Sorting Through the Masses

July 18, 2011 at 11:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Based off numbers gathered in 2009, nearly 1 million books are published each year in the United States, which includes both new titles and new editions, and that number is rising. It is estimated that a new fiction novel is published every 30 minutes. So what does this mean for the future of writers, publishers, and reviewers?

For would-be novelists, it means that they will find that if they do get published, it will be harder than ever to turn a profit or even have their possibly brilliant story looked at by the right editor who is willing to put in the effort to make their book a success. I give you another sobering statistic for hopeful writers: 93% of books published each year sell less than 1,000 copies. For authors, are better chances at being published eventually canceled out by the likelihood that their books will get lost in the crowd?

For publishers, with the enormous daily number of hopeful manuscripts, our job either becomes much more exciting, or much more painful. Any publisher will tell you, they have no desire to decrease the number of terrific books that they produce, and none of them will hope to put out downright bad ones. So that leaves a whole heap of mediocre, yeah its a fine story but I don’t know if it will sell, kind of books. That’s where the job gets tough for both corporate and independent publishers: how do we sort through the just plain average, and how many books are too many?

As for reviewers, you can look at their role same as you would the publishers. With a rapid increase in the number of books on shelves each year, they will either love their new found schedule of numerous reviews a day, or they will sink in the oblivion of stacks upon stacks of manuscripts.

Ultimately, for corporate groups, it seems that their success relies on authors that readers have become familiar with, that they are comfortable reading. For independents like Ocean, success comes from taking the right risk on the right manuscript at the right time.

Amid this growing number of hopeful writers, Ocean can proudly say and boldly hope that we are taking and continue to take the right risks to bring you the best books on nature and conservation efforts.

Tyler Rice, Intern

Whose side are you on, anyway?

June 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Over the past few years, there has been a steadily growing centerpiece for discussion in the book industry: e-books. We at Ocean Publishing have recently mulled over the good, bad, and ugly of the e-book.

The e-book industry has revolutionized the way we read. Some of us, that is. As a whole, we’re not sure whether we’re ready to diverge from the sensation of cracking open a classic Mark Twain novel, from the tangibility of actually smelling the ink-pressed leaf print, or from the fantasy that we’re still in the 20th Century, but let’s face it, as society advances and the smart get smarter, so does our technology. Until the generations of Poe readers and Picasso aficionados wither away, we will never find ourselves in a one sided debate where e-books are the victors.

Picture a world like Fahrenheit 451 where people who own books are ostracized from society, but instead of a 190 page paperback book, imagine these 25 year old social media utilizing outcasts clinging to a 4″x10″ piece of plastic. Their naysayers are 75 year old, spectacle wearing humanitarians with a burning passion for Dan Brown. A battle erupts, napalm flies, on-the-fence non readers sit back and watch as each side of the literary world rips itself apart to outlast the other. What are we left with?

Both. They’re both still here. Neither side was dominant over the other because they’ve outwitted each other. The print- lovers power of finite scripture allow their books to resist the tests of time, while the e-warriors’ glare free screen allows them to read in any light, and their lightning-quick wi fi makes downloading Huckleberry Finn pain-free.

With my long-winded metaphor out of the way, I can now further emphasize the complete standstill in which we find ourselves. Allow me to introduce the pros and cons of being an e-book subscriber, along with a few statistics:

Continue Reading Whose side are you on, anyway?…

Beach Dunes

April 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Nature, Perspective | Comments Off
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Glorious

I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent walking on beaches, but I have to believe it must be in the thousands. Yes, thousands. You see, I’ve lived near or on the ocean for all but six years of my life, and that means I’ve trekked beaches in New England, Middle Atlantic states, the Southeast and the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, there’s all those hours visiting exotic places in Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia when I was either on business or vacation, and could always find time for a little beach walk. Oh, and then there’s those cool beaches of California, Oregon and Washington. So, in a very informal and non-academic way, I am kind of a dune expert.

I love beach dunes, especially Florida beach dunes. So, I want everyone to know what dunes are and how important it is to protect them. Listen up.

Beach dunes one time may have been part of the ocean floor when the oceans covered the land. Others are created by wind and storms depositing sand high up on the beaches. In this sand are organic matter (read plant life) which embeds in the sand and begins to grow. Plants sprout and capture more sand and more organic matter in an ongoing process which results in a larger and healthier dune. While Nature can take away what it has made, it also can replenish through its cycle of strong winds and onshore storms which dump large amounts of sand and organisms.

Man, however, is another impact force on dunes, and we can be better stewards of what has been provided us.

By staying off the dunes and not picking or destroying dune vegetation, we can protect the dunes. By planting approved dune plants we can enhance the dune vegetation, which will attract more organisms from the wind-blown sand. By convincing local and state officials to protect the dunes, we can assure that government offices are doing their part.

