Amanda Hocking

7 Tips for Amazon Keywords and Best Selling Books

6 October 2013

From How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks:

Best selling books are more likely to happen when authors use smart Amazon keywords. Are you using yours wisely to help strangers from all over the world find your books? Most authors are not because the whole metadata thing can be confusing. Think of it like this:

  • At bookstores, readers browse in sections where covers, titles and blurbs help them decide to inspect further.
  • Online, readers type phrases into the search bar where the most relevant books show up in the results (or the books Amazon thinks are most relevant).

. . . .

1. Make a list of words customers might use in the search bar to find what they want to read that is also what your book is about. This is called relevance. You don’t have to worry about a search for your name or book title. Those results will do fine on their own. You want to focus on subjects in your book like “travel writing” or “young adult romance” or “dating for women” as examples. From Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): Along with factors like sales history and Amazon Best Sellers Rank, relevant keywords can boost your placement in search results on Amazon.com.

2. Test these words at Amazon. How? Type them into the search bar slowly, one letter at a time and watch as prompts appear with words Amazon thinks you might be looking for in the search field. Example: if you type in R-E-I, the word “reincarnation” comes up immediately in the drop-down menu but it takes R-E-I-N-C before “reincarnation books” appears. This indicates to me that reincarnation is probably a better choice than reincarnation books if that is a major subject in your story.

. . . .

4. If possible, adding keywords to your book’s title or subtitle will do more good than at any other location since the title is most influential on search results. For non-fiction especially, your title must be related to search terms. For fiction, this can be hard if you already have a title and are set on keeping it. Perhaps the title is Dawn’s Quest. A brief subtitle will help bunches with keywords that actually get searched like Dawn’s Quest: A Caribbean Mystery. Don’t feel like doing that? I understand–most of my fiction titles don’t have keywords either, but it makes the battle that much harder to reach the top.

. . . .

5. Some Categories are linked with Keyword Requirements

The genres below are designed to be linked with keyword suggestions that help rank books in certain categories. Click on the genre to see some of the recommended keywords to rank your book in the top #100 of a specific category. (Notice the yellow highlight example for “new adult” as a keyword requirement for the broader category of Romance–New Age & College–New Adult.)

Link to the rest at How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks and thanks to Janice for the tip.

How to Give Yourself Writer’s Block

3 September 2013

From Amanda Hocking:

I get this question a lot: “How do you get over writer’s block?”

But I decided to do the opposite and write a blog called “How do you create writer’s block?” It occurred to me to write this because I was feeling creative, about to do some work, and then managed to completely kill it.

So here are some tips on how to stifle the creative juices:

-Read reviews, of your own books perferably, particulary negative reviews, although positive cans freak you out, too. If somebody loved one of your books, it means that your next book has to be even better, because nothing’s worse than taking somebody who loves you and turning them into somebody who hates you. Oh, and confuse your books for yourself. When somebody says, “I didn’t like this book,” they really mean, “I didn’t like you, the author, and I think you, the author, are terrible and awful and this review is totally personal.”

-Read reviews of other books (or films or poems), especially your favorite books. Find a really scathing review of whatever book you consider to be the greatest book ever written, and then realize that if somebody hates the GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN that much, what chance does your book every have?

. . . .

-Wonder if everything you do/think/feel/love is terrible and pointless, and even as you wonder it, you know it’s true. In the scheme of things, all your obsessions and thoughts and worries are totally pointless, and in the blink of an eye, you’ll be dead, and everyone you know will be dead, and in hundreds of years, they won’t even remember you, and nothing you do really matters because you don’t do anything that matters. You could, but you don’t. And that should be liberating, and it is – a little – but then you get depressed again.

Link to the rest at Amanda Hocking’s Blog and thanks to Kit for the tip.

Self-Publishing Star Amanda Hocking Sells Next Series to St. Martin’s

20 June 2013

From The New York Times:

Amanda Hocking, who sold more than one million copies of her self-published novels before turning to a traditional publisher, has sold another series to St. Martin’s Press.

