Category Archives: Publishing

Changes Coming to Amazon’s Kindle

Publishing to Amazon’s Kindle has been easy for anyone to do, and has flooded the market with self-published eBooks. They range from professionally well-done to amateurishly horrible. Amazon wants to solve the problem of substandard eBooks.

eNovel Authors at Work posted a great article about the changes and what they mean to the average indie author. To get yourself familiar with what’s happening, I suggest you read it. It may make life easier for you.

The changes come into effect in February and will affect indie authors, small publishers, online publishers, and boutique publishers. This does not affect traditional publishers who concentrate on print books. When there are errors in the book, such as spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, formatting issues, and just plain poor quality, the book will be flagged and taken offline. The author is then notified and asked to fix the problems before it can be published again. Even one complaint by a reader can result in a book being pulled. Thankfully, fixing the issues is easy, especially if it’s just a spelling or grammar mistake. In fact, Amazon will tell you exactly where the errors are. Sometimes, they’ll be foreign words. Fair enough, those don’t need to be changed. Before publishing, you can even use Kindle’s online proofer to find the mistakes. If there are no problems, publish away!

My worries are probably minor, but what if a book is constantly being tagged as poor quality because of technobabble, magic words, or unique names that the author has made up? I’d hope that wouldn’t be an issue.

On the positive side, this will force authors to make sure their books are good quality. It may discourage the lazy or unmotivated authors from publishing substandard books. They may try anyway, and get frustrated. I could see the number of books published this year decreasing because they’re prevented from publishing their error-riddled novels.

As always, I’m a wait and see kind of person. I’m interesting in seeing how this goes. What do you think? Do you agree with the new rules? Or do you have any worries? Let me know in the comments.

99 Cent or Free eBooks? I Won’t

When someone goes to work, they expect to be paid a fair amount for their work. When an artist creates a work of art, they expect to be paid for the work they have done. So why would an author work for months on a book only to sell it for 99 cents or just give it away for free? I won’t do that.

Sure, I’ll do the occasional promotion where I’ll drop the price to 99 cents, but never free. I want to be paid for the work I did. I’ll never keep a book at 99 cents, either. That is unless it’s one of my first books in a series and I’m comfortable with reducing it to that price. But I can’t guarantee it.

So why won’t I do this? It turns out, from what I’ve heard, that offering free books may get more downloads, but they’re unlikely to be read much. When people buy books, they will read them. A freebie is just that. Something they’ll put on their Kindle and forget about it. Low priority.

With that said, I do download free books, but I want to give back to that author in the form of a review. If I really liked the book, I may buy a print copy. I like physical books, because I’m a bit of a collector.

So, permanently low price or free book? No. I want to be paid for my work. Low price promotional copies? Yes. It’ll boost my visibility and hopefully drive regular price sales. I will have to experiment, though.

How do you feel about free or 99 cent books? Let me know in the comments.

What’s wrong with getting an eBook for nothing?

Whenever you download and read a free eBook, you should write a review. That’s what I do. Any time I’ve read a free eBook, I post a review on here and on Goodreads (and I should on Amazon). In the future, if they have the book available in print through Createspace, I do plan to buy it. I’m a book collector, and I love my books.

When I publish my books, I will likely set a reasonable price, say around $3.99, which is pretty common. Will I do free promotional giveaways? Unlikely. I’ll do promotional discounts, though. Most likely about $0.99 for a limited time. From what I’ve read, free eBooks usually aren’t read, but people who see a cheap deal and pay for it, will likely read it and quite possibly leave a review. At least that’s what I would hope.

Anyway, read the full post and comment there.

Have We Had Help?

Free Books.001

Everything, that’s what!!!

The fact that today’s readers of eBooks demand it must be free or on offer as part of an all you can read for x number of dollars per month package deal, is just so wrong!

Face it people, when you go to your supermarket to get your groceries, or to any other retail outlet you care to name, do you get what you want for nothing? No of course not. So why should you expect to get a book for free? I’ve heard some people claim it should be free because an eBook isn’t a real book, only an electronic file. Good grief morons, try engaging your brains for once in your lives! These same idiots argue that they should be able to download their favourite music for free as well. I have just two words on that subject – Taylor Swift!!!

