Thursday, February 03, 2011

Guest Post by B.V. Larson

Here's more fuel for the fire.

Last month, I thought I did pretty good by selling 22,000 ebooks.

Of course, we all know the reason I sold so many is because I was previously published and I have a platform and my traditional print books and fanbase all played a huge part.

Not.

Allow me to introduce you to B.V. Larson, who creamed my sales even though he had none of the above. I noticed him a year or so ago, with his ebook Mech.

But better to let him tell you in his own words. Here's Larson:


The Past:
My ebook odyssey began in April 2010, when I rediscovered Joe’s blog (thanks again, Joe) and read about how well he was doing on Amazon. I decided to give it a try after many years of firing blindly at New York.

I’d been successful in non-fiction (have a textbook series), but I’d never managed more than a few pro short story sales in fiction. I’ve actually had three agents and many “rewrite this” and “almosts” with editors.

When I started ebooking I’d never laid eyes on a Kindle, but by the end of May I had two books up and 7 big sales. Things grew rapidly from there, and over the last six months I've had over 100,000 PAID ebook sales, including 26,000 in December and 38,000 in January. Most of these sales were for $2.99.

I did it all without a fan-base or a web-presence. I had nothing going for me other than determination, a pile of unsold manuscripts and a willingness to adapt.

My point is: Indies can succeed.

The Present:
In January, Amazon made me their first "Featured Author" in the new DTP newsletter. I've had a few calls from publishers and the like, but I've stayed completely independent thus far. I’m not philosophically opposed to working with traditional publishing. I take a business-like view: if someone can convince me that signing a deal with them is worthwhile, I’ll sign it. This is best done mathematically, however, not with slogans and promises of glory.

On the personal side, no one is more stunned by my success than I am. In truth, I’m feeling my way through this new universe. I feel like it’s 1993 and I just figured out how to make a website. The world is wide open at this point.

The Future:
Things are very likely to become dramatic in this industry. I seriously see the current publishing structure as unsupportable. Tech has a way of doing that (look it up in an econ book, it’s called “creative destruction”). There is bound to be a period of turmoil when new business methods are applied. Hardest hit will be those who can’t adapt, like silent movie stars trying to find work in “talkies”. Or like radio stars trying to make the transition to TV. Writers and actors were once paid a salary by movie studios. Things change.

By 2020, I would be very surprised if printed materials weren’t the exception, rather than the rule. If you don’t believe me, take a look at that MP3 player in your pocket and ask yourself how many CDs, cassette tapes or 8-tracks you’ve bought lately.

Logically, the most indispensable individual is the creator of the content in any industry. Authors are the factories, and therefore we are the one thing that can’t be eliminated. Who was that publisher who famously said: “This would be a great business if it weren’t for the authors”? Such attitudes must be rethought.

The two things you have to have in this business are the author and the reader, so the real stress will fall on the packagers and distributors in between us. My goal is to stay calm and focus on my work. I’m only concerned about my readers. If I keep them happy, they will keep me happy.

Advice:
There are a thousand useful pieces of advice right here on this website. I won’t repeat them. But I will tell you my guiding light: writing is all about the reader. I never sit down and start out thinking about “what I’d like to write.” I start out with what I’d like to read. I’m even more interested in what others would like to read. I think about the reader all the time—where they are in their minds, where they want to go next—then I write until they get there. Writing is not about me. It’s about my readers.

Joe sez: First of all, I'm staggered and thrilled Larson has sold so well. He's the perfect example of what I've been talking about. Write good books at fair prices and publish a bunch of them and you'll sell even if no one knows who you are.

I also say that the cover art must be good. While I like the cover art for Mech, I'm not too keen on some of Larson's other book covers. But then, I'm not hot for Amanda Hocking's covers either, and those haven't seemed to hurt her sales.

This leads to an interesting conclusion. Larson has sold 100,000 ebooks. But that doesn't mean he has 100,000 fans. He might only have 6000 fans. But these fans could have each bought his entire oeuvre, 18 ebooks.

If you're writing good books that fans enjoy, they'll seek out more of your work. The more of your work you have available, the more chances you'll have to discover new fans. It's like constantly making your fishing net bigger. The bigger the net, the more fish you'll snare.

For those writers who are wondering why they haven't had decent sales, my answer is: write more.

In fact, that's always been the answer for writers, no matter what their goals are.

167 comments:

Derek J. Canyon said...

BV, it's awesome to see that scifi can achieve the level of epub success you have. It gives hope to all of us also doing SF.

Adventures in ePublishing

V. Furnas said...

Thank you for yet again being the light that is at the end of the tunnel.

Michelle Oeltjen said...

Every time I read one of your posts I get all goose bumpy and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for me as an unpublished writer. Keep 'em coming JA! I plan to be featured in your newsletter one day soon.

MO

Rebecca M. Senese said...

Congratulations to B.V. Larson! It's a great time to be a writer and an even better time to be a reader!

Jack Badelaire said...

Another great success story, and another author for me to hunt down and keep an eye on.

Every time I hear about cover art, though, it makes me nervous. I've been playing with some cover art designs of my own and I like simple, bold covers. The old 80's reprints of the James Bond novels come to mind, and Barry Eisler's first few John Rain books had nice bold, but simple covers.

I haven't had time to dig through all the back-posts here, but Joe, do you have an article you can point to that covers some basic do's and don'ts of e-book cover design?

Thanks again for keeping these success stories coming; it's a lot of great positive reinforcement for us neophyte authors.

Daryl Sedore said...

This is terrific news!

Well done and I love the cover.

Now, do you feel having the last name Larson has had anything to do with this kind of success, especially having had basically zero platform with no history?

No disrespect intended here.

Awesome job. But after reading Aaron Patterson's guest post and the comments regarding his name, I talked to my wife about using a pen-name. The name Larson came up.

We decided not to though. We only discussed it. Took no action.

Aaron recently did a blog about his name and how it had helped along with Joshua Graham and how close his covers looked like John Grisham.

Anyway, just wondering...

Daryl Sedore
www.spotlightonindies.com

Lisa Nowak said...

I couldn't agree more with Larson regarding the author's vital role as creator. And I'm not at all surprised by that publisher quote. If publishers could think of a way to get computers to write books for them, they'd do it in an instant. What's sad is traditional authors who believe the publisher has the author's best interest at heart.

Lundeen Literary said...

Michael Wallace, for whom I've done some covers, is releasing a second ebook tomorrow, and probably another in a couple of weeks.

Mike Dennis, for whom I've done formatting, is releasing another piece over the next couple of days, and probably another soon.

Alan Watt, for whom I've done formatting for e and paper books, is releasing another nonfiction piece in May, and another in August. All of these are high-quality works, and each of these authors will have 3-5 works available each very soon. I believe that it will help their sales immeasurably to have several titles apiece.

Personally, I'll start releasing when I know I will have 3-5 things available over a couple of months. There's just no point in flinging one, poor thing into the ether. It needs companionship.

Amanda Hocking is probably the poster girl for this, though. XD

Jenna
@lundeenliterary
www.lundeenliterary.com

Megg Jensen said...

More great news - thanks for the post and the great info.

My book will debut soon and I hope to have two more out before the end of the year. I think the snowball effect contributes to the high sales a lot of these authors are seeing.

I've banded together with two other authors, Karly Kirkpatrick & G.P. Ching. Our hope is that by forming our own publishing group, we'll drive traffic to all of our books and increase our snowball to epic proportions.

These posts just give us more confidence that with the right book & cover we'll do something amazing!

Peace,
Megg

www.meggjensen.com
www.darksidepublishing.com

Gretchen Galway said...

I love that cover. I have no idea what your story is about, and I don't read sci fi much anymore, but man, that's a beautiful image on your book.

I've been following the blog for six months now, and still have my third book out with agents...and am proceeding without them. Today.

Just this morning, I sold my first copy of my first published work on Amazon.

Quick Study

(Call me Suzy Homemaker if you must, but I'm laughing all the way to the bank with my $0.34.)

Thanks, Joe and B.V. Larson and everyone here for leading the way.

Robert W. Walker said...

And THEY said it couldn't be done...big numbers in indie eboook pulication...said so and so and such is generations away...said genre fiction is limited if at all in sales online....THEY told me -- they being every agent and editor with a publishing house who laid eyes on my Children of Salem that no one wanted to read about Salem Witchcraft in yet another book, especially one with 3 volumes... They were wrong. 415 copies of this single title of mine in JANUARY alone sold. I earned 2000 bucks in Jan. for all my ebooks totally...They are and continue to be totally wrong.

Jeff Ambrose said...

It's stories like these that give me GREAT hope for the future.

After a few months of putting up short fiction, I have about as many sales as BV did. I know he has novels, and they sell better, and I have one one the way. There's much work to be done ... but great, great hope. And hope is the fuel that keeps my butt in chair and my fingers typing.

Steve said...

B.V. Larson, this is super. Keep writing is a no brainer that we all hope to do. I have two novels up on Kindle and a third that will be included soon. The fourth is a work in progress. Joe, thanks for the post and have a drink on me.

Prophecy of the Medallion
Death Mask

modicumoftalent.com said...

Whenever I get all angsty and freaked out about doing this indie thing, I come to this blog, and I feel better.

BV, was there anything in particular that you think drove your sales? Forums, guest blogs, etc.? Can you point to one or two specific actions that made a difference?

Just curious, really. I've only been at this a little less than 2 months, so I know it's early... But I'm not very patient... :)

Amy

Anonymous said...

Like many of the people who have posted here, I'm doing pretty well as an "indie" Kindle author. However, I've never had a bias against traditional publishers and/or print books and, in that light, recently sold the rights to one of my books to a NY publisher which will release it in hardcover this fall.

In addition to landing on the shelves of BN etc., my hope is that several thousand copies will find their way onto library systems. That will hopefully leverage my Kindle sales.