“I’ve enjoyed my work self-publishing, and I will never rule out the possibility of self-publishing something again in the future,” Ms. Hocking said in a statement, “but right now, I’d rather focus on my writing instead of stressing about formatting and pricing and book covers and finding editors.”

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

This Week in Publishing…

23 June 2012

From Book Promotion.com

So, what’s going on in publishing this week?   I should correct that to say “What’s going on in publishing that I actually care about this week?”

It is 400 bazillion degrees in New York this week, and as such, everyone is cranky and everything is taking longer. For instance, even this blog post took longer, as this theme decided that it no longer wanted to recognize carriage returns, so I had to go all old-school and hand-write some hard returns so that it wouldn’t be the world’s longest paragraph. Sweet! In the continued saga of “publishing goes digital,” I have the following updates from the trenches, as it were:

 

1.  This week I had a weird “debate” with a person at a major publishing company about how they simply did not believe that eBooks should be priced below $10.   My reaction to this:   do you have a life-raft ?  You are on the ideological Titanic.  Publishers love to hate Amazon, but they sell a ton of books, and guess what?  They penalize you in the form of lower commission if you sell a book for less than $2.99 or more than $9.99.  To me, this means that Amazon will reward you if you stay in this profit zone.    Why on earth would big publishing not want the millions of dollars’ worth of market research Amazon is conducting every single day, I wonder?   Also, big publishing America, I would like to add that I talked to a New York literary agent this week who told me she just TURNED DOWN a $5,000 advance on a book for one of her authors because she wasn’t confident in the publisher’s digital capabilities.    Oh!  It burns!

 

2. I read this book, implemented some of this guy’s strategies, and am waiting and testing and recording results.  HOWEVER, I think he is absolutely insane for dismissing blogging and social media as a factor in author success.   I stopped reading his book once when he said “there’s no way Amanda Hocking blogged her way to success,” because I assumed anyone who would say something like that didn’t know the market and I couldn’t learn anything from him.  Well, my bad, he actually does have an interesting method (though, just to warn you, it is MUCH more complicated and time-consuming than it initially seems), but I still think he’s dead wrong about people with active blogs and social media.  Dead wrong.  Amazon will adjust its algorithm just like Google does, your books will rise and fall in Amazon ranking (after the first six months of your first book being out, you will quickly tire of this), and while this method may fall out of favor, you know what will NEVER be impacted be mysterious algorithms or whims?  A mailing list full  of your loyal followers and readers who actually want to buy your books.    I’m all for learning new things (in fact, I do it all the time so you don’t have to!), but it kind of bugs me when someone comes up with one theory, then dismisses all of the others.  This strategy, if you choose to learn it, should be PART of your arsenal of writer tools, not the whole thing.  Always be diversifying and building up that list!

Read the rest here:  Book Promotion .com

– From Julia Barrett

 

How is Amanda Doing Now?

2 May 2012

From Amanda Hocking:

As I was self-publishing, I was always very transparent about what was happening, and I’ve tried to maintain that even with going with traditional publishing. I don’t want to talk about more industry stuff all the time, because I think it can get boring and redundant and readers don’t necessarily care about sales.

. . . .

Before I say that, I want to clarify one thing that some people still get confused on: I have two separate deals with St. Martin’s. The one that happened first was for a brand new four-book deal (the Watersong series), and the deal that came a little bit later was a three-book deal to re-publish the previously self-published Trylle Trilogy.

. . . .

As part of the deal with St. Martin’s, I unpublished all three Trylle books last summer. That gave them time to be edited and build up proper steam for the re-release starting in January 2012. But by the time I un-published them, I’d already sold nearly a million copies of the trilogy.

So, when going forward with the deal, both my publisher and I knew that we’d already sold to a large part of our readers. Many people who would want to read the books already had, and while some of them might re-buy, a lot of them wouldn’t. We both know that, and we both understood.

Still, we geared up for the release like they would any other books. In terms of the actual book, I’ve had input on every aspect of design – from the cover to editing to pricing to marketing. I’ve loved working with my editor, publicists, and every member of the team I’ve been in contact with St. Martin’s. I’ve never accepted part of the process that I didn’t like. I’ve still been able to be hands-on when I want to and need to, but without all the stress I’ve had before.

