Releasing International Reggae-Pop Collaboration to celebrate 50 yrs of a Rocksteady classic by ‘The Jamaicans’.‘Things you Say You Love’ was originally written, recorded & released by the festival song winning group The Jamaicans in 1967. This is not the first time that ‘Things you Say You Love’ will be reintroduced, in 2005 UB40 covered the song on their album ‘Who you Fighting For?’ which peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Reggae Album charts in 2006. Co-written by Tommy Cowan & Norris Weir, the song is touted by many as one of reggae music’s foundational tracks. It then occurred to them that over 30 years ago, their forefathers were once friends, colleagues & business partners. It is set to premiere on Youtube & Vevo this summer. In April, Naomi Cowan shared her vision to pay tribute to reggae with her upcoming single ‘Things you Say you Love’ with Donisha Prendergast, granddaughter of Bob & Rita Marley. The track released by Zojak international online this week is also featuring Mark Pelli from the pop-reggae band ‘Magic!’. They knew this was the beginning of something special. Pelli is also featured on the track vocally. With thousands of millennial Jamaicans migrating to North America & Europe for better opportunities, Naomi Cowan – a long-time holder of both a Jamaican & Canadian passport returns to the island to accomplish her dreams in music, business, creativity & nation building. Donisha Prendergast directs music video for Naomi Cowan’s single ‘Things you Say You Love’ – online release to be announcedWhen two children of reggae music sit at a coffee shop; Magic is bound to happen. Tommy Cowan, OD is well known for his work with Marley as marketing manager of Tuff Gong and tour manager for Bob’s last world tour in 1980. Naomi Cowan readies her vision #Jamaica2030

by Contributed
“I want to carry on my family’s legacy, and it is not necessarily from a financial point of view. I have seen the experiences and the work my parents have done, and I believe that with excellence, more persons will notice and the brand will become more widespread,” – Naomi Cowan. In preparation for her move back to the island, Naomi caught up with former fellow Campionite Donisha who generously offered to direct her music video. The video was filmed in downtown, Toronto and edited by DSE Jamaica. Naomi & Mark give a fresh twist to this vintage rocksteady song guaranteed to win hearts. It can safely be said that perhaps Naomi can pick up where Amy Winehouse left off with her rich vocals & vintage fashion sense.Marley, Cowan collaboration rebirth in the next generation. Prendergast is currently studying film at Ryerson University (Cowan’s alma mater) while simultaneously running DSE Jamaica, a film & post production company well known for their work on Jamaican television. I thought you loved living in Foreign?’ are the questions she encounters upon every ‘buck up’ these days. SHARE / Aug 14, 2017 08:36 am

Living the Jamaican Dream, Naomi Cowan returns from Toronto, Canada to build #Jamaica2030 ‘Why on earth would you move back to Jamaica? The former Miss Teen Jamaica, TV Host, singer-songwriter & Ryerson University graduate lives her life on a simple credo “Speak. Give.”Naomi Cowan takes on her legacy in music with the support of ‘Magic!’ producer & vocalist Mark Pelli. Sing. Tommy Cowan’s youngest daughter, Naomi covered this song while living in Toronto in collaboration with Mark Pelli, vocalist, producer & guitarist from the international billboard chart topping group ‘Magic!’ (known for their top hits such as Rude & Lay you down easy (feat Sean Paul)’.

Ce’Cile gets sultry on ‘Never Been Loved’ with Max Stone

by Contributed
Never Been Loved is the new single by the uniquely talented performer and songwriter Max Stone, who you might recognise as the X-Factor finalist who was determined to only perform the music he loved. He then teamed up with D Goody and Ce’Cile who added her own middle eight on “Never Been Loved”. He covered Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry  and Turn Your Lights Down Low gaining him an impressive new fanbase and recognised by The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail, ITV This Morning and much more. 

SHARE / Aug 14, 2017 10:30 am

Since X-Factor, Max been perfecting his debut album, influenced by his unstoppable love of reggae music. You can check out Never Been Loved below! Ce’Cile has added her  raw Dancehall/ Reggae talent  incorporating her own melodies and style into the story.”Max’s upcoming album Keep Rising shares a powerful statement about love, war and all things in between. Ce’Cile (international reggae star who has worked with Sean Paul, Gavin Rossdale and Debbie Nova) has had multiple hits in the UK single charts. “Never Been Loved is a track about being enamoured with someone and wanting to share every side of yourself so they can know how it feels to be loved. The album is due for release later this year. You can hear for yourself that Max is an amazing talent, by checking out his Reload Sessions performance. Last year, Max was invited to Jamaica to work with Grammy Award winning reggae producer Jazzwad. Max recently performed alongside Jimmy Cliff, Ali Campbell, Ernest Ranglin, Sly and Roobie, Suggs and Dawn Penn as the only unsigned artist at “A Night of Reggae” for Save the Childen.

Give the problem to someone else and ask them to find a solution. I haven’t worked on a single novel that has not brought me to a point of doubting either the ideas or my ability to bring them to life. Upon further research, have you learned that the facts of your ideas don’t add up? Interview an expert. Perhaps you’re working on a story with multiple narrators and timelines, and suddenly you’re doubting your ability to bring it to completion. Does the Story Have Unfixable Problems? Are You Being a Perfectionist? 7. 5. My theory is that ideas float in the atmosphere, and they are fair game for anyone to grab and make use of. Maybe you are so immersed in your story, you no longer have a clear perspective on it. Desire drives our energy. Get back to play. Here are some of the most common roadblocks and how you might solve them. As a stand-alone book author, I had no idea how much brainpower was involved in keeping the characters and settings and motives and outcomes straight from book to book! Has Your Story Already Been Done? Then investigate the problem from all angles. If all else fails and you are attached to your story, forget about the problems, at least for the time being, and move on. It justifies spending an endless amount of time making zero progress on writing. The first lesson here is: Make use of your ideas, or somebody else will! Today’s guest post is excerpted from Story Sparks,   copyright © 2017 by Denise Jaden (@denisejaden), published with permission from New World Library. I think you’ll be surprised at how far you can go with it. I think the key is keeping this apparent steam-loss in perspective. Three hundred (or more) pages is a long time to stay motivated and to believe in your creativity! Perhaps, but perhaps not. It can be difficult to see gold nuggets before they’re polished, unless you’re willing to sort rocks. The first question to ask is: Why are you losing steam? 3. Do You Have Story Burnout? Initially, ideas can interest us for all sorts of reasons that don’t pan out. It treats a lack of productivity as an ailment. Perhaps it’s similar to something else we read and loved, but the more we develop our idea, the more we realize we’re telling the exact same story, and the original is the only way that works with this particular idea. Waiting and doing nothing breeds perfectionism. Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve asked myself that same question! That said, if you have been diligently developing your idea, and suddenly another book releases with the same premise, please, please don’t immediately chuck your entire manuscript into the recycle bin! Parting advice
The most important thing is not to force yourself to make every story idea work. I trust that past-Denise is smarter than present-Denise, and if she felt this would make a good story, it probably will. Okay, I won’t lie, it is possible. Brainstorm a solution with a group of other writers or friends. There is always a new spin you can put on things, or a new combination of ideas. Move forward with what you have. Here is my method for when I feel like I’m battling perfectionism: Start before you feel ready. Maybe the story idea was appealing because it was so completely different than anything else, but delving into it, we realize why no one else has attempted this kind of story before. There is room in the marketplace for more than one story with a similar premise. The important thing is simply to keep writing and to harness your love for writing in a way that you’ll never let it go. Keep writing your story. Perfectionism equals high standards misdirected. My other option, and this is the one I usually choose because I am impatient, is this: I keep moving forward, trusting that if I once thought my story ideas had some value, they probably do. Has it ever happened that a book comes out that seems to have the exact same premise as the one you’re brainstorming or writing? Even if you spend weeks considering the scenarios you may encounter, inevitably, something will not work out as planned or just not “feel right” once you’re actually writing. Call this a spiritual phenomenon, or a metaphysical one, but it happens too often to be an anomaly. Does it truly have to do with your story ideas? Break it down into tiny parts if you need to, and only have a look at the bigger picture on days when you feel up to the task. If you are excited about writing a particular scene you’ve envisioned, but you’re not to that point in the story yet, feel free to jump ahead and write it now. It doesn’t have to all be work. Put your unfixable problem into words. I encourage you to try not to let yourself be intimidated by a big project. What if your idea is truly a dud? What if you choose an idea, and you absolutely love it, but you get a hundred pages into writing your novel, and your idea loses steam? Is Your Idea Too Big? What then? Except, in the end, it is jail. Try to state it in three different ways and tell someone else about your problem. However, the truth is, sometimes we hit roadblocks while following through. If you wait until all of your ideas are fully formed, you’ll be waiting forever. Or at least not well enough. Let yourself have fun and feed your excitement while writing. When you think about your story, does it feel overwhelming? It’s happened to me, and most writers I know have had it happen to them. It’s great to try to make your shoes match your purse when you’re going out or to take an extra thirty seconds to buff the hood of your car on a sunny day, but when making art, especially a first draft of art, you don’t want to lose the creative energy that births new ideas. I’ve been there. Writer’s block is not usually the inability to write, but rather just a fear of not writing well. Is there no way out for your character? Pinpoint the problem. 1. 6. Work on only one aspect at a time, rather than allowing yourself to get inundated by the larger scope. You’d be surprised at how many problems can fix themselves by the end of a draft. The truth is, your ideas will lose steam, especially if you are working with novel-length fiction. Perfectionism can create too much pressure. Ideally, we’d have all the creativity and energy and desire we need to write amazing stories. Write that same premise, but differently, and by the time yours is written and polished, the market may be ready for a new take. In her book Get It Done, Sam Bennett asks this important question: “How is your desire to do the perfect thing getting in your way of doing anything?”
4. Sometimes I’ll take a couple of weeks away from looking at or even thinking about the project. Do You Have Writer’s Block? In the last few years, I started working on my first series. Claiming to have “writer’s block” is taking the easy way out. Because it’s one of those inarguable diagnoses, it acts like a get-out-of-jail-free card. Maybe when you first conceptualized your idea, it was brilliant and shiny and reflected diamonds and rubies and million-dollar bills from its every surface, but the truth is, any and every idea comes with its own multitude of problems when you actually start to write it as a story. Every author I have spoken with has faced this kind of self-doubt as well. 2. If writing becomes a slog, and then stops, put aside what you’re doing and go back to brainstorming. Is Your Idea a Dud? Sometimes simply the act of speaking a problem out loud will cause the correct solution to come to us. It’s a dud.

They explain the process here. Presto! Currently it’s only available for PC users. Select “XHTML 1.0 Strict”, “No CSS”, and “Unicode (UTF-8)” and check “Preserve White Space.”
Open your Word document in TextEdit, then save it as an HTML file. Kindle Create Add-in for Microsoft Word. So your book is sitting in Microsoft Word, and you’d like to get that material converted into an ebook format you can sell through ebook retailers such as Amazon. Much depends on the quality and complexity of the document you start with. Use Reedsy’s free cloud-based editing tools
Reedsy is best known as a freelance marketplace where you can find editors and other publishing professionals help you edit, publish, and promote your work. If your book is split across many different Word files, that means you’ll have to convert all of them to   HTML (following the TextEdit instructions above), then   import them one by one into your Sigil EPUB file. So what do you do? For Mac users: Vellum ($)
One of the most beloved tools of indie authors, Vellum is an intuitive software that helps you design, format, and export great-looking ebooks, in EPUB format. You now have a file that’s (more or less) like an EPUB file and ready to open in Sigil. If you’re patient and willing to format your Word document carefully, you can use the automated conversion processes of Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Pronoun or similar ebook retailer and distribution services. Go to “Open file.” Select and open the HTML file you just prepared in TextEdit. They want to make it easy for you to get published, so they’ll convert your Word document into an ebook (EPUB) file instantly, as soon as you upload it. (PC users: Sorry, I haven’t found an equivalent way to do this using PC software.)

