By now everyone knows about the Kindle select program. For some authors this is a boon for their writing careers. For companies like Barnes & Noble, they see it as a blatant attempt to monopolize the market. The idea that loyalty will grant you a larger cut of the pie. 5 free days of promotion to give your hard word away for the chance to rank in the top 100 free store. For some it seems to work. I myself have even participated and here's why.
Most indie authors begin with the idea of get your work on every available distribution channel possible. The thought being, the more visable I am the more potential sales I can gain. Soon the hard truth sets in. You get more sales on Kindle than you do on Nook. You think to yourself, well, Nook isn't offering me anything to be loyal and Kindle is. So you say goodbye to Nook and hello to Kindle select and give them exclusive rights to your ebook for the next 90 days. This also makes your work available to their lending library and lends count as sales numbers and the alloted pot is shared among those who were lucky enough to get borrows.
Now all along I'm thinking, eventually some huge changes will come to the digital publishing age. As we all know the big six are not happy at all that the keys have been taken away from them. No longer are they in charge of who gets published. I've always thought it was wrong that publishers believe that only they are entitled to decide who can be published. I understand this process that no one is good enough to be published is designed so that only the best work is chosen and standards are not comprimised. But the question is, who set the standards?
Anyone now can be published, no agent needed, no big house behind you. Just you, your words and the world as your customer. The traditonal team cries foul that readers are being short-changed because they aren't there anymore to protect them from authors who weren't put through their gauntlet of ridicule. But Amazon comes to the rescue to the indie author and soon the gates are flooded with more books than the world can read. Paying the highest unheard of royalty rates ever.This is where I fear comes the worry. The 70% royalty fee. Is this the crack they are feeding to indie authors? Are we going to become junkies and blindly follow? As soon the writing on the wall could seriously mean thanks for letting us get you hooked on that nice royalty rate. "Now here's the juice, if you want to continue getting the best rate ever, we're gonna need you to be exclusive all the time." Imagine the shock that writers will feel when they find that no matter what they price their books at, 35% is the best you're going to get if you're not in the select program. It's already being done with India. And really can you fault Amazon if they do go this way? After all it's their ballgame, if you want to be on the team and benefit, then you're going to have to become a team player. If this happens you may see, Barnes and Noble offering their 65% royalty no matter what, just to get back some of the audience. The problem I'm having with B&N is they seem lazy to me in their attitude towards indie authors. Regardless, I am hopeful that the indie author will still be able to flourish. For many of us our dreams are finally being realized. For the traditional houses, like it or not, indie is becoming the new American Idol or Britains Got Talent as already agents, film people are scouring for new material. Material they can probably get really cheap.
Time and time again we have seen artists crave one thing above all. Control of their work. Indies have a way of breaking down old methods of doing business. People like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Frances Ford Coppola, broke the studio system apart. Sure the major studios are still there. But the way they do business today has changed. Publishing is going through the same changes. The outdated boys club of publishing is finally getting a much needed makeover.
I'd like to see indies finally given credit and treated as real authors. Amazon and B&N know eventually some parameters will have to be put in place and everyone is still trying to figure it all out. I imagine, Apple is sitting on the sidelines waiting to see where it all goes, before they pounce. But the long and short of it. I think Amazon has the indie author world cornered. Let's pray they aren't crack dealers after all.
1. I will never pay people to write positive reviews of my books.
2. I will never use a false account (aka a sock puppet or anonymous account) to leave negative reviews of any of my peers.
3. I will never use a false account to review my own books.
4. I will never send reviewers copies of my books if they review in a periodical where my publisher buys advertising.
5. I will never ask friends, family, peers, or anyone who knows me to write reviews of my books, since they are biased toward me.
6. I will never ask fans to write reviews of my books, since they are biased toward me.
7. I will never pay a publicist to send out books of mine to be reviewed, since I am essentially paying someone for reviews.
8. I will never allow a publicist working for a publisher to send out books of mine to be reviewed, since they are being paid to do so.
9. I will never allow anyone to send out copies of my books to be reviewed, because if they were doing that they must know me, and if they know me it is impossible to get an unbiased review.
10. I will never allow any review from anyone I've ever met. Every review must be from someone who has never met me, heard of me, or read me before, and must come with a signed affidavit proclaiming such.
11. Every review must be from a professional reviewer who has true integrity. But this professional reviewer cannot accept money in any way, shape or form, because getting paid for reviewing could compromise their ethics.
