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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Changing Face of Publishing by Margot Justes

We live in a world where publishing changes almost daily. Every time Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Apple sneeze, something new has evolved. From best sellers going on for a specific sale or Apple allowing the publishers to name their price; the publishing world as we know it, is changing rapidly.

More and more new and established authors are going the self pub e-route, for obvious reasons-there is more money to be made. Let's face it, the mid-list author hardly makes enough for...I was going to say a good cup of coffee...but that would be an exaggeration. Wouldn't it? Still, there are some pretty darn expensive cups of coffee. One cafe in New York charges $10.00 for a brew.
I don't think my palate is developed enough to taste that difference, but I digress. Back to the publishing world.

Morgan Mandel, in her blog last week discussed the self e-pub route and it how makes sense for an author. Amazon pays 75% to the author if price is $2.99 or higher; the money goes directly to the author's pocket. That is not a bad return for a mid-list author.

Consider, Dickens got paid by the word and he certainly used them well, but today that is most assuredly not the case, the mid list author does not make enough to live on. I would hazard a guess and say far from the minimum wage. I might be wrong...but I don't think so.

The stigma of self-publishing is rapidly disappearing for the same reason, more money to be made, it is easier and there is a vast amount of information available on the internet. The how-to-publish process has been taken out of the hands of the few and given to the multitudes, and writers realized that the potential for more money is much greater going the self-pub route.

Of course it goes without saying that it must be well written, and advertising is essential, otherwise no one will know there is anything to sell. Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networks will need to know the author exists and the product is available on Amazon, and everywhere else in the vastly changing publishing world.

I'm doing the same thing, I have two short stories available and will put them on Amazon. The covers have been selected, and I am fortunate enough to have a very creative web designer who will format them for me.

I'll post two travel articles I have written (previously published by Crime Spree Magazine) on travel sites for free just to get my name out. We'll see what happens, but for now, it is fascinating to watch the changes as they occur. It is a publishing revolution and we're here to see it happen..

Next week, I'll introduce fellow Echelon author Sean Hayden.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sayat Nova by Margot Justes

I don't go to Chicago as often as I'd like, it takes time away from writing and I still work full time.

Usually when my younger daughter comes home, we visit Chicago, and the trip always includes a visit to the Art Institute and a new restaurant.

Sayat Nova is not exactly new, it has been in that same location for decades, about 40 years. I used to eat there frequently (also decades ago). Lat winter I introduced my daughter to the restaurant, and beside I was curious whether it was still a good and reasonable place to eat. I'd hoped the old saying you can't go back again didn't apply. I was delighted to find that it didn't, the food was delicious.

I love Middle Eastern cuisine, and they serve the Falafel, Baba Ghannouj, Armenian Spinach, various Kebabs in style, nicely seasoned, fresh and simply mouth watering.

The restaurant is small, cozy, with just the right touches of Eastern decor; the lighting subdued and romantic but you can still see what you're eating. It is perfect for an intimate dinner.

The location is perfect, right off Michigan Avenue and shopping frenzy. A great place for lunch or dinner.

Sayat Nova
157 E. Ohio St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Till next time,

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dining in Chicago by Margot Justes

I live about 30 minutes away from the center of Chicago, the city offers world class amenities, architecture, museums, orchestras, operas, hotels and restaurants. The city has everything, including a magnificent lake shore. It is a world class city, yet it gives the impression of intimacy.

It is not as the expression goes, 'a concrete jungle'. Trees and depending on the season, flowers, and all sorts of greenery line the sidewalks of Michigan Avenue.

The Fine Cuisine is also world class and sometimes the restaurants are housed in amazing places.

The two I list below are just such places.

The Everest restaurant, (run by the Lettuce Entertain You establishment) sits atop the 40th floor on 1 Financial place. It is a world class eating establishment. The French cuisine is excellent, the service incomparable, the view stunning and the price very steep.

It is dining at its best, not a place for casual every day eating, unless you're very wealthy and incredibly thin. But for a special occasion it is perfection. For me it is the top of the food chain for fine dining. It is elegant. It is worldly. I have dined there once, and I'm waiting for another truly exceptional reason to go back.

The Atwood Cafe is far less expensive, a prix fixe dinner menu can be had for $40.00, of course you could pay more, but the less expensive option is there. The setting is dazzling. The service meets the requirements, it fits the restaurant. It is less formal and of course far less costly. The food is excellent, and the recent egg white frittata with goat cheese was yummy.

The Atwood Cafe located in the Hotel Burnham-a boutique hotel that is a Chicago landmark, and it is exquisite, the lobby boast floor to ceiling wrought iron walls, stone inlaid floors, beautifully carved wood staircase, and even before you enter the Art Deco restaurant your eyes feast on the decor of the lobby.

The huge windows in the cafe and 18 foot walls welcome you to an intimate Art Deco setting. Located on Washington and the famed State Street, you're right in the center of the city.

Needless to say both restaurants serve excellent coffee.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris