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Category Archive: eBooks

Mark Coker, Smashwords, Outer Banks Publishing Group, OBX Publishing

Need your help to end the US book embargo

I recently received a very interesting email from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, who brought to light the US book embargo against Cuba. Cubans earn the equivalent of only about $20 USD per month, whether they’re a doctor or a janitor. They don’t have a lot of money to invest in publishing.Smashwords Logo

Imagine if we could make our free ebook publishing and distribution services available to their writers? Imagine if Cuban readers could gain greater access to the nearly 400,000 low cost ebooks at Smashwords and other ebook retailers including over 60,000 free ebooks at Smashwords?

The petition will help abolish the embargo and free up our rich literary history to the Cuban people. Outer Banks Publishing Group supports Mark and  this worthy cause and I am hoping you will, too. Please help and sign the petition.

Here is Mark’s email, published in its entirety:

“I’m writing to ask for your help.
Please go to https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book-embargo-against-cuba and consider signing my petition to end the US book embargo against Cuba.

Background on this Petition

Last month, I joined a publishing industry delegation to Cuba to meet with Cuban writers, publishers and government representatives from their ministry of culture and book institute.
The goal of the meetings was to build bridges of understanding and explore opportunities for greater cultural and economic collaboration between the Cuban publishing community and the American publishing community.

I was struck by what I learned.

First, the good news.

Cuban writers and publishers are excited about the warming political relations between Cuba and the United States.
Cuba has an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%, about 20 points higher than the US.
Cuba boasts a rich literary culture.
I visited the Havana Book Fair, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of Cubans. I’d estimate 90% of attendees were millennials. These young readers are smart, educated and optimistic. They want greater access to books. They’re the future of Cuba.

Here’s the bad news

The US embargo against Cuba has been enormously harmful to the Cuban people, and it’s been especially harmful to their book market. Cuban publishers have difficulty acquiring even the basic raw materials of bookmaking like paper and ink.
Because so much of the infrastructure of global book publishing passes through the United States, the embargo makes it difficult for Cuban authors and publishers to reach a broader audience.

Cuban readers don’t have easy access to books published by American authors and publishers.

Cubans earn the equivalent of only about $20 USD per month, whether they’re a doctor or a janitor. They don’t have a lot of money to invest in publishing.

Imagine if we could make our free ebook publishing and distribution services available to their writers? Imagine if Cuban readers could gain greater access to the nearly 400,000 low cost ebooks at Smashwords, including over 60,000 free ebooks? I want to help them today but I can’t because of the embargo.

 

I founded Smashwords to break down barriers like this. To give every writer the freedom to publish, and every reader the freedom to read what they choose.
According to a Pew poll in 2015, fully 72% of the American public wants the embargo lifted.
The US stands virtually alone in this embargo which has now persisted over 50 years.
I realize the politics around this are heated. I realize many Americans — especially Cuban-Americans who emigrated in the ’60s — have strong feelings about the current political regime in Cuba. I respect these feelings. I want to take the politics out of this and focus on the Cuban people.
Would it be so bad to let the books flow freely in both directions? Might books help heal the wounds on both sides?
President Obama has taken steps over the last year to normalize relations with Cuba and set the stage for the end of the embargo.
But change can’t come soon enough. Given the current political dysfunction in the US, it’s unlikely the US congress will vote to end the embargo even though 59% of Republicans want it ended, according to that same Pew poll above.
The embargo is composed of a spaghetti mess of presidential edicts, Treasury department statutes and Congressional actions.
Despite the political gridlock, President Obama has some latitude to make modifications around the edges. He’s already relaxed travel restrictions and allowed American telecommunications companies to invest in Cuba so they can make Internet access more ubiquitous in Cuba.
President Obama says he wants to do more to expose Cubans to American culture and more global information. Books are the solution!
As we say in the petition, books promote greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development and free expression.
On the eve of President Obama’s March 21-22 trip to Cuba, I’d like to ask your support. Let’s encourage President Obama to lift the embargo against books and educational materials. It would be a good first step.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

  1. Please sign the petition at https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba
  2. Compose friendly Tweets directed at the White House (@WhiteHouse) and President Obama(@BarackObama), urging the Obama administration to end the book embargo. In your Tweets, include the link to the petition. For example, earlier I tweeted this:

    End the Cuba book embargo https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba @WhiteHouse @BarackObama

    Books help cross-cultural understanding and economic development. You can retweet it at https://twitter.com/markcoker or feel free to copy and paste it into your own tweet, or compose an original tweet.

