Monthly Archives: October 2011

Indie Publishing Secret – When Do I Get Paid?

26 October 2011

Author Cindy M. Hogan tells all about the cash and when you receive it:

If you indie-publish you will be at the mercy of the places you sell your books. For example, Createspace pays monthly after the books sells. That means that books you sell in February will show up in your bank account at the end of April and only if your total is more than $20.00.

By the way, it is important that you let them pay you electronically. Checks require higher totals sold and take a lot more time.

You will get paid for your ebook with Amazon 60 days following the end of the calendar month when the applicable sale occured. That means that if you sold a book in January, you would get paid in April for that book if your total is more than $10.00.

Barnes and Noble pays the same way Amazon does.

Smashwords pays quarterly and you receive the check 40 days after that period ends. If you sell books in Jan/Feb/and March, you will be paid at the end of April and March may not be included. Confusing, huh! Your total must be more than $10.00.

Link to the rest at Watched

Pitt Medallion – A Flat Heater of Eyelids

26 October 2011

The well-worn Passive Voice spam filter coughed up another gem:

Pitt Medallion, hitting three and thirty suits that my trophy and road breeze to the jacket kill to equalize the deadline.

And the illness is against for her condition in his viagra generico I hope lodged a flat heater of eyelids with a desk.

Passive Guy is disclaiming any rights to Pitt Medallion as the name of the hero of a new action/suspense series. All he asks is that the author dedicate Book Five, Pitt Medallion and the Three and Thirty Suits, to PG.

If you need a pen name, PG doesn’t think anyone is using Viagra Generico yet.

Truly, PG is a friend to all authors. Road Breeze to the Jacket Kill!

Amazon Takes “Self” Out Of Self Publishing

26 October 2011

From Foner Books:

Let’s face it, self publishing is morphing into Amazon publishing, and self publishers who use Amazon exclusively may as well call themselves Amazon authors.

I must have talked on the phone with at least a half dozen first-time authors in the last few months, all of whom believed they needed help getting their books published. These days my advice boils down to “Publish on Kindle first and Amazon’s CreateSpace second.” Both are free. In years past, I would have told them to read Shepard’s and Poynter’s books for two radically different approaches to self publishing and to join an Internet discussion group for up-to-date news. But Amazon has made the whole process so easy that the only challenges remaining are finding a decent editor and creating a decent book cover.

It wasn’t all that long ago that arguments were raging in Internet discussion groups and on publishing blogs about the difference between “true self publishing” and paying for “vanity publishing.” Well, Amazon has effectively put a stop to that argument by usurping both businesses. There are still “true” self publishers who get most of their sales through distribution or aggressive marketing to both bookstores and customers, but the authors I know who have been successful at this generally move on to publishing other authors books as well, which takes them out of the self publisher category. Meanwhile, for the vast majority of self publishing authors, Amazon is 90% or more of their retail market.

. . . .

My main focus when writing for authors has always been the business end, primarily market research and marketing. But that’s changed as well since Amazon has become the dominant retail platform and Amazon marketing is mainly a matter of getting the title and the thumbnail cover right, picking a couple logical categories for the book, and getting sales moving. If you’re writing fiction, it’s critical to at least start out at the 99 cent minimum, and at that price, you can purchase the books as gifts for anybody you think might be willing to review it.

. . . .

Authors who want to produce or pay for a “real” cover, something they wouldn’t be embarrassed to put on a paperback, can sign up with Amazon CreateSpace and see their book live on Amazon within a couple days. While Amazon offers extended distribution, I don’t suggest signing up for it. If the author can generate demand from readers who won’t shop at Amazon, then it makes sense to adopt my old publishing model and sign up with Lightning Source, but that will only apply to a small minority of authors today.

Link to the rest at Foner Books

Is It Apple Forcing Down Apple’s Hardware Prices, or is Amazon?

26 October 2011

From Steve Windwalker at Kindle Nation Daily:

“Apple’s Lower Prices Are All Part of the Plan,” ran the headline for an interesting piece . . . by Nick Wingfield of the New York Times.

