September Report: A Big, Big Slump

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: I had a huge drop in September. I’m quite sanguine about it. I haven’t released something new since July and I have been virtually inactive on the promo front while trying to finish the final pass on A Storm Hits Valparaíso. I know some people don’t like hearing talk about numbers and even less about dollars. For those of that persuasion, you can read my recent post on Indie Reader about the bout of pessimism that had permeated self-publishing circles on foot of Amazon’s recent changes to its layout and algorithms. If you have already seen that, you can check out my new blog: South Americana. I’ll be talking more about Read More…

Sneak Preview: Chapter 2 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

Last week, I gave you a preview of Chapter 1 of my forthcoming South American historical adventure A Storm Hits Valparaíso where you met Catalina, a feisty tavern-keeper’s daughter in the Chilean port-town of Valparaíso. In Chapter 2, the action switches to the other side of the world to introduce another of the seven main characters. While Catalina was my invention, Thomas Cochrane was very real and has been the basis for several famous fictional characters, such as Patrick O’Brien’s Jack Aubrey and C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower. In fact, his life was so fantastic I had to be selective in which parts of his history to present so as not to stretch the credulity of the reader completely. As I Read More…

A Sneak Preview: Chapter 1 of A Storm Hits Valparaíso

I want to give you a sneak preview of my upcoming novel, which has the working title of A Storm Hits Valparaíso. I’m currently on the final pass, but it’s quite convoluted and could take a month or two before it is ready for the editor. I started writing this in 2006. It was a classic case of an inexperienced writer biting off far more than he can chew. It has seven main characters who all start in different locations and their narrative strands gradually interweave. In technical terms, it’s by far the most difficult thing I have ever attempted to write, and I have no shame in saying that at several points I felt it was beyond me, and walked Read More…

Why The Digital Revolution Threatens Large Publishers

I think I’ve made a robust case for a digital future, but I’m less sure I’ve convincingly explained why the digital revolution threatens large publishers. In Thursday’s post, we looked at the recent BookStats survey of the American publishing industry. Some are touting its results as evidence that publishing is in rude health. I argued that the report only covers the very beginning of the e-book explosion that began late last year which has radically changed the marketplace, and which will adversely affect the fortunes of the larger publishers. That sparked a vigorous discussion in the comments, and one person (correctly) pointed out that lots of those big-selling e-books are being sold by the large publishers, that they have huge Read More…

What Do You Want?

Trying to get writers to agree on something is like herding cats. We are all passionate people. We have a tendency to flare up over minor disputes (especially online). And we can usually pen a tight argument for pretty much any position. But I also think a lot of disagreements spring from the fact that we are all very different people, with different dreams, goals, and ambitions. As such, what might be good advice for one writer could be bad advice for another. Especially if you are aiming for different targets. So, what do you want? It would be nice to sell a million books. It would be flattering to have every agent and publisher in New York clamoring for your signature. Read More…

Weekend Reading, Live Chat With J Carson Black & More

A quick round-up today, then it’s back to getting Let’s Get Digital: How To (And Why You Should) Self-Publish ready for upload. If I get it up on Sunday or Monday, it should be live on Wednesday or Thursday. As soon as it goes live on Amazon, the free PDF version will go live, right here. If you want to read a copy a few days ahead of anyone else, I have 10 0 left to give away. All I ask in return is that you read it quickly and try and post a review on Amazon on release day (or as soon as possible after). If you are interested, please leave a note in the comments (or email me at david dot Read More…

Weekend Reading, Live Chat With J Carson Black & More

A quick round-up today, then it’s back to getting Let’s Get Digital: How To (And Why You Should) Self-Publish ready for upload. If I get it up on Sunday or Monday, it should be live on Wednesday or Thursday. As soon as it goes live on Amazon, the free PDF version will go live, right here. If you want to read a copy a few days ahead of anyone else, I have 10 0 left to give away. All I ask in return is that you read it quickly and try and post a review on Amazon on release day (or as soon as possible after). If you are interested, please leave a note in the comments (or email me at david dot Read More…

Promo Tip: LibraryThing Giveaways

Readers can be a skittish bunch, bolting for cover at the first distant rumble of the author promo wagon. I don’t blame them. Nothing spoils a good conversation like a salesman with a megaphone. What usually happens is this. Readers find a nice site where they can congregate and have good conversations about books. A writer discovers the site and thinks he has struck gold. Word of this rich seam of “customers” spreads like wildfire, and writers descend en masse hauling wagonloads of blurbs, excerpts, taglines, hyperlinks, ALL CAPS, and, yes, megaphones.

