Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

According to this article, Amazon is starting to raise prices on certain types of books.  Why?  Because it can–no competition.  

Read up and let me know what you think:


You got to sit at the big boys’/girls’ table–and then they realized you were sitting there.  Huh?  December 2012, Amazon announced KDP Select.  Tons of us jumped in, many of us made some really good money from it. 

That’s when things started to change.

Publishers started to complain.  Traditionally published authors joined in the cacophony.  Why?  Indie authors were shooting up the charts and that was taking money out of the pockets of people/companies with big money in the game.  That’s when downloads, which initially counted on a 1:1 ratio for your sales coming out of free, started to slip.  The ratio fell to the point where it is now.  Where is it now?  If you don’t get into the top 100 in free, might as well not do it.

If you sense a bit of an edge from me on the issue, you’re insightful.  No one expected the gravy train to last forever, but it was remarkable to see how quickly Amazon adjusted against indie authors to mollify the traditionally published world.  Now, Amazon takes away likes and tags from books.  Ask yourself this question.  Who did the best job getting likes and tags?


So, free is largely dead.  Now, Amazon takes likes and tags away which hurts indie authors in a plethora of ways.  Is it a death knell to indie authors?  Certainly not, but it’s another data point in a trend.

And that trend is that not much has changed.

An important concept in the law, where I spend most of my time and make most of my money, is “standing.”  I ask myself, has the standing of indie authors changed in the last two years?  My honest answer is not really.  Will it change?  If it hasn’t changed yet, what will be the catalyst for that happening?

Do you really think they’ll leave the door unlocked and let indies sit at the dinner table again?   How full is your glass? 🙂

So, I just read this article by Derek Haines, which is edgy and maybe a bit over the top.  But, a lot of it resonates with me at the same time. Specifically:

(1) Reduction of the value of our free downloads.  This 100% happened.

(2) The Amazon review purge.  This 100% happened.

(3) Changing of algorithms to reduce the success of indie books in comparison to big six books, including Amazon’s new imprint (Thomas and Mercer).  Remains to be seen.

Read the article by Derek Haines, entitled “Self Published Authors Get Ready, You’re Being Dumped”

Ask yourself this at the same time.  Have the price of indie books, including the fact that we are flexible enough to offer our books for free, forever changed what consumers are willing to pay for books?  Stated otherwise, will consumers still pay $12.99 for an ebook, which is the thievery rate the big six charge?  It would be nice to know that, at a minimum, we changed that.

Very interesting play here.  Microsoft is going to invest $300 million in Barnes and Noble’s Nook.  Microsoft has a history of running other company’s products into the ground, so I wonder if this will be any different.  If successful, however, this could change the landscape of ereaders a bit.  Here’s the article:

I found this interesting because the video game industry is undergoing some of the same pricing issues that we are seeing in the book industry.  Namely, the introduction of quality, inexpensive products is pressuring the traditional, higher priced products.  Sound familiar?


Another very interesting article on the impact of Amazon on the publishing industry.  “Daring to Cut Off Amazon,” by David Streitfeld of  The New York Times. 

Publishers of all sizes are struggling to survive in the face of the online giant.  Where do you think the industry is headed?

Really, REALLY interesting article here by Sarah Lacy of the Pandodaily.  In short, pretty much what we as indie authors have sensed, and why we look skeptically at people that want to submit to traditional publishers anymore.  I think a follow up question is this.  Do you think indie authors will get crushed under Amazon’s thumb someday?  (Think getting 30% of your sales price rather than 70% because there is no other game in town).

This one’ll be short and sweet.  Sales of tablets and e-readers are through the roof this year, and with the release of the Kindle Fire, that is only expected to continue into the holiday season and beyond.  Amazon has, for all intents and purposes, given readers and authors a mechanism to gift on the cheap.  How?  Gifting a person’s favorite ebooks.

Now, for some of the major published authors, their ebooks may not be much less than their traditional paperbacks.  This is a quasi-travesty, since the cost of putting together an ebook is much less (i.e. nearly no cost, other than upfront formatting costs) than doing the same with a paperback.  Indie authors have capitalized on the inability of traditionally published authors to set reasonable prices by doing just that–setting reasonable prices.  You can literally find, and gift, books by indie authors for $0.99-$3.99.  Or, if you’re a numbers/figures guy or gal, for about 60-90% less than traditionally published authors.

How do you make sure you aren’t gifting crap?  First, there are a lot of traditionally published books that are crap.  Just harken back to high school and college, where you were forced to read a  bunch of ’em.  Second, rely on reviews.  Once you get 15, 20, 50, 100 people saying a book is good–that’s a fairly reliable indicator.

Finally, on to the actual gifting process.  It’s easy as 1, 2, 3:

(1) On Amazon, when you search for a book and then click on the ebook version, you will see a button on the top right called “Give as a gift.”

