ebooks and the self-publishing bubble

nook-3gA couple of recent articles got me thinking again about the current revolution in ebooks and related subjects.

First, the New York Times in The Bookstore’s Last Stand took a look at Barnes and Noble’s attempts to stay competitive in the current environment, focusing on B&N’s creation of the Nook and on its current CEO, William J. Lynch Jr., who joined the company three years ago after working at IAC/InterActiveCorp, the parent company of the Home Shopping Network. Lynch ran both hsn.com and gifts.com there. Surprisingly, Lynch, who considers himself a technology guy and even claims that Barnes and Noble is a “technology company” told the Times that “the idea that devices like the Nook, Kindle and Apple iPad will make bookstores obsolete is nonsense.”

Continue reading “ebooks and the self-publishing bubble”

E.M. Tippetts on her novel Paint Me True

Back in 2008, I interviewed E.M. Tippetts when her novel Time and Eternity was published by Covenant. She graciously accepted my request for a follow-up interview about her next LDS-themed novel Paint Me True, which she chose to self-publish through Amazon.

For more E.M. Tippetts, visit her author site. Emily as writes science fiction and fantasy. Visit emilymah.com or follow her on Twitter.

I read the Amazon description of Paint Me True. Could you expand on it just a bit? Without giving out too many spoilers can you tell me a little more about Eliza and the scruffy video gamer?

Eliza is the last surviving daughter in a family cursed with the BRCA gene mutation, which makes the carriers susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer. On top of this, the family’s had awful luck. Women don’t tend to see their fortieth birthdays and Eliza’s lost two sisters, two aunts, and a lot of cousins. Of all her female relatives on her mother’s side, only her Aunt Nora survives, so these two share a very close bond as survivors in a silent war. It’s Aunt Nora who suggested that Eliza follow her dreams and become an artist and who continues to give emotional support as Eliza struggles financially. At the opening of the book, Eliza is living rent free in her stepmother’s old house in Portland. She’s thirty years old, and about to age out of the singles ward. None of the daring life decisions she’s made have paid off. She’s broke, single, and there’s no end to either condition in sight.

Len, the scruffy nerd, works as a sysadmin at a law firm and likes to spend his free time playing video games. He’s had a crush on Eliza for a long time, but he’s aware of the fact that she’s only dating him because she has no other prospects. At the beginning of the book, he’s finally coming around to the idea that he doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. I assume most readers will identify with him in the first scene, as I think he is the most sympathetic character. Continue reading “E.M. Tippetts on her novel Paint Me True”

Q&A with Anneke Majors on her new novel

Writer, designer/illustrator and AMV co-blogger Anneke Majors has recently self-published her second novel The Year of the Boar. She was gracious enough to answer some questions about it**.
What is The Year of the Boar about and what was your writing process for it like?

I’m going to give the long version of the answer first, which begins with Jorge Luis Borges. I love his short stories, and one of my favorites is “The Garden of Forking Paths.” In that story, the characters discuss the existence of a novel which is also a labyrinth; a novel which follows multiple “paths” and alternate realities at once. With this concept, Borges is considered the inventor of the hypertext novel, the concept behind such later innovations as “choose your own adventure.” Reading “The Garden of Forking Paths,” and another postmodern classic, Italo Calvino’s If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, as an undergrad, started me thinking about postmodern story structure and time and ultimately led to The Year of the Boar. My story is not nearly as complex or tradition-bending as Borges or Calvino, but that’s where it has its origins. The timeline of The Year of the Boar is based on the Chinese Zodiac, something I’ve been fascinated with since I was a child reading the placemats at my grandparents’ favorite Chinese restaurant. The concept of the years of the zodiac, and that restaurant, and my grandparents, actually, show up in the first chapter of the book. The rest of the book is structured by year ““ scenes take place first in 1957, then 1969, 1981, 2005 ““ all the year of the rooster. Part two of the book goes back in time to 1946 and begins a series of stories in the year of the dog. Part three begins with another backtrack in time, resolving storylines in the titular year of the boar. Continue reading “Q&A with Anneke Majors on her new novel”

Is Deseret Book the only LDS publisher worth publishing with?

Last week in a guest post on Dawning of a Brighter Day, Jana Riess suggested that Mormon novelists have a more difficult time getting published than those in the Christian market because Deseret Book dominates the LDS market so much. [I can’t resist pointing out that I’ve argued the same thing here on A Motley Vision, and that others have made this argument as well.]

But Riess went further, suggesting that novelists who can’t get a contract with Deseret Book should self-publish instead of going with any of the other publishers in the LDS market. Really?