Thanks to Amazon belabouring…

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Authors Answer 28 – Publishing Paths

A big publishing contract with a major publishing house is a dream for many authors. But a lot of authors are going another way these days, completely bypassing the publishers and doing it themselves. This week’s question is from RedTheWriter.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 28: Vanity Publishing? Indie Publishing? Self Publishing? Traditional Publishing? Author Publishing? What is the difference? What do you recommend?

H. Anthe Davis

For me, self-publishing through KDP worked best, because I’d been pitching my first book at publishers and agents for years without success and just wanted to get it out there so I could move on to the second book.  As a hobbyist I don’t mind that it’s not lucrative, though I do have this dream of pitching the finished series to publishers later and them going ‘yes, of course, brilliant!’ for a traditional print run.  Considering they’d scrap my covers for their own, though, I’m not sure anymore if I’ll even try that.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I’ll simplify this down to three categories.Traditional publishing is a process that involves pitching your work to a publishing house.  They decide whether your book will be marketable and the terms of your business relationship.  This process may, and often does, involve an agent to work on your behalf, and finding one can be as long and discouraging as finding a publisher.  It’s a process that’s been in practice since the beginning of the industry, and because of that and perhaps its difficulty it’s often seen as a more legitimate form of publishing.  Comparatively few authors find success with this method.

Self-publishing is a process made possible by ebooks and print on demand.  An author can bypass finding an agent and publisher, and retain control over how the books are published, marketed, and sold.  Because of the idea that “anyone can do it,” self publishing is often seen as less legitimate and the easy way out of getting a book published.

Vanity publishing is like self publishing except the author pays for the book to be published.  This process get a bad reputation from certain vanity publishers using deceptive language and tactics to make money off of naïve authors.

Personally, I prefer to self publish and will be taking this step in the very near future.  There is a certain charm to being traditionally published (probably because of aforementioned bias) but I also feel it’s a method more confined to market demand and archaic rules.  Self published authors , I think, are less constrained by this and there’s the potential for more variety and experimentation.

Amy Morris-Jones

I’m actually trying to decide which of these I prefer, so I’m not the best person to answer perhaps. For me, there’s a credibility that comes with traditional publishing—the knowing that someone (more than one someone actually) who knows a LOT about books loves my book as much as I do means something to me. The downside is the time trad publishing takes—at least a year most of the time.  I definitely appreciate that self-publishing allows so much more flexibility. In trad publishing, if a book doesn’t sell well in the first three months, it’s dead. In self-publishing, a writer has the ability to rebrand, remarket, whatever—and try it again. I think I’ll take a crack at trad publishing first—and then perhaps go the self-publishing route I better understand how the industry works.

Caren Rich

I can’t recommend any of these, I’ve only tried self-publishing once. So I have no experience to add to this conversation.

Jean Davis

Say no to vanity publishing. The rest all have their merits depending on your goals and where your story fits into the market. Your level of patience also plays into it quite a lot.

Self publishing can be very quick from writing the end to being published. To do it well, it shouldn’t be quite so quick, but that’s a tale for another day. If you have patience, try for indie publishing with a small press, where you can get some support with marketing and have the cover, editing and formatting of your novel taken care of in return for a portion of the profit  If you have high hopes that you’d like dashed and enjoy waiting for over a year for a response, then try traditional publishing. Personally, I’d recommend indie or self publishing.

D. T. Nova

I think vanity publishing is a fairly outdated term; modern self publishing doesn’t work quite the same way as what used to be called vanity publishing.

Since I’m not yet published I don’t feel qualified to actually give a recommendation, but I will likely go with self publishing for my first novel.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

These days there are so many different kinds of publishing that it’s really quite difficult to keep track. For instance, there isn’t just “self” publishing as a blanket option; you can design, print, bind, and sell your books all by yourself (“author” publishing), or you can engage the help of sites like CreateSpace, who do all the printing and everything for you (“indie” publishing), or you can share your writing through services like WattPad (not even sure what you would call that, exactly). Then there are the more traditional paths, such as querying big name publishers, submitting your writing to agents, or delving into “vanity” publishing (which, I’ll be honest, I don’t QUITE understand). Long story short, it’s hard to decide which road to take sometimes.

I think that all the possible paths have their merits and their hardships. For instance, being traditionally published means that your book will find its way into a much bigger market, but it is the slowest of the methods and you could easily find yourself waiting years to see your book actually land on a shelf. Self-publishing is much quicker, but you are left with 100% of the burden to market the book, which can be even more difficult than writing it in the first place.

