1) I had never purchased a book until 4 years ago when my friend had her debut novel released. (I was a library kind of gal.)
2) I STILL don’t own an e-reader. I know … scandalous right? Because I can’t afford an iPad, I vascillate between a Nook and a Kindle and people who own either “think they’re the best”. Anyway, I’m currently reading e-books on my computer.
So what’s the point of “true confession Friday”? Well, I have no idea how the buyer of digital books thinks. Are they looking for bargain books and willing to try new authors and genres? Are they still only buying their auto-buy authors? And what about freebies?
Yeeeeah, what about freebies? Do thousands of people just automatically download all free books on Amazon, Kindle or Smashwords thinking they may read them and if they don’t … whatever? Or do they pick up the free book by an author thinking they may find a new-to-them author? Does that in turn entice them to go buy more books by that author?
Or are so many books being offered for free by so many authors that readers have become leary of the quality of the writing? With the instant availability of publishing to anyone with a computer the writing/story can range from fabulous to OMG! is English the author’s first language? Leaving the reader to wonder if the author knows the definition of “edit”.
Is a reader more likely to read a book if they have to pay even a minimal amount for it? Say $.99? Does even that small amount of outlay give value to the purchase?
Of course I’m asking because I currently have two sexy romantic suspense novels in my “Tilling Passions” series up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Blind Her With Bliss and Deceive Her With Desire. And now that I’m very close to getting the third book in this series published, I’m thinking about my pricing strategy.
Does giving away the first book entice people to read the second and third in the series? Or will it sit unread in the libraries of Nooks and Kindles across the country, never to be opened? I have no idea. This whole self-publishing seems to be a big fat roll of the dice all the way around.
So what about you? When you see a book on B&N or Amazon for free do you assume certain things? Do your feelings change if it’s $.99? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this because I’m currently BEYOND confused on what is best at this point.
There has been a lot of talk on the internet about authors like JA Konrath and John Locke who have made A LOT of money self publishing their books. Heck, even NYT best selling authors are looking to put their backlist up on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. And why wouldn’t they? There is money to be made from digital savvy readers looking for a fix.
Why shouldn’t it be my book?
I’m not going to talk about HOW to do it. There seems to be all kinds of self-help blogs and books about the actual process. Let me just tell you … it’s easy. Don’t be fooled into thinking formatting is something only IT techs can do properly. Seriously, I did it myself and as the saying goes “If I can do it…”
Of course I decided to upload books that had already been edited and published through traditional electronic publishing routes, so a freelance editor wasn’t something I needed to consider. I did have someone design covers, Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs worked with me for the Tilling Passions series. I would highly recommend her. Her prices are reasonable and she didn’t charge me for all the “tweaking” stages. 🙂
But I digress. Really I wasn’t going to talk about the process. I want to talk about the results. Though many authors are finding HUGE financial rewards within only a month of putting their book on Amazon, some of us … just aren’t. And we don’t know why. I’ve looked at the marketing studies. I’ve read the blogs of authors who are now paying quarterly taxes for the first time because their sales are overwhelming. I’ve tweeted and facebooked and blogged and toured and … well, suffice it to say … for me nothing has been the magic bullet.
I understand it’s a numbers game. And I’m working on that. The third book in the Tilling Passions series, Arranging Love should be on sale by the end of August. I’ve got two more books that require a major round of edits before they’re ready to go up for sale. But I’d like to have both of those out before next spring. Perhaps that’s the answer. I’m not sure.
I know I’m not alone in this. There are many authors whose sales are lackluster at best. Since I’m on a loop with them, I know they’re out there. So just to let you know, not everyone finds gold in this self-publishing venture, let me share my three months worth of sales for Blind Love:
I understand this is a marathon and not a sprint, still it is a little discouraging when someone on an indie loop I’m on is wondering why her sales dropped below 100 that day and had anyone else experienced the drop. I haven’t experienced the sales. Bleh.
I’m not suggesting anyone shy from self-publishing. Like I said, it’s uber easy to get books up on the three venues I mentioned above. (Though I understand All Romance eBooks is a little more difficult with their formatting requirements.) I really just wanted authors to know that their results may vary.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America. Mostly I keep up my membership because I can then be a member of smaller chapters like Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal, Maine Romance Writers and the New England Chapter, all of them full of wonderful authors who offer advice and support my career.
