Are You The Kind Of Writer Who Reads A Lot?

Are You The Kind Of Writer Who Reads A Lot?

When I was in high school, I had a real dilemma: I loved the books the teachers assigned us, and as a result, the teachers loved me. Naturally, that meant some of the other students hated me.

Now, I should clarify this by saying that I didn’t always love what I was assigned. Prior to high school, teachers gave young people some pretty boring books to read. But in high school (and possibly even junior high), we got some classics. To Kill A Mockingbird. Huck Finn. Those types of classics.

And in my high school, the teachers exposed us to a variety of great stuff. I’m talking everything from The Sound and the Fury to Slaugherhouse-Five! My teenage mind was already overstimulated with wonderful music, and in school, they overstimulated my mind with wonderful books.

Like most writers who aspire to create classics of their own, I was a reader before I could become a writer. And, like most writers of the obsessive type, I had to have more. This is a behavior that follows me even to this day: I can’t just have one John Coltrane album. I have to hear it all! I approached reading classic literature in much the same way.

But What About Genres?

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not into genre fiction. But that doesn’t mean I’m constantly looking down my nose at Michael Crichton or J.K. Rowling. I get it: lots of folks love to read accessible, fun, page-turner fiction.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Plenty of writers aspire to be the next [Fill-In-The-Blank] in a genre they love.

But that’s not the kind of writing I love the best. What I love are the books that take me into a different type of experience – not one exactly like my own, but one that’s relatable for me. I can’t relate to vampires or spacemen. I can relate to 18th-century girls or 20th-century mob bosses, but not to non-human entities. That’s just how I roll.

So I have always had to be a reader. For me, that meant going beyond even the Master’s in English and checking out all sorts of books they didn’t ever get around to assigning me. Balzac. Camus. Gardner. You name it, I probably read it.

And I’m still reading today.

What about you? What’s on your TBR list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

running

“When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”

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Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

2018 has been trying, to say the least.

In January, I posted a New Year’s resolution to finish my current WIP, Whizzers, this year. Then, on Valentine’s Day, that got back-burnered when the call came that my 81-year-old mother had taken a fall and had to be hospitalized.

It wasn’t just any fall, though: she’d been on the floor for five days.

When they hear me say that, most people gasp. A common response is, Oh my God.

And for good reason. If you told me I could sustain a fall and be without food or drink for five days, and still live, I’d look at you with a doubtful scowl.

I’ll never forget that weekend after Valentine’s Day.

I remember going out the wrong exit on my way out of the hospital, running through the freezing cold to get to my car in sub-freezing temperatures, snow pelting my face.

And I remember the icy cold feeling in my chest as I drove a rental car down streets no longer familiar to me in my hometown, not knowing what was going to happen next. I remember the sheer horror at seeing my always-vital, chatty mother reduced to near-silence and requiring help with all activities of daily living for the first couple days after her fall.

Thanks To You

Today Mom is doing fine, but the fluidity of the situation still demands a lot of flexibility. That means working on her affairs while managing my own.

I’m power of attorney, an experience that can best be described as a blizzard of BS. Literally every entity I deal with on my mother’s behalf requires me to jump through their own special set of hoops, in addition to sending them a copy of the POA documentation. It’s not fun.

But Mom is down here in Florida now, in an assisted living community just a few miles away from my wife Sunny and me. Here I must acknowledge my thanks to Sunny, who has been wonderful throughout this entire year (and before that, of course). She’s an absolute angel, and my love and gratitude for her are beyond words.

As I look forward to a grateful Thanksgiving celebration with these two fabulous ladies, I want to thank all of you out there too. Some of you made this year better because you’re great clients. Others have helped me by reading and commenting here, buying books I’ve written, or even promoting me on your own social media. I thank you for that. Whizzers isn’t quite finished, but it will be in 2019.

Those of you who have helped in some other way that I didn’t list, I thank you, too. So many people have been here for me in so many ways, it’s miraculous – almost as miraculous as surviving a five-day blackout.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Self-Care for Creatives

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Thanksgiving

Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

2018 has been trying, to say the least. In January, I posted a New Year's resolution to finish my current WIP, Whizzers, this year. Then, on Valentine's Day, that got back-burnered when the call came that my 81-year-old mother had taken a fall and had to be...

Rolling With The Changes

I’m back on the blog today after a two-week break, which hasn’t really been a break at all. At least, it hasn’t felt like one. But the topic of today’s post is change, and for good reason: I’m dealing with some major changes in my family, as my parents move past the...
IngramSpark KDP

Using IngramSpark and KDP Print For Your Paperbacks

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Cataloging-In-Publication

What’s the Risk to Not Having A Cataloging-In-Publication (CIP) Data Block?

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The Worst Mother’s Day Ever

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On the Road: The Speaker’s Life

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Writing Based on Experience

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The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

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What’s the Risk to Not Having A Cataloging-In-Publication (CIP) Data Block?

What’s the Risk to Not Having A Cataloging-In-Publication (CIP) Data Block?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about “book-building” for indie authors. By that I mean putting a book together from your perspective as an author. So I haven’t covered topics like cover design or interior design – you may choose those, but you’re probably not creating them.