  3. Visit the many news stories and blog posts that have been written about our campaign and use their social media buttons to share on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Or join the discussions in their comment threads.

Here are some of the links:
Wall Street Journal

NPR

Huffington Post (I wrote this)

Publishers Weekly

Smashwords Blog

The timing today is critical. Next Thursday, March 17, 2016,  the Obama administration will announce modifications to the embargo that will likely loosen some restrictions on the embargo. Let’s encourage him to add books to his list!
Thank you for your consideration and support. At the bottom of this email I’ve pasted in the full text of the petition.

Best wishes,
Mark
Mark Coker
Founder
Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com
https://twitter.com/markcoker
http://blog.smashwords.com

 

THE PETITION

Sign it now at https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba

END THE BOOK EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA

On the eve of his historic visit to Cuba March 21-22, we call on President Obama to utilize executive powers to immediately lift the economic embargo against Cuba as it pertains to books and educational materials.
As a basic human right, readers everywhere deserve greater access to books and literature.
Books promote cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression and positive social change.
The book embargo runs counter to American ideals of free expression.
Cuba’s adult literacy rate – at nearly 100% – is among the highest in the world.
Cuba boasts a rich literary heritage.
End the embargo to make the works of American and Cuban writers more accessible to readers in each country.
72% of Americans support an end to the trade embargo against Cuba (Pew, 2015).”
_________________________

Mark also orchestrated another petition which will appear next week on the cover of Publishers Weekly. Unlike the petition above which is for the general public, the other petition was signed by nearly 50 CEOs of publishing companies and writers associations (RWA, Authors Guild and more). You can read about both petitions in the news stories above.

The Publisher

6 Reasons to Write an eBook for Your Business

Tell the world you are an expert

 

write book

Republished with permission from the author, Eileen Batson

By Eileen Batson, owner and founder of Batson Group Marketing and Public Relations

While there are a variety of reasons to write an eBook, here are six that are proven winners.

  1. It can establish you as an expert By sharing your knowledge you can help others while building your reputation as the ‘go to person’ in your particular niche.
  2. Write it once and it is there forever. You may need to update it from time to time but that’s not a difficult task.
  3. eReaders provide a movable feast for knowledge and entertainment and the demand is growing. By 2025, e-readers are projected to make up approximately 75 percent of the total market.
  4. An eBook is to your email list as plant food is to, well, plants. Make your eBook available to download for sale or as a freebie from your website – to get people to sign up for your newsletter. The buyer needs to enter their name and email address to download it or use it as bait (as a freebie) to get people to sign up for your newsletter. Either way you have a valuable new contact on your atabase who may go on to buy your product or service.
  5. Increase traffic to your website By promoting your eBook across social media platforms you will drive traffic to your website or blog. Seed your eBook with a call to action. Include your web address and special offers that direct readers to your site where they may buy more from you.
  6. Exposure is a good thing. The more you are seen around the internet the easier it is for you to be seen as an authority – exposure breeds credibility and being able to say you are an author takes you to the next level.
Batson avatar 100 (1)

Eileen Batson

EILEEN BATSON has been a publicist and owner of Batson Group Marketing and PR for 25+ years.

She offers consultation and implementation services for business owners, authors and artists to help them be well known, well thought of and well-remembered.

For more information contact Eileen at Eileen@BGMPR.com or visit her website at www.BGMPR.com

The Publisher

No Matter What…

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

#pride

Read with Pride.

 , @OBXpublishing

The Publisher

How To Become a Better Reader in 10 Steps from Publishers Weekly

How To Become a Better Reader in 10 Steps

Gretchen Rubin –  Photo Credit: David Cross

By Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, is back with Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Here, Rubin shares 10 tips for becoming a better reader.

Reading is an essential part of my work, it’s an important aspect of my social life, and most importantly, it’s my favorite thing to do. I’m not a well-rounded person.

