A mad Hilda 16 idea!

Dear reader,

Yes, this means you. You should read this if you are into Hilda’s adventures. You may have heard already that last year November, during Nanowrimo, I wrote an entire new Hilda the Wicked Witch book. Volume 16. It’s about Hilda’s younger years. This book contains lots of pointers and references to the previous books about our favourite witch and it will be an eyeopener for everyone. I promise you that. At least I hope I’m doing that well. And suddenly I had an insanely funny idea.

free bookWhile I rework the book (it’s still in an ugly state at the moment) I plan to make a list of hints and pointers to the other books. When the book comes out I want to hand three readers an opportunity to win a paper copy of the same book. How? It’s simple: read Hilda 16 (not yet of course, as it isn’t available) and count the number of hints you find that point to other books.

When we get near that time I’ll post more information about this idea on the blog, also on how to get your tally to me and the process I want to use on deciding on 3 winners. (See, I’m postponing that because that detail still needs to be figured out. 🙂 )

Now to keep things honest and fair, I offer you the opportunity to send me e-mails in which you tell me that handing out free books is a very bad idea and that I should stop thinking about it. Or you can leave me a note here in the comments or on facebook, Twitter or Google+, telling me how much you like the idea.

It’s up to you…

Booksellers say they are dying, but refuse to sell books

By Paul Biba from Teleread:



How dumb is this!  When your market is diminishing, and your revenues are diminishing, just go ahead and refuse opportunities to make money.  The booksellers won’t hurt Amazon, they will only hurt themselves.

From Publishers Weekly:

Earlier this year when Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced a licensing agreement with Amazon to publish and distribute all adult titles from Amazon Publishing’s New York office under the newly created New Harvest imprint, independent bricks-and-mortar booksellers as well as the nation’s two largest chains, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, said that they would not carry them in their stores. Among other reasons for the ban, they cited the fact that Amazon would retain exclusive rights to the e-book edition. With the first two books about to ship—Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine’s Outside In (shipping Aug. 1) and Jessica Valenti’s Why Have Kids?(Aug. 8)—PW got back in touch with booksellers to see if they have changed their minds about stocking their competitor’s titles and found little has changed. In fact over the past five months booksellers have become more entrenched about their decision.

One contributing factor is the growing awareness of the lack of transparency in the way Houghton sold previous one-off titles licensed from Amazon. This helped to account for strong bricks-and-mortar sales for novels like Oliver Potzsch’s The Hangman’s Daughter, which had been originally published by Amazon as an e-book before being sold by Houghton in print. For book two in the series, Dark Monk, a full-page ad in the New York Times Book Review in June made no mention of either Houghton or Amazon, another irritant to booksellers. The fact that indies said that Houghton sales reps have been up front that New Harvest titles—that are in the fall HMH catalogue– have been licensed from Amazon hasn’t made them anymore likely to carry the books.

Paper books. E-books. The core is…

Dear reader,

I think that for myself I have decided that the brawl over paper books and e-books and what is better is a non-issue. It is the same kind of argument as why people like a specific colour better, or a brand of car, or a particular kind of cereal.

The core part in the debate is book. It is the text that is in it, the story, the information. Does it matter how it is presented? In a hard-cover book, a paperback, a spiral-backed set of prints, or in any of the formats that e-books come in? I suddenly realised that all that doesn’t really matter. E-books only add to the versatility and ease of getting to the information and stories.


Books in print

Dear reader,

You might not be aware of it, but all the Hilda books are available in print as well as in e-book format. The exception at this moment still is Hilda – Aiaia, book 9, as I am still awaiting the proof copy of that. (I refuse to make a book in print available unless I know it looks good.)

If all goes well, you should find all the paper versions of Hilda’s adventures by following this link. However, there seems to be a problem with this sometimes, so if the link does not work, please click your way over to http://www.lulu.com and search for ‘paul kater hilda’ (which is what the first link should do, but technology lately is more like magic than science).

The Devil’s Diary on paper

Dear reader,

The Devil’s Diary is now available in print directly from CreateSpace, through this link. Soon (in about a week) it should also be available through Amazon.com and its European branches.

Why CreateSpace and not Lulu? Simply because I thought it interesting to see how they do this, and I must say that I am very pleased with the result (even though the amount of work for CreateSpace is a lot more than I need to do for publishing a paper book on Lulu.)

Createspace is good for independent authors

Logo csp no tmFrom the press release:

CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company, today announced that authors and publishers around the world can now use its independent publishing platform to distribute their books in Europe for free on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it. By using CreateSpace to distribute directly to Amazon, authors and publishers ensure that their titles are always in stock for customers to purchase. Books will be available for same-day shipping, and are also eligible for free shipping and Amazon Prime. CreateSpace authors and publishers will earn industry-leading royalties on each sale while continuing to own the rights and have creative control over their work. Additionally, CreateSpace authors and publishers can now receive their royalty payments by direct deposit in US dollars, British pounds or Euro.

Along with great distribution, CreateSpace provides manufacturing-on-demand technology, which means books are printed when a customer orders it so the author doesn’t have to make an up-front investment in inventory. If they need help at any point in the independent publishing process, they can also take advantage of CreateSpace’s English-language professional services and 24/7 member support.

Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the author of the best seller “Cracking the Coding Interview,” which is independently published through CreateSpace. “When I launched my book on Amazon via CreateSpace two years ago, I saw my sales increase by 10 times, eventually becoming Amazon’s best-selling interview book,” said McDowell. “Europe has always proven difficult for me to enter though–how do I print, distribute, and ship my book in the multitude of countries there? I’m so excited to see that CreateSpace is launching European distribution. In 30 seconds and just a few clicks, this has enabled me to tap a whole new market and resolve a problem I’d been laboring over for months. This is huge for me–huge.”

“We are very excited to offer our members the option to distribute their books on Amazon sites in Europe. By doing so, they will make their books available and in stock to millions of European readers,” said Libby Johnson McKee, Managing Director, CreateSpace. “We are continually working to deliver exceptional value and world-class customer service to our CreateSpace members worldwide, and European distribution is yet another great example of our commitment to helping our authors succeed.”

CreateSpace authors can visit www.createspace.com/international today to enable distribution in Europe for their books. To start a new title or to learn more about CreateSpace, independent publishing and manufacturing on-demand, visit www.createspace.com.

Authors can also make their books available digitally in Europe and around the globe using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), while earning up to 70% royalties and continuing to own the rights to their books. To get started authors can visit http://kdp.amazon.com.

Oh, My Hand

Dear reader,

At brainpickings.org I stumbled over a collection of wonderful scribbles of monks, scribes and copyists who, in ancient times, sat bent over their large tomes of paper, patiently (more or less) copying large manuscripts. These scribbles were found in the margins of the large works they wrote, and there are some truly marvellous ones among them.

~ New parchment, bad ink; I say no more

~ I am very cold

~ That’s a hard page, and a weary work to read it

~ As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe.

If you like these examples, do click the aforementioned link and enjoy some more. Many of them made me smile, and also think of the conditions these people had to do their painstaking work.


How green are e-books?

Dear reader,

On another website (www.the9billion.com) I found this image, which is quite an eye-opener with respect to the cost and energy needed to make paper books compared to e-books. Have a look at it and be surprised. (It’s behind the cut, to spare the readers who are on RSS feeds etc.) Continue reading “How green are e-books?”