However, you will need to make some decisions about what goes on your copyright page. Last week, I discussed Library of Congress Control Numbers. The week before, I wrote about the ISBN, and the difference between being an Amazon-only author – with an ISBN provided by CreateSpace – and an author who makes his/her books available on other platforms like iTunes and Barnes & Noble.

For this week’s post, I want to delve a little more into selling to libraries. Thing is, libraries do buy books, and they may even be open to a sale from an unknown author – especially one in their own local community.

Why Sell to Libraries?

Some authors have a contentious relationship with libraries, and it’s understandable. After all, libraries are the place where people can go and borrow your book for free. Those readers don’t have to buy anything, so you’re not getting a royalty when they read your book.

But if you’re an independent author, it can be advantageous to have a good relationship with your local library, or even libraries in other areas. I know from my own experience that my having gone to grad school in upstate New York and living currently in Tampa gave me some marketability when I reached out to library systems in those places. And there’s a chance that a reader who borrowed my book from the library will still buy a copy – if they liked it!

The Need for the CIP Data Block

If you’re going to sell to libraries, you’re going to need a CIP data block on your copyright page. That’s the first thing librarians look for when they flip open a book.

CIP stands for Cataloging-In-Publication. Go to your local library, take out a book, and check the copyright page. You’ll find a block of info, most likely provided by a company called The Donohue Group, that shows librarians how to catalog the book.

When you’re marketing your books to libraries, you must have a CIP data block on the copy you send them. If you don’t have a CIP block, your book goes into the “No” pile; if you have a CIP block, it goes into the “Maybe” pile. Having a CIP block is no guarantee that a library system will buy the book. However, without one, it’s unlikely a librarian will purchase it for the collection.

There’s another benefit to getting a CIP data block: it provides you with keywords that you might not have even considered for indexing, Amazon categorization, and so on.

My CIP block for Brothers’ Hand includes the phrases Amputees–Rehabilitation–Fiction and LSD (Drug)–Psychological Aspects–Fiction. A quick look at Miles of Files shows subjects like Embezzlement–Fiction and Whistle blowing–FictionI never would have come up with those on my own, but they are appropriate. And if readers use those keywords on Amazon in their search for something to read, my novels might come up.

Of course, these topics just scratch the surface when it comest to launching a book. If you need more information, feel free to contact me at info@msahno.com. And I’d love to hear about your experience with your own projects in the comments section.

ebook

Another Monday Blog Post – And a Special Offer

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Do You Have An Interest in the Spiritual?

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Calling All Artists

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We’re Doing This To Ourselves—And It’s Hard to Comprehend

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drivers

Florida Drivers, Beware

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Do I Need A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)?

Do I Need A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)?

This week I promised to write about one of the most often overlooked items in the publishing business – the Library of Congress Control Number, or LCCN. I’m going to write about it a bit today, but my thinking on the LCCN has changed to some degree over time.

According to the Library of Congress website, “A Library of Congress catalog control number is a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its catalogued collections.” You may wonder how necessary it is to have one of these, and whether it’s worth spending the money.

The answer: yes and no. Or, even worse, “It depends.”

Now, my own journey in self-publishing was fairly difficult and complex, since I published my first three novels on the same date. I also created my own publishing company as an LLC. In other words, I did not become a CreateSpace, or Amazon-only author. However, I made a few mistakes along the way. For one, after copyright registration, I paid the Library of Congress for LCCNs for all of my books. I felt that there were a couple good reasons to do this:

a) These numbers would supposedly give my books the legitimacy needed to get into libraries.

b) They would also supposedly give my books the legitimacy needed to get into bookstores.

Once my books were available, I paid to ship copies of each of them to the Library of Congress to show that I had published them. With over 164-million titles on hand, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, and I knew that librarians can search the database and find my titles that way.

But Here’s the Problem

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee the Library of Congress will actually keep your titles in their system indefinitely, as I know from experience. Fortunately, I also know that, once accepted into local libraries, your books are likely to remain there. A quick search of worldcat.org reveals one of my titles in several Florida library systems, and another continues to appear in a New York system. Those represent actual sales to libraries, unlike the copies “gifted” to the Library of Congress.

The other complication: when I purchased my LCCNs, no one bothered to tell me I should have a CIP Data block on each copyright page. So I had to revise my copyright pages after the fact by purchasing CIP Data blocks, created by The Donohue Group.

According to the Library of Congress website, they have just launched a program for CIP Data that “limits eligibility to titles…most likely to be widely acquired by the nation’s libraries.” Does that mean I wouldn’t qualify? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I obtained those LCCNs for each of my books, and now the Library of Congress website doesn’t list them. So librarians searching the worldcat.org site can find info on my titles, but those searching the old LOC database won’t find them.

If this all sounds like sour grapes, it’s because I’ve been a big proponent of libraries for many years. And it’s more than a little disappointing to see the nation’s largest library not helping out all the local libraries by providing them with my info! On the other hand, you learn not to take everything personally in this business.

What do you think about the LCCN debate, or the new CIP program, if you’ve had experience with it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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