Category Archives: Author

Scribd Interview: Author Hyla Molander

Earlier this week, we shared the story of longtime Scribd author, Hyla Molander’s journey to market and publish a book using Kickstarter.

Today, we present an interview with her that goes into her background using Scribd, thoughts on self-publishing and the extremely personal story that is the foundation of her forthcoming memoir, Drop Dead Life.

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 4.22.47 PM

Scribd: Can you give me some background on how you first came upon Scribd?

Continue reading

Author Taps Kickstarter, Scribd to Promote Book

A preview of the cover of Hyla Molander's upcoming book; "Drop Dead Life."

A preview of the cover of Hyla Molander’s upcoming book; “Drop Dead Life.”

For the past few years — almost since the beginning, author and writer Hyla Molander has been utilizing the features and power of Scribd.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the often difficult and tumultuous world of digital publishing. While the proliferation of mobile devices has led to near non-stop access in an increasingly connected culture, there are now more options than ever for authors. While that is a boon for writers, it also means that self-publishers are confronted with a challenged around ensuring that books and publications receive the audience and traction necessary.

Last week, Molander tipped us off to an experiment that she is employing in hopes of hitting the mark on marketing and publicity for her upcoming book. She is using her Scribd community and an intriguing experiment that looks to capitalize on sharing her works from Scribd onto Kickstarter in an effort fundraiser the rest of her book.

To our knowledge, this is the first time a Scribd author has attempted this, but the ability to share and link to the Scribd content via Kickstarter makes it a uniquely compelling way to market a book.

Molander first discovered the possibilities of Scribd four years ago when she was an author looking to share her deeply personal memoir about dealing with the death of her husband at the age of 29.

“I kept hearing about ‘platform,’” Molander said. “And three different agents, all of whom had expressed interest in helping me find a house to publish my memoir, pounded that word into my head even more. For those who don’t know what platform means—because I certainly didn’t—platform means that you have a proven audience of people who will want to read your book. Sadly, if you don’t have a large platform, most traditional publishing houses won’t even consider you.”

Despite taking a three-year hiatus from writing while focusing on other family and literary pursuits, Molander returned to the platform to discover that her original published excerpt continues to live a wildly popular life in the annals of Scribd creative writers and memoirs along with the much-needed impetus to continue her writing.

“Even now, as I am returning from a three-year writing hiatus, I see that my excerpt has been read 29,000 times on Scribd and it gives me the courage to
finally publish my book,” Molander said.

Of all the many aspects of independent publishing, the eyeballs that are captured by your work is one of the most important — yet also one of the toughest.

“It is still extremely important to produce a high quality book, which means hiring an editor (or multiple editors), paying for book cover design, layout, and having a phenomenal marketing plan,” Molander said.

Which explains the interesting component of her emerging Kickstarter campaign. It also leverages Molander’s incredibly rich and storied history with Scribd. Currently, she has registered over 216,000 reads and has built a profile on the power of 2,640 followers.

Authors thrive on having others comment and offer input for their work. That advice and community is often the one piece that helps drive a project or a stubborn writing assignment to completion.

“Unless you are only writing your book for yourself or your family, people need to know that you exist. Start writing for blogs, submit to magazines, and definitely upload short documents onto Scribd — preferably with a cover that will attract the attention of readers. And don’t forget to share those blog posts, magazine articles, and Scribd documents all on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin. The exchanges you will have with your readers will only deepen your writing and spark ideas for more content that others will want to read,” Molander said.

Currently, Molander has published a version of her memoir which is featured on Scribd’s homepage and is also accessible via her Kickstarter campaign.

You can also read the excerpt in its entirety, embedded below. Tomorrow, we will share some more personal aspects of this writing project from our interview in a separate blog post.

Getting the Word Out – Book Reviews in Self-Publishing

It used to be that the success of a book was dictated by the reviews of newspaper columnists and the attention garnered by placement on prestigious ‘top book’ lists.

A book that climbed the charts of the New York Times Bestseller List had a good shot at monetary success and a book that was mentioned on Oprah’s television show was commonly succeeded by massive press and success.

Now, with the internet and the multi-screen world that is a by-product of the proliferation of mobile devices, the attention brought to authors and books is a bit more challenging. Publishing in the last few years is an entirely different animal. While indie authors and self-publishing have an incredibly varied amount of ways to get books printed and delivered, it is still very difficult to get your work reviewed.

