The Rocket Returns
from The SFWA Bulletin #165, Spring 2005
Blast from the [Recent] Past
Imagine my surprise when I came across Sally Hawke's note in the January 2005 NINK that Fictionwise has released a new model of the Rocket called eBookwise. New is relative – it's actually a rebranded Gemstar model 1150 – but they're putting major marketing behind it, including an eBookwise web site at http://www.ebookwise.com overflowing with f&sf titles. The reader weighs only 18 ounces and has a 5.5 inch backlit diagonal viewing area, about as much as a paperback and more than a PDA. The price of the new reader is $129.95 (plus $9.95 shipping and handling). There may or may not still be a "content bonus" (free books) still available by the time you read this. About 6500 titles should be available in this format.
Fictionwise also supports a multitude of other formats including Palm, WinCE and Symbian eBook Readers, Microsoft Reader, Adobe Reader 7.0, Adobe Acrobat PDF, Franklin eBookman (FUB, Palm Doc), hiebook (KML), and more.
An interesting if tendentious site touting everything related to the concept of ebooks and with an amazing amount of news on new products is TeleRead at http://www.teleread.org/. Articles on TeleRead also note problems with Sony's Librie, mentioned in last issue's column, and touts the dedicated ebook readers as a more viable alternative for the present.
A Novel Idea?
The information on the AAA web site is too sketchy to tell if this group is going to become viable, or even if it makes the necessary fine distinctions between self-published authors and those who opt to pay at vanity presses that present themselves as traditional publishers. However, if you think the AAA can be of help, you can join at: http://www.lzangel.com/AAA/join.htm or by sending an email to Bill McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or try another route to self-promotion, stunning in its audacity. McDonald's LZ Angel Newsletter, issue 7, June 7, 2004, tells of a working partnership that the AAA has established with entrepreneur Jack Ferm. Ferm opened a bookstore in Las Vegas (and possibly a second in California) exclusively for self-published books. Called "A Novel Idea," the bookstore is the print equivalent of a consignment shop. There's a twist, of course. You may be able to find a local consignment shop that takes just a percentage of the sale price. A Novel Idea charges the author what amounts to rent for displaying the book. The current contract calls for a $5 per month fee to display five books, with a twelve-month commitment, payable upfront. The author gets paid monthly for any books sold.
Will you ever see one in a mall near you? Hard to say. The Novel Idea website (http://www.anovelideabookstores.com/) is strangely barren of content, although a listing for a store at 6680 W Flamingo Rd #10 can be found in a Yellow Pages search.
The notion of self-published authors banding together to promote books that the chain stores won't stock is a solid one in a world in which getting noticed is 90% of the problem. As always, though, check thoroughly before sending your money off to anyone, including Mr. Ferm.
[2006 Update: No sign of "A Novel Idea" or Jack Ferm as a bookseller on the web.]
More Promotional News
The Kirkus Discoveries website (http://www.kirkusreviews.com/kirkusreviews/discoveries/index.jsp) carries this description of its new service:
Reviews will be eligible for inclusion in a monthly eNewsletter highlighting the best submissions to the program. That HTML newsletter will go to subscribers who are looking for the rights to books, including both print and film.
Markets Outside the Box
Are enough young people being excited about careers in science? Maybe they could use some real-life examples. The November-December 2004 issue of the SCBWI Bulletin says that the Scobre Press Corporation, which had been exclusively a publisher of sports fiction aimed at the middle-school level, is planning to add a career series. It's looking for writers to do stories based on real-life experiences about young people pursuing a wide variety of careers. No advances, but royalties are stated to be "double the industry standard." The books should be about 40,000 words. Writing samples with a resume should be sent to Scott Blumenthal, President, Scobre Press Corporation, 2255 Calle Clara, La Jolla, CA 92037.
One addition to the paranormal markets from last issue, out of the March 2005 TTD. Silhouette Bombshell wants 80,000 – 90,000 word futuristic romances featuring "strong, savvy, sexy, heroines in precarious and high-stakes situations." J. D. Robb is a model for these works. Send a detailed synopsis and three sample chapters or a complete manuscript to Natashya Wilson, Associate Senior Editor, Silhouette Bombshell, 233 Broadway, Suite 1001, New York, NY 10279.
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