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.

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09/20/2015

Are Book Awards and Book Sales Related? How Representative is the Authors Guild?


           The Book Publishing Landscape

The publishing landscape has changed so much that past things of importance and impact are no longer – fizzled out like a spent firecracker sparkler.

Examples are the Man Booker award in the U.K. and the National Book Awards in the U.S. – Oh, these awards still have a sentimental value to some, but, apparently, do not generate any large increase in book sales, notoriety or the economic bottom line for authors as they may have done in the past. And what about authors who don’t receive awards?

Recent surveys by the Authors Guild have exposed a 30% loss in author income since 2009 – But, these losses represent authors under the umbrella of traditional publishing. Most (not all) are not even making a living wage.

So, how do we explain the thousands of self-published authors (again, not all) who are making quite a good living wage? Let’s find out.

Tonights research article comes from WUWM Public Radio in Milwaukee, WI., written by

Key excerpts:

Washington Post critic Ron Charles reviews the kinds of books that get nominated for literary awards. These are not the blockbusters, the books written by the likes of Stephen King and Nora Roberts that make millions.”

“Robinson says the landscape for writers has changed in many ways. They have to do more self-promotion, sometimes even offering their work for free online. The Authors Guild blames the decline in writers’ income on a combination of factors: online piracy of digital material, consolidation within the publishing industry, which has led to more focus on the bottom line, the dominance of Amazon and the rise of self-publishing which has cut into the market for traditional publishers.”

“Eisler is a self-publishing advocate who says the Authors Guild doesn’t represent all writers. Its membership skews older and it is mostly interested in maintaining the status quo of traditional publishing. Self-publishing may not be for everyone, he says. There is no question writers have to be more entrepreneurial. But he says it also offers them a choice when it comes to money and control — and the end result isn’t really all that different from traditional publishing.”

” “Yes, it’s absolutely true that most self-published authors aren’t able — at least not yet — to make a living from their writing,” he says. “But that’s also absolutely true of legacy publishing. It’s always been true.” ”

Read the entire article titled: “When It Comes To Book Sales, What Counts As Success Might Surprise You

 

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12/04/2013

How To Be An Authorpreneur


Kamy Wicoff, author and entrepreneur

As most can decipher, an authorpreneur is simply an author who thinks as an entrepreneur and handles his/her new book as a product that s/he takes full responsibility for in determining its success. They think outside the box — especially the Big Five publisher box.

In so doing, they can keep and reap more! They keep more artistic and business control and reap more profits (70% vs a paltry 15%). They take more risk — BUT, new tech and business models have minimized that risk.

Tonight’s post shows just how one previously successful traditionally published author, Kamy Wicoff, jumped the TP ship and struck out on her own and learned how to think like an entrepreneur — even after she was offered a Big Five TP publishing contract for her first ‘fiction’ book effort.

Kamy has also started her own startup book publishing press, She Writes Press, to give assistance to those who wish to learn and follow in her footsteps — This link includes some short, informative videos.

Key excerpts:

“… entrepreneurship has become part of our professional lives whether we like it or not. New books are like startups, and authors are their founders, CEOs, marketing departments, and human resources, all rolled up into one. In light of this, authors need to stop viewing the average traditional deal as the only legitimate way to publish, but to think instead as business owners evaluating the terms of a partnership, weighing what they get against what they give away. And I would argue that for most of the 99%, what traditional publishers offer is not worth what they demand in exchange—a whopping 85% of the ownership of an author’s book.”

“Of course this isn’t right for everyone, the biggest issue being the initial investment in a book when weighed against the possibility of an advance. But it certainly deserves the attention of any thoughtful authorpreneur, who should take a look before making the traditional-publishing-deal leap.”

