Bestselling Self-Published Novel Inexplicably Disappears From Amazon UK Causing Huge Lost Sales

A bestselling self-published novel – Sugar & Spice by writing duo Saffina Desforges – disappeared from Amazon UK 18 days ago, with no reason given to the authors. Repeated requests to KDP UK have failed to elicit an explanation, let alone a solution, costing the authors significant lost sales. But before I get to that, a lengthy – but necessary – disclaimer. When I praise Amazon, I get comments claiming that I’m some kind of acolyte, naively placing my trust in someone that will eventually crush me, without blinking, if they can make a dollar out of it. When I am critical of Amazon, I get accused of biting the hand that feeds, causing trouble for the sake of it, or of having Read More…

World-Building in Historical Fiction

I’m up against a very tight deadline to get A Storm Hits Valparaíso off to the editor so posting will be minimal over the next week or so – apologies. By way of introduction to the last excerpt I posted, I spoke a little about the challenges facing historical fiction authors in terms of authenticity and how demanding its readers are in that regard. That point was illustrated perfectly in a comment by Hannah Renier, who pointed out that my character would not have traveled in a stage-coach, but more likely in a post-chaise (thank you, Hannah). Today, I want to talk briefly about world-building and PoV. I’ve chosen to write A Storm Hits Valparaíso in third-person omniscient, essentially meaning that I Read More…

Transparent Publishing & Community-Driven Narratives – Guest Post by Brett Henley

I have a guest post today from a writer who is trying something very different indeed. Most authors are loathe to share their work while it is in progress for the simple reason that the first draft is often quite different from the polished, finished work. We often go through multiple drafts, get trusted readers to give their opinions, revise again, get them to read it again, revise further, work on it some more, and then submit it to an editor. Only after the editor’s suggestions have been navigated, and the manuscript has been proofed thoroughly, do we then allow the public to see it. Even with all that intensive vetting and honing, we always feel nervous about how readers Read More…

Transparent Publishing & Community-Driven Narratives – Guest Post by Brett Henley

I have a guest post today from a writer who is trying something very different indeed. Most authors are loathe to share their work while it is in progress for the simple reason that the first draft is often quite different from the polished, finished work. We often go through multiple drafts, get trusted readers to give their opinions, revise again, get them to read it again, revise further, work on it some more, and then submit it to an editor. Only after the editor’s suggestions have been navigated, and the manuscript has been proofed thoroughly, do we then allow the public to see it. Even with all that intensive vetting and honing, we always feel nervous about how readers Read More…

Penguin Launches Rip-Off Self-Publishing “Service” Targeting Inexperienced Writers

Penguin has unveiled a self-publishing service – which will operate under the aegis of its online writing community Book Country – but questions are being asked about the huge fees they are charging, and the massive royalty cut that they are taking (on top of what retailers such as Amazon charge). This topic has already been covered by bloggers such as Joe Konrath, Katie Salidas, Linda Welch, and Passive Guy. Their posts are worth reading in full – especially the comments where you can see the widespread disapproval of this move from the self-publishing community. However, this message needs to be repeated again and again to reach as many writers as possible to steer them away from this truly awful deal, Read More…

Penguin Launches Rip-Off Self-Publishing "Service" Targeting Inexperienced Writers

Penguin has unveiled a self-publishing service – which will operate under the aegis of its online writing community Book Country – but questions are being asked about the huge fees they are charging, and the massive royalty cut that they are taking (on top of what retailers such as Amazon charge). This topic has already been covered by bloggers such as Joe Konrath, Katie Salidas, Linda Welch, and Passive Guy. Their posts are worth reading in full – especially the comments where you can see the widespread disapproval of this move from the self-publishing community. However, this message needs to be repeated again and again to reach as many writers as possible to steer them away from this truly awful deal, Read More…

7 Lessons In Self-Publishing I Learnt In The 7th Grade – Guest Post by Mainak Dhar

I have a guest post today from a writer you are going to be hearing a lot more about in the future: Mainak Dhar. He first self-published (for the Kindle, full story below) in March of this year. He had come from a traditional publishing background – but with Indian publishing houses, which didn’t give him any head-start on Amazon. Initially, his sales were modest enough, but by July, he began to see better results on the back of some clever marketing campaigns. In fact, his professional background in marketing and branding shines through in all the presentation of his work, as you can see quite clearly from his striking covers. By last month, his sales had really taken off Read More…

Incorporating Historical Figures Into A Narrative

Blogging has been a little less frequent of late. I’m working hard on A Storm Hits Valparaíso and that’s taking up most of my free time. If you are after the usual programming, I have a guest post up on Joe Konrath’s blog called I Can’t Afford A Publishing Deal. For the rest of you, it’s been a while since I showed you what I was working on and Sunday seems perfect for that. Writers of historical fiction face some unique challenges. We must “build” an authentic world as backdrop for the story, in a similar way that science fiction and fantasy writers do, except we don’t start from scratch – we have the historical record to draw from. This, however, can Read More…

Amazon Faces Serious International Competition, From Japan

A major deal was announced yesterday which should propel Kobo into the top tier. The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten purchased Kobo – outright – in a straight cash deal for $315m. It sounds like Kobo will continue to be run as a standalone company – the CEO is staying in place and all the employees are keeping their jobs – only now they will have the financial backing of one of the Top 10 internet companies in the world. Make no mistake, this deal means that Kobo is now a serious player.

October Sales Report: A Holding Pattern & A Milestone

After last month’s big drop, October provided some welcome relief in the shape of a slight uptick. Hey, at least it’s going the right direction. It was marginal, though. Essentially, I’m in a holding pattern until my next release in December. That’s fine with me; my sales are paying my rent, and some other exciting stuff happened this month anyway. And because today is exactly six-months since the release of my first e-book If You Go Into The Woods, I’m going to take a little look back on how this whole self-publishing adventure has gone for me. For those who don’t enjoy peeking in other people’s wallets, or talk of sales or money, I have some alternative reading for you, Read More…

October Sales Report: A Holding Pattern & A Milestone

After last month’s big drop, October provided some welcome relief in the shape of a slight uptick. Hey, at least it’s going the right direction. It was marginal, though. Essentially, I’m in a holding pattern until my next release in December. That’s fine with me; my sales are paying my rent, and some other exciting stuff happened this month anyway. And because today is exactly six-months since the release of my first e-book If You Go Into The Woods, I’m going to take a little look back on how this whole self-publishing adventure has gone for me. For those who don’t enjoy peeking in other people’s wallets, or talk of sales or money, I have some alternative reading for you, Read More…

Warning Signs For Large Publishers In August AAP Figures

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has released its figures for the month of August. Print continues to fall in all categories, while e-books keep up their breakneck growth. However, it’s increasingly clear that digital revenue is not growing fast enough to replace the complete collapse of print. As always, the AAP figures come with a health warning. Only a very limited number of houses report, and you should hesitate before drawing hard-and-fast conclusions, especially with regard to the raw revenue totals. As I suspected last month, July’s hardcover bounce was a one-off and all print categories are down in August. Trade paperback is down 5.7% on August 2010. Hardcover is down 11.2%. Both Children’s/YA categories are down over 20%. And once again, mass market Read More…