Apologies

Sorry, guys, but I’m just not up to posting this morning. Real life has hit me for a loop this month, including the fact that I’m about to head out the door to let a doctor muck about in my knee — again. Then there’s the fact I have had no coffee. Eeeeep! Anyway, I’m throwing the doors open and asking you guys to talk about what you’ve been seeing happen in publishing. If there is anything you’d like us to discuss in future posts, note it in the comments. I’ll be back later today and, if I’m up to it, I’ll post something then. Until then, someone have a cup of coffee for me.

later!

36 comments

  1. I don’t know that this counts as being about publishing per se, but I recently read a very good book that gave me a minor epiphany into making the beginning of a story work. Something bad has to happen, and it doesn’t have to be violence. A customs cop gets his world changed around dramatically. No one dies and no one is shot, but the build up and sense of impending doom were marvelous and hooked me right in. I probably only knew this at a subconscious level, so having had it brought to the front of the brain means I’ll know how to use it.

    1. Laura, one of the first things Sarah taught me — with the tip of her pointy boots — was to hook the reader with something happening. I still forget it sometimes and she threatens to put the boots on again 😉

      If you don’t mind me asking, what was the book?

      1. Superintendent by Jeremiah Wolfe. I finished the opening and thought “well, that was deft.” (It’s hard reading fiction through the writer lense. You enjoy, you immerse, but you also evaluate more than simply sensate.)

    1. Great news about the Nook release. I am debating taking my stuff out KDP Select. However, the number of borrows I get right now far outstrip my sales from non-Amazon outlets before going into KDP Select so I’m torn. Shrug.

      1. Thanks! That’s the nice thing about going with Lulu. The problem is waiting for the distributors themselves, but I need to learn more patience anyway.

        Yeah, I was thinking “I could release short stories via Amazon KDP, put them on Select for the borrows…” but I’d have to do the IRS form all over again (I’d have to, if I were doing publishing using different outlets, since they’re different companies.)

        It’ll take me time to figure out what’ll be the best way to go.

  2. I had a 24 oz coffee on the way in to work this morning. That’s plenty to share to start off with.

  3. Has anyone got a feel for how the KULL program is affecting sales? It’s hard to say, what with the seasonal sag in sales, but I’m still seeing much lower sales, but plenty of borrows, so I don’t think “No time to read, right now” is a part of it.

    I think I’m going to take about two thirds of my books out of the Select program. People can borrow the older books, and if they like them, pay for the newer stuff.

    How about the rest of you?

    1. More sales than borrows, and I didn’t notice much of an income shift from borrows vs. buys. I’m not sure if I’ll put the next book into K-Select or not. As far as sales, I suspect I’ll be in a lull until the next book comes out in November.

      1. That’s my issue right now. I’m in a lull until I get something out — hopefully within the next week. What I think I’m seeing — and I’m not sure because there isn’t enough data yet — is that the lull isn’t as bad as it could be thanks to KULL. Folks who might not necessarily buy one of my books will borrow and then will go ahead and buy later.

    2. I’m running about one-for-one on sales vs. borrows. This makes me very happy, as sales are in the doldrums right now until the next book comes out (probably in November). My sales tend to run very well for about 6 weeks after publication, then go into a slow but steady decline until the next book comes out. Right now my books are doing much as they did after the last longish gap between books, so no worries about that. I’m looking forward to the earnings going up again with the new book, though! 🙂

      (I’ve learned to stash all the book income away and let it accumulate, then draw on it as needed. That way one can ‘average’ income and expenditure rather than splurge when there’s plenty and starve when there’s not. So far, so good.)

      I think KU is going to be a major factor for avid readers, as they can read more books for a lot less money. I’ve actually withdrawn all my books from other vendors and put them all back into KDP Select so as to take advantage of the program, and it’s really paid off for me. I reckon I’m making 3-4 times more each month from KU than I did across all non-Amazon outlets for my books, so color me happy.

      1. Peter, I’m glad to hear your numbers for KULL vs. the other outlets. It seems to confirm my earlier experience and my impression that opting out of KDP Select and KULL would be a negative moneymaker for me.

    3. At 0% to me and 70% to you I read everything you had on KULL. Awaiting further output, for which I’m willing to pay.

    4. I think Manx Prize had about two borrows during its 90 days in Select. I was already getting it ready for the other platforms so ignored KULL, which had only gotten the book 1 or 2 borrows in the week of overlap. I can’t bear the thought of unpublishing it on the other platforms, and have a weakness for the Smashwords data. There I at least know when samples get downloaded. However, all that being said, I think I’ll put my next one up on Smashwords for a month to get my handful of sales there, and then move it to Amazon and Select. I do better with Smashwords than with all the other non-kindle readers combined, but that’s not saying much.

    5. I put my latest release into Select as an experiment. It just came out of Select last week.

      During its period in Select, I got about 50/50 borrows and sales, but my sales+borrows together sold less than my releases generally go for. (I think. I’d really have to update my spreadsheet to look at it properly to be certain. Certainly, I didn’t get my usual gush of sales in the first few days – it trickled. But at least it trickled for all three months rather than a rush the first month and then a trickle thereafter?)

      My next book(s) won’t be going into Select, though. Not because I hate Select/KOLL, but because they’re holiday related and I want to release on all platforms I use at once.

      But I am toying with the idea of my next non-holiday release being put into Select for the foreseeable future and be an Amazon exclusive until such time as it suits me better to put it out on other platforms. I do lean towards keeping *something* always in Select and I don’t like to play up/down games with titles, so it’d probably be one of those things where I keep the last non-holiday title in Select until the new one is ready to go.

