Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Indie Authors

Author Earnings ~ “…Turning of the Tide…?”


I’ve posted before about Hugh Howey‘s initiative Author Earnings.

Here’s the site explanation

“Our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.”

Today’s post will share a few of the highlights from Author Earning’s October Report

“During the five short months since May, it seems that indies have somehow lost their market share gains of the preceding 18 months. This has been counterbalanced to a limited extent by a slight uptick in traditionally-published unit sales: both Big Five and Small/Medium Traditional Publishers have each gained roughly 1% in market share. But most of the lost indie market share seems to have instead gone to Amazon Imprints, who have gained a whopping 4% in market share.”

Might be hard to believe; but, that’s not as bad as it may sound…

“Despite the Big Five’s slight uptick in unit-sales market share, their share of consumer ebook dollars has continued to drop—albeit less steeply than in previous quarters.”

And…

“…the biggest recent winners seem to be the Small/Medium publisher authors, whose share of total Kindle author earnings has surpassed 20% for the first time.”

Taking the link to the October Report will give you a huge amount of information and speculation…

For non-link-takers, I’ll finish with:

“We have no idea whether this reversal represents the new normal—no clue at all whether what we’re seeing is a single-quarter blip before the previous relentless market-share shift toward non-traditional ebooks resumes; or whether we are seeing the true beginning of a turn in the digital book tide.

“But regardless, if you’re a traditionally published author of longstanding tenure, this change is probably good news.

“On the other hand, if you’re a relatively new traditionally published author or traditional publishing aspirant, the news is a whole lot less exciting. Because it seems the benefits of this recent increase in traditional ebook market share are not being felt equally by all authors…”

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#SelfPublishing Writers Need All the Help They Can Get


I’ve periodically shared various writing tools and different writing software… 

Selfpublishing Writers Need All the Help They Can Get

Image Courtesy of Ivan Soares Ferrer ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ivanferrer-35808

I’ve never quite known what to say about these writing aids, mostly because writers are so different in their needs and habits

One thing I think I do know, since I am a self-published author, is that we Indie-types really do need a lot of help (I mean, we’re up against the Big Houses with their huge staffs and loads of money…).

So, when I saw, Writing and Editing Tools for Self-publishing Indie Authors, on the ALLi site, I decided to share a few links (do check out the full article for more info on these tools…).

As indie author, Karl Drinkwater, says at the start of the article, he’s giving a summary of Writing Analysis Tools

editMinion (Free) which checks on such things as adverbs, “weak” words, dialogue “said”s, passive voice, prepositions, homonyms, and cliché.

And, another free tool that also helps you spot various “problems” in your writing

Hemingway App “Select the sample text, delete it, paste in your own. The tool is live…”

And, something a bit different than those first two…

Online Consistency Checker “As the name suggests, this is purely for consistency…”

And (perhaps to encourage you to go to the full article) here are the others with no commentary…

AutoCrit

ProWritingAid

WordRake

Grammarly

Finally, just before Karl shares four valuable Tips, he says:

“Tools are not a cure-all, and amongst the useful suggestions there will be many false positives. Tools are also not a replacement for the human touch. However, they invariably provide some useful insight. Why not try some of them out on your current or past works and see what they flag up? As indie authors it’s easy for us to edit and upload improved versions of our books at any time.”

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Independent Bookstores ?vs? Indie Authors


Ever heard of Joe Konrath?

Independent Bookstores and Indie Authors

Image Courtesy of Brendan Gogarty ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/brendan76-44966

If you take that last link, you’ll find 34 past posts that feature him

He’s a rare bird who was doing quite well in traditional publishing, had some difficulties that clearly disturbed him, took to Indie publishing and hasn’t looked back since.

If you need advice to navigate the life of Indie authorhood, he’s one of the top sources for reliable information.

A necessary word of caution: Mr. Konrath has “made it”—he works tirelessly—even if you follow his example you may never “succeed”—do read my most important post for writers

There’s a recent post of Joe’s called, Konrath’s Advice For Indie Booksellers.

He happens to have sold over 2 million books through Amazon.

He recently sent a newsletter to a large group of his readers (he hadn’t sent one since 2014…)

He received the following response from an Indie bookseller on his list:

“One of the first rules of marketing is know your audience.

“It is not the best technique to send an email soliciting orders for Amazon and their related products to Independent Bookstores. This is not the way to win friends and garner bookseller support.

“Knowing that you are putting your personal efforts into Amazon guarantees that your titles are  special order upon request only for my store.”

After he relates much more surrounding his relationship with booksellers and with Amazon, Joe says this:

“The above email…took me to task about one of the first rules of marketing. Well, what is one of the first rules of retail? Isn’t it stocking items that customers want to buy?

“In my novel ‘Dirty Martini’, I thanked over three thousand booksellers, by name. But once I signed with Amazon, these booksellers considered me the enemy, and refused to stock my books.

