A little of this and a little of that.
I have a problem. There are simply too many things to blog about this morning. Between the return of Author Earnings to the creation of Bookstat, from Createspace closing down its editing, marketing and design division to more idiocy at SFWA (and elsewhere), how could I choose just one topic? So away we go. As they say at the amusement park, buckle up and keep your hands inside the car. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Let’s start with the welcome news that Author Earnings has returned. It’s been a long time, almost a year, since their last report. It seems they’ve been busy behind the scenes, trying to improve their system and, from my quick scan of the report, it’s been time well-spent. There’s a great deal of information involved in the report, too much to try to digest it all this morning. But the bottom line is, despite the push-back indies have received from traditional publishers and the gloom and doom predictions for indie publishing, the bottom hasn’t dropped out.
A quick look at the stats shows that traditional publishing still makes more money than indie authors. But, as AE points out, that doesn’t mean traditionally published authors are making more than the best selling indie authors:
While it would be uncouth of us to reveal actual sales numbers and we’ve blurred them out here, we will say that today’s top sellers are handily making as much or more than the top selling indies from prior years were. But even without sharing actual units and dollars, a quick glance at the ranked list reveals something that, in retrospect, shouldn’t really be surprising to anyone.
A lot of these top-selling indie names are relatively new.
And a lot of yesteryear’s pioneering indie superstars no longer even make the Top 50.
A couple of things strike me about the list of best selling indie authors AE lists (not to mention the above quote). The first is that most of the authors on the list have 20 or more titles out. A number have more than 100 titles out. The exceptions on the list of the top 50 are those with single digit titles currently available. The second thing that struck is their comment about the old guard. It’s true, a number of the names we used to hear about and from all the time are missing from the list. One reason is that there are so many others in the field now and there guard is changing. Another is that a number of those early pioneers accepted contracts by traditional publishers and have disappeared into obscurity.
Go take some time to check out the report. It is well worth the time.
There is a new service available for tracking sales and trends. This service, Bookstat, (Note this is a .com and not the bookstats-dot-org site put together by AAP) From a quick look at their site, it appears to be aimed more to publishers than authors. The service is new enough, there isn’t a great deal out there about it. All I know for sure is that The Passive Voice said DataGuy is involved. That, at least, lends it some legitimacy, in my opinion.
Moving on to the latest surrounding Createspace. I’ve been watching for news about the POD service ever since Amazon began its beta program allowing authors to set up their print books through KDP. This new program means you don’t have to move out of your KDP dashboard to Createspace to set up your print book. The terms and services were different as well. What that meant for Createspace hasn’t really been addressed by Amazon, at least not directly. However, we are starting to see the writing on the wall.
Last week, Amazon announced it would be laying off 58 workers at its North Charleston office. These workers comprise the editing, promotion and design division for Createspace. These were the for-pay services offered to authors and, to be honest, I’m not sure how many authors actually utilized the services. Thea article says Createspace will continue to print POD books. However, I have to wonder if this isn’t just another step in the process to roll Createspace and the KDP print beta program into one. I guess only time will tell.
What else? Well, if you want a laugh, watch certain authors twisting themselves into human pretzels as they try to point out that science fiction and fantasy have always been political. It amazes me how they continue to do all they can to misconstrue the objections so many of us who supported Sad Puppies had to the current trend in the genre. We don’t mind having politics or “a message” in our fiction. What we don’t want is for it to be in the forefront OVER story. It should be carefully and craftily woven throughout the plot. Don’t hit us over the head with us. If we want a sermon, we’ll go to church. Wander over to a certain publisher’s site for an example or just go to Facebook. One of the usual suspects last week was trying to be “cute” in her request for someone, anyone to point her to a classic work in the genre that didn’t have politics or a message in it.
Finally, next month I’m going to do a series of posts on how, as authors, we need to do our homework. No, I’m not talking about researching technology or dress or history for a current work in progress. I’m talking about doing our homework on markets and on current trends in genre. So, if you have any particular questions that you want answered, post them in the comments.
Now it’s time for me to get back to work.
One last thing, remember the best way you can thank and author for writing a book you’ve enjoyed is to leave a review. It doesn’t have to be long or even particularly detailed. So take a few minutes today and leave a review. Thanks!
You can find my Amazon Author page and a list of my titles here.