Really?

Wingfield believes that Apple, “once known as the tech industry’s high-price leader,” is carrying out a major strategy change to the point where it is now competing with, and often beating, its rivals on hardware prices.

I’ll have to admit that despite some interesting anecdotal pricing comparisons made by Wingfield, I’m not feeling him. Yes, Apple has certainly shown some signs that it is pulling back some on its hardware prices, and those prices could soon collapse by 30% or more due to forces entirely outside Apple’s control. We’ll get to that, but it is unlikely that such a collapse would reflect Apple’s strategy.

. . . .

For starters, let’s look at the tablet market, which it is entirely fair to say was created through the innovative brilliance of Apple and its late leader Steve Jobs. The brilliant success of the iPad — both in its elegance and in its acquisition rate by the public — made fierce competition inevitable. So while iPad sales continue to grow dramatically quarter over quarter, iPad’s overall tablet market share fell from 95.5% a year ago to 66.6% in the third quarter of 2011, FierceWireless reported Friday. Nothing truly stunning there; it’s a pattern one could expect to see in any new market as it begins to mature.

A little more of a jaw-dropper is that the market share for the various Android tablets on the market — including devices from HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Acer and Dell — grew from 2.3% to 26.9% in the same period.

Now, in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Android market share is likely to grow even more dramatically with the launch of the Kindle Fire tablet, priced at $199 and capable, Amazon clearly believes, of doing everything an iPad can do except for the things that only a few people really care about.

If the Kindle Fire hits the hardware sweet spot once people have it in their hands, it could quickly become the single most coveted holiday gift for smart grownups this year at that $199 price, and that price and popularity would constitute a very powerful if traditional pressure on the $499-to-$829 iPad price structure.

. . . .

But there could be another mission for Amazon, one that could well influence the economics, the retail pricing, and perhaps even the share price for a competitor such as Apple over the next few years. It’s easy at this point to think that Amazon’s new two-way hardware market will be dwarfed in scale by Apple’s front-door production and retail power.

But Amazon knows better than anybody the effects that its Amazon Marketplace secondary market for new and used books had on competing booksellers and publishers over the past decade. Some in the publishing industry believe that Amazon’s customer-friendly innovations actually destroyed billions of dollars in corporate wealth, even if it also fueled tens of thousands of small and often home-based businesses.

“Some companies,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is fond of saying, “do everything they can to raise prices for their customers. Other companies do everything they can to lower prices for their customers.”

Link to the rest at Kindle Nation Daily

The Art of Chaptering

26 October 2011
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From The Blood-Red Pencil:

In a recent Ask the Editor post, Kathy Stemke asked how a writer decides where to place chapter breaks. In fiction, chaptering is often intuitive. The practice isn’t even as old as long-form fiction—it began in Great Britain so parts of books could be published in serial form.

Chaptering may feel arbitrary at first, but here’s what you can gain from the exercise.

. . . .

2. Chapter breaks remind you to think in terms of scenes. Chapters may have been revolutionary in Dickens’ day but the modern reader is well adapted to sound bytes and jump cuts. We are busy. We want you to get to the good part. Whether your chapter includes one scene or more, ask what new conflict will now impact the forward movement of your story?

. . . .

5. Chapter breaks remind you that you must woo your reader—not just at the opening, but again and again. Your job is to make it difficult for a reader to put down your book and walk away, where distractions may prevent his return.

Link to the rest at The Blood-Red Pencil via Joel Friedman

Amazon Third Quarter Sales Up 44%

26 October 2011
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From the Amazon press release late yesterday:

Amazon.com, Inc. today announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2011.

. . . .

Net sales increased 44% to $10.88 billion in the third quarter, compared with $7.56 billion in third quarter 2010. Excluding the $371 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 39% compared with third quarter 2010.

. . . .

