This must-read study was posted on Smashwords on May 8th. If you want to find out what the best price for an ebook is, if long books sell better than short books, how many book sell well, and what the average word count for the 60 bestselling Smashwords romance books is - go HERE.New Smashwords Survey Helps Authors Sell More eBooksMay 8, 2013
"Last year at the 2012 RT Booklovers in Chicago, I released a first-of-its-kind study that analyzed indie ebook sales data. Our goal was to identify potential factors that could help authors sell more ebooks.
Last week at the 2013 RT Booklovers convention in Kansas City, I shared new, updated data in a session titled, Money, Money, Money — Facts & Figures for Financial Payoff. Now I'm sharing this data and my findings with you.
Some of the results were surprising, some were silly, and some I expect will inform smarter pricing and publishing decisions in the year ahead.
For the study this year, we analyzed over $12 million in sales for a collection of 120,000 Smashwords ebooks from May 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013. We aggregated our sales data from across our retail distribution network, which includes the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon (only about 200 of our 200,000 titles are at Amazon). As the world's largest indie ebook distributor, I think our study represents the most comprehensive analysis ever of how ebooks from self-published authors and small independent presses are behaving in the marketplace."Read more
For all young - and old - writers, wherever you are, watch this. Neil Gaiman has it down.
"Whatever you do, you have one thing that is unique. You have the ability to make art.
When things get tough ... make good art.
Husband runs off with a politician ... make good art.
Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor ... make good art.
IRS on your trail ... make good art.
Cat exploded ... make good art.
Someone on the internet thinks what you are doing is stupid, or evil, or it's all been done before ... make good art.
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice. Your mind. Your story. Your vision."
If you aren't already reading Publisher's Weekly, you need to sign up and get their free newsletter. This is where you will find Industry news, trends, and occasional juicy gossip. In this article, Bowker director Carl Kulo reveals that paperbacks are still garnering the lion's share of the market. (It's hardly surprising ... which would you rather take to the beach, an old paperback or your brand-new Kindle Fire?)Online Retailers, E-books Gained in 2012
By By Jim Milliot, PW,
May 11, 2013
At Publishers Weekly’s May 8 discussion series on trends in consumer book-buying, held at the offices of Random House in New York City, Carl Kulo, U.S. director of Bowker Market Research, highlighted the major shifts that took place in 2012 in such key areas as sales by format and by channel.
E-books captured 11% of all book spending last year, up from 7% in 2011, Kulo reported, while e-books accounted for 22% of units in 2012, up from 14% the prior year. In 2010, e-books accounted for only 2% of spending. Despite the gains made by digital, paperback remained the most popular format last year, accounting for 43% of spending, down one percentage point from 2011, while hardcovers represented 37% of dollar sales, down from 39%.
Read the rest HERE
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby hits theaters today, and predictably the paperback tie-in hit #1 on bestseller lists. But, F. Scott Fitzgerald never saw his book become a success. In fact, at his untimely death at the age of 44, he had earned a grand total of $13.13 in royalties. Read Newspaper Alum's great blog on why it took so long for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece to make it to the big time.
"On May 10th, Baz Luhrmann's new film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary masterpiece ``The Great Gatsby’’ hits theaters nationwide starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke. The official premiere of the film kicked off at a star-studded event at Lincoln Center on Wednesday with a dazzling 3-D spectacle.
``The Great Gatsby’’, written by Fitzgerald while living with his wild and mentally unstable wife Zelda in France and Italy in 1924 and early 1925, tells the tragic story of Jay Gatsby (born James Gatz), once a poor young man who rose to become fabulously rich (through bootlegging) embraces a corrupted form of the American Dream by worshiping the monied class of Daisy Buchanan, a former flame of his while enlisted in World War I. Gatsby finally meets her again for the first time in five years and ultimately becomes destroyed by pursuing what he naively thinks will bring him happiness and fulfillment. The theme of disillusionment with American contemporary culture and its fraudulent emphasis on wealth and power are common threads found throughout the novel. But probably ``The Great Gatsby’s’’ most enduring impact was educating succeeding generations about the roaring 20’s, namely about jazz, gambling, excess drinking, and reckless living.
Whether the film meets with upbeat praise or is scorned by critics; the film will more than likely cause film goers to dust off ``The Great Gatsby’’ from their bookshelves or dash off to the library or their Kindle’s to reread what is now considered the Great American novel.
It’s shocking how long it took ``The Great Gatsby’’ to be considered a classic. It wasn’t until April 24, 1960, for example, that The New York Times wrote: ``It is probably safe now to say that it [The Great Gatsby] is a classic of twentieth-century American fiction.’’Read the rest of this article HERE.
"It's all 14-carat gold, I swear!"
