Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Los Gatos High School Freshman Students Publish Second Annual Poetry Anthology, A Cup of Poetea

For the second year in a row, more than 120 freshman poetry students at Los Gatos High School have collaborated on yet another amazing poetry anthology, this one titled A Cup of Poetea.

Read the news here.

This follows last year's debut project, Windows to the Teenage Soul, which I blogged about here.

The projects grew out of a collaboration between Los Gatos High School (thank you amazing teachers Tonya McQuade and Kathleen Wehr!), Smashwords and Henry Bankhead of the Los Gatos Public Library.

If you enjoy poetry, or you want to read mind-blowing literature from young adults, or if you want to learn how as a parent or educator or librarian you too can help promote a culture of authorship in your community, please buy these books and tell a friend.

The books go together well as a pair.  The first book, Windows to the Teenage Soul, contains a comprehensive teacher's guide and guide for librarians.  Tonya McQuade shares her project roadmap and timelines so other educators can build upon her fine organizational work.  The second book published today, A Cup of Poetea, contains additional information on how educators can emulate this project in their classrooms.

Windows to the Teenage Soul
Projects like this are truly revolutionary.  What better way to inspire the next generation of writers and thinkers than to let them experience first hand the joy of writing and the thrill of indie ebook publishing?

Every classroom around the globe from elementary schools to graduate schools can replicate this project for their students.  Leveraging Smashwords, there's no cost to publish.

Imagine the pride these students and their families feel when they can see their work published and for sale at all the major ebook retailers.

The book launch will be held tonight at 6:30pm at the Los Gatos Public Library.  Last year's book launch was standing room only so if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, get there early!

Where to purchase:

Barnes & Noble

Monday, May 11, 2015

Smashwords Introduces New Metadata Option for Box Sets

Smashwords today released an enhanced metadata option for box sets.  The new option will pave the way for us to make box sets more discoverable in the Smashwords store, and longer term (and more importantly), it will enable better merchandising at our retailers. 

But one step at a time. First we need to collect the metadata, and that's where you come in.

Smashwords authors and publishers are already well-versed in metadata.  Metadata is data about your book.  Metadata is comprised of things like book category, book title, author name, book description and price.  Metadata makes it easier for readers to discover your book by screaming, "Look here!  I'm what you're looking for!"

Ebook box sets are a relatively new phenomena, and indie authors are leading the charge.  Until now, metadata for box sets has been lacking.  Most obviously, a box set is treated like an ordinary ebook, when in fact it's a bundle of books either from a single author or multiple authors.  Retailers have shown increased interest in box sets over the last two years, but the process of identifying them is still manual.  Retailers who want to promote them, and customers who want to read them, must perform manual searches on the phrase "box set" and hope the author placed the words in their title or book description.  That's kludgey.  There should be a special designation for box sets so retailers have the option to create custom virtual shelves to promote them, and so customers can easily find them.

We know retailers want to promote box sets.  iBooks, for example, has done many promotions that featured Smashwords box sets.  Last year they ran a major worldwide merchandising feature that included over 40 Smashwords box sets from more than 100 Smashwords authors.  You can read my blog post on that particular iBooks box set promotion here.  We'd like to see more promotions like this from all the retailers, but do assist this endeavor we need to make it easier for us and our retailers to identify box sets in a more automated, programmatic way.

If you've published a box set at Smashwords, you can now click to your Dashboard's Settings page for your box set and classify it as a box set.  Click the option, click Save, and that's it. 

Box set option from the Smashwords Publish page
If you publish a box set in the future, you'll see the categorization option at the bottom of Section 3 of the Smashwords Publish page.

Today's enhancement is a first step.  It's a foundation upon which Smashwords and our retailers can build. It will eventually make box sets more discoverable in the same way the Smashwords Series Manager tool makes series books more discoverable at Smashwords retailers and the Smashwords store.

If you've never done a box set but are curious to learn more, check out my blog post from last year, How do Box Sets for Audience Building, Charity and Profit.