For additional information contact Renée LaChance


Upstart e-Publisher Makes a Splash

Puddletown Publishing Group, an e-Publisher based in the Portland, Oregon metro area, announces its formation. Beginning in March 2011, Puddletown Publishing Group will release multiple titles formatted cross-platform for digital readers.

Founded by Susan Landis-Steward, Lisa Nowak, and Renée LaChance, Puddletown Publishing Group is adopting a business model that favors authors and embraces digital as the preferred method of content delivery for an author’s work.

The buzz in the traditional publishing world is that paper books and publications are going the way of 8-track and cassette tapes. Ebooks are destined to garner a large portion of publishing revenue, claiming one-third of all book sales in 2010, up from one half of one percent in 2009. Amazon.com announced in 2010 that sales of ebooks exceeded hardcover sales. Barnes and Noble announced in January 2011 that ebooks exceeded paperback sales on its website. Since last year’s release of the NOOKcolor and iPad, the evolution of ebooks has surprised publishing insiders and those outside the industry as well. The Jan. 3, 2011 Publisher’s Weekly cites a memo by the CEO of Simon and Schuster, Carol Reidy, where she states 2010 “is the year publishing changed irrevocably.”

“E-publishing is the wave of the future.” Landis-Steward says, “We want to get up on the board before the wave crests.”

“After pursuing traditional publishing and hearing that my writing is excellent but the subject matter doesn’t ‘fit the list’ of various agents and editors,” says Nowak. “I began looking into going directly to ebooks. The more research I did, the more I realized this is a viable option for most authors, whether they’re established or just starting out. It’s also an excellent option for traditionally published authors with a backlist of books that are no longer in print. Dead tree publishers have been gatekeepers to what readers can access. It’s time for that to change.”

Puddletown Publishing Group is modeling itself to be a part of that change. It will strive to influence the industry as an early adopter of the digital delivery system and create a market for new and established authors. Puddletown Publishing Group will partner with other small presses to get their author-branded backlists available on digital readers.

Landis-Steward, Nowak and LaChance bring decades of experience to the group.

Landis-Steward has worked in editing and writing for many years and brings two decades of strong journalism background to the group as well. She currently owns a writing, copyediting, and indexing business and is almost done with her Masters in Publishing at Portland State University. She has various other degrees, including a Masters in Spiritual Traditions and Ethics.

Nowak has 15 plus years experience as a small business owner, a strong background in reading, writing, and editing Young Adult fiction, and an established social network in children’s literature.

LaChance is an entrepreneur with business experience in editing, publishing and marketing. She is the co-founder of Just Out Newsmagazine and Out Media, Inc. Just Out is Oregon’s queer newsmagazine and Out Media was an advertising agency, event producer and publishing house based in Portland in the 1980s and 1990s. For the past 10 years she has worked doing copyediting, copy writing, publishing and creating graphics as LaChance Creative.

“We are very excited about our new venture and feel ebook publishing maximizes our combined skill set,” says LaChance. “I am impressed with the caliber of the authors we are already working with and I look forward to a Puddletown Publishing Group title on the New York Times Best eBook Sellers list.”

lachance@ | lisanowak@ | susanls@ | puddletowngroup.com

— 30 —

Just stopping by to figure out how to do something. Will have more to say tomorrow. Watch for it!

Monday, Monday

If you can get to my Facebook page, go check out the new video of Emma Sofia, the Wonder Babe. I’d post it but my daughter took it with her phone and it’s in a weird format.

So, the big news is almost ready to share. We’re getting closer and closer to launch. Got our email addresses and access to the cpanel for the website today. I am so psyched. It’s all I can do to work every day. All I want to do is work on the new thing. And I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Hard to believe we came up with this just 15 days ago. We being me and Renee LaChance.

If you know Renee, that might give you SOME idea of what we’re up to. If you know both of us, you might have even greater clues. Hint: It’s something we both do well, but not necessarily both of us doing the same thing. Although we will be doing the same thing. Confused? Good. Oh, and she did this for 15 years….sort of. And I’ve been working on this for several years and almost have a master’s in the part I haven’t been doing for the past 30 or so years. Oh, and if you were at Mar and VA’s open house, you were there at the birth. Just to make it more confusing, Kay Perret, this one’s for you! You always said I’d do it some day…..

I guess you could Google Renee for other hints. Or just wait a few days.

Whoa. Failing my Sabbath year already? Yep, I got busy with work and then date night, and never got around to my post. Guess I owe y’all one.

Had our first meeting for the new business venture (be patient…a few more days and we’ll go public) and we are so jazzed. Ideas flying, assignments handed out, hard to believe we just started on January 2nd and we’re already swamped with work. Of course, I was so excited afterward that I could talk of nothing else. I’m sure Jenny got bored after the first couple of hours.

