Monthly Archives: March 2016

14 hour days, marketing and dealing with snobbery: my life as a self-published bestseller

31 March 2016

From author Rachel Abbott via The Guardian:

Last week I looked at the complex set of spreadsheets I use to track my ebook sales and gave a whoop of delight: I had just sold my two-millionth book, something I would never in my wildest dreams have considered possible just over four years ago, particularly as the vast majority of those sales were achieved through self-publishing. Initially my most ambitious target had been to sell a thousand copies.

It’s been quite a journey, and all the more exciting for being so totally unexpected. There is no point denying that I became self-published because I wasn’t able to interest an agent in my first book. I had originally written Only the Innocent for my own benefit and pleasure, but I was encouraged by family to give publishing a go. I contacted 12 literary agents, and they weren’t all negative. At least two said they enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t the type of story publishers were looking for.

. . . .

In the last four and a half years, there have been some dramatic and brilliant changes in my life, but my initial vision of days spent doing nothing other than plotting and writing were way off the mark. The self-publishing model can look attractive because, depending on the price of the book, the author can take up to 70% of the proceeds of each sale – which is a bigger return that they would get through a traditional publisher. But it takes a lot of work to make those sales: when I started to follow my marketing plan for Only the Innocent, I was working 14 hours a day, seven days a week. For three months, not a word of a novel was written. Even now, with my fifth full-length novel, Kill Me Again, released on Kindle less than a month ago, I am still working similar hours – but I love the variety and the challenge.

I’d like to say that there has been a dramatic change in attitude towards self-publishing since I released my first novel. In some quarters that is definitely the case. But sadly there are still some influential people who believe that, first, self-published authors sell a lot of books because they are cheap (Kill Me Again is currently in the Kindle UK top 20 and only one book in the chart is more expensive) and, second, that if the writing was good, the author would be offered a traditional deal. Despite being placed 14th in the UK Kindle chart of all authors over the past five years – above many of my favourite authors – some festival organisers still believe I don’t have as much to say about writing and selling books as a traditionally published author, regardless of their popularity.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Here’s a link to Rachel Abbott’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Mysterious Stacks Of Books In NYC Are Connecting Strangers From Around The World

30 March 2016

From The Huffington Post:

Could this be a new chapter in the way we interact with one another?

Shaheryar Malik has left stacks of books from his own library at popular destinations all over New York City. He doesn’t stick around to see if anyone takes one of his books, nor does he re-visit his stacks. Instead he leaves a bookmark with his email address printed on it inside each book, in the hopes that he’ll hear back from whomever decided to pick that book up.

. . . .

“If I stuck around or revisited the stacks then it would be very close to how we live ‘digitally,’” Malik told The Huffington Post. “Nowadays we can go back and look at something we posted whenever we want. We can just hang around on social networks for hours [watching a post].”

So, instead he decided to leave the books to “live their own lives.”

“I felt much calmer, relaxed and yet more excited when I walked away from them,” he said.

. . . .

Malik says he’s left eight stacks through out the city at locations like Central Park and Grand Central Station, and aside from one small stack, each consisted of about 45 to 55 books, which he typically transports from his home by car and then from the car with a trolley.

Each stack has a note that reads: “Take a book. Any book. When you finish, email the artist.”

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post and thanks to Randall for the tip.

When you absolutely

30 March 2016

When you absolutely positively have to know, ask a librarian.

American Library Association

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

30 March 2016

From Nora Roberts:

For the past several weeks, I’ve been house hunting–publishing houses, that is. While publishing’s a business, a house is still a home, and moving is stressful, complicated–and for a creature of routine like myself–just fraught.

Exciting, too, because once you work through the fraught, there are new possibilities, a fresh page, a new start.

There were changes in the house I worked with, lived in, was part of for more than twenty years, and with those changes I no longer felt at home there. Home, for me, is the center, the core, personally and professionally, so I need to feel comfortable and in place. I need to fit and feel connected.

. . . .

I’m fortunate to have had choices, to be able look at the landscape, the architecture, the personality and foundations of what was available to me. Each had its own distinct appeal and advantages, and since I don’t move lightly, all had to be carefully considered–with the invaluable and level-headed guidance of my agent. Amy Berkower of Writers’ House has been my agent since 1980. Not only don’t I make changes lightly, but I know when I have the best and I hold onto it.

. . . .

For those reasons and many others, I’m unpacking my bags in MacMillan–St. Martin’s Press. Their landscape, architecture and personality all fit so well I already feel at home. I already know some of the family, and that’s a path to contentment.

Link to the rest at Fall Into The Story and thanks to Kelly for the tip.

Here’s a link to Nora Roberts’ books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

A Red Carpet for Amazon in Fall River, Mass., and Hopes for More

30 March 2016

From The New York Times:

For this former mill town, the deal to secure a large Amazon distribution center means much more than the $3.78 million coming from the land sale and the successful culmination of three years’ worth of negotiations.