But reading takes time, and most days, I can’t read as much as I’d like. As I was writing Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I adopted many new habits to help me get more good reading done. Consider whether these habits might work for you – click here to read the rest of the story.

The Publisher

Have “Breakfast” on us for $2.99

Now you can have “Breakfast” on the Publisher with a special Kindle price of $2.99, regularly $7.99 from Outer Banks Publishing Group. Order your copy of Breakfast at the Diner here before it gets cold.Want the full course? Breakfast at the Diner in print is available for $8.99, regularly, $15.99. Order a great “Breakfast” here.Breakfast at the Diner, a novel by bestselling author Scott FieldsIt has been two years since the death of his wife, and Frank Watson still struggles with the loss. Every morning, he meets with his friends at the local diner to talk and to exchange gossip, but inevitably must return to his farm that remains undisturbed since his wife’s death.Then, Pepper Ledley breezed into his life. She was the new waitress in town nearly half his age and offered Frank something he had never before considered, a new beginning.  However, it somehow didn’t seem right to Frank.As he struggles with his new feelings and the memory of his beloved wife, Frank faces the biggest crisis of his life. A large foreign corporation needs five hundred acres of land to build an egg factory and Frank alienates himself from the rest of the town when he, steadfastly, refuses to sell.What transpires is a web of deceit, manipulation and murder. Get a taste of “Breakfast” – download a free sample – A taste of Breakfast
or order your copy here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle List Price: $7.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
240 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679011
ISBN-10: 0990679012

 

The Publisher
repost-us-image-2811065

Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Noses.

Amazon wants to be the publishing dictator of the world

From The New York Times
Author H.M. Ward

The author H.M. Ward says she left Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program after two months when her income dropped 75 percent. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times.

Authors are upset with Amazon. Again.

For much of the last year, mainstream novelists were furious that Amazon was discouraging the sale of some titles in its confrontation with the publisher Hachette over e-books.

Now self-published writers, who owe much of their audience to the retailer’s publishing platform, are unhappy.

One problem is too much competition. But a new complaint is about Kindle Unlimited, a new Amazon subscription service that offers access to 700,000 books — both self-published and traditionally published — for $9.99 a month.

Read the rest of the story>.

The Publisher
20131023-081712.jpg

Why Outer Banks Publishing Group is Green

20131019-224508.jpg

It’s nice to say you are a green company, but doing it effectively is another story.

With digital printing we don’t have thousands of books sitting in warehouses waiting to be sold – spent resources that may or may not be purchased and read.

We print books only when an order is received.

The majority of our book sales (85%) are electronic as manufacturers of ereaders have opened their walled gardens allowing their books to be read on any device, any platform, anywhere, anytime.

Think printed books will go away? No way. Did movie theaters close when home theater systems became mainstream?

The Association of American Publishers reported that the annual growth rate for eBook sales fell during 2012, to about 34% – a sharp decline from the triple-digit growth of the preceding four years.

But that doesn’t mean ebooks are going away.  A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that adults who have read an e-book increased from 16% to 23% in the past year. It also revealed that 89% of regular book readers said that they had read at least one printed book in the last year.

Ebooks are merely another channel, another technology to promote, sell and enjoy books. It compliments printed books. Printed books won’t go away – there will just be fewer printed.

Fewer printed books is not good for the big six publishers, but it won’t bankrupt them – just lower their sales volume and profit margins.

That’s why they won’t fully embrace ebooks and why they charge artificially high prices for their ebooks close to the full price of their printed books.

They want to revive the same high profit margins they enjoyed with print books for so many decades.

But they will never convince their customers or the general public that ebooks cost as much as print books to edit, process and distribute.

Ebooks are a disruptive technology and like all disruptive technologies is condemned, rejected and deemed catastrophic for society by those who stand to lose.

The market will determine the accepted price of ebooks, not the publishers and there is nothing they can do to stop it. The tsunami has already hit land.

The Publisher

Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war

How the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple and the Big Six book publishers will affect the business of lit

Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war Jeff Bezos (Credit: AP/Reed Saxon)

By Laura Miller for Salon
Closing arguments for the Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Apple concluded last week, although U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is not expected to reach a decision for another couple of months. If you’ve found the case difficult to follow, you’re not alone. Still it’s worth getting a handle on the basics because the suit — or, more precisely, the business deals behind it — have changed book publishing in significant ways. Furthermore, Judge Cote’s decision could have impact well beyond the book industry.

