Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

Times, they are a-changin’

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

What am I talking about? Book publishing, of course.

If you receive any kind of e-newspaper/magazine, you may have read that book industry is seeing a swift shift from its old (wasteful) system of distributing paperback and hardback books to one that is lean, green and much more profitable. We’re talking about eBooks. Depending upon the source, you might hear that anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of books sold and purchased in the US will be ebooks within as few as ten years. For readers, that’s great news. I’m seeing more books published, in a broader variety, thanks to lower cost (aka lower risk) to publishers. However, it may come at a dear price. The days of wandering your local Borders bookstore, inhaling the scent of freshly-printed books may soon come to an end.

If you don’t believe me, check out this article,

E-Books Top Hardcovers at Amazon,

published by The New York Times.According to the article’s author, ebooks are now selling at a rate of 143 Kindle ebooks for every 100 hardcovers. And Kindle’s bookstore has only been open for 33 months.At this point, paperback sales still outnumber eBooks. But for how long?

By the way, for all you hardcover enthusiasts out there, this doesn’t mean hardcovers are dead…yet. Sales industry-wide increased 22% this year, according to the American Publishers Association.

Want to read the entire article? You can find it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/technology/20kindle.html?_r=2

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors: Habit One

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Before I sold my first book, I was desperately searching for the magic formula that would catapult me from unpublished wannabe to published author status. Yes, I was one of those writers, the kind who wanted to be published so bad I could taste it. And I admit I was looking for shortcuts.

Did I find any shortcuts? Sorry, nope. But I did find some things that could help move me in the right direction. Ready? I think I’ll post one “habit” a week, for seven weeks. That way, I won’t have this uber-long treatise that no one wants to read, lol.

So what’s today’s habit?

1. Published authors spend their time writing. Books. Not blogs. Not emails. Not chit-chatty messages on forums or yahoo groups.

They write every day (well, except for holidays and maybe weekends if writing is your full time job).

I can’t tell you how many writers I see waste valuable time playing on forums, blogs and yahoo groups. Yes, this kind of activity could be seen as networking, developing a market for future books (a readership) and researching the industry. But the time should be limited and never interfere with time spent actually writing.

In order to keep priorities straight, I recommend a writer set a specific word count/page count goal for every day.

What’s a realistic goal? That depends upon your situation. Do you have small children at home? Do you work a full time job? Do you have other time consuming daily obligations? Then maybe your goal will be to write one page a day. That’ll get you a book a year.

If you’re writing full time, you might be able to tackle a much more aggressive goal. Ten to twenty pages a day is common for some authors, particularly epublished who rely upon frequent ebook releases to generate buzz and steady income.

Whatever that goal might be–one page or twenty–be tough on yourself. No “play time” allowed until your daily goal is met. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with some fun time on Romance Divas, Facebook or Twitter AFTER your pages are done 🙂

Do this, and before long it’ll become routine and you’ll be cranky if you don’t get your pages done for the day.

Okay, so that’s it. Habit number one. I’ll give you a little hint about next week’s habit…it has to do with something that most authors don’t want to know about.

(this series was previously published on www.tawnytaylor.blogspot.com)

Looking into my crystal ball

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

What will the future of publishing look like? Some folks have theorized that the end of an era is upon us. There’s talk of publishing’s evolution, from a world dominated by a handful of large publishing houses to one in which smaller houses are able to compete. Much of the change is due to the Kindle and to the growing demand for ebooks.

Things were looking pretty darn good in my crystal ball. As an author, I saw opportunities opening to me, opportunities that I–as an epublished author–have been waiting, hoping for.

And then something happens, like JA Konrath signing with AmazonEncore, to make me second-guess my rosy vision for the future. Could Amazon become a powerful super-corporation, a monopoly, handling all aspects of book publishing, from concept to distribution? It seems it’s already on its way to doing just that. I’m sure this is why publishers fought so hard for control of product pricing. But they may be fighting a losing battle. As more authors go to Kindle and AmazonEncore, and the average ebook price drops, traditional publishers’ products will be priced out of the market. They’ll be forced to make painful decisions. And I’m not familiar enough with publishing to know what the potential fallout of those decisions might be, but I have a vague feeling it won’t be pretty.

I’m not going to pull a Chicken Little and start shrieking, “The sky is falling!” But I will say, it’s an interesting time to be part of the publishing world right now.Things are changing, and quickly.

So, what’s an author–who has absolutely no control over the changes taking place–supposed to do, as the world beneath her feet shifts and tips?

Stay informed. Listen closely. Make decisions carefully, based upon facts, not rumors.

A few publishing industry blogs to help you do just that:

PubRants

Nathan Bransford

Business Exchange

Mediabistro/Galleycat

Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog

Sasha White’s Show Me The Money

Monday, May 17th, 2010

If you aren’t aware, there are a couple authors over on the GenReality blog who are foolish brave enough to share their actual sales figures for their books. Despite my seeming little dig, which is more an indication of how I think publishing folks will respond to this practice than the value I see in sharing the data, I have great respect for these authors and what they’re trying to accomplish. In the spring of 2009, Lynn Viehl posted an actual scanned copy of the royalty statement for her NYT top twenty bestseller, Twilight Fall. Why would she do such a thing, exposing herself to the potential backlash from her publisher, her agent, and anyone else who didn’t like the idea? Because she felt it was important to let hopeful future-NYT bestsellers know what the real numbers were. My hat’s off to Lynn. This month, Sasha White posted her sales figures for a short novella published by one of the leading epublishers in the current market, Samhain Publishing. The book sat in the top ten bestselling list on mybookstoreandmore.com for three weeks. What does that mean in dollars and cents? I’ll leave it to you to read her well-written blog post HERE.

Again, my hat’s off to Sasha for having the guts to share her numbers. Most authors are very tight-lipped about their sales, for a variety of reasons. I haven’t shared any numbers, outside of reporting anonymously to Brenda Hiatt’s Show Me the Money, and I can’t really give you a reason, outside of a personal insecurity, fearing I’ll lose my readers’ respect if my sales aren’t as high as they might have expected. Perhaps it would do the opposite, I don’t know. What I will say is that there are a great many factors–which Sasha didn’t really get into–that impact an ebook’s initial sales. I thought I’d say something about those.

The  factors that will impact an ebook’s potential first-month sales include:

Current trends: Ebook trends seem a little more fluid, moving more rapidly than trends in the print market. This is based purely on my speculation, not concrete data. At any rate, books that fall within the current popular trend sell better.

The publisher: Not all ebook publishers are created equal. Some have established readers, others do not, and as an author, there are only so many readers you’re going to bring from one publisher to another if you switch.

Timing of release: Because many epubs pay monthly, that vital first month’s sales may all appear in the first check, may be split half and half between two months or may fall heavily into the second royalty check, depending upon how early/late the book released within the month. Also, having an ebook release on a holiday, or very close to one, can also impact sales.

The author’s name: To a lesser degree than the other factors above.

Direct sales vs distributors: If the bulk of the publisher’s sales come from second-tier distributors, like Fictionwise, the author will earn significantly less money from his/her book. There’s no way around it.

Blurb/cover/packaging: Sometimes a book is packaged so well, or the concept is so fresh, it sticks out from the crowd.

If the book is part of a series (first books tend to sell better than sequels, but sequels will cause a spike in backlist sales)

What doesn’t seem to impact sales to any significant degree (I’ve tried them all and seen virtually no results)

Advertising in print media

Online marketing via blog interviews, chats, yahoo group posting, etc.

Contests

There you go, some of the factors I personally know that  will (and will not) impact ebook sales. Do you have any more to add to the list?