Tag Archives: publishing

Amazon sent me a letter

And everyone who publishes via Kindle Direct got the same one, I’m sure. The letter asked me to write to Hatchette and plead Amazon’s case. If ebooks are priced lower, they say, they will sell more of them, and everyone makes more money, right?

Um . . .

It doesn’t work quite that way. There have been several responses to this all over the Web, but John Scalzi said it best in his blog last month:


 

Amazon’s math of “you will sell 1.74 times as many books at $9.99 than at $14.99″ is also suspect, because it appears to come with the ground assumption that books are interchangable units of entertainment, each equally as salable as the next, and that pricing is the only thing consumers react to. They’re not, and it’s not. Someone who wants the latest John Ringo novel on the day of release will not likely find the latest Jodi Picoult book a satisfactory replacement, or vice versa; likewise, someone who wants a eBook now may be perfectly happy to pay $14.99 to get it now, in which case the publisher and author should be able to charge what the market will bear, and adjust the prices down (or up! But most likely down) [emphasis mine KK] as demand moves about.


 

So I find myself seriously thinking of delaying publishing to Amazon until this whole Hatchette mess is resolved.  Not that Amazon is going to miss my small contribution to their bottom line, but as a reader. There are fine authors such as Lilith Saintcrow and Gail Carriger with new books I can’t pre-order while this mess continues.

I make more sales via Amazon, but I actually make a higher royalty at Smashwords. You can get .mobi format at Smashwords, so I’m considering publishing there and then publishing to Amazon when they get their shit together.

This is not a decision to be made lightly. Definitely not a decision to make when I’ve had maybe two hours of sleep.

I think I shall make like Zofia and have a cup of coffee

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One day more. . .

Okay, not quite. Maybe two.

I just finished reviewing the last round of Snow Job edits from Fae, and naturally did some more revising while I was doing so. I forget from session to session just how exhausting editing is. I always feel happy when I’m done with a round of it.

Another revision, I think. Check the continuity again, make sure I spelled everyone’s name consistently throughout.

I probably look ridiculous to the casual observer while I’m editing (my darling Nexx, bless his heart, leaves me alone when I do this). There are times when I curse thoroughly, there are times when I laugh out loud. Occasionally I give the manuscript a blank stare and say, “What the hell did I mean?” And more often than I care to admit, there are times when I bang on the keyboard with incredible force and then lift my hand as if I’m conducting a symphony orchestra.

This may explain why my wrists hurt.

I don’t have a publication date yet. I have a mental target, but a few things have to happen first, and I do still have a full-time job with a crazy commute.

Thanks for sticking with me.

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Exhaustion

It was an ambitious morning. I got up at 7:30 or so, had a lovely cup of Tanzanian peaberry coffee laced with Kahlua and Faretti (Faretti tastes like biscotti. Italian cookies without all those annoying crumbs), and sat down to look at the latest revisions from the editor in Missouri.

I thought I could get the last fifteen chapters done today. Ah, no. I keep forgetting that editing, in some ways, is more challenging than writing. It’s not just a question of analyzing the edits and accepting all the changes, it’s a chance to revise, expand, describe, make connections between the sentence fragments Zo sometimes things in.

It’s exhausting. It’s a good kind of exhaustion, it’s certainly been a productive day, but it appears 5.5 hours of it (this does not include the break for pancakes) is enough to turn my brain to tapioca pudding.

So, I’m taking a break with some Red Sox baseball and came her to WordPress with a very special announcement:

All the edits for Snow Job are back. I will be announcing a publication date by the 2nd of August.

One of the nice things about indie publishing is you can go pretty quickly from final manuscript to the market. There will be another revision, then there’s formatting, and then the actual publishing. I’ll be looking for reviewers–ideally other authors, or perhaps some people with review blogs. Busy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, in other words.

I’m thinking I need a logo . . .

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It’s not about men’s rights, I promise

When a friend I’ve known for mumble years started a weekly magazine call the Man’ority Report, I immediately gave him a lot of grief. Mark and I have known each other more than half our lives and he’s never been what I would consider a sexist pig, which is what was immediately triggered in my brain.