Open TextEdit preferences. So what you need to do is appropriately prepare your Word files to import into Sigil while retaining your basic   formatting. Start with Draft2Digital’s free conversion tool
Authors often report the Draft2Digital   conversion from Word to EPUB to be the smoothest and easiest they’ve used. Calibre is a free ebook management software that allows you to edit EPUB files; Sigil is an open-source software for editing EPUB files. You now have an EPUB file you can edit and fine-tune through a simple interface. It allows you to start by uploading Word documents (among others). Thus, the following list offers workable options I’ve found that (1) don’t involve hugely expensive software, with one possible exception, and (2) don’t get you knee-deep into Word formatting. Fortunately, you don’t have to distribute through Draft2Digital in order to take advantage of their conversion; their terms of service allow you to set up an account, upload your Word doc, export the EPUB file, then take it elsewhere, to another retailer or distributor. It’s a very lightweight software. The drawback: You can’t import your Word file into Reedsy. Probably the most difficult part of using Sigil is identifying how to download and install it, since it’s on Github and isn’t exactly marketed to the average non-tech consumer. You’ll immediately have a new chapter file in your ebook. They also offer a suite of editing and collaboration tools that can help you format and export EPUB files out of their cloud-based system. Note that most of these methods will only be appropriate if your book is predominantly text, with few images and specific formatting requirements. If you can use WordPress—or even if you’re comfortable with Microsoft Word’s quirks—you can probably handle Sigil once your content is imported properly. Dump your Word doc into some other word processor that can export EPUB files
If you own or use any of the following tools:

Apple Pages
Scrivener
Google Docs

… then you can export your document as an EPUB file. Unfortunately, your basic version of Word doesn’t offer that functionality. While the software is free to download, being able to export your files will cost you a one-time fee of $199. (Here’s a user guide.)
To use Sigil, you can’t start with a Word file, but it can handle text files. But the results may look terrible. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to take your Microsoft Word document, import it into or open it inside another one of these systems, then see how well it exports as EPUB. You start with either a Word document or PDF file. They work on both PC and Mac. To do so, look for the menu button that looks like this (“Split At Cursor”):

Place your cursor where the chapter break should occur, then click that button. For unafraid and adventurous Mac users: Sigil
As mentioned earlier, Sigil is a free, open-source editor for EPUB   (ebook) files. Note from Jane:   This post has been updated to reflect changes in tools available on the market. chapter to your ebook, look for the menu button that looks like this (“Add Existing Files”):

Here’s   what my Sigil work area looks like after importing two chapters:

Your turn: What tricks or tips do you have to share about creating and editing EPUB files? Next steps:

Download   and install the Sigil software if needed. So if your book is in multiple Word files, you’ll have a very large copy-and-paste job ahead of you. My assumptions are that you don’t want to become a Microsoft Word ninja and that you may desire to edit your ebook file outside of Word. However, it will cost you. If your entire book manuscript was in that one file, you’ll need to break it into chapters. (Not all ebook distributors are so kind in their terms.)
Once you’ve downloaded the EPUB file from the automated conversion process, you may be happy with it exactly as is, or you may want to open it up in Calibre or Sigil to make adjustments. The functionality is so far limited, but—as before—you can load up your EPUB in another software, such as Calibre or Sigil, to make further adjustments if you don’t want to keep working in Reedsy. That means that the files you prepare using Amazon’s tools will not work at other retailer or distribution sites, which almost always ask for EPUB format ebook files. However, once you have the application installed, it’s not difficult to work with if you know a little HTML. This is a free plugin for Microsoft Word users that allows you much of the functionality found in the stand-alone software, but right in Word. This option makes the most sense for authors who expect to be producing multiple ebook files over many months or years. This process requires using Mac’s TextEdit software, which is installed for free on every Mac. Amazon’s tools include:

Kindle Create. Adjust the   HTML Saving Options as shown below. To add a second, third, fourth, etc. This is a free software you can download (for Mac or PC) and use to preview and edit your book. Let me know in the comments. Use Amazon’s free tools for creating ebook files
Amazon offers a couple free tools to help you design and format ebook files using Word, but there’s one huge caveat: They will create ebook files that work on Kindle,   but they will not be EPUB files.

There are other forms of social proof, such as book awards, excerpts from great reviews, or praise from well-known writers or publications. Clear identity
For authors, a clear identity equates to the name you publish under and what you publish (or who you publish for). (See Tara Gentile for an example.)
This approach can feel stilted and less effective for novelists especially—unless you’re trying to turn yourself into a personality and/or have the celebrity status of John Grisham. None of the above means you should avoid having a picture of yourself incorporated into your homepage design—quite the contrary—and you should do so if you’re comfortable with it. Most authors I know want to put the focus on the books, not themselves—unless they’re nonfiction authors who are also thought leaders, speakers, or otherwise public figures. Here’s an example from novelist Barbara Freethy’s website. For most authors I work with, it’s far better to have links to their most recent blog posts apparent on the homepage, and use the homepage to more prominently focus on their books. Now it’s your turn: What has been a successful strategy for your website’s homepage? Make it unique to you and what you send. Don’t expect people to linger, read, or scroll through lots of material. Make sure you have a “Books” tab in your menu/navigation so people can quickly jump to or scan all your titles without scrolling. Instead, show an image + excerpt and make people click through to read, so you have room to feature a range of latest posts (without making people scroll forever), plus reserve the sidebar for some other things—like thumbnail images of your book covers. Parting advice
Be focused in what you present on your author homepage—avoid a carnival of images, boxes and buttons. Review your official bio statement for the accomplishments you’re most proud of; they might belong on your homepage as social proof. Your latest book or books
Visitors should see or be introduced to your most recent book (or the book most important to you) on the homepage, without having to scroll or click around to find it. Your website (and homepage) is always a work in progress and evolving alongside your career. 3. Usually that means putting them in the header or footer. Ideally, visitors can click straight to their favored retail site to make a purchase. Whether you’re an emerging author or one that is well-established, it can be challenging to figure out what belongs on your website’s homepage and what to say about yourself on the front door to your online presence. Links to social media sites where you’re active
If you have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere, include clear icons somewhere on the homepage where they can be found quickly. When you have something worthy to put there, add it. This can be a mistake unless your blog is current, popular, and compelling. This clear identity should be at the top of the page and the first thing that people see. This requires careful consideration of your homepage copy and accompanying visuals; together, they should convey the most important aspects of your work (or your “brand”, if you want to think of it that way—but you don’t have to). 1. Most visitors will be very task-oriented; make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, which is most likely information about you and your books. She has three very effective elements here:

An image that ties into her book covers and series
Social proof: #1 New York Times bestselling author
A clear statement of what she writes: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance & Romantic Suspense

If you’re not a bestselling author, that’s okay. 4. Other types of work may have to take a backseat, at least as far as the homepage is concerned. Note what I haven’t recommended so far: a welcome message
For novelists, usually welcome messages on the homepage take up space and don’t say anything meaningful. Here are the key elements of any author homepage that need to distill your message and appeal to your readership. If you also blog
Some authors who blog will put their blog front and center on their homepage. Again, using Barbara Freethy as an example, she shows us the cover of her latest book, with a quick summary (basically back cover or marketing copy), then links to all the retailers at the end. Since visitors to your site may not linger for more than 7 seconds at your site, it’s important to focus on what visitors should remember about you (or your work) after they leave. Don’t make people look; take advantage of their attention while you have it. Knowing how to craft your homepage starts with knowledge of two things:

clarity about your readership or audience—or who you’re addressing
a focused and clear message you want to get across to that audience

If you don’t know your readership that well or your message is fuzzy, that will likely be reflected on your homepage. (I discuss using pop-ups here.)
The most important part of your sign-up is the language you use when asking people to subscribe. However, such messages tend to be popular when you’re an online entrepreneur and need to state upfront what you offer a potential client or customer. Avoid a generic call to action, such as “Sign up for my free email newsletter.” Instead, craft the copy in such a way that no other author could use the same language. Email newsletter sign-up
You should have a dedicated spot for email newsletter sign-up on your homepage, or you should use a pop-up. When you’re featured in the media or online in a way that might bring people to your website, don’t hesitate to play to that on the homepage and direct people to where they can find out more information about whatever you were featured for. Ideally the visuals tie into the work you publish (e.g., book cover designs, themes in your work, any official branding you use). Some authors will put covers of all their books on the homepage, which is fine (here’s an example from author Andrew Shaffer), but don’t assume people will scroll down a long homepage. 2. For unpublished or emerging writers, you may not have anything yet that qualifies as social proof. If you decide to have your blog take up most of your homepage, I recommend that you not show the full text of each post. Your homepage will typically be more effective if you focus on appealing to the audience that you want to grow or focus on the type of work that you want to be known for. That’s also okay. Multi-genre authors, or authors who have multiple types of audiences, usually face difficult choices about what to prioritize and what messaging to use. Keep it clean, with some kind of clear hierarchy or structure. It’s OK to link to just one site if that’s the place where you prefer readers engage with you. Avoid linking to social media sites where you have an account, but don’t engage or actively post.

And what do you think your music represent?E: I always sing about love. JAmusic: Any final words?E: Love Like Ours is out now streaming everywhere! JAMusic: You are a 80s baby and grew up hearing Reggae and Dancehall music on a consistent basis, how will your musical influences from your childhood days compound when you are sitting to write the songs for this project and record it?E: Yes, I’m an 80’s baby – literally born in 1980. JAMusic: With Love Like Ours inevitably getting rotation on local and international radio stations what insight can you give on the power of music and its ability to communicate certain messages verbally and non-verbally? People will think what they want, real fans will know it’s not the wave. JAMusic: How important is it for you to make the separation from riding the waves of Afrobeats and truly being a fan of and growing up on Afro-Caribbean songs.E: It’s not. See you on the road soon and be sure to stay tuned to my socials: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and http://elle-vie.com  I enjoyed their songs first of all. I just care about making music that I love and feel, which has been the core and consistency of my career. I’m the same way today – I generally don’t like to talk a bunch of nonsense online or in interview just to talk. SHARE / Aug 2, 2017 09:51 am

JAMusic: Arguably every publication who’ll interview you about your upcoming Reggae album will ask “Why a Reggae album?” and you’ll respond saying “It’s just perfect timing.” Where are you emotionally right now in your life that is aligning your creativity in this direction?E: I started this album way before the current wave of reggae music being popular (indeed all of my albums have had at least one reggae or reggae influence record on it). I do believe we have one life and in most cases this isn’t a dress rehearsal but if you’re in the line of fire for being happy you have to grab it. JAMusic:  “Love is love. Sometimes it just takes time to come back around.” Can you expound on this and the significance this phrase will play in the upcoming album and more importantly your parents?E: With my parents, their love took its time and came back around to them. I believe that melody is a transformer of energy also. Look for the album in Fall. Thinker. Well spoken. JAMusic:  We live in an era where music lives and dies quickly as a plethora of singles are released daily. It’s evident when you play an album – it’s never just one style of genre. JAMusic: It is said that artistes communicate best through their songs, it’s really the language for them; could you talk a bit on why this is noted as such.E: Sometimes I specifically use my songs as therapy – I get out of my ‘how I feels’, ‘what I wish I had said’, ‘what I wanna say but it may be a bit too harsh sans melody’, ‘I just wanna feel happy’. JAMusic: How do you think your childhood characteristics are reflected in your current status in the industry today?E: I was always very private and quiet as a kid. I appreciate that words have power and like to use then accordingly, also I’m not a fan of invasion of privacy. Reggae, African music, Pop, Dancehall, Soca – that’s all I grew up listening to. We do need LOVE in all its formats and we need it in bundles and bundles. I want to be a part or recreate or add to an already existing song style. Estelle   lives happily with ‘Love Like Ours’

by Biko Kennedy
Give her a pen, paper and a mic and this songbird is sure to melt you heart away. Love Like Ours and this album is just my contribution to that thought. I’m grateful it did. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention/ear?E: Making great resonating truthful music and quality content. JAMusic: Apart from them being timeless, what drew you to all the artistes that influence your sound?E: The music. Always – in a realistic way. Smart. After seeing my mum “muddling through life for her kids” for so many years and not knowing my own dad – on a selfish but deserved note I’m happy for them. Relationships, self esteem, et al but as I grow and get older its becoming a necessity to stand firm in self love, love for each other and all other types of love. Emotionally I’m in an “everything has to be easy” space as in I don’t want to overthink it, approach, sound, I want to do what comes EASIEST to me. We caught up with Estelle to explore her musical journey thus far, her frame of mind presently and her upcoming album led by the Tarrus Riley-assisted Love Like Our.

