Monthly Archives: February 2013

The 2013 USA Best Book Awards

Welcome to The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!
Sponsored by USA Book News based in Los Angeles

The 10th Annual USA Best Book Awards are specifically designed to not only garner MEDIA COVERAGE & BOOK SALES for the winners & finalists but to PROMOTE awarded books to the PUBLISHING & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES!

The publishing industry is rapidly evolving and The 2013 USA Best Book Awards puts your book in the center of the action!

A printed book is no longer just a printed book.

Fiction and non-fiction books have the potential to be turned into interactive e-books, television and movie programs, documentaries, reality-based programming, video games, graphic novels, web series, live workshops, and so much more.

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, USA Book News has the unique advantage of gaining access to both the publishing and entertainment industries like no other book award program currently operating.
You’ve put tremendous time and energy into your work. Make sure you give your book the best shot at success on all levels.
  • Enter Your 2011-2013 Titles! Open to all books with an ISBN and published in 2013 (galley copies welcome). 2011 and 2012 titles are also eligible.
  • USA Book News Coverage for Every Entry! Enter before February 28, 2013 and receive a five-month full-color listing on which includes your color book cover, a brief paragraph about your title and a hyperlink to your website (valued at $1,250.00!)
  • Affordable Entry Fee! $69.00 per title/per category. Over 100 active categories to choose from.
  • USA Book News Picks Winners! Our panel of industry judges continues to deliver fantastic results on an annual basis! Hundreds of titles have received national media coverage and increased sales as a direct result of placing in the USA Best Book Awards!


  • USA Book News Exposure: A Ten-Month Book Listing which includes your color book cover, a brief paragraph about your title and a hyperlink to your website (valued at $2,500.00!)
  • National Media & Industry Exposure: Instant coverage of results from our online network of media outlets and industry contacts for a combined, immediate exposure to over 500,000+ subscribers. In addition, the national media campaign kicks off in November 2013 to take advantage of the busy 2013 holiday retail season.
  • Publishing Industry Exposure: Promotion to Independent Bookstores, Retail Book Buyers, Publishers, Librarians and other industry professionals.
  • Entertainment Industry Exposure: Promotion to Agents, Production Companies, Television and Film Executives, Screenwriters, and other industry professionals.
  • Promote Your Title as an Award-Winning Book: As a winner or finalist you will have the right to highlight your award on your book cover, website, and marketing material. Award stickers will be available for purchase for all winners & finalists in each category.

It’s a new frontier in publishing and USA Book News is at the forefront of the revolution!

We welcome your questions, comments and ideas! Simply e-mail us for an immediate response.

Jeffrey Keen
President & CEO
USA Book News

“Jeffrey Keen, as a most humbled and honored recipient of several 2011 International Book Awards and 2011 USA Best Book Awards, I wanted to take the opportunity to personally and professionally thank you for recognizing and celebrating some of the world’s topmost mainstream and independent authors and publishing companies. It is evident that both award enterprises embrace the hard work and achievements of worldwide authors and publishing companies and are fully committed to propelling them to aim high and succeed with excellence. Thank you wholeheartedly for helping the writing industry in general and myself in particular expand our professional horizons and foster exponential growth as highly recognized and most deserving achievers in the field of writing.”
—Michele Wright, Ph.D., Author, DEAR SUCCESS SEEKER: Wisdom from Outstanding Women, Atria/Simon & Schuster

“Simply put, winning the ‘Best Book 2010’ Awards (Religion: Christian Inspirational) has made a huge difference in promoting my book, Steadfast Christian. This prestigious award from a reputable company has elevated my book above the crowd which is essential in this extremely competitive industry. The affordable entry fee was a small price to pay for such an excellent opportunity to promote my book. To top it off, the service and professionalism dealing with USA Book News was outstanding!”
—Patrick Dillon, 2010 Award Winning Author

Read More Testimonials from Past Winners & Finalists


$69 USD per title/per category

  • Enter before February 28, 2013 and receive a bonus five-month full color listing on!
  • Final Entry Deadline is September 30, 2013. (All entries must be postmarked on or before September 30, 2013.)
  • Winners and Finalists will be announced nationally on November 1, 2013.
  • Eligible titles must have a 2011-2013 publication date and ISBN number.
  • Galley copies are welcome.
  • All entry fees must be paid in U.S. Dollars (“USD” must be pre-printed on all international checks or money orders)
  • All sales are final. All books become the property of USA Book News and will not be returned.