If you love the dunes, or the beach, or the ocean, or Nature at large, do your part. Get involved and take action. Maybe we’ll cross paths!

2010-2011 Right Whale Results

April 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off
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The 2010-2011 North Atlantic right whale season in northeast Florida/southeast Georgia has ended, so I want to provide an update about the whales that have come to this area every year at this time, and has done so since before humans could say ocean.

Because they spend lots of time at the surface, move slowly, and float when dead, early American whalers dubbed them the “right whale” to kill. One time numbering over 10,000, there are an estimated 450 right whales left today. With hunting of the animal illegal since 1935, their primary cause of mortality (over 50%) now is human impact, specifically ship strike (~40%) and commercial fishing gear entanglement(~10%).

From January to mid-March right whales can be seen from shore at vantage points along the Atlantic coast, but especially in St. johns, Flagler and Volusia Counties. Right whales come close to shore and can be seen with the naked eye within 1000 feet of the coast. Remember, though, federal law requires humans to stay 500 yards from these whales. This protects the whales and inquiring humans who can easily be injured by a protective adult or playful adolescent whale.

The 2010-2011 season, largely created by the need for pregnant females to give birth to calves in a temporate and relatively shallow ocean, also saw a variety of juveniles, non-pregnant adult females and a few adult males. Twenty calves were born this year, plus there were about 120 additional right whales observed by aerial, land-based and boat crews.

While not a banner year for births like the 2008-2009 season, and despite some unfortunate deaths of both adults and calves, this year still helped the species with a net plus gain.

If you have topics you’d like to know more about, let me know and I’ll work up something for a future blog.

Visit All-New “Cover to Cover” Website!

July 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Radio Show | Comments Off
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Everybody’s favorite talk radio show about books and book publishing, Cover to Cover hosted by OP owner Frank Gromling, finally has a place to call home.

That place is MyCoverToCover.com — visit today and tell us what you think!

We’ve been working on putting together a sleeker, more comprehensive headquarters for Frank’s show for some time now and are glad to finally get MyCoverToCover.com live and available to you all. There, you’ll find a complete show archive, a list of upcoming guests/topics, as well as a summary of current sponsors and a detail of C2C’s affordable sponsorship plans, should your company be interested in promoting itself through our show.

So check out Cover to Cover‘s new digs and don’t forget to tell us what you think.

Keep reading, folks!

Join Frank Gromling every Saturday morning as he delves into America’s most enduring passion with new title reviews, insightful commentaries, and interviews with authors and experts from every corner of the publishing world.

Broadcasting throughout northeast Florida on WNZF talk radio and streaming worldwide online, Cover to Cover celebrates everything we love about books and explores what it takes to transform ideas into literature.
Tune into WNZF 1550AM/106.3FM in NE Florida or listen worldwide at WNZF.com every Saturday morning at 11:30ET/8:30 PT!

www.WNZF.com

It’s Alive! It’s Alive!!!

July 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in News, Perspective, Radio Show | Comments Off
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The Ocean Publishing blog, that is. We realize that we’ve been a little more than remiss in keeping up with regular posts on here but things are going to change–starting… now!

Starting now, the OP blog is made alive again. We’ll be posting one or more times a week, writing about topics that range from environment/conservation, publishing industry trends, and then stuff that’s more about us, like Cover to Cover radio show updates and Ocean Publishing news.

A lot of stuff has been happening lately and we can’t wait to share it all with you in future posts. In the meantime, one thing to definitely keep an eye out for the launch of an all-new Cover to Cover site. Getting up a comprehensive central hub for Frank’s books/publishing-based radio show is incredibly overdue but the site we’re cooking up is sleek and modern and coming out great. We’ll let you know when it’s finally live and we look forward to hearing your feedback for this and every topic we pose in the forum.

Good to be back, folks. We’re excited about getting back to the swing of things and hope that you keep coming back for discussions with us.

Associations – Worth the Fee?

October 6, 2009 at 8:10 am | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off
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In tough economic times, everyone seems to draw back from spending money. Sounds like a reasonable thing to do. Save what you don’t need to spend because the economy is so challenging and business is getting tighter.

Generally speaking, unless books are required for classes or business purposes, most books are bought with discretionary income. They are impulse buys, not necessities. Well, maybe they are “necessities” for some of us who just can’t live without a book in our hands or on our e-readers. But, for the most part, books get bought with money that is left after the bills get paid.

So, if the book publishing industry is being adversely affected by a down economy, it seems logical that publishers would take a second or third look at all outflow of money to make sure it is being spent wisely. Logical. Very logical. To a point.

I’ve been a member of the Florida Publishers Association and the Independent Book Publishers Association for over six years. Both of these associations have given me untold benefits over the years. I’ve gotten an education about publishing unlike anything possible in grad schools. Real life, hands-on education and experience have been shared generously by members of FPA and IBPA. One cannot get that sitting in a college classroom. Sure, the principles are taught there, but the experience? Not often.