In a fascinating development in the self-publishing scene, three writers are suing Penguin's newly acquired Author Solutions after having paid thousands of dollars for “developmental” packages that included bogus editing and marketing services which were either substandard or simply not delivered at all. "The company's true business is not publishing, the complaint stresses, but selling services to authors." Given the recent rush of conventional publishing houses into the former territory of vanity presses, it will be interesting to see how this suit plays out.Authors Sue Self-Publishing Service Author Solutions
By Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly
, May 01, 2013
"Three authors have filed suit against self-publishing service provider Author Solutions, and its parent company Penguin, airing a laundry list of complaints and alleging the company is engaged in deceitful, dubious business practices. “Defendants have marketed themselves as an independent publisher with a reputation for outstanding quality and impressive book sales," the complaint reads. "Instead, Defendants are not an independent publisher, but a print-on-demand vanity press.”
Read the rest of the article HERE
A Hollywood agent is about to go bankrupt. He has no clients, and even less in his bank account. So Satan pays him a visit. “I can get Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise to sign on with you. In return, I want your soul.” The agent ponders the offer for a moment and then says, “But what do you
get out of it?”
To a certain extent, agents deserve their reputations. Agents are middlemen. They don't create, they don't publish, they simply pass along the work of others. Agents don't have to understand the finer nuances of what you've written, or grasp the subtleties of your prose. They don't even have to like
your work (although it helps). All an agent really has to do is sell your book to a publisher. In order to do that, he or she must convince a publisher that your book is the best thing since sliced bread.
This is where the writer and the agent often find themselves at loggerheads. Writers want to be appreciated by the person who represents them. We want them to love our talent, to wrangle the best possible contract out of megalith publishing houses, and we want them to ensure that lots and lots publicity and attention will be lavished on our work.
In short, we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want the agent to be both an admirer and a salesman. Why we resent them
They don't call. They don't write. So, where's the love?
Like the increasingly fictitious publisher whose sole purpose in life is to nurture budding authors, the unconditional love of an agent is a pipe dream. In general, agents have even less appreciation for the written word – and for the people who write it – than publishers do. They are looking for a quick lucrative sale. God forbid you should write something that is not, as one agent put it, (referring to a manuscript I'd sent him), “a walk in the park.”
Michael Larsen, in his revealing book, How to Get a Literary Agent,
says (quite often) that, “as a writer, you are the most important person in the publishing process
, because you make it go.” This is quite true. However, if writers are like cars, then agents are the gas. (Or if agents are like cars, we are gas. Dumb analogies work in any order.) The point is that without an agent, we may as well not exist, as far as publishers are concerned.
Agents are aware of that fact. And that is why agents are harder to snare than a publisher. This is also why they insist on your writing a “perfect pitch.” The query letter, or “pitch,” is not just a brief summary of your work and credentials, it is the script for what your agent will tell an editor. And it is the script for what the editor will tell the publisher. If you feel as if you are doing their work for them, you are. But you are a writer, so man up. Why we need them
Realistically speaking, agents aren't there to hold your hand. They are there to make a buck, which they can't do without you. The good news is that they know how to do that job a lot better than anybody else.
This is what agents can do for you:
- Secure a publishing house
- Negotiate a contract
- Teach you about the publishing business
Securing a publishing house is still the grand prize – even in this age of 200,000+ (and counting) Indie authors, KDP Select promos, and whiz kids with six-figure incomes from ebooks they wrote in less than a month during study hall. Nothing will give you as much cachet as being published by one of the big five. Even the mid-size houses will give you a pedigree you simply cannot get from self-publishing. An agent can get you there.
Secondly, negotiating a contract is not something you want to do on your own, no matter how many books you have read on the subject. Publishing contracts are written by lawyers who are paid a lot of money to keep the best interests of the publishing company in mind. As a consequence, publishing contracts are designed to ensare, confuse, and bludgeon writers into submission. (Trust me, after reading 17 pages of legalese, you will want to run, screaming, back into obscurity.) Your agent, because he or she has done this before, will know which clauses to strike out, when to ask for more, and how to convince the publisher to comply with your
The last thing that agents do is teach you how the publishing business really works. This may be the most important thing agents have to offer. The entertainment business, of which publishing is a part, is based on mythology: Talent is “discovered,” hard work is rewarded, and stars are delivered by the stork. People who have not been exposed to the inner workings of the publishing world have no concept of how labyrinthine, how medieval, how disorganized
, it actually is. Your agent knows, because chances are good that he or she was once an editor. This is a business that is run on daily memos, and that is dominated by people who understand how to juggle the system. Nobody understands that system better than an agent. If you pay attention, you can learn everything you need to know about publishing from an experienced agent. As a writer, that knowledge will prove, not just useful, but invaluable.