“Two of my books won Finalist Awards in the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and one of them just garnered a starred review in Library Journal! Thanks so much for your help in publicizing all of the winners and finalists!”
—Judy Luttrell Brizendine, Author, STUNNED By Grief: Remapping Your Life When Loss Changes Everything

“USA Book News and the Best Book Awards have been an integral part of my publishing success over the last three years. First winning multiple Best Book awards in 2007 for my self-published/self distributed book, I gained incredible national media exposure. A new edition of my book was released again in 2009 with a new cover, new ISBN and national distribution. This 2009 win in the Autobiography/Memoir category is bittersweet and will only help me to get my story out to more people who are affected by mental illness in their families. A very special ‘Thank You’ to President & CEO, Jeff Keen —you and your team are the most professional and results oriented executives in the publishing industry.”
—Thom Bierdz, Author/Actor/Artist, 2009 Award Winner


(This list is on your entry form as well)

Your submission package should contain the following:

  • ONE COPY of your book per category entered (Galley copies are welcome)
  • A completed Entry Form for each title.
  • A past Press Release or Marketing Material for each title (if available)
  • A check or money order for the entry fees, payable to “KEEN MULTIMEDIA”, if paying by check

“Jeffrey, thank you for this. I am so proud of my USA Book News wins. And what a boon they are for marketing!”
—Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author/Publisher, 2011 Winner, The Frugal Book Promoter

“This is so exciting! To compete alongside industry giants, Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, Random House, Penguin, Harper Collins (just to name a few), and still become an award winning finalist is not only wonderful but validating. It’s been a great experience for both my illustrator/husband and myself and reinforces for us that our story touches the reader and appeals to experts in children’s book publishing. Glitter and Dart came to life for me and I hope that they do the same for the children who will join in their adventures. Thank you to all the judges for this recognition.”
—Sherry K. Brubaker, Author, 2011 Finalist, Cup of Glitter, Gilded Magic Publishing

“I wanted to thank you for your prestigious award. In the four months since winning USA Book News – 2009 Best Book (History – Media / Entertainment), my paperback has been added to the prestigious libraries of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Writers Guild Foundation; is now being sold at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills; is now available at Barnes & Noble and Costco stores in Hollywood and will be promoted during the 2010 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival! I appreciate the press received from your tremendous organization!”
—Manny Pacheco, Award-winning Author, Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History

Read More Testimonials from Past Winners & Finalists


Please fill out an entry form for each title entered, print out and include the completed form with your submission. Be sure to review the “Submission Checklist” on each entry form. (Please note: Word document could take up to a minute to download. Thank you!)

“The award stickers definitely help sales. The book already has sold more because of this award. I’m very excited about this and impressed with the full list of winner/finalists. It clearly shows your judges go by quality versus name. I will for sure enter again with next book.”
—Tara L. Masih, 2010 Award Finalist

“Since the release of the awards information I received an order for a box of books to be shipped out. Thank you very much.”
 —Cindy Mauro Reisenauer, 2010 Award Winning Author

“Costco recently picked up Greg Park’s fantasy adventure series and they are selling a lot of Veil of Darkness (Best Book Winner) and Cleansing Hunt (Best Book Finalist). They’ve found that when the award stickers are on the books, they sell even better.”
—Chantilly Park, Publisher 2009 Winner and Finalist

“The award and the book sticker significantly increased my book sales and distribution. I am truly indebted to USA Book News.”
—Linda Kenney Miller, Award Winning Author, 2008 & 2009

Read More Testimonials from Past Winners & Finalists


Please include a check or money order with your entry submission payable to KEEN MULTIMEDIA. “USD” must be pre-printed on the check or money order.

You can also securely process your entry fee at the link below.

Questions? E-mail Us


“I won a USA Book News’ “Best Book” Award in 2007. Because of this recognition, I have been asked to speak at many important universities. Harvard, Yale, Nova, Florida Atlantic University, Fordham Law School are just a few of the universities that have invited me to speak allowing me the opportunity to spread the message that there was a genocide of the Armenians in 1915, a fact many are not aware of. My mission is to tell those that do not know and to convince those that do not believe.”