. . . .

My publisher sent out an insane of amount ARCs to create early buzz. They worked with major retailers, like Wal-mart and Barnes & Noble to get placement, including many adds in important trade and book buying publications. There were also more ads aimed at readers, like a full page in the Hunger Games special edition of People magazine and commercials on MTV. They also set up a website for me and added some cool content there (www.worldofamandahocking.com)

Those were just things happening in the US. Overseas, Pan Macmillan has been doing a tremendous push with the English versions of my books as well. In the UK, they had posters for Switched set up in train stations all over. I know that in particular, Australia has run a very large campaign for my books, including giving out a copy of Switched with an edition of Dolly magazine (which I understand to be something like Teen magazine here in the US). But across the board, the promotion in the UK, Asia, India, South Africa, and Australia has been phenomenal.

To gear up for the publication of Switched in January, I did a small press tour. In the US, that meant appearing on Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show Anderson and on Erin Burnett’s show on CNN, as well as several interviews for newspapers, radio, and blogs. They also got reviews from major review publications, like Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and the New York Times. My publisher set up a very cool meet and greet with local bloggers, and I did a book signing and reading.

After Switched came out, I went over to the UK and did press there, including a short interview on the BBC and a piece in The Guardian. I actually did a huge amount of press while I was there, for the UK, India, Asia, and Australia. I also got to do a couple book signings and talked at a school.

. . . .

But in the end, as pleased I’ve been with my publisher, as much as I’ve enjoyed working with them, and as much marketing and publicity they’ve done, none of it really matters if the books aren’t doing well.

So how are the books doing? I don’t the exact sales on anything because it’s harder to tally with paperbacks and through a publisher, but here’s what I do know:

Switched came out January 3, 2012 with an initial print run of  about 200,000 books in the US, and it’s in its fifth printing. Torn came out February 28, 2012and I’m actually not sure of its initial print run, but it’s in its third printing. In a recent email from editor, she said that books in series tend to lose momentum as the series goes on with sequels doing slightly worse than the original, but she said that has not been the case with my books. Torn was outselling Switched and doing really well. Ascend came out last week, and my editor told me that my first week sales are already double that of Torn.

. . . .

So far, my publisher is very happy and very excited about how the books are doing. As far as I can tell, they’re doing about as well as they’d expected and hoped. The same goes for me. I wasn’t really completely sure how well the books would do considering they’d already been self-published and already sold so many copies before, but I’m very pleased to with it.

Some people have been speculating that I’m not doing so well based on my Amazon rankings – which aren’t terrible, but none of my books are in the Top 100 right now. They think this means that I’m not selling and the books must be doing poorly.

. . . .

And you cannot discount the fact that I sold nearly a million books copies of the Trylle books before I went with a publisher, and a large portion of those were through Amazon. I thought I’d already mostly tapped out the Amazon audience, so the fact that my books are doing as well as they are (Switched is ranked in the #1,000s of the Kindle store at the time of this writing, and Ascend is ranked #325) is impressive to me.

Books can’t sell exponentially well forever.

. . . .

I don’t have any sales number on how the books are doing in the UK, India, Asia, South Africa, or Australia, but everything I’ve heard from my publishers there sounds very encouraging and they seem very pleased with how the books are doing.

And most importantly – at least to me – the reviews and the response to the new editions of the Trylle books have been very positive, more so than the original versions. That’s thanks in part to copy editing (no misspelled or forgotten words), but I think it’s more to do with the small but strong changes made with the overall content. Especially with Ascend. Readers seem to be enjoying it much more, and that’s always been important to me.

Some of the changes made to the Trylle books were mine, some were my editor’s, but I think the overall collaborative experience of me being able to bounce ideas of another person made the books stronger, smoother, and over all more fun for the readers. I am more willing to take chances and to try different things because I feel like I have a safety net in the form of my editor. That makes for a better quality of work overall, plus I feel less stressed.

. . . .

