative Space: The role of the faceless model on fiction book covers

There is a growing tradition in book publishing to use faceless models on book covers. Tried and tested, models whose faces are hidden are good at selling books. But what’s the psychological process behind this trend? What are the consequences of this marketing method for the reader and should we be keeping an eye on them?

Faceless models in advertising

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Self-employed in publishing

Book Cover Design for Self-Published Authors

It’s a popular myth that the book cover is dead , but unless bricks and mortar bookstores and online cover thumbnails disappear, that simply isn’t true. In fact, a book’s cover is an integral part of the customer’s buying process because it acts as a signpost for the book’s contents. If your book has the right cover design, genre, intended age of reader and tone can all be communicated in a split second.

Most traditionally published authors have their book covers designed for them by their publishers but self-published authors have to do it all themselves and it’s a hard task. So, here are some top tips to help all you budding book cover designers out there!

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Self-employed in publishing

Coder Generation: Building digital skills doesn’t have to be scary

The digital revolution might seem like a challenge to us now, but there’s a whole new generation of digital natives that will be coming into the jobs market over the next decade, for whom coding, apps and mobile technology are as natural as breathing.

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Self-employed in publishing

3 Top Tips for staying safe with eReaders

Jasmin Kirkbride is BookMachine’s new blogger. Jasmin is the Editorial Intern at Tenebris Books. She is a freelance editor and published author.  You can find her on Twitter @jasminkirkbride.

Over the past few weeks, headlines have been peppered with claims that reading eBooks before bed is bad for your health. A new study, published in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has found that reading light-emitting eBook before sleep can compromise the quality and length of your sleep amongst other things.

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Self-employed in publishing

Faking it: When book reviews go bad

Jasmine Kirkbride is BookMachine’s new blogger and this is her first blog post. Jasmin is the Editorial Intern at Tenebris Books. She is a freelance editor and published author.  You can find her on Twitter @jasminkirkbride.

At the FutureBook Conference 2014, Orna Ross presented a Big Idea to publishing: the new Ethical Author code from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).  A week later, it was the theme of #FutureChat, where it became apparent that some of the biggest ethical quandaries for authors concern review practices.

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