—Margaret Ajemian Ahnert, author, The Knock at the Door

Read More Testimonials from Past Winners & Finalists


Animals/Pets – General
Animals/Pets – Health
Animals/Pets – Narrative Non-Fiction

Anthologies – Non-Fiction

Art – General
Art – Instructional/How-To


Best Cover Design – Fiction
Best Cover Design – Non-Fiction
Best Interior Design
Best New Fiction
Best New Non-Fiction

Biography – General

Business – General
Business – Careers
Business – Entrepreneurship & Small Business
Business – Investing
Business – Management & Leadership
Business – Marketing & Advertising
Business – Motivational
Business – Personal Finance
Business – Real Estate
Business – Sales
Business – Writing/Publishing

Children’s Educational
Children’s Fiction
Children’s Mind/Body/Spirit
Children’s Non-Fiction
Children’s Novelty & Gift Book
Children’s Picture Book – Hardcover Fiction
Children’s Picture Book – Hardcover Non-Fiction
Children’s Picture Book – Softcover Fiction
Children’s Picture Book – Softcover Non-Fiction
Children’s Religious

Comics – Graphic Novels

Cookbooks – General
Cookbooks – International
Cookbooks – Regional

College Guides


Current Events


Fiction – General
Fiction – African-American

Fiction – Anthologies
Fiction – Chick Lit/Women’s Lit
Fiction – Cross Genre Fiction
Fiction – Fantasy
Fiction – Gay & Lesbian Fiction
Fiction – Historical Fiction
Fiction – Literary Fiction
Fiction – Multicultural Fiction
Fiction – Mystery/Suspense
Fiction – New Age Fiction
Fiction – Religious Fiction
Fiction – Romance
Fiction – Science Fiction
Fiction – Short Story Fiction
Fiction – Thriller/Adventure
Fiction – Visionary Fiction
Fiction – Western
Fiction – Young Adult Fiction

Gay & Lesbian – Non-Fiction

Health – General
Health – Addiction & Recovery
Health – Aging/50+
Health – Alternative Medicine
Health – Cancer
Health – Death & Dying
Health – Diet & Weight Loss
Health – Exercise & Fitness
Health – Psychology/Mental Health
Health – Women’s Health

History – General
History – Media/Entertainment
History – Military
History – United States

Home – General
Home – Decorating/Interior Design
Home – Exterior Design/Landscaping
Home – Gardening



Men’s Issues

Multicultural Non-Fiction

New Age – Non-fiction

Non-Fiction – Narrative

Parenting & Family

Performing Arts – Film, Theater, Dance, Music

Photography – General
Photography – Instructional/How-To
Photography – Nature
Photography – People

Poetry – General
Poetry – Anthologies
Poetry – Inspirational

Popular Culture

Religion – General
Religion – Buddhism
Religion – Christianity
Religion – Christian Inspirational
Religion – Eastern Religions
Religion – Prayer & Devotionals

Science – General

Self-Help – General
Self-Help – Journals & Quotes
Self-Help – Motivational
Self-Help – Relationships

Social Change

Spirituality – General
Spirituality – Inspirational

Sports – General

Travel – Guides
Travel – Essay

True Crime – Non-Fiction

Young Adult – Non-Fiction

Women’s Issues



The 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards are now open!

Calling all independent authors and publishers! We are proud to announce the 17th annual Independent Publisher Book Awards,conducted to honor the year’s best independently published titles.  We are now accepting entries for books with 2012 or 2013 copyrights or released between Aug 1, 2011 and March 15, 2013. The contest is presented by Jenkins Group and our book marketing website,, headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan.

The “IPPY” Awards were conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. We define “independent” as 1) independently owned and operated; 2) operated by a foundation or university; or 3) long-time independents that became incorporated but operate autonomously and publish fewer than 50 titles a year.

  • 75 subject categories in National awards
  • Regional awards for the United States, Canada, and Australia and New Zealand
  • E-Book Awards with fiction, non-fiction, children’s and regional categories
  • Ten Outstanding Books of the Year awards chosen from all entries at no extra charge
  • Winners receive medals, certificates, and earn credibility, publicity — and increased book sales!

