Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Indie Publishing

#Smashwords 2017 #Survey


Smashwords If you’re not familiar with Smashwords, it’s a space for authors to self-publish, with no upfront fees (and, with distribution to the most important retailers); plus, of course, a space for readers to find a wealth of books…

And, comparing it with Amazon is simple—Smashwords actually goes to great effort to help authors sell books…

And, even though it was published three years ago, their Indie Author Manifesto is worth a read…

Something else worth reading are the Surveys that Founder Mark Coker writes…

Here’s a bit of his intro to this year’s survey:

“Each year for the Smashwords Survey, I analyze ebook sales aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network.

“We’re looking to identify potential data driven insights that can help authors and publishers make their books more accessible, more desirable and more enjoyable to readers.”

You can read more of Mark’s intro to the survey; but, I’ll put the questions it seeks to answer here:

What are the top fiction and non-fiction categories?

What romance categories perform the best?

How do box sets perform, and which types of box set perform the best?

Do authors who release ebooks as preorders sell more books overall?

How do preorder adoption rates differ across genres (New!!)

What percentage of overall sales in each genre for new titles go to books released as preorders (New!)

What are the pricing sweet spots for full-length fiction to maximize both readership and author earnings?

Do longer books still sell better?

Does FREE still work, and what about free series starters?

Do series books sell better than standalone books, and if so, by how much?

And, here’s this year’s Smashwords Survey:


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New Year’s Resolutions from a Very Successful Author


This will be the 35th post I’ve done that relates in some way to Joe Konrath.

Jack Daniels and Associates

Click this image to find out how to “borrow” Joe’s characters…

He was very successful when he used a recognized publisher and he became even more successful when he went Indie.

And, if I can offer an idea for a writer’s New Year’s resolution, I’d say pay close attention to what’s related about Joe in my past post, Should Rejection by a Publisher Be Praised ?

Here are some excerpts:

In 2011, Joe Konrath wrote the article, The List, A Story of Rejection.

He begins with:

“…I garnered more than 500 rejections before getting published.”

Then he relates how his book, The List, was rejected by Ballantine Books, Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, Talk Miramax Books, Doubleday, Little, Brown and Company, Hyperion, New American Library, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, William Morrow, Warner Books, Pocket Books, and St. Martin’s Press.

By the way, if you go to the full article, you can read all those rejections

Joe goes on to say:

“In April of 2009, I self-published The List.”

Which is followed by an extremely enlightening sentence:

“As of this writing, December 26, 2011, The List has earned me over $100,000.”

So, just before I direct you to Joe Konrath’s New Year’s resolutions, I need to mention that clicking on the Image up there ( “Jack Daniels and Associates” ) will take you to the guidelines for Joe’s offer to “borrow” his characters. He wrote about it here & here’s a brief excerpt:

“You can take any of my characters from eighteen of my novels, and write stories about them. I have no rules or boundaries, and you can mix and match.”

Now Joe Konrath’s New Year’s Resolutions <<< that link will take you to 12 years of resolutions, about which he says, “…a lot of the advice from a decade ago still holds true, so take these resolutions for what they’re worth to you.”

And, his resolution for 2017 is:

Change with the times.”

By the way, he says a lot (at that last link) about his resolutions and you just might resolve to do some of what he says :-)
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Are You Preparing for #Publishing or #SelfPublishing or #IndiePublishing?


Explanation of the title of this post

#Publishing means Traditional Publishing.

And, I do have a past post that discusses the similarities and differences between #SelfPublishing and #IndiePublishing

So

Let me share one official Huge Heap of Info about all types of “publishing”:

First is The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2016 by Jane Friedman. Which, if you don’t take links out of blog posts has a wonderful chart showing all the Publishing Paths, which you can download here

Also from Jane Friedman, 4 Lessons for Authors on the Current State of Publishing.

And, since publishing is only the beginning of a book’s life and it must be introduced to the world, here’s an article on Jane’s blog; but, by Fauzia BurkeHow to Save Money and Do Online Book Publicity Yourself.

