Monthly Archives: December 2011

Five Signs You’re Reading Too Much Young Adult Literature

27 December 2011

From Book Riot:

    1. You keep a spreadsheet to try to determine whether you exist in a utopia or a dystopia. (Corporate ownership of media? Dystopia. New Muppet movie on the horizon? Utopia.) You secretly hope it turns out to be a dystopia so you can demonstrate your awesomeness in some world-liberating way.
. . . .
    5. When a colleague suggests a round of charades before the end of a dinner party, you arm yourself with a steak knife and take refuge behind the largest armchair. You’re developing a reputation at baby showers.

Link to the rest at Book Riot

I want to wish all of those editors who rejected me a very Happy New Year

27 December 2011

From Joe Konrath:

Just went through some of my old rejection letters. As readers of this blog know, I garnered more than 500 rejections before getting published.

One of my unpublished books was The List.

. . . .

Book Description:

THE LIST is a bit of a departure for Konrath. It’s a technothriller about a group of ten people who each have tattoos of numbers on the bottoms their feet, and don’t know why.

One of them, a Chicago Homicide cop named Tom Mankowski, has had one of these strange tattoos since birth. When he investigates a violent murder and discovers the victim also has a tattooed number, it sets the ball rolling for an adventure of historic proportions.

To say more would give away too much.

The above description was, more or less, the query letter that my agent sent out to over a dozen top editors.

Here are some of the rejections The List received:

Here is The List. I’m returning it to you. Sorry it didn’t work out at Ballantine, hope you’ll place it elsewhere soon. – Ballantine Books

As discussed, The List by Joe Konrath isn’t a book for me. Thank you, and I’m sorry. – Penguin Putnam

Thanks for letting me see The List by Joe Konrath. While it’s certainly not a plot I’ve seen before–at least the cloning part–it seems very familiar all the same, plus the humor in the storytelling seems a little forced and sitcom-ish, and finally exhausted my interest. So it has to be a pass for me. Despite my reservations about The List, I suspect the originality of the concept will prove a lure to someone, and I wish you all the best with it. – Simon & Schuster

. . . .

I shared The List by Joe Konrath with some colleagues here. Several found it amusing but ultimately we felt it was a bit too odd and were concerned about the audience. So I will be declining. William Morrow

I certainly give Joe Konrath lots of credit for trying to put forth a most creative and different kind of thriller involving clones of famous people. And for the most part his wise-cracking dialogue held my attention, too. But int he final analysis, I just thought he tried to hard in this over-the-top novel. I just think it would be a very difficult thriller to sell to our sales force in a major way. The credibility factor is strained a wee bit too much. As such, I’m returning it with my regrets, but with my thanks for the look. – Warner Books

. . . .

In April of 2009, I self-published The List.

As of this writing, December 26, 2011, The List has earned me over $100,000.

Right now it is in the Kindle Top 100 again (it has cracked the Top 100 four different times since I published it.)

What does that translate into sales?

The novel, rejected by everyone, is right now selling over 100 copies an hour, currently earning $3.50 a minute. That’s $210 an hour, $5040 a day. And it seems to be picking up speed.

. . . .

So I’d like to take this opportunity to send warm holiday cheer and sincere thanks the editors at HarperCollins, Bantam Dell, Hyperion, NAL, Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, William Morrow, Warner Books, St. Martin’s Press, Ballantine, Penguin Putnam, Talk Miramax, Pocket Books, Little, Brown and Company, for rejecting The List. And thanks to Grand Central for rejecting Trapped.

Much success to you all in 2012.

And just to show my story isn’t unique, my friend and writing partner, Blake Crouch, recently had a similar experience with his novel Run. It was shopped during the fall of 2010 to a dozen major publishers, all of whom rejected it. Since Blake published Run himself in March, it has sold over 40,000 copies, and is currently ranked at #92 in the Kindle store. In the last 48 hours alone, it has sold over 2000 copies.

Blake and I want to wish all of those editors who rejected us a very Happy New Year.

Link to the rest at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

The Best Kindle Fire Apps: A Starter Kit

26 December 2011
Comments Off on The Best Kindle Fire Apps: A Starter Kit

From PC Magazine:

If you’re a new Kindle Fire owner, you need a starter kit.

. . . .

What’s not on this list are apps that come pre-installed on the Kindle Fire, which includes: Pulse for music, Audible for audio books, IMBD for information about movies and actors, Quickoffice for working with Microsoft Documents, Facebook for social networking, as well as an app for email and one called Gallery that shows a gallery of videos and pictures on the device.