Case in point – a week ago, it was revealed that J.K. Rowling had published a novel, Cuckoo’s Calling under a pseudonym. While the book received relative positive acclaim, that never translated to sales. Less than a few hundred copies were sold since the book debuted in April.

Last week, the cover was blown, and the media discovered it was Rowling who authored the book, sales helped drive the book to the top of numerous ‘best of’ lists and brought positive reviews to her exploration of the detective genre that investigates the mysterious death of a supermodel.

The New York Times Bestseller List for August 4, 2013.

The New York Times Bestseller List for August 4, 2013.

Recently, Scribd author and contributor, Sabrina Ricci explored the world of reviews for indie-authors and publishers with an article in Huffington Post.

Turns out, it’s a challenging world despite the sheer number of titles that indie writers have published. According to Ricci, most news publications don’t review the indie titles. With rare exception, their bandwidth is devoted to major publications and publishing houses even though as early as 2011, 235,000 titles represented self-published books.

This lack of coverage in traditional media outlets, however, has not stopped indies from their rise. To the contrary, according to a recent New York Times article, “Self-published titles made up roughly one-quarter of the top-selling books on Amazon last year.”

While many dream of the success that has been seen by authors like Rowling, or even sci-fi writer, Hugh Howey, most are content to see their book gain traction by a large readership and the numerous methods that today’s readers can get copies of books.

We spoke more with Ricci about the new world of self-publishing and reviews:

Q. How did you discover Scribd? How, if at all, do you use our service? How is it represented in the field?

I first heard about Scribd when I was getting my M.S. in publishing at NYU—some of my friends used it regularly. I started using Scribd recently to help promote my self-published book, The 13th Cycle. I uploaded a few sample chapters with links for where readers can purchase the whole book. From what I’ve seen, several publishers, such as Simon & Schuster, offer similar sample content.

Q. In your search for literary marketplaces or products, what other sites do you rely on using?

It depends on what I’m looking for. If I want to read some short stories, I tend to go to Bookrix and Wattpad. Sometimes I also browse Scribd and IndieReader. If a friend recommends a book to me, I try to find the e-book version first, and I tend to buy from Amazon and Apple. However, if an author or publisher sells the book directly, I try to buy it from them first, especially if it’s DRM-free. Lately I’ve also been using Bookvibe, which finds book recommendations via Twitter, to give me ideas for what to read next.

If I’m looking for sites and products to help me as an author, I also use Bookrix and Wattpad, as well as Book Country, to help me get feedback on my writing. I use Bibliocrunch to find editors who will work on my manuscript for a reasonable price. Once I raised some money through Pubslush, a crowdfunding site specifically for books. And then I convert the work to an e-book myself—I’ve worked as an e-book developer for Simon & Schuster, NBC Publishing, and The Experiment Publishing—but in the past I’ve used sites such as Pressbooks. Then I distribute the book through Smashwords, Amazon, Nook, and other channels. And lastly I use sites such as BookPulse, Para Publishing, Freado, Rafflecopter, Scribd, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Bewitching Book Tours, Book Blogger Directory, and The Indie View to help me market (in addition to social media).

Q. In the pantheon of self-publishing, what do you hear about Scribd and the services we offer for creative or independent authors?

A few blogs about self-publishing have cited Scribd as a distribution/sales channel. But mostly I’ve heard Scribd referred to as good for branding and marketing.

Q. How different is the awareness and in particular, the review possibility for self-published books and authors off the radar of major publishers?

Most major media outlets have a policy of not reviewing self-published books. A fair number of blogs also refuse to review self-published books. But, the indie community is growing every day, and there are more and more blogs, and sites that aggregate information on blogs, that do review self-published books. Some are paid, some do it for free. A few of them include IndieReader, The Indie View, idreambooks, Kirkus Indie, PW Select, indieBRAG, We Fancy Books, Maryse, Dear Author, and Chick Lit Central.

Q. Can you shed some light on the review process for self-published authors?

There are a few aspects to it. Most self-published authors have a blog tour as part of their marketing plan. Planning a blog tour is a lot of work, and it involves reviews, interviews, and guest posts, all scheduled in advance.

For the review posts, authors should give bloggers around 2-3 months advance notice, so the bloggers have time to read and write the review. As someone who occasionally reviews self-published books on my blog, I know I personally appreciate having ample time to work with a book, especially since I may be busy working on other stories.