We'll see.

The point is, a person doesn't have to just work one side of the street. I think it's possible to work both sides and end up with a whole bigger than the sum of its parts.

Tara Maya said...

It's always nice to remember, too, that the only thing worse than responsibility for your own cover is having no control at all.

If you control the cover, even if you start out with a bad one... you can change it. Easily.

If you get stuck with a bad cover?

Before I decided to go indie, I had two books traditionally published. One had an AWESOME cover, the other a terrible cover. Guess which one sold better? I redesigned a new cover for the second book, but I had no control to change it.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

P.S. B.V. Larson's Haven series is terrific. I haven't read Mech yet, it's on my tbr list. If you're still on the fence, you can read another excerpt from Amber Magic on my blog 500 Words.

Moses Siregar III said...

Congratulations, B.V.! You're one of the great e-publishing success stories in Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Joe, I have to tell you this series of eBook related guest posts etc. is KILLING me. I mean really killing me. I am so STOKED to get my eBook on the market. But I can't. Not yet. I'm half way thru it, but I've had to halt b/c I have a print publisher book deadline in April. Carl Graves is already working on my cover, and I'm hoping to get the book out by summer. Please tell me it's not too late! I'm not missing the train, am I? lol

Shana Lynn said...

Congratulations to Larson!

And good luck and best wishes to all of us indie authors.

This is an exciting time to be a writer...

Shana Hammaker
CHARLIE: Book One of the short thriller series
Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

Robin Sullivan said...

This is so funny as I was just thinking abou B.V. Larson today. He is always very highly ranked with Michael Sullivan's Riyria books (fantasy) as well as Nathan Lowell's Trader Tales (sci-fi). When I think of the $0.99 and $2.99 one thing that concerns me is "impulse buys" that end up not reading.

B.V.'s writing must be super because he is definitely not suffering from this. The fact that so many in his "Magic Series" are top ranked shows that people are moving from one to the next to the next.

Well done sir. And here's to hoping many more sales in the future.

Robin Write2Publish

John Brown said...

Question for Larson:

1) What's your best-selling series or genre? The sci-fi, fantasy, or romance?

2) I noticed AMBER MAGIC was about 45,000 words. On average, how long are your novels? I noticed

Michael said...

His history sounds almost exactly like mine, down to the short pro sales, the multiple agents, and the near misses. I also have seven novels (good ones, that is, not counting the five crappy books) that I'm planning to release every couple of weeks until I've finished them. Right now, one of my books is selling roughly one copy per day and the one I'm pitching 10-15. Reviews are strong; I'll be interested to see if anything comes of this.

Rebecca Stroud said...

I so love reading these success stories yet I also get so frustrated. Yes, I'm aware that I must have patience. That I must persevere. That I must write more.

But, to date, I have three diverse works on Amazon. And, to date, my sales mirror B.V.'s beginning.

Anyway, I had a senior moment and was thinking that maybe Joe could do some guest blogs featuring those of us who - not through lack of patience, perseverance, or writing more - simply aren't finding that sweet spot. I'd be the first to volunteer (Pick me, Joe, pick me...:-)

Believe me, I understand that the work must be quality and priced right (though my jury is still out on covers as I never cared a whit what the outside of a book looked like if the words were great). But maybe that's my problem?

Seriously, I have a background in journalism (features writer, plus had an anchored column in a newspaper for years) so I'm not deaf, dumb, and blind to what constitutes good writing.

But I just can't seem to get the kick in the ass that Joe's guests receive. And I want to be kicked in the ass!

So, Joe. If you ever decide to feature the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm sure you'll have plenty of fuel for that fire.

In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away; going to go upload my fourth work now. Thanks much for the momentum...

The Animal Advocate
Zellwood
Devil's Moon

Michael Dean said...

CONGRATS B.V.!
I am a fan of your work. I'm currently reading your new book Swarm. I love that freaking book. :) I see your books all over amazon. Keep doing your thing and I'll keep buying.

Moses Siregar III said...

Btw guys and gals, without this turning into an Apple good/bad discussion, has this story been discussed here yet?

This is the first thing I've seen that makes me wonder if Amazon might drop the 70% royalty rate. If they want to continue to sell ebooks through Apple devices and need to give Apple 30%, then obviously something's gotta give--at least when Amazon would sell books through such an Apple app. Maybe Amazon will just opt out, though. This seems potentially a really big deal.

Jerret said...

Joe, what about non-fiction? Do you think the trend is the same as fiction?

Guess there's only one way to find out...do it.

Merrill Heath said...

Congratulations, BV! Another inspiring success story. From all of this two things are evident: 1) I need to learn to write faster; and 2) I like Daryl's idea regarding a pseudonym...only I'm thinking more about using Steve Larsson. ;-)

Merrill Heath
Alec Stover Mysteries

J. E. Medrick said...

Moses,

A story like that makes me think that Apple will get what is coming to them, if the whole thing tanks.

They said tens of millions of readers won't be able to get the books... but that is entirely untrue. People have Kindles and Nooks and whatever else and don't need to read off their Apple-branded products. That's not to mention the Kindle app. that can be downloaded for computer... etc.

I think that Apple is shooting themselves in the foot with this move. I believe that Amazon wants to keep the 70% rate, as it is causing authors to flock to sell, as well as buyers to flock to consume. With Apple suddenly saying, "Oh, and 30% for us!"... it's too much.

I also think people will find a way around it. They can post on Amazon and get that rate, post on B&N to get their rate... and then post through Apple and by-pass the double fee of Amazon-Apple, etc.

I don't think it's something to worry about ATM, but I do still think it is a dumb move by Apple.

J. E. Medrick

Michael said...

re: Apple. Don't underestimate the power of the big guys. The big guys may have changed over the years from the King of England to St. Martin's Press, to Amazon/Apple, but the end result is usually that artists get most of their value extracted somewhere along the way.

It's one thing that makes me cautious about the excitement of the e-book revolution. It may be 1776, or it may be the Prague Spring and we just don't yet see the Soviet tanks massing at the border.

(Sorry, that was a little over the top.)

Stephen T. Harper said...

@Moses and JE,

I read that too, and I think 30% is insane, as in completely unreasonable. So much so that I wonder about the veracity or accuracy of the article. Apple has already jumped out to deny/correct reports on whatever the flap with Sony was. But this idea of taking 30% off the top for the privilege of using their device at the exact moment when the market is being flooded with new competing tablets... it's just a little too unreasonable to be accurate.

Or maybe not.

Speaking as an Ipad owner, I'm also not entirely sure the idea of forcing content distributors to go through Apple for purchases even makes sense. I've got several e-reading apps on the thing, and actually the one I like the most is the Kindle. But because of the "whysper sync," I don't necessarily buy my books through the ipad anyway. I prefer to shop from my desktop. Don't most of these book buying apps sync to all your devices? I buy on my PC, read on my ipad, or my wife's Kindle, or even on my phone. That's a pretty complex equation for Apple to try to jump in the middle of. No?

Congrats, BV Larson on an excellent year! - Steve

J. E. Medrick said...

I sure hope Apple doesn't have any tanks... ;)

I know they can change the way things go. My irritation at their move is probably in part to the knowledge that they can make it less lucrative for the ones who are actually producing the most necessary part of the good!

Like BV quoted, "a great business if it weren't for the authors..." there wouldn't BE a business without us.

Maybe we should all form an Interest and get some laws passed that the middlemen can't take more than 30% of our earnings, tops. If Apple wants 30%... they'll have to take 30% out of what Amazon has already taken to lead them there ;) Let's keep our authors well-fed and productive!

J. E. Medrick

Stephen T. Harper said...

Then again, I also agree with Michael. Especially about the tanks. :)

J. E. Medrick said...

@Stephen

I only have a Kindle and have zero interest in owning any Apple product other than an Ipod. My PoV is probably somewhat skewed.

You'll have to enlighten me a little - do apps for the Ipad only become available through the Apple store? Can you buy/download them from third-party sites? If so, I think Apple won't have much control over it anyway...

J. E. Medrick

Moses Siregar III said...

B.V., a small question for you. I assume you're writing under a pen name? Do you ever plan to reveal who is behind the mask? I'm not suggesting you should. I'm just curious :-)

Anonymous said...

B.V. Congrats on all the success. I am wondering, did you do any type of promotion or did it just go through word of mouth?

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club
Secrets of the Magical Medallions

Sarah Allen said...

Great advice! I'm not completely converted to eBooks yet, but you know what, its just something that is part of our world today and this advice can help us aspiring writers when we deal with epublishing, which we will. Thanks!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Basil Sands said...

BV, way to go! Watching my own wax and wane each day / week, I am wondering did you watch your sales move exponentially or was it a gradual climb in numbers? I've had my thrillers out there since september and like you saw a handful of sales the first month, then two handfuls the next month and so on, but only stood at like 60 sales a month in december. January I started a promo to give away a free kindle for every 1000 books sold during the 1st quarter of 2011. That jumped my sales up to 600 for Jan (with a dozen good reviews to boot), but Feb is starting out unimpressive.

Question: at what point after posting your books did you see it start to jump to high numbers?

any other high sellers can answer that too by the way

B. V. Larson said...

Hello everyone,
Thanks for all the congratz, and I wish you all the best!

@Michael Dean: SWARM is currently my best seller, glad you are loving it, the response to that book has been unparalleled.

@Daryl Sedore: I honestly don't know if having the last name of Larson garnered me any clicks or not. (Larson is my real name, and I'm sure it didn't hurt, even if it is spelled differently). I will say that some of my books barely sell even now, because people don't want to buy them. I think having a lot of readable books at a good price is my magic. (As Joe pointed out).

@modicum: Really, I started with zero web presence. My posts on message boards were met with yawns. It was my cover/price/book description that did it for me, in my opinion. Plus, book-to-book synergy.

