From the article intro: "If you are anything like other ebook authors I know, then you probably spend a fair amount of time checking your ebooks’ sales figures and rankings.
The reports offered at some major ebook stores, however, tend to be quite basic. Fortunately there are a number of alternative tracking services available.
Some of the following services also attempt to estimate sales but remember these are only estimates. Unless the source is directly from the ebook store, e.g. Amazon, then this will probably only a “best guess” of expected sales based on a particular rank.
With tools like these you can also keep track of how your competitors’ ebooks are doing and even get some ideas for your next book by researching the performance of particular titles."
I've been hearing a lot of whiny bitching on the interwebs over the past year.
"Amazon is going to put Big 6 publishers out of business!"
"Amazon is a bully!"
"Amazon is going to destroy bookstores!"
"Amazon engages in unfair business practices!"
"Amazon is the devil!"
"Amazon is going to monopolize the industry, then force all authors to work in labor camps for 6 cents an hour!"
"Amazon is going to invent a car that is fueled by the screams of puppies!"
"Amazon is going to take over the world!"
That last one is probably true.
I just got back from Seattle with my cohorts Blake Crouch and Barry Eisler, and we met with some key players in Amazon's various publishing endeavors.
None of them discussed anything confidential with us. We pretty much just ate and drank and had fun. And it also pretty much confirmed what I've known for a while now.
Amazon is going to destroy the Big 6, destroy bookstores, destroy 95% of all agents, destroy distributors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor), and revolutionize the publishing industry by becoming the dominant force.
One thing that happens when you go to a writing conference is you end up spending a lot of time with writers. Many kinds of writers. And that can be very instructive.
There were several hundred writers in attendance at the San Francisco Writers Conference, which ended yesterday. Throughout the four days there were writing workshops, keynote addresses, “ask the pro” sessions and a lot of panels and presentations about options in self-publishing.
Although most of the sessions were on writing topics, the incredible popularity and explosive growth of self-publishing, both with new and already-established writers is the obvious rationale for presenting this material. And there were some people who were clearly interested in pursuing the self-publishing option.
Every one of them is self-pubbed. In fact, there are only three legacy authors in the Top 30. I count only ten legacy pubbed in the Top 100, and most are brand names.
It also doesn't bode well for legacy publishers.
Long ago, I said ebooks aren't a competition. But that only applies when they are affordable. Once an ebook costs over five bucks, readers become choosy. The above list is proof. There are ten ebooks on that list priced more than $4.99.
Bet you can guess which ones. Hint: none of the self-pubbed.
Please excuse me. I’m about to rant. It’s not a pretty sight and I wouldn’t blame you if you went somewhere else right now. (And, if you’re wondering where would be a good place to escape to, try the Hope anthology online book launch - it’s in a very good cause.)
I’ve just been followed on Twitter by another jerk with another book marketing scam. In this one, thousands of “independent” (self-published) authors, with books on Amazon, are signing up to “like”, “tag”, “rate” and “tweet” each other’s books in an orgy of deception and back scratching. They aren’t reading each other’s books, merely recommending them to others in return for their own book being recommended.
Before I start, I should make something plain: I like Amazon–they’ve been incredibly, uncharacteristically work-with-able on a level that’s unprecedented in the publishing industry. I am delighted to have my books available in their store, I’ve had an excellent time working with CreateSpace for POD books, and very much enjoyed access to what is currently the biggest online storefront in the world.
I need to get that straight right up front, because I’m seeing other authors do something that I think shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both their relationship with Amazon, and the business model of the independent author.
You see, Amazon has started offering KDP select, where an author enrolls their books for renewable periods of 90 days on an exclusive basis. In exchange for the exclusivity (and for allowing Amazon to lend your book to prime members at rates yet-to-be-determined), the author gets the promotional tool that everyone’s been gagging after for two years now: ...
The other blow against taking these two books to market is my past experience that books do not earn out. This isn’t true for all writers at all times of course, but it’s been my experience, and it’s the same for many, many other traditionally published writers. Publishers are in the business of selling books, and sometimes they manage spectacularly, but quite often, they don’t. So I would have to be okay with giving up these books, possibly in perpetuity, for whatever small advance I might be offered. In contrast, if I published them myself there would be no advance, but if my work ever “hits” with readers, the potential upside is big. This is important to me. I’m far less concerned with having an “immediate” advance in my pocket (and “immediate” is a relative term in publishing), than with having a steady income over the long term, and the only way I see to have that steady income is to keep writing and keep control over my work, and hope that I eventually “hit.”
This piece was brought to my attention by my friend and colleague, Doug Millison from Siliconvalleywatcher. If you're curating content, following it as it evolves or a happy consumer of content that a trusted source selected and curated for you, you may have seen the original article by Maria Popova, from brainpickings. The author of this commentary is Marco Arment who disagrees with what she said and this is just a snipit of her article. He feels there is too much "aggregation, rewriting, not giving credit to the original source, curators shouldn't be credited" and he doesn't see value in curation.
Here is the original article he is responding to curated by Robin Good along with several comments which were just as interesting. The good curators are conscientous and hard-working.