“Is that the way to compete with Amazon? By driving your customers to Amazon.com because they can’t find what they want at your bookstore?”

There’s also a link to a post from 2011 that had some suggestions Mr. Konrath had given Independent bookstores.

If you’re an independent author (or, want to be), I suggest you read both posts, carefully

But, just in case you don’t like taking links out of blog posts, here’s a list of his recommendations:

Remember why people shop indie
Hold author events
Start publishing

By the way, some bookstores have already become their own publishers… 

And, here’s one of Joe’s closing remarks to Indie Booksellers:

“Nobody wants to see the Indies disappear. There is a tremendous opportunity here, but it starts with taking the emotion out of how you view self-published authors and looking at it with an eye to what customers want.”

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Something for #Readers & #Writers . . .


This blog is like me—more maverick than classifiable

I report on Reading, Writing, and Publishing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I Re-Blog others’ posts on those three topics the other days of the week.

I am an author and I like to give my stuff away (see the left side-bar…).

Of course, if you’re a regular visitor, you know all this; but, I get most of my traffic from unsuspecting folks putting words into search engines

There are two other kinds of bloggers who authors and readers especially like—Book-Bloggers & Bloggers-Who-Do-Book-Reviews—sometimes a person is really both but some folks want to be one or the other (and, finding clear definitions for either is difficult…)

I’ll share two sites that cater to these types of blogs.

First, The Book Blogger List:

What they say about themselves:

“We have created this site to help book bloggers find like-minded bloggers and help authors find book bloggers that might be interested in their book.”

I’m really surprised they don’t mention Readers………

Perhaps they feel it’s way too obvious that a reader would like a place to find blogs about books…?

Now, their “rules”:

“Instructions for Authors

“This database of book bloggers is organized by genre of interest. If a book blogger has expressed interest in multiple genres, they will be listed in each category. Any book blogger that is listed here has asked to be listed.  Keep in mind that when approaching a book blogger about your book, use your manners and your common sense. Don’t approach a blogger who only reads children’s lit to read your non-fiction business book. Choose bloggers that are interested in your genre.”

“Instructions for Book Bloggers

“This is a site for you to list your book blog as well as find some bloggy friends. All the entries will be checked every two months. If your blog has not been posted to during those two months, your listing will be removed. If you are taking a blogging break – or going on a really long vacation, let us know and we won’t pull your listing.”

Now, let’s take a look at The Indie View.

First, “Indie” generally means “not from the big, old, traditional publishers”

The Indie View has three main sections:

Latest Indie Book Reviews from Around the Web

A List of Folks Who Review Indie Books

A List of Authors Who’ve Rated High in Indie Reviews

If you’re a writer looking for reviews, use their main link and scroll the right side-bar for Registration Requirements.

And, partly because there are so many book-blogs and partly because I want this post to be of value, here’s one more place to visit:

http://bookblogging.net/
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Publishing Predictions for 2015


I have to give a lot of credit to anyone who makes serious predictions about publishing… 

Publishing Predictions 2015

Image courtesy of Tracy Olson ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/designkryt

In today’s seriously frenzied book-world, predictions can be hazardous

However, Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, has the experience and credentials to make credible predictions.

Smashwords is “the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.”

And, Mark has a recent article called, 2015 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Slow Growth Presents Challenges and Opportunities.

As usual, I’ll give you a few excerpts that I hope encourage you to read the full article:

“To the extent any of us can predict the future…predictions help stir the imagination, spark constructive debate and assist with strategic planning.”

“I’m confident that decades from now, ebook self publishing will be viewed by historians as no less transformative than the advent of the Gutenberg printing press.”

“Recent years of exponential ebook growth have given way to a new normal of slower growth, greater competition and disruptive business models and power struggles.  These factors create new threats and opportunities for publishing industry participants.”

And, here are Mark’s twelve predictions for 2015 (each header I list here has valuable information in the full article…)—I find numbers 5, 7, and, especially, 10 quite surprising

1.  More authors will aspire to publish indie

2.  Indie authors will capture more ebook market share

3.  Screen reading will increase, but at a slower rate

4.  2015 will be slow growth for most authors, indie and traditional alike

5.  Indie authors face increased competition from traditional publishers

6.  Large publishers step up usage of FREE

7.  FREE will lose more mojo

8.  Many indies will quit in 2015

9.  Time management will separate winners from losers

10.  Amazon Will Use Kindle Unlimited to Pay Authors Less

11.  New VAT rules in Europe will put a damper on European ebook sales

12.  Back to basics:  The bestselling authors in 2015 win with best practices

And, when you go to the full article, don’t forget to read the Comments

Also, if you have any intention of using Smashwords for your own publishing, do check out Mark’s article, Smashwords Year in Review 2014 and Plans for 2015.
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