For date night we went to some Chinese place down in Milwaukie, across from Nelson’s Nautilus. Chow fun! Real Chinese food. I’ve got to find out what the name of the place is as I’m sure we’ll be going back often.

Having an exciting new project is making it hard to do the  “same-old, same-old” of writing, editing, and indexing. But I still have to pay the bills. Should be working on making money right now, but instead I’m doing stuff for the new “upstart.”

I did, however, attend to my spiritual life this morning with an amazing group of women, and then I took a long winter’s nap. So the day hasn’t been a total waste.

  1. I just told a friend that I don’t have all the time in the world. Immediately, I realized I was wrong. What, really, do I have except time? And, I do have all of it. Hmmm….maybe it’s time to drag out the quantum physics guys again. Where is the real cutting edge theology right now? In their labs and crazy squirrel infested minds. When my daughter was getting her degree in physics she would sometimes talk to me about quantum physics. And, whether she knew it or not, she was talking about God.
  2. Which brings me to “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. This was the first “science fiction” I read, as a child of nine, and I was enchanted. Like quantum physics, which it essentially is, this book was first understood on an intuitive level. Which is the only way I can understand quantum physics. Math, even the basics like checkbook balancing, escapes me. Good thing I’m a writer and not, say, an accountant. L’Engle’s book was also the first piece of theological writing I ever read (well, except for the Book of Common Prayer) although I didn’t realize it at the time. As an adult, I discovered that L’Engle was an Episcopalian and one of the great (IMHO) theological thinkers of the 20th century. Why do I say that? Because she not only thought deep thoughts, she could put them in language even a child of nine could understand. And that, friends, is truly a gift.
  3. My daughter, almost 30, and I, heading for 60, had a great conversation today about age. I don’t feel 60, and she says I don’t act 60. Oh, sometimes my fibro-infested body lets me know, but most of the time (there’s that word again) I act much younger. Some of you are thinking “immature.” Well, that may be the case. But what, exactly, is wrong with immature? To be immature means I’m still growing, learning, developing, and becoming the full expression of myself. Yes. I do have flashes of maturity. But I really think I’d rather be immature and a work in progress than mature and ready for picking. You?

If you’re a fan of Interweave (and what fiber person isn’t?) AND you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad or even just iTunes on your computer (which may or may not be a Mac or, horrors, a PC), check this out:

Knitting Daily from Interweave

Lots of good information, a glossary for those of us who still think Kitchener stitch is something you must do in the kitchen, and more. Don’t believe me. Check it out for yourself. More fibery stuff for on the go…..

I am currently spending a lot of time reading e-pub books. For those not in the know, e-publishing is the wave of the future. Don’t worry. I don’t see the demise of the book any time soon, but e-publishing takes the power away from New York publishers and puts it where it belongs: with the writers.

Anyway, my friend Lisa recommended an author named Amy Rose Davis. I hunted her down on the ‘net and downloaded, for a minimal price, her novella, Silver Thaw. First off, living in the land of the silver thaw, I have to say I love the title. Davis lives in this area too, I believe, and chose the right title. A silver thaw, as I said yesterday, is beautiful but deadly.  And that’s what this story is.

Basically a retelling of ancient myth, the story revolves around a mysterious girl with a voice that can…well, read it and find out. At 28,ooo words, this book is an evening’s easy read. It’s a beautiful story, beautifully written. This last is important because a lot of self-published books are shoddily written, with little to no editing, and the reader is the last to know, after she’s plunked down her money. But I found this little book a gem.

Davis has a book coming out soon, also self-published, called Ravenmarked. I will definitely buy it. It’s authors like Davis that are going to give self-publishing a great reputation.

Okay, so I had to get gas. Cash is tight, until I get paid, so I did the “fill it with $10” thing at the Chevron station just up the road. Since we live in the back of beyond, that station is the only game in town. If there was a town. So they can treat us as they will, and they can charge us as much as they want. But for some reason, it’s one of the cheapest gas stations around. The people in the convenience store are friendly, the prices about the same as any convenience store.

I pulled in, handed the guy my credit card, and thought that was that. But this guy, a young guy, maybe mid-20s, started talking to me while the meter ticked off its $10 worth. It was cold. It was pouring down rain. And this guy was happy. He told me he is always happy. He’s been pumping gas for a year, and he loves his job. He told me that he figured out early on that one unhappy customer took away seven potential customers. He said he wants to make everybody’s day a good day so that they’ll keep coming back and so that they’ll carry that happiness into their days. As I drove off, he yelled, “Have a wonderful day.” And I did.

You meet amazingly wise people in the weirdest places.

