How literary awards impact book-buying in Canada


Congratulations to newly minted Giller Prize laureate Sean Michaels, and to all of the authors and publishers of this year’s excellent shortlist!

We asked Canadians whether books they recently purchased had won or been nominated for a literary award, and how much that affected their decision to buy.
See what we found out in the latest free report from BookNet Research: Canadians Reading Winners: Are Book Buyers Influenced by Literary Awards?

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Filed under Books, CONTESTS & COMPETITIONS, Publishing, Writing

Books with Psychedelic Covers


Picking up a book in the 1960s and 70s was a real groovy trip, and that was before cracking it open. Harlan Ellisonand Philip K. Dick were at the height of their game, and far out science fiction was as popular as ever. Imaginative stories set in fantastical universes opened the door to creative book design, resulting in mind-bending covers depicting beautiful supernatural women and optical illusions bursting with every color in the spectrum.

While most of our selection is indeed vintage sci-fi, a gallery of psychedelic book covers isn’t complete without the quintessential tale of the decade that gave birth to The Yellow Submarine and the Summer of Love.  The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe chronicles Ken Kesey‘s iconic drug-fueled bus trip across America in the 1960s. The Milton Glase cover depicts Kesey’s band of Merry Pranksters – the ragtag crew that adopted the author as their pyschedelic leader.

Magazines and paperbacks weren’t built to last, and as a result many of these editions are hard to find today. Take a trip back in time with these psychedelic book covers, and tell us about your favorites in the comment section below.


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The Folio Society: A Conversation with Joe Whitlock Blundell

The Folio Society, based in London, has been producing special editions of classic books since 1947. Joe Whitlock Blundell, design and production director of The Folio Society, answered some questions for us about the enduring allure of the beautifully crafted book and walked us through a Society book’s typical design process.


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A reflection on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2014

The Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist is out. Although it won’t have been chosen with this in mind, the list is a thing of perfect balance. As they sat in their last meeting the judges will have been too busy winnowing the longlisted books and arguing the case for dismissal or inclusion to have noticed what was shaping up in front of them. The realisation will have come only when they breathed out after the wrangling and found they had picked a shortlist that contains not just two women and four men but an ecumenical national representation too – three Brits (one Indian-born), two Americans and one Australian. The books’ themes show the same even-handedness: there is the future (Howard Jacobson’s J) and the past (Richard Flangan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North); the formally traditional (Neel Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others) and the experimental (Ali Smith’s How to be Both); the modern technological (Joshua Ferris’ To Rise Again at a Decent Hour) and the imaginative twist (Karen Joy Fowler’s We are All Completely Beside Ourselves). There are even five different imprints represented on the list. The judges, clearly, are natural democrats and meritocrats.


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An Author Website Checklist

For some publishing projects, it’s unclear who is responsible for what when it comes to marketing.

Should the author or the publisher tweet and publish Facebook posts? Who answers reader emails? And, perhaps most importantly, who runs the author website?

Because many authors are published by several publishers — and many self-publish their own work — an author’s Web presence can be scattered and have many owners, writes publishing expert and Digital Book World 2015 conference chairman Mike Shatzkin.

Unfortunately, who creates, manages and owns an author’s website isn’t an issue that will be resolved for every author any time soon. However, there are certain things that each author should have on her website. Shatzkin offers this checklist:

– List of all the author’s books, listed chronologically and by series

– Landing page for each book, including the cover, a description, reviews, excerpts, links to retail sites and other important metadata that would help readers discover the title and decide to buy

– Contact page so readers can easily send an email and get a response

– Email capture

– Social media buttons, so readers can easily sign up to follow the author on Twitter, etc.

– Calendar with upcoming publication dates and scheduled public appearances

– Page with links to articles and reviews by the author, as well as references to the author on blogs and in the press

In addition to these things on an author website, Shatzkin recommends that authors all should have:

– Up-to-date Amazon author page

– Google Plus page (which is crucial for effective search engine optimization strategy)

– Twitter and Facebook (optional)


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Kate Mosse: my skill is storytelling, not literary fiction


Kate Mosse pictured in the Covent Garden Hotel, London. Photograph: Andy Hall for the Observer

Kate Mosse pictured in the Covent Garden Hotel, London. Photograph: Andy Hall for the Observer

The bestselling author explains how, through creativity and connecting with readers, novelists can still thrive in a digital age.


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Let’s talk about margins

We’re making a book.
The margins are important.
Do you know how important?



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There Is One New Book On Amazon Every Five Minutes

In an interesting post, writer Claude Nougat estimated the total number of books on Amazon – about 3.4 million at last count (a number that could include apps as well) and then figured out how many books were added in a day. Nougat noticed that the number rose by 12 books in an hour, which suggests that one new book is added every five minutes. And, most likely, it’s probably an indie book.


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Journalists don’t read Press Releases!

They only “scan” them and if they don’t catch their interest in less than 5 seconds… they will delete it. In this fast-paced world, no one reads the entire press release – if the start of the article doesn’t garner interest. What can you do to get journalists reading?  Deal with actual facts––events, people, plans, projects. A simple method for writing an effective press release is to make a list of following points:  Who, what, when, where, why, and how.

The content of the press release, beginning with the date and city of origin, should be typed in a clear, basic font (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.) and double-spaced. Keep your Press Release short, one page is enough. Start with the date and city in which the press release originates.

The headline  should be brief, clear and to the point: an ultra-compact version of the press release’s key point. Headlines written in bold! A bold headline also typically uses a larger font size than the body copy.
First word capitalized. As are all proper nouns.

The first paragraph (not more than three sentences) should sum up the press release, and the additional content must elaborate it.

The lead, or first sentence, should grab the reader and tell concisely what is happening. For example, if the headline is “Norton Publishing releases new legal thriller,” the first sentence might be something like, “Norton Publishing, Ltd., today released their first legal thriller by celebrated writer Cindy Smith.” It expands the headline enough to fill in some of the details, and brings the reader further into the story. The next one to two sentences should then expand upon the lead.

The press release body: copy should be compact. Avoid using very long sentences and paragraphs. Avoid repetition and overuse of fancy language and jargon. Strive for simplicity, and no wasted words.

The last paragraph can summarize your news and be followed up with further information on your company, a paragraph known as the “boilerplate” which lists relevant information about your publishing company and includes the website for more information.

Follow up quickly. Don’t send out your news release and forget about it. Call within a day or two to make sure the announcement was received. However, don’t call an editor or reporter when they are on a deadline. When calling, verify that they have time to talk. Be available when a reporter calls and have an “elevator pitch” ready: why your release is important to their readers and viewers.


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How Many Spaces After a Period?

The “two spaces after period” rule was instituted during the days of typewriters. Typewriters had only one font, so all the letters were monospaced, or took up the same amount of space. That means that the skinny “l” and wider “w” occupied the same amount of space on paper. To make reading easier, the two-space rule was born to give the eyes a break between sentences.

With the dawn of computers, word processing programs not only began offering an absurd number of fonts, but each font was programmed to space characters proportionally (“l” takes up about a third of the space “w” does). In turn, most computer fonts will automatically give you enough room between sentences with one space. So, as a rule of thumb, use just one space when typing up your manuscript on a computer.

There are a couple of exceptions—the fonts Courier and Monaco are still monospaced—but it’s better to stick with one space and switch fonts to Times New Roman or Arial rather than use two spaces.


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