Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Week in Review: #BULLIES

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

Be on the lookout, and make an Escape…

This post needs to stand by itself in the week in review.  There are bullies out there in every industry, and shining the light of day on this problem and on those who wish to be bullies is the focus of this post.  The bullies know who they are, and will have to answer for it sometime in the future.  As they say, KARMA IS A BITCH!

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The Book Kahuna Week in Review

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

Here is the week in review:

1.  Blogging:  get your words out and build excitement for you as a publishing professional or your book project if you are a self or independent publisher.

2.  Digital Workflow:  The second half of a basic overview of how you can go from manuscript to bound book in the electronic/digital revolution.

3.  Trimsize:  The basis for every cost incurred on a book project.  I explain what it is and why it is so important!

4.  Toastmasters:  “Speak with Ease” and get your point across to an audience with clarity and succinct delivery.  Being entertaining never hurts either…

5.  Branding:  Get the word out about you and your project.  Use social media to build a tribe and brand yourself as an expert or build an audience for your book project.  Be edgy, innovative and pound your message home!

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A Short Overview of a Digital Process Workflow: Phases I and II (More to come)

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

Manuscript to and through Copyediting

Composition/design/layout to final files

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Book Marketing: Statistical Predictions or Dartboard Prognostications?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

I recently read this article on the Digital Book World (dbw) website by Peter McCarthy:  Marketing Books Using Demographics, Psychographics, and Consumer Behavior which was an infinitely fascinating research paper on how companies should look to market their products based on these integrated areas of consumer buying patterns.  The one thing I thought when reading this article was:  Have we really become so predictable in society that publishing companies can have a good idea what we are going to buy before we know what we are going to buy?  The answer came back to me as a resounding:  YES!

In thinking about this on a deeper level, it only makes sense that populations that share these characteristics would be fertile soil for intensive penetration of sales pitches.  McCarthy’s view of watching Golf and not wanting to buy a Buick was food for thought since the sponsors must have thought long and hard about who the audience would be that would be watching Golf on any given day.  I have to admit, I was a valet parker at some catering halls on Long Island in the 1980s and I actually really liked all the Buicks that came in to be parked.  It was also great to know that Mr. McCarthy has no need of little blue pills for erectile dysfunction.  The game of Golf is one that is played by millions but is extremely important to those members of society who have retired from the working world, have expendable, disposable income, and have more time for watching Golf on a weekday, buying and driving a Buick, and using those blue pills for what they enhance and maintain.

The one aspect missing from this article has to do with the power of impulse buying.  This is the essence of the bookstore.  The browse, the finding, the “Hand” selling in an independent bookstore, these are the parts of the interaction in the bookselling process that are not visible to the marketing researchers in their quantum laboratories.  More and more, the big publishers are being out-marketed by independent self-publishers who are tapping into a niche and building a brand that has nothing to do with Demographics, Psychographics, and Consumer behavior, but everything to do with people who like to throw together meals in a Crockpot on the weekends, or those who love to crochet, or a travel book on where the best dog parks are in a certain geographic area.  Not every aspect of the consumer buying patterns can be quantified in terms of behavior and patterns that are explainable.  There is a statistical vast unknown percentage that always needs to be taken into serious account when building a sales model and a P & L statement.

Another aspect that can completely throw off all of your marketing models are unforeseen media occurrences that directly impact the sale of your book.  When I was working at Perseus Books Group as Production Manager for the Basic Books imprint in 2000/2001, we had a title on Rudy Giuliani (Rudy: An Investigative Biography of Rudy Giuliani) that was coming out in the late spring/early summer.  This was about the time that Hillary Clinton was running for the US Senate in New York State, and Giuliani was expected to oppose her in the race.  The book was not a complimentary piece on the former mayor, and would probably have damaged his Senate run, if he weren’t diagnosed with Cancer and decided not to run against Mrs. Clinton.  Americans do not like to see people kicked when they are down, so the book tanked in the market.

This title is only one genre in the grand scheme, but is a good example of how models and predictions can be thrown off by extenuating circumstances.  I like to read about marketing principles and information farming on consumer patterns, but sometimes the old dart at a dartboard is just as effective in predicting the sales outcome in a perilously fickle game. 

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The Week that Was… eBooks, CIPA, eReatah and Softball

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Corner Office

I started out the week with the definition of the “Corner Office” and what steps you can take to move up the ladder…


I talked about ways to get ahead by utilizing company offered extra-curricular activities like softball and volleyball…


I went into detail about why a good copyedit is essential for the marketability of the book project…


I gave the scenario that sometime during the course of a career, you will get laid off and how to approach the situation…


I gave a personal account of why flexibility is so important to anyone who aspires to get ahead in a publishing environment…

Digital Workflow- Phase I

I gave an account of the first functions that need to occur in an electronic/digital workflow environment…


Meeting information, and it is on Blake Street and not Blaich Street!!


I gave personal accounts of why mentors are so important and who those mentors should be.  I also cited 2 examples of my mentors and gave accounts why they were mentors…


Finally, I gave an account of why I blog, how blogging can enhance your visibility for a book project or a career, and how other social media can be integrated into the blogging regimen…

It’s been a great week!  We’ll start it up again next week with more publishing tips from The Book Kahuna!

Twitter:  @thebookkahuna


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Subscriptions are Us! Oyster vs. eReatah

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

Jeremy Greenfield:  The Next Big Ebook Revolution?