Read the full piece from Henkin. Nothing Else Ever. Character doesn’t dominate, and the plot doesn’t dominate. Also this month from Glimmer Train:

On Dialogue by Rowena Macdonald
  All of Old. In his recent essay for Glimmer Train, novelist and writing teacher Joshua Henkin comments on the how the roots of character grow the branches of plot. Rather, the seeds of conflict lie in the character, and the chain of events that unfolds couldn’t possibly exist in the exact same way, or have the same repercussions, for someone else. I remind my students to ask themselves a hundred questions about their characters. Ever Tried. Ever Failed. He says:
My graduate students often tell me they have trouble with plot, but what they’re really telling me is they have trouble with character. by Silas Dent Zobal It’s become an old adage of writing advice that, in a great story, character and plot are inextricable from one another. Better yet, they should ask themselves a thousand questions, because in the answers to those questions lie the seeds of a narrative.

Again this is mostly something people do subconsciously without even being aware of it. It is a tough nut, but we hope to crack nonfiction, too. First, if there is no manuscript or only a rough draft, then what are we testing? Increasingly we hold detailed data on audiences and reader preferences in multiple languages and territories. Authors should avoid being too clever with cliff hangers. You can claim one or two books in exchange for sharing your reading data with Jellybooks and Sourcebooks. If you enjoyed this post, then you’ll want to check out The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors. Third, we at Jellybooks are not keen on finding ourselves wedged between authors and agents on the one side and publishers on the other side. They absorb the findings into their knowledge base and it helps them make better judgements. Well, I stated that reader analytics is not an editorial tool, but there is one thing we have noticed when using reader analytics: a lousy ending that is too abrupt and leaves people hanging or wondering, “Why is this ending now?” This has a very negative effect on the recommendation factor for a book. Note from Jane: This piece is a extended version of a piece that originally ran in The Hot Sheet, an email newsletter for authors that I run in partnership with Porter Anderson. This is something that still vexes us. So I guess I’m asking: Are any publishers hiring you for that type of work? Since 2012, they’ve been running the company primarily as a service to help readers discover books, but they’ve now decided to pivot entirely to understanding how people actually read books. It’s the same with books. While companies like Amazon and Apple can track reader usage and data, that data isn’t typically shared with publishers. Jane: When clients hire you, are their needs related predominantly to marketing and promotion of books—to better figure out who to market a book to? Those who do value it for helping them better understand why some things work. There are no hard rules why one cover works better than another with respect to “pick me.” It’s not simply about standing out; a cover has to be appropriate for the targeted audience, fit the title, match the description and much more. It is nonfiction which we haven’t quite cracked yet, because reading behavior for nonfiction is very different to fiction and completion rates matter less here. So Jellybooks gathers willing readers and secures their permission to collect and report on their anonymized reading data to publishers. Readers want some level of closure. Acquisition editors have to make decisions on what the potential of a book is, while what reader analytics measures is the reaction of the audience to the final work. Generally speaking, we focus on fiction, any area of fiction. Rhomberg was kind enough to answer my questions about some of their findings. The goal is to make great books, and for authors to succeed and reach maximum potential, and the way we work with publishers is very much focused on this aspect. Good covers pull people back and give people a reason to finish the book faster, which helps in sustaining a viral cycle with a fast turn-around time. We have routinely asked readers why they pick a book and then compare the answers with results from A/B tests where we could objectively measure the influence a cover has on the actual decisions that test participants made. The most important finding we’ve made, though, is that the word-of-mouth potential for a book—the probability that somebody will recommend a book to others—is heavily influenced by the cover. Second, the time it takes to conduct a reader analytics campaign is a couple of weeks, but the typical acquisition process works on much more compressed timescales, so there is a mismatch here. Therefore we are not the least bit enthusiastic about applying reader analytics to this area even if it was a fit. It’s just incredibly difficult to predict why one cover will work and another will not, because visuals have such a huge impact in the selection process of how people choose books. Our social standing is influenced by what people see we read and recommend and, in that context, covers matters greatly. Earlier this month, Jellybooks announced they would focus exclusively on reader analytics. Jellybooks has already run dozens of reader analytics campaigns spanning hundreds of titles for all types of publishers, and they have provided ebooks for free to thousands of readers. Do you think your testing is applicable across all genres? Andrew Rhomberg, founder of Jellybooks, says they can answer questions such as:

Does the book have a high word-of-mouth potential? Now, it is important to note that a cover that performs well when readers make a selection for themselves will not automatically perform well when they recommend the book. There seems to be no rule that romance is more likely to be finished than literary fiction and vice versa. I   noticed that, at the time of the New York Times article, people were worried that JellyBooks insights could affect acquisitions or editorial decisions about how writers craft their stories. Completion rates seem to be driven almost exclusively by content. We have often seen great book for which nobody abroad seemed to show any interest. We help people around the table understand what factors are responsible for a book not reaching its intended audience. There is a fine balance. We found that literary agents were excited about the tool because they wanted to maximize the sales of a book. Note:   If you would like to experience reader analytics as a test reader, JellyBooks is running a test reading campaign for 10 books with Sourcebooks until end of August that is open to US residents. We have worked with a wide range of fiction, from romance and crime to thrillers and horror, women’s fiction and literary fiction, YA novels and fantasy, Man Booker winners and unabashedly mass-market fiction. Reader analytics data is highly actionable, but also provides common ground for debate between different parties within a publisher. Is the audience a narrow, loyal niche—or a broad, less-committed mass-market audience? Very recently, I was invited to give a presentation at a leading literary agency and the question did come up: Could reader analytics suddenly feature in acquisition decisions? Those guys do lot of product testing. There are always exceptions. Reader analytics also helps cut through internal debates between editorial and marketing when a book is not meeting its forecast. Do you have any specific takeaways to share about the influence of cover art on reading or recommendation behavior? Can you share a story from any recent projects that resulted in a key marketing takeaway or insight? Rhomberg says Jellybooks typically addresses these issues prior to publication, but sometimes they study why a hardcover hasn’t sold well and how performance can be improved for the paperback. The answer is that covers influence readers greatly in their choices and reader are not even aware of it. It is correct that editorial still views us with some degree of suspicion, but that’s mostly editors who have never had first-hand experience of the tool. This is an area where reader analytics can potentially help a lot, not as a gatekeeping tool, but as tool to make good work really shine and spread its wings. Obviously, not every book has the same potential or should be marketed the same way and a large part of our work is to help find the right approach, target the right audience, and use the appropriate channels to reach a book’s natural audience. A/B testing is a wonderful tool for measuring what works, but more often than not the outcome of those tests is surprising. When picking a book, readers are much more influenced by the cover than they realize. This is also an area where we often have discussions with publishers who argue, “All I care about is that people buy the book, that it sells in the bookshop.” And we respond, “No, you need to also pay attention to the word-of-mouth factor, because the bulk of sales will come from people recommending the book to others.”
In addition, as an industry overall, we need to focus on readers being happy with the books they buy. Last year, the New York Times dubbed JellyBooks “Moneyball for Book Publishers.”
If you’re not familiar with Jellybooks, here’s the short version: They research consumer reading behavior, and that research is typically paid for by publishers. We have found that completion rates in each genre can fall anywhere between zero and one hundred percent. Every genre has super-engaging and less engaging books. We prefer acting as evangelists for books, not judges of books. However, romance is generally a much faster read, thrillers are read faster than literary fiction, biographies are the slowest. We call it “truth in advertising,” because cover, title and description are the central advertising message for a book. Which virus is going to spread faster? What excites us is: How we can help a great book get translated, find a foreign publisher and reach as many readers across the world as possible? Using reader analytics and A/B testing, it is possible to quantitatively measure what is the best cover, the best title, the best description, and the best way to position a book. Only then will we grow the industry and only then will we effectively compete with other entertainment options, such as games and virtual reality and games. The last 10 or 20 pages really need to seal the deal. How did a cover influence readers to pick one book and not another? The two effects are distinct and reader analytics provides a tool for measuring these two influences independently of each other, so we look for the cover and package that optimizes for both situations. People in general, and readers in particular, are very much aware that they are being judged by the recipient based on what they recommend. … Usually we address [this] before a book is published, but sometimes we also look at why a hardcover hasn’t met its sales targets and how this could be turned around for the launch of the paperback. They pay close attention to how engaging a game is, if people stay engaged, if it is fun, and much more. On the other hand, the speed with which somebody finishes a book is indeed influenced by the cover. What we have found in countless A/B tests is that covers have a negligible influence on whether somebody will finish a book or not—assuming of course the cover wasn’t wildly misleading, then you do   see an effect. Reader analytics is used to measure the strength of reader engagement with a book. Andrew Rhomberg: We are still very much focused on the publicity, marketing, and sales side of the publishing industry. The cover should raise expectations, but not create misleading expectations. Reader analytics in its current form is still useful for nonfiction with a strong story arc, like a Malcolm Gladwell, but for other books it is much more difficult to measure reader behavior because nonfiction books are often purchased or downloaded to be read “some day.” So that means they have a high degree of optionality. This surprised many publishers, but it makes perfect sense. Think of a virus that needs 14 days to become infectious versus one that needs only 5 days. My answer was: very unlikely. If books want to compete with games in the 21st century, then author, agents and publishers will need to pay just as much attention to whether readers are entertained, informed, and content with their book purchases, as people are who play computer games. One category we haven’t done yet—more an accident of history than reader analytics not being suitable for it—is science fiction. What are the optimal cover, title, and description for a book? And has one genre been the favorite of yours (or your clients) for testing?

