Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story Bewares

Author Solutions has forged partnerships with a long list of famous names in publishing – from Simon & Schuster and Hay House to Barnes & Noble and Reader’s Digest. Recent disclosures in various lawsuits, along with information sent to me by a Penguin Random House source, detail for the very first time exactly how these partnerships work and the damage they are causing. Since a second suit was filed at the end of March, Author Solutions is now facing two class actions, with the new complaint alleging unjust enrichment and exploitation of seniors on top of the usual claims of fraud and deceptive practices. It also has a wonderfully precise summary of Author Solutions’ operations: Author Solutions operates more like Read More…

Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press Bewares

Nook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand. Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof. Until now. A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service. You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Read More…

Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press Bewares

Nook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand. Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof. Until now. A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service. You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Read More…

Amazon Opens Dutch Kindle Store, B&N Moves Into Author Services Bewares Publishing

Amazon launched a Kindle Store in the Netherlands this morning, as anticipated by The Digital Reader yesterday. Kindle devices are now on sale for prices ranging between €59 for the basic model, up to €189 for the Voyage, and the store has opened with over 3m titles. However, only 20,911 of these titles are in Dutch and only 1,221 of these e-books are by Dutch authors. That may change now that KDP has launched a local portal for Dutch writers and small presses. The opening of the Dutch Kindle Store also means the abolition of the regressive and unpopular Whispernet Surcharge in the Netherlands which added $2 onto the price of many e-books. For those already publishing via KDP, your book Read More…

Amazon Opens Dutch Kindle Store, B&N Moves Into Author Services Bewares Publishing

Amazon launched a Kindle Store in the Netherlands this morning, as anticipated by The Digital Reader yesterday. Kindle devices are now on sale for prices ranging between €59 for the basic model, up to €189 for the Voyage, and the store has opened with over 3m titles. However, only 20,911 of these titles are in Dutch and only 1,221 of these e-books are by Dutch authors. That may change now that KDP has launched a local portal for Dutch writers and small presses. The opening of the Dutch Kindle Store also means the abolition of the regressive and unpopular Whispernet Surcharge in the Netherlands which added $2 onto the price of many e-books. For those already publishing via KDP, your book Read More…

Choosing The Right Distributor: Smashwords vs Draft2Digital Publishing Resources

Since I started self-publishing in 2011, Smashwords has been the overwhelming favorite for savvy self-publishers who wanted or needed a distributor to reach non-Amazon e-bookstores. However, a new competitor called Draft2Digital launched a beta version of their service earlier this year and has been gaining popularity. In July, they hit 1,000 users, 10,000 titles, and 1,000,000 books sold. I’ve been getting lots of questions about Draft2Digital, and experimenting with them myself, so I thought it was a good time for a side-by-side comparison as there are distinct pros and cons to each service. But before we get into that, let’s look at the question of whether you need to use a distributor at all. The virtues of going direct In my Read More…

Amazon’s Recommendation Engine Trumps The Competition Marketing

There’s an old adage that bestsellers are chosen rather than made, and there’s some truth to that. The amount a publisher splurges on the advance has to be recouped before the book turns a profit. The more money that has to be recouped, the greater the marketing budget. Sleeper hits are the exception for a reason. It’s a lot easier to hit the bestseller lists when you are on the front table of every single Barnes & Noble than if you are spine-out at the back of a handful of stores (or gathering dust in the warehouse). It often comes as a surprise to those outside publishing that these bookstore spots are bought and sold, that whether a book is Read More…

Amazon's Recommendation Engine Trumps The Competition Marketing

There’s an old adage that bestsellers are chosen rather than made, and there’s some truth to that. The amount a publisher splurges on the advance has to be recouped before the book turns a profit. The more money that has to be recouped, the greater the marketing budget. Sleeper hits are the exception for a reason. It’s a lot easier to hit the bestseller lists when you are on the front table of every single Barnes & Noble than if you are spine-out at the back of a handful of stores (or gathering dust in the warehouse). It often comes as a surprise to those outside publishing that these bookstore spots are bought and sold, that whether a book is Read More…

