This was a great little piece I found on Janet Reid’s blog. Will Self Publishing Doom ME? I think it is a question facing many new unsigned authors. I have fielded a few myself and I never felt that I have doomed my writing by self-publishing. Notice I didn’t say career, my career is still in the library, mostly because I am not that good a sales person. You know self-publishing is only the first step. To have any measure of success you need to invest time and money into marketing and selling your book. You need to make contacts and pound the bricks. None of these are my strong point so I’ll just bask in the reviews and good word of mouth my books have afforded me and put off worrying about stellar numbers. Follow this link to read Janet’s take on this question: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2017/02/will-self-publishing-doom-me.html
This is an old story but one I just heard about.
In my books I usually place the table of contents in the rear to give sample readers more of the book. I never thought about using it as a cheap way to scam Amazon. The way it works is Amazon pays authors for the number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited. So if you have a link at the front of the book that takes readers to the back of the book, Amazon’s system counts all those skipped of pages as being read. It didn’t take long for scam artists to figure this out.
To combat this, Amazon has been flagging all books with the table of contents in the rear and letting those authors know that if they don’t move the table their book could be taken down. Pretty Draconian, I know. I would think looking for internal links in the first few pages would be more effective but then I don’t work for Amazon.
Truth be told this really doesn’t affect me as I only have one book on Kindle Unlimited and I’ve not really seen much money from it. Still it’s sad to see people taking advantage of the system. You could also argue that Amazon takes advantage of honest authors’ hard work but that’s for another post.
The great folks over at Reedsy.com have answered the question, How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish an eBook.
The costs are based on data culled from the Reedsy marketplace. You may find other prices elsewhere but for a good measuring stick their info graphic is a wonderful tool. One thing to bear in mind is that while you can spend more than is here and you can spend less, the important thing is that in an already crowded marketplace for your book to stand out you will need to spend some money. Now you know about how much.
The internet is swimming in info-graphics these days but when I come across a good one I just have to share it. This one comes courtesy of GallyCat. If you don’t follow them you should, but on to the topic at hand: Similar Looking Cover Designs Infographic (http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/similar-looking-cover-designs-infographic/108528).
I know independent authors put much thought, (some would say agony), into cover design. I think we may be seeing over stylized covers; almost to the point where they become a mental puzzle to unlock the secrets of the book. Yes a good cover can sell a bad book, but a bad cover will do nothing for a great book. After looking over the above example I have to wonder if the big publishers really put as much thought into covers as independents. Granted a book by Stephen King only needs his name on the cover to sell it to his fans. Independent authors do not have that luxury. At the same time I’m seeing a trend of covers that scream Independent Author. There is comfortably middle somewhere in there. If I find it I’ll let you know.
I really had no idea this existed. http://www.newselfpublishing.com/blog/#spambooks
Though after some thought I can’t say I am surprised. If there is a way to take a little money and make a lot of money you can bet someone is working at it. Now the hard question a writer must ask himself or herself is, why don’t I just take a freelance job. I know a very talented writer who does just that. I have thought about it too. We all have our own definition of success in mind and our own milestones to reach before we can say that we arrived. For myself, I prefer the control and the satisfaction of writing for myself. Publishing is just an afterthought. I’d love to make most of my money from it some day, but at the same time I don’t want to turn what I do to relax into what I do for work.
Here is a great post on what to do and not do in your query letter. Boy have times changed. Most of what I followed religiously is out the door like yesterday’s bath water. Ask A Literary Agent: What Do You Look For In A Query Letter?
It still scares the bejeeses out of me. That idea is, What If Authors Were Paid Every Time Someone Turned a Page? I placed my book Undead Heart on Kindle Select over a year ago. I have not seen much revenue from borrows, less than sales in truth. SO it was with mild interest I read the email last month from Amazon announcing their shift to a pay-per-page plan. Then this week I read this article on Gizmodo Amazon Might Pay Self-published Authors Less Than a Cent Natually I had to do some math. Under the old plan if someone borrowed a copy of Undead Heart I received $9.99. The length of the book is 230 pages so at 0.006/page that comes out to $1.38. Now that is most likely a worse case scenario, (please be a worse case). Either way I am keeping my day job for as long as the State Library stays open.