Comments – wpDiscuz. Gravity Forms. A long time ago, I used Disqus for comments, but the load time and reliability weren’t so great. Redirection. Google search prioritize results that are mobile friendly, so everyone should have a site that looks great and works well on mobile devices. Note from Jane:   This post is occasionally updated to keep up with changes in the WordPress ecosystem and reflect the evolution of my own site. This used to be my go-to plugin for forms until I bought the premium plugin Gravity Forms. WordPress Plugins I Highly Recommend

WordPress SEO by Yoast. (See next items). This is pretty much the standard and free version that most people use. The AMP plugin accomplishes that without you having to know or do anything fancy. If you’ve been blogging for a long time, or have large volumes of content available on your site that people need to search/sort through, Relevanssi is an invaluable plugin for helping streamline the search functionality of your website. AMP. This makes sure that the AMP plugin plays well with your Yoast plugin, plus gives you customization options for AMP. Try it for free by downloading the “lite” version. If you add Stripe functionality—also available from Gravity at an additional cost—then you can accept credit card payments through your Gravity Forms. Gravity is hands down the best plugin for building advanced and feature-rich forms on your site. You can avoid the “bad” ones by choosing highly rated and popular plugins that are frequently updated. Email Address Encoder. A Few Others I Like

Magic Action Box Pro. Much of the functionality you need, someone else needs, too—which means there’s probably a plugin that provides it, without you having to hire additional help or learn how to change the WordPress code. This plu-in is like a friendly SEO expert looking over your shoulder (in a good way), to help you optimize your pages, posts, and site metadata. Poorly written plugins can be buggy and present site security risks. But before I get to the list of plugins I love and recommend, there are some risks to using them:

First, plugins can sometimes conflict with your WordPress theme. Without further ado, here’s my list of indispensable WordPress plugins. Image Widget. What WordPress plugins can’t you live without? Again, add them carefully and study the results. This helps manage 301 redirects and keeps track of 404 (page not found) errors. Basically, this means that if permalinks of my pages or posts change for some reason, I can redirect people easily and quickly. Akismet. (Anything that hasn’t been updated in more than a year is best avoided.)
Plugins can make your site run more slowly, but the trade-off is usually worth it. This is the solution I chose, and I like it much better. As every WordPress site owner knows (at least those of you who self-host), plugins are one of the most wonderful and useful things about WordPress. Every site should have a contact form. This is the plugin developed by the WordPress folks themselves and is kind of like getting about two dozen plugins in one. Contact Form 7. If you manage contributors to your site, or use outsiders to help edit or manage your content, this plugin can help you manage what permissions they have behind the scenes. This is a simple plugin that easily allows you to add images to the widget sections of your website (usually the sidebar and footer). You should add them carefully and one at a time—and ensure that everything works the same as it did before. Plugins may also interfere with each other. Relevanssi. One way to do that is to optimize for AMP (Google’s initiative to make websites load fast on mobile). Jetpack. If you upgrade Jetpack, it c an also provide you with security scanning and backups of your site. OK, now it’s your turn. Essential for stopping comment spam and might even be pre-installed for you. User Role Editor. I use Jetpack for lots of functionality across my site, such as: sharing buttons at the end of blog posts and pages, show related content after posts, brute force attack protection (makes your site more secure), better image loading, and downtime monitoring. You can make it as simple or as complex as you like, and also create multiple contact forms. If you don’t actively use a plugin, it’s best to deactivate and delete it. This premium plugin creates call-to-action “boxes” at specific places on your site—e.g., at the beginning and end of every blog post or static page, or wherever you manually add it. If something “breaks” soon after you add a plugin, that’s the most likely cause of the problem. Read more about it here. Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP. This plugin is ideal even for people who don’t know what SEO means—in fact, it’s a good place to start. Just make sure your site is secure (has an SSL certificate) before you accept payments directly through your site. This ensure that spammers and other bad actors can’t scrape your email address from your website. If you consistently have a range of books or products to offer your readers, you’ll love this.

In just under four minutes, the Jamaican artist packages a story of corruption into a catchy song that allows the message to sink in deeper with each replay of the single. SHARE / Jul 25, 2017 01:44 pm

Today, Protoje brings his words to life with cinematic visuals for his latest single. Protoje’s single “Blxxd Money” is definitely the latter. Director, Che Kothari explains that “Blxxd Money” had the instant energy of a soundtrack. Many of us only picture the beautiful, carefree side of the tropical island but “Blxxd Money” tells the tale of two cities by bringing attention to the darker realities that are swept under the rug.“There is a lyric in the song that says: ‘If what you see nuh really phase you, then you are the problem that we face too,’” Protoje explains. “The visual is aimed to enhance the storytelling found in the song, illustrating how corruption at the top will inevitably make its way to the ground,” says Kothari. However with every corner of the globe at his fingertips, Protoje is careful to consider the impact of his words and in turn, uses his platform as a means to highlight topics that are near to his heart. Protoje Delivers Cinematic Visuals for Powerful “Blxxd Money” Single

by Contributed
There are some songs that need interesting visuals to make it more appealing, and others that are so vivid that the entire picture instantly paints itself within each listener’s mind.  It’s easy to create quick, formulaic music that only aims to keep the party going. “The song itself speaks more about corruption on a high level, but with the video we wanted to illustrate how corruption seeps through all levels of society, and how we often become complicit in its perpetuation.”

SHARE / Jul 21, 2017 10:35 pm Watch Reggae Sumfest 2017 Live! by Biko Kennedy
Be a part of the Reggae Sumfest 2017 experience!

Probably the best mindset to have when approaching social media is flexibility and patience. What should authors do on social media? If you only show up when you have a book to promote, you’re not going to be effective. It takes time to develop relationships and build trust—to belong to a community—through social media. Your communication may exhibit less curiosity and interest in others, and be more focused on book sales—not to mention you’ll be entering social environments where you’re a stranger in a strange land, unaware of the local “language”, etiquette or history. However, Facebook is by far the biggest social media network and is considered the most important for authors of general-interest works that appeal to the traditional demographic of book buyers (adult women). Mostly, it needs to be sustainable, or something you can continue doing indefinitely. If so, which social media sites should I use? Once you do have a baseline of interest, here are some posts to help you become more strategic in your use:

How to Be Active on Social Media Without Losing Your Mind
How to Run Short-Term Social Media Campaigns
How to Use Facebook Contests and Giveaways to Build a Fanbase
When Less Is More on Social Media

Parting advice
There’s a ton of bad advice out there about book marketing and promotion, and lots of it relates to social media. It won’t be cheap over the long run, and it may not give you much return on investment, but if it seems a “must” that you have something (because your publisher or agent says so),   then hire out its care and maintenance. Do authors have to use social media? It works best as part of a holistic book marketing and promotion strategy. However, to ignore social media entirely is to ignore where the majority of your intended readership is probably showing up on a daily basis. There isn’t a single answer to this question that works for every author. Social media rewards you showing up, consistently, with a voice, personality, or message that will become identified with you over time. Take the long view—which is always your best bet with any social media activity. For an author looking to reach the most people in one place, and gain excellent marketing insights and advertising opportunities, it’s hard to do better. If you only show up to talk about yourself, you’re not going to be effective. Photo credit: lilongd via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA
When I work with authors who have a book launch coming up, and they’ve so far kept social media out of their life, three questions immediately arise:

Do I have to use social media? There’s unfortunate Catch-22 for every author in this situation: If your only motivation to use social media is that you feel you must to market and promote your book, your efforts are likely to be undercut by your own means-to-an-end approach. For first-time authors especially, the existing social media community is rarely clamoring for you to join them and talk about your book, unless you already have an audience or readership (a developed platform) through some other means. To gain more insight on using Facebook:

Facebook for Authors: Getting Started Guide
The Pros and Cons of Using a Facebook Profile But Not an Official Business Page
Best Practices for Author Facebook Pages and Groups

If you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, or if your content is very visual or multimedia driven, then it’s worth considering Instagram or Tumblr. Just as you wouldn’t ask someone for $20 right after meeting them at a party, you wouldn’t ask people on social media to make a purchase right after becoming acquainted. If you only show up because you’ve been told to, you’re going to become boring or insufferable—the No. If you hate, dread, avoid, or rail against social media, don’t use it. No. There are other things you can do: write guest posts or articles for website and blogs, be a guest on podcasts or vlogs, do your own audio or video content, teach online classes, organize in-person events or signings, participate on private message boards, be a guest at book clubs, and reach out personally to people in your network through a personal email (which is always underestimated and undervalued as a marketing and promotion tool). You won’t be alone in doing so. As is often repeated, it’s called social media because it’s supposed to be social. Pinterest is a strong choice for nonfiction work in the categories of crafting, home decor, fashion, and other stereotypically female-dominated interest areas. Or what you should be curious or care about. Or what you should do with your free time. It’s an opportunity to learn about your readership as well as better establish your platform—but not necessarily an opportunity to hard sell the book you’re about to release (assuming that release is less than six or twelve months away). In the end, social media is just one component of your author platform, and not necessarily the most important component. Assuming you have the funds, you can also hire someone to create and manage social media accounts for you. Which networks should authors use? So where does that leave you? Plus, the social networks themselves are ever-changing, and everyone has to adapt their techniques over time. Serious nonfiction writers and journalists—or those writing anything with a predominant current events angle—should consider Twitter. Let’s answer those three questions more directly. It depends on the work(s) you’re writing, what your strengths and interests are, and where your audience might best be engaged. Whenever I’m asked this, my mind goes blank, maybe because it’s like asking me how you should be as a person. While there’s no harm in copying other authors’ approaches or strategies on social media, or experimenting with the advice you read or hear about, I find that every author ultimately has to come up with their own unique model that works for them—which evolves over time as your career grows and as your experience grows. I have no idea. 1 cardinal sin of social media. What should I do on social media? When authors ask me “What should I post?” they’re likely thinking there’s some marketing playbook or strategy guide they need to follow in order to produce results. While that can be true once you have a foundation established—once you have work out there, some kind of following, and a readership that’s interested in what books you’re releasing next—at the beginning stages of your activity, what you should post is a fairly personal consideration.

To the best of your ability, try to approach the pitch process as part of the business of being a writer. Rather, it’s all the years of work leading up to that moment, and how someone’s years of experience give them the appearance of success—that feeling that they’re on the verge of breaking out. This is your chance to have a meaningful conversation with an industry insider about the market for your work. So come up with a 30-60 second pitch for your work using one of the following methods. Stop at a moment of tension and wait. Because of this, some conferences wisely provide special rooms writers can retreat to after an appointment or pitch, staffed with knowledgeable folks, who talk them through the emotional high or low they’ve just experienced. If you can, try to elicit answers that would help you develop next steps after the conference. When agents and editors meet you and feel like they’d love to work with you, even if the project you’re pitching isn’t a good fit, then you’re on your way to breaking out. Brevity is your friend! In today’s publishing environment, agents and editors look for people they’d enjoy working with, who are focused on long-term career growth and success. “Education” or “course correction” are not the dream. But this mindset is tough to adopt. While I’d try memorizing it, don’t hesitate to write it down and read it from an index card. If you’re inexperienced in pitching, you are more likely to walk into the meeting nervous and anxious—and unsure what to expect. Develop a specific list of questions that, if answered, would help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your project or position. Agents and editors are human, too, and don’t want to reject you to your face. That’s exactly what you   don’t want to do. Dedication is often assumed; salability is not. Photo credit: World Relief Spokane via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND
This summer, I’ll be speaking at the Midwest Writers Workshop (Muncie, Indiana) and the Writer’s Digest Conference   (New York City). They demonstrate curiosity and engagement. Option 3 (novels/narratives)

Character name/description
The conflict they’re going through
The choices they have to make

Nonfiction pitches (not narratives)
Answer the following three questions:

