Publishing Is Easy

There are three primary tasks a writer must undertake to get her work into the hands of readers: writing, publishing, and marketing. Out of those three, I respectfully submit, publishing is by far the easiest. Writing Writing a book is hard, and writing a good book is even harder – at least from the perspective of the inexperienced writer. Most people who think about writing a book never start one. Most people who start one never finish it. And most people who finish a book never polish it to the point where it’s ready for prime-time and/or never get it out the door for one reason or another. To write a good book, you have to put in the time Read More…

5 Book Marketing Myths You Need To Forget – Guest Post by Joanna Penn

Anyone familiar with Joanna Penn’s blog – The Creative Penn – will know what an excellent resource it is for writers, particularly on marketing, where she regularly offers no-nonsense advice that actually works. When I heard she was writing a book on marketing, I was eager to see what she would come up with, and managed to wangle an advance copy. How To Market A Book is a comprehensive guide to book marketing, with a much wider scope than something like my own Let’s Get Visible. I can see it being particularly useful for those who are struggling to get to grips with marketing (or to fit it into their busy schedule), but I think everyone could get something from it (including Read More…

Don't Be Fooled: Big Publishing Hates Competition

The reaction to the filing of the DoJ’s antitrust suit was laughable, if somewhat predictable. Among other things, the DoJ has been accused of working for Amazon – helping them to “destroy the publishing industry.” If you want to sample the mindset I’m referring to, simply visit the comments of any article on the matter in the trade press – such as this or this (although this vocal group are strangely absent from articles such as this one describing publishers’ (alleged!) attempts to cover up their actions by deleting emails). I’m not sure when “the publishing industry” become exclusively synonymous with the largest publishers. I’m not sure when their narrow interests became everyone’s interests, because what’s good for Penguin isn’t Read More…

Don’t Be Fooled: Big Publishing Hates Competition

The reaction to the filing of the DoJ’s antitrust suit was laughable, if somewhat predictable. Among other things, the DoJ has been accused of working for Amazon – helping them to “destroy the publishing industry.” If you want to sample the mindset I’m referring to, simply visit the comments of any article on the matter in the trade press – such as this or this (although this vocal group are strangely absent from articles such as this one describing publishers’ (alleged!) attempts to cover up their actions by deleting emails). I’m not sure when “the publishing industry” become exclusively synonymous with the largest publishers. I’m not sure when their narrow interests became everyone’s interests, because what’s good for Penguin isn’t Read More…

How The Agency Model Led To An Antitrust Suit

As reported yesterday, the Department of Justice has filed its antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest publishers (Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster). A settlement has been agreed with HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster; Macmillan claimed the terms were too onerous, and Penguin appears to have refused to contemplate settling. The agreed settlement must still be approved by the court, but among the conditions are the end of Agency (despite the attempted spin by PW in the above-linked article) and the return of pricing control to the retailers (such as Amazon). In addition, the settling parties will be monitored by the DoJ, who must be copied on any communications surrounding this or any related Read More…

The Anti-Amazon Campaign Jumps The Shark

The anti-Amazon stories seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment. Salon posted an article on Sunday written by Alexander Zaitchik called Amazon’s $1 million secret which contained the sensational allegation that Amazon donates $1 million to various literary and non-profit groups. A more complete list of beneficiaries is here, but it includes the Brooklyn Book Festival and PEN; journals like The Los Angeles Review of Books, One Story, and Poets & Writers; 826 Seattle (a tutoring program aimed at kids) and Girls Write Now (a mentoring program for girls); as well as various other associations such as Lambda Literary (supports LGBT literature), Words Without Borders (international literature), and Voice of Witness (human rights). Wait. Hold on one Read More…

Jodi Picoult and the Myth of the Segregated Marketplace

Jodi Picoult made headlines last week for her views on self-publishing, expressed in an interview with the Daily Beast (from Page 2): What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Take a workshop course. You need to learn to give and get criticism and to write on demand. And DO NOT SELF PUBLISH. Unfortunately, Jodi Picoult wasn’t pressed by the interviewer and didn’t elaborate (it would have been amusing if she had done so IN ALL CAPS). The (outdated) blanket warning to avoid self-publishing generated a lot of reaction in the comments of that piece and anywhere else it was reprinted. I won’t rehash all that, only to note that, by contrast, Ms. Picoult thinks it’s a fine idea to sign with an Read More…

March Sales Report: A Bumper Month & Some Old-School Piracy

It’s that time of the month again when the slate is wiped clean and Amazon makes us sing for our supper anew. All those beautiful sales vanish from our reports, replaced by a taunting brown streak – which only disappears whenever things get moving again. Checking those sales numbers can be addictive, particularly when you are on a run. Less so when Amazon’s customers appear to be boycotting your books. But enough of that, March was great. A bumper month even. Before I go any further, I have the usual alternative reading for those averse to sales talk and number wrangling. British science fiction author Ian Watson has an extended essay on his website detailing his experiences of working with one Read More…