All bloggers have their own set of guidelines for contacting them for reviews. Most of them include submitting a cover image, a brief description of the book, and a book format preference. All authors should carefully read and follow the blogger’s directions to improve their chances of getting reviewed. It’s also important that authors address the blogger by name, to show they actually read the blog and aren’t just mass messaging a bunch of people.

Some bloggers will send authors a link or an email giving them a heads up that they’ve posted a review. Other bloggers will just give authors a date so they can check the site for the review.

After posting a review, some bloggers start to form a relationship with the author, if they liked the book. But that’s not always the case. Each blogger approaches things differently.

Q. There is a fascinating visual breakdown of author critiques based on gender, and while it may be a bit tangential, I am wondering if you have seen it? What are your thoughts?

You can click and read the infographic at this link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/146278909/Gender-balancing-books | Article Link from The Guardian:http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jun/08/gender-balancing-books

I had not seen it before, but thank you for showing me! My first thought was that gender doesn’t seem to matter as much in self-publishing. A lot of book bloggers are women, and many best selling indie authors are women who write romance. But I don’t have any concrete data to back that up.

Q. A lot of authors seem to dislike the moves by Amazon. What are the opportunities for authors with Amazon being such a force in the publishing landscape? What is missing?

Amazon is a massive search engine and the biggest e-book retailer in the U.S. This means that Amazon can push content to a very large audience, and doing well on Amazon can lead to financial stability. So authors should learn how to adapt their books and metadata to best fit Amazon’s algorithms.

But, Amazon is not the only retailer, and it’s not the largest retailer in every country. Apple, Nook, Google, Sony, Smashwords, and Kobo are just a few of the other companies that distribute e-books. Apple has a decent chunk of the market in South America and Kobo is huge in Canada.

Amazon also uses a proprietary format for its e-books. This keeps all its content “locked in” so readers can only see the books on Kindles or Kindle apps. For many people, this is not necessarily a problem. But for readers like me, who own a few different devices and like flexibility, it can be annoying.

Most self-publishers, at least those who write narratives and books that are mostly text, will not have to worry much about Amazon’s file format. It’s fairly easy to convert an epub, the open e-book standard that pretty much all other retailers and devices use, to Amazon’s format. But Amazon’s format has a few quirks to keep in mind, which can make special formatting look different on a Kindle compared to another reading device.

Q. What is your current opinion on the literary marketplace for sites like Scribd and Amazon? Are your seeing places that accommodate an author’s work?

I like that authors have so many options, and sites like Scribd and Amazon really help self-publishers fulfill their dreams. But I think there’s more that can be done to help. For example, I’m the founder of Write or Read, and one of our objectives is to give authors analytic insight on their books. This includes basic demographic information of their readers, what percentage of their work people finish, and how long people spend reading their books. All this information can help authors learn about their target audience and become more successful.

Q. What do you really enjoy about Scribd and what we offer to authors?

I really like the recommendations based on “Because you read…” as well as the library. And it’s great that anyone can embed a book; that helps authors with branding and marketing.

The Art of the Query in an Ever-Changing Publishing Industry

Getting noticed in publishing is a fine and curious blend of self-marketing and a relentless worth ethic. Today, even with a proliferation of mobile devices and an explosion of publishing services, it is still incredibly difficult for an author to deliver their crafted pieces to a wide audience.

Publishing is forever changing thanks in part to an exploding marketplace of mobile devices. [Photo Credit:  Image (c) Herkie. Used under Creative Commons license.]

Publishing is forever changing thanks in part to an exploding marketplace of mobile devices. [Photo Credit: Image (c) Herkie. Used under Creative Commons license.]

There really is no greater challenge that having an author’s content get discovered. In some instances, that is how it has always been – but, with so many new tools at publisher’s fingertips, readers might assume this all comes much more easily.

Today, all the same challenges apply and more. Nothing will supplant the incredible work and the fine art of crafting a well-written story.

Back in May, we wrote an article on the blog about Scribd author, Mary Yuhas, who has contributed her works — including select chapters of her memoir, Quit and be Quiet, about her growing up with a mother who had mental illness.

Yuhas has been one of the Scribd success stories – she found tremendous value in the Scribd community. With millions of publishers, readers and users, the Scribd community is a vast place to discover writers on virtually any subject. By publishing content, the users are able to discover written works and publications, share them with their Scribd community and even share them with the rest of the major social networks. By commenting and annotating publications, the users actually are able to engage in an entirely new layer of discussion about a whole plethora of topics.