@John Brown: Good questions. Really, from one month to the next, the genre that sells the best varies for me. Right now, SF and fantasy are about even, with romance in third place. Romance was my strongest area last summer, however. About my book length, it depends on the series, but I have a rule now of not putting up anything under 80,000 words to keep people from complaining. My SF/Romance books around 90,000 each. My fantasy series books start off shorter, but the recent ones are 80k+. I also have a set of novellas I'm trying to get into the Kindle Singles program (Hyborean Dragons).

Thanks again all!
-BVL

Stephen T. Harper said...

"do apps for the Ipad only become available through the Apple store? Can you buy/download them from third-party sites?"

That's an excellent question. I'm not really sure. I use many google apps for example, but they are all accessible through the apple store, and it's all "just touch one button" simple, so I'm not sure of the inner workings and accounting process.

But I do know that all the book reader apps send you to the web to make a purchase (to amazon.com for example). And I do know that my Kindle app syncs my Kindle account with any other device I may own.
So, I don't see how Apple could try to control or get a piece of Amazon's action. I think that particular ship has sailed. It's too late for them to demand Amazon redesign their App just to accommodate Apple's greed. And while Apple has been known to make decisions early in the process that pisses off customers (like no flash for the ipad), I don't think they would do something like that retroactively. After all, I already bought the thing.

But beyond all that, I still don't think the 30% number makes enough sense to be accurate. Too much competition for the device. After all, the Ipad isn't a platform, it's just a device. And an expensive one at that.

Stephen T. Harper said...

Sorry, not trying to hi-jack the thread.

jtplayer said...

Well it's certainly an age old problem...the artists who create getting shafted by the companies who market.

But unless you are willing to put up your own money to get your art into the buyer's hands, I guess you really have no say in the matter.

I suppose you could do as some have suggested here, and go truly independent, selling directly to the public. But the stakes are a lot higher that way, and the returns will be arguably much smaller.

Tara Maya said...

Michael: It's one thing that makes me cautious about the excitement of the e-book revolution. It may be 1776, or it may be the Prague Spring and we just don't yet see the Soviet tanks massing at the border.

Dude, the historian in me is loving your analogies.

:)

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

Lundeen Literary said...

Rebecca Stroud said:
"Believe me, I understand that the work must be quality and priced right (though my jury is still out on covers as I never cared a whit what the outside of a book looked like if the words were great). But maybe that's my problem?"
It's not so much that the cover must look good, but it must NOT LOOK BAD, and it needs to convey the story type IF the author wants it to sell. Certain things must match up. You can't sell a thriller of the cover looks like the cover of Twilight, and you wouldn't sell a piece of chick lit that had guns and blood spatters on the cover.
Let's take your covers…
Devil's Moon: Your name is poorly centered - very poorly. An extra space is throwing off the center alignment. This leads the reader to think that the lack of attention to detail carries over into the book, and that the book sucks. This is probably not true, but it gives a buyer pause. The image is such that it could be a vampire tale, a werewolf tale, paranormal romance, or fantasy. Your book is tagged as suspense/thriller. To make this cover configuration work, you'd need to make the words red and bloody, or at least darker, and then the image needs to be edgier - scarier and more ominous.
Zellwood: this is a reasonably nice cover. I like the simplicity and the overall feel. If I were doing this cover, I would make the whole cover the beige-y color that's in the block, to make it stand out from the white Amazon page. I'd leave the text as-is. However, I would use the cover for another story; one with elves, or a piece of Scottish/Irish historical fiction. One does not get the feel that this is a dog story from the pretty pinecones. Good cover, bad correlation to the story/genre (this could be helped a bit by adding the subtitle "A Dog Story" to the actual listing for Amazon DTP so that the customer sees it on the LISTING and not the cover).
Animal Advocate: Reasonable for its subject matter. However, the text "from the newspaper columnist" does not correlate properly to your name. That text needs to either go directly over and be aligned with your name, or your name should be centered with that text. Otherwise, it's fine.
Notice that your covers are not awful - but they are not helping your sales. I don't judge the book by its cover, but I sure to pick which one to buy by its cover. ;)
Anyhow, hope this was helpful in illustrating the point.

Jenna
@lundeenliterary
www.lundeenliterary.com

Joe Konrath said...

maybe Joe could do some guest blogs featuring those of us who - not through lack of patience, perseverance, or writing more - simply aren't finding that sweet spot

Thanks for thinking of me, but since I started doing all of these guest posts I'm getting hammered by folks asking to do one.

I'm flattered, but right now my focus is on showing off success stories, and only the major successes need currently apply.

I have one or two guest posts slated to show the other side of things, and those will appear this month.

People are more than welcome to email me and ask, but no answer from me is the same as the answer no.

Krissy Brady | Sell Crazy Someplace Else said...

What a great and inspiring story! You have given me a LOT to think about in terms of the direction of my writing.

wannabuy said...

IT is awesome seeing scifi doing so well in ebook form! I speculate one reason the genre had been dying is what the 'old guard' let through is not what the readers wanted to read. Or more precisely, what it would take to bring in new readers.

Mr. B.V. Larson, I love the bit about writing for the readers.

I also love the bit about keeping the business case mathematical. But is that being fair to the English majors in publishing? ;)


@Robert:"And THEY said it couldn't be done...big numbers in indie eboook pulication..."

And they still say it. No matter how often they are proven wrong. Look at the numbers of SF&F book now by Indie/Small publisher authors in the top 100 on Kindle! I read reviews from big6 authors stating how they wouldn't have published the new stuff... Well they didn't. ;)

One reason I love ebooks is the new variety in SF&F. It isn't that there wasn't good stuff before... But BV is one example among many of why getting rid of the damn gates is the best thing that ever happened to readers!

@Michael. I worry about that change too. As long as this isn't like music where there is really only one source (Apple), everyone will be ok. At this point, I believe that Amazon, Apple, and B&N have all grown too large to be killed off. If either Apple (likely) or Amazon (less likely) ever become 'evil,' Google books will grow.

Remember in 1995, back when 'AOL=internet?' Then AOL tried to force their 'marketplace' upon everyone? How the heck will they ever stuff the authors back into the 'publishing machine?'

Neil

J. E. Medrick said...

Neil,

Never fear - I don't think we'll all fit!

P.S.: Those AOL discs made GREAT last minute picnic frisbees!

J. E. Medrick

Anonymous said...

I just have to say one thing about the "cover" thing... I love Amanda Hocking's covers...and I'm not sure why. The landscape makes me think of lonliness, and that gets me curious. So then I read the sample, and guess what? Yeah, I'm hooked! I really like the "sample" feature on both Amazon and Smashwords. Maybe it really comes down to, as Joe says, not writing crap. No matter how much I like the other stuff, if the sample is crap, I don't buy it!

Thanks from a mom in rural Alberta who absolutely loves this blog!

Jamie Sedgwick said...

Another great story! I started publishing my books six weeks ago, thanks in no small part to what I've read here. Over that six weeks I published four fantasy novels. I did almost nothing to promote them because I was working so hard to get them published.

Now that I've got four books up, and I'm doing a promotion of giving one away for free, my sales have jumped. I had a handful of sales through the first month. Now, in the first two days of February I've had thirteen sales (plus the nearly 300 downloads of my free story). I don't know if the growth will continue like that, but I'm eager to see what happens. We live in exciting times!

Matthew W. Grant said...

BV, congratulations on all your sales. It's great to know what the potential is out there.

Has the following scenario ever happened to any of the readers here?

I just put uploaded one of my books yesterday into KDP. It has already sold three copies, but the Amazon page isn't even finished...the product description isn't on there yet! I can't figure out how people are deciding to buy it or even finding it. (The sales aren't from friends because I didn't even tell anyone about it yet since the product page isn't even complete.)

Here's the book:

Zach's Secret

Of course, I'm thrilled, but still trying to figure out how it is happening. My first book has been out for a month and didn't take off like this.

Any ideas?

J. E. Medrick said...

@Matthew:

I'd have to say the reasons I think it's selling:
1. Nice cover.
2. Not your only published work.
3. Appeals to very specific niche(Gay/Lesbian) that wants to read.

Reason 3 is the big one, I believe.

J. E. Medrick

Jude Hardin said...

For those writers who are wondering why they haven't had decent sales, my answer is: write more.

A frequent contributor here emailed me privately and said something similar. To me, though, quality trumps quantity. My answer is: write better.

wannabuy said...

@Jude:"My answer is: write better."

Write well, but once you are out there, 'satisfied customers' want to read your next work.

Some book buyers won't buy from authors with less than 3 books.

It doesn't matter why really, what matters is that authors with well written books sell better if there are multiple ways to find a book... That means having multiple books for sale.

Neil

Lindsay B said...

Two novels online, sixteen to go. :D

Seriously, thanks for all these inspirational stories. Great stuff. I'm always up for interviewing ebook authors doing well over at my blog, too, so feel free to hit me up if you're interested (not that you need extra promotional opportunities when you're selling 30,000 ebooks a month!).

Ebook Endeavors

no-bull-steve said...

BV, congrats on your success and thanks for sharing your experience! I too thought that SF had a much lower "glass ceiling" than some of the other genres. I'm very very happy to hear it doesn't!

Keep up the good work! Thanks Joe for allowing the guest blog!

Stephen Prosapio
=================
Author, DREAM WAR

Joe Konrath said...

My answer is: write better.

My first rule is "Don't write crap" so that's inferred.

Once you're no longer writing crap, get as much out there as possible.

You can have a home run with a single book (that's an upcoming guest post), but your chances improve with multiple titles.

Jude Hardin said...

Some book buyers won't buy from authors with less than 3 books.

Bizarre criteria, but if you say so.

Look, I agree having multiple titles helps sales, no doubt about it. But some people seem to be under the impression they can sling any old crap up there for sale and as long as there's enough of it they'll do well.