If you want to really judge on how I do with self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, though, the Trylle books aren’t really the best ones to look to for an example. Because I’d already tapped into such a huge portion of the audience, everything is a bit skewed.

What will really be interesting is to see how the Watersong books do. St. Martin’s rolled out the carpet for the Trylle books, but I know they didn’t give it all they have because they knew they couldn’t completely recoup it. They were taking a chance that the books might not find an audience at all because they’d been previously published at a lower price. The marketing plan they have for Watersong is larger, and it’s starting out without the million book deficit that the Trylle had.

Link to the rest at Amanda Hocking and thanks to Livia for the tip.

Is Passive Guy the only one who reads a message between the lines?

It sounds like St. Martin’s spent a lot of money on the relaunch and Amanda doesn’t think she’s selling very well.

When PG first wrote about Amanda in February, 2011, she was killing Kindle’s best-seller list (paid, including fiction and non-fiction).  Her books were #3 (above Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, John Grisham and Suzanne Collins) , #10, #11, #29, #39, #44 and #47.

The idea that “both my publisher and I knew that we’d already sold to a large part of our readers” sounds like publisher/editor excuse-making. The number of readers with Kindles is much larger now than it was early in 2011 and continues to grow. Additional prospective Hocking readers are showing up on Amazon every day.

The publisher’s view of a finite audience is part of the outmoded scarcity model Kris Rusch has written about. One reason why some successful indie authors may not sell nearly as well with a traditional publisher is that traditional publishers are too rigid and don’t know how to sell to new online buyers.

PG thinks St. Martins has screwed up sales by charging too much for Amanda’s audience – $8.99 for the ebook. If SMP had let Amazon set the price instead of insisting on agency pricing, it would have made a lot more money.

Another between-the-lines message PG thinks he sees is that Amanda is frustrated at not being able to see real sales numbers like she could when she was indie.

But PG could be wrong.

Update: We’re collecting a lot of good comments on this post, so don’t miss those.

Half-way Through the Revolution

14 February 2012

From publishing professional Mike Shatzkin:

A couple of major (Big Six) publishers have acknowledged that ebook revenues for them have passed 20% of their revenues. Of the 80% that remains print, I think it would be conservative to estimate that 20% of that is sold online. That’s an additional 16 percent of their business. Adding those together tells us that, for at least some very major companies, 36 percent of of their sales are being transacted online. That would leave, on average, about 64% of the sales for print sold through brick-and-mortar retail and other more minor channels. ”On average” should not be read as “typical” on a title-by-title basis. It isn’t. For immersive reading, or straight text like novels and biographies, the percentage sold in stores is already almost certainly substantially lower. My hunch, and nobody really keeps these figures (but I think I’ve found a way to get at them, which we’ll try to show at a future Publishers Launch conference) is that it may already be down to 50% print in stores for new titles.

. . . .

Five years ago, early in 2007, it was a virtual certainty that 80%, and probably much more, of the sales of any trade book that sold a significant number of copies would take place in stores. There were almost no ebook sales. (The Kindle did not make its debut until November 2007; sometimes I feel like I was the only person reading ebooks before the Kindle arrived.)

Five years from now, by the start of 2017, I’d bet that 80% of the sales of any trade book that sells a significant number copies will be transacted online.

And that, even more than the ebook uptake that is a mere component of the store-to-online shift, is the story of our times that matters in trade publishing.

. . . .

But being halfway through the change in consumer buying habits in our decade of change has profound implications for all the big players in the publishing value chain. It would appear that publishers in both the US and UK are now accepting that the decline in numbers of bookstores and the shelf space they offer for merchandising is not temporary and not primarily recession-driven. (We heard that said more than once last year and the year before.) It is a fundamental societal shift that is inexorable and which shifts power away from publishers to their trading partners on both sides of them: the authors and the retailers.

. . . .

The transition has another dynamic which is the growth of Amazon’s power in relation to every other player in the value chain. Going back to the stats at the top of the piece, the publisher who is seeing 36% of total sales and perhaps nearer 50% of immersive reading sales taking place online, is also seeing the percentage of their sales through Amazon grow as well. Amazon has about 60% of the ebook sales in the US and perhaps 90% of the online print sales. That would make Amazon (12% of the 20% sold as ebooks and 16% of the 80% print) about 28% of such a publisher’s volume now.

But using an overall number like that understates the reality of Amazon’s dominance. Their share of the sales of straight text books is almost certainly higher (because they sell most of the ebooks), so that share is almost certainly above 30% now. If things proceed as this piece contemplates for the next five years and nothing drastic has happened to change the shares retailers have of the ebook and online print channels, Amazon is likely to be something more than 50% of a big publisher’s business. All they won’t have is the 20% that is brick-and-mortar print, a sliver of online print, and the chunk of the ebook business that is sold by other vendors. And, as now, the percentage sold online will be higher on straight text.

Link to the rest at The Shatzkin Files

As usual, Mike’s analysis is thoughtful and well-documented.

However, to project what’s happened ahead another five years is very dangerous if you’re in Big Publishing (including if you’re an author with a lifetime publishing contract with Big Publishing).

Passive Guy thinks we’ll see more major downsizing and either one or more bankruptcies or some shotgun mergers in lieu of bankruptcies among large and medium publishers.

For those who say big publishers are owned by major media conglomerates who won’t allow a subsidiary to go broke, PG begs to differ.

Having worked for a subsidiary of a major media conglomerate, PG can assure you that the people in headquarters watch the numbers very closely. They have no problem sending an order to cut headcount by 25% to bump profits up for a couple of quarters. They have no problem selling a sinking company for less than they paid for it so they don’t have worry about an ongoing adverse impact on corporate profitability in the future. And they don’t care who buys the subsidiary. While they’re in the media business, the big conglomerates don’t care if their dollars come from New York Times bestsellers or Hong Kong kung fu flicks so long as the dollars flow in at a reasonable and predictable velocity.

For a little revolutionary perspective, Louis XVI was informed that France was insolvent in 1786, the Bastille was stormed in 1789 and Napoleon effectively ended the French Revolution in 1795.

The guillotine was adopted as the official means of execution in 1792. All of the beheadings took place during the second half of the revolution.

Self-published authors find e-success

13 December 2011
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From USA Today:

In 2009, Michael Prescott’s dream died, or so he thought.

After graduating from college in 1980, Prescott had labored for almost three decades to become a best-selling novelist, writing more than 20 books under various names. He enjoyed critical praise and some successes.

But when 25 publishers passed on buying his thrillerRiptide, Prescott thought the gig was up. Then, on a whim, he decided to self-publish it as an e-book.

Today, the soft-spoken Prescott, 51, is living his dream. He is one of 15 self-published authors whose e-books, often selling for just 99 cents, have cracked the top 150 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list this year, threatening to change the face of publishing.

For Prescott and a handful of others, the numbers add up. Prescott says he has earned more than $300,000 before taxes this year by selling more than 800,000 copies of his self-published e-books.

Five of Prescott’s thrillers have logged a total of 42 weeks on USA TODAY’s best-seller list.

“If someone in this year had told me I was going make a lot of money with e-books, I wouldn’t have believed him,” Prescott says. “I thought maybe a couple of hundred dollars.”

. . . .

According to the Association of American Publishers, e-books grew from 0.6% of the total trade market share in 2008 to 6.4% in 2010, the most recent figures available. Total net revenue for 2010: $878 million with 114 million e-books sold. In adult fiction, e-books are now 13.6% of the market.

“It’s a gold rush out there,” Prescott says. “Forty acres and a mule. It’s the best time for an independent writer to get out there.”

Forget the sensitive auteur waiting for the muse. Self-publishing an e-book requires an entrepreneurial spirit. For each 99-cent e-book sold, Prescott receives 35 cents. The online retailers — Amazon, BN.com, Apple, Sony — take the rest.

. . . .

Barbara Freethy, a top romance writer for 20 years who has written 30 novels, says that this year, she has sold 1.3 million self-published e-book versions of 17 of her out-of-print novels. Nine hit USA TODAY’s top 150.

