Amazon: friend or foe?

When I ask writers, authors, or publishers about Amazon, I get a variety of responses:

  • I love Amazon. I just ordered laundry detergent from them, and it was really cheap.
  • I try not to order from them but shop locally.
  • Amazon always knows what I will be interested in when I am browsing for something to read.
  • They make ordering so easy, and delivery is so quick!
  • They get me mad because they have the wrong cover for my book, and they won’t change it.
  • When I search for my book, they list the old edition first and I can’t get them to flip it to the new edition. Ugh!
  • They’ve made self-publishing so easy. It is a dream.

Quite the spectrum. When people think of Amazon, they think of books first, which puts them in a Kleenex or Xerox situation from a branding point-of-view. But as you might know, Amazon is way past books and publishing.

How to evaluate an effective book cover

Go ahead. Judge that next book by its cover. Or, at least, judge the cover itself and what purpose it serves for the book. Textbook author, Paul A. Krieger tells us that “Good book covers are important” and shares four specific benefits to a quality cover design.

  1. The book cover serves as an advertisement for your book;
  2. A quality cover makes a positive first impression with your readers;
  3. It informs your readers what the book is about; and
  4. It can improve overall sales.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 1, 2022

Jane Yolen once said, “Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing… the rest will follow.” As authors, hopefully we all “love the writing”, but that doesn’t mean that writing is easy or that the things needed to support our writing efforts come naturally.

In this collection of articles from around the web, we found advice on common essay writing mistakes, time management processes, and tackling writer’s block. We also found a review of open data in research over the past decade and funding advice for using kickstarter as authors. Finally, we found marketing tips for assessing the competition on Kindle and examples of quality book trailers.

As you write this week (or support your writing with other authoring tasks), love what you do! Happy writing!

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 18, 2022

How do you see yourself as an academic author? What is your purpose in writing? How does your writing matter in your discipline? How do you know when you are successful?

These are some of the questions addressed in the articles curated from around the web this week. We’ve also found advice on branding and marketing yourself and your work and the risk and reward of innovation in publishing.

As you write this week, consider the reason and the audience for your words. Happy writing!

Don’t just rewrite an existing book

Coming to want to author a book is a slow process. There is likely ruminating, rethinking, internal debating, conflicting feelings, competing agendas, to say the least. Rarely, is it a moment of inspiration and then sudden action. Part of the decision process is thinking about what is already available on the market.

Many prospective authors will say, “there is nothing like this on the market. No competition.” This is very rarely true. There is usually some book, or more likely books, that your idea is standing on the shoulders of, wanting to reach higher. Also, the competition for some customer might be to buy nothing at all.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 21, 2022

Three weeks into 2022, most textbook and academic authors have begun a new semester of teaching, learning, and (of course) writing. As the new calendar year often comes with good intentions, plans for improvement, and resolutions to do and accomplish more than the year before, our collection of articles this week shares some tips and strategies for approaching your future efforts of writing, marketing, and producing your content for readers.

As you work on your writing this week, remember the words of Philip Pullman, “Read like a butterfly, write like a bee.” Happy Writing!