Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Gifts for The Readers In Your Life


With over 1,070 posts on this blog, folks can find a lot of information about Reading, Writing, and Publishing. Take Me To Your Reader

Search and Top Tags work great but many don’t realize the side-bar has valuable stuff, too.

Like the link to GoneReading

It’s a place to get all kinds of gifts for readers but also an organization that donates all its profits to other organizations that work to help over a billion people on this planet get the books they need

In the past post, It’s Simple. They’re Gone Reading :-), I interviewed Bradley S. Wirz, the owner of GoneReadingtake that link to discover what an amazing organization it is

By the way, the image up there is on a cup that Brad gave me after our interview :-)

Today, I want to feature just a few of the things you can buy for the readers in your life from GoneReading.

First a couple of sheer fun items:

William Shakespeare’s Magnetic “Dress-Up” Set

Fun Gift for Readers

Emily Dickinson Finger Puppet / Fridge Magnet

Emily Dickinson Finger Puppet

 And, here are a couple of very useful items:

Book Chair: Book Holder & eReader Stand

 Book Holder and E-Reader Stand

Reading Journal for Book Lovers

Reading Journal

 Last, the image on the cup Brad gave me—except it’s on a T-Shirt :-)

Readers T-Shirt

So, head on over to GoneReading for a wealth of gifts for readers and know that what you spend is going to help others have the books they need for a full life…
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Check Out Our Latest Poll…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

“Choice” Digital Tools of 2014


There have been so many digital tools created for writers that you could probably spend weeks just checking them out…

Digital Media Tools

Image Courtesy of Fran Gambín ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/sykicktb

So, I’ll reference Jane Friedman again.

She has “…more than 15 years of experience in the publishing industry, with in-depth expertise in book, magazine, and digital media publishing. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer’s Digest, where she ultimately became publisher and editorial director of the $10-million multimedia brand.”

And, she recently published the article, My Favorite Digital Tools in 2014.

I’ll list the six tools she chose but urge you to take the link to her article to read her comments on each

1. The video conferencing tool, Zoom.

2. The visuals-designer tool, Canva.

3. The organizational and workspace tool, Evernote.

4. The online backup tool, CrashPlan.

5. A most amazing all-round writing tool, Scrivener ( for Mac & for PC).

6. The project management tool, Asana.

She also shares two early contenders for 2015 and two of her long-time favorites…
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Check Out Our Latest Poll…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

A Professional Association for Authors Who Self-Publish


Self-publishing is not necessarily one writer who does everything themselves; though, there are such amazing people.

Alliance of Independent Authors

Image from the ALLI Site

A self-published author probably has an editor and may engage a cover designer and other freelance talent.

Then, there’s the label Indie Author…

Is Indie different from Self-Published?

I explored that question in a post back in October of 2013—“What IS An Indie Author?”

I also explored a relatively new organization for Indie authors in the post, Why Would An Author Want To Be Independent?, which has two informational videos with Mark Coker of Smashwords and Orna Ross from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

In a recent e-mail I received from Orna, these benefits of ALLi membership were shared:

  • A “How To Self-Publish Well” education pack, with free ebooks and seminal articles from our advisors and friends, including Mark Coker, Joel Friedlander, Jane Friedman, David Gaughran, Joanna Penn, Mark McGuinness and more
  • Multiple ways to connect with, and learn from, other members
  • Great discounts and deals
  • Monthly online events, including our “Sell More Books” monthly meetup
  • Watchdog and Rating of Author Services globally
  • Rights & Contracts Advice service
  • Foreign and subsidiary rights services, including a massive discount on Pubmatch and IPR Licence, an agent who’ll assess your books for foreign rights potential
  • Through these benefits, we’ve given hundreds of indie authors the information and skills to publish better and sell more books

Here’s what they say about their Service Directory:

“ALLi’s Self-Publishing Service Directory, which launches January 2015, is the first of its kind: a showcase of vetted services for self-publishers, combined with advice and tips on assembling the perfect team to produce books and literary projects that adhere to ALLi standards of ethics and excellence.”

You can read a preview of ALLi’s Service Directory.

And, you can also get some of ALLi’s Author Guidebooks.

I’d love to have some of you answer these questions in the Comments:

Have you Self-Published?

Are you an Indie Author?

Do you want to Self-Publish?

Are you working toward being an Indie Author?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Check Out Our Latest Poll…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Friday Poll ~ Writers’ Deadlines


First, the results from last week’s poll—What Writers’ Resources Do You Use? 

Writers' Deadlines

Image Courtesy of Pedro Simao ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/pdsimao

The most voted-on resources were Laptop and Dictionary.

The next most-voted slot was also a two-way tie: Paper & Pen and Internet Search.

Third place was a three-way tie: Thesaurus, Brainstorming, and Active Imagination.

Fourth was Notebook.

Fifth, a two-way tie: Library and Consulting Your Muse.

Sixth, another two-way: Special Software and Post It Notes.

Seventh, three-way: Tablet Computer, Paper & Pencil, and Style Guide.

Eighth, another three-way: Desktop Computer, Mindmaps, and the “Other” space, which had “Randomness” and “artwork, paintings, talking to myself”.

Ninth and last, a two-way tie between Consulting Experts and Travel Research.

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Now, for this week’s poll—Writers’ Deadlines.

Naturally, multiple answers are allowed and the “Other” space is available

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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?


Alexander M Zoltai:

So much hype now about being a “successful” author…

Such a lack of clear information about the real odds of monetary success…

I’m reblogging the most important post I’ve done, so far, about book sales in the digital age…

Originally posted on Notes from An Alien:

An extremely small percentage of writers sell more than 500 copies of a book

One source I checked said this:

in 2004, 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies.

“The average book in America sells about 500 copies” (Publishers Weekly, July 17, 2006). And average sales have since fallen much more. According to BookScan, which tracks most bookstore, online, and other retail sales of books, only 299 million books were sold in 2008 in the U.S. in all adult nonfiction categories combined. The average U.S. book is now [2011] selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.”

There are other sources of statistics and adding e-books would give yet different numbers but, to generalize the available…

View original 781 more words

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