Monthly Archives: December 2014

Bestselling books 2014: the kids are alright

28 December 2014

From The Guardian:

At long last, kids ruled in 2014. Books aimed at them have often figured in the top 10 of the all-year sales chart for printed books, but in the respective heydays of JK Rowling, Stephenie (Twilight) Meyer and Suzanne (The Hunger Games)Collins the rest of the elite group usually consisted of grown-up titles and there was always a chance that one such mega-seller – by Dan Brown, say, or EL James– would pip them to the top spot.

This year, in contrast, seven of the top tier books including the No 1 – by John Green, David Walliams and Jeff Kinney, plus four Minecraft manuals – are for children or young adults and an eighth, Guinness World Records, is predominantly aimed at them.

. . . .

What’s fascinating about this is that there should be a market for video game spin-off books at all, let alone such a stunning one. There’s no shortage of Minecraft tutorials on YouTube, in its own online domain, but rather reassuringly young gamers en masse evidently felt a need for a hardback handbook opened next to their PCs – a demand reflecting the relative robustness of manuals of all types and children’s books, compared to other genres whose print sales and revenue have been hit harder by readers’ inexorable (though possibly slowing) flight to ebooks.

. . . .

Just like YouTube idols transformed into writers, reminiscing celebrities capitalise on their screen fame (usually on television) to win publishing deals; but the 2014 list confirms that the public long ago got out of the habit of seeing the resulting books as ideal Christmas presents. Besides the late Lynda Bellingham’s autobiography (12), two sports books, by Guy Martin (32) and Roy Keane (37), are the only hardback memoirs in the top 100. Yet publishers still seem in denial about the once-mighty subgenre’s slump, shelling out for much-hyped autumn offerings from John Cleese, Stephen Fry, John Lydon, Graham Norton and others that all flopped.

. . . .

More surprising is the decline of cookery titles, which until recently gave crime and children’s fiction a good fight for the highest positions. The genre’s talisman Jamie Oliver, who up to 2012 routinely occupied a top 10 spot and for several years running was the Christmas-week No 1, now languishes at No 23. Mary Berry is ahead of him at No 13, but you’d expect her to be higher, given The Great British Bake Off’s vast audience.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

The nicest and sweetest days

28 December 2014

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Indie Book Covers are On The Up

28 December 2014

From author Rebecca Lang via ALLI Self-Publishing Advice Blog:

Can I just say all of these amazing book covers I’m seeing are exciting the socks off me! That good covers are becoming the norm, rather than the exception to the rule, is truly heartening.

When I first started self-publishing, good covers were few and far between. I really feel the balance has now tipped tremendously in favour of indies, and this demonstrates a high level of professionalism. I’m so pleased to be part of such a focused and inspiring group of people.

. . . .

Nearing the completion of my first self-published book, I decided to have a stab at designing the book’s cover. I had seen some covers that I really liked and set my mind to replicating a couple of them – an eye-catching tabloid-style of cover with block colours, arresting images, and a darker more academic effort.

If it was any good, I reasoned, I would have saved myself some money and added an extra string to my bow (writer, editor AND book designer!).

As it was, it really wasn’t very good at all – but at the time I thought it was Magnificent! Genius! A Work of Art!

That was until I showed a graphic designer friend Tim Hartridge who politely considered it. He never said ‘Oh sweet Jesus, this is an abomination!’, but he did design something much, much better.

. . . .

Paying for the services of a good graphic designer is part and parcel of investing in yourself, and getting your readers to invest some time in getting to know your writing.

Link to the rest at ALLI

Here’s a link to Rebecca Lang’s books

The Emotional Side of a Book Release

28 December 2014

From author Katie Cross:

There is one thing about publishing that I’ve never been able to come to terms with: vulnerability.
For me (and others, I’m sure), releasing a book is like taking a scalpel to my sternum, slicing through my chest, and saying, “Here total stranger, for $3.99 you can have a glimpse into my heart.” Because, inevitably, every author writes pieces of their soul into their work, and if it’s good writing, you can never get away from that.

. . . .

This didn’t become quite real for me until a woman and blogger that I adore with all my heart,Cristina T, said to me in an innocent, random conversation, “I think we all picture you as Bianca when we read.”

My heart stopped. Not that it was real news, of course. Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m a snarky mess, just like B. All the same, I responded with, “Really? Because that was never the point. I never wanted someone to read the book and see me in it.”

In fact, I tried very hard to take myself out of Bianca in the beginning drafts, but my beta readers called me on it. She was “too perfect” and “boring.”

. . . .

I don’t like to need other people.

