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.
If you liked ARGO, you will love The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a similar story based on true events.
Order your copy at a special publisher’s discount price of $12.99, list is $15.99.
Just click on our Bookstore tab and then click on Fiction.
We decided to reprint this interview with Douglas Roberts about what inspired him to write such a book. The interview was originally published June 19, 2011.
Inspired by true events in the early 1970s, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK captures what it is like to live in a dictatorship with secret police monitoring your every move – an atmosphere of fear that still pervades today in many countries in the Middle East.
What makes Doug’s book so appealing is that what he wrote today about events 40 years ago is still going on today in many parts of the Middle East. And all of these events are carefully woven into a love story that will make you fall in love all over again.
Q. The release of your book coincides rather well with Arab Spring. When did you start writing it?
A. In the summer of 2008. A woman I’d met on line named Erica Murray was interested in Iran so I started writing to her about it. I started doing some very preliminary research into the history and politics of Iran in 1971 in order to refresh my memory of things I had experienced when I was in Iran during that time. The book was completely finished several months before the uprising in Tunisia.
Q. Even though that was 40 years ago, there are many common elements with what is happening across the Arab world.
A. Yes, especially the fear people experience when living under an autocratic regime is something I hope I have captured, and as the book proceeds, the breaking out of that fear. Perhaps it will give people hope. Just like in my book, the methods used by various dictatorial regimes to maintain control seem to be taken from a common playbook: trample a free and independent press, keep the people fooled, use an iron fist to silence dissent, eliminate fair trials, use torture to extract confessions – the list goes on and on.
Q. But when you wrote the book, you weren’t thinking about that.
A. (laughs) True! I don’t have a crystal ball and the Arab Spring was as big a surprise to me as the rest of the world.
Q. Can I ask you about one of the characters in your book? Was there really a Junior?
A. Yes there was. I think Junior made the story possible to write. We really did sell our liquor and cigarette rations to him. I recently learned from a fellow who served in ARMISH/MAAG just before I arrived that Junior mostly dealt with the domestic workers, the Iranian nationals who worked at the bachelor quarters where we lived.
Q. I’d like to ask you about another character, Mihan Jazani. She is a historical figure, the wife of the Bijan Jazani who founded one of Iran’s guerilla movements. It appears that she’s a friend of yours on Facebook.
A. (Blushes) Um, well yes…so it would appear. (laughs) Actually, Mihan Jazani doesn’t like Facebook and never uses it. The Facebook account was set up for Mihan by her granddaughter, Aida. Aida and I exchange messages occasionally.
Q. How were you able to remember so much about what happened then? It was 40 years ago after all.
A. I was assisted in several ways. I had some writings I had done about Iran when I was in journalism school at Kent State in 1972. I had a large number of slides that I’d taken when I was there. Those were crucial in reviving old memories. A huge help was finding a 1977 map of Tehran on the (now defunct) Tehran American School website. I was able to use the exact names of places, even street names. The fellow I’d mentioned earlier who told me about Junior had sent me a copy of the ARMISH/MAAG directory, which was very useful. Finally, talking to people I worked with at that time was extremely important, namely Heidi Eftekhar and Barry Silver, who are characters in the story. I obviously couldn’t remember all events specifically, but I found I could generate them as needed by being very specific in my language. I would take seeds of ideas and extrapolate and grow them into full blown events. For example, a certain lecherous officer really did say to Heidi, “I think you’re a woman who needs a lot of loving.” I took that and ran with it. Last, but also important, the Internet was a valuable tool in researching the historical incidents in the book.
Q. So, where does the novel part come in?
A. Some of the human rights related events are novelized, but they’re very accurate in their portrayal of the times. I’ll leave historians to figure all that out. They will have their work cut out for them because I’ve spent a lot of effort weaving the story line into the history of those days.
Q. How close is your character Doug Roberts to the way you actually are?
A. That’s a really good question. (laughs) I had originally intended that Doug the character would be an extreme version of myself. But after having read my book now over and over, I’ve come to see that what’s extreme are the circumstances he’s in. Doug the character is a lot like I was back then: ok in the smarts department, and a little too cocky sometimes. He’s not very romantic or knowledgeable about women, but does all right in spite of himself. (laughs) There’s an element of male fantasy in the book I suppose. In the story, I have two charming female lunch companions in addition to Fari my Iranian girlfriend/fiancée.
