So I was thinking about my reading habits due to a few discussions on various websites, and I realized something: for the past six months or so, I’ve been reading a ton of indie published books and books published by very small publishers, and very few legacy published books. In fact, most of the legacy published books I’ve read in the past six months were purchased a long time ago and have been sitting in my to-read pile for awhile.
Since I got my Nook Color back in the spring, I’ve read ebooks by Amanda Hocking (indie), Zoe Winters (indie), Lindsay Buroker (indie), Greta van der Rol (small press), Kimberly Menozzi (small press and indie), Poppet (small press), Calista Taylor (indie), and Randolph Lalonde (indie). Print books I’ve read this year only include Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series (which I started reading last year) and Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker. Oh, and some books I either picked up at places like Big Lots (when they’re $2 apiece for a hardcover), or books that have been shared among myself, my mother, and my grandmother (like John Grisham’s A Painted House). Continue reading
I was driving home from the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 midnight release one night (my husband’s airsoft team always does an appearance at these things) and we got talking about creative pursuits as a career vs as a hobby. It started out, I think, with a discussion of the music industry. Individual recording artists are often upset about the low royalties being paid out from services like Spotify. They get a fraction of a cent for each time their song is played, meaning they have little chance of gaining any kind of real income from these plays. And so they decry the industry and these services, and say they’re what is killing the music industry.
Independent movie producers say the same kinds of things. They only make a few cents (if that) whenever their movie is streamed via Netflix. Unless their film is viewed millions of times, they won’t make much money off of it.
I hear the same kind of thing coming from a lot of authors. If they’re forced to sell their ebooks at $.99, they’re only making $.35 on each sale. They have to sell thousands of copies to make any money. (The same things are said at $2.99, $4.99, and pretty much anything under the price of a mass-market paperback.)
Part of this has to do with the number of celebrities we see in each of these fields, and pretty much every other creative field. We see the J.K. Rowlings, the Stephenie Meyers, the Stephen Kings, of the world, and we think that that’s what success looks like. We think that all we should need to do is write something great (or not so great, depending on your opinion) and the riches should follow. Continue reading
Earlier this year I published a women’s fiction book, Hold My Hand, but have done very little to promote it (I sent it to a couple of review sites, but so far no reviews have been posted). Sales, as could be expected, have been dismal.
So yesterday, when I logged into my Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) dashboard, I was very intrigued by the new KDP Select program. Basically, KDP Select lets indie authors add their books to the Kindle Owners Lending Library in exchange for a 90-day exclusive with Amazon (you also get 5 days of free promotion during that 90-day period). Now, the best part is that you earn a royalty every time your book is loaned out. There’s a royalty pool each month, and you get paid based on the number of times your book is loaned, based on the percentage of the total number of loans.
The book will still be for sale during this time, but only via Amazon. It’s in the process of being un-published from everywhere else (though I’ll probably put it back up once the 90-day exclusive is over). I’m hoping that if nothing else, this will get the word out about the book, and hopefully even get some reviews. If, at the end of the three months, there’s no change in sales and it hasn’t been borrowed much, then I’ll have to rethink some things about the book (probably the cover first).
So, I’ll post an update at the end of the 90-day period and let everyone know how it went. I’m also interested in how others who are trying the program fair, so if you are, please let me know in the comments how it goes (feel free to post a link to your own blog if you write a post about it).
After reading this post over on John August’s blog, about what his writing routine is, I thought I might write the same kind of post to detail my own writing habits. I write for a living, both blog articles and copywriting, as well as do some blog editing. On the side, I write novels, novellas, and screenplays. I’ve also written two non-fiction books.
When and Where Do You Write?
I start my writing day sometime between 7:30 and 9:00 every morning. I’m most productive when I get to my desk before 8:00, but that doesn’t always happen. The bulk of my work writing is done at my desk. It’s a giant wooden desk I salvaged from the magazine where I used to work, and was used by my late editor. I like to think that it has good vibes left over from him.
I start with email and checking social media. Then I usually get down to researching whatever it is I need to write for the day. I usually start out with some kind of outline, even if it’s just a handful of bullet points, and then I get down to actually writing. Many posts I can finish in a single day, though some take longer. Books are a different story entirely.
I break for a quick lunch sometime between 11:00 and noon. I’m usually back at my desk within about 20 minutes, and sometimes I even eat at my desk. Then it’s usually back to work until 2:00 or 3:00 at least. At that time, I usually take a break. Sometimes I have errands to run, while other times I just watch a little TV or take a walk. Depends on the day. I’ll work for another hour or two before dinner (we usually eat between 4:00 and 5:00), and then, depending on whether I finished my work for the day or not, I’ll either go back to my office for a couple more hours or I’ll bring my laptop into the living room, and either do more work or spend time doing other things online.
My fiction writing is mostly done either first thing in the morning, on breaks during the day, or just before bed. Continue reading
There seems to be a certain camp in the writing and publishing worlds that feels like selling a novel at $2.99 is somehow devaluing that novel, and novels in general. The idea seems to be that readers will refuse to pay more than $2.99 for novels eventually, and that will somehow topple the publishing industry.