“Any time you have a corporate giant making a commitment to a city, that speaks volumes,” said Kenneth Fiola Jr., executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, which worked closely with state officials and the broker NAI Hunneman to bring in the online retailer. “It gave us enhanced credibility.”

Credibility to attract other large companies, for one thing. And the deal for an over one-million-square-foot distribution center also gives Fall River, a southeastern Massachusetts city of about 89,000 people, cash to tackle a long list of improvements planned for its downtown business district. It is the latest step in a strategy that Mr. Fiola and other civic leaders are pursuing to encourage urban investment and redevelopment.

. . . .

 For its part, Amazon, which did not respond to requests for comment, is expected to hire 500 people when its $36 million warehouse opens this fall. The Trammell Crow Company is developing the project on 77 acres in the SouthCoast Life Science & Technology Park, one of three municipally owned industrial zones. It is a 10-minute drive north from Fall River’s downtown.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Jan for the tip.

Ahmedabad-based MatruBharti is quenching the thirst of multilingual readers, set to publish ebooks in 21 languages

30 March 2016

From Your Story:

Language and literature had been a soothing presence since childhood days for Gujarat-based Mahendra Sharma. He was a wordsmith even back then and known for his poetry, stories and essays. But the appetite to write more went on the backburner when he decided to pursue a diploma in computer engineering from Government Polytechnic Gandhinagar.

But, even after spending 17 years in the IT industry, Mahendra (37) was yet to have a fulfilling day. In 2014, he decided to finally do something about it and went on to explore his passion by combining literature, language and technology. This led him to start MatruBharti, a self-publishing platform, which publishes 15 to 20 ebooks per day in regional languages. The e-books are available in various categories, such as fiction, non-fiction, biographies, philosophy, motivational essays etc.

. . . .

Mahendra and Nilesh infused a seed capital of Rs 10 lakh and about Rs 40 lakh in three years to develop and market Matrubharti. They had faced multiple rejections from publishers who were of the view that the concept of ebook can harm the business of physical bookstores. For the first six months, they failed to get a single book from any publisher.

On digging deeper, they found the authors to be quite taken with MatruBharti’s concept, but they were not computer-literate. Initially, it took more than six days to publish a single e-book, because the operator had to transcribe the entire script into digital version. The same process took 15 days if the content was of a larger size. Today, MatruBharti publishes 300 ebooks per month.

MatruBharti accepts works in authors’ preferred language for publishing. Each ebook is typically 100 KB and takes 10 to 15 minutes to download.

. . . .

Mahendra explains that there are different payment slots: a minimum payment is given to authors having total downloads of 1,000 and above and the highest is given to authors having total downloads above 50,000.

The startup generates revenue by monetising Google Ads from free readers, subscription fee from premium users, and local ads from local businesses. MatruBharti is growing at a rate of 25 per cent month on month.

The app has seen 36,000 downloads so far with 32,000 active users and nine million screen viewers per month. “Our analytics show that our app has been used in 42 countries,” says Mahendra.

Link to the rest at Your Story

Amazon is the ‘most reputable’ company in the US

30 March 2016

From Business Insider:

Amazon is considered the most reputable company doing business in the US today, according to a new report by The Reputation Institute.

The organization gathered 83,000 ratings in the first quarter from people in the US, and looked at areas such as products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance.

. . . .

Out of the Top 10 most reputable companies, seven are from the US.

As for Amazon, its reputation wasn’t much hurt by a scathing story published by the New York Times last summer that portrayed Amazon as a “brutal” company to work for.  Nor was it hurt much bynegative stories of life as an Amazon warehouse worker.

Overriding those kinds of stories is the fact that Amazon has reinvented the shopping experience for the typical American, it offers an interesting online streaming alternative to Netflix (who also rated in the Top 10), has some decent tablets/e-readers at a great price, and is ajuggernaut in the up-and-coming cloud computing market.

Link to the rest at Business Insider

The Power of Free: How to Sell More E-Books

29 March 2016

From Publishers Weekly:

Do you want to sell more books and increase the value of your author brand? Then give some of your e-books away for free.

To many authors, the idea of giving their work away for free is counterintuitive—and possibly abhorrent and sacrilegious. Free devalues your work, right?

Wrong. Free makes your work more valuable. As an author, you are a brand. Readers buy books from authors who have earned their trust. But to earn readers’ trust, you must first earn their awareness. If readers don’t know you, they can’t trust you—your brand carries no value to them. You’re invisible. Even if you’re already a New York Times bestseller, there are millions of potential readers out there who have never heard of you and have never read your stuff.

Free makes it possible to reach new readers who would otherwise never take a chance on you. Free enables readers to sample and discover new authors without financial risk.

According to the 2015 Smashwords Survey, free e-books get 41 times more downloads on average than other e-books. This is the power of free. Free drives sampling and discovery.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

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