“September 28th was the biggest order day ever for Kindle, even bigger than previous holiday peak days – we introduced Kindle Fire for $199, Kindle Touch 3G for $149, Kindle Touch for $99, and our all new Kindle for only $79,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch. And based on what we’re seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we’re increasing capacity and building millions more than we’d already planned.”

. . . .

Amazon Publishing released 61 titles in the quarter, including Kindle bestsellers “The Detachment” by Barry Eisler, “Dove Season” by Johnny Shaw, and “A Small Fortune” by Audrey Braun. Recent acquisitions include Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Chef,” Penny Marshall’s memoir “My Mother Was Nuts,” and the epic Foreworld Series project led by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear. Amazon Publishing also announced a new imprint, 47North, which is dedicated to science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. 47North joins sister imprints AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Powered by Amazon, Montlake Romance, and Thomas & Mercer.

Link to the rest at Amazon Media Room

Author Barbara Freethy Sells Over One Million Self-Published e-books in 2011

25 October 2011

From a press release on PR Newswire:

San Francisco Bay Area Author Barbara Freethy has sold over one million units of her self-published titles in 2011. Unlike independently published authors who publish at the $0.99 price point to fuel sales, Freethy’s books are primarily priced between $2.99 and $5.99. Her self-published books come from her extensive backlist, whose rights were reverted after the books went out of print. Freethy repackaged the books and put them on sale again, finding gold in books that had been taking up space in her closet.

According to Theresa Horner, VP Content B&N Digital Products, “Barbara Freethy’s self-publishing success proves that digitizing books can boost readership and breathe new life into older titles. Her backlist titles through PubIt!, Barnes & Noble’s fast and free digital self-publishing platform, have consistently landed her at the top of the BN.com eBook list. We’re thrilled for Barbara and we look forward to helping her sell the next million!”

Eight of Freethy’s seventeen self-published titles have hit the New York Times and/or USA Today Bestseller List, and SUMMER SECRETS hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Her most recent titles, TAKEN and PLAYED are currently climbing the bestseller charts.

Link to the rest at PR Newswire  Thanks to David Gaughran for the tip.

Royalty Reporting Systems – Garbage In/Garbage Out

25 October 2011

A few days ago, Passive Guy blogged about Simon & Schuster’s announcement that it would give its authors access to sales data through a web interface.

He just discovered typically tart comment about this from attorney C.E. Petit, who focuses on copyright and author’s issues:

 I have two responses to the dubious announcement by S&S that authors will have direct access to their sales figures.

* The short one: GIGO.

* The long one: In the past decade-plus, I have either directly handled or consulted on a number of S&S-based royalty reporting disputes, which are based (purportedly) on those very same sales figures — a population sample sufficient to support statistics-based inferences, whether measuring by individual works or by authors, and not confined to any single imprint of the S&S empire. In every single instance, I determined to my satisfaction that the royalty statements were misreporting sales to the author’s substantial disadvantage… and this conclusion was eventually conceded by S&S in a significant minority of those instances, and implicitly conceded in another significant minority of those instances by changes in the course of dealing. The inference that I would invite is that it will do authors little good to have direct access to such flawed data — except, perhaps, as a floor of what the conglomerate is conceding.

Link to the rest at Scrivener’s Error

Never Forget That the Pen is Mightier Than the Plow-share

25 October 2011

My advice to the would-be writer is that he start slowly, writing short undemanding things, things such as telegrams, flip-books, crank letters, signature scarves, spot quizzes, capsule summaries, fortune cookies, and errata. Then, when he feels he is ready, move up to the more challenging items such as mandates, objective correlatives, passion plays, pointless diatribes, minor classics, manifestos, mezzotints, oxymora, exposes, broadsides, and papal bulls.

And above all, never forget that the pen is mightier than the plow-share. By this I mean that writing, all in all, is a hell of a lot more fun than farming. For one thing, writers seldom, if ever, have to get up at five o’clock in the morning and shovel manure. As far as I am concerned, that gives them the edge right there.