    6. What I’ve seen so far is that my borrows vs. sales really depends on the genre. For the science fiction, my borrows are less than the sales but not by much. It probably breaks down as a 60-40 ratio sales to borrow. The urban fantasy is about the same but the paranormal romance shows more borrows than sales overall. What I have noticed is that there are fewer returns since the KULL program went into effect and I will take that any day of the week.

  4. Coincidentally, as I sat to read your abbreviated post this morning I had in my hand my first mug of Kroger dark roast whole bean, fresh ground just before it hit the pot. I take mine with fake sugar and a splash of whole milk. On special occasions I’ll up that to half and half.
    As for publishing, I’ll note that someone at Amazon seems to be taking an active role in encouraging budding new authors. They are developing all sorts of tools to help a writer create an Amazon ready e-book suitable for offer on their site. All thus far free of charge. I did a quick review of their Kindle Kid’s Book Creator software a while back and posted it to Sarah’s FB diner. While interesting, I found it a bit cumbersome and limited in scope, but quite handy for someone who needed to throw together a quick picture book for their young kids. Mostly a formatting tool useful if you already had your camera ready illustration pages and just needed to assemble them into a book. I used it to assemble a sequence of wedding photos for my youngest son and his wife on their thirteenth anniversary.
    I will be checking out other Amazon offerings of this nature as they become available and I have time and put them up either here or with Sarah.
    Best of luck with the Doc visit, hope all goes well.

    1. I love how Amazon is working to make it easier for indies to get their work out there. I’m especially excited for their picture book program/template/whatever because I have a couple of friends who have done wonderful picture books but who have had a difficult time trying to format them for digital release. Of course, it doesn’t surprise me that Amazon continues to push the envelop where indies are concerned.

  5. I hope the knee isn’t too bad. I recently read a thread about all the authors stepping up for Hachette, so I threw a monkey wrench in about some of Amazon’s offers re: authors that Hachette never responded to. Funnily enough, no one has responded to it.

    1. Oh, it’s even worse than that. Hatchette did respond to some of the offers — with a great big negative. But the authors still think Hatchette is their friend. I don’t get it. But then I haven’t drunk the koolaid. Shrug.

  6. Okay, Hachette and friends were gigged by the DoJ for conspiring to defraud Amazon. Or something to that effect, some sort of price fixing thing when they were trying to set terms with Amazon.

    My understanding is that Hachette and it’s publishing friends would be due to negotiate new contracts, ones not dictated by the DoJ, at six month intervals.

    Hachette has been raising a stink for a while about negotiating terms with Amazon. It seems like we might be about due for the next party to start negotiations with Amazon.

    What can we predict? Well, if they are colluding, either Hachette will pass the baton like a relay, or Hachette will draw out negotiations. Which may depend on whether Hachette sees things as posturing, or facing an existential threat.

    If all five are negotiating with Amazon, they are in a better position to hurt Amazon by withholding product. Unless Amazon can arrange enough alternate suppliers that it can survive not stocking them, in which case it perhaps becomes an existential threat.

    1. Strikes me that what Amazon really needs is name recognition with a stable of indie authors. They can either lure established names over to their side, or grow their own, or both.
      With milSF authors have a viable alternative, Baen. For just about anyone else, tradpub is going to have to make the deals very sweet, or risk their bread and butter jumping ship.
      As for grow their own, I see concrete signs in the efforts Amazon is making to automate many of the ancillary tasks necessary to producing a professional quality book. I cannot interpret this as anything other than active encouragement in support of new indie authors.
      I see it as inevitable that somewhere down the road Amazon has to ask themselves why exactly is it that they are dealing with tradpub at all. And at some point the answer will be: “Absolutely no reason whatsoever. Doing just fine without y’all. Bye now.”

      1. Amazon has been slowly doing this for the last year plus. That’s why they have begun their own imprints. Note none of the usual crowd of naysayers and finger-pointers said a word when B&N and other outlets refused to carry books “published” by Amazon. But let Amazon be slow stocking one of the trad pubs and out come the pitchforks.

    2. The problem with your comment is that by withholding product from Amazon, the publishers are only hurting themselves. Amazon is their main distributor. As for the rest of it, Hatchette is holding out on conducting real negotiations because they are about to the point where they can renegotiate with Apple. Since Apple is willing to give them a better piece of the pie than Amazon, or at least that is what they think, they are hoping to use that negotiation to leverage the talks with Amazon. In the meantime, they are screwing their authors over and the authors, at least some of them, aren’t realizing it.

      The question isn’t if Amazon can survive without the publishers, it is can the publishers survive without Amazon and the answer is no, at least not in their current model. But they still think they have the upper hand and are forgetting that this deals with more than ebooks but with hard covers, soft covers and tie-in material as well.

    1. I’ve got to say, the whole Ellora’s Cave thing has been my guilty… well, not “pleasure”. But “time suck” suits for sure.

      Ellora’s Cave was somewhere I looked very seriously at the first few weeks after I decided I was going to start writing “for realz”. Thankfully, I found enough information on the viability of self-publishing to bother with a small publisher. So it’s sort of a whistling past a graveyard/there but for the grace of God go I sort of thing.

      1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been following the story with that “OMG, that could be me” mixed with “What the f*** are they thinking?”. It really is like watching a bad soap opera and this time I’m cheering for the “villian” (Dear Author) who dared speak the truth against the so-called hero.

    2. I saw that and have been sitting on my hands not to go off on EC here. However, given their history and current events, I haven’t because I won’t expose the other members of MGC to the fallout. Still, if I can find enough sources to protect everyone, there will be a post in the near future.

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