Amazon Adds Sub-Categories To Historical & Literary Fiction Publishing

There are lots of reasons why self-publishing success stories tend to concentrate around writers of “genre” fiction, but it’s a mistake to assume that success is impossible if you write literary fiction or historical fiction (which tends to get lumped in with literary fiction, even though it’s just another genre… like literary fiction!). The first is demographics: romance and erotica readers were the first to switch to digital, followed by mystery and thriller fans, leading to the success stories of Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people Read More…

The Bonfire of the Straw Men Publishing Writing

In the third of a series of increasingly misguided essays for The Guardian – Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-epublished authors – Ewan Morrison builds a bonfire of self-publishing straw men. Morrison is convinced that “epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months.” The reason given: epublishing is inextricably tied to the structures of social media marketing and the myth that social media functions as a way of selling products. It doesn’t, and we’re just starting to get the true stats on that. When social media marketing collapses it will destroy the platform that the dream of a self-epublishing industry was based upon. Where do I start? Perhaps I should first point 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 The (outdated) blanket warning to avoid self-publishing generated a lot of reaction in the comments of that piece and anywhere else it was reprinted.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…

Amazon & The Importance of Popularity

A few days ago, I tweeted a link to a survey which purported to show that self-publishers had captured 77% of the spots on the Kindle Top 200 Science Fiction Bestseller List. As it turns out, the list the survey was based on was not the Bestseller List, but the Popularity List (and I’ll get to the differences between the two below). After this discrepancy was pointed out, the author re-did the survey, based on the actual Bestseller List, and found somewhat similar results – if not quite as staggering. Namely, self-publishers had captured 66.1% of the Kindle Top 100 Science Fiction spots. There are all sorts of interesting nuggets in that post including the various prices books were selling Read More…