. . . .


The Amazon Kindle Fire comes preloaded with an app for Facebook, but Twitter is not included out of the box. With the HootSuite app, it’s no matter because you manage Facebook, Twitter, and Foursqure from one single interface.
. . . .

Hulu Plus

One of the most popular video-streaming services, Hulu, announced early support for the Amazon Kindle Fire. The Hulu Plus app is free to download, but it requires a $7.99 per month subscription to watch most content, although the app does have a selection of free content, mostly selected episodes (the pilot of Ugly Betty, for example) or funny clips from popular television shows, with an occasional full-length movie thrown in.

. . . .

LogMeIn Ignition

This pricey app allows you to perform a pretty amazing feat: remotely control your home and office computers, and everything on them, from your Kindle Fire. For the app to work, you do have to install some software on your Windows or Mac PCs, but those programs are free, and you can install it on as many machines as you want.

. . . .

Read It Later Pro

With its Amazon Kindle roots firmly planted in reading, the Kindle Fire does make for a compact and friendly e-reader. The app Read It Later Pro lets you add web pages to your reading list, making them available offline to read whenever—even when you don’t have a Wi-Fi signal. The app lets you tag pages, and saves your scrolling position as a bookmark, which you can pick up from any other device with the same app installed.

Link to the rest at PC Magazine

Write even when you don’t want to

26 December 2011

Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.

Agatha Christie


Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War

26 December 2011

From the New York Times:

Last year, Christmas was the biggest single day for e-book sales by HarperCollins. And indications are that this year’s Christmas Day total will be even higher, given the extremely strong sales of e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. Amazon announced on Dec. 15 that it had sold one million of its Kindles in each of the three previous weeks.

But we can also guess that the number of visitors to the e-book sections of public libraries’ Web sites is about to set a record, too.

And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones.

. . . .

Explaining Simon & Schuster’s policy — it has never made its e-books available to libraries — Elinor Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief digital officer, says, “We’re concerned that authors and publishers are made whole by library e-lending and that they aren’t losing sales that they might have made in another channel.”

Ms. Hirschhorn says the reason publishers didn’t worry about lost sales from library lending of print books is that buying a book is easier — no return trip is needed to the bookstore — and the buyer has a physical collectible after reading it.

. . . .

To keep their overall revenue from taking a hit from lost sales to individuals, publishers need to reintroduce more inconvenience for the borrower or raise the price for the library purchaser. If making the books more costly to libraries seems a perverse idea, consider that the paperback edition of a book provides an artificially costly experience for its buyers too, in terms of waiting time. The delay in the paperback’s availability permits the publisher to separate those book buyers willing to pay a premium to read the book earlier from those only willing to pay less for what is essentially the same thing, but later.

Ms. Thomas of Hachette says: “We’ve talked with librarians about the various levers we could pull,” such as limiting the number of loans permitted or excluding recently published titles. She adds that “there’s no agreement, however, among librarians about what they would accept.”

Link to the rest at the New York Times

What an enlightened approach to business, “reintroducing more inconvenience” for customers to access your products.

Everywhere else, smart businesses are pushing prices lower and making it easier for customers and prospective customers to sample their products. Some huge businesses have been built on freemium and ad-supported models in recent years.

Amazon is promoting 100 ebooks for $3.99 or less. The Kindle Daily Deal is going for 99 cents today. PG just checked the Kindle Indie Best Sellers and, other than an Angry Birds game, the top 7 bestsellers were all going for 99 cents.

Meanwhile, Big Publishing just can’t let go of the idea of a $30 hardcover.

The great ebook price swindle

26 December 2011

From The Guardian:

I want to offer a word of thanks to the American book publishing industry, or at least the traditional big companies that have dominated it in recent decades. They’ve helped me rediscover my local library and the used book stores in neighboring communities.

They’ve achieved this by exhibiting the qualities that come so naturally to corporate media giants: greed and arrogance – in this case, as applied to the way they’ve dealt with the digital world.

To understand what they’ve done, you need to understand a bit about how books are sold in America. Publishers have two major distribution methods. One is traditional wholesaling: sell the book to a middleman, who typically adds a mark-up to customers, but sometimes discounts a book below cost as a “loss leader” to attract more business for items that aren’t discounted in this way.

The other model is called the “agency” system. In this case, publishers set the price and the bookstore merely handles the sale to the ultimate customer, for a set fee or percentage of the transaction.