Also, since “publishing” can mean all of these—To issue to the public, To produce and offer for sale, To put into circulation, To make public, To divulge, To announce, and To proclaim—here’s Jane Friedman in a “podcast with images” from the Future of Publishing’s Indie Author Fringe

 

Plus, here’s a video about the future of publishing from Mark Coker of Smashwords:

 

Finally, since releasing a book without proper editing can be a form of Publishing-Death, here’s a video with the inimitable Roz Morris conducting a discussion with Ricardo Fayet, Laxmi Harahan, and Andy Lowe:


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2016 Predictions for Book Publishing


I’ve featured Mark Coker, Founder of Smashwords, many times on this blog… 

And, today, I’ll give you some excerpts from an article by him (hoping I encourage you sufficiently, so you’ll take the link and read it all… {Although, readers who are sure they’ll never be writers may want to check out only what’s in this post, to get a feel for what writers concern themselves with…})—2016 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Myriad Opportunities amid a Slow Growth Environment.

Mark begins his predictions in a very interesting way:

“I went overboard for 2016…I also asked friends on Facebook to suggest additional questions…So in addition to my first 10 below, I take a stab at 29 additional questions. Yikes.”

I especially like this:

“You’ll see I back each prediction with copious background on my thought process.  I invite you, my dear reader, to add your insights in the comments…”

Then he makes a prediction I can fully agree with:

“Here’s one thing I’m absolutely certain of:  Indie authors are the future of publishing.  The decisions indie authors make today will continue to reshape the future of publishing for better or worse.  You’re in control.  Now let’s have some fun.”

Now, Mark’s 10 Major Predictions ( I’ll only list the Headings—the really interesting stuff happens when you take the link up there to the full article :-) :

1.  Indie ebook authors will gain market share at expense of large publishers

2.  The overall market for ebooks will shrink in dollar terms, but unit volume will increase

3.  Kindle Unlimited will gut single-copy sales and drive greater ebook commoditization

4.  The ebook subscription model will experience a backlash in the indie author community (but will it matter?)

5.  Print will remain steady, though those sales are the sole domain for authors of traditional publishers

6.  Many full time indies will quit or scale back production in 2016

7.  Preorder usage will experience a dramatic increase

8.  Library ebook sales will increase for Smashwords authors

9.  More series writers will adopt perma-free series starters

10.  Wattpad will be acquired

And, here are the questions from Mark’s Facebook friends (Answers at the full article…):

Will Amazon do something more to monopolize the market?

Will Amazon’s brick and mortar stores add or detract from their success in general and/or affect book sales?

What genres/subgenres will get a boom [in 2016]?

Will more authors go hybrid, and will the ones that are currently hybrid stay that way or lean more toward one route or the other

What will happen in the world of indie short story sales?

Subscription services. Where are they going?

Will this author win the Nobel Prize this year? Or a million dollar contract? ‘Cause that would be awesome

World peace: Possibility or writing device?

It’s difficult to get noticed. Is there any hope for us small time authors to actually make a name for ourselves in this industry?

Any idea what’s going to happen in the romance market? KU appears to have gutted sales there

Will brick and mortar stores continue to decline, or will they fight back?

Will the other retailers grow in a way that that will help us counter Amazon/KU?

Will Barnes & Noble survive or go out of business in 2016?

Will B&N drop all ebooks and/or implode and go under?

Will Amazon relax the exclusivity requirements for Kindle Unlmited in 2016?

Will Google Play introduce a subscription model in 2016?

Will Google Play put their significant weight toward becoming a big force in eBooks, and counterbalance to Amazon?

Will Disney call me?

Will Kindle Worlds go international and multi-lingual?

“Digital refund policies… will [Amazon’s policies] be reworked to prevent [their liberal return policies from ] being used as an ebook library?”

What’s happening with China and India with ebooks over the coming years?

Will iBooks try to take on the Zon by releasing a multi-platform app?

How much will the standard agent/publisher cut shrink in the face of the superior economics of self publishing?

What percent of new authors will decline a standard agent/publishing deal and go it alone?

Will new promotion-oriented businesses emerge to help new authors, and what will these look like?

Will Smashwords introduce a POD offering in 2016?

Predict when indies will be allowed into brick and mortars

Is there a place where I can see all your past predictions altogether?

And, for writers (and readers who just might, one day. become writers…), I’ll excerpt Mark’s closing comments:

“Things change in this industry every day.  If you’re like me, you probably find it bewildering at times.  But take heart.  Some things never change.  The most important thing that will never change is that books are magical containers for delivering stories and knowledge.  You create magic.

“The industry will change – players will go out of business and others will rise and fall and rise again – but books will always remain.  Authors will always remain.  You are the captain of your personal adventure in publishing, and the course you chart is rife with opportunity.

