Please read: What BEB authors are up to

Updated and Russian editions, QR codes, ebooks, supply chains

Dear fellow Blue Ear Books authors,

As I said in my previous note, this Substack will function at first as an in-house newsletter, replacing our past circular emails. Eventually I hope it will also serve as a periodical reaching a larger and wider reading public for all of us. It is, and will remain, the best way for you as an author to keep up on what your BEB colleagues are doing and learning about how best to publish and promote our books. Do also keep in mind that you can always reach me and each other directly by email. (If you don’t have another author’s email address, just ask me.)

Before I get to news, I want to strongly recommend the article headlined “Planning on giving books as holiday gifts? Better start ordering now, Seattleites,” published Nov. 4 in the Seattle Times. Probably every U.S. city newspaper could run a similar piece - maybe some have. The headline kind of says it all, but it behooves us all as authors to follow such coverage. The widespread supply chain crisis is affecting book publishing and marketing pervasively, but - to make a long story short - BEB’s smallness and nimbleness allows us to work around it pretty effectively, with some effort and imagination.

If you haven’t yet, please read the new text I’ve published on the Veterans, Speaking, About, and Contact pages of the BEB website. That text is meant to help us communicate efficiently by encapsulating some things that I find myself saying repeatedly to different individuals about what BEB is all about, how we do things and why, etc. The Global, Free, and Substack pages currently all say only “Coming soon” but will soon have similar new text.

So, here are a few bits of BEB news:

  • Dennis Rea and I are finalizing plans with his indefatigable musician pal Iouri Lnogradski to publish a Russian edition (!) of Dennis’s book Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China and Taiwan.

  • Lisa Carrington Firmin has produced a good promotional one-pager for her book on military sexual trauma, Stories from the Front, scheduled for April 2022 publication. The one-pager includes a QR code that people can use to access her book’s page. Even while still writing her book, Lisa is energetically and shrewdly making use of the months of lead time to promote it and encourage interest and presales (which she is already getting - and just the other day I got an inquiry about the book from a chaplain in the Royal Australian Air Force).

    I’ve taken the liberty of making Lisa’s one-pager into a PDF and putting it online. It’s an excellent model of author-driven book promotion. Lisa rightly believes that people showing up to meet an author often want to walk away with something, even if only a piece of paper with info on it. You can read her one-pager here, and below is Lisa’s QR code itself. Try it out with your own smartphone - it’s pretty slick:

  • Jeb Wyman and I recently met on Zoom with Joe Jocson Porter, one of the combat veterans included in Jeb’s book What They Signed Up For. Joe is an artist and designer and is developing a fresh new cover for the new edition that we’re planning to bring out next spring.

  • Our in-house artist and designer, Kait Howell, is about to finalize the beautiful full cover (front, spine and back) of the new Blue Ear Books edition of Christo Brand’s memoir Doing Life with Mandela. Andrew Russell and I are planning Christo’s book release for February 2022.

  • Qaisar Shareef and I are working together to format and upload his book When Tribesmen Came Calling as a print-on-demand paperback and ebook (it has so far been available only in hardcover format). The protocols that Qaisar and I and our page designer Jennifer Haywood develop will help firm up the model for how to render POD and ebook formats routinely for all BEB books in the future. If you’re a current author and would like your book reformatted for POD and/or ebook, drop me a note.

That’s all for now. There are more things I want to tell and discuss with you, but I’ll save them for the next message.