Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GuideGecko Launches International Writing Contest 2010

When I find useful information I like to share it with our visitors. We have numerous travel writers who regularly stop by here so I'd like to share this with them. If you know of a free upcoming contest for writers and have all the pertinent information available to share, e-mail it to me at and I'll share is as well.

Winner receives Trip to World's Largest Book Fair in Frankfurt and Jump-Start into Professional Writing Career

The innovative publishing platform for travel and lifestyle guides today launches its 2010 International Guidebook Writing Contest. Three winning titles will be showcased at the prestigious Insight Guides booth on the world's largest book fair in Frankfurt, Germany, and the winner will be flown to the fair to meet and mingle with publishers from all over the world.

From now to September 15, writers worldwide can submit their own guidebooks on and stand a chance to jump-start into a professional writing career.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to meet international publishers and gain exposure to 299,000 visitors and 10,000 journalists", says Dr. Daniel Quadt, Founder and Managing Director of GuideGecko. "We are happy to partner with world-famous Insight Guides; showcasing one's title on their booth is a big boost for any writer."

The contest is open to casual writers, bloggers and established authors. All travel, food, lifestyle and entertainment guidebooks with a minimum of 32 pages are welcome. Submissions can be new titles as well as existing titles previously published on GuideGecko or elsewhere.

The winning titles will be selected by a jury of guidebook industry veterans. "We have assembled a jury of renowned travel writers and editors with Tom Le Bas, Nicholas Gill, Maralyn Hill and Tim Leffel. Their feedback alone makes it worth to participate", adds Quadt (jury profiles are included in the appendix).

The jury's decision is augmented by popular online votes, starting with immediate effect. The submitted guidebooks will be published instantly and listed on GuideGecko's front page to receive maximum visibility. Viewers can choose to vote for and even order these guidebooks immediately. Participation in the contest is free and the authors receive full royalties and retain their copyrights.

The Frankfurt book fair takes place from October 6-10, 2010. The winner will fly with Lufthansa German Airlines and stay at contest sponsor Maritim Konferenzhotel Darmstadt while in Frankfurt.

Closing date for submission is September 15, and prize winners will be announced on October 1st. For more information, to enter the contest and to place votes, please visit

About GuideGecko
GuideGecko is an innovative publishing platform and online travel bookstore for travel, lifestyle and entertainment guidebooks. GuideGecko currently offers more than 3300 guidebooks as print and PDF download, on 169 countries and 270 cities and regions around the world. All well-known series are available, including Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Insight Guides, along with a large variety of less conventional titles such as Hedonist’s Guides and Trailblazer, amongst many others.

GuideGecko invites casual writers, bloggers and established authors to publish and sell their own guidebooks on GuideGecko makes such guides available as PDF downloads and as printed books/booklets. Publishing is free and authors earn 50-75% on every copy sold. Become a writer and get published on GuideGecko!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why Have a Barcode?

Back in earlier times books were marked with a simple price tag on the cover. But if you look around a bookstore now, you’ll likely notice that nearly all the books have a barcode on the back cover; why is this necessary?

Although it is not law that you have a barcode on your retail product or publication, it is often required by re-sellers and distributors. They use the barcode to efficiently keep active inventories and sales records. Most retailers will no longer carry your book unless it has a barcode.

So how do barcodes work?
There are lots of types of barcode, but the common one we all see all the time is called UPC, the Universal Product Code.

Each digit is coded by two black and two white stripes. The stripes have widths of from 1 to 4 units, and the total width for each digit is always seven units.
This code is not quite all there is to it, however. Some digits of the barcode are reversed, so that they read right to left. Part of the code has black and white inverted, so black stripes are white and vice versa. This helps cut down errors and allows a computer to work out if the code was read from the wrong end when it was scanned.

The barcode is made up of 12 digits, in various groups. The first two show the country that issued the barcode. The next four digits indicate the manufacturer. Some countries have a three digit country code, so they only have three digits for the manufacturer code.

00-13 USA & Canada
20-29 reserved for local use (store/warehouse)
30 -37 France
400-440 Germany
45 Japan

There are some quirks in the system. Often books, which have the code 978, actually start the code with 78, so that there are enough digits left in the code to add the complete international book number. Sometimes the missing nine is simply printed in front of the code.

Most small manufacturers or self-publishers are pursuing barcodes to meet some requirement of a re-seller or distributor. This requirement should be specified by those re-sellers and distributors, and may differ from one to the next. There are industry standards, which are most often the requirements. Always check with your re-seller or distributor to make sure you meet their specifications.

Typically, after you obtain the ISBN for your book, you will have the ingredients to create your own barcode. Create a barcode yourself at Bar Codes Inc.
Learn more about barcodes at Bowker.

Article references:

Monday, June 7, 2010

2010 Best Websites for Writers (but that’s only my opinion)

When I set out on my cyber journey to find my personal five favorite writer-related sites, I never dreamed it would be so difficult to locate so few useful sites. I figured with Writer’s Digest seeming to find over 100 good sites, as little as five should have been easy for me.

My back is stiff and my patience is running low; am I too picky? I simply searched for any site with 1) good and useful information, 2) every post or article did not include a sales pitch for “my latest book,” and 3) the text was properly edited (aren’t these are suppose to be professionals writing the text?). I do not mind ad-filled sites as most of these are simply attempting to financially support their mission (to keep the Website up and running, like this site does).

So after hours of searching the Web, here it is. In my personal opinion, these are the best of the best, not listed in any particular order.

Writer Beware Blogs at I like this site because it is no frills; just facts and great information. It’s easy to locate any information you might need on agents, publishers, etc. They also have an extensive list of useful sites for writers. Why our site is not on the list is beyond me!

I’m not sure why it is the URL is so different from the Blog’s title, but because of this, I recommend saving the link to your “favorites” or clicking on to “Follow the Blog.”

Predators & Editors at This is still one of the best reference sites on the Web. It hosts possibly the most extensive list of writer-related sites on the Web. A little research goes a long way here!

Booksquare at An informative site relating more to the traditional book publishing industry rather than self-publishing. Basically, a “what’s hot, what’s not” reference.

Write and Publish Your Book at Now here’s a site with great articles which mirror our course here at A Book Inside. The articles are written my authors who yes, promote their books at the end of each article. But they are well-written and useful. Many of the topics are unique and not often discussed on other sites. I really got into the site and it took me a while to get back to my search!

Writer’s Digest at An all-time favorite of mine filled with contributed articles from professionals in the industry. And yes, we are in the top 101 Best Websites for Writers, hopefully not to simply fill the list, but because we offer useful information.

So there you have it. My personal favorites! I hope you find these sites to be helpful in your quest to successfully write and publish your personal best!
Feel free to add your own favorite writer Website in the comment section below.