I just can't imagine that strategy will work in the long run. Better to have one good book than ten crummy ones.

jtplayer said...

"Some book buyers won't buy from authors with less than 3 books"

Huh?

I gotta call b.s. on that one.

jtplayer said...

"I just can't imagine that strategy will work in the long run. Better to have one good book than ten crummy ones"

Yes.

Agreed 100%.

Are we talking commodities here...or books?

I have nothing against publishing as many books as you like, throughout your career.

But this notion that you gotta hurry up and get more product out there right now is just lame, IMO.

Combined with the .99 (or price 'em really cheap) mentality, the net effect is a dumbing down of the art, lower than that of the old pulps. And I happen to love those old pulps, btw ;-)

For God's sake, just write the stories as they come to you, and tell them well. If that pace is naturally a quick one, well then good for you. But I'd venture to say for most authors it's not.

And enough with the series for crying out loud. Everybody and their brother is writing a freakin' trilogy.

Jude Hardin said...

My first rule is "Don't write crap" so that's inferred.

People who write crap don't know they're writing crap. That's the problem.

Opening paragraphs about weather, laughable alliteration, incredible coincidences, word repetition in close proximity, head-hopping POVs, unintentional rhymes, sentences that don't logically follow one another, imprudent use of exclamation marks, verbs inappropriately applied to inanimate objects, adverbial dialogue tags, adjectives out the yingyang, confusing and pointless dialogue exchanges, unexplainable verb tense shifts, pronoun confusion, nonsensical sentence structure...

I wrote this list of objective criteria recently as I read a sample from one of the authors who comments here often. Do you think s/he sees any of it, even when pointed out?

Nope.

Priority #1 should always be quality. If you produce a whole bunch of crap, then that's exactly what you'll have.

dr.cpe said...

BV, that cover is dynamite!! It has such dynamic movement for a 2D image.

And. as with Joe K, I am reading about the hard work underlying your work... and that impresses me most.

Thanks for mapping your own road to us

Michael said...

Dude, the historian in me is loving your analogies.

Tara, funny you should say that. I have been published in Military History magazine and finally wrote the WWII novel I've been dreaming about for years and now am trying to figure out what to do with it. I have an agent who wants to represent it and it's the best thing I've ever written (and I've written some good stuff), with a strong chance of selling in the mainstream market.

But I've been yanked around so much by NY and its gatekeepers that I'm seriously thinking of turning down the opportunity. This is what I've been striving for the last twenty years, but I've had so many near misses and my indie books seem to have a legitimate shot, so...

Well, I don't know what to do. I think I'm going to get more of my near-miss books online, the ones everyone loved but couldn't quite convince marketing types to spend money on and then give it a month or two. I figure I'll know better then if there's any money in e-books for me.

jtplayer said...

The way I see it, experienced, seasoned authors most likely have the writing chops to put out a steady stream of professional calibre work, provided they can come up with good stories to tell.

The newbie indie, or even seasoned unpublished indie, may not have the skills needed to write compelling fiction on a regular basis. And to tell them their sales may be lagging because they don't have enough "product" out there simply encourages more mediocre writing.

So what's the harm? You may say.

Well, probably none, except a market full of shitty or near shitty books.

It seems to me if an emerging indie author is taking the time to write well, vet well through beta readers (notice I said beta, not buyers), edit properly, and design properly, then by nature that's going to slow the pace. As it should, in my mind.

In short, take the time to do it right. Your readers will appreciate it in the long run. Even if they have to wait a little longer for that next book.

jtplayer said...

"...and finally wrote the WWII novel I've been dreaming about for years..."

That sounds really cool Michael. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.

Good luck with that project, no matter which course you choose.

Jude Hardin said...

In short, take the time to do it right. Your readers will appreciate it in the long run. Even if they have to wait a little longer for that next book.

Absolutely.

evilphilip said...

For the Sony App being rejected by Apple:

"Apple seemed to be saying consumers should not have to go to the Web but to simply use their app to both buy and read an e-book, and Apple would get a 30 percent cut of e-book sales.

Apple issued a statement saying there had been no change in its policy. James McQuivey, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, says, technically, that's true"


Apple has not said that they are making any change to the Kindle App or the way you purchase books through the Kindle App or B&N App.

Lots of tech sites are putting their necks in the noose and assuming that the Kindle app is going to change or go away because Apple rejected ONE App from Sony that included an online eBook store built into the App -- and that App is launching post-iBooks.

Obviously, if you were Apple and you had your own book store you would reject any future App that wants to sell books directly through the App itself the way iBooks does.

Neither Amazon or B&N's apps sell books directly through the App itself -- which doesn't violate Apple's terms of use the way Sony tried to.

I recommend people take a serious chill pill until Apple or Amazon makes an announcement that something is changing because there are NO INDICATIONS from either company that anything is going to change.

Internet paranoia by tech bloggers isn't something writers should buy into.

evilphilip said...

"They were wrong. 415 copies of this single title of mine in JANUARY alone sold. I earned 2000 bucks in Jan. for all my ebooks totally...They are and continue to be totally wrong."

Ironic because both me and Mrs. Evil both buy books about the Salem Witch Trials on a regular basis.

Congrats on your sales! Feels good, doesn't it?

Ty Johnston said...

Dammit, Konrath! I finished editing a novel today, then wrote about 2,000 words on the next one, and was feeling like I needed a break. So I was going to go play video games tonight. And then you come along and post "write more."

Crap. Now I have to go write some more.

-- grumble, grumble --

evilphilip said...

"People are more than welcome to email me and ask, but no answer from me is the same as the answer no."

I thought you were a writer, not an Agent. ;)

wannabuy said...

First, of course a few good books will sell better than a ton of crap...

But for most authors, a series helps 'fill the pipeline.' I'm excited Joe will blog about a 'one hit wonder.' But as they noted in high school health class, 'hope is not a method.'

@JT:"Huh?

I gotta call b.s. on that one."


Call what you want. Every other blog on indie ebook sales notes the correlation with 3+ books for sale and a spike in ebook sales. So if it is, in your words, BS, why do ebooks sell so much better with multiple books? Based on what I've seen authors post here and at other blogs, far better sales growth than 'power law' growth. When the growth is better than sales=[a*(#books)^2+b*(#books)+c]*time^(constant) than it implies a 'step change.' That seems to happen at 3+ books...

So that implies a reader preference.

The plumbers at the local burger joint were talking about this... (And a very amusing conversation on Iphones too...) I haven't been able to find the link (was it on TV?).

Neil

Tara Maya said...

@ Michael,

I love historical fiction. Let me know when it's available.

@ Jude,

But I always use rhyming and alliteration when writing about the weather! That's not poor writing, that's my "voice." Also possibly the lyrics to the song I am going to use to become the next American Idol.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

wannabuy said...

@Michael:" finally wrote the WWII novel I've been dreaming about "

Stop being 'yanked around' and publish it. That's the only way I'll be able to read it in 2011! ;)

@EvilPhilip:"Lots of tech sites""

On the Apple ban of Sony ebooks... Its more than Sony. Its the Belgium newspapers, etc. Its based on Apple *not* having the functionality before for an 'in app subscription payment' and now they have that ability; thus Apple just change the applied rules. Before Apple let the newspapers 'cheat' to help drive content and then users to the IPad.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-03/apple-s-changes-to-ipad-newspaper-access-trigger-opposition-in-europe.html

Apple's execs should ask AOL how well it worked for them...

But this is beyond a few 'tech blogs.' Political? Sure. The interest bit will be, as the link above just briefly mentions, when the French anti-trust authority weighs in...

Neil

Kendall Swan said...

Ditto @evilphilip .
There really has been no hange in Apple policy. It just makes for good news content to talk like there was. Sony tried to do something that Kindle, nook, and borders/kobo were not doing: purchase from directly in the app. The first three are readers only. U will be thrown to a safari page to purchase a book.

Re: iTunes monopoly (a little off topic-sorry)
I'm a hardcore apple girl- I love most things apple (except iBooks- it just doesn't compare to kindle app or even bn).

But for the last 6 months I've been spending my music budget at amazon. Most of the time, the songs are cheaper and they automatically put it in your iTunes library
for you.

Re: writers publishing crap for volume

Joe has talked about this before, I think. There won't too much crap bc readers are vetting all the time. Crap will sink like a stone. Amazons algorithm doesn't really reward poor sales and bad reviews.

Love, love, love hearing these stories. Congrats, B.V! U r a rockstar! And I just bought swarm based on cover and reviews.

At the library or at Half Price bookstore, I figure if it has NY bestseller on cover, it can't suck that much. Same goes for Joe's featured authors.

Kendall

Joe Konrath said...

I thought you were a writer, not an Agent. ;)

The difference is that agents make money helping writers. I just get the warm glow of satisfaction from a job well done.

I'd rather have the money.

jtplayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jude Hardin said...

But I always use rhyming and alliteration when writing about the weather! That's not poor writing, that's my "voice."

Love your sense of humor, Tara. "That's my voice." LOL. Yeah, you nailed it.

jtplayer said...

"why do ebooks sell so much better with multiple books"

Well certainly if a person buys one book from an author and he enjoys that book, then he will likely go back and look for more from the same writer. Which obviously leads to more ebooks sold. If that author has them to sell.

But this is what you wrote:

"Some book buyers won't buy from authors with less than 3 books"

Which makes no sense, as it implies a reader shopping around will skip a writer because his "inventory" is less than some arbitrary magical number.

So therefore, I call b.s.

Anonymous said...

My god this blog comment section is full of pompous authors. If you want to tell other writers that their work sucks (and of course yours doesn't by implication) become an agent or a publisher and judge for yourself. Until then, shut your mouth, pay attention to your own paper and let the READERS decide with their $$$$.

Or are you afraid your own books won't measure up, Superior Writer?