“There have been more changes in the last two years than in the previous 18 years I have been in publishing,” says the San Francisco writer, who is considering self-publishing her new book, A Secret Wish. She finds it satisfying to see the balance of power shift within publishing, with authors gaining more control over their work.

. . . .

Konrath, 41, who had modest success writing mysteries published by several traditional publishers (who still publish him), is now also a best-selling writer of self-published e-books. He also runs the influential website The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.

“I am a guy who had his butt kicked by the industry for 20 years, and now I’m showing other authors what they can do so they don’t have to go through the same thing,” he says. “Traditional book publishers are just serving drinks on the Titanic.”

Konrath has seen his income from his self-published e-book sales go from $1,400 in April 2009 to $68,000 in April 2011.

. . . .

C.J. Lyons also appreciates what traditional publishers bring to the table. A former emergency-room pediatrician, Lyons, 47, has published more than a dozen medical suspense novels with traditional publishers, as well as nine self-published titles, two of which hit USA TODAY’s list this summer.

Now she has signed with a traditional publisher, Minotaur Press, a division of St. Martin’s. “I enjoy working with an editor, and I think my writing is ready to go to the next level,” she says.

Her new publisher, Andrew Martin, says, “I’m not buying a book, I’m building a career with an author.” He says an established publishing house lets the author do what he does best — write — while the publisher offers expert marketing, editing, production and aggressive protection against e-books being illegally pirated.

In the midst of this revolution, Martin sees a silver lining for traditional publishers. In the past, editors, agents and publishers depended on their gut about whether a book would connect with readers. Now the stories are being pre-tested in the online marketplace. “It’s like the old-fashioned slush pile being road tested — with the cream rising to top.”

Link to the rest at USA Today

Self-Published Kindle Book Trends in 2011

11 July 2011

Ebook Friendly has an interesting analysis of indie books in the Kindle Top 100 so far this year.

For Passive Guy, the most telling fact is “In Kindle Store’s Top 100 in July 2010 there was not a single self-published book. Also, no book had a $0.99 price tag.” Indie writing has come a long way in a short time.

Excerpts:

It seems that Amanda Hocking’s popularity was transformed into John Locke’s success (check Graph 4). He was a follow-up story in media, but most importantly it’s his books to move upwards in Kindle Store. March, April and May lists were dominated by Locke’s Donovan Creed novels.

Take a closer look at Graph 1. Self-pubbed books are doing great for three months in a row, and then, in May, the numbers are going down to reach in June the same level as from before the February media excitement.

We have to remember that fantastic results of Amanda Hocking and John Locke were possible because they already had several titles published in Kindle Store. They used all ammunition – and in June they didn’t make it to Kindle Store’s Top 100. It will be really interesting to observe the trend in the coming months.

It’s too early to judge, but it looks like self-publishers are consumed fast – opposite to well established authors who stay at the charts for many months, naming only Suzanne Collins or Stieg Larsson.

. . . .

Authors with biggest chances for a long-term presence in Top 100 are J.R. Rain, Heather Killough-Walden, Scott Nicholson and David Lender. Authors on the rise are Barbara Freethy, Michael Prescott, De-ann Black and Simon Wood.

When you look at the Graph 1, you may ask a question: is the downward trend going to end (and thanks to whom) or will we witness how self-published books disappear from the bestseller lists.

The second alternative may happen due to four reason:
- $0.99 not appealing any more
- no new books
- no new big media stories around self-publishing
- self-pubbed authors sign deals with publishers

. . . .

Table 1: Self-published books in Top 100: Summary Jan-Jun 2011

Data collected between June 30th and July 5th, 2011, from Kindle Store’s Bestsellers Archive.
Click on months for detailed monthly tables.
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
No. of self-pub books in Top 100:132627262213------
No. of self-pub books in Top 50:817171657------
No. of self-pub books in Top 10:234101------
Best self-pub book ranked at:6416196------
No. of $0.99 self-pub books:71716161810------
Share of $0.99 self-pub books:54%65%59%62%82%77%------
Average price of
a self-pub book:
$1.99$1.72$1.62$1.62$1.58$1.61------
Most expensive self-pub book:$3.99$3.99$3.99$3.99$4.99$4.99------
. . . .
Link to the rest at Ebook Friendly

A-List Ebook Authors

12 May 2011

You’ll recognize familiar names, but it’s interesting to see the top four indie authors profiled in a single article.