CLICK HERE to download the 2013 IPPY Awards guidelines and entry form.

CLICK HERE to see 2012 IPPY Awards results, with photos of the award ceremony.

Click for category list.

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A-Z of Self-publishing and writing tips: T

I’m only covering the letter T today, because I found that I almost wrote a novella about how to use Twitter! (see below). There are also a few other things beginning with T mentioned.



I have found Twitter to be an invaluable resource for promoting my books. I know that some people hate it. I don’t claim to be an expert, but in the past couple of years I have built up just over 12,000 followers. I’m not sure if that’s a good number or not, but it seems like a decent amount to me. I haven’t bought any followers from anywhere either; these are just people who follow me and I follow most of them back.

I think Twitter works best when you follow a few rules:

1. Always follow people back when they follow you (unless they are spammers or some other kind of lunatic).

2. Thank people for RTs (re-Tweets) when you can, or alternatively you can RT something that they have Tweeted. RTs are always welcomed, as these help with promotion.

3. Interact with your followers. By this, I mean, if someone asks you something, you should respond to them (again, provided that they are not a spammer or a lunatic).

4. To build up your following to begin with you need to follow people. This may seem obvious to most people, but there seem to be those who think that people will just follow them. If you’re Lady Gaga, or someone like that, you would be right to think that you don’t really need to follow people to have them follow you; otherwise, I think you should make some effort, or you’ll be left with hardly any followers and Tweeting to yourself.

5. Use the hashtags. This does come with a warning though. For example there is #FF for Follow Friday, where you list people who you follow, that you would recommend to others. For writers there is #WW Writer Wednesday, where you recommend writers that you follow.
The WARNING is this: Twitter is on the lookout of for spammers. They seem to be unable to get rid of real spammers, (you know, the ones who send you DMs that say ‘have you seen this pic of you lol,’ or ‘someone is saying real bad things about you in this blog’ with a dodgy link), but Twitter does hone in on people who mention lots of other Twitter names in their tweets, or people who use the reply function often.
My account was recently suspended because I did a lot of #FF mentions on one particular day. I was informed that the reason my account was suspended was that I used the ‘mention’ and ‘reply’ functions too much. I did eventually manage to get my account back, but it was very annoying.
So, #FF and #WW are a good way to get more followers and to keep your followers, as long as you don’t overdo things. Try to vary your tweets on days when you’re doing these types of mentions so that your account won’t look like a spammer’s account.

6. Trending topics are a good way to get your account noticed. What I mean by this is that on the left hand side of the page you’ll see the list of popular topics on twitter i.e. those that lots of people are tweeting about. If you can join in with one of those topics, you should see that you gain a few more followers. For example, I recently joined in on one that was #SongsThatMakeMeCry and noticed that I got quite a few new followers on that day. Whether it was a coincidence or not, I can’t be sure.

7. If you have something that you want to promote on a particular day and need help with RTs, I find it is a good idea to RT other Twitter users on your Twitter feed randomly, i.e. those that you wouldn’t usually RT, and this will usually result in those people Tweeting something for you.

8. Something that is off-putting is where someone is always Tweeting about their own stuff and not about anything else. Unless you are very famous, this tactic will not work, and will result in you losing followers.

9. You can use to find out who unfollowed you, and who is not following you back. This enables you to unfollow them. A word of warning here though. Twitter also doesn’t like people who follow a lot of people on one particular day, or unfollow a lot of people on one day as this could be seen as the action of a bot. Be careful, and try to limit the following and unfollowing, and spread it out a bit.

10. You can use to schedule Tweets to go out from your Twitter account at times when you won’t be able to Tweet e.g. when you are sleeping or working. There is a free version which I use sometimes, and find it particularly useful when I have a special promotion going on so that I can reach all time zones. There’s also a version you can pay for that does other things, like clean your house for you (just checking that you are still concentrating!). No, actually, I don’t know what the paid-for version does, but it probably allows you to schedule more Tweets in advance and other such stuff. You can find out on the website.

11. There are ways of getting more followers by joining certain groups. For example, there are groups here on Goodreads where you can list your Twitter name and others will follow you back. I have also joined the World Literary Cafe’s Twitter Follows group. Here’s a link where you can leave your Twitter name to be followed by others, and you then follow them back:…

12. The aim on Twitter is build up a following so that when you Tweet about your work it will reach a wider audience. Where you RT other people’s Tweets they are more likely to Tweet yours, so you reach an even wider audience each time you tweet.