Jude Hardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bowerbird said...

evilphilip said:
> I recommend people
> take a serious chill pill
> until Apple or Amazon
> makes an announcement
> that something is changing
> because there are
> NO INDICATIONS
> from either company that
> anything is going to change.

that's great advice.

sony was just trying to steal
apple's thunder out from the
press conference scheduled
for groundhog day, so they
put out some negative spin
on the first of february...

i'm surprised the press even
bothered to play along, but
i guess they need page-views.

but it was very amusing, since
_sony's_ approach was almost
completely proprietary when
it first released its machine;
it could only read sony books
purchased from the sony store!

and now sony wants to act like
it wants an open environment?
yeah, right. now it does, when
it's struggling for its very life...


> Internet paranoia
> by tech bloggers
> isn't something
> writers should buy into.

he's not a "tech blogger" by
any stretch of imagination,
since his tech knowledge is
so limited and confused, but
_mikey_ was _very_ amusing,
the way he went into a big
old twitter twitch-seizure...

i don't think he has been so
worked up since... ok, since
last month... when he told
konrath to "shut the f up"...
only he used all 4 letters...

heck of a thing to put in
a blog title, donchathink?

-bowerbird

Percy said...

"Content is KING" -- Sumner Redstone

It's been said a lot that if you write something that you enjoy and would read, most likely there are others that would enjoy reading it also. This whole ebook writing/publishing reminds me of Victorian era literature with Dickens and the like. Write a story that is interesting and you enjoy, others will see that passion/joy once they read...then have the next book. Aren't all the BIG HOUSES doing this with all the series right now. People like what they like and want more of it. Have something people want, supply it...supply a lot of it. An artist friend of mine had a philosophy "Stack it high, watch it fly."

Dana Michelle Burnett said...

Your posts are always a voice of encouragement! Thank you so much.

wannabuy said...

@JT"Which makes no sense, as it implies a reader shopping around will skip a writer because his "inventory" is less than some arbitrary magical number."

Actually, it does make sense. Some readers, in particular on Amazon, want to read reviews from more than one book. Obviously the number isn't an absolute.

But most authors are unknowns to most readers until that first book is read.

For example, I recommend Nathan Lowell to anyone who might be interested in his books. I've had no fewer than six people tell me to recommend him again after his third book is out.

There has been author after author complaining they cannot sell until they finish a series... On the flip side we have readers 'pre-programed' for trilogies (at least in SF&F).

Yea... 3 is just the most common number I hear. I know Brian S. Pratt ended his most popular series as having it 'open' was preventing some readers from starting. So there is more than one 'barrier to sales.'

But those barriers are not permanent. I'm really looking forward to seeing the ebook sales numbers for December and January.

wannabuy said...

I know more than a few here share my joy in reduced 'book clutter' going ebook.

Well, look what happens when the ebook market doesn't meet demand: In Japan, companies that specialize in scanning books for ereaders are springing up!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-03/ipad-makes-space-in-japan-s-tiny-homes-by-removing-bookshelves.html?cmpid=yhoo

Interesting perspective. It is 'year zero' for ebooks in Japan. :)

Neil

Anonymous said...

I sure hope Apple doesn't have any tanks... ;)

But if they did, they'd look AWESOME! I know I'd want one.

Stephen T. Harper said...

I think the I-Tank is going to be announced in the next press conference. I heard that somewhere, anyway.

jtplayer said...

"For example, I recommend Nathan Lowell to anyone who might be interested in his books. I've had no fewer than six people tell me to recommend him again after his third book is out"

Again, I gotta say...huh?

Why in the hell someone would say that is beyond me. A good book is a good book, regardless of how many the author has written.

And for someone to not even consider an author because his output is under a specific number is beyond stupid. IMO.

No disrespect intended Neil, but this idea of 3 being the magic number is just straight bullshit my friend. I mean seriously dude, do you value a good story, or is it simply a numbers game for you?

Robert Bruce Thompson said...

>>No disrespect intended Neil, but this idea of 3 being the magic number is just straight bullshit my friend. I mean seriously dude, do you value a good story, or is it simply a numbers game for you?<<

I assume you don't know many serious readers. Speaking for myself, I'd prefer an author have a lot more than three titles available, all within a series. If I like something, I want more of it. And I prefer to read a series in order, one after the other, exhausting that series before moving on to another article. For example, since I got my Kindle a couple weeks ago, I've re-read all of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vor Saga.

Having just one book available is like serving a meal consisting of just one bite. If I don't like it, fine. But if I like it, I want more, and I want it now.

Given the choice between reading a book I might like from an author who has only that one book available, and going back and re-reading a series I liked that has a dozen or more titles available, I'll pick the latter every time.

Vern said...

I read SWARM and enjoyed it quite a bit. But... like every single self published book I've read, it needed an editor who knew what they were doing. A lot of redundant and fat sentences that really could have been wonderful if someone had cut them down.

I can see why the trad publishers passed on it, but in this case they would've been smart to put some work into it to whip it into shape.

A good book that could've been great, and one of the better self pubbed titles I've come across.

jtplayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jtplayer said...

"I assume you don't know many serious readers"

Well then you've assumed wrong Robert. And the serious readers I know appreciate a well written, well told story, regardless of how many the author has written.

No one's running a game here...I can honestly say in my entire life I've never heard of anyone skipping over an author because they had less than 3 books out.

And I really don't believe that's a universal feeling among readers. Sure they like trilogies and series written around the same characters and whatnot, but as a requirement for even checking an author out?

I just don't get that.

But whatever works for you guys. Have at it and rock on with your 3 book authors. Just remember, you're missing out on a lot of really good work because of your limited thinking.

Talk about gatekeepers.

Robert Bruce Thompson said...

>>I read SWARM and enjoyed it quite a bit. But... like every single self published book I've read, it needed an editor who knew what they were doing. A lot of redundant and fat sentences that really could have been wonderful if someone had cut them down.<<

I agree. I've downloaded samples from half a dozen or so authors I hadn't read and thought might be interesting, and every one of them desperately needs a good editor.

That's often reflected in the Amazon reader comments as well. In fact, when I'm considering a book, the first thing I look for is the 1-star comments, which are often a much better guide than the 4- and 5-star ones. If there's something badly wrong with a book, it'll show up in the 1-star comments.

bowerbird said...

jude said:
> People who write crap
> don't know
> they're writing crap.
> That's the problem.

then they do not know how to
evaluate their own writing, and
thus it's not gonna do any good
to tell them to "write better"...

but you don't really care, right?
you're just here to brand them
with the label of "crap", right?

it makes you feel better about
yourself and your own writing.
by the way, how is your stuff?

-bowerbird

jtplayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jtplayer said...

"In fact, when I'm considering a book, the first thing I look for is the 1-star comments, which are often a much better guide than the 4- and 5-star ones. If there's something badly wrong with a book, it'll show up in the 1-star comments"

Bingo Robert...and something I do as well.

More specifically, I start with the 3 star comments and work down. Generally, I pretty much gloss over the 4 & 5 star reviews, especially if there's a lot of them.

I find the lower ratings generally paint a more accurate picture.

Joe Konrath said...

I'll go on record to say 99% of all one star reviews are written by total morons.

Now, to be fair, a lot of the five star reviews are also written by morons, but the fact remains that nearly every book ever written has one star reviews. Even books that are obviously quality.

The average reader has no idea what makes something good or bad, or how to defend or even adequately explain their opinions.

Books take a long time to write. A lot of effort goes into them. Those reviewers who are casually dismissive, or have agendas, or who are just plain idiots, have gotten to used to an internet world where there is zero accountability and you don't have to defend anything you say.

I have little regard for critics. The pros are often frustrated artists. The amateurs don't know dick.

Thoughtful reviews, positive or negative, are few and far between.

But my opinion doesn't matter. Reviews help sell books. Quantity, average star rating, and recommended reviews can help authors sell more.

While you'll never please everyone, you have a better shot at selling well if you've written a good book. While "good" is subjective, there are certain elements that are essential to a narrative, and that's where craft comes in.

Oddly enough, the Amazon review system does sort of even things out. Less than three stars average means there's something wrong with the book. More than three stars means it's just people's opinions. The greater the sample, the truer the rating.

But if you decide to buy books base don 1 star reviews, that says more about you than the book or reviewer.

Robert Bruce Thompson said...

>>But if you decide to buy books base don 1 star reviews, that says more about you than the book or reviewer.<<

Oh, I'm not saying that just one 1-star review is enough to rule out a book. I get a few of those on my own books, and as you say those are usually written by morons.

But it's generally pretty easy to sort out the morons from those who really hated the book for substantive reasons. If I see a book with a substantial percentage of 1- and 2-star reviews that all comment, for example, on poor editing, gaping plot holes, and wooden dialog, I'm prepared to believe it's probably a bad book.

If any book has a significant percentage of bad reviews, that tells me that something's wrong with the book. It may be that the summary did a poor job of describing an otherwise-excellent book, and some buyers felt misled and wrote bad reviews. Or it may be that the book was a love-it or hate-it with no middle ground, as I understand some of your titles are. But whatever the reason, I think most buyers/readers would agree that a large number of 1- and 2-star reviews is a red flag.

wannabuy said...

@JT"Why in the hell someone would say that is beyond me. "
True. But some people want to see a pedigree. I'm amazed you don't know anyone like that... It might not be my preference, but it isn't my place to force people to a new book selection method.

Then again, I interact with hundreds of people every week at work... So I'm exposed to a huge variety of opinions. :) Coworkers know I love books, so I hear everyone's opinion on books. Amazing what one finds out when you just listen... ;)

As Robert noted: "I'd prefer an author have a lot more than three titles available, all within a series. "

I too will often pick the one with a selection of books 'to move on to' after reading the first. Authors are the brand...

3 just happens to be the most common number I hear.

@JT"No disrespect intended Neil, but this idea of 3 being the magic number is just straight bullshit my friend. I mean seriously dude, do you value a good story, or is it simply a numbers game for you?"

