Reaching an Audience – Some Blog Hop pre-voyage thoughts

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Once, the challenge for an Author was to find a Publisher. Then it became a quest for a Literary Agent who would search for a Publisher at a percentage of what the Author received. Today, the opportunities are potentially enormous for an Author, but so are the risks

The Nautical Blog Hop Crew – do check their blogs out.

http://jmaucoin.com/2013/09/16/nautical-blog-hop-black-men-the-black-flag/
http://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/weigh-anchor-nautical-blog-hop.html
http://doug1401ck.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/pirates-and-their-ships.html
http://www.lindacollison.com/women-working-men-aboard-ship
www.margaretmuirauthor.blogspot.com
http://julianstockwin.com/welcome-front-page/blog-page/
http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/by-the-sea-by-the-beautiful-sea/
http://wp.me/p3GFor-1W
http://www.veulett.com/2013/09/16/weigh-anchor-nautical-blog-hop/
http://thepirateempire.blogspot.co.uk/
http://mark-patton.blogspot.co.uk/
http://www.katherinebone.com/
http://blog.alaricbond.com/
http://gingermyrick.com/nautical-blog-hop/
http://www.judithstarkston.com/articles/the-wonders-of-bronze-age-shipwrecks/
http://seymourhamilton.com/?p=168
http://www.oldsaltblog.com/
http://jameslnelson.blogspot.co.uk/
http://sjat.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/nautical-meanderings/
http://pruebatten.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/knowing-the-ropes/
http://dawlishchronicles.blogspot.co.uk/
http://www.joan-druett.blogspot.co.nz/
http://busywords.wordpress.com/
http://nthn.firetrench.com/2013/09/stand-by-to-raise-anchor/

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FIRE Reviews http://reviews.firetrench.com
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Accessing Nautical Fiction

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Most printng presses are now controlled by a RIP computer which means that an eBook could be copied in .PDF or .PSII file format, copied onto a CD/DVD, and taken to the printer to be loaded directly into the RIP computer

Although there have been great advances in electronic publishing during the last decade, most books sold continue to be printed paper, published by established publishing houses. During the last three years, established publishers have begun to move their sales from traditional bookshops, to on-line bookshops. On-line distribution organizations, such as Amazon, have been steadily taking business away for high street bookshops.

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A novel rarely includes much illustration and what is included will usually work as a single colour. This makes books like “Burning Shadow” easy to create on a standard wordprocessor and save as an EPUB document

A small number of online book distributors have been attempting to corner the market for eBooks and Print On Demand, POD, production. This has included attempts to create proprietary electronic file formats and proprietary file format conversion software to limit use to eBook readers sold by the distributor. The author will have to decide what file format to create a book in. An eBook with a .JPG image of the cover and the book body as flat text should have no difficulty in working with any distributor’s file formats. It becomes more complex when the book includes lavish full colour illustration. The PDF file format provides an excellent format for display and handles complex layouts and colour very well. It is also versatile in working well on a wide variety of electronic devices, but it does require a better and easier copyright protection system. It does have the option of strong password protection but this requires more effort on the part of the reader and a slightly more complex on-line eBookshop procedure.

The author continues to be treated poorly by the distribution systems and independent publishing has yet to make significant advances. The main challenge facing the independent author/publisher is in producing a marketing program to reach out to a potential audience. It is still true that some of the finest books never achieve any success, because few readers discover them, with many titles never being published in any form. In the process, the reader is also the loser because valuable books never become available.

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The Blog Hop is an interesting initiative where authors and related blogs get together for a short period to create a larger Internet footprint than any individual blog is achieving.

The FIRE Project is participating in the Nautical Blog Hop because this is an important attempt to raise the profile of nautical fiction, introducing potential readers to authors they may not yet be aware of, as well as to authors who can claim to be “Best Selling Authors”.