So what: What is the relevance of your topic and why is it important? Never talk for as long as possible—it can take a mere 15 seconds to deliver a convincing storyline. Most writers, just like the ones who cold query, get rejected in a business-like fashion upon submitting their materials. Just because you have three minutes (or 5 or 10) doesn’t mean you should take up all the time. I’ve attended several hundred conferences over the course of my career, and listened to perhaps thousands of pitches. It also puts you in the extremely unfavorable position of having to   rush to get something done and possibly not put forth your best work. You don’t want to be in that panic, trust me. Don’t rely on an emotional approach or appeal. If you demonstrate flexibility and openness to feedback during the pitch, the agent or editor will remember that. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Whose problems will it solve? Sometimes just five minutes of very insightful professional advice can change your perspective, approach, or slant. What keeps him from getting it? Some writers expect their heart and their passion for their book to carry the pitch. Breakout folks tend to ask smart questions. If you become overly focused on this mythic opportunity—and hearing that “yes” or “no” verdict—you might miss out on the biggest benefit of the pitch experience, which is getting instant feedback on your project. People who have that breakout feeling look and feel prepared, and demonstrate a kind of easy confidence that makes them a pleasure to talk to. But this number is ultimately meaningless. Some writers place too much importance on the pitch, treating it as the official verdict on whether they should continue as a writer or continue with a particular project. The truth is that in-person pitches have about the same success rate as a cold query, less than 1 percent typically. When is the right time to pitch agents? Here’s how to make it a little easier on yourself. Who are you: Why do you have the authority, credibility, and/or platform to be the author of this book? Compensate by overpreparing. That said, if you’ve pitched before you should have, I think it’s much better to take the time you need to prepare and polish your work before sending. Many writers compare notes with each other at conferences, to see how many manuscript requests they scored. It’s just how the business works, and you have little control over how agents or editors respond after the fact. Option 2 (novels/narratives)  

What does your character want
Why does he want it? I don’t recommend pitching your work unless you have submission-ready material—a completed, polished manuscript or book proposal, ready to go. Demonstrate openness to feedback. Who cares: Who is this book going to help? But whenever engaging in a business conversation (which is what a pitch is), it’s important to have some distance and perspective. Agents and editors can tell they don’t have to fear saying the wrong thing around such a writer, or hurting their feelings. And perhaps most important, they appear flexible but resilient when dealing with the business side of publishing. They know that getting an idea shot down isn’t personal, and they’re more likely to be receptive to a conversation about the marketability of a project and alternative routes to success. Be prepared for this, no matter how well the pitch went. It’s normal to be nervous. You want to hear their feedback and reaction. They may find it easier to say in person, “Sure, send us X pages.” And this is the dirty secret of pitch appointments: there’s a very high rate of agents and editors requesting materials. For all those writers who walk away disappointed from a pitch experience, remember that success is rarely attained in those specific five to fifteen minutes. The good news is that agents/editors know too well the pressure you’re feeling, and they’ll be very forgiving of your nerves. And all of that anxious energy can detract from the quality of the pitch, particularly if you haven’t prepared what you’re going to say. That’s why I find it’s usually a pleasure to be pitched by authors who have a business or marketing background. You have to know how to position and sell yourself, rather than stress your dedication to your work. A writer who’s too invested in a single project, and seeks validation for a book they’ve worked on for a decade or more, can be a red flag. Even worse, sometimes there is no rejection at all, just silence. Rather than talk and talk, remind yourself that it’s OK not to explain all the details or the final outcome. There’s not really any way to fake that, and it’s what agents and editors are ultimately looking for. The dream is “get an agent” or “get published.”
Writers often experience the pitch as a highly intense, emotional, and personal process. Keep it short. While it’s important to get out there and interact with professionals and understand how to pitch your work—and treat your publishing effort like the business that it is or can be—pitching can be a difficult task for the new writer. All you can control is your professionalism during the pitch, and how you steer the conversation while you have the agent or editor’s ear. Option 1 (novels/narratives)
I have a completed   [word count][genre]   titled   [title]   about   [protagonist name + small description]   who   [conflict]. Take the pressure off: it really isn’t a make-it-or-break-it moment. Bring questions with you. Unfortunately, feeling passionate about your work doesn’t always translate into a persuasive pitch. If possible, let the agent guide the discussion; find out what’s caught their attention or what piece is missing. It doesn’t do you much good to get an invitation to send materials, then not be able to follow up until the agent or editor has lost enthusiasm or forgotten all about you. Rushing isn’t good for anyone in the end. The longer you talk, the less time the agent or editor is talking. It’s a sign of a writer stagnating rather than growing. But it’s harder for them to help if you haven’t come prepared with a focused pitch. Such information can dramatically reduce future frustration and shorten your path to publication. Be prepared for a lukewarm (or no) response afterward. When I was an acquiring editor, writers who pitched me would often fill the first few minutes with apologies for being nervous, or rambling about inconsequential details of their personal life or writing life. Both events involve agent/editor appointments, and few things instill such a high level of anxiety in writers as an agent pitch.

And whether you really need to request permission depends on whether your use would fall under fair use guidelines. So, putting something in your own words or paraphrasing is usually okay, as long as it’s not too close to the way the original idea was expressed. If you’ve gone above and beyond in your efforts to seek permission, but cannot determine the copyright holder, reach the copyright holder, or get a response from a copyright holder (and you have documented it), this will be weighed as part of the penalty for infringement. Also, permission is generally granted for a specific print run or period of time. What   if you don’t get a response or the conditions are unreasonable? Ideas are not protected by copyright, but the expression of those ideas is protected. If you decide not to seek permission because you plan to use a fair use argument, be prepared with the best-possible case to defend your use of the copyrighted content in the event that you are sued. If you’re seeking permission to quote from a book, look on the copyright page for the rights holder; it’s usually the author. It’s hard to say, but when I worked at a mid-size publisher, we advised authors to be prepared to pay   $1,000–$3,000 for all necessary permissions fees if they were quoting regularly and at length. However, there is something known as a “good faith search” option. Determining what’s fair use is a gray area, and depends on your risk tolerance. Sample Permissions Letter For example, if you seek permission for a 5,000-copy print run, you’ll need to secure permission a second time if you go back to press. If it’s in a newspaper, magazine, or an online publication, you should seek permission from the publication if the photo is taken by one of their staff photographers or otherwise created by staff. It will be less necessary if you’re contacting publishers, who often have their own form that you need to sign or complete. Therefore, how you handle copyrighted content depends on how risk averse you are. Here’s a flowchart that can help you evaluate what you might need to ask permission for. Harpercollins permissions   information
Penguin Random House permissions portal
Macmillan permissions
Simon & Schuster permissions
Hachette permissions

Will   you be charged? (And if you publish a second edition, you’ll need to seek permission again.)
If you’re under contract with a publisher
Just about every traditional publisher provides their authors with a permissions form to use for their project (be sure to ask if you haven’t received one!),   but if you’re a self-publishing author, or you’re working with a new or inexperienced house, you may need to create your own. You can also try contacting the author or the author’s literary agent or estate. If you want to use copyrighted material in your own published work (whether a print book, magazine, or online venue), then it may be necessary to request formal permission for its use. To request permission from a publisher, visit their website and look for the Permissions or Rights department. If you want to consult with someone on permissions
I recommend my colleague Kelly Figueroa-Ray, who has experience in permissions and proper use of citations. If you seek permission, you need to identify the rights holder
Once you’ve decided to seek permission, the next task, and probably the most difficult, is identifying who currently holds the copyright or licensing to the work. To help you get started, I’ve created a sample permissions letter you can customize; it will be especially helpful if you’re contacting authors or individuals for permission. The only way your use of copyright is tested is by way of a lawsuit. With a little editing or reworking, it may possible for you to abide by fair use guidelines; in such cases, you don’t have to seek permission. However, assuming the book is currently in print and on sale, normally you contact the publisher for permission. It will not always be clear who the copyright holder is, or if the work is even under copyright. She has also been invaluable in her insight and feedback on the information offered in this post. If you’ve found the photo online, you need to figure out where it originated from and/or who it’s originally credited to. (Generally, it’s best to go to whomever seems the most accessible and responsive.)
If the book is out of print (sometimes you can tell because editions are only available for sale from third parties on Amazon), or if the publisher is out of business or otherwise unreachable, you should try to contact the author, assuming they are listed as the rights holder on the copyright page. Here are your starting points. Generally, you or your publisher will want nonexclusive   world rights   to the quoted material. Sometimes, the best strategy is to avoid seeking permission in the first place. This is not protection, however, from being sued or being found guilty of infringement. Here is an excellent guide from Stanford on how to search the government records. Here are links to the New York publishers’ rights departments, with instructions on how to request permission. First, verify the actual source of the text. That is, there is no general policing of copyright. To eliminate all possible risk, then it’s best to either ask for permission or eliminate use of the copyrighted material in your own work. Sometimes writers use quotes from Goodreads or other online sources without verifying the accuracy of those quotes. Two important caveats about this chart

Nothing can stop someone from suing you if you use their copyrighted work in your published work. You can also check government records. (Try using Google Image Search.) When in doubt, seek permission from the photographer, keeping in mind that many photographers work through large-scale agencies such as Getty for licensing and permissions. If you can’t wait to hear back, or if you can’t afford the fees, you should not use the work in your own. (Publishers don’t cover permissions fees for authors, except in special cases.) If you’re seeking permission for use that is nonprofit or educational in nature, the fees may be lower or waived. (As someone who is misattributed on Goodreads, I can confirm: people are misattributed all the time.)   If you don’t know the source, and you don’t know the length of the source work, and you don’t know if what you are quoting is the “heart” of the work, then you are putting yourself at risk of infringement. Photo permissions can get complex quickly if they feature models (you may need a model release in addition to permission) or trademarked products. Most published books, as well as other materials, have been officially registered with the US Copyright Office. For photo or image permissions: Where does the photo appear? “Nonexclusive” means you’re not preventing the copyright owner from doing whatever they want with the original material; “world rights” means you have the ability to distribute and sell your own work, with the quoted material, anywhere in the world, which is almost always a necessity given the digital world we live in. That’s unfortunate, but there is little you can do.