When I started writing six years ago I was alone in the world with no clue how to navigate the waters of the publishing world. I found RWA and then my local Maine chapter. Thanks to them and several RWA sponsored writing contests I was able to learn my craft, hone my writing skills and publish. Of course back then RWA didn’t consider me published because I had chosen to work with Liquid Silver Books, a digital publisher (whom I would highly recommend). With no advance coming to me for my books they considered me little more than a hobbiest. Yeah whatever.
As the electronic industry grew and e-readers became part of the book buyer’s landscape, RWA could no longer ignore the fact that many authors were choosing to contract their books to digital publishers. For many writers, the high percentage of royalties was now outweighing the desire to sell books to publisher with low advances that rarely “earned out”.
RWA now recognizes authors as “officially published” who earn $1000 or more with a single book title either as an advance OR in royalties. Okay, well, no kidding authors of e-books who have received awesome reviews and have a readership have known this for a long time.
But if there’s one truth about publishing … nothing remains the same for long.
Now, authors are finding financial success publishing books directly to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And RWA has no idea what to do with these authors who earn sometimes more than the traditionally published mid-list author in NY. Because … get this … that author is only a hobbiest. They aren’t looking at their writing career as a profession.
Wai … wha?
It’s true. And there are some authors who are jumping on that bandwagon. Now don’t ask me why, in this time of Amanda Hocking, JA Konrath and Barry Eisler, who are making amazing money publishing their own books, why RWA would NOT consider this a viable publishing option for an author’s career. To me it’s a sound business decision to make sure I’ve tapped into all aspects of the publishing market.
I consider myself a “professional” writer. I intend to contribute substantially to the family budget, not just offer a movie and dinner night to Mr. Nina once a month when my royalty check arrives. But it is the rare author who makes a living wage right out of the starting gate. It takes time to market onesself and find a readership base. When will I consider myself a success? Hmmm, I’m not sure. I suspect every time I reach one goal I’ll be stretching toward another. What I do know is that I can’t decide for someone else how to define their writing.
There are some who really are just happy writing their stories and getting them out into the world, even if they don’t make much money. And others who are happy squeezing their writing time between a fulltime job, kids and the hubster, thrilled to have extra money every month or so to feed their book-buying addiction. Are they not professionals? That’s not for me to decide. And I know that’s not much of an answer.
The truth is, RWA is trying to juggle many writers with a lot of needs. It just seems to me that the organization is once again fighting the US (those who are published with recognized electronic publishers and traditionally published authors making a living wage) vs THEM (everyone still finding their way including those “self-pubbed” to Amazon) battle. I don’t know where the organization is going or what will be decided about authors who make their living publishing direct. I just hope the powers that be are looking at this from all angles, not just the one down their nose.
So, as an author does any of this affect you? And as a reader, does it matter to you where your favorite books come from (recognized pubs or Amazon/B&N directs)?
I’ve been pretty quiet on my own blog about my decision to re-release my Tilling Passions series direct to Kindle and Nook. I LOVE these sisters. I was so stoked when Liquid Silver first released them in 2008. At that time they garnered some readers, but really didn’t find their stride at LSB. Sadly they sat with very little attention. And as much as I love LSB and the publishing family I found over there my purpose isn’t just to publish my books, but to get my stories out to the readers.
Soooo, when the rights reverted back to me, it seemed only logical to dip my toe into this brave, new world of self-publishing. Of course the decision was easier for me as the books had already been through the editing process. I just had DAR ALBERT design new covers and I was off.
Let me just say that many people are panicking about “formatting” their manuscripts to upload to the various sites for sale. Since my books were already formatted for digital publishing it was uber easy for me to upload my book. If you’re thinking about stepping into self-publishing I would highly recommend it. I just see it as being market savvy, spreading my books across many formats as to find the biggest audience. I have the first book on sale now. I hope you’ll check it out.
He’s a shock jock looking to reform. She’s an accountant hoping to cut loose. Can love open their eyes to forever?
Uptight CPA and oldest sister, JULIE TILLING, is the glue that binds her family. Everyone depends on her to do the right thing. When her friend from high school dies and Julie is the only one who believes he didn’t commit suicide, she takes it upon herself to investigate his death.
