Self-Publishing

Ballard bookstore and gallery embraces ebooks

18 April 2014

From the Ballard News Tribune:

How do you like to read a book? Many readers have dumped the print for digital media reading devices like Kindle. Other’s cling to their age scented pages like a crucifix.

Amazon has had an influential role in changing the way we read, and with the way we read, publishing has changed too. More and more authors side step the traditional publishing house by contracting out all the work that goes into designing and editing a book to freelancers. With the change, new ways to sell books are emerging across the country and right here in Ballard.

Michael Matewauk is founder and curator of Factory vs. Academy (FA), a gallery and bookstore in a basement studio at 2220 N.W. Market Street. FA is part of this month’s Ballard Art walk. He launched FA in 2013, but this is his first showing. Every three months he plans to pair photography or paintings that lend to the featured indie writers’ books. Matewauk plans to expand the genre he features but right now is focusing on creative non-fiction. His current exhibit is called, “Thank you Bezos! A Self Publishers’ First Supper,” and features eleven books.
Along with the books, there is a large mural inspired by “The Last Supper,” by Leonardo da Vinci. Matewauk recruited Seattle mural artist, Andrew Morrison, to paint the walls of his gallery. Morrison painted the Native American heritage mural at Wilson-Pacific campus.

. . . .

“I don’t know where I got the idea to do this but I think it’s basically because Bezos sounds close to Jesus. I was thinking he’s a savior for a lot of writers by having readers buy their work online rather than going through the traditional publishing industry. I thought, ‘what would it be like to have him at the head of the table and have indie authors as the apostles?’ The mural shows that it’s a new idea – a new way to put a book out into the market place,” said Matewauk.

Link to the rest at Ballard News Tribune and thanks to Michael for the tip.

New Sales Dashboard for Kindle Direct Publishing

14 April 2014

Amazon has added a new Sales Dashboard to its KDP reports. Here’s what they say about it:

We’ve added a Sales Dashboard to the KDP Reports page to give you up-to-date reporting of paid, borrowed and free orders as they are placed in Kindle stores worldwide. The new dashboard also helps you track royalties earned as payments are processed for these orders

With the new Sales Dashboard you can:

- Track orders as they are placed: The dashboard graph provides you with daily trends for your titles as orders are placed in Kindle stores worldwide.
- Track royalties as payments are processed: The dashboard displays a summary of royalties earned as payments are processed for your orders.
- Generate customized royalty reports: The downloadable report gives you a detailed picture of orders, refunds and royalties earned.

You can filter the Sales Dashboard and Sales & Royalty Report by title, marketplace, and timeframe. The information you currently receive in the Prior Six Weeks’ Royalties reports is now available in the new Sales Dashboard and Sales & Royalty Report. We will remove this report in the near future.

Visit the Sales Dashboard to view the new reports here:

https://kdp.amazon.com/reports then click on the Sales Dashboard link

Learn more about the new reporting features at our Help pages.

Sales Dashboard: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A1Q7HTA3U1A5Y5

Sales & Royalties Report: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A3OVLANLFI5WMG

Thanks to Dan for the tip

Female Authors Dominating Smashwords Ebook Bestseller Lists

14 April 2014

From the Smashwords blog:

Each month, Publishers Weekly publishes the Smashwords Self-Published Ebook Bestseller List.  We report our bestsellers based on dollar sales aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network which includes retailers such as iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, the Smashwords store and others.

The other day I was browsing our February 2014 Smashwords bestseller list at Publishers Weekly and realized that all the top 25 bestsellers were written by women.  Cool beans.

Wondering if this was a fluke, I looked at our December 2013 Smashwords bestseller list at PWand bingo, same thing.  All 25 books were written by women.

Then I looked at the bestseller list for November 2013.   Same thing again.  100% women.

Our ebook bestsellers for October 2013?  You guessed it, 100% women.

. . . .

Why are women dominating the Smashwords bestseller lists, other than the fact that these women are all super-awesome writers?  One likely factor is that romance is the #1 bestselling genre at Smashwords, and romance is overwhelmingly written by women.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I’m constantly blown away the smarts, savvy and sophistication of romance authors.  These ladies have pioneered many of the ebook publishing and distribution best practices that so many indies take for granted today.