For Yuhas, she was able to parlay the large amount of reads that were accumulated by her publications and chapter excerpts, and show them to literary agents.

This week, Yuhas wrote a very worthwhile article about the fine art of the query. For authors and writers, the path to literary success begins and ends with the pitch. Some writers have to pitch countless times to many, many agents facing failure and rejection at every turn. Of course, there are the few standout cases of success and stardom, but for a majority of writers, a thick-skin and the ability to turn the page to a new literary agent is key.

At scribd, a lot of writers can get to immediately gain feedback and get their work exposed to thousands. That was the case for one writer, XX, who recently cracked into the New York Times Bestseller List

We extrapolated a few of the best parts of Mary’s interview two with two literary agents, Diana Fox and Harvey Klinger — about the finer aspects of the query as well as extremely informative facts about the ever-changing publishing marketplace amidst a constantly evolving technological landscape, and how these trends impact publishing houses and platforms.

The entire interview can be read here. Do you have additional thoughts? Leave them in the comments below or by tweeting to us via Scribd.

Q. There have been enormous changes in publishing in the last ten years. Much of that has come about because of the Internet and e-books.  What changes do you anticipate in the next five years?

Fox:  I think that we’re going to see changes not just in terms of delivery, but in terms of content. More enhanced e-books and more multimedia applications. As far as the industry, I think traditional publishing will ultimately adapt, but we’re also going to see more consolidation (such as the Random House and Penguin merger) and the continuing evolution of new business models like no advance and profit sharing approaches in place of the current royalty structure.

Klinger: The e-book has been the biggest change. I saw this coming five to eight years ago, and a lot of the traditional publishers were looking upon this with enormous fear and trepidation. But publishers are now giving reading devices to all of their editors, and the whole process of how an agent submits materials to publishers has completely changed. Looking to the future, I don’t see how we can operate with publishers other than the way we always have. We supply material, and they buy and publish. Writers who can’t get an agent or those who think they can do better by themselves and keep total control are the ones who are going to self-publish.

Q. How has the role of a literary agent changed during that same time frame, and what changes do you see for agents in the future?

Fox: I think the majority of agents are wearing a lot more hats than we did in the past in terms of things like editing and helping our authors with their promotional efforts and managing their self published projects − in addition to continuing to place their work with publishers, negotiate contracts, and sell subsidiary rights − and I expect this to continue in the future. We also have to maintain our own social media presence to some extent, and as always keep up with changes in the industry, which is more challenging now given that publishing is undergoing a transformation of a kind that I don’t think we’ve seen since the advent of the mass market paperback. But one thing I believe will always be the case is that publishers will need gatekeepers and authors will need representatives whose interests are solely aligned with theirs rather than those of the publisher, and that’s what I see as the essential role of the agent.

Klinger:  The biggest changes are that some agents are going into self-publishing for their clients. I don’t see that as a role I care to have. I don’t approve of agents getting into the publication of the book. I think that’s what publishers are supposed to do. I steer my clients to a reputable e-book publisher or leave it up to them up to them if I can’t find a brick and mortar mainstream house to buy their manuscript.

Q. Are publishing houses printing fewer books, and if that is a trend, do you expect this to continue?

Fox:  The print runs of books are largely determined by how many copies retailers order, which is calculated based on expected sales. So if consumers buy fewer print editions of books and retailers order fewer print editions, publishing houses will print fewer of them. We saw a decline in sales of print books as e-book sales grew, but if you look at the publicly available data from last year, it looks like the decline in print book sales is slowing down. I think e-books and print books are both here to stay and that we will ultimately reach a stable balance point between the two, but I couldn’t predict − and don’t know if anyone can predict with certainty − where exactly that point will be.

Klinger: Absolutely. E-books are so much more cost effective. There are no warehouse costs, and they don’t have to worry about returns, the bane of publishers. You can’t return an e-book. I think you are also going to see the demise of mass market paperback books other than categories like romance and impulse buys. But plenty of publishing professionals will fight it to the death.