But no one is asking whether readers should pay more than $2.99 for most books. We’ve just accepted that paperbacks are priced at $8.99-$16 and that hardcover books are priced at $20-$30. And so we feel like ebooks should be priced somewhere along that line, too. But does anyone know why a mass market paperback is priced at $9? Or a trade paperback at $16? Or why a hardcover book is $25?
In the 1960s, a paperback book might cost anywhere from 25¢ up to around $.75 or so depending on the length, publisher, genre, author, and specific year (you can find evidence of these prices by looking at old book covers from that era). Now, a lot of these books were shorter than what we’re used to these days, coming in at around 150-200 pages. They were “pocket books”, in their truest sense: they would fit in your pocket. Continue reading
Wow, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been self-publishing for ten months now! I hit a big milestone this month: I sold my 1,000th ebook! This is a huge deal to me, since most self-published books never sell more than a couple hundred copies. I’ve also had my best sales month to date.
As far as marketing this month, I’ve been plugging a little bit on Google+ and Twitter, which I know has generated a few sales. And I had a couple of new reviews on Amazon (if you’ve read either of the books and feel like leaving a review, I really do appreciate them!), some of which were really favorable. One of my favorite quotes from a review of The Great Healion Race:
This is not Edward and Bella, living in perfection for all eternity. These are two adults with overwhelming baggage as the ballast for their journey. I especially appreciated how Ms. Chapman allowed her protaganists to be messy, angry and human.
Seriously, that’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about my books. Because that’s exactly what I was going for: complicated people who have messy, screwed-up lives, and find a way to love each other anyway.
Below are my sales numbers for this month. I saw a drop in sales for the second book, but a big jump in the first book. Hopefully that will translate to more sales for the second book in the next couple of months. Continue reading
This is one of those things I keep hearing from writers, all over the internet. And I have to say that it drives me crazy. Fucking crazy.
There is a time and a place for swearing in writing (and in real life, I might add). Not every character you have is going to swear like a trucker. But some of them might. And if that’s what they would say in real life, then that’s what they should say in your book. Doesn’t matter if what they’d say is “fudge” or “motherfucker”. If they’d say it, it’s your responsibility as a writer to write it. Continue reading
This is going to be short and sweet.
I recently came across someone on a forum talking about how they wouldn’t recommend self-publishing ebooks via Amazon because then you only get the Kindle crowd. And my eyes bugged out of my head.
When you self-publish your own ebooks, you can distribute through as many platforms as you like. That means you can publish on Amazon for the Kindle via KDP, on Barnes & Noble for Nook via PubIt!, and on Smashwords for everywhere else. You can also self-publish on your own site or other sites you find (so long as it doesn’t interfere with their terms of service, and if it does, I’d run away from that site as quickly as I could). Let me repeat:
You can publish on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and elsewhere, simultaneously.
You don’t have to pick just one. These are not publishers who expect you to turn over your rights. They’re distributors. They allow you to publish to particular platforms, nothing more, nothing less.
Do yourself a favor and publish to as many platforms you can manage if you’re self-publishing. Don’t limit yourself!
There’s less than 10 hours left in November (in the EST time zone anyway), and I’m having my best sales month yet for The Steam and Steel Chronicles. I would really LOVE to break 200 sales this month, but I’m still a ways away from that. Not so far that I don’t think it’s possible, though.
But I need your help! If you haven’t bought the books yet, now’s your chance. They’re only 99¢, available for a variety of ebook reader platforms (including Kindle and Nook), and are sure to entertain you (I hope).
Here are the links to buy them:
Aboard the Unstoppable Aerostat Fenris:
Barnes & Noble | Kindle/Amazon US | Kindle/Amazon UK | Smashwords | Goodreads
The Great Healion Race:
Barnes & Noble | Kindle/Amazon US | Kindle/Amazon UK | Smashwords | Goodreads
If you’ve already purchased them, then please pass along the links to someone you think might enjoy them. Post a link on your Facebook page or on Twitter. Send out an email. Or even buy them as Christmas gifts for family members.
What am I offering in return, you might ask? My unending gratitude. And it will give me more motivation to get the third and fourth books finished (the first draft of the third book is already done, and I’m about 75% of the way through the fourth book). Nothing extraordinary. (Though I am planning some pretty awesome stuff for the release of books three and four…)
See? I’m not at all above begging for sales! I just think it would be really awesome to end this month on an even higher note than it’s already at, since winning NaNoWriMo and having great sales anyway.
I hit the 50,000 word mark last night and have now officially “won” NaNoWriMo. I’ve still got about 8,000 words left to write for the fourth book in The Steam and Steel Chronicles, but I’m going to push to finish it by the end of the month. I’m really loving the way this series is turning out, and hope everyone who’s read the first two books will like the second two.
I’m also going to work on a short story that will fit in between books one and two, and will focus entirely on Stig. Since book four focuses mostly on Isabell, I feel like it’s only fair!
So, I’ll be finishing up soon and will put the books away for a few weeks before I begin editing them, and hopefully will have them out in January or February. I’m aiming to release them about a month apart, and I’m 99% sure that I’ll be pricing both at 99¢ each. I feel like that’s a good/fair price for these books.
Once the series is finished, I’ll also be releasing a print version of all four books combined, and possibly a special, limited edition print book. I’ll keep everyone updated on those.