2011: The Self-Publishing Year In Review

This has been a year of massive changes. Some of the older hands say that the business has always been this way. However, I don’t think we are simply seeing another year of flux. Instead, we are witnessing a process unfold which will revolutionize publishing forever (or at the very least, the foreseeable future). But hey, I could be wrong, and we might all be back querying – and fawning in the comments of agents’ blogs – by March. January The year opened with a booming e-book market as millions of Americans went on a binge buying spree to fill up their new e-readers – most of which were Kindles. That led to a handful of self-publishers posting truly eye-catching numbers, some Read More…

A Storm Hits Valparaíso – Released Today!

In 1810, José de San Martín deserts the Spanish Army and returns home to Buenos Aires to lead a bloody revolt against his former masters. Struggling with an increasing dependence on opiates, San Martín forms a secret army of thieves, mercenaries, slaves, and prostitutes to free Argentina from the Spanish Empire. A Storm Hits Valparaíso is an epic, 400-page historical adventure with a huge cast of characters whose stories gradually interweave, including: two brothers torn apart by love; a slave running for his life, a disgraced British sailor seeking redemption in a foreign land; an Indian trapped in the death mines of Potosí; and a Spanish general who deserts the army to raise the flag of rebellion against Madrid. A Storm Read More…

Around The World In 80 Drafts

Thailand might not seem like the most obvious place to start a historical novel set in early 1800s Argentina, but it made a lot of sense at the time. It was a cheap place to hole up for a few months and get some serious work done. The glorious weather, perfect beaches, and competitively priced drinks were just a bonus. One side effect was that I got used to writing in bars and restaurants. And on the move. Two essential skills for the modern-day wandering minstrel. That was five-and-a-half years ago. I finished A Storm Hits Valparaíso last night. As in, completely finished. Editorial suggestions incorporated, back-matter written, the whole enchilada. It just needs proofing, a cover, a blurb, formatting, some testing, Read More…

Publishers Desperately Trying To Protect Print Sales, And Failing

It has been apparent for quite some time that large publishers had been desperately trying to slow the (inevitable) transition to e-books – much as they might deny it. Despite all the breathless talk of “transmedia” and “metadata” and the furious rate of backlist digitization, the overarching strategy was clear: protect print sales at all costs, and pray that e-books will plateau soon (and that international markets won’t take to them with quite the same relish). This is the only logical conclusion from tactics that include pricing e-books artificially high (even, allegedly, going as far as price-fixing, for which they are being investigated by the EU, the (US) Justice Department, and are the subject of a number of class action Read More…

How Much Do You Want To Get Paid Tomorrow?

Things had been going pretty smoothly for self-publishers. We were more or less done with the arguments about whether this was a viable path and whether you could attract an agent/publisher (if you wanted to) by self-publishing first. We had generally agreed that e-books were here to stay and that print books and bookstores (sadly) were on the way out. Then Amazon came along with a curveball, splitting the community: KDP Select. KDP Select is an opt-in program where self-publishers can be part of Amazon’s e-book lending library.  There has been a lot of discussion about KDP Select and the Lending Library – some hysterical, some measured – but I think it needs to be considered in the framework of Read More…

Guest Post by Red Tash: Should You Write Your Second Book First?

It takes a lot of practice to write something worth publishing. Often the first book a writer releases is not the first they have written (or attempted to write). Some writers cycle through several novels before they hit on a formula that works. Others will wrestle with the same first manuscript for years and years until it’s in good enough shape to show to the world. Most writers will have at least one novel on their hard-drive that they will never show the world (mine is a dark “comic” novel about a failed hand model). Maybe the story worked, but the writer then realized they had simply ripped off The Lord of The Rings, Pride & Prejudice, or Transformers (or, in Read More…

November Report: Rising Tides, Higher Prices & A Lucky Break (Or Two)

November is a curious month, filled with strange American inventions like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday (also known as National Buy-Yourself-A-Present Day). It’s also traditionally (as in since last year) when e-book sales pick up. At this early stage, new entrants to the market can have a significant effect. New e-reader owners tend to go on binge-buying sprees, which makes sense – they need something to read on their new toy. The real boom starts on December 25th and continues through February. However, a smaller boom starts at some point in November – after all the shiny new e-reader models have been unveiled – and millions of Americans crack under the temptation, forego waiting to see who loves them Read More…

November Report: Rising Tides, Higher Prices & A Lucky Break (Or Two)

November is a curious month, filled with strange American inventions like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday (also known as National Buy-Yourself-A-Present Day). It’s also traditionally (as in since last year) when e-book sales pick up. At this early stage, new entrants to the market can have a significant effect. New e-reader owners tend to go on binge-buying sprees, which makes sense – they need something to read on their new toy. The real boom starts on December 25th and continues through February. However, a smaller boom starts at some point in November – after all the shiny new e-reader models have been unveiled – and millions of Americans crack under the temptation, forego waiting to see who loves them Read More…

Amazon Opens Kindle Stores In Spain & Italy, Abolishes Surcharge

Amazon opened Kindle Stores in Spain and Italy this morning, to add to the existing stores in the US, the UK, Germany, and France. The basic Kindle model is on sale in both countries for 99 Euro – the price difference with the US arising from 15% VAT (EU sales tax), and the lack of a subsidized, ad-supported model. In both stores, the Kindle is being marketed heavily as a Christmas gift item, with its launch taking over the home page of both Amazon Spain and Amazon Italy. As with the launch of the French Kindle Store last month, the new Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire models are not available for purchase at this time. Indeed, given the amount of content deals Read More…

Amazon Opens Kindle Stores In Spain & Italy, Abolishes Surcharge

Amazon opened Kindle Stores in Spain and Italy this morning, to add to the existing stores in the US, the UK, Germany, and France. The basic Kindle model is on sale in both countries for 99 Euro – the price difference with the US arising from 15% VAT (EU sales tax), and the lack of a subsidized, ad-supported model. In both stores, the Kindle is being marketed heavily as a Christmas gift item, with its launch taking over the home page of both Amazon Spain and Amazon Italy. As with the launch of the French Kindle Store last month, the new Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire models are not available for purchase at this time. Indeed, given the amount of content deals Read More…