Link to the rest at Smashwords

Value Propositions

13 April 2014

From author Dan Meadows at The Watershed Chronicle:

Here’s the thing, we can all talk until we’re blue in face about ebooks, bookstores, publishers, writers, et al (a point some would say we already reached sometime in early 2012) but none of it means a damn thing. The only thing that matters is the value proposition offered to us and how that informs the choices people make. Everything else is bluster. Worse yet, it’s meaningless bluster that far too frequently merges with wish fulfillment of the person doing the blustering. “Ebooks are dying.” “Bookstores are crucial to the future.” “Writers need publishers to be the best they can be.”

. . . .

Twenty five years ago, if I wanted a new book, I had a few choices. There was the library (a brick and mortar bookstore that’s basically free for readers), used bookstores (brick and mortar store that’s cheap but whose offerings are dependent on readers getting rid of their old books), rotating racks of best sellers in retail stores (having little to do with book discovery and everything to do with pushing already known entities to impulse buyers) or bookstores themselves (who offered the best selection and knowledge about books available at the time).

In that environment, the value proposition to readers was on the side of bookstores. The time, effort and extra money necessary to patronize a bookstore was a fair trade off for what we got in return; a wider selection of books to choose from. Today, however, that value has flipped on them. Bookstores, with their real world physical constraints, inherently offer a limited selection of books. Online, however, has no such trouble. Online, you can find and buy every book. All of them. So now, bookstores have gone from having the best selection of books available to having a limited subsection of books.

. . . .

With ebooks, online print book sales and rapidly approaching explosion of print on demand technology, the value proposition to readers of frequenting bookstores is a problem. When they had the best selection and a knowledgeable staff that wasn’t easily reproducible, we thought nothing of the outlay in time and effort to shop there. We didn’t mind paying a few extra dollars on the price of a book to support their infrastructure when they provided a service that we valued. Today, though, shopping at physical bookstores requires readers to sacrifice. We need to give up our time and effort to get there, then pay those extra few dollars for the privilege of shopping in a limited pool of material. We need to choose to give up value available to us in order to use bookstores.

. . . .

When the value proposition changes from one where I pay out because you bring me value to one where I pay out to bring you value, that’s not going to end well for you. You can discuss bookstores’ place in literary history and culture all day long, it doesn’t change the simple fact that the value you once earned your coin with simply ain’t what it used to be.

This applies to the publisher/writer dynamic as well. Twenty five years ago, if I wanted to be a published writer, I had to go through the slow slog of querying agents, editors or whomever, piling up rejection after rejection until I get lucky enough to be offered a contract that paid me pennies on the dollar from the revenue my work generated. Not only did writers accept this, we fetishized it to the point where there are still writers who have inexplicably fond memories of taping rejection letters to their bulletin boards. The fact was, if I wanted to be published, that’s what I had to do. The value proposition of going through that crucible was worth it because it was the only way to reach the goals we wanted.

. . . .

Publishers and bookstores carefully crafted the value they brought over decades, some would say centuries. It does seem a bit unfair to people who have dedicated their lives to those ends to see that value knee-capped in less than 10 years. But that’s life. Sometimes, the things we value are life-long, sometimes they only last a matter of days or weeks. The thing is, you can never really tell when that value is going to vanish. And once that happens, you have to look toward the value you actually possess today and going forward.

When you hear people talk of the role of bookstores and their value to society, ask yourself, are they referring to the value they offer right this moment or the value they offered a quarter-century ago? Same with publishers. Is what they do today valuable or are they still treading on what they did that was valuable two or three decades ago?

Link to the rest at The Watershed Chronicle and thanks to Chris for the tip.

Self-Publishing is Dumb

12 April 2014

From Self-Publishing Review:

Recently, the debate has arisen again about genre vs. literary self-publishing (as if there’s some kind of war between the two).

. . . .

