Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Indie Authors

Why Smashwords ?


I self-published my novel nearly seven years ago. At first, I was using FastPencil; with a print and ebook edition distributed to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a number of other retailers… Smashwords Review and Predictions

In September of last year, I switched to Smashwords.

That meant dropping the production of the print version; but, one day, I may add print back…

I feel good about the move to Smashwords—it feels “cleaner” than Amazon (none of that seemingly constant “How is Amazon mistreating authors again?” stuff…); though, I still sometimes buy a kindle e-book…

I’ve done quite a bit of posting here about Smashwords; if you take that last link, you might see this post at the top of the scrollable list…

One thing about Smashwords, even though it’s e-book-only—they distribute much more widely than Fastpencil.

I know many writers are still stuck with the idea that having a book at Amazon is required; but, that’s as outdated a notion as thinking that the only way to publish is with the Big 5…

So…

I recently got an email from Smashwords that led to two interesting articles…

The first is Smashwords 2017 Year in Review and 2018 Preview.

That one is about Smashwords, itself…

The second is 2018 Book Industry Predictions: Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence?

The beginning of that second article is a fascinating history that details the travails of Indie authors vis-à-vis Amazon…

Then come the predictions for 2018—separated into Clouds and Sunshine…

Here are the bullet-points ( reading the full article will make you wise :-)

Clouds

1.  2017 will be another challenging year for the book industry

2.  The glut of high-quality low-cost ebooks will get worse

3.  Barnes & Noble is sick and will get sicker

4.  Kobo’s sales will falter

5.  Devaluation pressures will persist

6.  Single-copy ebook sales will decline

7.  Romance authors will feel the most pain from KU {Kindle Unlimited}

8.  Large traditional publishers will reduce commitment to romance

9.  Email list fatigue

10.  Pressure will build to drop author royalties

Sunshine

11.  Audiobooks will be a big story in 2017

12.  Audible will face increased competition

13.  Readers will still pay for books worth reading

14.  New subscription services will be introduced

15.  Calls will grow in the US for antitrust action against Amazon

16.  Indies will reassert control over platform

17.  Indie authors will take a closer look at podcasting to reach new readers

By the way, that novel of mine, which is now on Smashwords, is still Free
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FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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Why Traditional Publishing Is Not for Serious Writers . . .


I’ve compared Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing quite a few times—click on both terms down in the Top Tags widget in the left side bar to do a bit of research… Why Traditional Publishing Is Not for Serious Writers

However, I’ve found what may be the definitive article explaining why serious writers need to learn how to Self-Publish.

The article is from Erica Verrillo and is titled, An Insider’s View of the Publishing Business.

My usual excerpts (to, hopefully, encourage you to read the full article...):

“We think editors at publishing houses edit. The truth is they spend most of their time responding to memos, developing profit-and-loss statements, figuring out advances, supplementing publicity efforts, fielding calls from agents, attending meetings, and so on. They edit on weekends and evenings, and on the train as they are commuting.”

“Privishing (where the publisher quietly suppresses books, whether intentionally or not) has become the norm for publishers for various reasons, the first of which is that there are limitations on budgets. The second is that editors compete for those budgets.”

“The negative attitude that editors develop about manuscripts and proposals is in part because budgets are limited, and is in part driven by competition. But mindless rejection is also an inherent feature of publishing….Editors are not only competing for budgets, they are engaged in what may be described as a pissing contest in snark.”

“…publishers identify writers as ‘outsiders’, as ‘them’, even though their income depends on the people they publish. This, I believe, is a significant component of the attitude that is shared almost universally among publishers…”

And, this is the big trophy that so many writers put up with rejection after rejection to embrace…?
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Visit The Story Bazaar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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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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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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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If you don’t see a way to comment after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com