Q. Everyone talks about platform today.  What are the best ways for a writer to build a platform?

Fox:  You need to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction when talking about platform. For nonfiction, there are a lot of resources out there which can answer this question better than I can here, and for fiction platform doesn’t have the same importance. If there’s something in an author’s background that’s relevant to their fiction − for instance, an autobiographical aspect like an unusual profession shared by the protagonist − I think that’s worth mentioning in the submission, but the most important thing is to write a good book. Agents do sometimes sign clients we find through personal referrals or meet at writing conferences, but for the most part I don’t pay attention to writing contests unless it’s a very prestigious contest or I happen to be judging it. The same is true both for writers posting free work online on Goodreads, Scribd, etc. and for self-published books, because I just don’t have time to go looking for that stuff. Unless it comes to my attention in an organic way (like a reviewer I trust recommending it or my coming across the author online on my own) or it hits the bestseller lists, it’s not really going to be on my radar. It’s all I can do to keep up with the amount of submissions I receive, and I think this is true for most agents. That’s why the best thing for a writer to do is to send me a query and follow my submission guidelines. If an author’s self-published work has sold well enough that I think a mainstream trade publisher might be interested, that will get my attention, but the best way for the author to reach me is still to query me.

Klinger: I think writing contests, such as Amazon’s, are good only if it’s a contest that gives the writer some national exposure. A self-published novel that had sales in the 10,000 range would make me sit up and think, I’ve got to look at this. For a writer to try and launch a campaign on a book that didn’t go anywhere as an e-book or POD and hope a publisher will pick it up is not going to happen. I don’t go to conferences anymore, and neither do any of my agents. I think that getting yourself out on the Internet is really where it’s at: virtual book clubs, cyber clubs and authors blogs. Not so much Twitter.

The Week That Was on Scribd

Welcome to Friday. But, before we can get to the weekend, it’s time to relive the week that was.

Grab yourself a donut and enjoy the best Scribd had to offer.

Publishers We Discovered:

Milkweed Editions

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.44.09 PMMilkweed Editions is an independent book publisher. Our mission is to identify, nurture and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it. As a nonprofit organization, Milkweed Editions depends on the generosity of institutions and individuals, in addition to revenue generated by sales of the books we publish. In an increasingly consolidated book business, this support allows us to select and publish books on the basis of their literary quality and potential.

Cureus

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.13.18 PMThe medical journal world is stuck in a 200-year-old medical paradigm. Scribd publisher, Cureus, is attempting to change that by eliminating procedures and political bias in their breakthrough medical and science reportage.

Activ8Social

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.57.08 PMActiv8Social is a creative digital agency that builds engaging fan experiences to foster loyalty. They publish really fantastic infographics about a variety of subjects.

 

Small Beer Press

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.25.20 PMSmall Beer Press is a publisher of fantasy and literary fiction, based in Northampton, Massachusetts. It was founded by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link in 2000 and publishes novels, collections, and anthologies.

 

What We Read This Week:

Move Fast. Break Things.
This California Coastal Commission report documents widespread and umpermitted development in a grove of redwoods in Big Sur, Calif., by Napster co-founder and early Facebook investor, Sean Parker. The development was related to his nuptials as Parker wed singer Alexandra Lenas in an elaborate $10 million ceremony complete with a set full of artificial ruins and rock walls reminiscent of a Hollywood Film. Parker has agreed to a $2.5 million settlement.

 

The Big Picture: Issue 20
Ahead of the print edition which will be available to pick up from outlets worldwide from the end of May, you can now download issue 20 of The Big Picture to enjoy on any manner of screenbased gizmo. The Summer 2013 issue’s theme is ‘Escape’ as we turn a searchlight on a varied selection of movies that all feature escapes – physical, emotional and spiritual – as their driving narrative force.

The Race Against History
May 4th marks the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, but it also marks the 35th year since the last Triple Crown champion. When Affirmed won the crown in 1978, few people could have guessed how long we would have to wait for the next Triple Crown winner. While horses have come close in recent years, none have come close to replicating the winning form of Affirmed or Secretariat, perhaps the most famous horse of all time. Activ8Social takes a closer look at the Triple Crown with “A Race Against History”

Remembering D-Day
Never in history had two major military factions – the American and British, combined for such a massive mission. It was the largest full-scale amphibious assault in history comprised of aerial, nautical and land support. And thanks to some lucky breaks and bad weather, the invasion was a success at allowing troops to pour into France and deep into enemy territory.
This is one of our favorite selections from the curated collection of D-Day books we published yesterday.