So, it’s apparently joyful that people might not read literary fiction. And somehow reading well-crafted sentences doesn’t take you away from the real world. Good writing takes you out of the real world – whether it’s a space opera or a family drama. That’s what it is to read a book.

This is why literary writers are reticent about dipping their toes into self-publishing. Because the culture of self-publishing is stupid. Not always, but very often.

. . . .

Before you call me a snob, I mainly write genre fiction. Weird genre fiction, but books where people are murdered and planets are decimated. Not quiet stories about relationships. But it doesn’t make sense to me to denigrate literary writing, any more than it makes sense for literary writers to denigrate genre. I get that genre fiction writers have been sneered at over the years, so they’re sneering back. But it actually helps out all writers if literary authors are welcomed into the fold. Ironically, self-publishers are acting like a kind of gatekeeper saying: you don’t belong here.

The world of self-publishing seems awfully stuck in a mindset like bad reactionary politics – in which everything is black and white. Genre good, literary bad. Traditional publishing bad, self-publishing good.

. . . .

All this aside, the reason literary fiction hasn’t been adopted as quickly is because literary writers need bookstore distribution more than genre writers do. Genre writers are much more likely to buy books on the Kindle. You might need to pick up a literary novel and read through it – not just the first 20 pages to see if there’s an action scene hook in the first few pages.

. . . .

Literary books are also more of an object to be owned than a lot of genre books – and because literary books are harder to read (not boring, more challenging), it makes sense to be able to see well-considered reviews from reputable sources. And though self-publishers might not want to admit it, readers don’t make the best gatekeepers.

Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Review

Behind the Curtain: Going Hybrid

10 April 2014

From author Kory M. Shrum via Rate Your Story:

No, not like some vampire-werewolf sexy-time. I’m talking about the moment that an author abandons traditional publishing only to fall into the dark and mysterious arms of self-publishing. Oh, the danger! The intrigue! It’s enough to make a girl’s heart race.

The decision to step away from traditional publishing might seem even more bewildering when you consider the difficult and strenuous task of acquiring an agent in the first place. Why in the world would anyone change gears after investing so much time and energy into one path? Wait, I can explain.

After spending a year trying to get an agent, I finally signed a contract with the ever talented Ginger Clark. She’s amazing. All of her clients love her and then one day I found myself on the phone, listening to her say all of these fantastic words: “I love your book. The world you’ve created is so unique, unlike anything I’ve read before. I think it has wonderful commercial appeal” etc., all ending in “I’d like to offer you representation.”

. . . .

And like most newbie-writers, I expected her to sell the book next week. A month at most. After all, wasn’t Stephanie Meyer dreaming about sparkly boys in the woods one day with a book deal the next?

But that isn’t what happened. One month turned into two, into four, six, then eight and it seemed that while we had mostly nice rejections (usually ending in an offer to see the revision), no one was committing. I even had an editor who waited a year (!) to finally reject the manuscript because she couldn’t decide.

In the meantime I wrote the sequel to Dying for a Living and started a third book called Water & Dark, a YA urban fantasy novel.

Ginger saw each of these books, offering suggestions for revisions before showing them to editors. But it was more of the same—lots of praise, lots of hesitation to reject, but ultimately, no acceptances.

. . . .

After all, the beauty of self-publishing is that you can do it yourself (control issues) and you can do it immediately (impatience). And furthermore, no one can tell me I can’t do it!

. . . .

And there are many who built a self-publishing career first and then the agent sought them out. Thanks to the likes of Hugh Howey, the highly successful author of Wool, all sorts of deals are possible that weren’t before. Selling your paperback book to traditional publishers while keeping the digital rights (and direct line to your wallet) open can happen.

Link to the rest at Rate Your Story and thanks to Stacy for the tip.

Self-Published Ebook Jumps to No. 1 on Best-Seller List, Dethrones Divergent

9 April 2014

From Digital Book World:

Divergent is this year’s runaway top best-selling ebook in the U.S. — but it’s not the best-selling ebook this week. (In the UK, at the London Book Fair, the buzz around HarperCollins is about why Divergent is selling comparatively well abroad.)