Two Indie Writers Somehow Escape The "Tsunami of Crap" To Sign Major Trade Deal

With the kind of timing that only athletes and comedians are blessed with, two more indie writers have managed to wriggle free from the “tsunami of crap“. Mark Edwards & Louise Voss, who I have spoken about before on this blog, have signed a six-figure, four book deal with HarperCollins UK. But it wasn’t just an eagle-eyed editor and agent that spotted their potential in the endless morass of horrid self-published work that is blotting out the sun and condemning all superior literature to wither on the vine, last month 42,000 readers (most of them British) somehow found their books too. It seems that some books are easier to find than others. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that it happens Read More…

Two Indie Writers Somehow Escape The “Tsunami of Crap” To Sign Major Trade Deal

With the kind of timing that only athletes and comedians are blessed with, two more indie writers have managed to wriggle free from the “tsunami of crap“. Mark Edwards & Louise Voss, who I have spoken about before on this blog, have signed a six-figure, four book deal with HarperCollins UK. But it wasn’t just an eagle-eyed editor and agent that spotted their potential in the endless morass of horrid self-published work that is blotting out the sun and condemning all superior literature to wither on the vine, last month 42,000 readers (most of them British) somehow found their books too. It seems that some books are easier to find than others. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that it happens Read More…

That Bear Ate My Pants: A Home Run On Day One

Today, I have a guest post from indie author Tony James Slater. I first met Tony at a writer’s conference in 2010. Neither of us remember much about the encounter, which is a testament to the hard working bar staff of York University. I was trying to snag an agent for my historical novel, and he was hitting the same brick wall with his account of his exotic adventures in Ecuador. When I heard Tony was self-publishing, I was delighted, as I knew how hard he had worked the traditional route, with no joy. I also knew that if his book was half as funny as he was, he had a hit on his hands. He posted a sample from Read More…

Batting for a Broken System

There was a ridiculous article last week in the Wall Street Journal called “Cherish The Book Publishers – You’ll Miss Them When They’re Gone.” I was going to write a take-down of this, but Kris Rusch and Joe Konrath beat me to it. You should check out both their responses. Krus Rusch goes point-by-point, and Joe Konrath, in a post titled “The Tsunami of Crap”, laughs at the ridiculousness of it all: “Some people believe the ease of self-publishing means that millions of wannabe writers will flood the market with their crummy ebooks, and the good authors will get lost in the morass, and then family values will go unprotected and the economy will collapse and the world will crash Read More…

Are Big Publishers Losing The Battle For The Big Backlists?

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., the company which manages the literary estate of the deceased James Bond creator and thus controls not only all pre-existing James Bond works, but all future ones too, have been in the news this morning It has been announced that Simon Trewin from United Agents is no longer representing the company, which has been snapped up by Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown (UK). The reasons for the move are unknown, but will be speculated upon. The timeline is interesting here, and I can’t help but wonder if this is something to do with the James Bond backlist. These titles should be especially lucrative given that Bond has shifted over 100m copies in print. Some are available Read More…

JK Rowling Really Is Self-Publishing: A Closer Look

Now that the dust has settled a little, I would like to take some time today to examine aspects of JK Rowling’s move into self-publishing. As soon as the announcement was made, various people were tying themselves into knots to describe this as anything other than self-publishing. “Although some are likely to see Rowling’s decision to be her own publisher for her e-books as a significant one for the industry at large, Potter is a unique franchise.” That was from Publisher’s Weekly. Aside from the ludicrous suggestion that any writer couldn’t set up a website and sell their own work direct to the public, note they use “decision to be her own publisher” instead of the dreaded words “self-publishing”. Some Read More…

John Locke Sells A Million Books, Then Tells The World How He Did It

John Locke made history (again) yesterday when he was announced as the first indie writer to sell 1 million Kindle Books. In case you are wondering about Amanda Hocking – who broke a million a while back – that was for e-books in all formats through all retailers. On the same day, John Locke released his how-to book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! which broke into the Top 100 items in the Kindle Store at some point yesterday evening. It’s now at #54. Pretty impressive for a self-published non-fiction book, and pretty impressive for a self-help book, or for any book on writing/publishing/marketing.