Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Indie Authors

What The Hell Is Going On In The Book World!?


So, Amazon is flexing its muscles and one of the legacy publishers is saying sorry to its authors.

Book Wars

Image courtesy of Mile Jerkovic ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/mile

Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the big publishers and Apple for “price-fixing”.

Now, it appears Amazon is withholding books from consumers to force a publisher to its knees

So much of the book world is changing and so many of the players are fighting—acting like children—children who own multimillion-dollar companies.

Two years ago, the buzz-words were “Agency Model” and a well-known author and well-known book distributor had opposing views of this simple proposition—the publisher sets the price of a book, not the retailer (“publisher” these days can also mean Indie author).

Amazon is a retailer—an extremely powerful retailer.

I admit I’m having trouble deciding who’s “right” in this deadly childish game.

One of the most insightful articles out there (and there are countless articles swirling around this battle) is the piece by Mark Coker of Smashwords—Amazon’s Hachette Dispute Foreshadows What’s Next for Indie Authors.

A few excerpts:

“The outcome of this dispute will have permanent ramifications for publishers and indie authors alike.”

“The industry can cry until it’s blue in the face about how Amazon is ruthless and heavy-handed, and how other retailers are kinder and gentler. The truth of the argument doesn’t change the reality.  Amazon does what it does because it can, because authors and publishers let them do it, and because it’s in Amazon’s nature to act this way.  Lions eat wildebeest.”

“Publishers deserve much of the blame for making their ebook margins such an appetizing target for Amazon.  Amazon’s assault on their margins should come as no surprise.”

“If Amazon tightens the screws, indies will face the same painful decision Hachette now faces.  Either swallow the bitter pill, or remove your books from Amazon.”

Coker goes on to give Indie authors four powerful strategies to protect their earnings.

Yet, to me, the most important thing he says in this article is:

“Is it really necessary that retailers and publishers should view one another as war-like adversaries, or as predator and prey?  I don’t think so.”

Just look at our world—divided up into countless adversaries

The important point, in the book world or the whole world, is that people have free will—the only thing that compels them to fight is their choice to fight

Look at the results of any war—everyone, eventually, loses.

I have some special resources tucked away on this site that offer perspectives for a friendlier world—one where everyone wins………
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E-Books & Libraries ~ Being Fair . . .


I’ve written quite a bit about libraries but need to draw your attention to the question “Do Publishers Hate Libraries?” and to the ideas in the article “Myth-busting: Libraries and E-books“.

Ebooks and Libraries

Image courtesy of Sara Haj-Hassan ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/hhsara

You see, the “big” publishers are having problems with their bottom-lines and they’ve been trying to undermine the social purpose of libraries.

Mark Coker, CEO at Smashwords, says: “…front list ebooks from Big 5 publishers can cost libraries $80, and even backlist ebooks can cost libraries $20-40…”.

So, when I saw the article, Smashwords and OverDrive to Bring 200,000+ Indie Ebooks to 20,000+ Public Libraries, I knew something good was happening.

Here’s are just a few excerpts from Mark’s article:

“OverDrive powers the ebook procurement and checkout systems for 20,000 public libraries around the world, including 90% of US public libraries.”

“OverDrive has already completed ingestion of the first 100,000 Smashwords ebooks.”

By the way, these books will cost libraries an average of $4.00 each.

And, from the section about what authors can do to support libraries:

“Distribute your full list of titles to OverDrive.” (authors receive 45% royalty)

“Let your fans know that your books will soon be purchasable by 20,000 libraries around the world…”

And, from the section on how libraries can support the Indie author community:

“Libraries have always done a fantastic job promoting literacy and a culture of books.  Now’s your chance to promote a culture of authorship.”

“Partner with Smashwords to launch your very own co-branded publishing portal.  It’s free.”

And, Mark finishes the article with a list of links representative of the massive coverage this partnership is generating.

If you’re an Indie author or you work at a library, this is a must read article

It should also be something that readers share with other readers :-)
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Independence, Freedom, and Self-Determination


For thousands of years, most writers have worked alone, then faced the challenge of finding readers.

Indie Authors

Image courtesy of Mateusz Stachowski ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/Mattox

Some, of course, didn’t care if anyone read their work—they’d just had to write it

These days, many folks have the impression that “being a writer” automatically means the person wants to make a living with their authorial efforts.

And, these days, it’s just a bit more likely a writer could make a living with words—if they work awfully hard or happen to catch a genre-wave at the right moment.

If you want some sage information about writers making money, check out the info I reported on in these past posts:

Is The Success of Indie Authors Just A Bunch of Hype?

Making A Living As A Writer . . .

Certainly, self-publishing has enabled more writers than ever before to get their work published—having it read is up to one’s manipulation of the mysterious forces that swirl around the mountain of Book Promotion

Recently, Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, wrote an article called Indie Author Manifesto.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

“…as any indie author will tell you, the joy of self publishing cannot be distilled to dollar metrics alone.  How does one describe the importance of independence, freedom and self-determination?”

Yes, self publishing will enable more horrible books to be published than ever before, but it will also enable more better books to be published…”

It’s not an exaggeration to describe the indie author revolution as a global cultural movement.”

What does it mean to be an indie author?  I’ve distilled the movement down to ten principles that I think capture the mindset of indie authors.”

I am an indie author

I have experienced the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from self-publishing

I have a right to publish

My creative control is important to me.  I decide when, where and how my writing graduates to become a published book.

Indie does not mean “alone.”  I choose my partners.

I shall not bow beholden or subservient to any publisher. In my business relationships, I seek partnership, fairness, equity and mutually aligned interests.

We indie authors comprise diverse writers unified by a common purpose to advance, empower and celebrate writers everywhere.

