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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amazon Sells More Kindle Books than Hardcovers.**

This came sooner than I was expecting, but I was expecting it.

We are seeing a real spike in e-sales over the past three months--very strong and broad. What is more interesting to me than the steady uptick in e-sales is that we are not experiencing a concurrent drop in print sales. Many people in the industry were sure a rise on one side of the ledger meant a drop on the other. I wasn't convinced, and the data thus far suggest solid or increased print sales might be a beneficiary of the e-sale future. One indicator is that our strongest seller in both categories (print and e-book) for the past two months is the same title. The future looks bright for those ahead of the tidal wave. And we are ahead of that wave and riding it nicely.

For those of you who noticed the asterisks in the main title, there is a small "however" in that shout line. Amazon didn't disclose how Kindle e-book sales compare to its entire bookstore sales. With most Kindle books priced at $9.99, those e-books are often less expensive than the same title in hardcover, especially for popular new releases. But less-expensive paperbacks make up the vast majority of Amazon's book sales.


Click here to read the full article in Money Magazine.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

JAXX--WINNER of 2011 Sacramento Jammies!!!

Jaxx playing the Crest Theater with a Jumbo-tron behind them.

JAXX, in which my nephew and God son Nikkos shares lead guitar duties, placed first out of 30 or so acts from the greater Sacramento region last night in front of a packed Crest Theater in downtown Sac.

After weeks of competition, the grand evening featured the final ten bands. Jaxx played second. The competition was fierce, and frankly I was worried after hearing the last four bands.

JAXX was tight and as on the money last night as I have ever seen them--especially considering the large audience and pressure-filled performance. Nikkos pulled out his bright yellow Ibanez and shredded on their final original "Tongues" before meeting guitarist Alan in the middle to finish with a dual lead. Alan played one of his leads behind his back while bassist Kyle Maxwell ran the stage and often jammed next to the drum kit being hammered by Alan's younger brother John Bonham--sorry, Jack Petterle.

Another big step in the progression of a great band and wonderful group of young men.

Alan Petterle ("I am so glad I gave up football.") Lead guitar. Age 16.

Jack Petterle ("Don't let me near a microphone. Ever") Drums. Age 14.

Kyle Maxwell ("This Ampeg stack sounds awesome.") Bass. Age 15.

Nikkos Savas ("I could do this forever.") Lead guitar. Age 16.

Nikkos shredding on "Tongues."

Nikkos on the opening song--Mean Machine.

Finale: Nikkos and Alan performing a dual guitar lead while Kyle rocks on. Jack (not in the photo) was busy eyeing a young groupie hanging off stage left.

Here are a few more earlier posts on JAXX.

For more photos and information on the band jump over to their Facebook page.

Congrats, guys. Like anything in life, you make your own luck through hard work.

-- Uncle Sugar Pops

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jacket Design: Five Tips for What an Author Can do to Help . . .

I can't recall where I got these from (sorry), but here are a handful of tips authors can do to help sell their book (and by extension and implication, HURT their book sales). It centers around the jacket/cover design. At Savas Beatie, we almost always bring in the author for assistance, comment, opinion, and do our best to make him or her happy with the final product.

However . . .  Do you know what a camel is? It's a quarter horse put together by a committee. We don't want camels here. And with so many people stirring the pot, the actual book jacket may suffer from the compromises of consensus. (It doesn't here, but it does in some houses.) So if you are an author trying to influence the jacket design for your book, here are five tips:

1. Try not to assume that you know what’s best for the book, even if it’s true. Cultivate good relations with everyone at the company and maintain a position of modesty, humility, and cooperation.

2. Don’t bring in your 9-year-old child’s cute little pencil drawing of her horse for the cover, even if the book is about how to ride bareback Western Style. The only exceptions to this rule are genius-level kids with their own TV show.

3. Muster empathy for the sales and publicity people who may seem to be marching to a different drummer but have mutual interests to share. Keep in mind that they have to sell your book, and without their enthusiastic efforts, you’ll be severely handicapped.

4. Remember that in the end, this isn’t a science and we don’t always know what ultimately sells a book. Books with less than fabulous jacket designs have become huge sellers anyway. Take a book I published, The Scarlatti Inheritance, by Robert Ludlum. I thought the cover was boring and that it didn’t say anything about the book itself. Nevertheless the historical thriller was such a hit that the design was used again for subsequent titles.

5. Once the jacket is designed and chosen, put aside any regrets and do everything you can to help sell the book, including your own strenuous on-line web marketing, blogging, twittering, and other brilliant new techniques that emerge in these rapidly changing times.