One thought that troubles me, now, is how writers will adapt to this market. I do not write long books. My books are the length I need to tell the story and my stories are usually pretty concise. I’ve talked to new writers who complain about 100,00 pages just not being enough to tell their epic fantasy opera. In the back of my mind I’m also thinking it is probably more than most would care to read anyway. Just the same, the precedent here rewards for length but not necessarily quality. Granted a reader has to stay invested in the story to keep reading, and nothing sends a reader screaming for the exit like crappy writing, but there are enough tricks and traps to keep the reader flipping to find out what happens next. Will we now be subject to 500 plus page tomes that amount to the literary equivalent of a pop-up book? I wish I knew, then maybe I would get started on one. What do you think? Does pay-by-page entice you to try Kindle Select?
First I’d like to thank a long time friend of mine, Dan, for sharing this post. http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2015/06/01/up-the-amazon/
I consider this a must read for all writers. We live in a time of mass consumption and mass waste. The hype machine churns fast and furious. Who can remember when the movie Ghostbusters ran in theaters for over a year? You would never see that today. The same for books. Publishers are no longer interested in books that can sell x copies every year. They would rather have a book that sells that same amount of books in 4 months and then crap out the next one.
Someone like me pointing this out just sounds like sour grapes but when someone the caliber of Ursula K. Le Guin calls it out, it needs to be listened to. I especially like her comparison to fast food. We are so lead to belive what we are consuming is good we gladly take part in the hype and consume away oblivious to the lack of enrichment we get.
So is Amazon the opportunist or perpetrator of this system? Either way will buying books or not from Amazon really change anything?
I submitted my second novel, In The Presence of Gods, to SELF-e, a unique curated collection of e-books for libraries. SELF-e is a project by Library Journal magazine and Bibliolabs, a provider of digital repositories. I have been working with my co-workers at the Arizona State library to launch the e-book platform, Reading Arizona. A logical extension of that platform is to offer independent authors a place to offer their works to the borrowing public. Arizona is teaming up with Bibliolabs to do just that through SELF-e.
Independent authors know that some channels remain out of reach. The idea behind SELF-e is that libraries shouldn’t be one. The process of submitting is simple and easy to understand. Once your work is submitted it will be read by one of two editors who will then decide if it meets the level of content and quality they are looking for. If selected, the work will be added to the national collection. Even if not selected, the work will be sent on to the partner library in the state that author registers in. These works could then be added to the state’s local collection.
Right now there is no method for author compensation. The real draw for the author is the exposure to a new and wider audience. The draw for libraries is participating in a program that offers materials for all their patrons with e-readers. I, for one, am excited to see where this platform can go from here.
I caught this story on Forbes.com about author Mark Dawson, Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer.
I like reading about success stories. They offer encouragement and some insight to what is working. At the same time, I have to remind myself that what works for one author is not necessarily going to work for me. First off, unless I’m writing in the same genre it is like talking about apples to oranges. Some genres sell more than others and have a eager fan base. My second thought is, well really I don’t have one. I’ve read enough of these articles and looked at enough sales data to know that genre is the key for many of these Amazon “Platinum” club writers. In addition to having a number of titles for sale, but that is a topic for another post.
One thing that is hard to grasp is this idea of success. Sure making a boatload of cash tops many of our, “signs of success,” lists, but there is more to being a successful writer. The act of completing a novel is a success, in my opinion. Everything else will fall into place after that, even sales. The only problem with success is you have to repeat it. So rest in your glory for a little while because the following morning you’ll be back at the keyboard working on the next one. Then one day soon you’ll see your name in a Forbes article.