Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

06/28/2016

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press Offers Shelf Space to Self-Publishing Authors


nook press logoSelf-published authors who have obtained a certain level of ebook sales can now print publish their books and sell them in B&N stores and online at BN.com. This means that B&N will offer these authors a coordinated, national distribution, never before available.

My, my – it appears that self-published authors are now being sought after and even accommodated a little. Of course, all things publishing has been changing dramatically over the past few years and self-published authors are now even allowed to use the indoor bathrooms at literary events 🙂

This announcement came from Digital Book World today:

Barnes & Noble announced today the launch of a new self-publishing, print platform called Nook Press, which will allow authors to turn their ebooks into print versions that can be sold in B&N stores and online at BN.com.

The program is self-service and allows authors to create both hardcover and paperback versions.

Through the program, authors who have sold 1,000 copies of a single ebook in the past year will be able to sell their print books on the local, regional or national level through B&N.

Moreover, authors who have sold 500 copies of a single ebook in the past year are eligible to participate in in-store events at B&N, including book-signings and discussions.

If eligible authors want their books to be considered for in-store placement, they can submit their books for review to B&N’s Small Press Department and one of the company’s corporate category buyers. To participate in in-store events, eligible authors can submit for an event review from a B&N store manager.

“Barnes & Noble is proud to be the first to offer coordinated, national distribution for self-published authors who will benefit from in-store placement at Barnes & Noble stores and online at BN.com,” said Fred Argir, B&N’s chief digital officer, in a press release. “No one else can offer self-published authors a retail presence like Barnes & Noble can.”

What do you all think about Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press? At least they are trying – even though the effort is in their interest to save their own ass a little, too.

10/24/2012

Are Self-Published Authors Devaluing the Written Word?


Melissa Foster _ International
Best Selling Author

In my humble opinion, the correct simplistic answer is “Hell No!” — Nothing can devalue quality written work, no matter its source or format.

I suppose an argument can be made that the deluge in less-than-stellar written work, made possible through new and instant technology, has, indeed, diluted quality written and structured words — due mainly to the quantity of its existence.

BUT, poor quality work (or even technically well-written but boring work) has always existed, even in traditional publishing.

So, I say its a quantitative and not qualitative proposition — My opinion, of course 🙂

Anyway, here is an interesting take on this issue by Melissa Foster, award-winning author, community builder for the Alliance of Independent Authors and a touchstone in the indie publishing arena:

Are Self-Publishing Authors Killing the Publishing Industry?

Self-published authors have created a devaluing of the written word, and, some of them are scrambling to see how low they can go to get noticed.

Let us list the ways: 99-cent price point for ebooks. Free ebooks via KDP Select program. Unedited work. Kindle giveaways to get attention and bulk up sales. And lastly, nasty reviews from other authors with the sole purpose of driving down customer ratings.

Why are indie authors selling their work so cheap? In short, mismanaged expectations. Many self-published authors hear about the outliers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they’ll do anything to try and reach that pinnacle. The plain fact is that most of them never will.

The Guardian recently reported that, “Despite the splash caused by self-publishing superstars such as Amanda Hocking and EL James, the average amount earned by DIY authors last year was just $10,000 (£6,375) – and half made less than $500.” That was backed up by a recent poll of authors who have 2 or less 99-cent ebooks on the market that revealed that 75% of authors are selling less than 100 ebooks per month at that rate, with 46% selling less than 10 ebooks per month.

Yes, there are 99-cent anomalies. A recent headline on GalleyCat reported that, “99-Cent Sale Sweeps Self-published Bestseller List”. Yes, Stephanie Bond did achieve bestseller status with three of her titles, all listed for 99 cents but what most indie authors fail to realize is that Stephanie was previously traditionally published and has a following in place. As a new author, that’s very difficult to match.

Read and learn more

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08/05/2011

New Self-Publishing Technology Good for Writers AND Also for Agents and Publishers!


Fly The Friendly Skies Of Self-Publishing! ... Destination: Traditional Publishing.

How is this possible, you ask? Simply put, because the indie writer who self-publishes … and establishes a following of sorts …  is more of a likely moneymaker than a completely unknown lingering in a slush pile with only a query letter, right?

After all, with a self-published writer, the agents and publishers have an actual sample of the creator’s work and not just their 2 minute written sales pitch.

And just where can agents and publishers go to track self-published work? One place is http://indiereader.com … I suspect that many more such sites will be available in the future … BUT, they will have to go a long way to beat this fine tracking/research site.

Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader.com, has this to say in the Huffington Post:

Indie eBooks: The Gateway “Drug” to Traditional Publishing

Gone are the days when a writer had to spend hours hunched over a stack of query letters, only to have their hopes dashed months later with the arrival of an unsigned form letter.

