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Hey All,

I assume most of the people reading this blog are interested in things literary. Why else would you be reading this? All I talk about is books! So let’s talk about books. And publishing. And graphic novels. And acquisitions. And agents. And young adult writing. And…..everything else? I can’t talk about everything and frankly you wouldn’t want me to! I’m not an expert, just a girl with a little obsession.

But there’s a conference next month where experts WILL be talking about these things. Write to Publish, or Oolicon, will be May 22-23. I will be there both days, to check out the local literary scene on Sunday, but mostly to learn from the experts on Saturday.

Here’s the workshops I find most interesting:

Young Adults Trends and Audience (Sara Ryan, two-time Oregon Book Award winner in the YA category): Young adult (YA) fiction is one of the most lively and profitable genres in publishing. Get an overview of current and upcoming trends and tips on writing for this diverse and voracious audience.

Graphic Novels: Publishing and Process (Brett Warnock, head publisher, Top Shelf Productions; Aaron Colter, marketing coordinator, Dark Horse Comics): Graphic novels are more popular now than ever before. The intricacies of the publishing process for this genre are varied and unique, and new technologies have created exciting possibilities for graphic novel writers and readers. This workshop will examine the opportunities and difficulties inherent in the creation of graphic novels. Learn the importance of design and marketing in this medium.

Writers, Conventions, and the Web: A Friendship (Bo Johnson, head publisher, Bowler Hat Comics): Learn about building your presence on the web and how conventions can help you get your foot in the door. This workshop will give you the tools you need to make your next convention visit more productive. Learn the many ways to network and promote yourself as an author.

So, everyone, buy your tickets for the workshops NOW!! Support Ooligan, of course, but really this is for writers –  to help authors learn about the industry from the experts. Be there or be square. Plus, Ursula K. LeGuin will be there – now there’s an author worth obsessing over.

Workshops: HERE.

Industry Mingle and Author Stage: HERE.

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Sometimes we all have mental blocks against certain words. It took me forever to figure out that “a lot” is two words. By forever, I mean I think I was in HIGH SCHOOl despite using the word on practically a daily basis: “I ate alot,” “I loved that movie alot,” “Jessie bugs me alot,” etc.

A LOT. A LOT. A LOT. A LOT.

A Great Picture, just one sample of the cartoons on the Hyperbole and a Half Blog (thanks Allie!)

So, when my friend sent me a link to this blog, I was amused, excited, and totally embarrassed all at the same time: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything.

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Hey All,

Sorry I didn’t post anything yesterday. I’ve been a little busy, but I hope to post something at leastTGR cover once a day in the future! As always, I’m happy to post things that are happening in the Portland literary community.

But, here’s some great personal news! First, this blog just got named a “Must Read Portland Book Blog” on Reading Local: Portland. That’s pretty flattering.

Second, I just accepted the position of Managing Editor of The Grove Review, and our newest issue will be available in June. This is an amazing publication, with a lot of extremely talented writers and artists, and our submission guidelines are on the site. We accept short stories, poetry, and art.

Well, hope you’re having a great day,

Maureen

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I’ve already shown that I’m a fan of traditional publishing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think that authors have a responsibility to market their own books. Books are increasingly associated with their authors – to the point that people buy books based on their author’s presence online or in the media. And while publishers are creating press kits and setting up interviews and events, there are other avenues that only the author can explore.

So, for all authors, here’s a list of things you can do to increase your visibility to readers:

1) Create a website/blog/Facebook account/Twitter  account (or all of the above)
2) Enter contests of all types
3) Publish articles in print and online about anything in your book. For example, if your mystery novel takes place in Eastern Oregon, write a fun travel article about the locations you used, send it to a travel site, and add just a little hook at the end about your book.
4) Give dynamic “readings,” interviews, and presentations. Reading from your book isn’t enough – you need to give an audience a good show. (See this article)
5) Send book to reviewers (ones that your publisher might not be considering)
6) Try to get a book club to read your work. Even if you have to create such a group, word of mouth is an amazing marketing tool.
7) If it’s applicable (which it often is for fiction books), create a book trailer and post it online.