12. I will personally interview every reviewer to make sure they are unbiased, and then ask them to remove their review because upon meeting them (The Konrath Uncertainty Principle) I may have affected their review, which renders it biased.
13. I will never blurb a book by an author I know.
14. I will never accept a blurb from an author I know.
15. I will never blurb a book from any author, because I may know them some day.
16. I will never review anything, or blurb anything, or allow any of my books to be reviewed of blurbed.
17. I will never allow anyone I have ever known, or ever might know, to blurb or review anything.
18. I will never use a sock puppet or post anonymously online about anything at all, because I should stand by my own words.
19. I will never post anything at all online, ever again, because it might impinge upon someone else's ethical standards.
20. I will publicly chastise, denigrate, ridicule, mock, and lynch anyone who has breached any of the above.
21. I will tattoo this code of ethics permanently upon my back to show all how ethical and moral I am.
22. Those who don't ask about my ethics will still be forced by me to memorize the tattoo on my back, in public, as many times as I demand.
23. All who do not comply will never be allowed to write again, and will broken on the wheel, their intestines forced down their own lying, cheating, dishonest, unethical throats while they beg for mercy, then they'll burned at the stake, drawn and quartered, their charred, smoking, crispy body parts placed on spires for all to view. This punishment will be meted out to any person, living or dead, who has ever had contact with, or has heard of, the offending party
This week my wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, talked in her blog about a topic that has been bothering me for some time. And a problem I saw coming years ago. And one that makes me sad that the problem has finally arrived.
That problem, put simply, is writers angry at other writers. The reason? A writer’s choice on how to publish a book.
About a month ago, I wrote up a blog post detailing how all pages on Facebook would be converted to the new Timeline design come March 30th. Along with this, I presented some tips on how to maximize an effective use of Timeline for authors, and closed by promising another post with more tips in the next week.
Well, a month has passed, but I finally got back around to it. :)
If you haven’t read the first post, go back and read it since it gives you a foundation for what I detail in this post.
MONTREAL - A Montreal university student was detained at the U.S. border, held for several hours, interrogated, had his personal belongings searched and saw his computer confiscated for over a week.What caught the authorities' attention?
This was a big bucket of fun. RaeBeth McGee over at The Writing World interviews me on my weaknesses (carefully hidden), my books (mostly obscure but gaining ground) and the bodies (corporate and otherwise) strewn behind me.
Fun interviews are one of the perks of this job. I love having fun with author interviews. Click the link to The Writing World and have a laugh. ~ Chazz
Christopher Shevlin describes how a few marketing tweaks turned around the fortunes of his self-published humorous political novel in the space of weeks.
Robert Chazz Chute's insight:
Speaking of bringing things back from the dead (see the post below this one for some cool video), categories and keywords are very important to book sales. Be willing to experiment to find the factors that increase discoverability.
Learn at the link below to Chris Shevlin's post at ALLi.
A few months ago, I changed my Twitter bio from “indie fantasy/steampunk author” to “full-time indie fantasy/steampunk author.” Apparently a couple of people actually read that Twitter bio, because I’ve had questions about it.
–You really earn a living from your ebooks? –How many books do you have to write to do that? –Are you a bestseller? –If not, how many do you have to sell? –How do I sell that many books?
I’m going to try to answer some of those questions today, though before I get started, let me admit that I’m not really there yet, insofar as being confident that writing books is all I’ll ever need to do to pay the bills and eventually purchase a suitable super-villain lair.
The first three posts in this series were designed to be a unit and help you get set up as an indie publisher. You should have a business name picked out with a web site domain reserved, understand your upfront costs and have made decisions on how to deal with those costs. Then you should have done a rough guess on income and when each project might break even.
If I had to summarize those first three chapters, I would say this: “Be prepared, set up correctly, keep your costs down, and understand the possible cash flow.”
So the next logical step is the question: “How Do I Get My Books Out To Readers?” In other words, how do I produce and distribute my book? You can’t have distribution without production, so I am starting with production right now.
The first major steps in production are inventory and scheduling.
So to really think like a publisher, you need to understand publishing lists, deadlines, and how distribution must be planned far, far ahead of the actual launching of books.
Fox News host Eric Bolling speculated on Tuesday that Sandra Fluke, the law student who has become famous for being attacked by Rush Limbaugh, was part of an elaborate White House plan to distract voters from the economy.