Long story short, I think that every writer should research the possibilities beforehand and use that information to decide for themselves which option best suits their needs. I would have loved to be traditionally published and see my novel in book stores, for example, but that would have involved a great amount of time spent querying and waiting, querying and waiting, and I figured zombies might not be popular anymore by the time something ever came of my efforts. Thus I decided that CreateSpace was for me, allowing me to create my novel with no overhead costs and put it out there in the market while chances are still good that some people might actually want to read it!

S. R. Carrillo

It’s really very simple, from my perspective. Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing/vanity publishing. Self-publishing can encompass all the rest in one form or another. Self-published authors are un-agented and un-contracted, ergo, independent (“indie”). That’s the way to go if you want control of how your story reaches its audience. It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it, if you really put the time and dedication into it that a good story needs in order to be a good book. There’re are so many resources and so much support that’s available that really makes it impossible not to wanna try at least once.

Come to the dark side, friend. We have more fun here.

Paul B. Spence

I would clump indie publishing, author publishing, and self-publishing together; they’re basically the same thing.

Vanity publishing, as I see it, is done by the people who put their books out there with no regard for proper grammar, spelling, page layout, decent covers, etc.  They just want to be able to say they have a book published, and they really need to be classified differently from the indies, etc. As far as traditional publishing goes, there’s nothing wrong with it, and good luck if you can do it, but traditional publishers seem to be taking fewer and fewer new authors.

Jay Dee Archer

I haven’t been published yet, but I do know how I’ll be doing it.

Indie publishing is the big thing these days through services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. There seems to be a more than 50% share of profits from this method now. You have complete control over your book. You decide the design of the cover, how it’s written, you arrange the editing, and you do all of the marketing. It’s all about how you want to do it.

Vanity publishing has a bad reputation due to the fact that the author pays to have their book published, and likely won’t see any profit.

Traditional publishing is what many authors want to do, but it’s incredibly difficult to get into. You need an agent and the publisher must like your book enough to publish it.  The process tends to take a long time, too. You may have to wait a very long time, and you may go through years of sending in your manuscript to publishers with no success.

I personally like indie or self-publishing. I’m likely to go through KDP for my first book(s). If I gain the attention of a publisher, I’d have to see what kind of offer they have. If it’s favourable, I’d go for it.

How about you?

Which method of publishing do you recommend? Leave your answers in the comments below.

Conclusions from Author Earnings, January 2015

Indie or traditional? Well, it looks like indie authors are taking a bigger part of the market share. Interesting numbers here.

Nicholas C. Rossis

You may remember that I study Hugh Howey’s and Data Guy’s quarterly Author Earning Reports religiously, so that I can offer you the highlights. The Passive Guy alerted me to the January 2015 report (if you don’t already subscribe to his free newsletter, The Passive Voice, I urge you to do so – he’s one of the greatest resources for publishing-related information I have found so far).

Now that everyone’s been properly credited for their hard work, what nice things can we gleam from the latest report?

Gimme the Highlights

  • AuthorEarnings reports analyze detailed title-level data on 33% of all daily ebook sales in the U.S.
  • 30% of the ebooks being purchased in the U.S. do not use ISBN numbers and are invisible to the industry’s official market surveys and reports; all the ISBN-based estimates of market share reported by Bowker, AAP, BISG, and Nielsen are wildly wrong.
  • 33%

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Kindle Unlimited Myths

With the negativity I’ve been hearing about Kindle Unlimited lately, here’s something more positive. It’s good to look at the actual numbers, isn’t it?


Kindle Myths


There are many myths about KDP Select floating around.

We now have several months of data, including data released directly from KDP.

In some cases, these facts debunk popular myths.

Let me begin by answering a question that may be on many authors’ minds, and then I’ll get to the myths vs. facts about Kindle Unlimited.


Kindle Unlimited paid $1.43 per download read to 10% in December, 2014.

This brings me to the first myth.


Actually, it’s gone up a little the past two months.

In October, 2014, it was $1.33. It climbed up to $1.39 in November, 2014, and again to $1.43 in December, 2014.

Despite the extra holiday traffic in December—especially, the after-Christmas traffic with people who received new Kindles—the Kindle Unlimited payments went up.

I think that’s…

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How Amanda Hocking sold 1.5 million on Amazon: I’m revealing the secret!

Well, this is actually very, very simple. Who knew it worked? This is a reblog, of course. I’m not revealing the secret, someone else is.