These are all just ideas – but they can all work to your advantage. So go forth and market!

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I have to admit I’ve been very reluctant to join Twitter. It seems silly to post about everything and anything, in short spurts. As this blog shows, I usually have more than a couple sentences worth of whatever to say. But apparently, I’m wrong to doubt the effectiveness of Twitter  – it’s a great way to network according to Publishing Trends’ article “Twitter isn’t Stupid – But Publishers Need to Be Smart About Using It. Here’s How.”

According to the article, publishers need to develop a very personal presence on Twitter. People don’t want to hear about books, they want to hear about people. That makes sense to me, since I would never want to check a site that just talks about how great their books are. Also, a lot of people who watch/read Twitter also read blogs or write their own blogs. So why don’t I?

But this use of Twitter actually corresponds to my earlier post about publisher branding. I think if publishers can use Twitter effectively, people will begin to follow the publisher and then recognize the publisher’s books and buy them! Plus, even just stimulating conversation about the books is a good thing. So, I guess maybe sometime soon I’ll bite the bullet and join Twitter.

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I was reading Booksquare today, and I noticed an old post from Nov. 2009 called Trendwatching 2010, and I wanted to add my two cents (per usual). Here’s a couple predictions about how publishing will evolve in the next couple years or so.

1) E-books will be huge (duh!) and BOTH the Kindle and the iPad will continue to be popular.
2) E-book prices will actually get higher – some will be at $9.99 or below for a while, but publishers will probably make $14.99 the standard, and some books will be even more expensive as time goes on. Publishers will realize that people will pay these prices.
3) A lot more small presses will use on-demand publishing. And on-demand publishing will eventually become the standard (I’m talking about 5 years from now, not right away) because it doesn’t require such a commitment of time or money.
4) Sales to China will increase exponentially, and all foreign rights will be a much more important money-maker for publishers.
5) Self-publishing will be increasingly more accepted, and publishers will actually find some of their bestselling books from among these authors. And we will see a Self-Published section in many bookstores.
6) Almost every big book or author will have book trailers, websites, and blogs. Some already do, but book trailers will be a HUGE marketing tool – much more important to marketing plans than they are now.
7) Independent bookstores will all have Book Espresso Machines.
8) The hottest genres will be Young Adult, Horror, and Paranormal Romance.

Some of these are pretty obvious, but I think it’s good to remember that publishing isn’t a stagnant industry – it’s changing so much that we all need to grow with it, quickly.

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One thing I really like about the emerging e-book technology is that it is encouraging smaller publishers to be a little more innovative. Ooligan Press, for example, now has websites and blogs for several of their books. One of the books, Classroom Publishing, even has a blog where teachers are encouraged to post their latest projects and ideas – making the blog a great resource for other teachers. Therefore, when you buy Classroom Publishing, you are getting more than a book. You are getting a conversation with many teachers from all over the United States.

The same is true for digital comic books, that new ideas are going to emerge and allow smaller companies an edge if they can adapt faster than larger. I’m really proud that Portland is such a hub for comic books, with Bowler Hat Comics, Oni Press, Topshelf, and Dark Horse (yes, I realize Dark Horse isn’t very small) right around the corner. And I know they are adapting to the increasingly digital formats out there. Reading Jim Fallone’s “Digital Comics: Level the Playing Field Part II,” I was really struck by how much opportunity there is to be creative. I like the optimistic tone of the article, and the idea that new technology is a good thing.

Speaking of digital comics, though, as excited as I am about them, I recently talked to several comic buffs who aren’t impressed. Just out of college, both men agreed that the new iPad app could be cool, but that the iPad was too expensive for a lot of comic book readers – especially when they could read e-comics on their computers. And they admitted that they don’t really even like comics online, because they prefer the traditional format offered in the old ink and paper editions. Comics should be taller than they are wide, apparently, and that’s not true of laptops. Plus, the work that the artists, inkers, and colorists put into a comic is much more apparent on paper. So it looks like, even though there is an opportunity for comic book publishers to bring new ideas to the table, they’ll have to be really good ideas to catch some of this skeptical audience.

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