Credit and Attribution Are Fantastic Untapped Resources for Discovery, Not Duties: Maria Popova and The Curstors Code, via @RobinGood http://bit.ly/yiFOU3
Maria is saying that when a curator spends hours looking for quality content, then adds commentary or additional context, this should be looked upon as "intellectual capital". In response to Marco Arment, A trusted curator is not looking to highjack the original content creator's article and keep them on their own site. Just the opposite, if they're doing their job properly, they should give the hightlights so the reader can scan it quickly and either click to the original source or read it later. It's almost like creating a trailer for the author and helping the reader get the main points so they can go on with their day.
Obviously, it is up those of us who are working dilligently to provide their audiences with relevant information, to continue curating, crediting and linking back to the original source.
I think this is a process and gradually people will come to see the value of what we do - hopefully the creators of original material. We are giving them exposure to new audiences, helping to take their post to another level by adding additional information, inviting comments, etc.
We are all suffering from too much content and information and it's not going to get any better. Trusted soures are helping people to navigate through the noise and this is only the beginning.
I value your comments and opinions on this topic.
Commentary by Jan Gordon covering "Content Curation, Social Business and Beyond"
See original article by Maria Popova here: [http://bit.ly/xkoG9s]
Read full post responding to her piece here: [http://bit.ly/Aoey0v]
If you've followed curation as a trend, you've heard of Steve Rosenbaum. His book Curation Nation was instrumental last year in making curation and curators emerge as a trend and as an important group.
As Steve puts it, curators are the Web's super heroes.
But as Steve says, it's just starting and this is juts the beginning. And from what we can see in Austin this year, he's darn right!
Robin Good: Kemari at Easilymused.com has a good selection of five books that can help anyone who is interested in breaking into the ebook publishing world.
Her selection includes:
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book by Marilyn Heimberg Ross, Tom Ross, and Sue Collier. I have this book and it’s about as in-depth as you can get. Very thorough, easy to read and follow, and full of the kind of information that will bring you success.
The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use by April L. Hamilton. I have this one also, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites. April spells out the entire process in a very simple but helpful way. There is even a section on book covers (definitely helpful for the indie author).
Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters. If Hocking is the queen of self-publishing, Zoe is the princess (though I doubt she’d use that term). She’s a self-published author with experience, so she knows what she’s talking about here.
Last week I shared my results from direct marketing to Kindle readers through advertising and KDP Select.
I came down against the program overall based on my experience, but in today’s guest post, Jeff Bennington shows us the opposite point of view and shares some brilliant results.
We are all experimenting in this new world of publishing. There are no rules and what works for one book, won’t work for another, so it’s important to listen to all sides before trying something yourself.
It’s no secret that Amazon’s KDP Select offers free promotion to authors who enlist in the program. But what many authors don’t realize is how effective this promotion can be.
John Locke and Amanda Hocking made their mark selling cheap eBooks for anywhere from 99 cents to $2.99. Some of us even bought, read, and enjoyed John Locke’s book ‘How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 months,’ a book in which he cautioned us to do our own math and to make sound business decisions. Most of us said ‘Wow, he sold a million books’ and set out, lock, stock, and barrel to replicate him. After all, we assumed, we’re better writers than him, and a $350,000 pay day for half a year of work is pretty good.
A few of us were even smart enough to sort out that our success would likely be different, so we extrapolated that if Locke sold a million copies in 5 months, that he sold 2 million in 10 months and 400,000 in two, earning him $840,000. We surmised that even if we did 1/10 as well as John Locke, that $84,000 is still a pretty good chunk of change – enough to live our dreams of spending our lives as novelists.
People consider me to be one of the mouthpieces of the self-publishing movement. As such, I often get interviewed. I've been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, the Washington Post, Forbes, Newsweek, USA Today, etc.
You'd think all of this publicity has lead to increased sales of my ebooks.
You'd think wrong.
I'm obsessive about numbers, as anyone who reads this blog can tell you. So when I appear in some major periodical, I watch my Kindle numbers, looking for the big spike.
I never see a big spike. In fact, I hardly ever see a small spike.
Huh? WTF? Does that make sense? We all know that publicity leads to sales, right?
You have a book. You want an ebook. So all you have to do is upload your cover art and paste in your back cover copy and voila, you have an Amazon.com bestseller.
A reader’s experience in the comfort of a bookstore, where they can leisurely pursue multiple books, read the back cover thoughtfully, and browse through the pages is a completely different experience than shopping on-line.
As I have been preparing my presentation for Digital Asset Management Chicago 2011, I have been thinking quite a bit about metadata and how publishers manage it. Carolyn McCray has posted some intriguing articles at the Digital Book World site examining how metadata can be used to increase sales: Best Practices for Amazon eBook Sales, Maximizing Digital Book Sales, Part 1; and Maximizing Digital Book Sales, Part 2. Carolyn also participated in a great DBW Roundtable with Matt Mullin on how to Optimize Your Titles for Online Bookselling.
The finding: A person’s use of function words—the pronouns, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, and auxiliary verbs that are the connective tissue of language—offers deep insights into his or her honesty, stability, and sense of self. The research: In the 1990s, James Pennebaker helped develop a computer program that counted and categorized words in texts, differentiating content words, which convey meaning, from function words. After analyzing 400,000 texts—including essays by college students, instant messages between lovers, chat room discussions, and press conference transcripts—he concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.