13. Tweet about things you enjoy and you will find like-minded people to connect with, which makes the whole Twitter experience all that more interesting.

14. There are daily or weekly papers that you can set up to automatically tweet from your Twitter account, where you help promote other Twitter accounts. This will result in more RTs for your own work, and it helps to keep your account active when you’re away from the Internet for a while because the paper will Tweet from your account daily or weekly, depending on your settings. Go here, and log in with your Twitter account to set up your paper: – It only takes a few minutes and it will post the paper to your account automatically (as long as you request that in the settings), so once you’ve set it up, you don’t need to do anything else to maintain it.

15. BookBuzzr on allows you to set up tweets that link to samples of your writing. These will be tweeted daily or weekly, depending on your preference.

16. A hashtag that is useful for writers for promotion is #SampleSunday, where each Sunday you can provide a link to a sample chapter of your work. Other authors who take part in this will RT that for you.

If anyone else has any Twitter tips, please feel free to list them in the comments section below.


I am quickly mentioning this only because I know that some of my indie author friends swear by it. I haven’t worked out how it works, but if you have time, it might be worth having a look into.


I have a account but don’t use it often as there are just too many networking sites to keep up with. It is quite a popular site, though, and is another way you can spread the word about your work. You can also blog from that site. It’s similar to Twitter in that you follow other users and they follow you back, but there is not a restriction as to the amount of words you use. You can post videos and photos there too.


Time management is very important as a self-published author. When you self-publish, you do your own promotion, and most of your own editing, so this can lead to very little time to do much else, especially as most of us also have full time day jobs.

It’s important to make sure you have time for the things that are important in your writing life. I haven’t come across the secret formula for creating more time, but if somebody else does, please let me know.

Try to find a balance that works for you and find ways to organise your time so that you don’t work around the clock and burn out.

I would suggest finding one or two networking sites that work for you and devoting the promotion time to those sites. Have a realistic schedule for your blog, maybe run a series, like this one that I am doing, so that you have something that people might want to keep up with and will follow the blog, so you don’t have to worry about losing followers if you’re away from the blog for a few days or weeks.

If you find that you don’t have enough time to write, think about what you could do less of to make more time. For example, I have had to cut down the amount of book reviews I do so that I can keep up with my own writing. Having said that, it’s important to keep reading other people’s work because the more you read the better your own writing will be. Reading is great for fuelling our imagination.

One way to make more time, is to use an editor for your novels, so that you spend less time having to read and re-read your own work.

It’s all trial and error, but find the balance that works for you, and concentrate your time there. It’s more productive to have one good blog where you can promote and keep your readers up to date, than to have multiple blogs and lessen the impact of those because you don’t have time to promote them.

Networking with other writers helps with time management because you can have a support network. Usually other authors will help to promote your books if you do the same for them; so at times when you’re not around on the Internet the chances are someone else will be tweeting something about your work.

Also, as mentioned above, apps like Hootsuite are great for helping with time management because you can schedule promotion for when you’re not around. WordPress blogs have a similar scheduling system, so you can set up posts days or weeks in advance.

I have to say, I find managing my time one of the most challenging things about being an indie author. If anyone else has any tips, please leave them in the comments section below.


Book Trailers. Just like Twitter (and Marmite) some people love them and some people hate them.

Personally, I think anything that can positively add to your book marketing campaign is a good thing. I like book trailers. I can’t say that I’ve ever bought a book because of a book trailer, but maybe I might have found out about a book because of a book trailer. So it all adds to promotion and exposure for your book.

I make my own book trailers, and you can find them on my YouTube channel:…

One of our members, Magnolia Belle, makes book trailers.

Here’s a promotional video for the book trailers she makes:

She made a couple of trailers for our Bestsellerbound Anthologies. Here’s a link to one of them:

I’ve recently found out about an innovative company, Red 14 Films, that makes cinematic book trailers. They believe that book trailers are a great marketing tool. Here’s a link to their website where you can view some of the trailers they have made:
Also, at the moment they’re running a contest where you can win a free 30 second cinematic book trailer. You just have to subscribe to their website to enter. There’ll be a raffle in March to choose the winner.