(Episodes of premium or paid content do not carry ads.) Tapas primarily uses Google AdSense and Facebook Audience Network to power the ads. When I first started writing, it was for my own personal entertainment. Not many American authors are familiar with Tapas Media, probably because it first gained its foothold in South Korea—plus, its primary niche has been comics. The platform   has more than 1.6 million readers, primarily in North America. Tapas alerted me to two creators in particular who have started pulling in meaningful audiences and earnings:   Goh Chun Hoong (of DarkBox) from Malaysia who produces a webcomic, and Jessica Chapman in the United States who writes fiction. My story was interesting enough to quickly gain me readers on this new platform despite starting from the bottom once again. Last year Tapas offered to publish us as premium paid content, and we started to earn an average monthly income of $2,000. Jessica Sanchez replied to my first email in just a couple of hours, and she was just so nice and friendly that it made me wished I had joined sooner. Did it kind of happen by itself, or did you market and promote what you were doing elsewhere? What are the earnings from? Then you come to realize that’s probably going to be near impossible, given the competition and your own lack of experience, expertise, and connections. Both are good in their own way, but I honestly prefer Tapas overall. I do still practice cross-promotion with long time followers on Wattpad, who still check out my story sample and come over to Tapas. Since its launch in October 2012, Tapas Media has gathered about 23,000 creators; readers spend about 30 minutes per month reading in the app, and they open the app about 20 times per month. Heck, I think most young and budding authors do. They were gracious enough to answer my questions about their experience so far. We respond to every single private message and wall post on our social media, and we appreciate readers’ effort to write to us. I plan to move most of my Wattpad books over, and add all my new ideas on to this site exclusively. Still, Tapas’s senior director of growth, Josh Bakken, says, “If the Tapas community likes something, they’re usually not shy about rewarding it. Our editors are spending a lot of time there now. How did you develop a readership? Trending is a combination of Subscribers, Reads, Likes, and Comments over hours. Do you expect to keep working with Tapas? We work very hard on our work and we observe readers’ comments and responses closely. How much do you engage with the readers, if at all? I make sure to keep them up to date with any new promotions and sales, which some do participate in. This usually includes giving out free keys to unlock chapters or doing a sale on the entire book. Some genres perform better on one platform than another. I found that the site and app were well put together and easy to navigate, which in my mind is a great indication of how good the site is. To this day I still haven’t gotten a reply to a request I sent to the Wattpad team. However, I’ve been particularly interested in Tapas because of the way it might help monetize serials or short works through a mobile and web platform—kind of like Wattpad, with some e-commerce and gamification added. No big-time agency is likely to give new talent like you the time of day, no matter how good your work is. I never expected to gain fans or readers, but I did, and Tapas has helped me to reach a new level in my career. Goh:   Tapas understands that besides breathing to live, artists also need to eat and pay their bills. Even though I was popular on Wattpad, it didn’t exactly get me anything tangible. All creators who self-publish start out by offering their episodes for free. To create a free account at Tapas, visit the   Tapas website, and be sure to check out   Tapas’s terms of service. However, a few have still noted their appreciation of my acknowledgment of them, which I think is very important because I truly do value and appreciate each reader. Overall though, I think the majority of my readers come from Tapas. Readers can tip the creator using the app’s virtual currency. Jessica: I heard about the site from a fellow Wattpad author a few months ago and decided to look into it. This typically takes the form of a small banner ad at the top of each episode’s comment section, and/or ad placement at the end of free episodes. Their method of monetizing for creators is innovative. I found that refreshing, as I usually expect to wait about two weeks for a reply from most any other place. (Heck, most major store retailers can’t make a decent page to shop at.)
After that I contacted Tapas for more information, they patiently and promptly answered all my questions. On the reader-facing side, Tapas offers bite-sized stories and the ability to try any story free before purchasing or “unlocking” installments. It has also been a great encouragement to me as a writer, because everyone hopes to make money off their passion, but not everyone finds a way to. Jessica:   Mostly my revenue is from purchased chapters. It’s good that the creator tries them out and finds the best platforms that suit their genre. Are you publishing new work on Tapas or work that’s been previously published elsewhere? Goh:   We are publishing mainly on Tapas, Line Webtoon and 9gag. I did also try Amazon self-publishing for a bit, although it was not exactly productive. Jessica:   I do. (I didn’t see any red flags, but always be fully informed.) I have lots of upcoming story ideas, and they will most likely only be debuted on Tapas. Goh: We   used social media to engage with the readers. However, after moving the books to this new platform exclusively and seeing its quick success, I decided that I will also be adding my other works, and new original ideas to Tapas that have never been posted anywhere else (not until later this year though). Tapastic [the previous name of Tapas] is one of those sites. (Here’s a recent interview with Weir and Sarah Andersen about their new fantasy comics collaboration for Tapas.)
In May, Tapas announced new functionality for creators to self-publish through their platform. We had a 24-hour tipping event in February where the goal was for readers to tip 2.5 million coins to their favorite creators. In less than a month, I made more on Tapas than from my last full-time paycheck. After we published on Tapas with its unique ad revenue sharing with creators, we started to make some small income. How much have you earned and how has this made a difference in your life (professional or personal)? This is a great help since I work to help support my mom and disabled little brother at home, and can only manage to find a minimum wage job that usually offers less than full-time with no benefits. Jessica:   Wattpad is the only other site I use, though it’s no longer my main focus, and will soon be down to just a few books for my longtime loyal readers. However, while Tapas is quickly growing into a popular webcomic and now fiction site, the competition is still far less than that of other places. They ended up tipping over 4.5 million!”

Leveling up to premium content. Tapas is also helping a lot on promoting Silent Horror on their portal. I’m a very creative person, and it’s not hard for me to develop brand-new concepts and run with them. Surprisingly, not every author participates in these, fearing they’ll lose money instead of realizing they will hook new readers, so honestly this has also helped me stand out over others. To unlock new installments, a reader might invite friends to read, watch ads, complete some other offer, or simply wait. At the end of each book I plan to do a short author’s note to thank them all again, which hopefully prompts them to like and follow me, not just my books. Which is a shame, because I have seen so much talent get left in the dust. Bakken says, “The easiest way to grab the attention of the content team is to have a Trending or Popular title in our Novels section. Publishing online at venues like Tapas helps not bad writers, but good ones gain exposure they might normally never receive. How quickly did a readership develop? To us, Tapas is the best platform for indie creators. Goh:   It takes time, hard work and persistence to develop readership and fans. In short, I think traditional publishing has simply become too difficult. I love talking to my readers in those ways, showing them I’m not just someone who wants money, but that I’m a real person who simply loves to write! This has been way better than any of my other online experiences, and I think it’s ideal for any new and serious author. Jessica:   I have no online presence aside from my Wattpad. Most of those were gained by readers watching ads and not direct purchases. Depending on various factors, the creator earns between 60 and 85 percent of the real-world monetary value of the tip. Our main focus is to expose our work to as many readers as we can. Creators can elect to have advertising displayed in their work and receive 30 percent of the revenue. That’s why I’m so excited to post my work on a site where I actually see progress, both in gaining popularity and in developing an income. Goh:   In the early stages, we published our work on numerous free hosting sites like many other creators did. Headquartered in San Francisco and Seoul, Tapas has received more than $5 million in funding to date. At one time I had dreamed of getting published traditionally and having my books printed in stores. The whole team is just so helpful! Do you participate on any other publishing platforms or self-publish your work? Goh:   Currently we are publishing all latest and premium content with Tapas. But the value of the virtual currency, as you might imagine, is rather small—a fraction of a cent. I try to talk to almost all my readers like I used to on Wattpad, but not all of them chat back. I do receive tips, but they are not as consistent so I can’t really count their value yet. Popular is similar, but over days.”

It’s been about two months since the platform was opened to all, and authors are starting to see returns on their effort. Jane: Why did you begin publishing on Tapas, or what drew you to it? Goh:   We earned zero income in the first year. Aside from that, the Tapas team does their own promotions for authors who are interested, which I always am. Jessica:   The first book I published on Tapas, The Dragon Prince’s Bride, was once my main series on Wattpad, and gained almost 2.5 million reads in less than a year. Jessica:   Since my debut on Tapas just last month, I’ve gained 11,000 subscribers, and over 140,000 reads. Last year, a new startup, Tapas Media, joined the US digital publishing scene, hoping   to offer a viable business model and distribution platform for authors and publishers to profit from serialization. Since my book gained popularity on popular lists and the site’s front page, I get a lot of interested people, even those who usually don’t read novels on there. But Tapas says they will move stories that show promise to their premium model, where readers have to pay to continue reading episodes. Honestly, since so many people use their computers and phones for everything nowadays, I think in time online publishing, not necessarily self-publishing, might overtake traditional routes, giving people the chance to read awesome books they would never be able to find on a store shelf. In 2016, Tapas announced a partnership with Andy Weir of   The Martian   as well as Hachette to release serialized content. Tipping. Up until now, it was only possible to publish your work on the platform by submitting it to the Tapas content team; now any author can create an account, set up a new work, and begin uploading episodes of either a novel or comic. Monetization currently happens in one of three ways:

Advertising.

He lives in San Francisco, California. Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Ultimate Illustrated History documents Marley’s and the Wailers’ role in spreading reggae music around the globe. Their evolution from an early-60s Jamaican ska group to international superstars was not just improbable, but unprecedented for an act from a third-world nation. With over 75 million albums sold worldwide, an appeal that spans generations, and still influencing artists today, their legacy is something most other acts only dream of. Unterberger is also the author of The Rough Guide to Music USA, a guidebook to the evolution of regional popular music styles throughout America in the 20th century, and The Rough Guide to Jimi Hendrix. Author Richie Unterberger examines all aspects of their career, from the early days, their recorded output, as well as the roles and careers of other Wailers, most notably Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The resulting package is authoritative but also beautifully designed and illustrated, featuring 300 images of rare memorabilia, as well as fantastic performance and candid off-stage photography. Additionally, Unterberger delves into the influence of the Rastafari movement on the musicians’ lives and music, and on controversial incidents like the breakup of the original Wailers in the mid-1970s; the attempted assassination of Marley in 1976; and his premature death in 1981. He is a frequent contributor to MOJO and Record Collector, and has written hundreds of liner notes for CD reissues. BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS: The Ultimate Illustrated History

by Contributed
The new book, BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS: The Ultimate Illustrated History (Voyageur Press, September 1, 2017 / US $35) documents the Jamaican legends’ crucial role in establishing reggae’s global popularity and  enduring influence with socially conscious lyrics that made Marley a global symbol of pride and justice. 

SHARE / Jul 6, 2017 03:37 pm

More than three decades after Bob Marley’s death, Bob Marley and the Wailers remain among the most famous bands of all time. This big, hardcover book illuminates Bob Marley and the Wailers’ life and times like no other history of the band. Richie Unterberger is the author of numerous rock history books, and his most recent book is Fleetwood Mac: The Ultimate Illustrated History. He teaches courses on rock music history at the College of Marin, the University of San Francisco, and City College of San Francisco.

Give yourself time to digest it and let the emotional reaction dissipate. 6. Then you’ll have distance and be in a position to make the best decision for the work. I’ve found that writers, if they trust the source, generally respond in a few key ways. Know when you’re seeking a second opinion because you’re looking for additional clarity or dialogue (because it always helps to talk these things through), and when you’re trying to get someone else to make the hard decisions for you. This is the stereotypical response of the inexperienced writer, who gets prickly and looks for ways to defend their work or excuse the weaknesses. I’ve often heard experienced novelists say that when they receive feedback that makes them angry or upset, they immediately put it away and don’t act on it. Their work is more enlightened because it’s not blindly following in the footsteps of all the other mediocre work out there. You ask questions. 1. This is not a bad idea, assuming you have the time (and the resources, budget and/or necessary relationships). Its success isn’t a surprise to me because writers who receive criticism, constructive or otherwise, almost never forget it—and this post gave writers of all stripes an opportunity to sigh with satisfaction and say, “I knew it all along. Whether you react to feedback with ease or anger, it’s always wise to sit on feedback for at least a few days before making any big decisions about it, or even responding to it. Such changes can rarely be made overnight or even in a week or month. (And it’s right to do so—not all feedback is useful.) But you also should consider evidence that the feedback might be right. Worse things could happen. Some writers do exactly the opposite of defend their work: they immediately look for ways to fix the problem. At some point, the writer’s first chapter was criticized. But easy or fast fixes tend to have a high failure rate. 3. No shame in it. “My writing group loves this” is a common defense. If you pull on one thread in a story, or reconsider something as seemingly simple as your first page, you’ve suddenly got a rewrite on your hands. You sit on the feedback for a while. Not just that, they try to fix the problem within 24 hours of it being pointed out. But they could be. Or, “I worked with [another] professional editor.”
It’s perfectly normal to think of all the reasons the feedback might be wrong. (And that’s why writing groups can be more dangerous than helpful.)
But how about cases where the person offering feedback is an experienced professional—someone who makes a living at offering and selling informed feedback? And hiding from it may mean abandoning the project, either temporarily or for good. But it can put responsibility on other people—who may not be appropriate—to figure out the best way forward with your work. Alternatively, writers may cite other positive opinions they’ve received. This is my theory as to why so many prologues exist in unpublished manuscripts. With any piece of feedback you receive, whether positive or negative, there were a million choices that went into crafting that feedback. This can be as problematic as ignoring feedback because it results in cosmetic changes that don’t really affect the quality of the work. (Like myself?)
Let’s assume (and I know it can be a big assumption) that the experienced professional is self-aware and careful, and can offer feedback that’s useful and isn’t delivered in bad faith—that it’s an accurate and fair assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the work, at least from a market perspective. If the feedback is discouraging or overwhelming, sometimes you just want to hide from it. Writers can argue that they’re trying to work against formula, or break the mold of what’s typically done. They’re not likely interested in having an argument or defending their position; in the end, you are the arbiter of what’s best for the work. One of the most popular guest posts at my site this year is How to Spot Toxic Feedback,   which discusses signs that the writing advice you’re receiving may do more harm than good. Sometimes we’re not ready to complete the projects we start and have to return at a different time. 2. Let me know in the comments: What strategies have you found successful for using feedback to improve your work? The solution: add a prologue! You get a second opinion. Writers build on their strengths, and you want to know what parts of your work ought to be preserved. You give up or move onto something else. But some writers don’t have the patience or fortitude for that. This is the “special snowflake” argument; the writer becomes the exception to the rule. You rush to make changes. You defend what you’ve done. Looking for the pattern of your response can be useful in understanding if you’re getting the most from professional feedback, or if you’re inadvertently sabotaging progress. But there are more subtle ways that writers defend their work without looking defensive. 5. Such-and-such critique was invalid and harmful and I should’ve been ignoring it.”
That might be true when it’s inexperienced writers or readers offering the critique.   Avoid taking your second (or third…) opinion back to the first person who offered you the feedback. Then, after a week or two, they go back to it, and see that much of it was correct. Just ask, especially during moments in the feedback where you wish: “Boy, I want to know more about that.”
After discouraging feedback, a good follow-up is always: What am I doing right that I can build on? Quality feedback can lead to large-scale revision or edits. 4. Some things were left unstated; some matters were not expanded upon.