But it’s not, it’s about tech, entrepreneurship, cars, politics and it’s run by a great bunch of guys. I was invited to be a guest this week to talk about my experiences as an independent writer and publisher.

I had a blast. The host, Christian Reyes, guided the discussion well, allowing me to touch on several topics–how I write, what got me started, Kindle Select vs Smashwords, how ebooks are changing the industry.  I hope you’ll give it a look.

Meanwile, edits on Snow Job are progressing. I don’t have a publication date decided just yet. Nor have I decided on distribution. While Post Parcel has been accepted into the Smashwords premium catalog, it hasn’t been distributed yet to B&N, Baker & Taylor, iTunes or GooglePlay. I was hoping this part of the process would be quicker.

Also, B&N is offering a full-fledged self-publishing one-stop creative space. This is worth investigating, though I am very fond of my current novel-writing software.

The industry continues to evolve. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of.

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Laser, then shotgun

A friend pinged me last night and asked why Post Parcel wasn’t available in an epub format yet and the answer is the title of today’s post.

For those not familiar with the indie publishing world (and I’ve only scratched the surface), Amazon makes it really easy. They also have a program called Kindle Select. Post Parcel is exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. By taking part in this program, the book is available for Prime members to borrow, and I get a little marketing out of it. I thought it was worth a try since I’ve sold more books and received more reviews at Amazon than any other retailer. So, there’s the laser approach.

I do plan to have it in B&N and GooglePlay and in the Kobo store in time for the glut of holidays that come in December if you want to give someone a virtual stocking stuffer.

I will likely attempt the Smashwords meat grinder in order to get the books out to as many markets as I possibly can, ergo shotgun. I’m looking forward to the experiment. Their formatting instructions seem to be a bit involved, but I’m confident I have the right tools.

Thank you for reading!

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Just call me Hamlet

I’m dithering, I admit it.  I think I’m done with the next Bloody Murder mystery and I find myself as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (if you’re reading this out loud, make sure you do that last part with a Southern accent).

I’ll be announcing the title and the publication date on 7/29. Stay tuned!

Where the dithering comes  in is a lot of internal pressure. This is my second published work and all kinds of questions fill my brain, but the biggest one is:

“What if it’s not as good as the first one?”

Bloody Murder has a five-star rating on Amazon, and I promise you I didn’t ask a single friend to write a review.  I am proud of my work and very grateful to anyone who took the time to write a review. Reviews are not easy to write. You want to say what’s good, but you don’t want to give away the really nifty stuff. If you hated it, was it simply not to your taste? Or perhaps the subject matter wasn’t your cuppa? Or was it so technically bad, as Dorothy Parker put it, “this is not a book to be set aside lightly,it should be thrown with great force.”

Anyway, since people have liked my work, I want to especially give  those readers something special. I want them to want to continue following Zofia’s adventures without getting bored or having me suspend their disbelief too much.For example, with Borders out of business, and Amazon being so prevalent I have had people ask me how I can rationalize an independent bookstore breaking even in the twenty-first century economy. I’ll save that for another entry, because there are a host of reasons, and I have a surprise coming in book 4 that will also help.

And now I’ve been dithering about dithering. The book is almost ready to go.  It’s been professionally edited (and if you need a book edited for an affordable price, ping me and I will introduce you to Kimberly), and tweaked to within an inch of its life. But I’ve been putting off the date because I’m afraid of disappointing my readers especially because the size of the novel. It’s considerably shorter than Bloody Murder  (and  will be priced accordingly).

I never realized the tremendous pressure involved here before. Is it good enough for the people who’ve taken the time to read the first one? I owe them. I earned some cash on that first novel (and promptly spent it on novel-writing software). It’s a little awe-inspiring, even if I’m not selling like James Patterson’s books do.

Taking this to my cohorts at the Indie Exchange, I got some excellent advice: When it’s done, it’s done. After letting that stew in my brain for a bit, last night, I finally decided to pick a date to announce the title at the publication date. I’m hoping to generate a little anticipation.