The “big six” US publishers all sell their physical books via the wholesale model. After years of wholesaling digital editions as well, they moved to the agency model for ebooks, with Random House becoming the final publisher to switch early last year. The publishers had been increasingly angry about Amazon’s selling of new bestsellers at the loss-leading price of $10 (actually, $9.99), worrying that the giant online company was setting customer expectations at a too-low price point and undermining the sales of physical books.

Apple played a role in this switch, by essentially telling the publishers it wanted the agency model for its own online bookstore, which services the iPad and iPhone. And Apple co-operated in what was the inevitable result for e-books everywhere: higher prices to consumers.

. . . .

An ebook priced like a physical book is a terrible deal for the customer. Among other drawbacks, you can’t resell – or even give away – an ebook in most cases. You don’t really own an ebook; you’re just renting it, even if the company you rent from says you can keep it, because that depends on the life span of the seller. Maybe Amazon will be around for a long time to come (I hope so, as a holder of a small amount of Amazon stock), but why would anyone count on that?

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Goals and Dreams 2012

26 December 2011

Author Dean Wesley Smith is starting a new series, “Goals and Dreams 2012,”:

Let me say this clearly. The reason I am starting right here, talking about failure, is that until you understand failure in publishing, you don’t have a lot of chances at success and setting goals for success. Failure is very much an option in publishing in all levels. However, quitting is not. You quit, you are done. You go into the “whatever happened to…?” authors and after that the “blank look” authors when your name is even mentioned.

. . . .

When setting goals, everything about your goal must be in your control. Completely.

Let me give you a list of examples of “control.”

1a) Selling a book to a traditional publisher…NO CONTROL

1b) Mailing a submission package to a traditional editor. YOUR CONTROL.

2a) Wanting your book to sell 200 copies a month on Kindle…NO CONTROL

2b) Getting your book on Kindle with a great cover, good, active blurbs, and written well… YOUR CONTROL.

You get the idea I hope.  So when some writer talks to me about a goal of selling a book to a traditional publisher by the end of the year, I just snort and they walk away insulted. I wasn’t laughing at their ability to write. Not at all. I was laughing at the goal they set and put a deadline on that was out of their control completely. Such goals are guaranteed to create disappointment.

. . . .

So if you are an indie writer and thinking you want to sell a thousand copies of all your books per month next year, that’s a dream. Retreat back to how many new projects you can write and indie publish. Set up how many you want to finish and publish. That’s a goal. Let the sales take care of themselves.

. . . .

[Writing about fear of failure]

A manuscript must be perfect. The writer doesn’t dare let a “flawed” manuscript out for anyone to see. 

The writers who have this major fear are constant rewriters, are major workshop people, are writers who write for their critique group instead of what they want.

Writers with this fear will take five people’s feedback and try to get it all into their manuscript turning their story into boring garbage written by a committee.

Writers with this fear spend huge sums of money on book doctors and other scams.

Writers with this fear are writers who let agents tell them to rewrite over and over. And so on.

Writers with this fear are replacing reality in publishing with their own fear. There are no perfect books in publishing. Never has been, never will.

Writers with this fear are often afraid of success, and certainly don’t trust their own art, because they willingly let many other people mess with it.

. . . .

Afraid to mail a story because of the rejection or afraid to put a story up indie published for fear of not having many sales.

I have never understood this fear, but I know it is real. For me, this fear is beyond silly. It’s like walking up to a golf course and then deciding not to play because your score might not be perfect.

This fear is one of the “quitters’ fears” as I call them. It is safer to not try than try and fail.

Link to the rest at Dean Wesley Smith

Joe Konrath Made the Front Page of Amazon

26 December 2011

Passive Guy almost never goes to Amazon’s front page, but millions and millions of other people do. From an ecommerce standpoint, few places on the web are more valuable than Amazon’s front page, particularly the day after Christmas when people are spending money and Amazon gift cards they received yesterday.

Today the Amazon front page features a Dear Customers letter summarizing the big happenings for Amazon in 2011.

Here’s PG’s favorite part:

In November we introduced our newest Prime benefit, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, where Kindle owners can borrow and read thousands of books for free, with no due dates. The library has grown to over 50,000 titles and includes more than 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers such as the Hunger Games trilogy, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Moneyball. It also features Kindle Direct Publishing top-selling authors like J.A. Konrath, C.J. Lyons, and Julie Ortolon.

Joe made the front page of Amazon!

There’s nobody whose done more for indie authors than Joe has. PG says congratulations and hopes Joe sells a gazillion books today.

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