Designing an Ebook Cover
There are a number of special considerations for ebook cover design. When you do pay upfront, usually in the case of a distributor (such as BookBaby), you earn 100% net. Also, you can take a look at Joel Friedlander’s book template system, which offers a way for total beginners to prepare ebook and print book files that are ready to be distributed and sold. When agents start publishing their clients’ work and taking their 15% cut of sales, a conflict of interest develops. With Ingram Spark, it generally takes 2 weeks for the book to be available through all their channels. Some of the services I reference, particularly CreateSpace, offer fee-based services related to editing, design, and marketing. The Most Common Ways to Self-Publish Today
There are several ways to self-publish in today’s market. What follows is an explanation of how to self-publish once you have a final, polished manuscript and/or printer-ready files. wholesaler, Ingram. You can upload your work at any time and make it available for sale; you can also take it down at any time. If you have more money than time, and have no interest in being a full-time career author, this may best service your needs. You also need to anticipate your appetite for handling the warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping of 1,000+ books, unless a third party is handling it for you, which will reduce your profit. You, the author, manage the publishing process and hire the right people or services to edit, design, publish, and distribute your book. When Ebooks Can Be Problematic
Even though ebooks are the best-selling format for self-publishing authors (especially fiction), ask these questions before you begin:

Is your book highly illustrated? This is by far the most popular way to produce print copies of your book because it reduces financial risk. Most self-published authors earn the bulk of their money from ebook sales. 7. Whatever your perspective, just understand that, if you’re an unknown author, your competition will probably be priced at $2.99 or less to encourage readers to take a chance. Pros of offset printing

Lower unit cost
Higher quality production values, especially for full-color books
You’ll have plenty of print copies around

Cons of offset printing

Considerable upfront investment; $2,000 is the likely minimum, which includes the printing and shipping costs. 2. Investing in a Print Run: Yes or No? I Want to Pay Someone to Self-Publish My Book
Here are high-quality, full-service publishing providers that I trust. Cons of print-on-demand

The unit cost is much higher, which may lead to a higher retail price. Here are the characteristics of major services:

Free to play. Useful tools for formatting and converting ebooks include:

Calibre: Free software that   converts and helps you format   ebook files from more than a dozen different file types. Where you’re driving sales. Service packages and publishing arrangements tremendously vary, but the best services charge an upfront fee, take absolutely no rights to your work, and pass on 100% net sales to the author. This is an introductory guide to how to self-publish (both print and ebook), and how to choose the right services or approach based on your needs and budget. The biggest and most important of these is Amazon’s   Kindle Direct Publishing. Given the pace of change in the market, it’s not a good idea to enter into an exclusive, long-term contract that locks you into a low royalty rate or into a distribution deal that may fall behind in best practices. A Quick History of Self-Publishing
The Most Common Ways to Self-Publish Today
Self-Publishing: The DIY Approach I Recommend
How Ebook Self-Publishing Services Work
Creating Ebook Files
How to Self-Publish a Print Book
Investing in a Print Run: Yes or No? Again, it’s important to emphasize: By using these services, you do not forfeit any of your rights to the work. Self-Publishing: The DIY Approach I Recommend
Today, anyone can get   access to the same level of online   retail distribution as a   traditional publisher, for both print and ebook editions, through services such as Amazon KDP, Pronoun,   Draft2Digital, CreateSpace, and IngramSpark. Note: Nonfiction authors should price according to the competition and what the market can bear. Read his review before using any service. Important to note: There is a difference between formatting and converting your book files. Examples of good assisted services include Matador, Mill City Press, DogEar, Radius Book Group, Book in a Box, and Girl Friday Productions. Ultimately, you do have to use POD regardless if you want to be distributed by the largest U.S. To use a traditional printer, you usually need to commit to 1,000 copies minimum. While you cannot export an EPUB file from a Word document, you can save your Word document as a text (.txt) file, then convert and format it using special software. A Quick History of Self-Publishing
For most of publishing’s history, if an author wanted to self-publish, they had to invest thousands of dollars with a so-called “vanity” press, or otherwise learn how to become an independent, small publisher. With ebooks, the same factors are in play, plus the following:

If you check the ebook bestseller lists, you’ll see that independent novelists charge very little for their work, often somewhere between 99 cents and $2.99. Example of Print-on-Demand Earnings
This is for a $14.99 standard 6×9 paperback, about 240 pages. Anyone can make their ebook and print book available for sale in the most important market—Amazon—without paying a cent upfront. You can also hire him for a consultation if you need expert guidance. Work with a “hybrid” publisher. 8. You should avoid companies that take advantage of author inexperience and use high-pressure sales tactics, such as AuthorSolutions imprints (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, WestBow, Archway). If such an opportunity should arise, then you can always invest in a print run after you have a sales order or firm commitment. However, if you use Ingram Spark to fulfill orders through Amazon, you will reduce your profits because Amazon offers more favorable terms when selling books generated through CreateSpace. For many authors, the majority of sales will be through Amazon. Nearly all ebook retailers offer to distribute and sell self-published ebooks through their storefront or device, then take a cut of sales. How Ebook Self-Publishing Services Work
The first and most important thing to understand about ebook retailers and distributors   is that they are not publishers. Also consider if you’ll want significant quantities to distribute or sell to business partners or organizations, stock in local/regional retail outlets or businesses, give to clients, etc. Such books will almost never be stocked in physical retail bookstores, although in some rare cases, it may happen. Here are the most commonly used formats for ebooks:

EPUB. Self-publish by hiring a services company to basically act as your publisher. Typically, the more well known or trusted you are, the more you can charge. One designer I frequently recommend is Damon Za. This is considered a global standard format for ebooks and works seamlessly on most devices. Vellum: popular ebook formatting software for Mac users
I’ve listed more tools here. I offer a checklist for the book publication process here. But this is very different from actually selling your book into bookstores. Girl Friday Productions
Radius Book Group
Winning Edits Most assisted publishing services have different packages or tiers of service, while others offer customized quotes based on the particular needs of your project. One popular approach for independent authors is to sell and distribute directly through Amazon KDP, then use a distributor like Pronoun or Draft2Digital to reach everyone else. Every step of the way, you decide which distributors or retailers you prefer to deal with. Sometimes prices are just as high for digital editions as print editions in nonfiction categories. I will explain how and when to use these services throughout this post. Self-publish completely on your own, hiring only the freelance assistance you need, and work   directly with retailers and distributors to sell your book. Ebook adoption in the children’s market is in the single digits, unlike the adult market. For the basic information on how to establish your own imprint or publishing company, read Joel Friedlander’s post, How to Create, Register, and List Your New Publishing Company. They make money on charging authors for the services provided (editorial, design, marketing, and so on), not on copies sold. Author Nicholas Erik maintains an excellent beginner’s guide. Maximizing Your Book Sales
With print books, your success is typically driven by the quality of your book, your visibility or reach to your readership, and your cover. Bookstores almost never accept or stock titles from any self-publishing service or POD company, although they can special order for customers when asked, assuming the book appears in their system. Such practices are controversial because agents’ traditional role is to serve as an advocate for their clients’ interests and negotiate the best possible deals. Each hybrid publisher has its own distinctive costs and business model; always secure a clear contract with all fees explained. 4. Creating Ebook Files
Nearly every service asks you to upload a final ebook file that is appropriately formatted. In their defense, agents are changing their roles in response to industry change, as well as client demand. Setting Up a Formal Publishing Company
You don’t have to set up a formal business (e.g., in the United States, you can use your Social Security number for tax purposes), but serious self-publishers will typically set up an LLC at minimum. traditional publishers are produced through offset printing. The best and most expensive services (which can easily exceed $20,000) offer a quality experience that is comparable to working with a traditional publisher. Most major ebook retailers and distributors accept a Word document and automatically convert it to the appropriate format, but you still must go through an “unformatting” process for best results. Because standards are still developing in the ebook world, you may find yourself converting and formatting your book multiple times to satisfy the requirements of different services. Pros of   print-on-demand

Little or no upfront cost, aside from producing printer-ready files
Your book can be available for sale as a print edition in all the usual online retail outlets (Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, etc), as well as distributed through Ingram, the largest U.S. At-will and nonexclusive. How to Publish an Ebook: Resources for Authors
The Basics of Self-Publishing by David Gaughran
Mick Rooney’s Independent Publishing Magazine offers in-depth reviews of just about every publishing service out there. MOBI. This is the format that’s ideal for Amazon Kindle, although you can also upload an EPUB file. book wholesaler. Also, think through the paradox: Print-on-demand services or   technology should be   used for books that are printed only when there’s demand. To check the reputation of a service, visit   Mick Rooney’s Independent Publishing Magazine. Before I explore that process in detail, here’s an explanation of the other choices you have. All major services offer step-by-step guidelines for formatting your Word documents before you upload them for conversion. Little technical expertise required. Self-publishing on your own means making decisions about your book’s editorial, design, and production quality. You can upload new versions; change the price, cover and description; and you can sell your work through multiple services or through your own site. A note about ISBNs: While an ISBN is not required for basic ebook distribution through most retailers, some distributors and services   require one. Services vary widely in the types of files they accept. What’s Changed Since 2007
Just as traditional publishing has transformed due to the rise of ebooks, today’s self-publishing market has transformed as well. However, there is even one ebook distributor that charges nothing upfront and still pays 100% net: Pronoun. If you don’t pay an upfront fee, then expect a percentage of your sales to be kept. It’s often easy to convert files, but the resulting file may look unprofessional—or even appear unreadable—if not formatted appropriately. Most e-publishing services fall into one of these two categories:

