Bird Brain

Put it down to being a bird-brain. When I woke at 5 this morning I realised it was Tuesday, here, and I had let real life (TM) distract me from the reality of Monday and posting. Partly that’s down to the distraction of my cousins from Brittany (and you wondered why Manfred came from Brittany?) visiting, and partly it is the infamous problem of so many authors suffer from called ‘worrying about money’. It’s not a problem I ought to have, as I do my best to live so far out of the real economy as possible, but still some things need paying for. I’ve been paid on time by Smashwords, Amazon, Naked Reader, Baen (in December,for the six months ended in June – as almost all publishers do. Oddly most creditors find my paying 6 months later difficult). I’m still waiting on turn-in for another publisher – money I had relied on being not more than two months late. I gather there are other publishing houses who are being even slower, to the maybe they won’t pay at all stakes. Now, I appreciate the fact that Borders crashing has made things difficult, but really, that was one everyone saw coming. I also appreciate the fact that particularly the small publishers often get paid last by bookstores and chains. BUT as these companies all sell through Amazon (who pay on time), and have the potential to sell off their own websites (really this is quite elementary, not a challenge), which is something cheap and effective few have bothered to do. The trouble – for the likes of me – is that authors are the tail end of the ‘need to be paid’ list.

Which is all very well, but when you’re competing directly for authors and sales to readers with the companies who do pay timeously (and getting your money from them, on time) it makes it really difficult for your authors to have a lot of sympathy when you gripe about Amazon. The financial area is as much of a rub in publishing as it is in marriage. Don’t tell me that makes me a lit’ry hooker, ’cause I already know that. 🙂

On other news Eric and I are going to benefit from a de facto situation, and change our e-books up there to Amazon select. Which means if you watch them… they’ll be free, from time to time.

8 comments

  1. I definitely hear what you’re saying. I cannot afford to give up my day job just yet. So far, royalties barely pay for a couple of fancy dinners out – and I get paid only once a year! That’s small presses for you, but I can’t really complain as they have been very supportive and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be published in the first place. Now that I do have some writing credits it might be time to dust off my other-than-historical stuff and send it off to e-publishers. All your posts on digital publication have definitely piqued my interest and might be the way I go in the future. I still may not be able to quit my day job, but maybe I’ll be able to take more days off so I can spend more time writing (and playing with my grandson!) 🙂

    1. My digital income – which is so far all from shorts – has been a quiet month-by-month blessing. I’m sorry, once a year is just unacceptable given modern computer based inventory tracking. It dates from the days of manual counting and the abacus. Quarterly is barely acceptable, really. Most of us get monthly bills – which need to be paid within 2-6 weeks. Most of us, myself included, are not that prudent at managing very small amounts of money (our income) over 6 month+ periods as to find an extra few months late an easy thing to live with. If it’s going to happen, telling me as soon as possible helps.

  2. Monthly income is a good thing.

    And just from the perspective of “has an income other than writing”, it helps to remind those who bitch about the twice-a-month/fortnightly paycheck that things could be much, much more “interesting”.

    I hope Amazon select works out for you. I know Amanda’s finding it very useful for NRP, and she’s putting one of my pieces into the program soon.

    1. Y’know, I always wonder with these late payment issues just how the staff at the payer would react to their paychecks being similarly erratic? I cannot imagine they’d be okay with it, but they’re just cool doing it to someone else?

  3. Dave, first off, enjoy your time with your cousins. Monkeys need time to play. As for the KDP Select Program, I know it has taken a lot of hits from those who 1) hate Amazon, 2) who believe legacy publishing is the only way and 3) those who don’t realize DRM probably isn’t applied to these titles so they are easy conversions to other e-reader formats. That said, NRP has three titles currently in the program. They are different genres. Both have seen sales pushes of varying degrees. Even the one that had the smallest initial impact from the program re: sales, is seeing a slow but steady increase in weekly and monthly sales that has more than made up for the loss of any sales there might have been through the other venues. My only recommendation is that you go back at 2 and 4 week intervals and check any titles you had listed through the Smashwords premium catalog to make sure those titles haven’t suddenly reappeared somewhere. That did happen with NRP this past week and Amazon is the one who caught it. Now, get back to your cousins and have some fun!

      1. More than. But, if your sales on Amazon far outstrip the sales through other markets, I’d move them into the program as well, at least for the initial 90 days. I know my figures show more than enough sales from the KDP Select program to make up for lost sales through other outlets, at least so far.

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