Now, Kamy Wicoff’s thoughts as related in 2Paragraphs.com (Personal Stories Section):

 

Turning Down a Big Five Publishing Book Deal

A couple of months ago, I did something I never would have dreamed of doing when I began my career as an author: I turned down an offer from a Big Five publisher—and not, as would usually be the case, to take a better offer from another Big Five publisher. Why? Because, after carefully evaluating the deal and stacking it up against the risks and benefits of publishing my book (not my first, but my first foray into fiction) with my own press, the case for doing so was so compelling that even my deepest insecurities weren’t enough to stop me from seeing the light. Yes, it was hard to walk away from the validation and status that comes with a traditional book deal. But when I took a long hard look at what that deal had to offer and compared it with the thrilling new possibilities that thinking outside of the Big Five box now have to offer, it wasn’t much of a contest. This is partly because, in the years since I published my first book traditionally and now, radical changes in technology have made it possible for independent presses to do just about everything big publishing houses can do. But it was also because, in the years since my first book and this one, I founded a startup and learned, for the first time, to think like an entrepreneur.

Story continued –

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11/03/2013

Self-Publishing – Is it Meaningful or Not?


Meaningful? How would I know?

Meaningful? How would I know?

Is self-publishing meaningful? Depends on what you mean by meaningful? And meaningful to whom? That makes sense.

Self-publishing has gained respectability, earned fans, made authors known, got many more books in front of many more readers AND earned mega-bucks for a ‘few’.

For most writers/authors, however, the money from self-publishing is NOT pouring in — BUT, their books are being read by many more readers than they would have under previous model/s.

For that matter, the money from traditionally published books did not pour in for most writers/authors either — since, under the traditional pub model, 10% of the authors earned 75% of the royalties 🙂

So, the stats are not significantly different between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

The following 10 minute video titled ‘Can self-publishing ever be meaningful’ with speaker Steven Lewis, a self-published author and digital media strategist with a sense of humor, delves into more self-publishing stats and fills out the word ‘meaningful’:

 

 

 

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09/01/2013

Seems the Public has Always Been a Mystery to the Publishing Industry


What do they REALLY want to read?

What do they REALLY want to read?

And that’s why traditional publishing (TP) is being forced to change — AND why, even though they’ve made millions in the past, they probably left many millions MORE on the table!

 

The fresh air being breathed into the publishing industry through technology and self-publishing has writers and readers walking on air with anticipation of accessing “on demand” content for an infinite number of hybrid niches that were considered ‘unacceptable’ or ‘unmarketable’ in the past by TP.

Targeted excerpts from tonight’s feature resource: 

“Andrew Crofts – whose latest book, Secrets of the Italian Gardener, was optioned for film rights via Wattpad, even before it was published – is buoyant about the fresh air that is being breathed into publishing. “Before you were helpless as a writer; there was an awful despondency. The business people had convinced us that if a book does not make business sense, it’s not good art. Now the writers are back in control. We are working more like the artist.” 

“In 1917 Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard unpacked a small printing press in the front room of their home. They set up the Hogarth Press to enable them to print small volumes of books that “the commercial publisher would not look at”. The Hogarth Press gave the writers of the Bloomsbury circle, which included T.S. Eliot and E.M. Forster, the freedom to write what they wanted, rather than write what established publishers judged sellable.”

“I am a refugee from traditional publishing,” says Orna Ross who had two novels published by Penguin, before becoming a self-published author and founding the Alliance of Independent Authors. “The trade pinkified my writing (pigeonholed it in the Chick-Lit genre) and sold my books to supermarkets. It left me feeling empty. I chose to self publish because it gives me creative freedom.”

“Writers can now sell direct to readers, who armed with their Kindles, iPads and all manner of e-readers, can decide what rises into the bestseller charts. Readers are the new tastemakers and gatekeepers. During the week 22-27 July 2013 (and most weeks), four out of the top 20 titles on The New York Times e-book Bestseller list were self-published.”

I KNOW you’re just dying to read the rest of this intensely, insightful feature resource that will tie all the above excerpts together while providing some great inside numbers, links and an informative video — To continue go to the title linked below:

 

Self Publishing: Here To Stay?