But you can’t release a book on your own. You just can’t, and you shouldn’t try. Networking works for a reason: we all need each other. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to rely on others to help my purposes be successful. My inherent skeptic always asks why should they care? Not to mention the phrase of no one will ever care as much about your book as you do.

Like the itchy wool sweater Grandma gives you at Christmas, accepting help from others is uncomfortable for me. While it’s incredibly appreciated, it also makes me incredibly vulnerable.

Link to the rest at KCross Writing

Here’s a link to Katie Cross books

Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Noses.

28 December 2014

From The New York Times:

Authors are upset with Amazon. Again.

For much of the last year, mainstream novelists were furious that Amazon was discouraging the sale of some titles in its confrontation with the publisher Hachette over e-books.

Now self-published writers, who owe much of their audience to the retailer’s publishing platform, are unhappy.

One problem is too much competition. But a new complaint is about Kindle Unlimited, a new Amazon subscription service that offers access to 700,000 books — both self-published and traditionally published — for $9.99 a month.

It may bring in readers, but the writers say they earn less. And in interviews and online forums, they have voiced their complaints.

“Six months ago people were quitting their day job, convinced they could make a career out of writing,” said Bob Mayer, an e-book consultant and publisher who has written 50 books. “Now people are having to go back to that job or are scraping to get by.  That’s how quickly things have changed.”

. . . .

Holly Ward, who writes romances under the name H.M. Ward, has much the same complaint about Kindle Unlimited. After two months in the program, she said, her income dropped 75 percent. “I couldn’t wait and watch things plummet further,” she said on a Kindle discussion board. She immediately left the program. Kindle Unlimited is not mandatory, but writers fear that if they do not participate, their books will not be promoted.

Ms. Ward, 37, started self-publishing in 2011 with “Demon Kissed,” a paranormal tale for teenagers, and quickly became one of Amazon’s breakout successes, selling more than six million books, according to her website. She said in an interview that she does not understand what her partner Amazon is thinking.

“Your rabid romance reader who was buying $100 worth of books a week and funneling $5,200 into Amazon per year is now generating less than $120 a year,” she said. “The revenue is just lost. That doesn’t work well for Amazon or the writers.”

Amazon, though, may be willing to forgo some income in the short term to create a service that draws readers in and encourages them to buy other items. The books, in that sense, are loss leaders, although the writers take the loss, not Amazon.

. . . .

“Does Amazon want to become a legacy publisher like we all are fleeing from and they seem to disapprove of?” the horror writer Kathryn Meyer Griffith asked in an online forum, adding, “They’re doing a good job of recreating that whole unfair bogus system where they make the money and we authors survive on the pennies that are left.”

Link to the rest at The New York Times

I’ll be famous after I’m long dead.

27 December 2014

From author and TPV regular, Julia Rachel Barrett:

I know this sounds really self-centered, and I swore I wouldn’t talk about my books over here, but I’m beginning to believe I will remain unappreciated in my lifetime.

. . . .

But it ain’t crap, my writing, I mean.

I’ve been re-working a few books… Just fixing scattered bugs. You know, those little flaws that manage to mar the narrative and continue to reproduce themselves despite a thousand readings. I’m re-working my books because, you see, I’m leaving KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited and expanding my work to all outlets.

Why am I doing this, you ask? I’ve been luckier than many Indie writers. I heard the complaints about falling sales, but for a time I hung in there, made more money every month than I had the previous month. But then the other shoe dropped and my royalties, rankings and readership tanked. New readers are not discovering me as they’ve done for years. I can’t  ignore reality. Things might could pick up, but I doubt it. And I’m not taking any chances.

. . . .

I don’t know what will happen. I do not. I am no more a prognosticator than Professor Marvel from the Wizard of Oz. But I will say this– the Indie world is in a fight for its life. We are, or so it seems to me, moving back toward a model of traditional publishing but this time theTraddies have learned a lesson (from us) and they are gonna pub on the cheap, co-opt us, force us to the thinnest of margins, and, in a very real and very large sense, this will screw every writer, from the tallest to the smallest. Kind of like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

. . . .

I have no plans to stop writing. In fact, I’m busy writing away. But I swear I feel as if I’m writing for posterity. As in, years from now someone will discover me and he or she will say, “Hey, this is a good book. Who is this author and why have I never heard of her? I’m gonna tell all my friends to read her work.”

Link to the rest at I Don’t Think It Means

Here’s a link to Julia Rachel Barrett’s books

Book Drunkard

27 December 2014

I am simply a ‘book drunkard.’ Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.

L.M. Montgomery

Buying Too Many Books

27 December 2014

« Previous PageNext Page »