Read the rest of the story here – Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war

The Publisher

Interview with Heidi Efteckhar Silver, a real life character, reveals strong character of the author

“I was completely surprized…especially to know only now how this quiet person had gone against all odds, exposed himself to so much danger and took the risk to do something that he believed in and acted upon to bring resolve. I must say that with all that he was going through, he did not show it.” – Heidi Efteckhar Silver, a character in the novel, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK.

Doug Roberts exciting novel, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, came into being with the help of his long-time friend and co-worker, Heidi Efteckhar Silver, who helped him remember a lot of the details of his daring escape from Iran forty years ago.  Mrs. Silver, one of the major characters in the book, played an integral part in helping Doug smuggle his then fiance and her mother out of Iran when the secret police, SAVAK, would not allow them to leave.  SAVAK watched the family closely because they wanted the family to lead them to the husband and father, who was a human rights activist and lawyer who had escaped a decade earlier. Here is Mrs. Silver’s thoughts on The Man Who Fooled SAVAK.

Q.  Not many novels use the names of real people but Doug Roberts in his book The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, portrays you as being a friend and co-worker in the Administrative Services office in the U.S. military advisory unit to Iran, ARMISH/MAAG. I find that rather remarkable.

A.  Since Doug’s story is based on a real life experience, it’s great that he has used people’s real names in his story.  Most things mentioned in his book did happen. Technology, such as Facebook, also played a big role in Doug being able to find some of the people he had worked with in ARMISH/MAAG, such as myself, and hear more stories from them that made his book more authentic and I am glad I was part of it.

Q.  Did you know why Doug was sent to Administrative Services before leaving Iran?

A.  I had absolutely no idea.  I must say that Captain Seaman and Del, with whom I worked closely had great respect for Doug and kept his ordeal, which was extremely serious, strictly confidential.

Q.  What was it like working with Doug.Cover for The Man Who Fooled SAVAK

A. I found him to be a pleasant fellow, who was very easy to work and get along with.  I was completely surprised when I read “The Man Who Fooled Savak,” especially to know only now how this quiet person had gone against all odds, exposed himself to so much danger and took the risk to do something that he believed in and acted upon to bring resolve. I must say that with all that he was going through, he did not show it. He exercised great care in keeping the situation under wrap.  This also speaks of Doug’s strong and determined character which is well played out in the book.

Q.  What did you think of the book.

A.  I thought the book was amazing.  When I was reading the book, events played out in front of my eyes.  His description of the culture, food, the Iranian way of life and their hospitality is so authentic that it also took my life for a review during those years in Iran.  The amazing thing about this book is that Doug, as an American GI, who was stationed in Iran for a brief period of time witnessed the signs of the revolution which came about only a few years later.

Q.  Would you recommend this book to your friends.

A.  Absolutely.  Especially young adults.  My own children, who are now young adults, were very small at the time and knew nothing when we had the Iranian Revolution in 1979.  This book is not only intriguing and entertaining, but also has a great historical value.  During the 2009 uprising, I found myself explaining to my boys, their friends and even some of my friends how all this had come about.  Doug has done a great justice in describing what was going on in Iran during the Shah’s reign which lasted nearly 37 years before he was overthrown during the 1979 Revolution.  I think those who read this book today will not only be intrigued by the story, but will also learn about Iran and gain great respect for this ancient country, with rich culture and history whose people are kind, friendly and hospitable, but have suffered much in the hands of politics.

__________________________________________

The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a suspenseful romance, is available on the Kindle, the NOOK and in other ebook formats from Smashwords.com.

Electronic Edition
eIBSN 978-1-4524-4281-5
435 Pages
Published June 2011

The Publisher

An Excerpt from The Man Who Fooled SAVAK by Doug Roberts

 

I happened to look in my rear view mirror to see a black Mercedes sedan zoom up behind me then pass. It shot around me at an extremely high rate of speed and was soon out of sight. “Wow, where’s the fire?” I though. A few minutes later as I was about to make my final right turn off the main highway, the same black Mercedes shot out of the intersection I was about to turn into. It turned left and roared past me, heading west Cover for The Man Who Fooled SAVAKtoward Tehran.

