Christopher G. Nuttall is a history buff. As an author, he writes sweeping series, a good number of which take place in imagined galactic empires of the far future, yet his plots still reflect what’s been intriguing about the human story so far. His books feature confrontations between space democracies and theocracies, monarchies beset by corruption and nations barely keeping it together. He takes the complications of life so far and imagines those stories spanning galaxies.
Mr. Nuttall has been publishing books on Amazon since 2011, but his career as a writer took off with 2012’s The Empire’s Corps, about a group of soldiers exiled to the outer edge of a galactic empire after its commander spoke too honestly to their nation’s leader. Since then, he’s been able to carve out a career for himself as a writer, doing nothing but coming up with book after book.
He joins a growing group of writers making a living (probably much better than a living) writing books that are published digitally. Our conversation marks the third story in our Titans of Kindle series, preceded by Kristen Ashley and Douglas E. Richards.
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Big picture: what’s your take on the world of publishing right now?
Well, I think things are changing rapidly. The current publishing world is unsustainable as it stands. Big publishers came up in a world that was completely different. They tried to price e-books as expensively as hardbacks, which cost them a lot of sales. Obviously, I’m not complaining about that, because it does me good, but it’s a major problem for publishers.
We’ve written a lot about the hike in ebook prices. Has it helped you?
I think so, yes. Lots of people know they are being cheated. The high prices are a big incentive to people who just want to pirate e-books.
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Do you do anything else to supplement your income?
I’m a writer. I just write basically.
Can you talk to me about your revenue streams? How does your income break down?
Amazon is the top source. Amazon is adapting, and other publishers are not. Amazon is very, very convenient. Createspace is a little bit of income. I’ve tried experimenting with others, such as Smashwords, but it hasn’t really worked out. I’ve also been picked up by a couple of small presses.
Does Amazon talk to you? Does it seek feedback from its authors about the industry?
I’ve actually got two books in 47North [Amazon’s science fiction imprint], and we do chat about things. Nothing special. We don’t actually offer each other much feedback. The thing I want is a way of counting how many copies of a particular books is sold. I’d like something that does it automatically. A lot of the secretarial work you have to do yourself.
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So do you understand how you blew up? Did you get a review on a prominent blog or something?
I haven’t had very many people in the media say, “This book is really good” apart from Instapundit. The thing is, it’s not reviews and endorsements from famous persons that count. It’s the number of reviews you get from regular people on Amazon.
The people who review books professionally are more critical, so I think they are out of touch with what people actually want. So I don’t think it actually helps.
Link to the rest at Observer.com and thanks to Andrew for the tip.
Here’s a link to Chris Nuttal’s books.