Category Archives: Uncategorised

Travel: Miami Beach, the Hot Mess of Beach Destinations

Miami Beach lifeguard towerMiami Beach remains one of the most popular beach destinations in the world. The question is, why? “The modern Miami Beach of smoked-glass towers and designer shoe stores wants to be Ibiza, but it often seems more like the Las Vegas Strip on 99-cent shrimp cocktail night,” Kevin Brass writes in a new article. “On a typical evening, the sidewalks of Collins Avenue are filled with hordes of sweaty, shirtless frat boys and women in bikinis, aimlessly moving from hotel to hotel, much like any night on the Strip.”

Yet, Miami Beach still has its charms. Only in Miami Beach does heartland America get to sip mojitos on the beach with an invigorating mix of Kardashian-wannabes, Euro trash and designer chefs looking for gigs mixes. The reality of Miami Beach is much better different than the TV version, but “the hot mess of  sunny beach destinations” remains one of the great beach destinations.

“Through it all, Miami Beach remains one of the great beach vacations in the United States,” Brass writes. “If you want to wallow on white sand and sip drinks delivered by a helpful cabana boy, Miami Beach is the spot. There are moody restaurants and wild art displays and a feeling that you are in a special place, with a very specific vibe.”

Read the full story here.



Update: KDP vs. Ingram Spark

Now that Create Space has merged into Kindle Print, authors are once again trying to determine the relative merits of Kindle Print and IngramSpark, the old print industry standard.

For many self-published authors, it’s an Amazon world and there is little point in exploring other venues, unless you are trying to get into bookstores. Amazon is where readers will find your book. Amazon is where you will market your book. And when people ask where to find your book, the answer is usually, “Amazon.”

But there are still a wide variety of nuances and pros and cons to each platform, making it a tough choice for new publishers. From paper quality to payments, it’s not an easy choice and the priorities of every author are different.

In a recent post on Indies Unlimited, author Melinda Clayton detailed the pros and cons for each, offering a wealth of information on both platforms. If you’re confused and unsure about which s best for you, it’s worth a read.

The post can be found here.




Common Publishing Industry Scams are ‘Evolving’

An entire industry exists to scam wannabe authors, taking advantage of their passion, naivete and eagerness to get published.

Many of the scams are presented by legitimate companies, who are simply trying to milk writers of as much money as possible. They charge outrageous fees for worthless marketing and promotional materials, even know they won’t help the author. One of the most glaring scams is the ubiquitous promise to craft a “press release” for the book, which no one in the press will ever read or publish (and most writers could craft in a few minutes.)

It’s not just “bald-faced liars” that writers need to watch out for, Victoria Strauss, author and co-founder of Writer Beware, recently said in an interview with Forbes. “Lack of skill and competence is just as big a threat,” Strauss said. “Anyone these days can call themselves an agent or editor or publicist or publisher, whether or not they have any relevant professional background or the remotest idea of how to run a business.”

“Ripoff promotional services that sell junk marketing,” including expensive press releases or email blasts; “pay-to-play publishers” merely posing as small presses; and awards events “that only exist to earn a profit due to their high entry fees,” are among the popular scams, Forbes contributor Adam Rowe notes.

Writers always must be skeptical that they are getting real value for their money. The list of “modern-day scams” includes organizations who charge a fee to for filing a copyright registration and publishing “experts” promising to “divulge the secret, no-fail path to bestsellerdom for a hefty fee,” Rowe wrote.

There is also a “fast fast-growing cabal of predatory self-publishing or marketing companies operating from the Philippines” targeting existing authors with high-priced re-publishing or marketing packages, Strauss says.

The focus of Rowe’s article is that scam are “evolving.” Once reading fees, vanity publishers and editing referral scams were among the common dangers facing writers. Now there is a whole new set of dangers.

“Reading fees may have lost their potency as a scam sometime in the mid-2000s, but publishing scams will continue evolving to fit the times,” Rowe writes.