Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guest-Blogger Mary Lynn Patton on "iWorld Is Upon Us"

The latest in interactive ebooks
Methinks children's book author and fellow Mexico aficionada Mary Lynn Patton's ears must have been burning because-- I didn't tell her-- I mentioned her book, Sounds of Mexican Beaches / Sonidos de las playas de México in my talk about travel writing and interactive books for the "Publish Now!" digital publishing seminar at the Writer's Center in Bethesda MD (just outside Washington DC) last Saturday. In fact, I had printed out a copy of her book's page on the iTunes bookstore to show people-- I'm guessing there were about 75 -80 in the audience. (I'm very down on audio visual presentations, by the way; I much prefer the old fashioned speaker at a lectern plus handouts-- but I digress. More on that anon.) Certainly, this question of digital publishing and interactive ebooks is a fascinating, timely, and pressing topic. By the way, yes, when you download Mary Lynn Pattons' books, you will see, they are bilingual, interactive, and include audio. For little kids, this is a total yay!

Lo, upon returning home and opening my inbox, I find Mary Lynn Patton's chock-full-of-links report on her experiences at recent literary conferences. She offered to share it, so herewith:

I’ve just returned from the Vancouver Writer’s Fest held on Granville Island and I’m so thankful to the Mexico Canadian Cultural Festival held every February in Tepoztlan for waking me up to this great event. This year’s agenda included an event titled “The iWorld is Upon Us” that I knew was on the program for me. I’ve written three bilingual iBooks for young children set in Mexico so insights into the world of self-publishing and marketing is my major interest at the moment. 
And here is what I learned in a nut shell: blogging and social media are how we get readers in the iWorld. The moderators discussed iBooks versus eBooks which was interesting and brought clarity on the pluses and minuses of each. However, the second part of the presentation was made by three successful authors of young adult (YA) fiction with reader numbers in the millions who built their community of readers on Wattpad, a Canadian company online that allows YA readers to access books for free. 
Then how do the sales occur? The books are put up in chapters and the reader can get the whole book now from Amazon if it is too good to wait. Plus readers write in to recommend books which passes the great books on to new readers. The key is to build a community of readers in the genre of your writing. For me that might mean a Mom’s blog on Baby’sFirstBooks! The Cybil’s Awards is another great discovery since it is for children and young adult fiction from blogger’s of these genres. 
All of this resulted in my coming road trip to Austin, Texas for the Kid’s Lit Conference, a conference for bloggers on young adult and children’s literature. If this is your writing genre, check out their conference agenda with keynote speaker Cynthia Leitich Smith and her blog Cynsations I will be in touch with new learning from Austin. 

-- Mary Lynn Patton
+ + + + + + 
>>Check out Mary Lynn Patton's previous guest-blog for Madam Mayo here, and the archive of all Madam Mayo guest-blogs here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cyberflanerie: Rare Books Entrepreneurship Edition-- Double OO Books

So my dear travel writing amiga, Peat O'Neil, has opened a bookshop, Double OO Books--the Os standing for Oh Li Ping and Peat O'Neil. She is specializing in crime, espionage and mystery.

Speaking of espionage, two fabulous books I hope she will carry:

Heribert von Feilitzsch's bio, In Plain Sight: Felix A. Sommerfeld, Spymaster in Mexico


Sara Mansfield Taber's memoir, Born Under an Assumed Name: The Memoir of a Cold War Spy's Daughter

I am all about collecting rare books these days, and just recently in Mexico City I found a few humdingers related to / about the Mexican Revolution... one with an absolutely astonishing inscription. Stay tuned for the videos. Meanwhile, some more surf-worthy links:

William Reese's fascinating and eye-opening talk for the Grolier Club: Books in Hard Times

Once again I point you, dear reader, to Michael Suarez, SJ's talk on books, "The Ecosystems of Book History" (don't miss it)

Allen and Patricia Ahearn, owners of Quill and Brush, offer Book Collecting Tips

Ken Lopez shares "Some Thoughts on the Maturing of the Rare Book Market at the Start of the 21st Century"

Sarah, a painter and used book dealer in Maui recommends So You Want to Open a Used Bookshop

Rick Lugg on A Spa for Books
(Hey somebody open this service for private collections? Maybe like those wine storage services?)

Richard Goodman blogs the love for his books.

Just finished reading Alessandro Marzo Magno's delightful Bound in Venice: The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book, which makes my top 10 list for 2013, hands down.


Cyberflanerie: Nuts Edition

James McWilliams talks about The Pecan: A History of America's Native Nut (University Texas Austin) with podcaster extraordinaire Chris Gondek.

UK newspaper reports Mexico leads the world in death by . . . lightning strikes. (Who knew?)

Sam Quinones on the Mexican Roma
(No, not Colonia Roma. Just when you think you've got Mexico figured out, Sam Q spins it topsyturvy. Who else would watch giant snake movies in the campo?)

Nut Wizard (Boy howdy! This gives me renewed faith in the ingenuity of the human race. I am not kidding.)

Human Sacrifice in Olde St Louis.

And on a rather drastically lighter note, check out Chubbs the Totally Awesome Pug!!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Publish Now! One Day Seminar at the Writer's Center

Before I had a chance to even mention it, the October 26 one day seminar "Publish Now!" at the Writer's Center in Bethesda MD (near Washington DC) has sold out. Sincere apologies to my workshop students... all I can say is, do sign up for the Writer's Center's newsletter because obviously I am not so on-the-ball in the blogging and newsletter department. On my Resources for Writers page, I will be sure to post some of the material for my talk, a break-out session on traveling writing and interactive ebooks, so stay tuned.