These three books will help you understand agents, and what they can do for you. I guarantee you will benefit from reading them.
Michael Larsen. How to Get a Literary Agent.
(Sourcebooks, 2006) Larsen's book is pure gold. Make sure you read every word before you contact an agent.
Jeff Herman, Guide to Book Publishers
, Editors, & Literary Agents. (Sourcebooks, 2011) Jeff Herman asked agents to describe the “client from hell.” Read these descriptions.
Chuck Sambuchino, ed. 2013 Guide to Literary Agents
. (Writer's Digest Books, 2012) Any year of this publication will do. Make sure you read the sections on advice to writers from agents.
Ida Pollock at Age 100
This fabulous article appeared a few days ago in the Daily Mail (UK). Ida Pollock wrote her first novel when she was just 14. And at age 105, she is still writing romance novels that have “adventure, mystery, movement.” There was never a question in Ida’s mind that she was meant to write, although her direction did not become clear until her mother asked her to write 'something pretty'. For Ida Pollock, romance novels are not just pretty, they are a source of joy. “My books are full of hope and romance rather than sex,” she says. “They are a form of escapism - you can escape the parts of the world that you don't like.”World's oldest romantic novelist, who has worked under 10 different pseudonyms, is still writing racy bodice-rippers aged 105Daily Mail
By TONI JONES
PUBLISHED: 06:38 EST, 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:17 EST, 29 April 2013
Writer Ida Pollock was today hailed the world's oldest romantic novelist as it was revealed she is still producing steamy books at the age of 105.
Ida has written 123 novels during her prolific career - many of them tales of virgins, chaste kisses and dashing male heroes. Ida has sold millions of books over nine decades with risque titles such as 'White Heat' and 'Interlude for Love'. She has millions of fans but has largely avoided the limelight by writing under ten different pseudonyms. Ida has written 70 books for Mills & Boon under the names Susan Barrie, Pamela Kent, Rose Burghley or Mary Whistler.
Despite turning 105 last week Ida is still writing and her latest novel The Runaway
is due to be published shortly.
Read the rest of this article here
Reprinted with permission from the Authors Guild Blog, April 23, 2013
We’ve been frequent critics of Amazon’s tactics in conquering established book markets, but credit is due to the company for doing what many would have considered impossible: creating a genuine market for novellas and novella-length nonfiction. In the New York Times
this morning, Leslie Kaufman profiles Kindle Singles editor David Blum and cites Amazon’s statistic that about 28 percent of the 345 Singles published since January 2011 have sold more than 10,000 copies. Kindle Singles are a curated list of short e-books (5,000 to 30,000 words in length) available through Amazon’s Kindle Store.
Though publishing arrangements vary — some Kindle Singles are published by traditional publishers, others are self-published or put out by an emerging group of new publishers, such as Byliner — authors may earn as much as 70% of the proceeds from sales. Since bestselling Kindle Singles sell for an average price of $1.50 or so, a self-published author selling 10,000 or more Singles would likely earn revenues of $10,000 or more.
The current bestseller list
of Kindle Singles includes many familiar names writing in genres that do particularly well in e-book form — including crime fiction and thrillers. What’s especially welcome to authors and freelance journalists is the healthy number of nonfiction titles on the list. These include works of history (#4, Mayflower: The Voyage from Hell, by Kevin Jackson; #16, Always Right, by Niall Ferguson), memoirs (#15, Dresden: A Survivor’s Story, by Victor Gregg), essays, and long-form journalism (#3, Trial By Fury: Internet Savagery and the Amanda Knox Case, by Douglas Preston; #13, Guns, by Stephen King, who’s donating proceeds to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence). Writing on science also makes a credible showing on the Kindle Singles bestseller list (#43, Higgs Discovery, The Power of Empty Space, by Harvard physics professor Lisa Randall), as do works Amazon categorizes as reporting (#29, Here’s the Deal, by David Leonhardt).
It’s early days for Kindle Singles, too early to judge the eventual breadth and depth of this market. According to Amazon’s own numbers, just 100 Singles have sold more than 10,000 copies so far. But the trend, by all accounts, looks promising: Amazon is curating a new, significant short e-book market for authors and readers.