Targeting your readership

I think one of the most important things for any writer is to find a target readership and focus on promoting to that group. It’s harder for writers (like me) who write in many different genres, but if you only write in one genre, you can use this tactic effectively to find a following.

There are many different websites that promote one type of book; for example, some sites only promote romance, others are set up to promote science fiction, etc. You should use Google to find such websites and blogs and try to get your books listed.

I’m going to promote my crime fiction novel, Haunted, on a website this week Fantastic Books Publishing. They are doing a spotlight on Crime Fiction on the 28th February 2013, so it will be interesting to see what result that achieves in terms of book sales.

Targeting a specific audience does work. For example, I recently promoted my novel, Second Chances, on EReader News Today (ENT), in their ‘Bargain Books’ promotion. They have a huge following of readers who are looking for bargain e-books; so I lowered the price of the book to 99 cents and it was promoted on the site for a couple of days (ENT takes 25% of your total royalties for sales over the 2 day promotion). The result was 140 sales overnight, and another 50 sales since the promotion ended. Okay, the royalties on 99 cents (given that you only get 35% of that from Amazon) is not great, but the exposure is a good way to find a new readership. Here’s a link if any authors want to try it:…

Similarly, for a short term boost to sales, and to make your book more widely available to an audience who might not otherwise try it, the Amazon KDP Select free promotion days can be good.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful!

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in self publish tools, Self Publishing


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History Of Penguin India


Penguin Comes to India

Penguin India was setup in 1985, exactly 50 years after Allen Lane founded Penguin Books. It wasn’t until October 1987 though that the first books from the Penguin stable came out. It’s been 25 years since the first 6 were published and we have passed many milestone’s in the process. Here’s a look at 10 of them.

Penguin India


First Published Books

1987, marked the release of our first books and Penguin India officially came into being. Penguin’s first books came out in October of 1987, 25 years ago. It was also the year Anees Jung’s ‘Unveiling India’ became Penguin India’s first 10,000 copy seller.

Penguin India


First Commercial Novel

Penguin India discovered Shobhaa De, the author. ‘Starry Nights’, published in 1991, was India’s first commercial novel and a huge success. The association strengthened and continued over numerous books over the years and in 2010, she became a Pulisher when she was given her own imprint by Penguin Books, titled ‘The Shobhaa De Book’.

Penguin India

The Landscape Changes

In 1994, Penguin began another outstanding partnership upon the publishing of City of Djinns, a cult book on the city of Delhi, by William Dalrymple. Darlymple went on to author five books of history and travel, including the highly acclaimed best-seller ‘The Last Mughal’. Together they reshaped the landscape of historical writing and reading in India.

Penguin India


The Penguin Way

One of the landmarks in Penguin India’s publishing history was the publication of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s fictional work ‘The Insider’ and his book on the Babri Masjid demolition, ‘Ayodhya 6 December 1992’, which was published posthumously according to the author’s wishes. It was another instance that heralded the Penguin way of publshing and our ethos.

Penguin India


Man Booker Prize 1

1997 brought the Man Booker prize to India for Arundhati Roy’s debut effort – The God of Small Things. With this instant classic, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say and Roy’s nomination and her eventual win of the Man Booker prize brought the prize back to spotlight in the Indian literary world.

Penguin India


Man Booker Prize 2

‘Life of Pi’ now being made into a movie was another extra ordinary feather in Penguin India’s unique history. It went on to win the Man Booker prize 4 years after Arundhati Roy’s ‘God of Small Things’ and immediately grabbed people’s attention.

Penguin India


Man Booker Prize 3

Kiran Desai not only followed her mother’s footsteps in becoming an author but also went a step further to win the Man Booker prize in 2006 to join the illustrious club of Penguin India’s Booker winning authors.

Penguin India


A New Wave in Indian Writing

In its seventh year of publication, First Proof is the annual anthology of recent Indian writings in English, comprising outstanding short fiction, essays, reportage, travel pieces, translations, memoirs, works in progress and poetry. It has heralded a new wave of fresh, energetic writing and have given hope to both young authors as well as readers looking to tap into future stars of the Indian literary world.