Q. But you really were friends with Heidi Eftekhar your co-worker in the story.
A. I still am. Heidi and I communicate regularly by email and her input on the book was immensely helpful. Miss Farou is the fantasy. She actually didn’t like me all that much. (laughs).
Q. I get the impression you had a lot of fun writing your book.
A. It was pretty trippy for me at times. I would totally submerse myself in it. For example, I had written the scene describing how I spent New Year’s Eve in Iran just a couple of weeks after New Year’s Eve in real life. When someone asked me about how I’d spent my New Years, it shocked me as to how much effort I had to put into pulling up what I’d actually done versus what I’d just written. That was a little scary.
Q. What do you think people will get out of your book?
A. I’m sure everyone will get a little something different, but what I’d like for people to take from it is that, like in the story, life may present you with some extreme circumstances. When that happens, keep a level head and your wits about you. Try to see beyond what appears to be happening on the surface. There will always be some good things happening at any given moment. Try to focus on that. To get through your ordeal it’s a good idea to engage all your friends to help you and your faith if you have that. Most important of all: never give up.
Available in print Feb 2013
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Espionage
“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.
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.
Published June 2011
So you wanna get published, right? So you think only a big house can get you anywhere worth getting, right? So, you think you need an agent first thing, right? I thought all these things and have the credentials to prove that I’ve been on a literary journey: English major, Phi Beta Kappa, teacher, professor, MFA degree, literary journal editor, literary prize winner. But no big house and no agent.
Instead, I did what some may think is crazy. I went with a product development company that dabbled in publishing. But my book got out. And I went to work. I have an active public Facebook page that is linked to my Twitter account, a website always under revision as new stuff happens and I write a blog where I try to post at least once a week.
Today’s post that you are reading would have been this essay. But this site begged for it and it’s theirs. But later you may see this post on my blog. Go check out this: How to buy a dress and end up with a book party.
I don’t tweet about my memoir (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty story much, though some. I don’t blog about my book much, but some: actually, I blogged the book while I lived it—that’s the first crazy-some-say thing I did before the product development company found me—and that accounts for the banner of a blog that deals not with erotica but with literary thought, interviews and essays on writing and books.
Now you’d think a book with this sordid, unconventional history wouldn’t be doing very well, right? And, indeed, I’m not getting rich. But is that what we artists are really about? Okay, a girl could hope but that’s never been the goal: The work will out.
But get this: The small print in the visual of my book on Amazon says, #7 top rated in the Kindle store for Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Arts &literature, Authors. The week before it was #5 behind The Diary of Anne Frank and Steven King’s On Writing.
And guess what: The book party at Upstairs on 7th (aka: “How to buy a dress and get a book party”) resulted in the promise of another book party by one of the women who came. Then I went to dinner with a banker-friend I know and told him what happened. He called his wife and is planning another book party in another dress shop and he’ll be providing the wine.
Is there a moral? Ain’t no good here at morals. But I will say this: If you put your heart and soul into your book and you’ve edited it like crazy with a cool eye, had others eyeball it and critique it, then find a reputable publisher and work—yes that means you—to sell one book at a time. Because like the memoir I wrote, it’s all personal.
PS: Another piece of good news: A new and much more experienced indie publisher has taken my memoir. Be sure to check out the second edition (more edits and a prologue) now from Outer Banks Publishing Group.
(Re)MAKING LOVE: a sex after sixty story, second edition, is available on Amazon, the Kindle, Barnes & Noble, the Nook, iBook, Sony ereader, the Outer Banks Publishing Group Bookstore and in other electronic formats from Smashwords.com.
When I heard this sad story on NPR radio this morning it moved me so much and reminded me of Doug Roberts novel, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a suspenseful love story based on true events. This is the kind of repression that still pervades a lot of the Middle East today as it did forty years ago when Mr. Roberts staged the successful escape of his fiancé and her mother from a repressive and threatening Iran.