Alien landscape by xymonau: RGB
Originally published on Blogging Authors as "Top 5 Online Resources for Science Fiction Writers"
Of all the fiction genres, sci-fi – aka speculative fiction - stands as the one least likely to inspire a casual encounter. Sci-fi buffs are die-hards. That’s because sci-fi authors are required not just to do world-building, but to do universe-building. That’s real
Traditionally, a background in science has been virtually mandatory for sci-fi writers, and there are still many sci-fi magazines that require a strong scientific element in their published stories. But, as the concept of “science” has marched on to include not just the “hard sciences” (notably, physics and biology) but the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, history, and, to a certain extent, linguistics), sci-fi has matched pace. At this point, the subgenres are almost too numerous to name: cyberpunk, steampunk, apocalyptic, dystopian, space opera, spy-fi, and, of course, anything written by a woman. (For decades, sci-fi has been an all-male club.) Naturally, such a variety allows for considerable leeway, not just in what may be considered sci-fi, but how to write it. There is perhaps no other genre that has encompassed such a broad range of writing styles and voice.
How lucrative is the sci-fi market? It’s hard to say. Compared to romance novels, which generate a huge amount of revenue, sci-fi is a country cousin. But, what the sci-fi market lacks in big bucks, it makes up in sheer rebellion. Recently, Hugh Howey
sold the print rights to his underground sci-fi hit, Wool
, to Simon & Schuster for a “mid-six-figure” advance. Howey turned down “multiple” seven-figure advances because he’d already raked in over a million dollars of royalties from his self-published eBook. And Howey isn’t the only word-of-mouth wonder in the sci-fi world. This is a genre that thrives in the dark, subterranean alleys of the net, exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldly going where no man has gone before.
These sites will help you on your mission.
1) Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction
There aren’t many institutions of higher learning that offer programs in science fiction. The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas is, to our great delight, one of them. Their vision is stated clearly and unequivocally on their home page: “We are working to save the world through science fiction! To help achieve this, we have built a comprehensive program to serve SF students, educators, scholars, and fans, and through this extend the influence of this literature of change and the human species onto the world at large.”
You may think it doesn’t get much better than saving the world, but it does. Their resources list is the most comprehensive I have ever seen. Here you will find websites for writers, teaching and scholarly resources, awards, magazines, review sites, anthologies, fandom, blogs, artists, conferences, author websites, and more. When you are done browsing this site, I guarantee you will feel as if you are not in Kansas anymore.
If you are going for sheer quantity this is a site that has reams of it: book reviews, opinion pieces, author interviews, fiction excerpts, author and publisher reading lists, a comprehensive list of links to author and fan tribute sites, sci-fi conventions, sci-fi TV and movies, magazines and e-zines, writer resources, publishers and small press sites, and many other sci-fi resources. For researching your competition, nothing beats this site.
3) Links to Science Fiction Websites
This page features a very long list of sci-fi sites (over 300). It is not as well organized, or as broad in scope, as the Gunn Center’s page, but there is a greater focus on contemporary sci-fi magazines, fan pages, and review sites, which makes this list quite useful to those trying to get stories published.
4) Top 50 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels Blogs
I always include this blog list in my “Top 5” posts no matter what the genre, because this is simply the best blog list out there. There isn’t a blog on this list you shouldn’t read. That being said, start at the top and work your way down. (You will notice that SFsite is at the top. There’s a reason for that.) The advantages of reading good blogs about your genre (and others) are almost too numerous to list - great writing tips, the latest news, reviews, entertaining stories, all the industry scuttlebutt - but essentially all these benefits boil down to one thing: you will not know what is going on in your field unless you read these blogs. Being up to date is something all agents and publishers expect of writers.
5) Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
SFWA is the professional organization for authors of science fiction and fantasy. Past and present members include Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, and Andre Norton. It goes without saying that if you join SFWA, you will be in good company.
In their own words: “SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members. We host the prestigious Nebula Awards, assist members in legal disputes with publishers, and administer benevolent funds for authors facing medical or legal expenses. Novice authors benefit from our Information Center and the well-known Writer Beware
SFWA Membership is open to authors, artists, editors, reviewers, and anyone else with a professional involvement with sci-fi or fantasy. Affiliate membership is $70 a year. Professional membership is $90.
An April 16 Washington Post article captures the key to self-publishing success. If Colleen could do it, so can you.
SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas — After a feverish month of inspiration, Colleen Hoover had finally fulfilled her dream of writing a book.
With family and friends asking to read the emotional tale of first love, the married mother of three young boys living in rural East Texas and working 11-hour days as a social worker decided to digitally self-publish on Amazon, where they could download it for free for a week.
“I had no intentions of ever getting the book published. I was just writing it for fun,” said Hoover, who uploaded “Slammed” a year ago in January.
Soon after self-publishing, people she didn’t know were downloading the book — even after it was only available for a fee. Readers began posting reviews and buzz built on blogs. Missing her characters, she self-published the sequel, “Point of Retreat,” a month later. By June, both books hit Amazon’s Kindle top 100 best-seller list. By July, both were on The New York Times best-seller list for e-books. Soon after, they were picked up by Atria Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint. By fall, she had sold the movie rights.Read the rest of the article HERE.