Today, thanks entirely to the creation of the e-reader (yay Jeff Bezos!), there’s no longer a need for authors to deal with middle men. For less than what it costs to buy a book, an author can jump directly to the end game: formatting their titles, uploading them to a sales site and finding actual readers.

And while some writers choose to go indie and stay indie, there are many more who are interested in seeing how the other half live. It is for this group especially that e-books are so important, as they have essentially become a “gateway drug,” enabling successful indie authors to stroll down the path into the welcoming arms of traditional publishers.

In spite of what’s being reported otherwise, the new technology is not just good news for writers; it’s also making things easier for agents and publishers. Rather than slogging through a slush pile–only to take the chance on an unknown, untested entity–signing an indie author who has already developed a following is pretty much a no-brainer.

Read and learn more

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06/21/2011

First Truly Indie Published Author Sells One Million E-Books on Kindle Direct Publishing


Self-Published Author John Locke

John Locke is the eight author to join the Kindle Million Club, but the very first independently self-published author to do so. Of course, the other seven members are all big-name authors: Stieg Larson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, and Lee Child.

Details in PC Mag by Leslie Horn:

For the First Time, a Self-Published Author Sells a Million Kindle eBooks

Amazon is marking a milestone for its self-publishing platform today. John Locke has secured his status as the first independently published author to sell more than a million Kindle e-books using Kindle Direct Publishing.

Locke is the eighth author to become a member of what Amazon calls the “Kindle Million Club,” joining other big-name authors like Stieg Larson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, and Lee Child. Locke, however, is in a bit of a different league, considering he’s the first indie author to join the group.

“It’s so exciting that self-publishing has allowed John Locke to achieve a milestone like this,” vice president of Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti said in a statement. “We’re happy to see Kindle Direct Publishing succeeding for both authors and customers.”

Locke has written a total of seven international best-sellers, including such titles as “Saving Rachel,” “Wish List,” “A Girl Like You,” and “Don’t Poke the Bear.” He’s also penned a how-to guide for self-published authors like himself called “How I Sold 1 Milllion eBooks in 5 Months.”

“Kindle Direct Publishing has provided an opportunity for independent authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the book selling industry,” Locke said. “Not only did KDP give me a change, they helped at every turn. Quite simply, KDP is the greatest friend an author can have.”

Locke’s Web site claims that every seven seconds, somebody somewhere in the world is downloading one of his books.

Read and learn more

05/12/2011

E-Book Self Publishing Rains Money for Some


In the last several months a few authors have self-published into monetary success (and fame)…You all have probably read something about them…You know, Amanda Hocking, Barry Eisler, J. A. Konrath and such.

Laura Hazard Owen, writing for PaidContent.org, delves into the first of a developing A-List of  successful E-Book Self Publishing authors…with a little background and earnings info thrown in:

Meet The A-List Authors Of E-Book Self Publishing

Authors who self-published their books have traditionally done it out of desperation—it was the result of being ignored or rejected by publishing houses. And without the marketing muscle of a publishing house, most of those self-published books were doomed commercially.

But the world of self-publishing is changing fast in the digital era. A growing number of authors are making a nice living selling their own e-books, often at $0.99 a pop. Below is a list of four that are at the top of that heap. One of them earned between $1.5 million and $2 million last year from sales of her ebooks; another walked away from a $500,000 advance after calculating he could do better on his own; a third bypassed traditional publishers to sign an exclusive deal with Amazon; (NSDQ: AMZN) and the fourth sold over 360,000 ebooks in March alone.

In 2009 (the latest figures available), nearly 765,000 titles were self-published in the U.S., an increase of 181 percent over the previous year. The self-publishing business is heating up in other ways too. Just last week, Smashwords, which publishes and distributes about 45,000 ebooks, signed a deal with ScrollMotion to create mobile apps for all its 18,000 author clients. To be sure, the vast majority of self-published books never come close to a bestseller list and their authors aren’t exactly raking it in. But as the self-publishing business matures, more authors are carving out audiences—in some cases, in sizable numbers. Some of them now even have agents handling their foreign and movie rights, and big publishers knocking on their doors.

Amanda Hocking

Backstory: The 26-year-old from Austin, Minn., writes in a genre known as paranormal romance (romance with elements of fantasy and horror)—think Twilight. She has self-published a total of nine books in three series, with the tenth, Virtue, to be released on Memorial Day. Her Trylle Trilogy made the USA Today bestseller list and was optioned by Media Rights Capital, with District 9 screenwriter Terri Tachell adapting.

Agent: Stephen Axelrod, The Axelrod Agency

Revenues: Hocking says she sold over 1 million copies of her books on Amazon between March 2010 and March 2011, making somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million.