A Look to the Week Ahead:

Next week, the annual WWDC rolls into San Francisco. For those of you attending, be sure to make the ten minute pilgrimage to Scribd HQ for our third annual WWDC party. There will be go-karts. Bungee runs. Beer. Booze. And lots of Scrazy shenanigans. You don’t want to miss out. For more information, click on the flyer and also be sure to rsvp on our Facebook page and share the awesomeness with your friends!

Buzz Aldrin: Astronaut, American Hero & Sci-Fi Author

Nineteen minutes after Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, Buzz Aldrin emerged.

The year was 1969.

Photograph of Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot, during Apollo 11 Extra-vehicular Activity on the Moon, 07/20/1969. [Photo Source: Prologue Magazine Scribd Profile]

Photograph of Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot, during Apollo 11 Extra-vehicular Activity on the Moon, 07/20/1969. [Photo Source: Prologue Magazine Scribd Profile]

Armstrong cemented himself as an American hero for being the first to plant his shoes onto the Moon because he was positioned closer to the exit while Aldrin piloted the lunar module. Aldrin joined him shortly after and actually shattered the record for longest time outside of a space vehicle known as, extra-vehicular activity.

After Aldrin and Armstrong broke history, Aldrin retired from the NASA program two years later, but always reflective of the things he had seen in space.

Aldrin had built up an immense base of knowledge ranging from the hours of training, flight and eventual space exploration. In 1996, he joined forces with Nebula and Hugo Award—nominated, John Barnes, to author a science fiction novel.

Encounter with Tiber uses Aldrin’s real life adventures and experiences to craft the captivating and gripping story of life beyond Earth.

Aldrin has long been fascinated with science fiction. “We knew how to get to the Moon and back. And we had a pretty good idea how to get to Mars and back. But we sure didn’t have any idea how to go from one star to another, except by reading science fiction,” says Buzz Aldrin.

This week, Open Road Media has published the ebook on Scribd.

Join Aldrin as he talks about the book’s inspiration as well as why he loves science fiction. Below the clip, read and purchase your own copy of Encounter with Tiber. You can also follow Buzz Aldrin’s profile on Scribd!

Scribd: Meet the Character

It’s always a pleasure discovering new talent on Scribd. From authors, indie publishers, researchers, and everything in between. We especially take note when those publications and writers are developed around beautiful design and layout.

Meet Little Joe Sweet and tag along as he aspires to opening a vintage record store.

Meet Little Joe Sweet and tag along as he aspires to opening a vintage record store.

This week, we had the pleasure of stumbling upon Little Joe Sweet, and the rare opportunity to interview the character from a beautifully illustrated story about a crafty kid who has aspirations to open a record store. In an age of digital music, we can appreciate a kid who loves vinyl. Little Joe Sweet has a thing for vinyl. And swap meets. And bluegrass, country, obscure electronic mixed with ambient pop.

Just who is this kid and how can he possibly share this wide-range of musical knowledge and good taste? We got to know him a bit more.

We spent a few minutes interviewing Little Joe, the likable character from the illustrated story, The Vintage Record Player. Following the interview, you can read the entire story from Scribd, embedded at the bottom of the post.

Scribd: Tell me a bit about yourself? What do you do? How long have you been writing?
Little Joe Sweet: I’m just a weirdo kid who loves music. My life is perfectly simple because I know what I love. My work is a tribute to everyone who loves something so dearly that it makes life better. I am the embodiment of joy. I am the embodiment of bliss. I am a fan of Joy Division and I’m proud to say that I dance like a dork.

Scribd: Tell me a bit about the Vintage Record Player?
Little Joe: Little Joe Sweet And The Vintage Record Player is the story of my life. It’s the story of my dreams. It’s a tribute to all the weirdos out there who spend Sunday morning shopping for vinyl and Friday night alone listening to it. It’s my story and someone just took the time to write it.

Scribd: Do you have other works which you would be inclined to publish on Scribd? If so, tell us about those!
Little Joe: Not yet. There will be other Little Joe Sweet books coming out. They will be tributes to all of my favorite things. They include Little Joe Sweet And The 90′s Flannel Collection, Little Joe Sweet And The Great Big Beard and Little Joe Sweet And The Nautical Themed Interior Design.

Scribd: How did you discover Scribd?
Little Joe: I was searching for the perfect platform to release my story. My story is just a story that someone else decided to tell and I wanted to offer it for free. I embrace discovery. I embrace the simplicity of discovery. I want everyone to share my story for free and Scribd is my tool for that!