Please stop putting words into my mouth. When did I ever say that is how I chose a book? The book market is about numbers. It is about a HUGE number of people who all have different preferences. But let's face it, selecting an untried author is more likely if they have multiple books each with good reveiews. I remove my preferences as I long ago realized that what I want has *zero* impact on the market.

Books, coffee, or any other retail eventually falls to the 'numbers run corporation.' If individual authors want a better chance of success, they should borrow the tricks that help them get ahead. Derek has been doing excellent numbers oriented blogging of his marketing strategy... In other words, he is figuring out what works.

@JT:"I find the lower ratings generally paint a more accurate picture."

In this way of finding books, we can agree on. Which is why it si so easy to find ebooks worth reading. :)

I love books. But as BV notes, publishing is a mathematical decision. Good business uses stats. I use numbers to cut through the hand waving BS of many ebook related arguments.

There is a reason I blog the book sales numbers every month. The numbers are going to shift this industry. Best to have some warning of where the tides are shifting..

Neil

jtplayer said...

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth Neil, it was an honest question.

In my mind the number of books written by an author has no bearing on how good a particular book may be, and I would never skip over a writer for that reason.

It seems to me a lover of good stories would feel the same way.

Jude Hardin said...

but you don't really care, right?
you're just here to brand them
with the label of "crap", right?


I only write 5 star reviews. If I think a book is crap, I ignore it. You'll never see me publicly bash another author, no matter how bad his or her work is.

But crap is crap. When I see opening paragraphs about weather, laughable alliteration, incredible coincidences, word repetition in close proximity, head-hopping POVs, unintentional rhymes, sentences that don't logically follow one another, imprudent use of exclamation marks, verbs inappropriately applied to inanimate objects, adverbial dialogue tags, adjectives out the yingyang, confusing and pointless dialogue exchanges, unexplainable verb tense shifts, pronoun confusion, and nonsensical sentence structure in the first couple of chapters, I know the writer has some work to do on craft. That's objective criteria, not opinion.

Whether or not grown-up people calling themselves authors actually work on their craft is up to them. You're right. I don't really care.

by the way, how is your stuff?

Very soon I plan to offer free electronic copies of Pocket-47 in exchange for Amazon reviews. If Joe will allow me a guest post, I'll do it right here.

I think it's pretty solid, but anyone who thinks it's crap is of course free to say so with one star. It won't hurt my feelings, because "99% of all one star reviews are written by total morons." ;)

wannabuy said...

@JT"It seems to me a lover of good stories would feel the same way."

Emotionally, sure. Selling books? Business is business and my opinion doesn't matter.

The first rule of business is "You are not the market." One problem with the old publishing mindset was selling to other people in the industry instead of the market. I love BV's quotes on how he writes...

Ebooks are a classic test of the long tail theory. Long tail theory predicts that as the cost of distribution goes to zero, half of the market is now what could not be on retail shelves. But it also points out people tend to buy more of certain items ('power law'). There are tricks for ebook authors to sell more. One trick is multiple well reviewed books.

I'm excited about 'one hit wonders' too. I cannot wait for Joe to highlight a few of those authors. But I'd bet once these authors have 3+ books for sale, they'll sell far better...

Neil

B. V. Larson said...

@Vern
I'm glad you enjoyed SWARM. Just to be clear, the book was never marketed to NY. I wrote it recently, and it might have gotten a print deal if I'd tried (now that I have some fans). However, I didn't feel I could afford to lose the book's income potential for two years to give the trad pubs a shot at it.


@Moses Siregar III
B. V. Larson is essentially my real name. I chose initials for a few reasons, one being that BVLarson.com was not taken, while my real name was. Also, there are other authors with my real moniker on Amazon. Lastly, I'm a science college prof. by day and I didn't want to be seen as pushing my books to students or answering any questions about the matter in class. To this day, they have no idea I'm a fiction author.

@Basil Sands
My numbers went up fairly quickly. 7 in May, 248 in June, 1822 in July, etc. Just getting all these books converted/covered/uploaded has taken my time, and really didn't do much in the way of promotion.


@Tara
Hi Tara! Great timing on the excerpt at your site!

@Ty Johnson
Hello again!

Justin said...

@JT

"Which makes no sense, as it implies a reader shopping around will skip a writer because his "inventory" is less than some arbitrary magical number.

So therefore, I call b.s."

It's not. I can't say how common it is, but when I was a librarian, lots of regulars weren't interested in one book by a new author.

Same author gets a couple of books under their belt, they start reading.

It's not how I do things, but it was pretty common behavior among the patrons who were regular readers.

(There were also plenty of people who would read everything in their genre, regardless of anything else. This was particularly true for Christian fiction and horror)

There's also the simple fact that in the real world, the more space you take up on a bookshelf, the more likely people are to notice an author. I suspect something similar applies to Amazon, as well.

HyperPulp 5000: Fresh Fiction Daily, Now With Added Pulp Goodness

Robert Burton Robinson said...

@Joe - I'll go on record to say 99% of all one star reviews are written by total morons.

At least Amazon makes you write a review when you rank a book, unlike Barnes & Noble and some other booksellers who let people give a rank without even bothering to write a review.

I would like to see the reasoning behind the review. Why did the book deserve one star? Because of errors, bad formatting, bad grammar, a boring storyline? What?

Same goes for five star rankings. What was so great about the book?

And I ignore one-star reviews that say something like: "I'd skip this one," or "Don't waste your time." Those aren't reviews.

Rebecca Stroud said...

A little late to the party today but here goes...

To Jenna at Lundeen Literary: Thanks so much for critiquing my covers! Ironically, the one you seem to like the best is the one I did all by my lonesome (Zellwood); the others were done for me. In any case, a change was already in the works when you viewed it (the pine cones are gone; the dog and I are there now). I liked the original better but I'll keep playing around with it as this is obviously an area where I don't excel. Yet, as long as the book is well-written, I do believe that everything about it is subjective. Be it the genre, the cover, the description, etc. But, again, I thank you for your time and opinion.

To Joe: Thank you, too, for answering. And no problem...I'd have probably fallen off this chair and broke my "write" hand if you'd have said otherwise...:-))

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Do editors and agents read this blog? The sheer number of sales is staggering (especially as someone who just has three books up NOW).

I would also say that the children's book market is the one place I'm having a hard time seeing being replaced by ebooks. A toddler can't gum a kindle (please, no!). Maybe the big six will see that and spin off those divisions, and book stores will be 'children's books stores' by 2012.

www.sarahwoodbury.com

wannabuy said...

JT,

Three examples if there hadn't been 3+ books by an author I wouldn't have bought a book:

Larry Niven, "The Integral Trees."

Circa mid 1980's: The local bookstore that week only had three Niven novels in stock. After finishing Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers I bought "The Integral Trees" and it is a 5* book!

I wouldn't have bought the book if there weren't two excellent prior reads from the author beforehand. Why? "The Integral Trees" is just outside the sub-genres of SF&F that I normally enjoy.

Isaac Asmimov "Foundation Series"

I also wouldn't have ever read my favorite series. I would have skipped the whole series if the five prior Asimov books had been any less enjoyable. Again, it was just outside of what I thought I enjoyed.

Mech by B.V. Larson.

Yes, the author thread where debating within. Sale just made.

"Lost Shores" and "Deadly Weapon" are outside of my interest and actually 'scared me off' B.V. "Mech" seemed like too much of a 'bug hunt' to interest me (loved those as a teenager, I can't stand them now).

Then I read the reviews on "Amber Magic" and decided I had to try out the author. I picked "Mech" only because I'm sick of Fantasy this week.

Note 1: New reviews changed my mind. Without reading the reviews of his other books, I wouldn't have gone back to re-read reviews of Mech. The first reviews I read 'turned me off.' Reviews further down interested me...

Note 2: I just finished over two thousand pages of fantasy. Please give me two weeks before I return to the genre. ;)

Note 3: Amazon has had Mech on my recommended reading list since June or July!

Neil

jtplayer said...

Well Neil, all I can say is, it's a good thing not all buyers are like you. Because if they were, lots of excellent authors would go unread because they had only one, or maybe two books for sale.

wannabuy said...

@JT"Well Neil, all I can say is, it's a good thing not all buyers are like you."

I've bought easily over 3,000 books in my lifetime! I'm a bad book buyer?!?

1. I try new authors.
2. I buy multiple works if I like the 1st book.
3. I write reviews for 4* and 5* books.
4. I'll pay up to $20 for well reviewed books (But I admit low cost is a primary tie breaker).

So using other well reviewed books as a tie breaker is somehow bad as a book buying strategy? Please explain a little more. I don't get why its a good thing more buyers aren't like me.

Or..

Is it because I'm supporting the small guy over those huge publishing corporations? Or my excitement over ereaders/ebooks?

Neil

ps
Have you bought an small pub or indie ebook yet?

Lundeen Literary said...

@Rebecca

No problem!
I just hope you found the comments helpful. Honestly, I wouldn't change the Zellwood cover *that* much if you were going to change the subtitle for your story to show that it's a dog tale. If not, then changing the cover is best.
I'm sorry but the spacing on your name for Devil's Moon is an atrocious mistake. Whoever did that cover for you should not be allowed to do another for you, if you take my meaning. ;)

If you have any covers to do in the future, then let me know. I do that and formatting, too.

Jenna
lundeenliterary@gmail.com

jtplayer said...

Just to recap Neil, and keep things real, this whole conversation started with you making this statement:

"Some book buyers won't buy from authors with less than 3 books."

I responded to that specific comment and said I call b.s., and since then we've been going back and forth.

I have not tried to put words in your mouth, I have not called you a "bad" book buyer, nor have I made any judgement whatsoever regarding all of that stuff on your last post.

