Thursday, May 28, 2015

Short Takes: EBooks, Fujimura & Maggie the Fox

Short Takes is a new feature here focused on works that can be read in under an hour, give or take 30 minutes or so. Today’s post covers three recent works – a how-to, a preview, and a children’s book. All are ebooks.

Advanced Kindle Book Marketing

If you’ve ever wondered how much book publishing has changed over the last decade, here’s a good place to start. Advanced Kindle Book Marketing: How to Sell More Ebooks Online with New Amazon Promotions and Bestseller Tips by Lucinda Sue Crosby and Laura Dobbins. This is not so much about how to publish an ebook generally or how to publish a Kindle book, but rather how to develop marketing strategies and plans specifically selling books via Kindle (whether they’re original Kindle books or Kindle versions of hardcover or paperback books).

Crosby and Dobbins go extensively through the basics: from keywords and book categories to promos, book reviews and using social media. One chapter includes good information on the strategic use of “free days,” those times when you (or your publisher) can, or should, offer your book for free. It’s not as obvious or as simple as you think it might be.

Remember that the book is strictly about ebook marketing on Kindle and Amazon, and it’s exhaustive in that regard. You’ll need to seek other resources if you’re looking for a book on how to publish an ebook.

Related note: After 27 years, Big Sleep Books, an independent bookstore in St. Louis devoted to mysteries and suspense, is closing June 30. The owners attribute the closing to Amazon and Kindle – which only underscore the importance of ebook marketing for authors.

On Becoming Generative

Speaking of interesting developments in ebook marketing, artist and writer Makoto Fujimura has published On Becoming Generative: An Introduction to Culture Care. What’s interesting is that it’s a special preview to his soon-to-be-published book Culture Care. It’s a short work, some 25 pages, but it’s packed with the thinking of an artist who’s been considering ad writing about the idea of “making culture” for a number of years.

The preview includes a short personal storu about bringing beauty into our lives; a longer essay on “An Artist’s Journey Toward Generativity;” and then a discussion of what “culture care” actually is. Fujimura defines the purpose of culture care providing “care for our culture’s ‘soul,’ to bring our cultural home our bouquet of flowers, so that reminders of beauty—both ephemeral and enduring—are present in even the harshest environments where survival is at stake.”

The preview promises that the complete book will be thought-provoking, insightful, and an artifact of “culture making” itself.

Maggie Arrives

Those of us who live in urban and suburban areas are becoming more familiar with wildlife not normally associated with the neighborhood. Animals (especially deer) are finding ways to adapt to the encroachment of development. In my own area of suburban St. Louis, I have seen coyotes, opossums, raccoons and foxes (rabbits don’t count as wildlife).

The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans is a delightful children’s book, the story of an urban (or suburban) fox who begins showing up around the yard, driving two cats to complete distraction. Illustrated by artist Luciana Betti, it’s based on a true story (including the cats). It’s a story with a point or moral to tell – about what happens when ostensible enemies reach out to one another in a time of need.

On Yara Evans’ author’s page on Amazon you can see photos of the inspiration for Maggie and a video. Evans lives in London, and looks after two cats when she’s not keeping an eye out for Maggie.

Top photograph by Karen Arnold via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

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