Showing posts from November, 2011

Self-Published Books: the Digital Age Slush Pile?

Amazon Kindle has probably passed the one million mark in e-book titles as of now, considering that it stood at 750,000 a year ago, and adds as much as 1,000 titles a day!  
Much of it self-published (how much is not given to know) - thus giving self-published authors what they see as a "level playing field" with traditional publishers, both big and small. The digital revolution has wiped away the stigma of self-publishing, giving indies a unique opportunity to distribute their books and connect with readers without having to go through a traditional publisher.
Most certainly a unique opportunity but as I have already pointed out once before, full of pitfalls for the newbies (see here for my post on the subject). Not so for the already published author with a fan base: he/she has a much better chance "to make it", particularly on the marketing side, than an aspiring author whom no one has heard of.
This much is obvious. But there are other reasons, and I'm not th…

Angela Merkel and the Euro Crisis: Is She an Angel or a Demon?

On Thanksgiving Day, while Americans ate their beloved turkey and pumpkin pie, the world started falling apart.

It happened in the course of  a press conference in Strasburg where Angela Merkel, Germany's Chancellor and French president Sarkozy magnanimously received the visit from the new Italian premier Mario Monti.

Our dear Angela (an angel?) got once again busy stoking the fire that will consume the Euro.

While Monti looked increasingly uncomfortable and Sarkozy smiled benevolently, she was very clear in her school-marmish way: forget about Eurobonds and using the European Central Bank to bailout governments in financial trouble. The European Central Bank's "independence should be preserved"! Of course, she failed to add that she is the first one attacking the Bank's independence and dictating what the Bank should do and should not do.

If her objective was to kill Europe, she came close to achieving it.

She is always saying "Nein!" to all measures…

Twittermania: Why do you tweet? Does it help marketing?

Image by xotoko via FlickrTwitter is a game, Twitter is a political tool, Twitter is a celebrity hunt, Twitter is a waste of time! 

A waste of time? Yes, that's the conclusion that one writer came to after reaching 25,000 followers. Larry Carlat (that's his name) humorously described in a New York Times article (November 15, 2011) how Twitter had become a mania that destroyed his normal social relationships and even affected his job. To tweet, he found he was repairing to the toilet in restaurants so as not to be seen by family and friends. That's when he decided to stop. He deleted his Twitter account and you can't even find him on Facebook!

What is Twitter for you? The 140 characters you are allowed for a message: is it a challenge to express all you want to say? An advantage to zero in on the very essence of the message? A way to sell and promote your stuff? A neat tool for sharing links to interesting articles, books, products and what-have-you? A game to see how man…

Euro Crisis: Is There a Way to Stop the Contagion?

"Stability"by Rickydavid via FlickrAfter Greece, the Euro crisis has spread to Italy and now Spain.

Next on the list: France, Netherlands and Finland or perhaps Austria. 

One after the other, countries are the prey of market attacks, each worse than the preceding one. This week, the spread between German  and Spanish bonds has for the first time become as wide - some 500 points - as it is between German and Italian bonds.

500 points seem to be the magic number at which countries and markets panic.

The point at which investors decide that a country's ability to keep paying its debt is in peril. The spread with Italy has been hovering there for some time now, causing rating agencies (in particular Fitch) to downgrade Italy's credit rating from AA- to A+ a month ago, thus signalling the beginning of the Italian crisis and the end of Berlusconi. At the same time Spain was downgraded from AA+ to AA-... better than Italy, but barely so. And lately France has been forewarned th…