I am a professional.  I take pride in my work, and I strive to improve my craft to better serve my readers, myself, my fellow indie authors and the culture of books.

My writing is valuable and important.  This value and importance cannot be measured by commercial sales alone.

I celebrate the success of my fellow indie authors, for their success is mine, and mine theirs.

Together we are pioneering a better future for books marked by greater quality, creativity, diversity, choice, availability, affordability and accessibility.

And, if you like that Manifesto and want one to hang over your writing space, go check out the free download at the end of Mark’s article :-)
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Is The Success of Indie Authors Just A Bunch of Hype?


There’s a war going on.

One side has been around for a long time and has lots of money.

The other side is the new kid on the block and has an unquenchable spirit.

The rich old ones are playing dirty and the young upstarts haven’t quite figured out the “rules”.

Yet, the old ones are scared

The pundits are having a heyday but contradict each other like the most fickle of winds.

So, what’s really happening with the Indie Author Upsurge?

Let’s throw what little true light we have on the facts:

1. Traditional publishers still have the bookstore and library markets in their grip.

2. Brick-and-mortar bookstores are having a very hard time of it.

3. Libraries are losing funding while pulling out all the stops on innovation.

4. Indie authors have the creative freedom they need but distribution of their print books is still mostly relegated to online retailers.

5. The market for e-books is growing

If you can make an accurate forecast from those 5 points, you must have secret information :-)

I’ve written here before about the Indie Author Phenomenon.

And, if you need a bit of clarification about who those authors are, try the past post, “What IS An Indie Author?”

One clear fact, at least from my perspective, is that the main arena for indie authors is the e-book market.

Enter Mark Coker, Founder and CEO of Smashwords, “…the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.”

One would think he might have a bit of perspective on the whole Indie-Thing, eh?

Well, he flat-out surprised the hell out of me with his recent article—10 Reasons Indie Authors Will Capture 50% of the Ebook Market by 2020.

I’ll list his 10 reasons below but the Surprise was his offer of a spreadsheet you can download and use to make your own trend-predictions for the e-book market’s growth and whether Indie authors will become as influential as the Legacy publishers

One reason I think he did this is that the Real Numbers for various types of publishing are rather hard to come by  ( Check out Making A Living As A Writer… for a new initiative to clarify some of those numbers ).

So, here are Mark’s 10 Reasons (do read the original article for his reasoning about these points):

* Print will continue to decline as a book-reading format as more readers transition to screens.

* Brick and mortar bookstores will continue their march into the sunset with more store closures.

* The perceived value of publishers will decline in the eyes of writers as the importance of print distribution declines.

* Indie authors have learned to publish like professionals, which means self publishing will lead to more better books, and more diversity of better books.

* The number of self-published ebooks will explode, and these ebooks will continue to enjoy democratized access to professional publishing and distribution tools….

* The most successful indie authors are mentoring the next generation of authors.

* The stigma once associated with self publishing is melting away at the same time the stigma of traditional publishing is on the rise.

* Writers are discovering the joy of self publishing.

* Readers don’t care about the publisher name on the ebook’s virtual spine.

* The growing rift between writers and publishers will cause the next generation of writers to avoid shopping their books to publishers, and will undermine the goodwill of writers who until now have been loyal to their traditional publishers.

Here’s a link if you’d like to read my past posts about e-books.

And, here’s a post that will guide you to over 40,000 Free E-books :-) [Hurry, ’cause the offers are going away after March 8th…]
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A College Degree in Self-Publishing !?


Graduation

Image courtesy of Kati Garner ~ http://www.sxc.hu/profile/fluffbreat

With so much information about self-publishing on the ‘Net one can wonder about the possible benefits of spending money to obtain a college degree in the subject

Of course, much of the information on the ‘Net is suspect

I reveal some of that suspicion in the 104 posts about self-publishing I’ve written, along with what I consider to be valuable information for those pursuing the Indie Path.

Yet, The Guardian has an article about a postgraduate MA in Self-Publishing at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK.

It costs £5,000 (about $8,200US)

Here’s the university’s information page about the course.

From that page:

“This course will equip you with all of the necessary skills you will need to be a self-published author including how to edit your book, how to lay it out, how to monitor sales, how to manage yourself and your finances, marketing yourself and your book and how to create an eBook. The final part of the course will give you the opportunity to complete a finished copy of your book.

“The course is taught by industry experts with contributions from successful self-published authors. Students have round the clock access to our bespoke publishing house in the state-of-the-art Media Factory with all the latest equipment and industry-level software such as Creative Cloud, InDesign and Nielsen Bookscan.”

From The Guardian:

“The MA will begin in September, and course leader Debbie Williams believes it will help ‘legitimise’ self-publishing. ‘Things have definitely changed. In the last two years, self-publishing has stopped being a dirty word, and is a legitimate option for authors’, she said. ‘Even the biggest authors are looking at it now.'”

They go on with this commentary:

“Despite the negative light in which self-publishing is viewed by some — Jeffrey Archer recently said ‘it doesn’t work, don’t do it. The only person who reads it is the person who gets it published’, while Sue Grafton has characterised DIY-ers as ‘too lazy to do the hard work’ — the university pointed to research from the books data company Bowker, which found that around 390,000 titles were self-published in the US in 2012, up 59% on 2011 and a massive 422% on 2007. Digital self-publishing also continues to boom, accounting for 40% of self-published titles in the US in 2012, up from just 11% in 2007, according to Bowker.”

The comments to the article in The Guardian range from praise for the initiative to rank skepticism and claims of fleecing aspiring writers

What are Your  thoughts and feelings about college degrees in self-publishing?
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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