Scribd: In your search for literary marketplaces or products, what other sites do you rely on using?
Little Joe: None.

Scribd: Do you use Scribd to further your literary work, or has it helped provide a springboard into other avenues or mediums for publishing?
Little Joe: This is my beginning. It’s my intro.

Scribd: What is your current opinion on the literary marketplace for sites like Scribd and Amazon? As an author, are your seeing places that accommodate your work?
Little Joe: The literary world is not yet built for me. I’m a character in a world of authors. I’m a character in a world of egos. I exist because my story exists. Oh, and I like New Age tunes.

We hope to see big things from Little Joe on Scribd. In the meantime, explore his world through the eyes of Little Joe — a wonderfully animated character and his extremely impressive knowledge of music.

Scribd Welcomes E-Reads: Grand Master of Sci-Fi

For lovers of sci-fi, fantasy and historical fiction, Scribd just hit the mother lode.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 3.22.06 PM

This week, E-Reads has joined Scribd, and they bring a ton of fantastic content specialized around romance novels, sci-fi, fantasy, and difficult to source, out-of-print books.

For sci-fi in particular, we are super excited about Brian W. Aldiss, named Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America and an author with over 50 years of experience. Aldiss was inducted into the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2004. Check out his Nebula award-winning Forgotten Life.

We also have featured Aldiss’ Helliconia series – an epic chronicle that details the rise and eventual fall of a thousand year-old civilization as it marches through a long progressio of seasons — each of which lasts for centuries. Originally published starting in 1928, the trilogy begins with Helliconia Spring (published in 1982), Helliconia Summer (1983) and Helliconia Winter (1985).

Here is a look at one of the original covers when it was published:

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 4.00.24 PM

Start where it all began by reading Helliconia Spring.

Today in History: “Vertigo” Premieres in San Francisco

An image from the "Vertigo" movie poster. [Photo Credit: Creative Commons]

An image from the “Vertigo” movie poster. [Photo Credit: Creative Commons]

On this date in history — Today, in 1958, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” premiered in San Francisco, where the film was shot. Today, it considered to be one of the best movies ever made. In fact, this year, the British Film Institute named it the best film ever, sliding “Citizen Kane” into second place.

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 9.17.08 AM

In The San Francisco of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” — Place, Pilgrimage, and Commemoration, Douglas A. Cunningham has assembled provocative essays that examine the uniquely integrated relationship that the 1958 film enjoys with the histories and cultural imaginations of California and, more specifically, the San Francisco Bay Area.

For a fun trip down memory lane, take a look at some before and after shots of the actual locations used in the shooting of “Vertigo” and what they look like today courtesy of a blog post from KQED and Reel SF.

In the dramatic nighttime opening sequence detective John 'Scottie' Ferguson (James Stewart) trails a policeman chasing a suspect across a series of rooftops. Scottie slips and ends up hanging perilously from a gutter causing him to suffer a severe case of acrophobia - a feeling of vertigo. The chase spanned almost a whole block from Washington Street towards Jackson Street on the rootops of 1302 to 1360 Taylor Street" (Courtesy Reel SF)

In the dramatic nighttime opening sequence detective John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson (James Stewart) trails a policeman chasing a suspect across a series of rooftops. Scottie slips and ends up hanging perilously from a gutter causing him to suffer a severe case of acrophobia – a feeling of vertigo. The chase spanned almost a whole block from Washington Street towards Jackson Street on the rootops of 1302 to 1360 Taylor Street” (Courtesy Reel SF)

The view from today, Brocklebank Apartments, featured later in the movie, and behind it the Fairmont Hotel Tower, not there when Vertigo was filmed." (Courtesy Reel SF)

The view from today, Brocklebank Apartments, featured later in the movie, and behind it the Fairmont Hotel Tower, not there when Vertigo was filmed.” (Courtesy Reel SF)

Scottie in front of St. Paulus' German Evangelican Lutheran Church. The church has since burned down and now the lot is vacant at the corner of Gough. (Courtesy Reel SF)

Scottie in front of St. Paulus’ German Evangelican Lutheran Church. The church has since burned down and now the lot is vacant at the corner of Gough. (Courtesy Reel SF)

Hear more from an KQED interview about a walking tour of “Vertigo” location highlights featured on The California Report which highlights the Scribd excerpt below it.

