We recently heard a story on the CBC show Day 6 with Brent Bambury that we found quite intriguing, amusing, and a bit disturbing: e-books that are produced with similar titles to bestsellers to lure the unwary into buying them. Examples include the I am the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and Thirty-Five Shades of Grey.
We almost feel ashamed dignifying these productions with italicization and mention in our blog. They are not good; they are not even trying to be good. They just want to glom on to another author’s success and leech some sales by virtue of title similarity. Since titles can’t, in general, be copyrighted, all this is perfectly legal. Or maybe not—one expert in the piece suggests prosecution may be possible on grounds of fraud.
Another phenomenon mentioned in the story are books that are nothing more than compilations of Wikipedia articles and blogs on some important topic, slapped together without regard to narrative arc or even coherence, and sold as authoritative works.
Such are the dangers of the Wild West of modern, online publishing. Maybe Kathi and I will go ahead with our plan to write A Farewell to Barns.
Have you been cheated by someone selling you a bogus e-book? Tell us your story.
Back at the end of January, we asked you to fill out our Reader Survey. To make BookPage better for you, we wanted to learn about your reading preferences, hobbies and habits. To thank you for answering our questions, we promised to give away a lot of really great prizes. :)
Well . . . two months later, the results are in and the winners have been chosen (and contacted). Here are some results, at a glance. Keep reading to see a list of winners.
12,353: Number of people who completed the survey. (Wow!)
7: Percentage of our readers who live in Illinois (the highest of any state, followed by New York and Ohio).
74: Percentage of our readers who buy books for kids.
Mystery/thrillers: The type of book our readers most enjoy reading.
Book Clubs: The most popular column in BookPage.
Movies: Our readers' most popular interest (besides reading!) — followed by cooking and fitness.
And my favorite stats of all . . .
97: Percentage of BookPage readers who read at least two books per month.
64: Percentage of BookPage readers who read at least four books per month.
35: Percentage of BookPage readers who read at least six books per month.
15: Percentage of BookPage readers who read at least 10 books per month!
Kerri Skrudland from Illinois was the grand prize winner. She will receive a Nook Color preloaded with a one-year subscription to BookPage. She'll also receive free books from BookPage for a year!
Anne Marie Scupp from South Carolina was the runner-up. She will receive a Nook Color preloaded with a one-year subscription to BookPage!
Ten runners-up will each receive a $20 Books-A-Million gift card:
Stefanie H. from South Dakota
Robert C. from Massachusetts
Martha N. from Michigan
Amy S. from North Carolina
Anne K. from Illinois
Joy C. from Pennsylvania
Ann M. from Connecticut
Cathy G. from New Jersey
Teresa M. from Wisconsin
Kathy B. from Arkansas
Congratulations, winners! And thank you to all readers who participated in the 2012 Reader Survey.
A post from the Author Enablers:
Your new book is coming out soon, and you are going crazy thinking of ways to promote it. A dedicated website is tempting, as is a Facebook page. Your book is called Moby Dick: the Sequel, so you go online and register www.mobydickthesequel, grateful to see that it has not been taken. Then you start pushing your audience to this site via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Is this a good plan? It depends. It’s hard to argue with success, so if you get a lot of traffic to the site, that is good. But what happens when you write your next book, For Whom the Bell Doesn’t Toll? Do you need to start another website, www.forwhomthebelldoesnttoll.com? Do you have to manage both websites at once? Are your readers supposed to go to both websites? That’s expecting a lot of loyalty. When you message people, do you post on both at once? Is it the same post? Or do you tell your fans to abandon site #1 and head to #2?
Most authors won’t only write one book and will have other projects going besides books, such as speaking engagements, blogging, and the occasional massive movie deal. Given this reality (and hope), it is probably best if you create one website that is dedicated to you and all your work where you can do all of your promoting. That way fans of one book will learn about others, and will also be able to learn where you are and what you are doing, all at one handy site. Facebook pages are useful for this purpose, as well.
In short, you are a brand, and you want to brand yourself (in the marketing, not the cowboy sense).
Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam Barry are the authors of Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now. Email them your questions (along with your name and hometown) about writing and publishing, and don’t miss their column on BookPage.com.