Excerpts:

In 2009 (the latest figures available), nearly 765,000 titles were self-published in the U.S., an increase of 181 percent over the previous year. The self-publishing business is heating up in other ways too. Just last week, Smashwords, which publishes and distributes about 45,000 ebooks, signed a deal with ScrollMotion to create mobile apps for all its 18,000 author clients.

. . . .

Since the auction, Hocking has gotten even deeper into the traditional publishing world: Last week, she announced that St. Martin’s will republish her Trylle Trilogy in both digital and print formats next year. On her blog, she suggested that fans buy the Trylle e-books at their current $0.99-$2.99 prices, noting that St. Martin’s will likely raise the price when its version of the book comes out and replaces the self-published editions.

. . . .

The thriller author and real-estate developer Locke lives in Louisville, Ky., and is the author of seven books, all of which have hit the Kindle bestseller list. He says he’s had five books on Kindle’s top 10 list simultaneously, and claims that “every seven seconds, 24 hours a day, a John Locke novel is downloaded somewhere in the world.” He is 60.

Link to the rest at Paid Content

Guess what? I am quite happy outside the crowd.

24 April 2011

Indie author Scott Nicholson tells why he didn’t pursue an opportunity to move from the indie life to being an author for Big Publishing and why he thinks Amanda Hocking made a big mistake.

Excerpts:

A successful writer friend recently gave me a “hot tip” on an emerging book sector–it was all the rage at an international book fair, and now publishers have the stats to back it up. Stats mean sales people can buy in, which means editors can spend money, and writers can get book deals, and everybody’s happy. Right? He was trying to get me in on it as an act of generosity, with connections in place and everything. And I thought about it, because that siren song of “Your name on a REAL BOOK” is still pretty melodic. I could do it. I have an agent and enough success and this market is new enough that my old genre sales numbers wouldn’t matter.

The next morning I woke up and thought, “No way in hell.” Think of the drama. First off I’d have to explain it all to my agent, come up with an outline and sample chapters, wait to see if it sold, then work with editors and PR department and then wait up to a year for anything to happen, all the while getting approvals and requests for revisions. Dozens and probably hundreds of emails and phone calls. Just thinking about it exhausts me, when my biggest worry today is whether I should plant beans or plant spinach.

When compared to just typing and publishing as I do now, a big manufacturing process is not very appealing. That’s not to say a good editor can’t greatly improve a book. But you know what? I am already an editor. I edit other people’s books, and I am probably better at it than some who are doing it on salary, because I’m a writer and not just a reader. That’s not ego, that’s 15 years of experience.

I have to laugh every time someone quotes Amanda Hocking saying she took her deal so she could “just write.” I saw on a blog that her assistant had turned down a request by the blog for an interview. So, aside from the layer she’s installed already away from her former real life when she dealt with book bloggers, she is managing an assistant, as well as the “lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors” that success brought. And an agent, and probably several agents if you count film and foreign rights, and Hollywood people for the movie versions. And at least one editor, until those foreign rights sell, and then there are multiple editors.

. . . .

There’s no way a big fat book deal would improve my life. I don’t care how much money it is. It would be a step backward. Because I am already doing everything I want on my own terms, and that is all I ever wanted. Going that route would be someone else’s (many someones) routes. I’d go from being a business owner to a temp contract employee.

That’s not to say I’d never take a corporate deal. The point is, I don’t need to. Just the offer from my friend made me anxious and unhappy, because it sounded like the sort of opportunity I should leap at, and that I should rush before the crowd gets there.

But, guess what? I am quite happy outside the crowd. And I’ve had my best success, luck, and happiness following my own path.

Link to the rest at Scott Nicholson

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