Amazon Opens Japanese Kindle Store Amazon Publishing

Amazon will open a Kindle Store in Japan tomorrow – October 25 – after months of speculation (and the summer entrance into the Japanese market of up-and-coming rivals  Kobo). According the the press release from Amazon, customers in Japan can now pre-order the Paperwhite for an extremely competitive 8,480 yen ($106), with the 3G version costing 12,980 yen ($163) – although neither will ship until November 19. US customers will notice that makes the Paperwhite marginally cheaper in Japan than America. The new Fire won’t ship to Japan until December 19, but it can be pre-ordered with similarly competitive pricing – 12,800 yen ($160) – with the HD version coming in at 15,800 yen ($198). The Japanese Kindle Store will open tomorrow Read More…

Popularity, Visibility & KDP Select Marketing

For most writers, anonymity is the biggest hurdle they face. The open nature of digital distribution can be a double-edged sword; there are 1.1 million titles in the Kindle Store after all. While the virtual shelves are endless, and while readers have demonstrated an increased appetite for reading (and hoarding) once they switch to e-books, the spotlight is limited. There can only ever be 100 books in the Top 100. The major sites (like Ereader News Today or Pixel of Ink) will only feature a limited amount of books per day. There is only one Kindle Daily Deal. Visibility is a continual challenge, and, when we look at that problem a little closer, it’s not radically different to the challenges Read More…

Popularity, Visibility & KDP Select Marketing

For most writers, anonymity is the biggest hurdle they face. The open nature of digital distribution can be a double-edged sword; there are 1.1 million titles in the Kindle Store after all. While the virtual shelves are endless, and while readers have demonstrated an increased appetite for reading (and hoarding) once they switch to e-books, the spotlight is limited. There can only ever be 100 books in the Top 100. The major sites (like Ereader News Today or Pixel of Ink) will only feature a limited amount of books per day. There is only one Kindle Daily Deal. Visibility is a continual challenge, and, when we look at that problem a little closer, it’s not radically different to the challenges Read More…

Profiting Outside Amazon: Guest Post From Sarah Woodbury

The first wave of self-publishers who signed up to KDP Select have either come to the end of their 90-day exclusivity period or that day is fast approaching, and many are wondering whether to re-enroll in the program or to begin uploading to the other retailers. At the beginning of January, when many writers were wrestling with whether to enroll in the program or not, I featured a number of guest posts from those who had seen success with KDP Select. A number of commenters suggested I feature someone who hadn’t done well out of the program, but I wasn’t so sure that would make an interesting read. If you want that kind of information, this thread on Kindle Boards Read More…

February Sales Report: Amazon Up, Everywhere Else Down

It has been a couple of months since I did a sales report, so I thought it might be a good time to share what kind of value I’m getting out of my pimp suit. For anyone looking for numbers with lots of zeroes in them, or tales of battling with household names at the top of the charts, I have a warning for you: this is not that kind of report. About the only big numbers you’ll see are for free stuff, but I’m selling at a nice level, paying my rent and some bills, and have been for some months now. The checks are about to get a little nicer too because I finally sorted my tax status Read More…

Amazon Is Creating Competition, Not Killing It

The big topic (again) seems to be whether Amazon is a monopoly, or is heading in that direction, and whether they should be “stopped” (although, I’m never quite sure what that entails exactly). Barry Eisler dealt with this fear, rather conclusively, back in October in a guest post on Joe Konrath’s blog. But lately, the hysteria has been ratcheted up a notch by Mike Shatzkin’s sensible prediction that Amazon will soon be responsible for 50% of most publisher’s sales (I can’t link to Mike’s original piece at the moment, there seems to be a problem with his site, but Passive Guy quotes the main points). The Author’s Guild now has Amazon firmly in their sights. An article at the end of Read More…

A New Strategy for a New Year – Guest Post by Sarah Woodbury

To enroll or not to enroll, that is the question on a lot of writers’ minds. I have had several posts on KDP Select, because it’s a complex issue, without one “right” answer that will fit all self-publishers. If you are just catching up, I came out against the program before Christmas, but featured two authors recently that are doing well out of it: Marilyn Peake and Patrice Fitzgerald. To wrap up this mini-series, I have a guest post from bestselling author Sarah Woodbury, who hasn’t enrolled in KDP Select. Instead she’s exploiting the increased opportunities on other retailers. Here’s Sarah: *** When Amazon first announced its KDP Select program, my heart sank. I knew that going exclusively with Amazon would Read More…