eBook Soundtracks

October’s edition of the CSPA Circular, Christian Small Publishers Association’s monthly newsletter for its members, contains an article instructing authors and publishers how to include a personalized audio message in their print books for their readers to listen to.

Woman wearing headphones and holding a tablet

As technology advances, so do the opportunities for authors and publishers to utilize multiple avenues to reach their readers via multiple sensory inputs to enhance the readers’ connection to both the text of the book and the author. BookTrack, a new startup has recently launched an interesting new way to enhance ebooks.

Studies show that subjects reading text with sound enhancements tend to have better retention of the material they read then those who just read the material. This seems to suggest that sound enhancements—music and other sound effects—increase the reader’s focus and clarity.

BookTrack’s new software lets anyone add a synchronized soundtrack to digital text to provide an immersive, movie-like reading experience. This software is available as a free Chrome app. Authors (or publishers) can use the app to embed music, ambient audio, and other sound effects into their story. These sound effects play in synch with the storyline, paced to each individual’s reading speed.

Currently, ebooks with the BookTrack sound effect can only be published to the BookTrack website. As a result, the best use of this sensory enhancement technology might be to use this service as a marketing tool.

Authors can publish a short story or chapter from a book to BookTrack complete with sound effects. BookTrack users can then read what you have published on BookTrack with the goal of hooking the reader to purchase the complete book.

What do you think? Do you think that sound effects would enhance your books?

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Run-n-Read

Have you ever tried reading while running on a treadmill? It is almost impossible because the page jumps around too much.

Now a company has developed a solution. Their product called Run-n-Read lets you exercise both your body and mind by allowing you to read text (digital books) on a tablet while running.

runnread

Run-n-Read is a tiny clip-on device that can be attached to a headband or the collar of your shirt. It works in conjunction with an e-reader app on your tablet that tracks the movement of your head and shoulders. It then keeps the text bouncing in sync with your eyes. In order to turn pages, users simply tap the device once for a forward page turn and twice to page backwards. In addition to its reader features, the system can also doubles as a fitness tracker.

Watch this video to learn how it works.

The company that developed Run-n-Read is seeking crowd funding to cover the costs of making this device widely available. Individuals can pledge to help them reach their fund raising goal and become an early adopter of the device.

What an interesting device that potentially could help all authors sell more books. After all, the more places people can read, the more reading will occur.

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Second Call for Nominations

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year is accepting nominations for the 2014 award.

Award_Seal

The CSP Book of the Year Award honors books produced by small publishers each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life. Nominations are accepted in 12 categories: General Fiction, Romance, Biography, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Bible Study/Theology, Children’s Book 4-8 years, Children’s Book 8-12 years, Young Adult (12+ years), Gift Books, and eBook Exclusive.

  1. Books must be published by a small publisher with annual revenues of $400,000 or less.
  2. Nominated books must be Christian in nature and intended for the Christian marketplace.
  3. All nominated books must be printed in English and for sale in the United States.
  4. Any small publisher or independently published author can nominate titles for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.
  5. Each book can only be nominated for one category.
  6. Nominated books must be published in 2012 or 2013.
  7. Nomination fee is $40.00 per title.

To view the complete eligibility guidelines and to nominate your books, visit www.christianbookaward.com. Nominations must be received by November 15, 2013.

Christian Small Publishers Association is the sponsor of this book award.

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Read Aloud Campaign

Research shows that reading aloud to a child is the single most important thing a parent can do to prepare a child for reading and learning. Yet, only 48% of young children in this country are read to every day.

Read Aloud

The Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign is seeking to change this statistic. The campaign strives to encourage all parents to make the effort to read aloud to their young children for just 15 minutes every day. Reading aloud matters and helps set a child up for educational success.

Every publisher of children’s books should care about this campaign. The more parents are reading to their children, the more demand there will be for good children’s books. So, supporting this campaign is a great marketing strategy for every publisher of children’s literature.

As a publisher or author, you can become a Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign partner. Partnership with the campaign is free. Read Aloud simply asks that all partners distribute Read Aloud 15 Minutes campaign messages to their audience via email, social media, blogs, website, etc., three times a year during:

  • Read Aloud Month in March.
  • Seize the summer in midsummer.
  • Supporting a Parent Dialogue in October.

In exchange, Read Aloud 15 Minutes will list your company on their website in their directory of national partners.

Joining with national campaigns that fit with your target audience is a great way to increase your marketing messages and engage more readers.

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Adapt or…

The other day, I found a Yellow Pages directory on my front door step. I had thought that print versions of the Yellow Pages had succumbed to the ever-present Internet and had gone the way of the Wooly Mammoth. I guess I was wrong.

Yellow pagesHowever, as I stooped to pick up my copy from my doorstep, I observed my neighbor throwing his in the recycle bin. Ah, our ever-changing world. The Yellow Pages may still be published as print directories (remember their slogan “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking“), but not everyone will use them.

Just as Yellow Pages has had to adapt to the changes being wrought by our increasingly digital world through making their directory available as an online digital directory while still offering print copies, so the publishing industry is also adapting to these changes.

The latest news is that Xulon, one of the leading Christian self-publishing companies (publishing around 3,000 titles each year), has changed their model to adapt to the current trends. Traditionally, Xulon has offered publishing packages that ranged from about $1,700 to $5,000. A mite pricey in today’s publishing climate.

Xulon will begin offering a free book publishing program next month. Yep, you heard that right—free book publishing. Basically, through FreeChristianPublishing.com, Xulon will allow writers to prep their manuscripts for print and ebook publication at no charge. Xulon will make its money from printing copies to order and up-selling their other services such as marketing and promotion.

This new service sounds to me a lot like many other publishing services already available to authors. For example, with CreateSpace, authors can set up a manuscript and design covers for their print books for free. CreateSpace only charges for distribution and when the book is printed. As for ebooks, Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and BookBaby (to name a few) all already allow free setup of an ebook title.

I guess it only makes sense for Xulon to change their service strategy to align with others in the industry if they want to remain viable. You can pay money for Xulon’s promotion services, but most self-published authors will tell you, you get the best bang for your marketing dollars when you, the author, take the initiative in promoting your book. If you are unsure how to do this, then educate yourself by reading Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and taking advantage of the information and resources Christian Small Publishers Association provides for marketing books.

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