My memberships in these two associations have meant the difference between success and failure for me. Lessons learned from one-on-one talks, networking, seminars, newsletter articles, Publishing University, online courses, conferences, and so much more have proven to me beyond a doubt that my membership fees are worth every cent and much more.

In fact, I think my dues should be higher! That’s right, higher. For what I have gained from membership in FPA and IBPA would have cost me thousands of dollars had I been able to obtain it through college courses or other sources. When most associations are charging members $300, $500 or more for membership, these two associations charge a pittance in comparison.

Now, more than ever, is the time to be a member of an effective publishing association. Now, more than ever, is the right opportunity for publishers to pull together to share, support, educate, and network for our mutual benefit. The best place to do that for maximum results is in an association of like-minded people.

When my memberships in FPA and IBPA come up for renewal, I won’t have a moment’s hesitation about re-upping. For me, it’s simple. I get so much from my memberships that I would be foolish not to renew them. Right now, more than ever, is the right time to get involved, stay involved, and gain as much as possible from them.  And, it is the best time in the world to give back to those associations by being active, helping out where I can with what talents I can share.

Are associations worth the fee? You bet!

www.flbookpub.org

www.ibpa-online.org

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

September 11, 2009 at 6:12 am | Posted in Nature, Perspective | Comments Off
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An incredibly large garbage dump has formed in the northern Pacific Ocean at what is called the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a clockwise movement of ocean currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. Millions of pounds of trash, most of it plastic, floats around and around, forming perhaps the largest dump in the world, estimated to total 100 million tons of human-made and human-disposed trash.

Actually, there are two separate but connected trash dumps known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Eastern Garbage Patch, estimated to be twice the size of Texas, floats between Hawaii and California. The Western Garbage Patch is found east of Japan and west of Hawaii. Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. The patches are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone, which also has large amounts of trash within it. 

Plastic makes up most of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is understandable when one considers that plastic makes up some 90% of all floating trash in the world’s oceans. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton in the oceans by a ratio of six to one. About 10% of the world’s plastic production ends up in the oceans, with the majority of it sinking to the ocean floor, and some making it to coastal beaches. And, as we all know by now, plastic does not biodegrade, but it does photodegrade. This means that a piece of plastic willl be broken apart into many smaller pieces, which will remain in the ocean for years, each one breaking down into smaller pieces. These small bits of plastic end up inside marine life and birds, resulting in death and injury to thousands each year.

To learn more about this huge problem and what is being done about it, visit:

 http://www.oceanfutures.org/of_blog.asp

http://sio.ucsd.edu/Expeditions/Seaplex/

http://www.projectkaisei.org/

Interns Make Sense

September 3, 2009 at 7:02 am | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off
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I am a big believer in the value of internship programs. In fact, my fifth intern started his program with Ocean Publishing this Wednesday and I am already impressed with his interest and ambition.

Intern programs benefit both the person doing the internship and the organization providing it. As most intern programs do not offer paid compensation, those willing to intern are clearly motivated beyond the allure of money. They seek learning and experience, and are willing to work for free in exchange for an education in the practical world of their chosen field.

My previous four interns all gained significant knowledge and experience by working in my book publishing house. Each of  them has shared that what they learned, both from daily education sessions and opportunities to use their creativity and brain power, gave them a greater sense of achievement  and confidence than they had imagined possible.

I think the key to a successful internship is to have a daily routine of teaching points for the intern. I spend 30-45 minutes at the start of every day talking about a different subject about publishing. I give the intern a personal notebook on the first day to use for all the materials I hand out and for notes made during the day. By the end of the internship, this very full notebook becomes a permanent reference for whatever direction the intern takes in his or her career.

In return for the daily education, I receive an incredible benefit from the intern. One of the best advantages for me is to have fresh ideas about everything we do. While we run our operation with certain systems in place, it is refreshing to have someone ask, “What if we did this differently, like maybe changing all of our paper to a greater percentage of recycled content?” This is invaluable for any organization which wants to remain vibrant and focused. Plus, interns can handle a wide variety of tasks if they are trained correctly right away.

If you aren’t now offering an internship in your business, do it. Young people will gain great knowledge and experience. And, as important, your organization will benefit in ways you have not yet imagined. All it’s going to cost you is a little time every day to share what you know about what you love — your business.

Guest on “Starstyle – Be the Star You Are!”

August 25, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Posted in Nature, Radio Show | Comments Off
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On Thursday, August 27th, Cynthia Brian, known as the “Oprah of the Airwaves,” will interview me on her national radio show “Starstyle – Be The Star You Are!” on www.starstyleradio.com.

I will talk about my role as a research assistant in the Marineland Right Whale Project, why my publishing company focuses on niche marketing, and an incredible surprise announcement!

I hope you tune in. It will be exciting and fun.

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