(2) For the technology impaired, click on that button.

(3) You will be directed to a screen where all you have to do is enter the email address of the person to send the gift to.  Boom, you’re done, and you did it for cheap.

A couple more awesome perks.  You can do all your ebook shopping now, and set your delivery date for whenever you want, such as 12/25/2011.  Your loved one will get a host of books to fill his/her new reader on the day they get the reader.  What’s cooler than that?  You can add a personalized message to your gift.  Finally, you’re doing the environment a favor by not having a book printed, boxed up, and then shipped on some gas guzzling vehicle.

*IMPORTANT NOTE* Okay, this has all been important, but this is super important.  The recipient of your gift does not have to have a Kindle to get the ebook.  Amazon has a Kindle app that can be used on basically any platform, as far as I know.  So, even if the person has a Droid phone, for instance, all they have to do is download the Kindle app, and voila, their gift will be readable.

This is a frontier of book consumption.  If you’re a reader, I can’t imagine a better way to gift this holiday season.  If you’re an author, well, you better start spreading the word about this!

Finally, a shameless plug for my books , Enemy in Blue  and Allegiance, which fit the bill as great gifts.  Over 100 great combined reviews, and under $5 for both.

<Begin rant> So, a few of my own thoughts from the article.  First, screw a major publisher that is now trying to profit from INDIE published authors.  I may be alone in this sentiment, but one of the great parts of being indie is that it feels like a movement, like a frontier.  It feels like major corporations are having to adjust because of what we are doing on a daily basis.  The last thing to do, in that case, is to assimilate with them.   If they want to pick up indie authors to publish them through traditional means, by all means.  Second, take a look at the comments to see how much of a farce the service is.  That 70% royalty to authors?  Only if you sell through “Book Country.”  WTF is that anyway?  </end rant>

Sorry, but other services such as Createspace and Lulu have been there for indies since before the beginning.  My experience with Createspace/Amazon has been nearly flawless, they have my loyalty.

Okay, on to the article.  What do you all think?

This…will…not…be…easy.  I’m going to admit something to you all.  I didn’t think it’d be this hard.  Call it naivete.  Call it optimism.  Call it the sheer ridiculousness of thinking, dammit, that what I wrote would take off, like a rocket ship to Planet Lottery Ticket.  Anddddd, yeah. Four months after the release of Enemy in Blue, let me give ya some thoughts and insights into what this process entails.  The hope is that this will help some understand what’s coming their way if they publish, and help others who have done so realize, “I’m not alone.”

  1. Writing was the easy part.  Huh?  I just finished 80k, 90, 120k words!  It took me 2 years to write my baby.  What you mean that was the easy part?  Writing is a joy, in my opinion.  I hardly ever had a day where I cussed and wished I was doing something else.  And, if those days came along, I just didn’t write.  No sense forcing something crappy onto paper.  On the other hand, once you’re published (by whatever means), the marketing, sales and promotion begins.  And, I can assure you of one thing–once you start those ghastly machines up, they don’t allow breaks.  You’ll be tweeting, updating your website, updating your status on Facebook, trying to get signings, trying to get your books on brick and mortar shelves, etc. etc. etc., NONSTOP.  Be prepared to work your ass off in the name of promotion.
  2. This will undoubtedly be a long, strange trip.  Do a Wikipedia on your favorite band.  Most likely, they spent years toiling in small venues.  They pumped out album after album before one hit song took off.  Realize that your journey will probably be the same–with the superstar ending, we all hope.
  3. There are tens of thousands of people trying to do what we’re doing.  Okay, not trying to be Captain Downer here, but this post is a small dose of reality, if anything.  Look at the sheer number of books on Amazon.  Look at all the authors Tweeting about their books on a daily basis.  This is a SEA, not a stream.  You’ve got to tread water, then build a super attractive yacht for people to hop onto.
  4. The hard work will make it worth it.  Growth does not come through constant success.  When you get the first review of your book from someone you don’t know, and it’s a positive review, you will glow.  When someone asks you for a signature on their copy of your book, you’ll glow.  When you see your book on a bookshelf in a bookstore, you’ll glow.  But, each one of those things will take a tremendous amount of effort to achieve.
  5. Patience is a virtue…and will be key to your sanity.  Seemingly, nothing in the book publishing world moves quicker than a snail’s pace.  You building your empire of words isn’t gonna be any different.  Just like when you wrote your book, do your best to recognize the small steps, otherwise the pace of the whole venture will make you mad!
In short, if you’re just starting out, please, please recognize that your success is commensurate with your effort.  And, if you’ve been playing the game, know that you aren’t alone!  Success has started to come to me and Enemy in Blue, but only with a tremendous amount of hard work. Best wishes to you and your fantastic book!