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Once It Leaves Our Hands: The DRM Argument Continues

If you’re new to the “publishing world” and plan to self-publish an eBook, this is some of what you’re about to jump into. Last week, several self-published authors left comments of protest under the announcement Lulu Says Goodbye to DRM, while other authors stated they are on board with the decision. In between author comments, readers attempted to have their voices heard. Here is how the Lulu blog post begins:

Effective January 15, 2013, Lulu will no longer offer Adobe’s Digital Editions DRM as an option when publishing or revising eBook content in EPUB and PDF formats.

If you don’t already know, Lulu is a self-publishing service for authors, offering both print-on-demand books (printed and shipped upon individual order by customer) and eBooks (downloaded individually when ordered by customer). DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s computer code meant to block copying (known as piracy) of eBooks. Continue reading

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To Epigraph or not to Epigraph

From a review by Mark Medley in the National Post:

“Call Me Ishmael” may be one of the most famous opening sentences in the history of literature, but it actually comes a dozen-odd pages into Moby-Dick. Herman Melville prefaces his novel with a staggering 80 epigraphs, with references to whales in the Bible (“Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah”), Shakespeare (“Very like a whale,” Polonius says to Hamlet) and Milton (“That sea beast/Leviathan, which God of all his works/Created hugest that swim the ocean stream”), among other sources.

Most writers limit themselves to one or two, and choosing which ones to use is a particular skill, argues Rosemary Ahern in her new book, The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin.

The book sounds wonderful. If you’re planning to self-publish your novel and plan to use an epigraph (but hopefully not eighty of them!), be sure to put the epigraph in the right place.

You want to make sure your epigraph is relevant to the novel’s themes, of course, and that relevance needs to be clear to the reader and not just an inside joke with yourself.

Also, think twice about beginning each chapter of your book with an epigraph. Again quoting the Ahern book referenced above:

Speaking as an editor, Ahern says epigraphs are usually left to the author’s discretion. “I really always felt that was the author’s privilege,” she says. On the other hand, “I think that when you start to have like five, six, seven epigraphs, they start to cancel each other out,” she says. “You can get a little epigraph-happy.”

As is the case with misplaced flashbacks, unrelated subplots, and unnecessary exposition, an epigraph at the start of every chapter makes your reader stop reading your story — and quite possibly put the book down altogether.

Featured image by nitpix via morgueFile

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Concerning Small Presses

Once a novel is finished, the road to publication can feel a bit cold and lonely. Not sure whether to self-publish or maybe try a small press? How does a small press operate, anyway? On the website Lit Reactor, columnist Brandon Tietz outlines Six Shortcomings of Small Presses. The introduction:

When you complete your novel there are a few directions you can go.  There’s the self-publishing route, although more than a few remain firm in their convictions to go “legitimate” in their endeavors.  You can get an agent to query the big publishing houses, but this often proves to be difficult as it yields many rejections.  That’s more or less when the idea of the small press comes up.  You don’t need an agent since you can contact them directly, however, there are some things you might want to keep in mind while shopping.

Brandon makes some fair observations. However, be sure to also read the comments under the piece.

Featured photo by kconnors via morgueFile

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Interview with author William Westhoven

The Puddingstone Well, a contemporary mystery-fantasy, was released on October 26, 2012, three days before Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore. Westhoven began writing his personal account of surviving the storm just three days after getting power restored in his North Jersey home on November 9. He spent the twelve days before that in his home without power or heat. On November 29, Superstorm Sandy: A Diary in the Dark was published through Amazon. I read the book and interviewed Westhoven on behalf of SPR via email on November 30.

… The biggest problem it may have caused for us personally is after a rather intensive two months of sharing the editing duties for my second novel, The Puddingstone Well, Lisa was probably looking for a break. We had just celebrated that launch with a book signing at a local bookstore on the Friday before the storm hit. Then I get this crazy idea and we end up editing on Thanksgiving. There wasn’t even any time for discussion. If I was going to do this, it had to be right away. Lisa is a lovely, patient woman, but she did make me promise not to write any more books until next year.

Read the entire interview.

Featured image “Mountain Lakes Damage” by William Westhoven