In January of this year in Pakistan, the governor of Punjab province, Salmaan Taseer, who was an outspoken defender of civil rights, was gunned down for criticizing the hardness of Islamic law. He was merely sticking up for a Christian woman who was accused of blaspheming Islam. Her punishment: death.
His daughter, Shehrbano Taseer, is a journalist in Pakistan, and she talks to Steve Inskeep, host of NRP Radio’s Morning Edition, about her father’s legacy and her own fight against extremism.
Here is part of that interview:
“INSKEEP: And it was not that your father committed this alleged act of blasphemy, but merely spoke up for the rights of someone who was accused of blasphemy and asked for her to be accorded mercy. This is what many clerics described as itself being blasphemous.
Ms. TASEER: Yeah, because my father had criticized the law. He had criticized the misuse of the law.
INSKEEP: Did anyone speak up for your father after his murder?
Ms. TASEER: There were three people who believed that this law was being misused and that this was an unfair allegation of blasphemy. There was my father. There was our federal minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, and there was Syeda Imam, who is a parliamentarian. And she had tabled a bill in the national assembly trying to water down this law and stop the misuse. And two out of three of these people are now dead. Shahbaz Bhatti, our federal minister for minorities, was gunned down outside his mother’s home two months after my father was shot dead.”
You can read the rest of this moving interview or listen to it on the NPR site. And if you want to read more about a similar story with a much different outcome, download a copy of The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, available on the Kindle, Barnes and Noble NOOK, Apple iBooks and in various ereader formats from Smashwords.
Steve Windwalker reported in the blog Kindle Nation Daily that Amazon is well on the way to preparing to launch the device sometime this summer. Here’s what he wrote about the trade-in program.
“It extended its relatively unknown Buyback program, previously associated mostly with textbooks, movies, and video games, to include a wide range of electronics products including the iPad, the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy, the Motorola Xoom, and all kinds of other devices that might — if you could trade them in for a decent sum — prepare the way for you to buy a Kindle tablet, both in terms of the need to replace functionality and the financial wherewithal to make the purchase.”
They actually want you to own their new Kindle Color version knowing full well that owners of iPads and other color tablet like devices wouldn’t buy the new Kindle after shelling out $500+ for their current iPad or similar device.
It’s another marketing first for Amazon to grab the lion’s share of the spawning tablet market, and I’m sure it won’t be their last.
You can also read Amazon’s press release about the trade-in program on Steve’s post on Kindle Nation Daily.
Congrats to Amanda Hocking for using a traditional publisher to further her writing career. She did the right thing seeking out a traditional publisher and the reason is clear – she wants to be a writer – not a book marketer, editor, designer and distributor.
The caveat here is her content. She has the content that sells – when she writes, it sells. She can afford to give away a large piece of her royalties so she can spend more time writing.
So should every self-published author seek out traditional publishers for their work. Maybe, yes and maybe, no. Some authors like JA Konrath took the reverse course – he went from traditional publishers to self-publishing because he could get a bigger piece of the publishing pie, especially on his traditionally-published books that went out of print. Even luminary Stephen King experimented with self-publishing a few years back.
A new trend is emerging as traditional publishers go digital. Currently, a self-published author could get their work in front of more people as an eBook than a printed book. This is still true, but as more and more traditional publishers go digital, they can offer both – significant eBook exposure as well as print book distribution. They will take a larger piece of the pie, but if your work is selling well, it is worth going with a traditional publisher.
Here’s the Amanda Hocking story from The New York Times.
If any writer proved that modern self-publishing could be a pretty sweet deal, it was Amanda Hocking.
Amanda Hocking, who has self-published nine books.
In the past year Ms. Hocking, a 26-year-old from Minnesota, became an indie heroine in the literary world for publishing nine books that sold a total of more than one million copies, nearly all of them in e-book form, earning almost $2 million for her efforts.
But for Ms. Hocking, self-publishing has had its limits. On Thursday she announced that she had sold a four-book series to St. Martin’s Press, ending a frenzied weeklong auction that involved nearly every major publisher in the business, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.
