Today is one of those days when I couldn’t decide on a topic for a post. No, not because there isn’t anything out there that interested me but because too many things did. So I whittled it down to four. I’ll give a brief explanation, maybe a link or two for each one and then open it up to discussion. Topics will cover everything from going wide to the RWA withdrawing an award because the book–gasp–was controversial in all the “wrong” ways.
I’ve been documenting my journey to go wide over the last couple of months. I now have one complete month under my belt with probably 3/4 of my catalog no longer Amazon exclusive and we are now 10 days into a new month. While that isn’t enough time to get a solid picture of how this venture is going to go, it does give a glimpse into what it might be.
Last month, I made more on the “wide” channels than I did on Amazon. Total sales across the board were on the par with an average month before going wide and certainly better than some of the months I’d seen this past year to year and a half. The loss of KU page reads was not felt due to the increased number of “sales” obtained through the other channels.
This month, I am on pace to outsell last month. Ten days in and my sales figures are already at slightly more than 2/3rds what I earned in July. I am selling approximately 12% more to wide channels than I am on Amazon right now. The loss of “page reads” doesn’t look to have any impact at all on the bottom line. And this is all done without any advertising except for blogging and sharing the blog on social media. The one note of surprise is that the series selling the best wide is the Honor & Duty series written under the Sam Schall pen name–a series that couldn’t get traction when I went wide before. But the others are picking up steam as well.
So, early days in, I call the experiment going wide a possible success but only time will tell.
Under the category of “Have You Lost Your Mind?”:
Last week, on my personal blog, I wrote about the so-called controversy surrounding RWA awarding Karen Witemeyer’s At Love’s Command a Vivien Award for Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements. As of this morning, the book has 603 rankings on Amazon for a total of 4.5 stars. 79% of the rankings place it at 5-stars. Only 4% place it at 2-stars or less. Of the 8 or so 1-star reviews, most had not actually read the book or had not read past the first chapter to see if “redemption” (as required by the category) occurred.
Now, I haven’t read the book and won’t. It’s not a genre I enjoy. And, as I noted in my post last week, the publisher–or at least RWA–should have anticipated backlash once the novel was nominated, much less awarded–the Vivien. In this day and age where too many people who love taking to social media read until insulted and then scream to high heaven, someone had to know what would happen.
But, for whatever reason, RWA and its 13 (?) judges failed to take that into consideration and gave the award to the book they thought best in category. Imagine that. They awarded talent and ability over “social awareness”. How dare they!
And then the calls of outrage began and RWA, like other organizations before it (I’m looking at you, SWFWA) caved in. It withdrew the award and got down on bended knee to beg forgiveness of those crying outrage.
“RWA is in full support of First Amendment rights,” according to a statement from the association. “However, as an organization that continually strives to improve our support of marginalized authors, we cannot in good conscience uphold the decision of the judges in voting to celebrate a book that depicts the inhumane treatment of indigenous people and romanticizes real world tragedies that still affect people to this day.”
So, here’s the lesson, kiddies. Don’t write anything that someone might take offense to. Don’t make your bad guys anything but white, hetero males. Otherwise, you will never, ever win any of RWA’s increasingly unimportant awards. (Can you say “Hugo”?)
And, just to show the idiocy doesn’t stop with RWA, here’s one from American Booksellers Association.
Apparently, ABA in its process of publicizing its “curated” best sellers list, had a sub working on it in place of the regular employee. This sub chose the wrong book cover to show next to the book title (a social justice tome of some sort). A second employee “new to copy editing” also failed to pick up on the mistake. What isn’t discussed is where the editor of the damned thing was. Instead, these two new employees were thrown under the bus for the mistake. But it gets better. The real issue, at least as far as ABA is concerned, is the author of the book mistakenly shown on the list: Candace Owens. Here’s ABA’s comment:
“It was a terrible mistake with terrible racist implications. However, based on our investigation and the demonstrated diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitment of these individuals, we have no reason to believe the action was malicious in intention. . .
“The employees are very apologetic and very committed to vigilance going forward. They have been held accountable and have agreed to training, both on procedures as well as on DEI, and we have added layers of checks and balances to this process.”
Let’s see, you’ve thrown them under the bus with a “You don’t beat your wife any longer, do you?” sort of comment. You are completely silent on why there wasn’t someone senior to these two employees, who were new to their positions, checking their work. And you label Owens’ book–or Owens herself–racist, presumably only because of her political stance. Hmmm. . . .
And folks wonder why I take anything this group says with a grain of salt and why I’ve said for years they walk hand-in-hand with the traditional publishers, especially when it comes to responding to the vocal social media harridans.
But it gets worse. In another incident related in the same article, ABA makes clear publishers pay to include books in a shipment ABA sends to booksellers. ABA says this is a “pay to play” feature and they don’t say what books can or cannot be included as long as money exchanges hands. But–gasp–a publisher paid to include a book some of those same harridans referenced above dislike and disapprove of. So guess what, even though ABA says it policy hasn’t changed, it will review September’s box “for acceptability” of titles before shipping it.
Yep, that bended knee may start getting sore before long.
Finally, this one comes via The Passive Voice. I’ll let you go read it. It’s an interesting read on the following question: “Would digital media revolutionize society as profoundly as Gutenberg and movable type?” Take a look and let me know what you think. I will admit, I had to stop my initial knee-jerk reaction to go down the rabbit hole of how trad publishers have tried to cancel the e-book revolution by price gouging and over-inflated prices (something PG hints at when he talks about the price for the book the discussion stems from).
Now, because I’m a writer after all, a bit of promo:
Release date: Sept. 7th. Available for pre-order now.
War is hell. No battle plan survives the opening salvo. When the enemy is set on the total destruction of your homeworld, how far will you go to protect it and those you love?
This war has already cost Col. Ashlyn Shaw too much. She has lost friends and family to an enemy that doesn’t know the meaning of honor. Marines under her command have died doing their duty. Her enemies at home conspired and brought her up on charges, sending her and members of her command to the Tarsus military penal colony. But they didn’t win then and she won’t let them win now. She is a Marine, a Devil Dog, and they can’t take that away from her.
Ashlyn is determined to do all she can to protect her homeworld and end the war. She will lead her Marines against the enemy, knowing that if they fail, Fuercon will fall. But will it be enough and will those who have conspired behind the scenes to destroy her and all she stands for finally be brought to justice?
Duty and honor. Corps and family. That is what matters. It is all that matters.