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34 posts from July 2007

The Publishing Careers Blog

Books2I consider it my civic duty to point out interesting publishing-related blogs that I recently discovered.  I'm particularly delighted to tell you about Lori Cates Hand's Publishing Careers blog.  Why?  Besides being a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about publishing jobs, Lori just happens to be the very first person I ever hired.  Yep, she joined our team at Macmillan as a copy editor right out of college and look at her now!  Lori is currently Product Line Manager at JIST, another local publisher that specializes in career books.

So do me a favor: Stop by Lori's blog and tell her to keep up the great work.  It's great to see more publishers jumping into the blogosphere and I'm thrilled that Lori is doing such a nice job representing JIST.

The Echoing Green, by Joshua Prager

Echoing_green_2As a loyal baseball fan I'm quite familiar with Bobby Thomsom and his "shot heard round the world" in the 1951 playoff with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Knowing some of the facts surrounding that big home run and feeling like you've actually just relived it are two completely different things.  Having read Johsua Prager's The Echoing Green I feel like I not only sat in the stands that October afternoon, but I've also become close acquaintances with Thomson and the Dodger on the mound that day, Ralph Branca.

I'm truly amazed at the level of detail Prager provides in this book.  He meticulously describes Thomson and Branca's pro careers and how they crossed paths many times before that fateful day.  Of course, the big story behind this one is the spying and sign-stealing work done by the Giants from their clubhouse perch in center field. If you've heard anything about this part of the story you won't be surprised by what you read in Prager's book; but what you will read is first-hand accounts from many of the Giants on the roster that year, including Thomson himself.

How can an almost 500-page book about one swing of the bat be so entertaining and interesting?  Well, first of all, there's really only about 350 pages of reading material here.  That's not to say the remaining 150 pages are worthless; they're mostly reference material and notes to support all the facts presented throughout the book.  Those sections are tucked away in back and there if you need them.

Prager is clearly a gifted and engaging writer.  He almost makes you feel like you could take a deep breath and smell the concessions stands from almost 60 years ago.  He also does a fantastic job describing the ups and downs of Branca and how he managed to keep his cool (for the most part) over the years, despite the rumblings of Giant cheaters.

Hmmm...Giant that I'm a fan of Prager, I wonder if he'd consider writing another well-researched book on the subject of our modern day Giant cheater...

Welcoming Ellen to the Blogosphere

Globe2Wiley marketing guru and colleague Ellen G. recently started a new blog called Confessions of an IT Girl.  You'll want to grab the RSS feed and see what she has to say.  Ellen just returned from the BlogHer and added to the "Do you need an agent?" discussion with a very insightful post.

Ellen's expertise may be in the tech space, but rest assured she's got loads of experience and insight for all the other publishing categories as well.  Ellen, welcome to the party -- keep up the great work!

This Guy Is Making Fun of Our WROX Covers...Sort Of...

WroxWith the headline "Idea: Nerdiness sells", Kurt Strahm pokes a bit of fun at our authors and the WROX cover design.  I suppose everyone has an opinion on why we feature author photos on the front cover.  Aside from the unique branding it offers us, I tend to believe it helps add a bit more personality to the book.  And yes, some of the pictures the authors submit aren't quite what we had in mind, but then again, we try to limit the amount of Photoshop work that's done on any one.

I wonder if we should create a website full of author photos that didn't make the cut.  Or, maybe we could create a WROX-ize-me site, like where loyal readers could upload their own photos and create custom WROX covers...

As an added bonus, for the next few days only, I'm replacing my formal blog photo with my one.

Our 13th Hit of 2007!

Dw_bibleEarlier today I noticed that yet another one of our titles just cracked the Top 25 on Amazon's Computers & Internet bestseller list: Dreamweaver CS3 Bible is currently sitting at #21.  Congrats to author Joe Lowery, editor Chris Webb and the rest of the editorial, production and marketing team on this one!

For anyone keeping score at home, here are links to our 12th hit, 11th hit and the list of the first 10 -- all have hit Amazon's Top 25 on the Computers & Internet list in 2007.

Even Scoble's Kid Is a Celebrity

ScobleRobert Scoble, co-author of our popular Naked Conversations, isn't the only celebrity in the family.  There I was, enjoying my breakfast and catching a bit of the Today Show, when all of a sudden Scoble and his son appeared in a segment about the iPhone.  More accurately, Scoble only appeared briefly while his son got most of the attention.

Hey Robert, I see Patrick likes to write, so let us know if he's ever interested in working on a book!

The State of the Tech Magazine Industry

Forbes_2Here's a sobering article outlining the challenges the technology magazine industry is up against.  I know the stack of magazines I read each week is much shorter today than it was even 2-3 years ago, and as the article indicates, much of my information now comes from blogs and other online news feeds, not print magazines.  My new challenge isn't keeping up with the magazines as it is finding ways to get through more RSS feeds without missing anything important.

Susan Driscoll of iUniverse

Book_biz_2iUniverse is a self-publishing operation that has a strategic partnership with Barnes & Noble.  Susan Driscoll, iUniverse CEO and President, is interviewed in this article from Book Business magazine.

She notes that one aspect of her job she enjoys most is the work she does directly with iUniverse authors.  She also points out that she gets to do much more of that with iUniverse than she did in her previous roles with traditional publishers.  Interesting point.  I too enjoy the time I get to spend talking to and working with authors.  I also admit that I don't get to do as much of that as I'd like.  Then again, she says iUniverse publishes about 400 books per month, so it's hard telling how many she's able to hook up with every month.

Susan also has a blog that she posts to once or twice a month and is worth subscribing to.

Taking Books to the Customer...A Novel Approach

BooksGoogle.  Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admire some of the interesting things they do, the experiments they try and the initiatives they launch.  Here's an article from The San Francisco Chronicle that talks about a Google-hosted author event program.  (Thanks to my colleague Mariann B. for sending this one along.)  It's a great opportunity for Google employees to hear what the author has to say and it apparently creates a captive audience for potential book sales: The article notes how "At public bookstore events, 10 to 20 percent of the people buy books. At corporate events, 50 to 80 percent buy books and attendance tends to be higher."

As an author, you might be thinking, "sure, it's easy for Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's to get an audience at Google.  He's a well-known name and perhaps even a celebrity.  I can't compete on that level."  While you're probably not as popular as Ben Cohen and you may not get into Google (at first), what about other large companies and organizations in your local community?  Are they likely to be interested in a brown bag lunch session, similar what Google is doing on a larger scale?  Start there and work your way up to the Google's, Microsoft's, etc.  And since there are probably opportunities in your own back yard you won't have to spend money getting there.

I also noticed the Authors@Google site referenced in this article.  The site lists over 100 of these videos including many in their Women@Google and Candidates@Google programs.  It's a neat way of enjoying one of the Google employee perks without actually working there.