Willa Cather

Here’s How Social Reading Might Actually Work

25 October 2011

From PaidContent:

Many community-based reading apps rely on the readers to get the conversation started. That’s great if your Facebook friends are sparkling literary conversationalists who also happen to be reading the same book as you but doesn’t work so well otherwise.

Taking the idea that book-based conversations are best prompted by the people who actually have something smart to say about the books, a startup, Subtext, is today releasing a free iPad app that collaborates with big-six publishers and authors to add commentary to and start discussions around books like A Game of Thrones and The Magician King.

Subtext is working with Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Byliner, Algonquin and other publishers and offering enhanced titles like A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, The Chairs Are Where the People Go by Misha Glouberman and Sheila Heti, and The Magician King by Lev Grossman. The company’s CEO is Andrew Goldman, who sold video game developer Pandemic Studios to EA in 2007.

Subtext received $3 million in seed funding from Google Ventures, Mayfield, New Enterprise Associates and Omidyar. The platform is integrated with Google Books, but readers can add any e-books in the Adobe DRM format to their Subtext shelves—i.e., not Kindle books. “We’re the first app that does technically support open reading,” Rachel Thomas, VP of marketing and strategic partnerships, told me. “We have people now reading a dozen editions of A Game of Thrones and we’ve figured out how they can have conversations around different sources and editions.”

Subtext worked directly with publishers and authors to add enhanced content to their books. Amy Stewart, author of Algonquin’s Wicked Bugs, added notes and video links to show some of the grossest things that bugs do in action. George R.R. Martin added hundreds of notes about life in Westeros. Frances Mayes added updates about all of her characters in Under the Tuscan Sun and wrote about how Tuscany has changed since the book was published. Lisa See included scenes from the upcoming movie version of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Subtext secured the assets from Searchlight). Most authors have “overdelivered,” Rachel Thomas, VP of marketing and strategic partnerships, told me. They found they had a lot to say at the passage level and the sentence level and could also answer many of the questions that they are repeatedly asked by readers.

. . . .

Users earn points for participating, and use them to unlock the author and expert content in the text. They can download free previews of the books, with enhanced content, from Google; once they buy the books, they use their points to subscribe to the additional content. (Content created by other readers is free.) “Paying” with points for extra content is a way to accustom users to the fact that there may eventually be a transaction around some of the enhancements, Thomas said. “Everyone’s got a book they’d pay extra for the notes for. We believe there is a market for this,” she said.

Link to the rest at Paid Content

Passive Guy is reasonably social, but, aside from those who comment here, hasn’t found a lot of useful sociability around books online.

When he first dived into looking at indie publishing, before he helped Mrs. PG regain control of her backlist, he jumped into the YA world on GoodReads. Then he jumped back out, remembering why that time in his life was so difficult, although he still enjoys good YA novels.

He understands GoodReads is a killer place to build word of mouth for a book, but when he’s not doing that, he doesn’t hang around.

A lot of those who comment on some of PG’s favorite blogs about the business of writing, such as Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith and Joe Konrath, are PG’s kind of social interactees, but he either knows or suspects a lot of those smart folks also spend time on The Passive Voice.

(No offense intended to those bloggers not listed. As you may be able to tell from some of his posts, PG travels far and wide looking for things to blog about and regularly visits dozens of blogs and websites he finds very interesting. He just checked and he has 59 book/author websites on his newsreader and gobs more he watches on Twitter.)

This is a very long introduction to PG’s mild skepticism about a social reading app mashup with Big Six publishers and some of their already social-platformed-to-death authors.

If PG had the money Google has, he would probably buy GoodReads, fix the egregious technology platform it uses, and move up from there. It’s much easier to build on an existing social network than it is to create one from scratch.

And looking at communities of interest across the Internet, there are usually only a handful of big dogs in any given area with one lead hound and a few beta pooches close behind. The best GoodReads participants are fully-invested in that community and probably don’t have time to do the same thing in two places.

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