2013 James Beard Foundation Book Award Winners

Scribd's collection of  publications that took home prizes at last evening's 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards.

Scribd’s collection of publications that took home prizes at last evening’s 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards.

Last night, the James Beard Foundation presented their annual awards to celebrate the best of the culinary world, from world-famous chefs and restaurants, to authors and photographers.

These awards are the penultimate honor for restaurateurs and chefs, and while those are typically the most recognizable aspect of the annual awards, some of the best are represented across the printed medium.

The latter categories are well-represented within the rank of books and publishers on Scribd. Of the thousands of publications that are a part of the Scribd library, there are few that match that beautiful design, imagery and layout better than our culinary titles.

They are refreshingly engaging and represent a perfect example of evergreen content that rarely needs to be shelved. Whether you are looking for dinner inspiration, or to tackle a far more complex culinary challenge, like fermenting or baking, these publications offer the opportunity for both.

Below is a list of the James Beard award-winning titles that are currently published on Scribd. You can also check out a variety of our premium publisher cookbooks that are available on our new homepage as well as food & wine titles.

Best Reference and ScholarshipThe Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World
Author: Sandor Ellix Katz
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.

Read it now!

Best International: Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Author: Yotam Ottolenghi & Tamar Sami
Publisher: Ten Speed Press / The Recipe Club

Jerusalem: A Cookbook is a collection of 120 recipes exploring the flavors of Jerusalem from the New York Times bestselling author of Plenty, one of the most lauded cookbooks of 2011.

In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi re-teams with his friend (and the co-owner of his restaurants) Sami Tamimi. Together they explore the vibrant cuisine of their home city—with its diverse Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian, and Armenian communities. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year—Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This cookbook offers recipes from their unique cross-cultural perspectives including Charred Baby Okra with Tomato and Preserved Lemon, Braised Lamb Meatballs with Sour Cherries, and Clementine and Almond Cake.

With five bustling restaurants in London and two stellar cookbooks, Ottolenghi is one of the most respected chefs in the world; Jerusalem is his most personal, original, and beautiful cookbook yet.

Read it now!

Best Writing & Literature: Yes, Chef: A Memoir
Author: Marcus Samuelsson with Veronica Chambers
Publisher: Random House, Inc.

It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations.

Marcus Samuelsson was only three years old when he, his mother, and his sister—all battling tuberculosis—walked seventy-five miles to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Adaba. Tragically, his mother succumbed to the disease shortly after she arrived, but Marcus and his sister recovered, and one year later they were welcomed into a loving middle-class white family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that Marcus’s new grandmother, Helga, sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and her signature roast chicken. From a very early age, there was little question what Marcus was going to be when he grew up.

Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs and, most important, the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.

Read it now!

Best Baking & Dessert: Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast: The Fundamentals
Author: Ken Forkish
Publisher: Ten Speed Press / The Recipe Club

From Portland’s most acclaimed and beloved baker comes this must-have baking guide, featuring scores of recipes for world-class breads and pizzas and a variety of schedules suited for the home baker.In Flour Water Salt Yeast, author Ken Forkish demonstrates that high-quality artisan bread and pizza is within the reach of any home baker. Whether it’s a basic straight dough, dough made with a pre-ferment, or a complex levain, each of Forkish’s impeccable recipes yields exceptional results. Tips on creating and adapting bread baking schedules that fit in reader’s day-to-day lives—enabling them to bake the breads they love in the time they have available—make Flour Water Salt Yeast an indispensable resource for bakers, be they novices or serious enthusiasts.

Read it now!

Best Single Subject: Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard
Author: Nigel Slater
Publisher: Ten Speed Press / The Recipe Club

Britain’s foremost food writer Nigel Slater returns to the garden in this sequel to Tender, his acclaimed and beloved volume on vegetables. With a focus on fruit, Ripe is equal parts cookbook, primer on produce and gardening, and affectionate ode to the inspiration behind the book—Slater’s forty-foot backyard garden in London.

Intimate, delicate prose is interwoven with recipes in this lavishly photographed cookbook. Slater offers more than 300 delectable dishes—both sweet and savory—such as Apricot and Pistachio Crumble, Baked Rhubarb with Blueberries, and Crisp Pork Belly with Sweet Peach Salsa. With a personal, almost confessional approach to his appetites and gustatory experiences, Slater has crafted a masterful book that will gently guide you from the garden to the kitchen, and back again.

Read it now!