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Posts from the ‘WRITING: PUBLISHING’ Category

Readers Speak

The other day I shared one of those screenshot memes on my social media. The ones that come from Tumblr or someplace like that, where people are discussing something. Not all of them are obnoxious, some are fun, and this one was very illuminating to see the responses.

I wound up getting a lot of conversation, not only from the readers on my feed, but other authors as well. It sparked a great conversation and I wanted to bring that, here, for a more permanent basis. I lose things over there. It’s an ephemeral conversation and sometimes you want to keep things where you can find them. Instead of rifling through infinite desk drawers muttering ‘I know I had it. I saw it last week. Or was that a month ago? It has to be here!’

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I Was Warned


A lot of writers have expressed concern about Amazon’s effective monopoly, and I’ve been trying not to think about it, because I use Amazon so much and it would be extremely uncomfortable to walk away from it. Not only is it the platform for my indie books; I’ve been using KU as a source of quick light reading now that it’s physically difficult for me to walk up and down library stacks carrying a load of books; similar limitations have caused me to turn more and more to Amazon for everyday shopping. So… I’ve been coasting along, hoping that I could stay under their radar, trying to ignore the increase in obnoxious virtue-signalling.

I’m not sure I can do that any more. Since, oh, about the third day of the George Floyd riots, every time I open the Kindle app on my iPad, I get a row of “anti-racist” books shoved into my face. Read more

Some Interesting Numbers . . .

While US numbers are kind of odd at the moment, a Vienna, Austria-based analyst started looking at European (EU) and British book sale patterns, including e-books, pricing, and audio-books. His big “take-away” is that baseline patterns have sped up, most notably for e-books and what consumers are willing to pay.

Those of us in Indie and Small Press businesses are familiar with some of these, because of Amazon and other sources. There’s a sweet spot for prices on e-books. It ain’t $14.95 US plus tax, even for a title that works out to 600 pages in print (mass market paper back). Readers are wary of free books, although they’ll nibble, and seem happiest between $1.99 and 4.99 (US). More than that unless you are a major, well-known author seems to reduce sales, although I’ve seen a lot of back and forth on that and my own numbers are, let’s just call them Odd.

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Who Is To Blame?

Today’s post is a blast from the past. I’ve been sick as a dog for a couple of days and simply am not up to putting a post together. No, I don’t have Covid. Just lousy allergies and probably a light case of something like the flu. But I’m better and am enjoying my first mug of coffee in several days. Heaven! This post is from October 2017 and is still relevant when it comes to the indie vs. traditional publishing debate.

Last night, I started my usual prowling through the internet, looking for a topic for today’s post. Nothing resonated with me until I came across a discussion about indie authors. Even though the discussion remained civil, the disdain and condemnation was obvious. I’ll admit, I had a knee-jerk reaction where I wanted to go wading into the discussion to give the indie side of the argument. I didn’t because it would have gained nothing. The people taking part in the discussion are so entrenched in their beliefs, they wouldn’t have listened, no matter how convincing my arguments might have been. Read more

Tock tick

Ve know your trope makes ze genre tick, ja. But ve vill interrogate it until its resistance is exhausted and is it villing to TOCK!”

I happened to read yet another critic saying that a book in a competition lacked what its competitors had – They defied classic genre conventions, interrogated tired tropes, and celebrated inclusivity, and it merely reflected the sort of sf that was popular in the 80’s. Read more

Another Indication the Industry is Behind the Times

Let’s face it. The last two-plus months has impacted the publishing industry unlike anything else in a very long time. Oh, we’ve heard the noises from some of the Big 5 that their numbers are up, but a close look at the numbers and you see something doesn’t add up. For one, the numbers they are touting can’t include returns because bookstores aren’t open. They also, if true, put the lie to the old formula publishing continues to push–that they need brick and mortar stores to survive. Those stores they’ve said must continue have been closed. Customers have, at best, been able to order a book and drive up to the curb to have it delivered to their car. There has been no browsing the stacks, no impulse buying. Even so, don’t expect a change in the business model when we are no longer being told by the nanny state that we have to stay home and our businesses can’t open. Publishing has proven over the last several decades that it is perfectly happy living in the past and has no desire to change things just because our lifestyles and reading habits are changing. Read more

Facebook and the throttling of free speech

Over the past week, two articles have illustrated how one social media behemoth is doing its best to rewrite the definition of free speech and force conformity upon everyone – writers, creators, audience and all.  It’s a direct and immediate threat to authors, too, because much of our intended audience is part of the Facebook ecosystem.  If we’re targeted by, or banned from, that ecosystem, it can have very serious consequences for our ability to promote our work – much less make a living from it.

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Getting Down to Business

So, your butt’s in your chair and your fingers are poised above the keyboard. Music appropriate to your current work-in-progress is playing and you’ve slipped on your noise-cancelling headphones to cut out the sounds of your kids, your spouse, your animals, whatever. Your muse is happily rubbing her hands together, ready to get work.

And it all comes sliding to a halt as your back-brain slams on the brakes. Do you have all the research done? Do you know where the story is going? Do you have all your software updated and ready for formatting, etc? Popcorn kittens! Read more

I wrote something!

Okay, I know, I’m a writer. I finished something!

And now, I have to write a blurb. Um, What’s the story about? I just wrote tens of thousands of words exploring that. Um. It’s about a ballistic pilot, and the absolutely terrible day she has when her own government tries to shoot her down. It’s about the “military advisors” the Other Side is sending into her destination, because cold wars always have hot spots. It’s about how, if you bleed a country with taxes and regulations until they can’t survive, they will declare independence from the trade union just to stay alive.

It’s also about learning that getting what you want doesn’t mean you got what you need, and learning to ask for help, and to swallow your pride and start over. And about L-shaped ambushes and ground-to-air fire and how nobody loves linear assaults. And crusty cantankerous curmudgeons with hearts of gold.

And that, just because you’ve been in a field long enough that all the romance has rubbed off and you’re well acquainted with the suck, doesn’t mean you don’t still love it anyway.

… but that’s not a blurb. Why is writing my own blurbs hard? I should be able to do this!

And I have to format it. And get the blurb to the cover artist with page count for the print cover. And…

Here’s hoping it’s available this week!

How Will Publishing Look After Covid-19?

Let’s start with a singular truth many of us don’t think about when considering the publishing industry. It consists of much more than the publishing houses. There are distributors, like Simon & Schuster which is now on the auction block. There are the various contractors who work for publishers, including editors, proofreaders and even those who design the interior and exterior of a book. There are the bookstores and online merchants. Each of these have been impacted over the last decade plus by changes in technology, changes in reading habits and by Amazon and other online retailers. But nothing will impact them like Covid-19, thanks to actions taken by local, state and national governments. Read more