15/05/2012 § Leave a comment

Apparently a consensus exists that publishing many short and frequent items is a better way to run a blog than is publishing fewer and longer items. I’m certain that’s so. I’m not very good at it. Nevertheless, this space’s previous conversations about journalism and digital survival, leavened with the occasional bit of good news, shall resume shortly. Thank you to the surprising number of people who have written recently to encourage this.


Truthfully, the Rain in Spain is Mainly on the Coasts

01/03/2012 § Leave a comment

Links for early Spring:

Apple flips out over Amazon…

While Amazon flips out over ebook prices….

Leading Mathew Ingram to muse intelligently about both.

A team of three reporters, of which I’m lucky to be one, has launched a new documentary project about Spain’s unemployment crisis.

An exciting, new magazine led by an editor so clever, she really ought to have been obligated to go to medical school instead of into publishing, will be both a bi-monthly and a daily, via a re-launched website.

Pablo Barrio of the digital design house Ganso y Pulpo (“Goose and Octopus”) will be co-running a workshop on non-fiction ebooks with me next week, part of the XIII Digital Journalism Congress.

The US men’s national soccer team beats powerhouse Italy 1-0 when a child of Haitian immigrants passes a ball to a guy from a trailer park on the Mexican border, who scores. Italy rues an injury to its own team’s star, who is from, naturally, Teaneck, New Jersey.

Today’s Telling Search String

27/02/2012 § Leave a comment

“can i publish a book on kindle if i am from the middle east?”

Blech of a Salesman

27/02/2012 § 2 Comments

In the three months since self-publishing a piece of long form reporting, I have become more aware of the niche businesses evolving around ebooks. Graphic designers appear to be finding sustaining work. Freelance editors have less traction, but some are doing well providing notes to authors. What I have yet to understand, and would like to explore, is why the marketing business hasn’t gotten very involved in the ebook business. We do not yet see many boutique marketing shops cropping up for hire by authors to sell books. Or, not nearly to the degree graphic designers, ebook packagers, and distributors have. « Read the rest of this entry »

Regarding the Pause

21/02/2012 § Leave a comment

Updates will resume in this space shortly. I have been waiting until I have something useful to say.

Scaling the Single

29/12/2011 § Leave a comment

The above was among several responses over the holidays to a spate of articles on journalists and self-publishing. The stories I saw were by Ewan Spence at Forbes, Jenn Webb at O’Reilly Radar, and Matthew Ingram at GigaOm. Each talked about my own Kindle Single, which is why I saw them. From the many, many tweets and such that resulted, I suspect there are more stories out there, and a larger discussion.

I’ll try to answer the question. My guess is the self-publishing model could support a lot of the reporters who were previously working as freelancers, stringers and — most notably — fixers. But it would have to be done internationally, and probably in groups. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Death of the Gentleman Publisher

10/12/2011 § 1 Comment

This week, publisher Hachette circulated a memo articulating the services it offers to authors. According to a copy reprinted on a website called Digital Book World, the memo said Hachette, and publishers in general, do four main things:

1. Curator: We find and nurture talent.

2.Venture Capitalist: We fund the author’s writing process.

3. Sales and Distribution Specialist: We ensure widest possible audience.

4. Brand Builder and Copyright Watchdog: We build author brands and protect their intellectual property.

Reading the memo caused me to think back to the spring, when I had lunch with a friend who works as an senior editor with a large New York publishing house. I’d asked him to make a similar case – to convince me why authors should market their work to traditional publishers – and he had offered a similar list. In addition to finding and nurturing talent, he provides his authors money (what he called “a banking function”) plus marketing, distribution, and legal muscle. It was a slightly uncomfortable conversation because I wasn’t convinced. « Read the rest of this entry »

Meanwhile, in Egypt

01/12/2011 § 2 Comments

I came back from Libya with some video footage. I was curious to see what I could do with it. In the end I didn’t use it. Most eReaders can’t handle video yet. That will change, and some reasonably well-known experiments with direct-publishing multimedia journalism already exist. « Read the rest of this entry »

Why and How A Novelist Didn’t Write a Kindle Single

01/12/2011 § 9 Comments

L.A. – based novelist Edan Lepucki just published a thoughtful takedown of electronic self-publishing, at The Millions. An excerpt:

The thought of Amazon being the only place to purchase my novel shivers my timbers. I don’t mind if someone else chooses to read my work electronically, just as I don’t mind if Amazon is one of the places to purchase my work; I’m simply wary of Amazon monopolizing the reading landscape. Self-publishing has certainly offered an alternative path for writers, but it’s naive to believe that a self-published author is “fighting the system” if that self-published book is produced and made available by a single monolithic corporation. In effect, they’ve rejected “The Big 6″ for “The Big 1.” « Read the rest of this entry »

Why and How I Wrote a Kindle Single

28/11/2011 § 8 Comments

THE WAGES PAID to foreign stringers – the occasional contributors newspapers rely on to cover vast swaths of the planet – even shock reporters. Between $200 and $300 per dispatch is common. $500 is desirable. That fee represents work taking about a day, sometimes two, to complete in a dignified manner. You identify what’s most important or interesting in a situation, talk to people about it, confirm what they tell you, perhaps travel to an event and record the details, write up the story, find a place to send it back to the publisher, and wait an hour. Then you go through one or more rounds of questions and edits. A twelve hour day is a minimum, and longer ones very common. That process doesn’t really change, whether you are covering a distillers’ convention or the Libyan Revolution.

It’s fair money if you’re sending a story every day. But you usually aren’t. « Read the rest of this entry »