Penguin India


Celebrating 25 Years in India

October 2012 we will be 25. 25 illustrious years entertaining the most entertaining of nations; telling Indian stories. And as we march towards the next 25 years we take stock of what we’ve done in the past 25 years; where Indian writing is and where Indian readers are headed. This year is the celebration of you; it is the celebration of what you read and what you will read. Because for us ..what you read is what matters.

Penguin India

Penguin India

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Why does Angry Birds have a vice president of book publishing?

Sanna Lukander explains why print books are more than a licensing sideline for Rovio

Angry Birds

It should come as no surprise that there are official Angry Birds books, given its evolution into a brand spanning toys, clothing, sweets and hundreds of other products.

What may be more surprising is that Rovio doesn’t simply license Angry Birds out to publishers and leave the details to them. There are licensing deals – Penguin is publishing seven Angry Birds books in 2013 – but Rovio also has an in-house book publishing team, headed up by vice president Sanna Lukander.

The VP status for this Finnish publishing industry veteran hints at Rovio seeing books at more than just another spin-off, as she explained during Penguin’s recent press event for its 2012 children’s catalogue.

“What’s a publisher doing at Rovio Entertainment?” said Lukander. “A publisher started a publishing unit within the gaming unit as a part of changing this gaming company into a media and entertainment franchise. The story has to be born there, where all the creative guys are – the guys behind the actual characters.”

Rovio’s publishing life began with cookbook Bad Piggies Egg Recipes in late 2011, which the company later self-published as an iPad book-appin October 2012. That year, it also teamed up with National Geographic for an educational book based on its Angry Birds Space game.

The Penguin deal – through its Puffin imprint – will see four books published in July 2013: two sticker books, a puzzle book and a story-book revealing “The Mystery of the Green Bird”. Three more will follow, including an official tie-in for the next new Angry Birds game.

Lukander says that Rovio’s creative decisions in books come from close monitoring of feedback from fans of Angry Birds. “In December we had 263m users of our games, and from a publisher’s perspective there is constant dialogue with the fans,” she said at Penguin’s event.

“People already love the characters, and they are actively initiating a dialogue with the publisher. There is so much potential, but we have to be very careful and very sensitive about what we do. It can only be of the highest quality.”

This may provoke snorts in some quarters – there is no shortage of sceptics when it comes to Angry Birds’ rapid expansion as a brand in the last year or two.

Yet the publisher has always maintained that it rejects many more licensing and partnership opportunities than it approves, while also walking its talk about serving Angry Birds fans rather than squeezing them – witness its regular release of free levels for its games.

2012 also saw Rovio take the first steps towards countering concern in some quarters that Angry Birds might be distracting children from other, more educational activities.

The National Geographic book was one step, while a partnership with CERN – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research – announced in October 2012 promised physics-based “fun learning experiences” as part of an educational initiative called Angry Birds Playground.

“We knew that the characters could work with educational content in a very fun way, to get people interested in something they might not otherwise have bumped into,” Lukander told me after her presentation. “We’re working on those types of partnerships with CERN, National Geographic and NASA. There are so many possibilities.”

Judging by my sons’ school playground, Angry Birds continues to strike a chord with children: the number of hats, bags and dangling plush-toy charms certainly rivals more traditional brands from the likes of Disney and Star Wars.

But this is an educational opportunity, through books? “It’s important for kids to read,” said Lukander, whose background before Rovio was in educational publishing. “I don’t care where they read or how they get interested in reading. It’s more important that they do get interested in it.”

Sanna Lukander of RovioRovio’s partnership with Penguin is focused on physical book publishing – it joins digital brands Moshi Monsters and Skylanders on the publisher’s roster.

Rovio has retained the digital publishing rights for Angry Birds, which leads onto a conversation about how storytelling is evolving on devices like tablets – beyond pure digitisation for e-books.

“Digital publishing is a huge question mark for all of us,” says Lukander. “I personally think gimmicky digital publishing isn’t the thing. You shouldn’t shove the same story into digital formats, and ruin the experience by aggressively putting a topping on it that doesn’t belong.”

Rovio has a publishing team in-house, but also animators – working on a series of shorts for digital distribution, as well as a full movie for 2016 – and the games developers.

If – as is already happening – children’s book-apps are blurring the boundaries between text, animation and gaming, Rovio is surely well-placed to experiment with this kind of thing. Is this the future for digital publishing?