March Sales Report: A Bumper Month & Some Old-School Piracy

It’s that time of the month again when the slate is wiped clean and Amazon makes us sing for our supper anew. All those beautiful sales vanish from our reports, replaced by a taunting brown streak – which only disappears whenever things get moving again. Checking those sales numbers can be addictive, particularly when you are on a run. Less so when Amazon’s customers appear to be boycotting your books. But enough of that, March was great. A bumper month even. Before I go any further, I have the usual alternative reading for those averse to sales talk and number wrangling. British science fiction author Ian Watson has an extended essay on his website detailing his experiences of working with one Read More…

How I Failed My Way Into A Book Deal – Guest Post by Matt Ellis

I first met author and editor Matt Ellis last summer through Twitter. We exchanged a few emails, after which Matt posted a thoughtful review of one of my short stories, If You Go Into The Woods. In that some post, Matt aired some of his concerns about self-publishing, not least how the promotional burden can chew up precious writing time, and we corresponded about that for a while. Several months later, after an underwhelming experience with self-publishing, Matt made a radical decision about one of his books. Here’s Matt to explain what he did, and why he did it: The Joys of Unpublishing, or, How I Failed My Way Into A Book Deal This winter, my life’s dream was realized: Read More…

Selling Ebooks Direct: How To Set Up A Simple E-Bookstore

Selling e-books direct to your readers has just got a little easier, thanks to a new company called Gumroad. I heard about them through indie author Sarah Billington on Friday, had my store up and running on Saturday, and fully pimped out by Sunday. (Cost = Zero!) But before we get to that, should you open your own e-bookstore? Advantages of Selling Direct The first obvious advantage is higher royalty rates. You can earn a lot more than 70% if you sell direct. I’m making $3.49 on my $3.99 titles (as opposed to $2.70 from Amazon) and I’m getting nearly double the royalties on 99c titles. On top of that, I can now directly serve readers who face higher charges internationally Read More…

St. Patrick's Day Blowout: Results

If you were on Twitter over the weekend, you probably heard something about the St. Patrick’s Day Blowout Sale that I ran here on the blog. A few of you asked how it was all put together, and plenty are keen to hear the results, so I thought I’d run through it all for you today. As you will see below, it was very successful. So successful in fact, that it might spawn a few imitators. For those thinking along those lines, a caution: I would imagine there would be diminishing returns on any promo like this, and I might suggest adding your own twist to get anything like the same results. On top of that, it’s a hell of Read More…

St. Patrick’s Day Blowout: Results

If you were on Twitter over the weekend, you probably heard something about the St. Patrick’s Day Blowout Sale that I ran here on the blog. A few of you asked how it was all put together, and plenty are keen to hear the results, so I thought I’d run through it all for you today. As you will see below, it was very successful. So successful in fact, that it might spawn a few imitators. For those thinking along those lines, a caution: I would imagine there would be diminishing returns on any promo like this, and I might suggest adding your own twist to get anything like the same results. On top of that, it’s a hell of Read More…

Can You Self-Publish Your Way to a Big Deal? Guest Post from Lindsay Buroker

Self-published author Lindsay Buroker was approached recently by 47North, Amazon’s SF/F/H imprint. Today Lindsay is here to explain how you can best position yourself to attract an offer. And, despite what you may think, it’s not all about sales. Self-publishing offers a lot of advantages over the traditional path: freedom to write whatever you choose and price however you like; real-time sales figures; direct connection with readers; complete creative control over things like covers; and, of course, the famous 70% royalty rate (and more again if you sell direct). Despite all these advantages, many self-publishers are keen to leverage their success into a publishing deal. For some, it’s a nice advance, access to bookstores, and the potential increased marketability of subsidiary rights Read More…

St. Patrick's Day Blowout! 30 Great Books by 26 Authors, All Reduced to 99c!

NOTE: THIS SALE IS NOW OVER AND THE COMPETITION IS CLOSED. The winner of the 30 book giveaway is Loreto Weir. Congratulations!  I’ve left up the sale page in case anyone still wants to peruse this fine list of books. Please note that the prices have likely risen back to their original prices (although you may get lucky) * * * Get ready to fill up your Kindle! In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I have selected 30 great books by 26 different authors, from bestsellers to undiscovered gems, across all genres – all reduced to 99c this weekend only. Many of these books have been cut from $3.99 or $4.99, so there are some real savings here. And as Read More…