Things I Learned Today:

  • It’s so easy to make someone’s day.
  • My new project keeps having serendipitous occurrences. I think that means something. More later.
  • Boston ferns like benign neglect, just like Christmas cacti.
  • Haggen’s has mint jelly even if Trader Joe’s doesn’t.
  • The new project has a name. Finally. Wow! It’s been a whole week and a half without one. More later.
  • People who are not in my writer’s group like my books. Amazing. I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars.

In the past few weeks we’ve acquired several pieces of new technology. Some of it is amazing. Some of it is fun. Some of it is both. Anyway, I’m going to share. (Stop me if you must….there’s that back button up there in your browser.)

Since early December I have made some big technological advances. First off, I got a nook color. That’s Barnes & Noble’s e-reader. Now don’t think I’ve become a turncoat to the world of books. I still love books as much or more than you do. I just can’t read them anymore. Presbyopia is not for the young. After a couple of years of removing my glasses, sqwinching my eyes, covering the left one, and holding the book under my nose just to read a couple of pages before my right eye wore out, I made the case to Jenny that an e-reader was not a toy, it was an adaptive technology. Suddenly I’m reading again. All the time. In 12 to 14 pt font, with cream letters on a mocha background.  She, of course, had to have one also. But hers is a toy.

On the same logic, we stepped up to a 42″ television. Last year Jenny insisted on watching the Rose Bowl because the Ducks were in it. I am a Duck, having graduated from U of O in 1973, but I care nothing about football. Still, I tried to watch it with her. At some point she was talking about the score as if she knew what it was. That’s when I discovered the little box at the bottom of the screen that tells you things like that. Well, I didn’t actually discover it. I just was informed that it was there. About 20 years ago, we replaced our 13″ television with a 27″ because I could no longer see the small screen. This year, we moved up to the big screen. This is good because I’m also starting to experience some trouble with my hearing and need visual cues to decipher some of the dialogue on the television.

For no other reason than that we wanted to, we bought an xbox 360 with kinect. It’s fun, it’s exercise, and it allows us to get rid of cable. Because it’s also a computer and modem, we can now stream Netflix and television, without commercials. We kept just enough cable (the basic plan) so that we can watch the news while it’s happening because I happen to be a news junkie. However, by doing this, we will realize a net savings of about $50 with the money-grubbing monopolistic Beavercreek Telephone Company.  Although the people there are great, I still want to put the screws to them all the time. Talk about expensive. For just cable (without HBO and that stuff) and Internet, I’ve been paying $150 a month. That’s without a phone. We joined the cell phone only generation after moving out here because Beavercreek Telephone is long distance to every place EXCEPT Beavercreek and we know like four people who actually live in Beavercreek. You know who you are.

I had a 22″ monitor in my office, but my work requires me to have two documents open side by side and the smaller screen wasn’t cutting it.  (Just to give you an idea, when I write in Word, I use 12 pt Verdana and blow it up to 200 percent. I wanted a 30″ monitor but they are prohibitively expensive (over $1000) so I decided to settle on a 27″ for about $300. We walked into Best Buy and almost tripped over a 32″ flat screen television for $270. It had all the right innies and outies for my computer so I got my 30+ inch monitor and am loving being able to see again on all fronts.

One last thing, perhaps the most amazing of all. Our cell phone contracts were up on Dec 28th. This was good because I had “bricked” mine. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge, the camera was broken, and the dang thing hung up on people all the time. I spent a lot of time saying “Are you there?” to nobody. So we toddled into the T-Mobile store and found a BOGO on smart phones. For those of you not in the know, a BOGO is buy one, get one free. We now have new MyTouch 4Gs. I swear this is the most sophisticated thing I own, and I’m a technology geek. The thing will even turn into its own wifi hotspot and allow me to access the Internet with my Nook or my laptop from anywhere I can get a cell phone signal. The camera in it is 5 mpx, better than my digital camera, and has flash. I can record videos or just voice. I can tell it to call people and it will. I can talk to it and it puts my speech into emails or texts. I’m going to try using it to blog as soon as I figure out how.  It’s an mp3 player, you can watch movies and television on it, it comes with Word and Excel. It’s better than my laptop or my netbook (except for being hard to see).

So there you have it. All new technology, most of it adaptive in some way. My mom used to carry magnifying glasses with her so she could read or see things. All I have to do is turn on my nook. I’m not sure, but I think my phone will even read to me. But I’m still trying to figure it all out. The major problem I have with this phone is that when someone calls, a big red button appears. Now, to me, a big red button screams “Push me.” Which I do. Forgive me if I hang up on you. I promise to call you right back.

Okay, dunno why my posts quit appearing on Facebook. I’m tweaking settings trying to get it to work. Probably some stupid FB thing since WordPress usually doesn’t do too many stupid things.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.