I knew the day would come when companies would start to figure that a subscription service on an e-product would be more profitable and advantageous then just having single titles rented or purchased.  The money is in the ability to build the subscription list and have residual dollars coming into the coffers at all times throughout the year.  That is why Jeremy Greenfield’s article on the DBW website was a very interesting vision of how two companies see his subscription service working.


“Oyster offers a Netflix style of service (unlimited access but not ownership)…”  1

I think this is the most appealing service given the fact that it is $10 per month with unlimited access.  This service would be like taking a library book out of the Public Library.  The low subscription rate and ability to save the space on the reading device after you finish reading a title would make this a very attractive option for someone who does not want to own an e-book, but just rent it to read it.  The question remains:  If the public library does the same thing for free for no subscription rate, then where is the up side to Oyster?  Availability of a title might be a key in this new business, but then again:

“Oyster offers 100,000 titles, but few are frontlist and few are bestsellers.”2


eReatah is a subscription service that specializes in selling the e-book directly and “resembles Audible or a book club.”3   I’m not so sure about this business model.  In both cases (Oyster and eReatah) Amazon has over two-hundred thousand more titles than either of these new subscription entities.  Also, I must make it known that both the Greenfield article and the referenced article by Natt Hoffelder:  Comparing eBook Subscription Services Oyster, eReatah, and Kindle Owner’s Lending Library: Content, Price, and Availability, made it clear that neither of these services is available to the public at this time.

Nearest I can tell these models may get some traction in response to Amazon being the 800-pound gorilla in the e-Book business.  If that is the case, then the business should take off quickly once these two go online and they should be competitive if they can work with publishers to increase the availability of titles.  If they could at least get to 35-50% the number of titles that Amazon has available in the Kindle Prime program, they would be in very good shape.

Editorial Observations

The Oyster Model should be a winner since you are just renting a title until you finish it and then it is off your device saving space for the next title.  Although I can see some competition from libraries, the ability to avoid visiting a physical location for any interaction would make the Netflix model of Oyster much more attractive to a populace that wants to save, time, money, and gas.

The eReatah model could be a winner for people who want to own the e-Book outright and keep it in their reader archive to review any time they want.  The question here would be, “Well, I can go to the publisher’s sales portal and buy this title, or I can go to Amazon and buy this title.  Why does eReatah make sense for me?”  I cannot answer this question.  A third-party go-between seller and customer without a voluminous catalogue seems like an uphill fight to me.  There may be more discounts to the pricing that we are unaware of.  Also, since neither one of these services has newly published frontlist titles, the ability to discount might be another selling piece of the puzzle that has not been broadcast yet!

I like the fact that people are thinking out of the box on this subscription issue, I’m just not sure how ready the buying public is for a shake-up in how they buy/rent their e-Books.


1 and 2:

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Who is Derek? Why is he in the picture with you?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

Now Batting #2 Derek Jeter, #2

Derek as a puppy:  roughly 10-12 weeks old

Derek as a puppy: roughly 10-12 weeks old

I have been thoroughly remiss in my duties as the “human” for my dog.  I have not introduced you and told you a little bit about him.

Derek is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.  These are the dogs that Queen Elizabeth II loves so dearly.  She has had 11 at some times in the past.  I have one.  Derek is 2 and will be 3 years old in November.  He is the sweetest dog on the planet and his main function in life is to make friends with other humans, dogs, rabbits and his housemates, my 2 Manx cats, Munson and Mattingly (have you figured out the pattern in the naming conventions?).

Derek spends a good portion of his day sitting under my desk keeping me company while I write blog-posts.  Now, yes, Derek is named after Derek Jeter.  Since Corgis are short in stature with tiny legs, being named for a Shortstop seems like a completely appropriate way to go.

The Best Things in Life…

Derek went to jail, and served his time.  That's another story...

Derek went to jail, and served his time. That’s another story…

The thing I like best about Derek is that he just wants to be your friend.  I have never seen him growl or snarl his teeth in anger.  He does bark, but usually it is to get my attention or the attention of another dog walking on the other side of the street.   Also, do not come near his house, he does not like anyone walking by the house or knocking on the door.  He’s one Corgi that is a heck of a good watch dog.  We’ve been going to the dog park recently to take care of a very slight weight problem that he has.  Let me give you some insights into how our dog park adventures have fared.

How Low Can You Go? 

Now, you have not lived until you play “Chuck it” with a Corgi.  These dogs may be low to the ground, but let me tell you his little legs can propel him very quickly when he is on a mission to retrieve a ball.  He has the run and fetches part down, but sometimes he gets distracted and doesn’t quite make it back to me with the ball.


Any of you dog lovers will remember the scenes in the Disney animated movie Up where the scientist had wired the dog, Dug, to talk.  The dog would intelligently start giving you information about him, then inexplicably yell “Squirrel” in the middle of his monologue.  Yes, throwing and finding the ball are fine; we just have to do some work on the “Retrieval” part of the agenda.

I am seriously thinking of getting another dog to be company for Derek.  Another Corgi would be great, or a rescue from Max-Fund, where I got Munson and Mattingly.


Unconditional Sloppy Love

Dogs warm your heart.  No matter what your day was like, your furry friend is always there and ready to love you.  They don’t know anything about time, so whatever you spend with them is wonderful in their minds.  I’ve had some down times recently, but through it all, Derek is my main support center keeping me going.  I know I have obligations to him and to myself to make sure things happen the way they need too.  If you have any questions about Derek, just fire away and I would be happy to answer them…

Trivia Question Answer

None of the animals living in my house have a tail! (Oh, and they are all named for NY Yankee Captains!)

It's cold in Colorado! Sometimes...

It’s cold in Colorado! Sometimes…

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