St. Martin’s, part of Macmillan, paid more than $2 million for the world English rights to the “Watersong” series, Ms. Hocking’s latest books in the young-adult paranormal genre. >more
We just received this newsletter from a new site called kindlelendingclub.com launched by Amazon last December.
If you have a Kindle or any of the Kindle reading apps (Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for Blackberry, etc.) you can go to the site, sign up and borrow any Kindle book that has lending enabled.
The book will then be loaned to you for 14 days and then automatically transferred back to the original owner.
What we found interesting is the lending trends reported by the site in the following newsletter and the 25 most wanted books.
In light of the demographics (females between 35 and 55) we would have thought romance novels would be the leading lending genre. However, here’s what they reported.
The 25 Most Wanted
Literary fiction, the paranormal, sci fi, crime fiction, thrillers and even a memoir about a comedian’s one-night stands; it seems like KindleLendingClub.com readers (who tend to be female and between 35 and 55 years of age) are borrowing anything but traditional romance in the lead up to Valentine’s Day 2011.
While Amanda Hocking’s vampire and paranormal romances for young adults remain perennially popular, only two of the top 25 most requested books are traditional romance novels: A Season to be Sinful, by Jo Goodman, and Terry Spear’s An Accidental Highland Hero.
(Another interesting trend we saw last week as well? Eight of the 25 titles fall under the umbrella of young adult fiction.)
KindleLendingClub.com Most Wanted – Week of January 30, 2011:
1. The Hangman’s Daughter, by Oliver Pötzsch
2. Water for Elephants: A Novel, by Sara Gruen
3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
4. Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1), by Amanda Hocking
5. Wicked Appetite, by Janet Evanovich
6. Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games), by Suzanne Collins
7. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games), by Suzanne Collins
8. Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin
9. My Horizontal Life, by Chelsea Handler
10. My Blood Approves, by Amanda Hocking
11. The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel, by David Levithan
12. Freedom: A Novel (Oprah’s Book Club), by Jonathan Franzen
13. The Templar Concordat, by Terrence O’Brien
14. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
15. We Interrupt This Date, by L.C. Evans
16. A Season To Be Sinful, by Jo Goodman
17. Sizzling Sixteen, by Janet Evanovich
18. Favorite, by Karen McQuestion
19. The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, by Kevin Malarkey
20. Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3), by Amanda Hocking
21. Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card
22. Crossing Oceans, by Gina Holmes
23. Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
24. Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah
25. The Accidental Highland Hero, by Terry Spear
Writing is like exercise – you need to keep in shape: Writer and Internet marketer Aaron Harris notes five goo... bit.ly/1VSg3La
Take a look - Writing is like exercise – you need to keep in shape: Writer and Internet marketer Aaron Harris ... bit.ly/1VSg3La
Whether you have written nonfiction or fiction, all books in essence are about a story.
In light of the hundred of thousands of books published each year and the number increasing daily with the explosion of ebooks and self-publishing, your book has to be exceptional to get noticed and to ultimately be purchased.
Here are some basic elements that should be in every book:
1. Known as the lead or hook in newspapers, the first sentence or paragraph should effectively communicate something that will entice, interest or emotionally attach the reader to your book so he or she will want to read the rest of the book.
2. Every word, sentence, paragraph and section or chapter should relate in some way to the theme or story in a significant way. Background information on a character, a situation or concept should not be there just to fill pages. It should all relate in some way like the Ying and Yang - each complement each other, each are relevant to each other as parts that create the whole.
3. This may sound obvious, but your book should have a beginning, a middle and an end. In essence, all questions, concerns or conflicts should be resolved by the end of the book. The reader should not be left with any questions whether your book is nonfiction or fiction unless intentional.
Content is king. No matter what you write about, if the content and the writing engages, inspires, entertains or educates with an emotional attraction, the world will open up to you.
If you have a completed manuscript, we would like to hear from you. We are currently looking for titles to publish.
Go to our Query Page (see the tab on the top) and review our submission requirements before submitting your manuscript. We like to receive the first three chapters by email.