The juggernaut has been stopped and sits at No. 2 on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list, making way for The Fixed Trilogy Bundle, a collection of titles by self-published author Laurelin Paige.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

The all-new monthly literary prize – for self-published authors

8 April 2014

From The Guardian:

As DIY publishing gains respectability and established authors join the throng, the Guardian is joining forces with Legend Times to find the best self-published novels, in any genre, every month.

. . . .

The paper is teaming up with publisher Legend Times to support and showcase what it said was “the fantastic quality of writing that can be found from independent authors”, as the sector continues to boom. New figures from Nielsen’s Books & Consumers survey show that self-published books accounted for one in five of the 80m ebooks purchased in 2013. “No longer can the mainstream industry ignore what the general public have been reading and enjoying for a number of years, with many self-published authors outstripping the sales of novels published traditionally,” said the Guardian.

. . . .

The Guardian and Legend’s new prize is open from today to self-published novels written in the English language – translations are also welcome – with submissions to be read by a panel of Legend’s readers. The panel will draw up a shortlist of up to 10 titles a month that will then be read by expert judges, with the winning entry to be reviewed in the Guardian, online or in the paper.

Claire Armitstead, literary editor of the Guardian, said the paper had decided to launch the prize because “the phenomenon of self-publishing over the last couple of years has become too big for any of us to ignore”.

. . . .

“We are hoping to be a magnet to find the needle in the haystack,” agreed Tom Chalmers, managing director of Legend Times. “Everyone has a computer these days, and everyone is writing, which is brilliant, but it also means the market is completely flooded. That makes it quite hard if you don’t have a natural social media presence to get your work to the top, and to get noticed.”

The prize, he said, was aiming to find the “brilliant” self-published books that are out there, and to “bring these gems to the forefront”. “People in the publishing industry and literary awards in general are often too quick to disregard the work of self-published authors, missing the wealth of creativity and innovative writing there is out there,” said Chalmers.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Maggie Shayne joins the ranks of top authors going indie

8 April 2014

From USA Today:

There’s lots of change afoot with USA TODAY and New York Times best-selling author Maggie Shayne. In February, she got married. And now she’s announcing that she’s going the indie route. She still has two Brown & De Luca novels coming out this fall through the traditionally published route. But her other novels, going forward, will be put out by her new company, Thunderfoot Publishing.

. . . .

“Over the past two years, I’ve re-published 15 of my early novels and six novellas whose rights reverted back to me. At the same time, I’ve been continuing to write and publish front list (new) titles for the largest publisher in the world. What I have learned is that I love having complete creative control over every part of my stories, from concept to completion, from title to cover art, from pricing to marketing. Even more, I enjoy having the power to change the packaging, pricing, and promo plans if they aren’t working as well as I’d like. And I relish having a team entirely devoted to making my books successful. In my 22 years as an author, I’ve never had this much fun with my career.

. . . .

Maggie adds, “This is the most exciting and exhilarating shift my career has taken since I sold my very first novel in August 1992. I cannot wait to see how far we can soar.”

Link to the rest at USA Today and thanks to Niki for the tip.

Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing

8 April 2014

From Digital Book World:

The term “self-publishing” may have outlived its usefulness, according to Jon Fine, director of author and publishing relations at Amazon, speaking at the Publishing for Digital Minds conference this week in London.

When asked at a recent past conference what “self-publishing” looked like in ten years, Fine, who is intimately involved in that business at Amazon, said that it probably won’t be called that anymore. In the future, authors will publish in a number of ways.

“If you’re an author in ten years, you’re going to have an array of options,” said Fine. “What we’ve done is provide the tools that make it possible to take a story and make it available to hundreds of millions of people around the world…and do it in multiple formats.”

. . . .

“Do you want to be a small business owner or work for a corporation?” asked [Hugh] Howey, referring to the difference between self-publishing, where authors are also entrepreneurs (the former) and traditional publishing, adding, “and there are advantages and disadvantages for both.”

In a typical example of the flexibility afforded authors today, Orna Ross, a hybrid author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, who was also on the conference panel mentioned that she is publishing nine short books this year, about one every month, “and that’s not something a publisher would ever do.”

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

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