 

 

 

02/09/2013

Publishing’s Past Not So Hot – Let’s Take a Peek


What am I going to do with all these damn books?

Many people often lament the ‘good old days’ of this or that (publishing being the key word tonight). You know what I’m talking about. These types are usually victims of what I call ‘stunted time warp’. They remember a time that was simpler (and clearer) to them — not because it really was, it just seemed that way to them because they were too young, naive and had no accountability to understand what was truly occurring in the underbellies and backrooms to make things appear perhaps more simple, righteous and clear-cut on the surface (for the uninitiated) — AND as they physically grew and aged, their mental understanding and education RE those specifics did not. They are ‘stunted’ and therefore believe in things that live in the fantasies of their own minds and were never reality in the first place.

This post takes a little insightful look at the small (and not so small) publishers of the so-called ‘golden age’ of publishing and resurrects some literary works that have been forgotten, out of print or never appreciated as much as they should have been in the past due to draconian shortcomings in the so-called traditional publishing (TP) system.

Just what are these draconian shortcomings? The main ones, in this writer’s humble opinion, were and still are:

1) Continuously undermanned  (even the big houses) to handle the awesome workload of incoming manuscripts (both talented and not so talented) from millions of submitters. This is evident by the numerous and often rude original rejections received by tons of later-famous authors for their exact, later-published manuscripts. 

2) Assuming the reading public were/is too stupid to know what they wanted or needed to read or would enjoy.

3) Having the audacity to assume a ‘gatekeeper’ role to protect the reading public from what they considered ‘bad literature’. This is actually a form of censorship — And just where did these self-appointed ‘gatekeepers’ receive their God-like abilities? I was unaware of any universities awarding degrees in supernatural powers 🙂

4) Nonexistent to poor marketing for contracted newbies. (This one never made sense to me as the more invested in marketing the more return realized).

5) Promulgating, perpetuating an unsustainable publishing model for years.

6) Denying most authors a semblance of fair profit margin (except in rare cases).

7) Denying most authors a proper say in literary rights.

What model/system solves these problems and empowers writers? Digital (and POD for those who enjoy print more) self-publishing, of course.

Is this model perfect? Not yet; but, it is evolving more perfect everyday. (Was TP ever perfect?)

Does this new publishing and literary openness and freedom scare some? Of course. Especially those victims of ‘stunted time warp’ as mentioned above.

Will they adjust to modern publishing? Those that are true writing professionals will — just like those in the past have survived past publishing milestones that stunned publishing in totally new directions.

David Streitfeld , The New York Times, writes this:

Publishing Without Perishing

In the old days, life for small publishers was a hassle. The economics were such that copies got dramatically cheaper when printed in bulk, but then the books had to be stored, which was expensive. Finding an audience was the hardest part; some independent presses took years or even decades to sell out a modest print run.

Now books can be efficiently printed in small quantities, like one copy. Amazon, meanwhile, is happy to do the job of fulfilling orders. The stage is set to allow everyone to become his own Alfred Knopf.

James Morrison, a 36-year-old editor and graphic designer in Adelaide, Australia, is an old-fashioned book enthusiast, with around 10,000 books in his personal library. In 2007 he began a blog, Caustic Cover Critic: One Man’s Endless Ranting About Book Design, which showcases and evaluates new jackets. Like any inveterate reader, Mr. Morrison would stumble across obscure books practically begging to be reprinted. For instance, he read an account by the historian David S. Reynolds of “the largest monster in antebellum literature,” which was “the kraken depicted in Eugene Batchelder’s ‘Romance of the Sea-Serpent, or The Ichthyosaurus,’ a bizarre narrative poem about a sea serpent that terrorizes the coast of Massachusetts, destroys a huge ship in mid-ocean, repasts on human remains gruesomely with sharks and whales, attends a Harvard commencement (where he has been asked to speak), [and] shocks partygoers by appearing at a Newport ball.”