One of the speakers this Saturday will be my fellow Writer's Center board member, Wilson Wyatt, editor of the Delmarva Review, who shares this article (PDF download) in the Maryland Writers Association Pen in Hand, "Publishing in the Digital Age".

My own adventures in self-publishing ebooks continue-- rather intensive this very morning as a matter of fact, because I just uploaded to Kindle my translation of Francisco I. Madero's Spiritist Manual of 1911 with the all-new title, Metaphysical Odyssey Into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero's Spiritist Manual Introduced and Translated. This required more Advils than I would like to admit. (Don't get me started about iTunes' iBookstore.)

A few of the interactive books I'll be mentioning in the seminar

Rick Shapero's Too Far

My own "The Building of Quality"-- the iTunes (iBook) edition includes a video and an audio Q & A.

My own Los visitantes iTunes (iBook) edition, also made with the iBook author app.

My own Podcasting for Writers, both iTunes (iBook) and Kindle editions.

And I'll also be talking about publishing travel writing and podcasts. My main experience here is with the "Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project: Exploring Marfa, TX & the Big Bend in 24 Podcasts"-- listen in anytime.

A few preliminary thoughts:

1. The whole experience of self-publishing ebooks is not so much something you can figure out once-and-for-all, but a wriggling target (just when you've got it figured out, they update the software!!)

2. Design matters (and it's expensive, sometimes)

3. Marketing digital books to customers via is a very different enterprise than trying to sell books in bookstores (uyy there is a reason why publishers keep such a big slice of the pie)

4. The bar to publication is so rockbottom low now...and it is terribly tempting to skimp on or even skip the editorial process. 

5. Now what I really want to talk about is rare books. In other words, enough with the candy store, let's get back to the chocolate factory!

Much more anon, and especially about rare books.

Heterotopia by Crystal Ann Nelson in Marfa, Texas

Well, I am so delighted to be participating-- with my "Marfa Mondays" Podcasts-- with artist Crystal Ann Nelson for her show, Heterotopia in Marfa, Texas this October 5- November 2, 2013. Real all about at the website 

P.S. The latest Marfa Mondays podcast is an interview with Dallas Baxter, "This Precious Place." Listen in anytime at this link:

Next up on the Marfa Mondays Podcasts: Historian John Tutino, who says some very Atom Bomby things about Mexican North America.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Cyberflanerie: Sound Edition

A bunch of videos about the Integratron (prepare to be beamed up...)

Ludovico Einaudi piano concert (yummy)

Jonathan Goldman's The Healing Sounds Show (Internet radio)

So this Belgian singer, "Stromae" does, shall we say, an unusually unrehearsed TED video and his hit song is a simple disco ditty, yet somehow, with a beautiful and childlike energy, he nevertheless captures his audience. Very interesting to watch. (P.S. Be the, like, 7 billionth person to watch Stromae's Alors on danse.)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Michael Suarez SJ on The Flow of Books and Money and Information-- or, The Flow of Value

All you writers, readers, publishers, editors, that is, everyone with their hair on fire about Kindles: put your Kindle away and your seat belt on and watch "The Ecosystems of Book History." The best book talk I've ever seen or heard.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Cyberflanerie: New (and Not New) on the Blogroll Edition


Heribert von Feilitzsch's Mexican Revolution Blog
By the author of the deeply researched paradigm-smasher In Plain Sight: Felix Sommerfeld, Spymaster in Mexico.

Marginal Revolution by economists Tyler Cowan and Alex Tabarrok
Nerdy surf candy galore.

Richard Goodman's Geezer Journal
(He's a writer and uyy, he moved into the French Quarter.)

Kurt Hollander's DF Death Blog

Not New (But I am Reminding You):

Querétaro's Own Burro Hall
Hot tamale (and sometimes just evil) sense of humor, Mexican beauty contestants in bikinis, Franci the super-perisistent Mexican photo dude, and the cutest, sweetest little 'ol pug.
Burro Hall's Soulful Señor Pug

Nicholas Gilman's Good Food in Mexico City
Like the title says.

Leslie Pietrzyk's Work-in-Progress for writers
Check out her online magazine Redux's 100th piece, a superb and riveting essay.

Nancy Marie Brown's God of Wednesday
All things literarily Icelandic.

Rachel Laudan: A Food Historian's Take on Food and Politics
Always thought-provoking. Check out her recent post, "The Grain Chain."

Rice Freeman-Zachery VoodooNotes
Zingy and zany creativity plumper.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

El legado documental de Roger Mansell por Yolia Tortolero

Mexican historian Yolia Tortolero has just published a profile of my dad's research: "El legado documental de Roger Mansell" (PDF) in Diario de Historias, which goes out to Spanish-speaking librarians and archivists. My dad passed away in 2010 but he left his archive of books, documents, film and more about POWs of the Japanese during WWII to the Hoover Institution. He also left his book, expertly edited by historian Linda Goetz Holmes, Captured: The Forgotten Men of Guam (Naval Institute Press).

Tortolero, by the way, is the author of the hands-down best book about Francisco Madero's Spiritism, El espiritismo seduce a Francisco I. Madero, a book which was quite difficult to find but is now, quite wonderfully, available on Kindle. I'll be blogging more about her work anon.


Monday, October 07, 2013

Cyberflanerie: Wondering About Books Edition

Seth Godin on An End of Books.

Methinks antiquarian book collecting is going to be very big. Check out the not-yet-but surely-soon-to-be-ABAA-member Honey & Wax's lovely, oh so lovely first catalog.

Elephantine thoughts are a-dancing in tutus with The Swerve.

"A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships."
-- Jorge Luis Borges, "A Note on (toward) Bernard Shaw"