Ebook retailers. Your Amazon page may be the first and only page a reader looks at when deciding whether to purchase your book. 3. Self-publishing services may claim to distribute your book to stores or make your book available to stores. Not everyone is comfortable investing in a print run. Therefore, to maximize distribution, you’ll need an ISBN for your ebook. Self-publish by hiring a service company
This is what I call the “write a check and make the headache go away” method of self-publishing. (More info below.)
What your budget is like. Help might consist of fee-based services, royalty-based services, and hybrid models. 6. Outfits like iUniverse, Xlibris, and AuthorHouse (which have merged and been consolidated under   AuthorSolutions) offered a range of packages to help authors get their books in print, though most books never sat on a bookstore shelf and sold a few dozen copies at best. Increased risk—what if the books don’t sell or you want to put out a new edition before the old one is sold out? How to Self-Publish a Print Book
There are two primary ways to publish and make a print edition available for sale:

Print on demand (POD)
Traditional offset printing  

Print-on-demand technology allows for books to be printed one at a time. I comment more on that here. These services primarily act as middlemen and push your work out to multiple retailers and distributors. If a traditional publisher or agent were to approach you after your ebook has gone on sale, you are free to sell rights without any obligation to the services you’ve used. These package services may work OK for your needs, but I think it’s better to hire your own freelancers and always know who you’re working with. Some argue this devalues the work, while others say that it’s appropriate for   an ebook   from an unknown author. Every time a copy of your book is sold, the retailer takes a cut, and if you use a distributor, they’ll take a cut, too. Major services offer automated tools for converting your files, uploading files, and listing your work for sale, as well as free guides and tutorials to help ensure your files are formatted appropriately. Giveaways are an important part of ebook marketing and sales strategy for indie authors. You don’t “pay” these services until your books start to sell. It needs to be readable at all sizes and look good on low-quality or mobile devices. Most books printed by U.S. The most popular ebook distributors in the United States are Draft2Digital, Pronoun, and Smashwords. Optimization of this page—the marketing description, the book cover, your author bio, the reviews, and more—is critical for driving sales. 10. I do not recommend investing in a print run because you think bookstores or retail outlets will stock your book. Most people cannot tell the difference between a POD book and an offset printed book—at least for black-and-white books. PDFs can be difficult to convert to standard ebook formats. If you’re driving your customers/readers primarily to online retailers, you can fulfill print orders with less hassle and investment by using POD. Conversion refers to an automated process of converting files from one format into another, without editing or styling. Is your book for children? Using CreateSpace (a division of Amazon) to produce a POD edition for Amazon sales. As soon as your printer-ready files are uploaded, POD   books are generally available for order at Amazon within 48 hours. The benefit is that you get a published book without having to figure out the service landscape or find professionals to help you. wholesaler, Ingram. It’s not a recommended starting point for ebook conversion. Print-on-Demand Recommendations
If you choose print-on-demand for your print edition, then I recommend the following:

Use Ingram Spark to produce a POD edition for all markets except Amazon. While it can be fairly straightforward and inexpensive to get a print book in your hands via print-on-demand services, virtually no one   can get your book physically ordered or stocked in bookstores. When the truck pulls up to your house with several pallets piled high with 30-pound boxes, it will be a significant reality check if you haven’t thought through your decision. Furthermore,   85% or more of all US ebook sales happen through a single online retailer, Amazon. If   your ebook has special layout requirements, heavy illustration, or multimedia components, you should probably   hire an independent company to help you (eBookPartnership is one option). This post will expand on how to self-publish completely on your own. Ebook distributors. The 3 key factors are:

How and where you plan to sell the book. CreateSpace
IngramSpark

Unit cost (to print the book)
$3.63
$3.94

Your earnings if sold at Amazon
$5.36
$2.41

Your earnings if sold outside of Amazon
$2.36
$2.41

9. You’ll have plenty of print copies around—which means you have books to warehouse and fulfill unless you hire a third party to handle it for you, which then incurs additional costs. They could be low cost because—without print runs, inventory, and warehousing—the only   expense left was in creating and designing the product itself: the book. More Resources
You can read more about self-publishing at the following posts:

Should You Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish? But if your book is mostly straight text—such as novels and narrative works—then you might be   able to handle the conversion and formatting process without much difficulty if you’re starting with a Word document or text file. That all changed in the late 1990s, with the advent of print-on-demand (POD) technology, which allows books to be printed one at a time. Does it require color? If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of converting and formatting your own ebook files, then you may want to use a distributor or service that’s customer-service oriented in this regard,   such as Draft2Digital. That means they take no responsibility for the quality of your work, but neither do they take any rights to your work. (If you’re US-based, you can buy through MyIdentifiers.com.)
What ebook retailers pay

Ebook priced at 99 cents

Author receives per unit sold

Amazon
33 cents (35%)

Nook Press
40 cents (40%)

Apple iBooks
70 cents (70%)

Kobo
45 cents (45%)

Ebook priced at $2.99

Author receives per unit sold

Amazon
$2.09 (70%)

Nook Press
$1.94 (65%)

Apple iBooks
$2.09 (70%)

Kobo
$2.09 (70%)

Ebook priced at $12.99

Author receives per unit sold

Amazon
$4.55 (35%)

Nook Press
$5.20 (40%)

Apple iBooks
$9.09 (70%)

Kobo
$9.09 (70%)

5. Regardless of how you proceed, look for flexibility in any agreements you sign. Because none of these services demand exclusivity, that’s possible. This helps reduce the amount of work an author must do; instead of dealing with many different single channel services, you deal with only one service. Publish through a “hybrid” company
Some self-publishing (or assisted publishing) services have started calling themselves “hybrid publishers” because it sounds more fashionable and savvy, but such companies may be nothing more than a fancy self-publishing service. If you frequently speak and have opportunities to sell your books at events, then it makes sense to invest in a print run. By doing so, your book will be listed and available for order through the largest and most preferred U.S. This is but a scratch on the surface of the world of ebook marketing. For these reasons (and many more), it’s best to hire a professional to create an ebook cover for you. You have to do your research carefully;
I discuss hybrid publishing in more detail here. That means the   full-service POD publishers that used to   make a killing are now largely irrelevant to most self-publishing success, even though you’ll find them advertising against Google search results for “self-publishing.” Don’t be immediately lured in; first understand your options, explained below. You rarely pay an upfront fee. Some self-publishing services will provide you with an ISBN, or you can obtain   your own ISBN. As you might imagine, independent bookstores aren’t crazy   about ordering books provided by CreateSpace/Amazon, their key competitor. You may have very few print copies on hand—or it will be expensive to keep ordering print copies to have around. As with self-publishing service companies, you will fund book publication in exchange for expertise and assistance of the publisher; cost is often in the thousands of dollars. People may see your cover in black and white, grayscale, color, high-resolution, low-resolution, thumbnail size, or full size. PDF. Your book is not going to be nationally distributed and sitting on store shelves unless or until a real order is placed. I recommend using both Ingram Spark and CreateSpace to maximize your profits and ensure that no one is discouraged from ordering or stocking the print edition of your book. If so, you may find there are   significant challenges to creating and distributing your ebook across multiple platforms. So it’s much more advantageous financially to use CreateSpace—but limit the scope of that agreement to just Amazon orders. Agents Who Offer Self-Publishing Services
Increasingly, agents are starting to help existing clients as well as new ones digitally publish their work. Fees dramatically vary and quality dramatically varies. Print-on-Demand Recommendations
Maximizing Your Book Sales
More Resources

1. You retain complete and total control of all artistic and business decisions; you keep   all profits and rights. As a result,   many POD publishing services arose   that provided authors with low-cost self-publishing packages. Ebook-only work will struggle to gain traction. You may receive better royalties than a traditional publishing contract, but you’ll earn less than if self-publishing on your own. Ebook retailers do not offer any assistance in preparing your ebook files, although they may accept a wide range of file types for upload.

A special sound system presentation from New York favorites, Deadly Dragon Sound kicked off the evening’s activity with music from the extensive Greensleeves catalog in between performances. The energetic and diverse crowd moved towards the stage when Addis Pablo began a melodica performance of songs ‘Road to Addis’ and ‘Call of the Righteous.’ He also performed a set of his father Augustus Pablo’s hits including the popular ‘Java’, backed by the Positive Vibration band. reggae label, Greensleeves Records. 

SHARE / Jun 29, 2017 07:44 am

Italian born reggae star Alborosie delivered his first New York concert performance, while roots reggae sensation Queen Ifrica headlined with her full band before continuing her U.S.                                                                                         Greensleeves Records, founded in 1977, created a legacy of respected reggae artists such as Yellowman, Barrington Levy, Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Mr. Shortly after, Alborosie invigorated the venue more with crowd favorites such as ‘Poser’. Their work with domestic and international artists helped develop the reggae genre in the U.K. and Europe and set a standard for presenting the music and culture with quality and respect. The label was purchased by VP Records in 2008.                             Multiple album projects are scheduled to commemorate the Greensleeves anniversary including; Alborosie “Freedom In Dub,” King Jammy “Waterhouse Dub,” “African Dub Chapter Two” by Joe Gibbs plus classic re-issues from Hugh Mundell, Augustus Pablo, Keith Hudson, Sylford Walker, Linval Thompson and more. “Addis Pablo represented his father’s legacy on Greensleeves, Alborosie represented the labels current roster and Queen Ifrica represented VP Records. Kings Blues Club in Times Square, New York held an epic night of international roots reggae and dub to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of historic U.K. Closing the show, Queen Ifrica blew everyone away with ‘Trueversation’ from her latest album “Climb”, in addition to songs ‘Lioness on the Rise’ and ‘Below the Waist’ from previous albums. Already released titles include Suns of Dub “Riddimentary – Suns of Dub Select Greensleeves”, 40th anniversary editions of Culture “Two Sevens Clash,” The Congos “Heart of The Congos” and the forty-track “Total Reggae – Greensleeves.”                               “The recent concert at BB King is an excellent example of the quality of music that has been put out on Greensleeves over the past 40 years,” said Richard Lue, Director of Business Development at VP Records. tour to promote her recent #1 album “Climb.” Musician/producer Addis Pablo opened the evenings performances with a selection of songs including a tribute to his late father, dub reggae legend Augustus Pablo, whose work was closely associated with the Greensleeves label internationally. Before wrapping up his 45-minute set he brought Lady Ann on stage to join him to perform her 1980’s hit song ‘Informer’. 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF GREENSLEEVES RECORD LABEL CELEBRATED WITH NEW YORK CITY CONCERT

by Contributed
On Wednesday June 21, 2017, VP Records and the famous B.B. Vegas, Shaggy, Vybz Kartel, Elephant Man and more. Together they put on an amazing show.” Greensleeves nurtured the music in Europe from dub plate to download.

In Complex Hustle’s new documentary, a light is shined on how much of an impact the Caribbean had on hip-hop’s early stages and where it fits in today.There’s also a focus on the contributions that immigrants make to American culture, and hip-hop is a perfect example of that. The documentary also features commentary from Doug E. Fresh, French Montana, Fat Joe, Zuri Marley, Kranium, DJ Evil Dee, and more. Complex Media   Breaks Down the Caribbean’s Impact On The DNA of Hip Hop

by Contributed
Complex unfolds the often under-reported story of how important the Caribbeans are to Hip Hop music, the creation of the genre and where today’s culture would be without the influence. SHARE / Jun 29, 2017 08:13 am

Hip-hop spans five decades, and while its history is rich, there are some aspects that get overlooked.