The reason I said: "it's a good thing not all buyers are like you", is because you seem to support the "won't buy from authors with less than 3 books" notion. Simple. Nothing more or less.

And in answer to your last question, I recently purchased a paperback copy of Sam Torode's Dirty Parts Of The Bible and am anxiously awaiting its arrival from Amazon.

As of right now, I do not buy ebooks, mostly because I do not own a dedicated ereader. I do sample many ebooks on my Kindle for mac and iphone and PC.

Jill James said...

So with the theory of 3 books in an author's backlist, To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone With The Wind would have no buyers in this brave new world?

Michael said...

Just an endorsement for Jenna at Lundeenliterary.com. She has been very responsive and willing to make tweaks and offer alternates.

(Only for The Devil's Deep cover and shortly will also have The Righteous cover, but the others are my placeholders for now.)

Jude Hardin said...

The best PI debut I've read in years, fit to share shelf space with the best of Ross Macdonald, Sue Grafton, and Robert B. Parker. Pocket 47 is so hot you may burn your hands reading. Highly recommended. —J.A. Konrath, author of the Jack Daniels mysteries.

I now have a Kindle-friendly Word file of my debut thriller Pocket-47 that you can read for FREE in exchange for an Amazon review (to be posted on the release date of May 2). Just leave your name and email address in the comments section here:

http://freethriller.blogspot.com/

Douglas Dorow said...

Jude, that's exciting. I'll have to go on over and make my request. Jude with an ebook. Who would of thunk? I may ask you to return the favor. Are you a kindle reader yourself yet?

Nicholas La Salla said...

Hi guys! Thanks J. for putting up these guest posts. It is very inspiring for someone like me, who is just starting to think about going Kindle.

I have had a few "near misses" in publishing -- my first novel was picked up for publication but ultimately let go due to financial issues within the company. A short story of mine was officially slated to appear in a coffee mag but they sold the company before it could see the light of day.

These kinds of things -- things that are so far from our control -- have driven me nuts for the 10+ years I've been submitting.

I think it's time to get going with this Kindle thing. I have 6 books that I'm going to post, and I'm very excited that there will be such a vast and hungry audience for material that goes outside the boundaries of traditional publishing.

If anyone wants to check out my blog they can. It's Living In Fantasy: An Author's Journal. There's not a lot on there at the moment but as I go through my publishing experience I'm going to post updates.

I can't begin to say how helpful your blog has been, J. I've been reading for the better part of a year, checking back daily.

And congrats for your big successes on Kindle and here's to more in the future!!!

Best,

Nick

Jude Hardin said...

Douglas, the book is not self-published. It's being released in hardcover (and on Kindle) May 2 by Oceanview publishing. The ebook version will be $9.99, and the hardcover will retail for $25.95 (of course Amazon will discount it). But right now you can get it for free!

http://freethriller.blogspot.com/

Moses Siregar III said...

B.V., can I ask if you are a man or a woman? If you'd rather not answer, no prob.

Alastair Mayer said...

like every single self published book I've read, it needed an editor who knew what they were doing. A lot of redundant and fat sentences that really could have been wonderful if someone had cut them down.

I could say the same about many (most?) trad published books, and they (presumably) had editors. Part of it is the trend over the past couple of decades to fat books: given the choice between telling a story in 75,000 words and 100,000 words, publishers go with 100K so buyers feel like they're getting more for their money.

(On the other hand, a novel-length story written with the tightness of flash fiction would exhaust the reader. Since -- so far -- all my published stuff is short (magazine and anthology sales), I'm biased toward tight writing anyway.)

Robin Sullivan said...

A few thoughts.

Related to 1 star reviews: I did a quick check of several "top selling" indie books and all the 1 star reviews look similar. Does this mean that all indie writers have the same problems or is this an indication that all 1-star reviews say the same things?

Michael noted that as far as reviews are cocerned what one person loves, another hates. It's pretty entertaining reading. You can read it here

As to number of books...well I can say that I saw a 100% correlation between # of books written and sales.

1 book - 10 / month
2 books - 50-60 / month
3 books - 200-400 / month
4 books - 1,000 / month
5 books - 10,000 / month

Robin Write2Publish

wannabuy said...

@Robin"As to number of books...well I can say that I saw a 100% correlation between # of books written and sales.

1 book - 10 / month
2 books - 50-60 / month
3 books - 200-400 / month
4 books - 1,000 / month
5 books - 10,000 / month"


Thank you for the numbers.
Wow... I guess I should have written "5+." ;)

Since you're a publisher, you would know! :)

@Robin:"Michael noted that as far as reviews are cocerned what one person loves, another hates. It's pretty entertaining reading"

ROFL That was a great link! It illustrates what I love about books, the variety. Variety in offerings and variety in reader preference. No wonder there are almost 35,000 new titles a month on Kindle!

JT,
I was not necessarily trying to support the concept, but rather point out it just seems to be a 'market fact.' I've read numbers similar to Robin's elsewhere. Oh well, too far off topic. Thank you for answering my questions.

As to ereaders... I recommend you buy one judging by your reading volume. My life is so much less cluttered now that I've gone Kindle. In some ways I cannot believe how I once had over 2,000 books in my possession.

Neil

wannabuy said...

@Nicolas:"I have 6 books that I'm going to post,"

Wow! Good luck. That is an impressive start. Are they 'ready' or six ready for final editing?

Neil

KevinMc said...

Regarding the whole "three books" thing, there's an important point that people have skirted around here, but not really hit hard. And that's ads.

Every book is an ad for every other book by that author. So while one book advertises NO other work, two books represent two ads - one in each book for the other one.

Three books is six ads though - each book advertising the other two works. That's three times the advertising, just by adding one more book. Of course, it gets better and better as you add more books to the writer's name! What you're really looking at is the square of (the number of books by an author minus one).

That said, there's two other points to look at. One is the indie factor. Some folks - I run into them all the time on LinkedIn - refuse to buy "self published books". I've mentioned to them that they may well have done so and not known it - but suffice to say that they don't knowingly do so, anyway. They deliberately avoid indie books. And most indies - the overwhelming majority of self-pub ebooks - are one writer who put up one book.

Books are *hard* to write. Just getting one up is a stunning achievement for most folks. But most of those first works really *are* crap. So people looking at a $2.99 price tag (which screams "indie") and see no other work by the author might be forgiven if they pass, assuming it's just another badly written first book tossed out there. More books tends to mean the person is more serious, and certainly has at least had more time to work on craft.

Lastly, there's the investment factor. When you try a new writer, you're not just investing money in the book - the reader is investing *time* in the author. The more other work the writer has out there, the more potential pay-off there is if you like the work and want to read more. Especially with ebooks, where it's so easy to just go grab the other books, many people want to feel like there is a pay-off for the risk of trying writer's work. Having more things to read makes that investment more worthwhile. Pretty common, actually.

Note, none of these things mean "three is best" (except, maybe, in genres where readers have been trained by trad pub to look for and expect trilogies). Three is better than two - four is better than three - and so on.

Michael said...

A lot of the multiple book thing rings true to me. In my case, I'll have to think about how many books I've written, because it's not a number I know off the top of my head.

1989 - New World (sf, abysmal)
1990 - Temples of the mind (ditto)
1995 - Still Waters (suspense, so-so)
1998 - Dark Citadel (fantasy, good)
2001 - Night of the Wolf (thriller, so-so)
2004 - Kingdom of the Bears (MG fantasy - good)
2005 - Moonland (MG fantasy, good)
2007 - The Righteous (thriller, excellent)
2008 - The Devil's Deep (thriller, excellent)
2008 - State of Siege (thriller, good+)
2009 - Implant (thriller, good+)
2009 - Mighty and Strong (thriller, excellent)
2010 - The Red Rooster (historical thriller, excellent)

Twelve books. Some will never see the light of day, if I even have a copy of them anymore. Several, however, had near misses, agents, editor requests, failed auctions, etc. I've got a few up already and plan to put up a few more. I've got someone interested in The Red Rooster in the traditional world, and I haven't yet decided what to do about that. It's at least six weeks, though, until it is scheduled to be shopped, so I should be able to see what's happening with my ebooks by then, or at least have a hint.

Michael said...

Oops, thirteen books. I'd forgotten one and went back to add it. That's how long I've been banging my head against this wall. I wrote my first novel at 18 and have more or less been going at it ever since.

I'd have given up long ago if not for some short fiction sales and all the near misses. I've been published in The Atlantic and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, among other things. I clearly have some talent, but just as clearly am writing something that isn't quite there for the New York crowd. Damned if I know what that is.

Moses Siregar III said...

Good points, Kevin.

Michelle C. said...

As a reader and part of a book club with 15 members, we choose our books on Amazon after reading the product description as well as the provided sample. If that passes muster with us, then we buy the book. Reviews hold very little weight.

Kendall Swan said...

@ KevinMc Good points

@ robin - Michael's post re reviews IS entertaining reading. Dang!

Maybe reviews are like eye witness accounts- reliable until they're not.

I'm jumping into the series discussion:

I am only recently a series lover, but I am one for the reasons mentioned earlier by some. When I like a book, I want more of that writing and I want it NOW. I know for me personally, this feeling of wanting things faster and faster has only gotten worse. And I suspect it is similar for other readers.

I will even wait to watch some tv series until multiple episodes are avail for download as I enjoying consuming many at once instead of one per week. That feeling of disappointment you get when you have to wait however long for the next fix just sucks. I try to avoid it.

I bet that's what is going on with readers who won't read authors unless they have multiple books. They are just trying to avoid that crappy feeling.

Having said all that, I won't avoid a title or author bc they aren't multi-published. I actually have to really love a book for that crappy disappointment feeling to appear. And while I really enjoy a lot of books, I only LOVE a few.

m2c.

Kendall

Kendall Swan said...

BV- I'm really enjoying Swarm and wanted to get it for my husband to read. But he's an old school paper book reader. Will u be putting up a print version anytime soon so I can get it?
Thanks,
Kendall Swan

Stephen T. Harper said...