“The global book publishing is a $100 billion market. Despite anemic growth, and even if the market shrinks, there’s still incredible opportunity for every new, future and veteran author alike to reach thousands if not millions of readers.  Best practices will separate those who reach a lot of readers from those who reach few.

“Luck plays a factor as well, but only for those who implement best practices first.  Best practices prepare you to capture lightning in a bottle when luck strikes.  Luck strikes all the time.  It’s word of mouth.  It’s a blog post or a tweet or a Facebook mention or a review that recommends your book.

“The books you have in you are important. Your books are important to the future of book culture and humanity.  Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from putting your book out into the world.”

New Year’s Bonus for those who got this far :-)

Mark’s Free Books:

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide

Smashwords Style Guide
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So Ya Think Your Book Will Be a Bestseller?


This post is for those who are brave enough to self-publish; though, it could apply to those going the traditional route, too; and, if you’re not an author, do, please, share it with any writer-friends you may have… 

I decided to write this post after I read Kate Evans‘ article, The Measure of Success in Indie Publishing.

Just a few of Kate’s thoughts:

“…I continue to attempt to market my first novel…

“…I shrivel at the kindly meant enquiry, ‘How are sales?’

“…my lovely novel, my first-born, has not sold as many copies as I thought it would.

“I am lucky to live in an era where I have access to the free marketing potential of social media. I realise that. Yet I have still to work out how social media sells or, indeed, whether it does at all.”

And, she sums up with:

“…the meaning of success comes from within, from the joy of writing, of telling stories, of the imagination.”

If you scan the ‘Net for articles on Book Promotion, something like 90% of them will talk about social media.

And, I agree with Kate that working out social media’s worth is tricky

I said this post might also apply to those treading the traditional path because, due to radical changes in the book market, the big, trad-publishers are expecting authors to have a social media platform of their own (before being considered for publication).

Time was an author could count on the publisher to promote for them; yet, even then most books never sold like most authors wished

So, should all authors just calm down and get used to only selling the statistically-expected 500 books or less?

Well, one thing that changes the equation is that e-books (displayed on digital shelves) will be available for discovery much longer than most print books in brick-and-mortar stores.

So, assuming an author has many years left on earth, they might see better than average sales.

Obviously, if a writer sticks to pumping out popular-genre-books and pulls a few well-organized attention-grabbing stunts, they might sell a few more books.

But, it’s more than likely better to buckle down and take the time to build a strong, secure, honest Author Platform while continuing to write and finding a way to make a living that won’t drive you crazy

Naturally, all the old methods of book promotion are still there—book signings, radio/TV interviews, newspapers, etc.—but, for most of us, they’ll all be rather local, without the Reach of well-planned, persistent on-line activities.

As a start—to begin a quest for creative ways to reach readers—try my past post, Breaking The “Rules” of Book Promotion ~ 6 Different Views.

And, if you’re sincere about taking charge of your own promotion, do read Jane Friedman’s article, The Online Presence That’s a Natural Extension of Who You Are and What You Do. (Is It Just Fantasy?).

Here’s an excerpt from that important article:

“To begin to inspect this problem—and a beginning is all that’s possible for this blog post—I’ll discuss a few writers who exhibit the following qualities:

  • Their writing work is clearly central to everything they do. Or think of it as: writing as guiding star (as it should be).
  • Their voice, online or off, is authentic.
  • Their online presence and engagement is unique to them and, at least from my POV, sustainable and meaningful.”

She shares the efforts of five extremely different authors, then says:

“All of the authors I mentioned—who are quite different in terms of their success, genre, and personalities—are able to focus on their writing and maintain an online presence, while appearing to remain whole. Each has found the right approach based on their strengths and goals, and you can do the same.”

And, I’ll close this post with an exercise

What follows is from another past post about Author Platform. See if you can come up with a few fresh ideas for your own platform from all the different definitions

“What’s a platform for?

“Here are a few definitions from my Oxford dictionary.

All the meanings have been used in various articles I’ve read about Author Platform:

*architectural plan
*draughtsman’s drawing
*chart, a map
*plan of action, government, administration, etc
*scheme, a design, a description
*thing intended or taken as a pattern, a model
*raised level surface or area
*natural or man-made terrace, a flat elevated piece of ground, a tableland, a plateau
*level place constructed for mounting guns in a fort or battery”

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