Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Changes in Paperback Publishing at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

This morning, authors who publish with Create Space (an Amazon Company) received an email saying that Create Space would end and all paperback publishing and it would be done through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Since Amazon began the paperback option on KDP, every author I know has assumed the consolidation would come. Amazon says it will use the same facilities and staff, so authors will not notice much difference.

Some authors have begun their migration. I decided to wait to see what would happen, and I'm glad I did. Amazon/KDP will do the migration for me. I need to remove one book sales channel (Create Space Direct, which let wholesalers buy bulk copies) and possibly raise the price slightly (in the UK and Europe) for a few of my shorter books.

David Gaughran wrote an info-filled article describing how authors can conduct the migration themselves. FYI -- customers will see no difference and books will be continually available.

It's hard to believe that just a few years ago Kindles cost $300 and if you wanted to self-publish a book, you worked with a local printer (usually) and had to buy hundreds to distribute yourself. I appreciate Amazon's innovations, and I enjoy owning a Kindle and a Nook.

Barnes and Noble also added a paperback function earlier this year, and I love it. The process is simple, I use a different ISBN for the BN edition, and it's easy for BN stores to order books for customers.

My favorite part of the BN experience is that you can prepare your cover in two phases (front and back) and BN adds the spine. This makes it easy to use the same cover that was on the ebook edition.

In many respects, we live in the best of times.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Speed City Sisters in Crime Chapter Presents "Deadbeat"

Sisters in Crime brings together authors, most of whom write books and short stories. The Speed City Chapter decided, about a year ago, to tackle writing a play to submit to IndyFringe, an Indianapolis festival that features several plays, each about forty-five minutes long. Deadbeat debuted August 16th.  

Chapter President Michael Dabney noted that, “Some 15 months ago, this play wasn't on any of our radars… Although not everyone took part in the writing, this truly has been a chapter project because the writing and storytelling were only the first steps. Many [members] helped with logistics, legal, marketing and promotions, graphics and designs, and in providing props. And without help in all those areas (and more), this production could never have seen the light of day.” 

Deadbeat had many writing cooks, working largely through the chapter's critique group, but they knew how to focus on the product and work as a team. The play was featured in the Indianapolis Star on August 17, 2017. 

Just as book authors are asked how they came up with an idea, that question is asked about Deadbeat. Brigitte Kephart described their writing starting point -- two women standing over the body of the husband of one of them, trying to figure out what to do with the corpse. (Photo features Abigail (Gabrielle Patterson at right) and Celeste (Alicia Sims). Provided by Michael Dabney.)

What dominates Deadbeat, however, is its comedic feel. The darker edge and harsh truths fold in easily," Kephart said.

The play has five more performances (through August 26th) at IndyFringe Basile Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair Street, Indianapolis.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Food Fuels All

We have mounds of food each year at my family reunion in Missouri. As shown on the left, 2018 maintained the tradition.

I don't live in Mount Vernon, so stay with a cousin. She and other cousins prepare food at her house, and each year I vow to take their enthusiasm for preparing fine dishes home with me. Unfortunately, each year I fail to maintain the joy of cooking, and revert to the same twenty or so menus.

Descriptions of food are popular in mysteries. My friend Karen Musser Nortman has great recipes in her campground mysteries, and in her new Mystery Sisters series, her descriptions of meals made me head to the fridge. Female authors tend to use settings that involve food more than male authors (think B&Bs and coffee shops), but if you want some of the most mouth-watering mysteries, try Robert Parker's Spenser series.

Author Lois Winston features guest authors discussing food on her blog, Killer Krafts and Krafty Killers. I did a recent post centered on The Unexpected Resolution, which comes complete with an M&M cookie recipe. The recipe is my own creation -- took several tries to get the proportions right. You can tell I'm not a cook. My protagonists never are, because I don't know how to think that way.

What made the post extra fun was that the cookies in the photo
sit on a depression glass plate that belongs to my mother-in-law.

I'm beginning the second book in the Logland mystery series, set in a small college town in southern Illinois. The first book (Tip a Hat to Murder) has key scenes in the town diner. (No need to have fancy recipes there!) As I finished it, I decided to maintain the diner throughout the series. What better gathering place for suspects?

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