I took my foot off the accelerator, my stomach feeling queasy with deep apprehension. I had caught a glimpse of the driver’s face with dark glasses and thick mustache. It seemed vaguely and ominously familiar. I slowed the car and idled toward the vacant lot where I was to meet Junior, afraid of what I might find. I could see Junior’s old Peykan in the distance, the driver’s door open. I was sure I saw him move and at first I thought he was about to get out of the car, but as I got closer I could see Junior’s body suddenly fall forward against the steering wheel, sounding the car’s horn.

“Oh no! Please God! Oh no! This can’t be!” I said over and over. “Oh Jesus, no!”

I pulled my car alongside his. My knees were shaking as I got out of the car, and walked toward Junior. As I approached, I could see the back of his head was covered with blood. He had been shot, execution style. I pulled his torso off of the steering wheel to stop the horn from sounding, and then I lifted his left arm to feel his wrist. I thought I detected a faint pulse, but then a few seconds later, it stopped.

The only pulse I could feel now was my pounding heart, ready to burst through my chest. Flooded with a mixture of fear and sadness, I tried to ponder what to do next.

“We’ll need to notify his wife,” I remember thinking. I started searching his pants for a wallet with an ID, but I found nothing. The only thing I found was a large roll of bills in the left pocket of the old tweed jacket that Junior always wore. My hands were shaking.

“My god, this is a lot of money! His wife is going to need this,” I thought as I crammed it into the pocket of my fatigue jacket. I looked across the vacant lot to see an old man who was walking with a shuffled gate toward me from one of the distant houses. I waited for him as he approached. When he came up to the car, he was shaking his head.

He looked at me, quizzically. “SAVAK?” he asked.

I nodded. “Bali Agah. SAVAK.”

The old man started shaking his head again. “Shah very bad. Very bad man.”

I nodded. The old man and I stood together in silence appraising the ghastly scene.

“You want me call police?” he asked.

“Yes, you call the police. Don’t tell them I was here,” I said in my best Farsi.

“I no tell. We see nothing.”

At that moment we heard a siren somewhere in the distance growing louder.

“I need to leave now,” I said.

“You go! Boro! Boro! Zud bash!” (Go! Go! Hurry!) exclaimed the old man waving me away vigorously with his hands.

I stepped away from the old man and got into my car, knees and hands still shaking. I turned the key in the ignition and headed out to the main highway by first going around the block. I waited until I heard the siren stop and then proceeded. As I drove, I kept checking the rear view mirror, side streets, and intersections for any sign of a black Mercedes. But it had done its dirty work and was long gone. When I got back to the Teamhouse, I unloaded my car and took the goods up to my room. The boxes seemed incredibly heavy and my shaking knees complained at the load as I came up the stairs the last time. When I had finished, I collapsed into my bed and started sobbing again. “Junior, I am so sorry man,” kept repeating as though he could hear me.

I looked at the huge roll of cash, and was suddenly struck with an irrational fear that Lou might think I was trying to cheat him. I counted out what I felt Junior would have paid him that day and put it in an envelope, then slipped it my desk drawer. I took out a sheet of paper, and scrawled simply, “Lou, bad news. Junior’s dead. SAVAK shot him.” I placed the note on the desk where he could find it then walked downstairs to my car.

I dreaded having to tell Fari what happened, but forced myself to the car. When I walked into the house minutes later, Fari emerged from her room to meet me and immediately stepped back. “Oh my god, Doug! What happened? Your eyes are all red!”

“Fari, Junior’s dead. SAVAK shot him in the…in the…back of the head,” I said with my voice breaking.

Fari put her arms around me and held my while I continued to weep. “Doug, this is awful.”

I put my face down onto Fari’s shoulder. “Junior was a good person,” I said through my tears. “He didn’t deserve to die.”

__________________________________________

The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a suspenseful romance, is available on the Kindle, the NOOK and in other ebook formats from Smashwords.com.

Electronic Edition
eIBSN 978-1-4524-4281-5
435 Pages
Published June 2011

The Publisher