Mr. Morrison concluded that “the audience for an 1850 book-length Monty Python-style doggerel poem about a socially aspirant sea serpent is probably just me,” but how could he be sure? The Internet is all about weaving people together with even stranger tastes.

The critic has published about a dozen out-of-copyright volumes using Lulu, which does the printing, and Amazon, which does the selling and shipping. He dubbed his venture Whisky Priest in homage to Graham Greene, himself an enthusiast of uncommon and unjustly forgotten literary efforts. On the Whisky Priest list are the Batchelder book; a collection by Edith Wharton; “Artists’ Wives,” Alphonse Daudet’s stories about the war between the sexes; and Storm Jameson’s “In the Second Year,” a prophetic look at fascism.

Read and learn more

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01/30/2013

A-List Author Ditching Traditional Publishing and Embracing the Amazon Model – Some Insights


Traditional Publishing Getting Dumped

Lately, more and more A-list authors are bypassing traditional publishers and self-publishing through various e-book venues.

Why ?

Some, I imagine, go indie because it’s there and they just want to try. Others jump on the self-publishing band wagon to have more freedom and control and still others like the higher margin (even though it’s a higher margin of a cheaper price — think ‘volume’ here).

Tim Ferriss, A-list author of the  4-Hour Workweek and 4-Hour Body  AND the subject of tonight’s post, gives great insight into other reasons why established authors are dumping TPs for digital-publishing through the Amazon platform — like the detailed data intelligence (analytics) provided (who’s buying the ebook & sites driving the most sales, etc) — data never provided by TPs. This is info that can help authors market their own books better and tell them what countries in the world they might possibly want to direct their next project/s. Global marketing here we come !

This Tim Ferriss interview from Business Insider by Dylan Love:

Why One Insanely Successful Author Ditched Traditional Publishers And Went With  Amazon Instead

Tim Ferriss is an entrepreneur, lifestyle hacker, and author who writes about  how to optimize aspects of your life.

His newest book is 4-Hour Chef, and while  there are plenty of recipes in it, it’s actually about about how to maximize  your learning ability. Ferriss teaches the reader the techniques he used to go  from being indifferent towards cooking to becoming a kitchen warrior.

Ferriss’ previous books, 4-Hour  Workweek and 4-Hour  Body, were released through conventional publishers, but he’s one of a  growing number of A-list authors opting to go with Amazon’s publishing model  instead.

We conducted a brief email interview with Ferriss to get his thoughts on  where books and publishing are heading, and here are some of the highlights on  what he had to say:

  • Publishers need to behave more like talent agencies or venture capital  firms to survive.
  • Despite being boycotted by Barnes & Noble,  he doesn’t regret his decision to publish through an Amazon property.
  • E-books are a net positive for the publishing industry.

Here’s the full Q&A:

BUSINESS INSIDER: How does the experience of releasing 4-Hour Chef  through Amazon compare to releasing your other books through more conventional  publishers?

TIM FERRISS:  I was penalized for the bestseller lists  (due to the Barnes and Noble boycott, etc.), but I was able to get incredible  Amazon on-site promotion and data intelligence.  Wondering who’s buying  your books, where, and which sites are driving the most Real converting traffic  to your book page?  I have that insight now, which I never had  before.  It’s been extremely cool and will inform everything I do in the  future.

Read and learn more

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01/25/2013

Self-Published Authors To Traditional Publishers: “You had your chance.”


“You should have treated us better”

Today Traditional publishers (TPs) are actively seeking self-published authors who come with their own following and fan base — a complete 180 degree turnaround from just a few months ago (or is it a few years ago now?)