Leona's Blog of Shadows

You might have heard of Amanda Hocking, the indie superstar who sold 1.5 million on Amazon and got picked up by a big house and signed a movie deal for her Trylle Trilogy.

This is the exact quote from her explaining how her sales exploded after the book bloggers spread the word:

Then in June, something truly magical happened. I discovered book bloggers. I had no idea such people existed. They just read books and write about them. And I don’t mean “just.” These people take times out of their busy lives to talk about books and have contests and connect with followers and writers and other readers.

These guys are honestly my heroes. I’m a little in love with all of them.

I asked several if they would be interested in reviewing my books, and most of them said yes, even if they didn’t generally review self-published work.

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The Ugly Truth About Book Sales

Looks like I’m a reblogging mood today. Well, here’s another great post I had to share. Authors don’t just write. They also have to be great at marketing. This post shows just how hard established, award-winning authors have to work on their own marketing. That’s right, even authors like R. A. Salvatore work very hard on marketing their own books. The publishers don’t do it for them.

Well, it doesn’t deter me.  It actually makes me feel more determined to succeed.

Leona's Blog of Shadows

Today I am going to share some eye-opening truths, which might shatter the illusions regarding the book publishing business and crush the dreams of some folk out there. I have recently come across a rather interesting blog post link in the comments section under a post at Suffolk Scribblings blog.

It was a rather grim post by author Kameron Hurley. For those who are not familiar with her, she is an established author who has been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Locus Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in prestigious SFF magazines such as Lightspeed, EscapePod, and Strange Horizons. Her fiction has been translated into Romanian, Swedish, Spanish, and Russian. She is also a graduate of Clarion West. Impressive credentials many of us dream about accomplishing some day, if ever.

According to her…

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Kindle Unlimited a Bust?

It seems I’ve been hearing a lot of reports from authors on their blogs about how they’re now losing a lot of profits from their book sales on Kindle Unlimited.  Despite money being injected into the system by Amazon, the number of books keeps increasing and they get lost in the crowd.  New York Times has an article all about this.

So, is it worth going into Kindle Unlimited?  I had some hopes before that it could generate sales.  But if the amount of money being given to authors for borrows is getting smaller and smaller, there seems to be no benefit for them.  Now down to $1.39 from $1.80, it seems anyone selling a book worth more than $2 is now losing money.  Imagine those selling for $9.99!

I can see it being worth using in one case, and I will be giving it a try when I have my solar system short story series ready for publishing.  I’d be setting the price at $0.99 each, which means that I’d only get 35% royalties from Amazon (so about $0.35 each).  But with Kindle Unlimited, it would be approximately 4 times as much.  That’s a big difference!  And my series will be 9 books long, so for a regular customer, that would be $8.91 for the customer and $3.12 paid to me if a customer buys all books.  Through Kindle Unlimited, I’d get $12.51 at the current payment rate if they downloaded all 9 books.  Not bad at all!

Now, I won’t use this system for full-length novels.  It’s not worth it.  I want to sell them elsewhere, as well.  KU requires you to sell exclusively at Amazon.

What do you think about how Kindle Unlimited is going?  Any of you trying it?

My Future Writing Process

I’ve been thinking about how to go about writing my future books, and in particular, the 9 part series of short stories I intend to start writing in the second half of 2015.  That is if I can finish the Journey to Ariadne web serial by summer.

As these books are all quite short, they shouldn’t take nearly as long as a novel to write.  However, is it is a long overall story, I want to keep continuity errors to a minimum.  I will not publish the first book until I’ve finished writing the ninth.  Each book will likely be fewer than fifty pages each, though that could change. Altogether, it would be an average-length novel.  So, here is the basic outline for the process:

  • Write each part.
  • Edit for continuity errors, grammar, spelling, etc.
  • Get some alpha readers to read each part and give feedback.
  • Edit again.
  • This part is tricky.  There are limits to how long a story can be on Critique Circle, but I’ll go ahead and try breaking each part down, if they are too long.  I’ll submit them to CC for critiques, as they tend to be quite good at this.
  • Edit again!
  • Beta readers.  Hopefully it’ll be more polished at this time, and I’ll have many of the problems out of the story, better dialogue, better narrative, etc.
  • Edit again.
  • Publish?

Editing is going to be the difficult thing.  I’d like it to be edited professionally, of course.  That is going to be in the publish stage.  This will require further research.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding the process or do you have your own way of doing it?  Let me know in the comments.