“We’re finding out,” says Lukander. “It’s definitely not about gimmicks, but…”

And then silence and a smile. Whatever Rovio is up to in this regard – and it’s pretty clear it’s up to something – isn’t quite ready to be talked about yet.

The Penguin event was notable for the regular mention by the publisher’s executives of their desire to go “beyond the book” – the company sees itself as a brand-owner, extending into e-books, apps, virtual worlds, consumer products and licensing.

Are other publishers adapting at a similar pace to new opportunities? “Some are, some aren’t,” says Lukander.

“It’s irrelevant though. The one thing that matters is that the stories reach the people who the stories are meant for. If someone’s telling a story and someone’s listening, that’s what’s important. It’s not about the form or the business model of it.”

She continues: “Publishers need to stay awake, and we should all understand what we’re good at. If a publisher really understands that and walks the talk, that’s terrific. From my point of view, it’s publishing without boundaries. We don’t have to be stuck in our ways.”

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Xlibris Book Publishing Company: How To Market Your Book

Your book is written. Your job as author is over; time to just sit back and let the fame and fortune roll in.

Well, maybe not yet. In many ways, to paraphrase the Carpenters, you’ve only just begun. If you want your book to be bought and read by the widest audience possible, you have to let readers know that it’s available, and that means marketing.

Publishers have departments whose sole purpose is to market books. They promote books through advertising and direct mail, conferences and trade shows. Publishers also arrange bookstore signings and send out review copies. There are marketing managers, copywriters, publicists, and designers who are paid to get your book noticed. While there are obvious advantages to this system, there is a serious downside: No one knows a book better than its author, yet authors are often out of the marketing loop at large publishing houses.

As a self-marketing author, you need to take advantage of the fact that you know your book, and you know who its audience is. The problem is, of course, how to reach that audience. Here are some ideas for how to effectively, and inexpensively, market your book.

It all begins with promotional copy. Condensing a 300-page book into 300 words is a difficult, but necessary, first step. Promotional copy should be brief, descriptive, and engagingly written. Revise, polish, and check your work for spelling and grammar. Your promotional copy offers readers and reviewers a thumbnail sketch of your book and should be used as a starting point for all marketing activities.

Once you have promotional copy written, it’s time to put it to work. Include promotional copy on the jacket and back cover of your book. With the right copy and an attractive design, your book becomes its own marketing tool.

Having your book reviewed is the best form of free publicity available. Although reviews are difficult to get, they are worth pursuing. Use your promotional copy as a press release and send it to any and all possible reviewers, from your local newspaper to The New York Times Book Review. Include information about yourself and where you can be reached. Try to target individual reviewers who might be particularly interested in your work.

Authors interested in marketing their own book will find most direct-mail options cost-prohibitive. However, flyers featuring your book can be easily produced and inexpensively photocopied. Give these flyers to friends and family, hand them out at work, ask your local bookstore to display them, pass them out to members of your reading group. Make certain your flyer includes ordering information, the book’s price and ISBN, and your web address (which should, of course, prominently feature your book).

Personal web pages are a great way to advertise your book. Include promotional copy, a cover image, and ordering information. Be sure to feature your web address on all promotional materials, both print and online.

Marketing your book can often seem like an uphill climb. With effective and polished promotional copy, the right amount of determination, and a basic understanding of self-marketing, however, you can make this hill much easier to climb. You’ve done the work of writing your book; now it is time to make your book work for you.

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Manuscript: How Rough Is Too Rough?

Bookmasters Blog


After months or even years of writing your book, you finally have a finished manuscript. Or do you? Whether you’re sending out your manuscript for publisher review or planning on self-publishing, make sure you take the time to prepare your manuscript. There are a few things you can focus on when preparing your manuscript for the publishing process.

Take your time.

Writing your book can seem like a long drawn out process, but you want your first reader, whether that is an editor, mentor, or friend, to enjoy reading it. ALWAYS have someone read your work before sending it into the world. After rereading and rewriting your work, your brain is more likely to input words that are missing from the rough draft. Don’t rush this reading and rewriting process because constructive criticism should always be a welcomed tool, whether traditional or self-publishing.

Edit until you are blue in the…

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