But, due to freedom-from-hassle and time-saving publishing platforms on scene today, many writers are actually turning down the TP publishers after they DO proffer a contract deal — Too much loss of newly acquired control I would say 🙂

Could it be the big publishing houses are now beginning to lose some of their established contract writers due to diminishing operating budgets? And, if these last vestiges of revenue-generating talent do leave — what the hell would the TPs do ? They better develop a constant stream of incoming new talent  — but, if the new talent is beginning to flip them the finger for past abusive policies (not to mention their new, tech-endowed power), the talent stream will dry up and the TPs will just fade away.

They had their chance.

, a contributor to the Good E-Reader blog, posted these insightful thoughts on this subject:

The Self vs Traditional Publishing Debate Continues 

While authors and industry experts on both sides of the table have almost come to a consensus that there are benefits to both self-publishing and traditional publishing, it almost feels as though some more hardcore fans of either side still won’t lay to rest their original sentiments about the other camp. Publisher’s Weekly took note of a recent promotion by Amazon of a traditional-turned-indie author, what some in the industry are now referring to as a hybrid author, and the tone of the original announcement by Amazon is almost inflammatory.

Amazon posted the publishing journey of author Vincent Zandri, who admittedly had a rocky start in what was almost an illustrious traditionally published career. After being promised a $250,000 advance, a number so high compared to some advances now that it’s almost laughable, his novel never went where he thought it would because of cost-cutting in the traditional publishing industry, especially within the major publishing houses. His book was published with little fanfare, and the sequel was never even released in hardcover.

Amazon’s post went on to explain how the Kindle Direct Publishing option became a lifesaver for Zandri, who met up with a smaller publisher who bought the rights to both of his books and republished them via Kindle. And while this story has a happy ending for Zandri and his writing career, it ultimately feels like more of the finger-pointing that once kept self-publishing and digital-only published authors away from the cool kids table in publishing.

Now that the traditional publishing industry is beginning to embrace self-published authors, seeing them as a talent pool of writers who come complete with their own firmly established followings and fan bases, it almost feels like the self-published authors want nothing to do with the industry they once couldn’t join. While acknowledging that a high number of hybrid authors are still hoping to be “discovered” and picked up by a traditional publisher a la Amanda Hocking or Tina Reber, it’s beginning to look as though the self-published authors are collectively telling the industry that once wouldn’t let them in: “You had your chance.”

Read and learn more

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01/19/2013

Publishers Outclassed by Digitally Savvy Writers


Digitally S a v v y Writer

Digitally S a v v y Writer

Actually, publishers have ALWAYS been outclassed by writers — who created the very content (product) that made publishers their living in the first place.

Publishers, as discussed in this post, are traditional publishers, OK? I make this clarification because today more and more writers are publishing their own works through self-publishing platforms — and are, therefore, publishers themselves 🙂

Michael Drew writes this nice piece in Huffpost, Books, that further details the slowness of TP’s to take full advantage of the new digital publishing landscape:

As E-Books Rise, Publishing Still Waivers

(John’s Note: I think Michael means publishing TP decision-making waivers – not the publishing business as a whole)

There’s probably no going back: e-books are going to be the dominant form for publishing pretty soon.

Consider that 23 percent of Americans now read e-books, up from 16 percent in 2011, and that the number of people reading “traditional” books is declining. On top of that, according to a study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device such as a Kindle or Nook grew from 18 percent in late 2011 to 33 percent in late 2012.”

Okay — and tablets are likely even to overtake e-readers, as tablets grow smaller and more comfortable to hold and still more versatile than many models of e-reader.

And publishers may be embracing e-books more than they had in the past. They have, for one thing, the ability to change prices. As Dominique Raccah, president of Sourcebooks said in an piece on NPR, “The exciting thing about digital books is that we actually get to test and price differently,” Raccah says. “We can even price on a weekly basis.”

On top of that, too, publishers can release books more quickly. Although in traditional publishing, you still have to wait a good year for a book to appear on shelves once it’s been accepted for publication, with e-publishing, of course, those delays — brought about by distribution, printing schedules, etc. — no longer exist.

Read and learn more

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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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