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What’s Your Favorite eBook Orientation?

This GalleyCat editor reads almost all his digital books on the iPad in a double-sided landscape view (pictured, via).

What’s your favorite eBook orientation–landscape or portrait? It’s an important question for publishers, authors and editors to ask. Answer our quick poll below and help us understand how our readers like to read.

Mediabistro Course

Memoir Writing

Memoir WritingStarting January 7, work with a published memoir writer to tell and sell the story of your life! In this course, Wendy Dale will teach you how to create your story around a marketable premise, hone your narrative voice, write a memoir with a solid structure, and sell your memoir before you've even finished writing it. Register now!

Publishers Look to Obama to Save Their Jobs

We finally got a chance to take a close look at this year’s Publishing Trends survey of industry professionals—half of us enjoy the work for the intellectual challenges, and the free books don’t hurt, either!—and a full 81.5 percent of those surveyed say “publishing jobs in general are less secure than they were a year ago,” while more than 33 percent are worried specifically about hanging on to their own jobs. Asked to reflect further on their future, the number of people who’d like to quit their jobs and become agents is nearly equal to the number of people who are happy where they’re at… but 28 percent say they can’t decide until they find out who’s going to be running the country for the next four years. On the off chance that you can’t already guess how their hopes skew, 86 percent say they’re voting for Barack Obama.

Not all the survey questions made it into the newsletter report, so the Publishing Trends blog is running additional results, from which you can learn that red wine is favored over white wine 2-to-1, and word of mouth is overwhelmingly the most frequent way publishing industry pros land staff jobs. More such tidbits are promised throughout October.

Obama vs McCain

72 things.jpgTwo web to book humor titles tackle the candidates in their own way: 72 Things Younger than John McCain by Joe Quint coming out from Fireside August 26 and Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle: 366 Ways He Really Cares by Mathew Honan is on sale now from Gotham Books. What’s interesting is the different ways the authors have tackled their subjects. Honan uses Obama’s simple message style to convey the candidate’s appeal with statements such as “Barack Obama Let You Win At Scrabulous.” obama bicycle.jpg
Meanwhile Quint’s approach while very funny, also is a history lesson of sorts. Did you know McCain is older than The Jefferson Memorial, Duct Tape, Nachos, Chocolate-Chip Cookies, Area Codes and Social Security?

Could a humor book’s popularity also predict a presidential candidate’s chance of winning? Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle: 366 Ways He Really Cares is currently leading in ranking against the McCain book.

Which book gets your vote?
( surveys)

How’s My Blogging?: Our First Ever Reader Survey

clipart-clipboard.jpgIt occurred to me recently that although I’ve been writing GalleyCat for nearly three years now, and I’ve had plenty of anecdotal feedback about the site from individual readers, and I have never conducted a formal survey—in essence, I’ve been winging it this whole time.

So I would like to ask you to take a few moments to answer some brief questions that will help us learn a bit more about you and what types of stories you’d like to see GalleyCat cover. The survey is strictly confidential, and the data collected will be used solely to evaluate readership patterns at the broadest levels. But and I will be giving the survey results careful consideration, just as we monitor more explicitly quantitative benchmarks of this blog’s performance, and your answers are likely to have some long-term impact on our future direction.

[UPDATE, 12:01 A.M. Tuesday: Nearly 100 readers have taken the survey already, which means that the first round of polling is likely to close later this morning. Thank you to all the participants; I've already got some interesting ideas for future content based on the information you shared with us. And if you didn't get a chance to take part yesterday, keep an eye out: and I may try to obtain a second sampling later this week.]

Dog Days 2008: Who’s the Cutest Canine of the Summer?

You’ve had a look at two different batches of dog pictures, and now it’s time to choose your favorite among the two most popular. Will you pick Chachi, Leslie Banks’s “nearsighted” Chihuahua/Jack mix, or will you vote for Darwin, the Airedale that inspired Sherry Rind’s Houses Full of Laughter?