I also realized that while size matters in some cases (I liked the expanded version of Stephen King’s The Stand better than the original, for example), being an indie author and publisher I am not locked into a contract that says, “you must produce X novels at 100K words between now and 2020.” There’s a certain freedom in that. A dear friend of mine, and a fabulous writer, JD Rhoades, has put up shorter works and they’ve gotten some great response.

So I think I’m done with dithering, at least for right now. My current Project Management class wraps up in two weeks, which gives me time to find a cover design, do any last-minute edits and decide on the shotgun vs laser publishing approach.

Thank you for reading and staying with me. Knowing there are people out there waiting for the next novel makes me ready to take on the third one.

Cheers!

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The industry

I forget where I first heard it, but every once in a while, a monolith of an industry says something like, “We fear change; change is bad.”  With e-readers becoming more and more common and considerably more affordable, the Big Bad Paper Book Industry is facing some interesting choices–adapt and continue profiting or start slowly losing money as your readers go elsewhere.

I do a fair amount of reading about indie publishing, I also try to keep tabs on the big movers and shakers. In this article from Insatiable Booksluts, I find a lot worth pondering.

Are traditional publishers going to go away? Probably not. I hope that we will eventually see the end of e-books being priced higher than mass-market paperbacks (which is seriously hampering my continued collection of Jasper Fforde). Would I jump at an offer from one? Probably. It’s hard work doing all my own marketing, finding cover art and finding time to write and revise and confer with my editor. To have, as greekgeekgirl put it, editors, cover artists, marketing et cetera all under one roof is tantalizing. Everyone working for a common goal–to make that book sell.

On the other hand, as an indie author, I maintain control over my backlist. When the fifth Bloody Murder (and yes, I have the next four outlined) is published, I will be able to offer the first in the series at any price I  want. I also get to choose my royalties. That’s a big deal to me. I like that control, even though it’s hard work. Labor of love, certainly, but don’t mistake that its labor.

I suspect I will have more to say on the subject. I’m also interested in your thoughts. First comment gets a free copy of Bloody Murder

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Now how much would you pay?

‘A book is so much a part of oneself that in delivering it to the public one feels as if one were pushing one’s own child out into the traffic.’   Quentin Bell

I’m still giving away copies of Bloody Murder this month. Actually, I thought I’d extend the entry time because word has not spread around the indieverse quite as quickly as I had hoped.  So if you comment on this post, consider yourself entered to win a free copy.

When the giveaway is over, I hope I’ll have some new readers. Specifically, new readers that will buy the upcoming sequels and tell their friends. So you see, I have an ulterior motive. I want to make money from selling my books.

If you cruise the web, you’ll find various forums about ebooks. Newsletters about freebies, the best deals around. I read a forum discussion, “What’s the maximum you’ll pay for an ebook?”  Scanning several hundred entries, it seemed the top price was about $9.99 for “top authors.” Seeing that, I figure the $2.99 I charge is a bargain.  Me, I’ll pay a little more to have a new book the day it hits the market, but I seem to be in the minority.

Some of what I read disturbed me.  There are a lot of people out there who think that because they spent money on an e-reader, that they are entitled to books costing $1.99 or less.

The most common argument is saying it costs next to nothing to store files of ebooks, therefore the books should cost next to nothing for the readers. If  publisher buys a manuscript, they are investing in an author with their eyes toward  making more money down the road. They spend money marketing, designing covers, editing, arranging publicity tours. All of those things involve people who deserve to be paid for their efforts. And that’s even before we get to the author.

Writing is work, folks. Yes, it’s a labor of love, but it’s not easy. For an indie author who may not be making enough to pay for a professional editor for their next work (a nickel a word times 80K? You do the math), it’s all the writing, revising, editing, formatting AND marketing. For the traditional author, there are more imposed deadlines, which add their own pressures.

I’ll be keeping my ebook prices low as long as I’m self-publishing, but not so low I don’t get a little something in return for my labor of love.

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