Of Promos and Cons and Other Things — not necessarily in that order
Whew! There for a moment, I thought I’d lost my mind. I logged into the Dashboard for the blog and was greeted with a new interface. Worse, it went “Beep, Boop” and I’m only on my first cup of coffee this morning. Finally it loaded the new post page and OMG! it was different. Apparently, someone at WordPress took a page out of Facebook’s book and decided to fix something that wasn’t broken. Just as I was about to email Sarah and whine at her, I saw the button letting me revert to the old interface. Needless to say, I wasted no time doing just that. Now I can get on with the blog.
First things first. A major erotica publisher has announced it has released its freelance editors and cut staff because sales from Amazon have dropped dramatically over the last few months. Ellora’s Cave is a major digital first erotica publisher. Until the staff cut, it published something like 10 titles a month. As with so many publishers and authors, Amazon is its main outlet. So when there is a decline in sales there, especially if the decline is marked, it is a cause of concern. What has impressed me with the announcement from EC is that there is no blame being thrown at Amazon (despite the rather incendiary headline on this Publishers Weekly article). Instead, EC has taken steps to lessen their financial burden in the short run and is doing something unheard of with the Big Five — it is actually talking with Amazon to try to figure out what the problem might be. The suspicion is that it is due to a change in Amazon’s search algorithm and that very well may be it. Many of us have learned the hard way that you have to keep up with the current search terms to make sure our books come up not only when you search for title and author but also key words.
What I find ironic — or maybe just interesting — is the fact that there isn’t a big hue and cry going on on FB about how evil Amazon is killing EC. The usual suspects are silent. Perhaps it is because EC is an erotica publisher and below their notice. Perhaps it is because they haven’t heard — doubtful. My suspicion is that they are silent because EC isn’t jumping on the Amazon is Evil bandwagon. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks and I hope EC stays as communicative about what it finds as it has been in discussing the issue and their steps to deal with the drop in sales. If the cause is the change in search algorithms, it is something all of us need to keep in mind.
In other words, once we publish a book on Amazon — or any other outlet for that matter — we don’t just walk away and wait for the royalty payments to come rolling in. We need to revisit the blurb periodically and keep an eye on the tags we used when we first put the title up. It is amazing what there is to see — and correct — on a blurb after a bit of time has passed. I challenge each of you to do just that today for anything you’ve had published for more than six months. Look at your blurb — including its layout — and ask yourself if it looks and reads right. In other words, do you have a hard return (extra space) between paragraphs or does it look like you have one long paragraph as your blurb? Are there spelling or grammar problems in the blurb? How about a period at the end of the last sentence? It’s amazing the things that looked right when first published don’t look so wonderful after some time has passed.
Now, for the latest post to send me into near head-explosion land. I say near head-explosion because, unfortunately, this is the sort of crap I’ve come to expect from a certain segment of folks. The Daily Dot published an article about the “growing generation gap” and how it is changing fandom. It was readily apparent from the beginning of the article that the author has little use for those in sf/f who are over a certain age. If the classification of WorldCon as a “huge old dinosaur” didn’t tip the reader off, perhaps this did: “Younger fans would regularly cringe as Worldcon veterans stood up to make some kind of mildly offensive or irrelevant comment—or to steamroll young female panelists when they tried to talk.” Funny how the author doesn’t give any specifics to back up this comment. Not that I’d expect it.
Now, I will admit that we need to do something to reach out to younger fans. That’s a given. But in doing so, you don’t alienate those who helped make the genre what it is today. If you are one of the “new generation”, you don’t come in and push out those who have been there long before you. Instead, if you are smart, you sit back and you listen. You learn. They were once the new generation and, guess what, you might actually learn something from them. Sure, they might not play WoW or know that you can find slash fic online but they know how to reach readers. Their books are the ones still selling, years after being first published. How many of us will be able to name this year’s Hugo winners in five years? Heck, how many of us can name them now, only a week after the award?
Another problem I have with the article is that it compares WorldCon with NineCon (iirc). They are two very different sorts of cons. WorldCon is not a huge fan con, not really. Oh, I know there will be those who say I’m wrong but think about it. It is a con that has been basically built around the awards. It is where authors and editors get together. It isn’t one that really reaches out to give fans a reason to spend thousands of dollars to attend. Admit it, the only reason many folks even knew about WorldCon this year was because of the controversy surrounding it. WorldCon isn’t meant, at least in its current iteration, to celebrate things like graphic novels and video, much less video games. Comparing it to a con that does revolve around those formats is another case of the SJW/GHH crowd comparing apples and oranges.
I’d also suggest thinking before hitting the enter button if you want to be treated with respect. Comments like, ““It’s okay, because someday they’ll all be dead,” isn’t going to make those “dinosaurs” want to include you. Why should they when you show such derision for them and for what they did for the genre?
If you really want to have your head explode, read the comments to the article. If you ever had any doubts that there are folks out there who believe “boys bad, girls good” and no in-between, you’ll see them there. It’s all too much for me without more coffee — or maybe booze.
Finally, there are a number of indie and hybrid authors doing a Labor Day Weekend Promo. You can find a preview of participating authors and titles by clicking here. All titles will be $2.99 or less. Now, a couple of caveats. First, the promotion starts Friday. If you follow the links before then, you may find higher prices. Second, there are still authors asking to be included, so this isn’t the final list. It will be updated throughout the day today. Everything should be finalized by tomorrow afternoon. Finally, the titles are broken down by genre first and then by author within the genre.
And, on the promotion front, here are a few of my titles that will be included:
(written as Sam Schall)
First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.
Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.
(written as Amanda Green)
Special price of $2.99 though September 5th.
This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series.