Friday, November 21, 2014

Books You Need for a Career in Publishing

When I first started in publishing I didn't know my head from my elbow. It's amazing how often I turn to books to help me figure out the world around me. Recently, I bought a new bookshelf and while packing some old books, and some new books; and if you are anything like me, you don't just pack the books, you arrange, rearrange, alphabetise, and figure out a 'section' area by genre or by collection (i.e. signed hardbacks, or languages, or books worked on). It's complicated to say the least, but while packing, I realised I had an entire shelf on 'Books for Publishing' - granted theses were collected over the years some from my career, some from my publishing honors degree. So why not share them with you, dear reader? These don't have to be used for a career in publishing, but if you love books, and want to explore how they are made, sold, and financed this list will help...

Mathematics of Bookselling: A Monograph by Leonard Shatzkin

The Mathematics of Bookselling is a definitive resource for book retailers looking to maximize margins and profits through the proven pricing and inventory management practices developed by Leonard Shatzkin, one of 20th century book publishing’s most innovative executives.

Because bookselling involves dealing with so many different products from so many different suppliers with so many different prices and margins, it is perhaps the most complex retailing challenge there is. The Mathematics of Bookselling, a monograph by Leonard Shatzkin, explores a variety of the real-life challenges booksellers face -- what and when to buy, how margin (the amount made on a sale) and turn (the speed at which inventory brought in gets sold) affect profitability, whether to add or subtract titles from the mix -- and lays out the logic and calculations by which the "right" answers can be found.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.

Now, we all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighbourhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

How to Market Books by Alison Baverstock

Over four editions, Alison Baverstock's How to Market Books has established itself as the industry standard text on marketing for the publishing industry, and the go-to reference guide for professionals and students alike. With the publishing world changing like never before, and the marketing and selling of content venturing into uncharted technological territory, this much needed new edition seeks to highlight the role of the marketer in this rapidly changing landscape. 

The new edition is thoroughly updated and offers a radical reworking and reorganisation of the previous edition, suffusing the book with references to online/digital marketing. The book maintains the accessible and supportive style of previous editions but also now offers: a number of new case studies detailed coverage of individual market segments checklists and summaries of key points several new chapters a foreword by Michael J Baker, Professor Emeritus of Marketing, Strathclyde University.

Get your Book Published in 30 (relatively) Easy Steps by Basil van Rooyen

Writing a book? Need answers to your questions? What are my chances of getting my book published? Where can I find information about which publishers handle which books? What exactly is involved in publishing a book and how long does it take? Who pays for what? How do I protect my copyright? These and scores of other questions can frustrate the first-time author - and often haunt published authors too. 

Part 1 traces the entire publishing process, from the moment the author conceives of the idea to the moment the finished book arrives in the bookshop, and beyond, by breaking it down into 30 easy-to-digest steps. 

Part 2 is an overview of the inner workings of the international book trade as well as the South African book industry. This edition of this authoritative aid for authors brings prospective authors up to date with new developments in the book world such as e-books and now focuses exclusively on general trade books (fiction and non-fiction).

Walking on Eggshells by G.E de Villiers

Walking on Eggshells is a practical, down-to-earth – and entertaining! - guide to some aspects of English usage. It is aimed at the reader with an interest in the subject, whether on a professional or personal level. Additionally, it should also be of use to those who wish to improve their knowledge of language and how it works.

Book Commissioning & Acquisition by Gill Davies

Since its first publication, this essential guide to book commissioning has established itself as the one and only 'must-read' for any successful editor, and the core training text used both within publishing houses and on publishing courses worldwide.

In this new edition, Davies concentrates on the essential skills of commissioning, as well as other editorial challenges such as handling new lists following mergers and takeovers, and the demands of digital technology. New case-studies have been added which illustrate the commercial and practical problems that editors must address in today's complex and demanding marketplace.

This book remains the one text that editors must have by their side throughout their careers.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it -- fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

If you have any suggestions to add to my list, please send them through - comment below or pop me an email.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kelly gets a LAMY

Some people buy cars, houses or even shoes - for me, it's notebooks and pens. So imagine when the new LAMY Safari Neon Coral Pink pen arrived in such fashion at my office. It's packaging elegant, branded as if I was about to take a red Ferrari out on the town.

I first saw the elegant LAMY pen brand when it made it's way into Exclusive Books alongside those beautiful Moleskin notebooks that I covet so much.

Designed by Wolfgang Fabian, a qualified Goldsmith before studying Industrial Design, is an award-winning designer and heads up the Fabian Industrie-Design. He is responsible for designing the LAMY Agenda, Al-star, Logo, Pickup, Safari, Spirit, Swift, and the Tipo.

This gorgeous pen hosts a sturdy and smooth coral pink outer casing, with a steel nib, and uses the LAMY T 10 blue ink cartridge. You can find the specs of the LAMY Safari Neon (Coral Pink) here.

The entire LAMY range can be found at your nearest stationery store.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Exclusive Books gets Wrapped Up this Festive Season

There seems to be no shame in sending out the Festive Season elves early; so before I left on two weeks leave, I was lucky enough to sit down with media heavy weights at the picturesque and hidden Burnside Cafe off Jan Smuts Avenue in bustling Johannesburg – while the rest of the world around us grafted to get the weekend to arrive quicker than usual we got the full insider scoop to Exclusive Books new festive season promotion which hit stores as our drinks were served.

It’s a big catalogue; one that is sure to intimidate the soft hearted but if you’re like me and spend hours pouring over promotion catalogues this could possibly be the best thing Exclusive Books could give me. Very different from their past Christmas Promotions, which sported a few of the publishers big heavy weights due to be published between October and December – while this catalogue hosts titles that could easily be relevant up until mid 2015; you have backlist classics, elegant French stationery and originally designed literary wrapping paper that is sure to get your knees weak.

The ‘Get Wrapped Up’ promotion leaves no book page unturned it seems forcing every Exclusive Books store to host a variety of backlist, frontlist and almost shouts the new branding which MD, Benjamin Trisk, says: “... is a call to the imagination which also trumpets our joy in books, our pleasure in service and the one extraordinary dimension that we offer our customers: the knowledge.”

The format and outlay is beautiful – intimidating, but beautiful. With the addition of coloured circles that allow this catalogue to become a one-stop interactive book lovers wishlist it hold eight book covers per page, a short bio, a catagorised image boasting its ‘new’, ‘bestseller’, or even ‘award-winner’ status, all filed under 19 genres from Afrikaans Fiction to Travel -  this is a book on its own – I really did need my glasses to find the ISBN though, but that’s because I work in publishing.  There are selections that could prove more extensive such as children’s and possibly business, but with the beautiful cloth bound classics section – it’s difficult to showcase every single book without losing the essence of what this means.

I am scared of this catalogue - I am scared for my wallet, that perhaps I may miss a gem, or even my mind trying to decide what I want for Christmas. But perhaps it’s time for Exclusive Books to show why they are a bookstore – to stomp and boast, because why not?

We hope that it may become a reference so that our customers will browse through it physically, or page through it online in six months’ time, and find something to read.” – Benjamin Trisk.

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