Continue reading “Is Deseret Book the only LDS publisher worth publishing with?”

Those LDS Ladies of Indie Publishing


Zoe Murdock owns, with her husband, H.O.T. Press, which for years published tech manuals. When she decided to write fiction–the semi-autobiographical novel Torn by God: A Family’s Struggle with Polygamy–she just went ahead and published it herself. (personal website, twitter)

Moriah Jovan started B10 Mediaworx to publish her novel The Proviso. The novel is the first in a six-part series. The second volume, Stay, will be released around Thanksgiving. (blog, novels website, twitter)

Riley Noehren is the author of Gravity vs. the Girl. And, yes, she published it herself under the name Forty-Ninth Street Publishers. (blog, twitter)

Table of contents

On the seemingly larger number of LDS women than LDS men in indie publishing
The future roles of traditional publishers vs indie publishers and traditional distribution vs e-distribution
How to get folks to your site
On editing for publication
On paying the bills
On selling out
What we can expect from them in the future
Back to work

On the seemingly larger number of LDS women than LDS men in indie publishing
The future roles of traditional/indie publishers and traditional/e distribution
How to get folks to your site
On editing for publication
On paying the bills
On selling out
What we can expect from them in the future
Back to work

Now let’s start by letting them introduce themselves: Continue reading “Those LDS Ladies of Indie Publishing”

Q&A with Zoe Murdock author of “Torn by God”

After working as a tech writer for several years, Zoe Murdock turned to fiction, specifically to her Mormon roots. The result is her indie-press-published semi-autobiographical novel Torn by God: A Family’s Struggle with Polygamy.

Zoe has been very patient as I’ve taken several months to put this interview together and then publish it (the novel came out in January) so I hope AMV readers will take the time to read the full thing  — it’s very interesting. And, although I’ve only read the first 10 pages or so of the novel, I can say that it’s well-written. This is a quality self-published work. I don’t believe the novel has received much attention in the world of Mormon letters so far, but if any readers have heard of it or have links to mentions it that aren’t up on Zoe’s website so far, toss us a link or a reference in the comments. I’m very interested in hearing about the reception of this work in the Mormon community (Zoe talks a bit about what she has experienced so far below).

For more about Zoe and to purchase the novel, visit her website: zoemurdock.com

What was the genesis of “Torn by God” and for those who haven’t heard about it yet, what is the novel about? Why is it of interest to the Mormon letters community?

I’ve been writing about my life for years, frequently slipping back through time to my childhood and that small Mormon town in Utah where I grew up with my parents and ten siblings. Even when I’d attempt to write about the present, something would pull me back to a particularly troubling time when my parents were going through a crisis, a time when there was always sadness in my mother’s eyes. My mother died young, and I always blamed my father for her death without really knowing why. After exploring that period in my writing, I came to realize my mother’s sadness went back to when my father got involved with polygamy. I remembered her saying, “If there’s polygamy in heaven, I don’t want to go there.” I’d often find her crying in the bathroom with a towel over her head. Continue reading “Q&A with Zoe Murdock author of “Torn by God””

All the Great Lights

Note. The following is an excerpt from a collection of missionary-memoir short stories by S.P. Bailey called All the Great Lights. You can read the complete collection at S.P. Bailey’s website. And please comment here! Reaction to the story would be great. But it might also be interesting to engage in a conversation about self-publishing in this manner. Is it extremely shameful? Or just sort of pathetic? Does publication by some small Mormon press–or even Deseret Book–really ensure quality or add meaningful prestige? Another topic worth discussing might be the missionary-memoir genre and its place in Mormon letters. Other topics would be fun too. Please comment!

11. The Sickness

Elder Hargrave’s homesickness was palpable every day he spent in the MTC. There was something precious about him writing letters home or carefully opening his family’s many packages to him. Hargrave taped a tiny portrait of his girlfriend inside the front cover of his “white bible,” the book of mission rules most elders carry in the left breast pockets of their white dress shirts. He looked at that picture so often that some missionaries must have thought he was contemplating key rules like “[y]ou and your companion are to sleep in the same bedroom, but not in the same bed.” Continue reading “All the Great Lights”

Amazon Makes It More Difficult for Small Publishers

A recent policy change by Amazon.com looks like it may make the already difficult job of publishing books even more difficult, especially for small and self-publishers. The change already has small publishers and authors circulating petitions, filing complaints with the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and many state attorneys general. For those Mormon publishers affected, it will probably raise costs and could also limit sales.

Continue reading “Amazon Makes It More Difficult for Small Publishers”