Avoid the Christopher Columbus Method of Planning
November 20, 2012

Some independent publishers use what I like to refer to as the Christopher Columbus method of planning:

  • They do not know where they are going.
  • When they get there they do not know where they are.
  • And when they return, they do not know where they have been.

This is not a good way to run a business.

You can avoid this situation by writing a strategic, functional plan to market your books. Your plan should identify the most promising business opportunities. It should clarify your goals and the procedures you will use to move toward them efficiently. And it should integrate all the elements of a complete promotional mix into a strategic program to launch coordinated action. For a view of a new planning formula, look through these "ize"s.

Ken Burns Documentary Revives Rejected Book [Video]
November 20, 2012

Galleycat's Jason Boog has a piece on Sanora Babb's Whose Names Are Unknownthe novel that went unpublished in 1939 because it was deemed too similar to John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath; was finally published in 2004; and which has been revived by Ken Burns' Dust Bowl documentary.

Let's take a moment to ponder that for a second: A publisher… declined a book… because it was deemed too similar… to a wildly successful book. I know disposable income was more scarce in 1939, but oh, how times have changed.

—Brian Howard

Bookstore Installs Random Book Dispenser
November 19, 2012

Have you ever discovered a great book while randomly browsing the shelves of your favorite used bookstore? Craig Small built the “Biblio-Mat” for The Monkey’s Paw in Toronto, a machine that reproduces this experience and automatically gives your a random...

Publisher McSweeney's To Host Radio Drama on KCRW
November 19, 2012

Galley Cat is reporting that McSweeney's, the San Francisco publishers of exquisitely conceived and produced books, magazines and journals, will this weekend be doing two live broadcasts of a radio play written by Richard Parks and starring a who's-who of indie music and lit. The play will air on Los Angeles' KCRW and stream live at

That's what we call thinking outside of the box, or thinking inside a very old box that nobody has thought inside for a while.

—Brian Howard

Tim Ferriss Teams Up With BitTorrent
November 16, 2012

Author Tim Ferriss, best known for his book The 4-Hour Workweek, is teaming up with BitTorrent to promote his latest book. The popular makers of Torrent clients BitTorrent and µTorrent will distribute content from Ferriss' 4-Hour Chef for 24 hours after the book is released on November 20. Content will include extensive portions of the book, along with unpublished materials.

A Fiction Publisher Who's All "E"
November 15, 2012

Caleb Mason thinks he’s got something different. His company, Publerati, founded in June of this year, publishes exclusively original literary fiction, exclusively in ebook format. With five books already published and five more slated to come out in the next few months, Mason is currently crowing about an author he’s just signed: “I’m really excited that Ellen Cooney wants to come with us. She’s the first author I’ve signed who’s been published by a big publisher. The book she submitted is so wonderful, I can’t understand why anyone would pass it up!” Cooney, who has been represented by Sterling Lord Literistic and published by Random House and others, has signed on with Publerati for her next novel titled Thanksgiving.

National Book Award 2012 Winners
November 15, 2012

The 2012 National Book Awards took place tonight, when accolades were given in each of four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People's Literature.

The winners were:

Fiction: Louise Erdrich, The Round House

Non-Fiction: Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Poetry: David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations

Young People's Literature: William Alexander, Goblin Secrets

Publishers Rush to Release Books About Fallen Generals
November 14, 2012

In the wake of the scandal around David Petraeus and his "All In" biographer, Paula Broadwell, The Atlantic reports that Penguin moving up its publishing schedule for  Gen. Stanley McChrystal's memoir, "My Share of the Task," and Simon & Schuster has moved up the release date of "The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War."

It will be interesting to see if either publisher decides to make ebook versions available earlier, and when/if "All In" will be updated to reflect the scandal it's become synonymous with.

—Brian Howard