Posts tagged ‘Kindle’

January 14, 2012

Amanda Hocking’s Urge to See The Muppets Landed Her a Book Deal

Anyone who knows about Amanda Hocking, the young woman who decided to publish her paranormal novels herself on Amazon, may not realize her decision to self-publish was inspired by the Muppets. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian reported yesterday:

“To understand the vital Muppet connection we have to go back to April 2010. We find Hocking sitting in her tiny, sparsely furnished apartment in Austin, Minnesota. She is penniless and frustrated, having spent years fruitlessly trying to interest traditional publishers in her work. To make matters worse, she has just heard that an exhibition about Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, is coming to Chicago later that year and she can’t afford to make the trip. As a huge Muppets fan, she is more than willing to drive eight hours but has no money for petrol, let alone a hotel for the night. What is she to do?

Then it comes to her. She can take one of the many novels she has written over the previous nine years, all of which have been rejected by umpteen book agents and publishing houses, and slap them up on Amazon and other digital ebook sites. Surely, she can sell a few copies to her family and friends? All she needs for the journey to Chicago is $300 (£195), and with six months to go before the Muppets exhibition opens, she’s bound to make it.”

She sure made it, all right. The twenty-seven-year-old writer has made over a million dollars selling her e-books from 99 cents – $2.99 each.  While many accuse her of that frightful term, “vanity publishing”, Hocking’s success is indicative of the quickly changing publishing world. A recent survey reported that only six of the top 25 bestselling indie authors on Kindle had ever had book deals with publishers.

So what does this mean for those of us who keep collecting rejection slips and refuse to give up trying for a book deal? Do we throw in the towel and start publishing ourselves? Will this make us less reputable? I guess I’m not reputable at all since I haven’t published my novel IN ANY form. But for now, I’m not ready to give up. I just want to see my book in print in book form. Is that bad?

When all’s said and done, by doing what I’m refusing to do (for now), Hocking has finally landed herself a book deal with St. Martin’s Press and can now see the Muppets anywhere she pleases.

January 10, 2012

Kindling the Desire for Readability

Daniel Knowles at The Telegraph has published a piece that perfectly sums out what I think of the Kindle. He writes:

“. . . I got a Kindle for Christmas and initially, I didn’t really know what to do with it. Sure, it’s brilliant that you can buy a copy of any book instantly, but why wouldn’t you wait a few days to get a real copy, probably for half the price? While the device is wonderful, it felt terribly anti-climactic to buy a book through Kindle – it still does.” 

I agree. When I download free classics on my Kindle, it does feel anti climatic. Part of the book experience for me is holding the book in my hands, opening it up, smelling the pulp, feeling the paper, seeing the ink, and turning the pages.

I find the Kindle is great for travel because you don’t have to haul around your huge copy of Infinite Jest or whatever. It’s also great to bring to the gym. I read The Secret Garden and We on the treadmill. Having said all that, I’m still all for books. Actual books.

But once again, I digress. The point of Knowles’s piece is to point out another thing the Kindle is good for: essays and articles. He writes:

“Here’s what to do if you have entire afternoons to burn reading fascinating things. Install Readability, an app for your computer or phone which automatically reformats webpages to make them more readable. Then on any article you encounter on the web, you can simply click “send to Kindle”, and if your Kindle is connected to wireless  (be careful with 3g), it will download it, perfectly formatted, within about a minute. Then simply read.”

This is something I’m going to try out. I think the Kindle is a tool intended to make the reading experience easier, whether its getting a book instantly or slipping it into your back pocket. So if I can make article-reading easier, and not have to lug a copy of Vanity Fair onto a plane, then I’m in.

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