Category Archives: Publishing

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.

Kindle Unlimited Trends

Here’s another very detailed overview of Kindle Unlimited’s recent trends by Chris McMullen. It’s worth a read. I’m considering Kindle Unlimited for my solar system series of short stories when I write them. But who knows if KU will be around then? I’m interested in seeing how it goes over the next year.

chrismcmullen

KU Trends

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Historically, Amazon Prime borrows paid around $2 per borrow through KDP Select until the introduction of Kindle Unlimited.

The KOLL global fund has paid less for Amazon Prime borrows and Kindle Unlimited downloads read to 10% since the debut of Kindle Unlimited in July, 2014.

The most recent KOLL payout of $1.33 for October, 2014 shows a significant downward trend:

  • $2.00 or thereabouts prior to July, 2014
  • $1.81 for July, 2014
  • $1.54 for August, 2014
  • $1.52 for September, 2014
  • $1.33 for October, 2014

$1.33 is a significant drop for KOLL payments.

Books with a list price of $2.99 or higher earn royalties of $2 and up for sales (using the 70% royalty option, assuming a negligible delivery cost).

In the past, KOLL borrows have paid close to the royalty for the purchase of a $2.99 book.

But $1.33 is 33% less than the 70% royalty on a $2.99…

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The Absolute Indie

For those of you who don’t know what you’re doing with self-publishing, I found a blog post that is very useful. In fact, it goes through what this person did to do everything. No paid help. All free resources. Most of the help comes in the form of eBooks, but that’s perfectly fine. What’s another book to read? Check it out.

Lit World Interviews

When I first decided to self-publish my books I had no intention of doing every little thing myself. I planned on paying for editing and formatting, and buying my cover designs. I had a rude awakening when I discovered that living in Zimbabwe, as I was at the time, meant that I had no access to PayPal, who sanction that country, and from what I could see back then, that was the only way to pay.

I had page numbers, headers and footers, indents and lots of other fancy bits and pieces in my original manuscript and no clue as to what formatting even meant. Seeing other writer’s beautiful covers all over, my heart sank because I knew that I could never create such things. It was the most frustrating feeling in the world until I discovered a few free resources that meant I could do it all myself. None…

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Publishing and Kindle Unlimited: Conclusions from Hugh Howey’s Latest Author Earnings Report

Very interesting. Seems Kindle Unlimited actually is increasing author income. Thanks to Hugh Howey for a lot of investigation into this. I strongly urge you to read this if you’re thinking about KU.

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: islam-science.net

This has been a busy week. I was reading a post by Chris McMullen on Kindle Unlimited and the effect it has on rank. The next day, I came across Hugh Howey’s latest Author Earnings Report (October 2014), and a couple of interesting posts by Publishing Perspectives and Savvy Writers. As always, the publishing industry is in a state of flux, making self publishing a bit like trying to score a goal on an uneven field. Filled with shifting sand. And moving goal posts. Oh, did I mention we’re using a Rubic’s cube for a ball?

So, what have I learned from all that?

First, Some Numbers

The total number of books in print hit 28 million worldwide in 2013 , as calculated by all the titles that acquired ISBNs. In the United States, some 390,000 ISBNs were taken by the self-published authors, while approximately 300,000 were solicited…

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