The Standards Blog


Sunday, February 21st, 2016 @ 04:36 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 2,110

Or so we might hear Sarah Palin taunt a liberal. Just about every other pundit in the media, however, continues to scratch their heads in wonder, asking themselves, “Can this many people really, I mean really, be voting for Donald Trump?!?  Well, if they had taken the time to read a recently released thriller by an unknown political satirist, they’d know that the answer could be, well, maybe not.


Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 @ 09:40 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 2,081

Courtesy Alexius Horatius/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.So far, the 2016 US presidential election has borne an eerie similarity to the plot of my book, The Lafayette Campaign, A Tale of Deception and Elections. Totally improbable candidates have shot to the top of the polls, and then succeeded in the Iowa caucuses. Which raises an interesting question: would you rather think that an election could be hacked, or that Americans really would vote in droves for someone like Donald Trump? If that’s too depressing a question to confront, you can escape from that disquieting reality for a few minutes by seeing how the New Hampshire primary unfolds in my book instead. Here goes.



Sunday, January 31st, 2016 @ 01:50 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 2,785

There’s a heart-warming story in the New York Times this morning that tells the tale of a brand new independent author with a flair for marketing who not only turns her first erotic novel into a best seller, but goes on to start her own imprint and build similar success for equally talented Indie authors who don’t have that special marketing gene. Great! you say? Well, maybe not so great.  Read on.

Monday, January 18th, 2016 @ 02:15 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 2,159

It seems as if more and more entrepreneurs are jumping into the book promotion e-newsletter business. The good news is that there are many services to choose from. Predictably, the bad news is that most produce few sales, and sometimes none at all. As with almost everything else in the self-publishing world, there’s no convenient source to consult to find out what works, and what doesn’t. In this post, I’ll provide the results of my own experiences as a starting point for others to work from. I’ll also provide advice on how to choose the services that may work best for you, and how to get accepted by the most competitive services.

Sunday, December 27th, 2015 @ 04:40 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 1,721

Public Domain, courtesy Royal Armoury, Stockholm and Wikimedia CommonsThe desirability (or even the concept) of establishing a brand may not come naturally to many authors. Branding may appear to have nothing to do with authorship, or seem to cheapen the author's craft, or represent an intimidating task to carry out - or perhaps even all of the above. But for non-fiction writers, and particularly genre authors, a brand is an important and unique tool to forge and to hone.

Sunday, December 6th, 2015 @ 03:44 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 1,756

Courtesy Oregon State Transportation Department/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. 	When I released my first book four years ago, I wasn’t convinced I needed an author site. After all, an Amazon Author Page includes most of the basic elements needed to establish a web presence, and it’s free to boot. I decided to build one a simple WordPress one anyway for the experience I’d gain in doing so, and now it’s time for a major rebuild. Here’s why.

Monday, November 9th, 2015 @ 11:33 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 1,601

Courtesy Elmar/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.Notching another year in the metaphorical – and rapidly diminishing - stick measuring one's life is not exactly a celebratory event. In fact, it's right up there with performing your morning check in to confirm that you haven't sold any books. Again. But every now and then, someone you don't know leaves you a really nice review, and that can make your day.

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 @ 08:07 AM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 2,867

Courtesy Wikipedia CommonsTwo and a half weeks ago, I posted a report on the initial results of a free copy promotion I ran, using four of the more effective book newsletter services. That campaign was successful in the near term, resulting in 4,360 downloads of my second book. In the conclusions, I noted:  

I’ll need to collect further data before I can report back on whether a trial of this scale, duration and impact had the desired effect. The real test will be whether a week from now my base line of sales and page reads steps up from the base line before the sale.

And the answer is?… [drum roll]…No on sales, yes on reads. For the details, read on. As before, I’ll include specific figures and detailed sales charts.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 @ 11:26 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 2,651

Courtesy Rugby471/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic licenseFor years now, the prevailing wisdom in self-publishing has been that periodically pricing a book at free for a few days is a great way to build an audience. More recently, many authors are reporting that giving away thousands of free copies of a book has almost no ongoing positive impact on sales. Which review reflects reality?

The evolving consensus seems to be that while massive giveaways worked well in the past, they don't work now. Multiple authors have reported that their giveaways have resulted in few, if any, reviews, and also that it was difficult to ascribe many (and sometimes any) downstream sales as a result of their free promotions.

Sunday, September 20th, 2015 @ 08:39 PM
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Views: 4,803

We will never reject an incoming editable document in ODF format. Asking someone to resend a document in a closed proprietary format is akin to bad manners - Home Office OpenDocument Format Adoption Plan

Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going.
I'm glad I came, but just the same, I must be going
- Groucho Marx, Animal Crackers

Technological evolution is famous for obsoleting wonders created just a few years before. Sometimes new developments moot the fiercest battles between competitors as well. That seemed to be the case last week, when Microsoft announced its Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on…(wait for it)…Linux, the open source software assailed by the company’s prior CEO as a communist cancer.   It also saw the UK Cabinet Office announce its detailed plans for transitioning to the support of the OpenDocument Format (ODF), a document format that was just as fiercely opposed by Microsoft in the most hard-fought standards war in decades.  But at the same time, the Cabinet Office announced its commitment to work towards making document formats as close to obsolete as possible.