Digital Rights Management – Some Problems via @DouglasCootey

This article was brought to my attention by Sean from bookonaut.com.

Although long blog posts about DRM are always boiling beneath the surface of my skin, they aren’t really appropriate for Literarium and more likely to appear on my personal blog.

Make no mistake, though: Literarium does not support digital rights management of files. Chiefly because it doesn’t work, doesn’t achieve its goals, and treats readers like criminals. It’s also expensive and frustrating. But let’s move on…

Douglas Cootey details his experience in dealing with the most common flavour of DRM currently inflicted on legitimate ebook customers, Adobe’s Digital Editions. Tragically writers rarely have much of a say in how their publisher decides to package their work electronically, but imagine placing one of your loyal readers into Douglas’s shoes. At the end of this harrowing ride, is the reader going to be angry at your publisher or you?

Have a read of: http://douglascootey.com/trouble-with-adobe-drm-too-many-activations

I think Douglas might have a follow up in the future, and I’ll try to let you know how it turns out.

How to Plot and Characterize Wrong via @victoriamixon

I found this post via the lovely Joanna Penn, but I try to attribute these post titles to the original author just to help readers find sources of writing advice or news.

Victoria Mixon is an independent editor, and on her blog she recently posted two ‘How to do it wrong!’ articles, which related nicely to last week’s blog posts about finding character voice, and tips for writing short stories.

Victoria’s advice relates to fiction in general, of course, but I like the tone of the articles, and they are worth checking out (in fact her blog as a whole is worth adding to your news readers).

Read them here: http://victoriamixon.com/2011/06/06/how-to-plot-wrong-in-3-easy-steps/ and here: http://victoriamixon.com/2011/06/13/how-to-characterize-wrong-in-3-easy-steps/

Consumers vs Perceived Value

I found a link to an interesting article about customer reactions to perceived unfairness in ebook pricing. My good friend Mike McRae (@tribalscientist) left a pertinent comment in last week’s blog post about ebook pricing.

Dan Ariely discusses how customers reacted in a particular case of perceived unfair ebook pricing by rating the book ‘1 star’ on Amazon.

If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a good insight into some of the economics of customer expectations: http://danariely.com/2011/04/10/the-rationality-of-one-star/

After last week’s range of comments on the subjects, I do think that large publishers have missed an opportunity to drive the pricing issue in a collaborative rather than antagonistic manner.

Writers are scary. Writing groups are groups of writers. via @katyhulme

Katy is a writer from Tasmania, Australia, and I recently stumbled onto her blog to discover this article. She tells us about her first trip to a writers group, and overcoming her fears.

I liked the tone of the post, and I can certainly sympathise with the ‘catastrophising’ she employs, imagining all the horrible and embarassing scenarios she might encounter on her visit.

You can find the article here: http://storytellingnomad.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/overcoming-a-fear-of-writers-groups/

Literarium will try to encourage writing groups through structured circles of private markets and services – you might have a competition that is only meaningful to your local writing group, or a private NaNoWriMo.

I think this article is a good start for anyone still nervous about hanging out with their peers.

Designing your ebook covers – via @DerekJCanyon

One of Literarium’s features is a directory of services, and cover artists are a perfect example of a service that is a high priority for modern self-publishing authors.

Derek Canyon wrote an interesting post about how he designs his ebook covers. Although he uses a professional artist, he still has to make compositional decisions about the various elements, title, author, etc. Derek makes some interesting points about his approach to trying to stand out in a crowded field, and I thought it was a worthwhile read.

Check it out at: http://derekjcanyon.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-i-design-my-ebook-covers.html

Derek regularly posts interesting information about his journey into self-publishing, so keep an eye on his blog or twitter feed.

Have you had any insights in designing your own covers?

What is an ebook actually worth to you? When the container has no value – via @Cacotopos

This post links to an article from my personal blog, where I also occasionally address issues relating to the publishing industry, coloured by my private perspective.

In Australia, ebooks have yet to gain the kind of traction that they have in America. Consequently, the market is still experimenting and adjusting itself; on the one hand we have publishers trying to force a model onto readers with which they’re happy; on the other hand we have readers looking at the exploding market in America and screaming blue murder at imposed regional limits.

Into this ebook culture I made a comment about local ebook pricing on twitter, which prompted a discussion with Virginia from booki.sh.

This eventually resulted in an extensive article on the value breakdown of digital books: http://cacotopos.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/when-the-container-has-no-value

I hope you find it interesting, as it certainly helped me feel more comfortable about my book evaluating process in general.