Trying Out Traditional Publishing: On the strength of her success at self-publishing, Hocking sold her four-book series Watersong to St. Martin’s Press in March for an estimated $2 million-plus at auction. St. Martin’s beat HarperCollins, Random House, Simon & Schuster—and Amazon, in what is believed to be the first time the company went up against major book publishers in an new-book auction. Amazon had partnered with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to handle the print side and to ensure that Barnes & Noble would carry the books, but insisted on the exclusive rights to publish the e-book; though Amazon’s bid was actually the highest offered, Hocking and Axelrod rejected it because they believed its terms would lead to lost e-book sales.

Since the auction, Hocking has gotten even deeper into the traditional publishing world: Last week, she announced that St. Martin’s will republish her Trylle Trilogy in both digital and print formats next year. On her blog, she suggested that fans buy the Trylle e-books at their current $0.99-$2.99 prices, noting that St. Martin’s will likely raise the price when its version of the book comes out and replaces the self-published editions.

Barry Eisler

Backstory: Eisler’s bestselling John Rain thriller series was originally published by Penguin Putnam and Ballantine. But in March, the 48-year-old author and former CIA agent and technology lawyer, shocked the publishing world by announcing he’d turned down a $500,000, two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press to self-publish the next Rain novels. Eisler splits his time between San Francisco and Japan.

Agent: None

Why the self-publishing math works better: Eisler did the math and concluded that he could do better self publishing than going with St. Martin’s. With traditional publishing contracts, a 25-percent royalty on e-book net revenue is standard. In the case of a book sold on the Kindle Store, Amazon would take 30 percent of that royalty and the agent would take another 15 percent. That leaves the author with just 14.9 percent of ebook revenues. And authors have to earn out their advances—in Eisler’s case, that would have been $500,000—before they even see a royalty payment.

By contrast, when Eisler self publishes, he earns 70 percent of each Amazon sale—forever. And though he doesn’t get an advance, he starts earning sooner. If Eisler had gone with St. Martin’s, his book wouldn’t have been available until next spring. By self-publishing, he says, he can make it available earlier and gain an extra year of sales.

Revenues: Eisler has started his self-publishing career by publishing short stories on the Kindle Store. He says that between Amazon, the Nook Store and Smashwords, which both publishes and distributes ebooks, his short stories generally make $1,500 apiece in the first month and $1,000 per month thereafter. “I’ll keep dropping the price of previous shorts as new ones go up,” he says. Each story contains an excerpt of Eisler’s next John Rain novel, The Detachment, which he plans to release this summer.

Read and learn more

And while you’re at it, get this informative blog right on your Kindle 

01/21/2010

If You Publish on Kindle Your Content Can be Read on Other E-Readers…Maybe


This unnoticed change in Amazon’s DRM (Digital Rights Management)policy is big and may signal bigger changes in the future for clients who use DTP (Digital Text Platform) to self-publish on Amazon’s Kindle.

Frederic Lardinois, who writes for ReadWriteWeb.com, posted this today about Amazon’s changing DRM policy:

Amazon quietly made a major change to its Digital Text Platform last week that went largely unnoticed: small publishers and individual authors who use the Digital Text Platform can now opt out of the Kindle’s digital rights management (DRM) program. While this change only affects a relatively small number of publishers and authors for now, this move could hint at a larger change in Amazon’s DRM policy. Right now, Amazon’s DRM policy means that its customers can’t transfer their books to a non-Kindle e-reader.

Update: Amazon just contacted us to let us know that a DRM-free option always existed for publishers using the Digital Text Platform. Amazon just added new functionality that makes it easier for publishers to set these options.

For Amazon, it makes sense to experiment with this new option on the Digital Text Platform. Given that this is a self-publishing tool, the company doesn’t have to explain this change to its partners in the publishing industry while allowing the company to experiment with a DRM-free solution. Most publishing houses tend to be very conservative when it comes to DRM-free e-book solutions. In the self-publishing world, however, DRM-free books are very common. Self-publishing platform Smashwords, for example, doesn’t even offer a DRM solution.

Right now, you can’t take your Kindle e-books to a Sony Reader, for example. While the Kindle is a huge success for Amazon, the current DRM solution is surely holding quite a few potential customers back from making the jump to e-books.

The Beginning of the End for E-Book DRM?
If the e-book world follows the same path as the music industry, however, chances are that restrictive DRM solutions will disappear over the next few years. At least for Amazon, giving its self-published authors and small publishing houses this option is a first step in the right direction. For O’Reilly, publishing DRM-free e-book has turned out to be an advantage. Hopefully, other publishing houses will also realize that DRMed e-books do very little

Tip of the hat to Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton for noticing this change first.

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