I choose…
( polls)

And, after much delay, I’ve finally come up with a prize: Alison Pace, whose Carlie ran a close second in Friday’s competition, has generously agreed to sign a copy of her new novel, City Dog, for the owner of the dog that gets the most votes by 12:01 a.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday, August 13.

POLL: Who Is Friday’s Best in Show?

Another day, another set of “dog day” photos from GalleyCat readers—and once again it’s your turn to decide who the cutest of the bunch is. As with yesterday’s poll, you’ll be able to vote on these dogs until 12:01 a.m. (Eastern) Monday morning, and later that day I’ll set up another poll so you can choose between the winners of those two rounds.

Look for the poll, and a recap of today’s dogs, in the back half of this post.

Read more

POLL: Who Is Thursday’s Top Dog?

OK, now that you’ve had a chance to look at some of the photos GalleyCat readers sent in to help celebrate the “dog days” of August, it’s time to pick your favorite picture of the day. (If you sent in a photo and don’t see it in today’s batch, don’t worry; I’ve got just as many pics lined up for Friday.) The polls are going to be open until 12:01 a.m. (Eastern) Monday morning, so the owners have all weekend to organize their friends into voting drives. On Monday, the most popular dogs from today and tomorrow’s groupings will face each other and we’ll see who turns out best in show. I’m still pinning down the actual prize, but if the one I have in mind comes through, it’s going to be really cool.

As was the case for last month’s cat competition, the poll and a full gallery of today’s dogs can be found in the second half of this post.

Read more

The Blame Game Followup

286 of you voted in our poll about who is to blame for poor book sales with 41% voting that everyone was to blame and 25% agreeing that the publisher has too many titles on their list. The poll has sparked some interesting conversations across the net most notably from Buzz, Balls & Hype which points out that I forgot to include “lack of marketing.”

What’s telling about the vote at the end – asking what “you” think goes wrong they list everything but “not enough marketing.” They do mention the “publicity” failing… but in today’s marketplace there’s so little available publicity anyway, no one should be relying on publicity to get a book out there. Esp with fiction!!!

Of everything, it won’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog that I believe lack of marketing is the reason most books fail. If no one knows the book exists, no one can buy it and publishers simply don’t have enough money or time or creative thinking to give every book the marketing it needs to break through the clutter.

Bookseller Captaincurt posted an insightful comment about how publishers are putting out too many books:

As a longtime bookseller of 27 years I can tell you far too many books are being published every year. Shelves groan under the weight of all the new releases. Lets be honest. Few are really special reading experiences. Books deserving of wider readerships are crowded out each season by the obvious blockbusters Target and the price clubs stack high. I love handselling, but there are only so many hours in a day. I push what I love, show people what they ask for and go out on a limb once in a while and score new fans for my old favorites by the likes of Peter Taylor , Mark Helprin and Jeffrey Ford. No book should be published without some kind of marketing push behind it. I know resources are limited but to do otherwise does the author and his/her book an injustice.

It’s Your Turn to Judge a Book Trailer

I’ve had plenty to share about what makes book trailers effective—now it’s your turn. Take a look at this 40-second promotional video for an upcoming release from Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, an author-artist team who produce books and related product kits for the mind-body-spirit market (don’t call it New Age!) under the brand umbrella of The Enchanted World.

What’d you think of the Vibe-Away ad?
( surveys)

Summer Cats: There Can Only Be One

The results from Thursday and Friday’s slates of cats are in, and now the top vote-getters from each pack will square off against each other for one final round of polling, which will last until 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 16. Whoever wins this poll will receive copies of An Infamous Army and two other novels by NPR-endorsed romance novelist Georgette Heyer, thanks to Sourcebooks.

So, without further ado:

FW Publications‘s Nancy Parish‘s Lucky

⇒romance novelist Manda Collins‘s Tiny

I choose…
( polls)