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FIRE Reviews provides an on-line database of reviews including fiction and non-fiction nautical topics

Within the FIRE Project, the Reviews portal provides a public access on-line book reviews database. Many of the books reviewed are non-fiction and from established traditional publishers, but the free reviews service is open to any author and any form of publisher. All that the author or publisher has to do is to email a news release for a published, or forthcoming, title to the FIRE Project Duty Editors at editors@firetrench.com The Reviews Editor will then request a copy of the title for review if it fits within the criteria of review topics. Even if the book fails to meet current criteria, the news of the book’s availability will be posted to the Nighthawk News portal which covers publishing and creative arts topics.

The FIRE Project review team is spread across time zones and paper books sent to the central Reviews postal address in the UK are allocated to members of the team and posted on to them. Even so, most reviews are completed and posted to the on-line database within 14 days of arriving in the UK. Increasingly, books are being received for review as electronic files sent as email attachments, or via a large file transmission system. This is an exciting development because it allows reviewers to start work almost immediately, but it also introduces some challenges.

During the last two years, the range of publishers producing electronic books has increased greatly, with many now publishing new books in several different formats for release at the same time. For the reviewer this can present some problems. A large format glossy work with lavish illustration and sold normally as a printed paper work is best viewed in that form. If it is sent for review as an electronic file it may fail to achieve the impact with the reviewer that the hard copy addition is able to achieve, and it may be a very large electronic file, or set of files. Generally, fictional work avoids this potential problem because illustration may be confined to the cover, with the body of the book being a compact electronic file that is ideal for loading into a tablet or eBook reader.

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Age is no barrier or criteria. An ability to use a computer and wordprocessor is highly desirable but some authors, even with good computing skills, prefer to dictate and have someone else type and first edit for them. The key is to use a production medium that allows the author to create with freedom for thought.

For the author, publishing independently as an eBook, or a POD paper book, there is considerable freedom in setting out the book and presenting it to readers, but there is a further opportunity. One of the growing trends during the last five years has been for authors to publish electronically and be discovered by a traditional publisher who will then offer to buy the rights to publish and market a traditional paper book. Television and film production companies are also discovering that eBooks are a great source for potential material that can be read and assessed very quickly.

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The tablet provides much of the functionality of a laptop computer with WiFi and smart phone network communications. It also provides a superior presentation of PDF eBooks, but a pure eBook reader will offer a longer battery life and may handle bright sunlight better because the eInk screen, used in many eBook readers, reflects light in much the same way as a printed sheet of paper, where tablets employ a backlit screen, with the back light competing with sunlight.

The opportunities for authors and readers are rapidly expanding and this is an exciting time for both. For those who prefer printed paper as the format for books, the POD system is providing low cost titles that are rapidly sent to the customer, without having to carry the considerable cost of bulk printing, book storage, and distribution through a community of bookshops, large and small. As a POD book can often be supplied locally in many countries, the difficulties and costs of posting books internationally is reduced or removed. For those who are comfortable with reading from a screen, it is now practical to carry hundreds of books on a slim pocket-size device that can be read in strong light and operate for days without requiring its batteries to be recharged. There will be further progress in electronic formats to make highly illustrated books practical in electronic form for portable reader devices. For those who are comfortable with reading from a computer screen lavishly illustrated eBooks are already practical.

One exciting new opportunity is created by the ability of an electonic file to include photographs, art work and video with the option to play computer generated voice or recorded voice, for display on a television screen or home cinema.

ReboExpresso

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The choice continues to open out. What may yet prove very popular with many readers is the new type of bookshop, where the reader can browse through the catalogue, select books to be read in extract, and then ordered, to be copied to DVD, or to be printed as POD books, while the reader enjoys a coffee and continues browsing. What has still to be developed is affordable technology to allow a book to be printed quickly in full colour in the shop and bound as the customer requires. That day is drawing closer, with print and bind machines starting to be introduced, where the machine calculates the cost of printing a specific book and binding it in one of several available styles, according to the exact mix and quantity of materials. In contrast, current POD production either limits choice to a single binding format, a colour front cover, and the rest of the book printed in a single colour, or offers full colour printing and a choice of bindings by crudely multiplying the cost of the standard single colour book.

As technology develops, the author is still faced with the challenge of marketing if she or he decides to publish independently. The Blog Hop is likely to become an increasingly popular method of reaching readers and going viral.

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