DAMON COREY didn’t come to Maine to become a shock jock. But when his dream career of becoming a concert pianist seems unobtainable, the radio station’s offer is too good to pass up. When mysterious brunette Jewel, hooks up with him at the night club run by a college frat brother, their one night fling wraps around his heart and makes him believe in love at first sight.
But can Damon expose his inner soul without pushing Julie away or will his enigmatic shock jock persona become Julie’s sexual undoing and reveal him as the missing piece that solves the puzzling questions surrounding her friend’s death?
“Does it ever get tiresome watching it?” Julie asked, daring to dip her toe in the waters of seduction.
Good, her question threw him off-kilter. “You know. The people and what they’re doing? You see the two men and that woman over there?” Julie leaned to the side so Demon could see around her as she pointed to a shadowed corner of the bar below. “I thought they were dancing, but there’s definitely something more going on.” A nervous giggle escaped her lips. “The man in front is definitely buried deep in the woman, and the man in back…well, I’m not sure what he’s doing. But with their mouths open that way, I’m thinking they’re all really enjoying themselves.” She leaned back, her bottom grazing his thigh.
“Oh, they’re definitely getting it on.” Demon braced his hands on either side of her, pressing the solid plane of his chest against her back. They were both testing the waters. “And yes, I get tired of watching.” He leaned close to her ear, his breath the only thing separating his lips from her skin. “They put in extra spotlights that shine on the platform for me so I don’t have to stare at them all night. I mean, even a saint would get a hard-on seeing people go at it for three hours.” He rubbed against her. There was no mistaking his arousal.
Julie was enjoying their brazen flirtation. “I suppose you’re right.” She turned around to face him, purposefully rubbing her breasts across his chest. He didn’t move. “Did you originally bring me up here to relieve a little of that tension, Demon?”
“I don’t think you want to know what I was thinking before we got in the elevator.”
She tilted her head and cocked a brow, inviting him to share. “Oh, but I think I would.”
“This is probably a very bad idea.” He took a step back, but she moved with him.
She’d come this far and she had no intention of stopping now. “Maybe I was a little tipsy in the elevator, but I’m stone-cold sober now,” Julie said, laying her palm in the center of his chest. Her gaze swept the strong lines of his face, gauging his reaction. Even in the muted light of the office she could see the hunger sparking in his eyes. “We’re way past the stage of chivalry, Demon. I don’t need your protection.” She slid her thigh up his leg, surprised by her own audacity.
“You think that’s what I’m doing?”
She dragged a nail through the dark whiskers along his jaw, thrilling in the quick inhalation of his breath. “Oh, you play the animal, but the heart of a gentle man hides in here.” She kissed the center of his chest, her body warming with the power of her seduction.
“Then it may shock you to learn I intended on having my way with you when we got up here. That phone call pulling Elvis away was his attempt to give me privacy.”
Me? I’m a recycling fiend. Plastic, aluminum, paper, you name it I recycle it. When we were packing to move my oldest daughter, whose even more into it than I am, even found places for me to send used denim and crayons where they would be recycled. Though I will confess to not composting. I haven’t quite gotten that mess figured out. Maybe we’ll find one of those big containers you can put in the back yard for our next house. But then again, since there’s the whole brown, green, brown layer thing, it may be more than I can handle.
And of course there is the fact that my books can be purchased digitally thereby saving many, many trees in the printing process. As a matter fact I’m chatting about e-books and my newest release BLIND LOVE over at ADELE DUBOIS’ BLOG today. Come on over and tell me how you like your books … print or electronic.
I’m part of “The Long and the Short’s” Valentine’s celebration! Come join me throughout the day on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13 as I join a weekend of romance postings and giveaways.
So how do you win? Just drop over to WHIPPED CREAM BLOG or GODDESS FISH PARTY PAVILION, check out the posts (especially mine), leave a comment and you’re entered!
The hostesses are having drawings at random intervals for $5 gift cards for lucky commenters. Then MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14 one lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win their choice of either a WiFi Nook, a WiFi Kindle or a $150 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!
So what are you doing here?? Head on right over and start commenting!!