@ Kevin. Well said.

@ Michelle. that's good to know. Thank you.

@ Kendall, Yes, the whole 'wanting things faster" is a problem for me with ereading. Not just wanting new stuff, but just having so much available INSTANTLY, when the pleasure of reading a good book is not an instant-gratification kind of thing. The whole system of ebooks and ebookstores can actually be over-stimulating. I find myself reading two or three good books at once, which actually detracts from the enjoyment of any particular one. Soemthing I've noticed and am trying to change my habits with it. But one at time is hard.

Selena Kitt said...

Hm, this is interesting. Say I have a series of three books sitting in my drawer. By the logic above, I should release them all at once?

It's true that this new ebook world makes capitalizing on shelf space a moot point... but you're on the "new releases" list a little longer if you stagger releases...

I don't know. What say you? ;)

Kendall Swan said...

Good point, Selena.

The benefit of staying on the new release lists longer is probably greater than potentially annoying some readers (like myself) who might want the next one immediately. But maybe not. Who knows? How would one figure that out? Surveys? A/B experiments?

@STH I haven't read just one book in a very long while. And all the guest posters seem to have taken over my current reading list (as well as you, Stephen).

@Selena, you would be on my current list if I hadn't already read most of your stuff. Tho I did notice you have a new reworked Nolan title...

Lundeen Literary said...

@Selena - I would say to release 1, with a sample of 2 in the back of it. Then, release 2 with a sample of 3 in the back of it 2 weeks later. Then release 3. Then, get back here and dish on the results! ;)

-----Jenna
@lundeenliterary

Selena Kitt said...

@Kendall

Plaid Skirt Confessions is the reworked Nolan title and Foreign Confessions is the reworked Naughty Bits.

Although the Baumgartners are at it again just this week in The Baumgartners Plus One. Horny lil devils, that family. *grin*

Coral Russell said...

Joe sez: write some more.

That's like an old sufi saying, "Spin. But I don't understand. Then spin some more."

hehe In other words, good advice!

wannabuy said...

NYT on kids using ereaders:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/05/books/05ebooks.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

"At HarperCollins, for example, e-books made up 25 percent of all young-adult sales in January, up from about 6 percent a year before — a boom in sales that quickly got the attention of publishers there.

“Adult fiction is hot, hot, hot, in e-books,” said Susan Katz, the president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “And now it seems that teen fiction is getting to be hot, hot, hot.”"

Genre by genre...

Neil

jtplayer said...

Well folks, I broke down and bought a Kindle.

Holy crap...here we go.

So Neil, maybe you can recommend some Sci-fi for newbies. It's not a genre I normally read. I did buy Derek's book, Dead Dwarves Don't Dance.

Nicholas La Salla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicholas La Salla said...

@Neil Wow! Good luck. That is an impressive start. Are they 'ready' or six ready for final editing?

Thanks for asking, Neil! My first novel is actually in a final draft state -- it was approved by the editors at Wizards of the Coast and ready to go before they canned their original spec fiction line. Then, rights reverted back to me.

My second novel is very, very close -- just a little revising necessary. I have three books of novellas I've put together and they are ready to roll too. Finally, I'm working on a new novel to add on to that.

One thing I'm particularly excited about this Kindle revolution is the fact that novellas and short stories can find new lives. It's not all about writing the bestseller novel anymore -- slow and steady wins this race, a far cry from the rat race of traditional publishing.

- Nick

My Blog

Selena Kitt said...

Well folks, I broke down and bought a Kindle.

OMG! Did hell freeze over when I wasn't looking? :)

I predict you're going to love it and become just as addicted as the rest of us Kindlers... Happy reading!

jtplayer said...

It's definitely a neat little device.

I can see a world where my Kindle lives happily alongside my beloved paper books, like one big happy family.

One cool thing...I loaded my working manuscript into it for proofreading. Very nice ;-)

Lundeen Literary said...

@jtplayer - welcome to the addiction... ;)

Google the blog "kindle nation daily" and follow it. They post the new free Kindle books daily, and there's a ton of variety in what's available.

Also, if you don't know about how to use the free kindle email address, drop me a line at lundeenliterary@gmail.com and I'll give you a walkthrough. :)

I thought hell froze over when I got my Kindle, but I got with the program real quick-like. And yes, reading your MS (or beta reading those belonging to others) is so nice on the Kindle. :)

Moses Siregar III said...

Congrats on getting your work out there, Nick. It's too bad about what happened to WotC's novel publishing arm. I'm sure it was tough getting caught in the middle of that.

Nicholas La Salla said...

@Moses Siregar III,

I'm not going to lie and say it didn't hurt, that's for sure! That being said, everyone I worked with at WotC were very professional and courteous. They let me know as soon as they could, and the rights came back almost immediately after that. I'd have no qualms about working with them again in the future.

HOWEVER, Kindle definitely feels like the right direction for me right now. I'm happy where I'm at. :-)

Lundeen Literary said...

@Nick - oh, did you get caught up in the WotC mess?!?! I'm sorry.

If I may ask, where have you posted those details, so that I don't have to ask you to repeat them?

Jenna
@lundeenliterary

Nicholas La Salla said...

@Jenna I haven't commented too thoroughly on the WotC crisis yet. It may appear as a blog in the future though. :-)

If nothing else, there are a couple funny stories about the editing process I can relate...one of which was arguing over the usage of the "F" word. Good times. ;-)

Stephen T. Harper said...

@ JT, welcome. We had the same concerns at my house, but once you start playing with it...

My wife was dead set against non-paper books. But she bought a huge Dickens novel. So heavy and unwieldy that she decided to download a 99 cent version on my Kindle. Now it's her kindle. She talks about how much she loves it all the time. I read everything on my ipad. love that too.

Anonymous said...

Jenna,

I really love your comments on the blog and I was wondering what Lundeen Literary provided? I am getting ready to launch a kindle only fantasy novel and was just curious.

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club
Secrets of the Magical Medallions

India Pictures said...

Really it is very useful post and I like to read these type of posts and thanks for sharing such type of posts please keep it sharing.

Lundeen Literary said...

@Nick
I'm following your blog, so I'm sure I'll read that post when you write it. It sucks, but you know that it's not you - the publishing arm of TSR / WOTC / Evil Corporate Overlords has been fraught with peril for 20 years. I mean, I used to complain on alt.fan.dragonlance (yes, I am an afdl dino) about them releasing too damn many Dragonlance novels - I thought that 150+ novels by a bunch of different authors diluted the franchise (says the girl sitting on a 4th age novel set in Taladas), and I was a proponent of quality over quantity. NOW I'm bitching that they've stopped altogether. The TSR - WotC torch pass was particularly painful for some of us, but it was preferable to no Dragonlance books at all.

Honestly, I expect someone to license the rights to write Dragonlance novels, much like Margaret Weis licensed the rights to have her game company do Dragonlance game modules (why yes, I *am* friends with the folks who did that. Why do you ask? ;) )

If WotC bought your book, was it a new independent novel, or was it based in one of their licensed properties? Because if you have the rights back, and you are allowed to release it, I will *so* do that formatting for you to get it out there. And we can see about getting one of the WotC / Margaret Weis Productions artists to do a cover, too. Or at least some chapter art!

As for your F-word anecdote… those TSR / WotC kids have generated quite a few wacky stories, and they just get funnier over the years.


@Sean

Lundeen Literary does ebook formatting, paper book formatting, covers, and marketing advice as well. I'm swamped today, but I expect to have a blog post over the next couple of days to highlight the work of the past week. You can check us out at www.lundeenliterary.com , follow us on twitter @lundeenliterary , or email me at lundeenliterary@gmail.com

See you around the blogs! :D

Nicholas La Salla said...

@ Lundeen Literary

Thank you for offering! Do you have some samples I could look at? I have quite a few future projects waiting at various stages of completion.

I'll follow your blog and see what you're up to! :-)

- Nick

dr.cpe said...

@ just an thumbs up for jenna at lundeen. Timely and knowing.

I wrote to her asking about formatting a long book with endnotes. Though it doesnt seem feasible financially (it's poetry. I know. I know) for it sounds like many many hours work with those necessary 'hard returns'... her reply came within hours, and with thorough bullet points about skills and pricing.

Too, I'd tend to trust her eye for covers. The author's cover (sorry dont have author's name at the moment) she referred to here on this thread earlier-- as not being as solid as it could be-- was in part because (I thought as I looked at the cover also) the author's name in white text, did not hold sharp readability against the white background of a moon sky background.

Coming from fine art and ad agency background long ago... I thought jenna has a critical designer's eye that saw that... nuanced in other words. Often nuance (just my .02) is the difference between 'amateur' and professional looking covers... along with some rational and some inner wild sense too.

Rob, who Joe recommends for formatting etc., is also a good soul whom I've talked to about various. You couldnt find a nicer guy. I hear his work is pristine, also.

I hope there will be many good and reliable people who will keep stepping up and make themselves known and help authors like us, first time ebook publishing hopefuls, to format, create the face of the works, help us directly in ways we can pub many many ebks, not just as we used to say 'only one dance Noras.' For myself, I can only say, I try try try to learn these new ways, but am sometimes still pitifully remedial and need all the help I can get.

thanks to joe and thanks to all you, i continue to slowly learn how to take matters from mss done, to pub done. Not there yet. But, with help, someday I hope.

bowerbird said...

jude said:
> I only write 5 star reviews.

ok. but you know that some
people ignore 5-star reviews.


> If I think a book is crap,
> I ignore it.

yeah, that's what most of us do.

of course, sometimes you start
a book that you think is good,
but as you read, you're unsure,
but nonetheless keep on plowing
through it, just _hoping_ it will
improve, but sadly it never does.

in which case you might want to
give a bad review, since it's fair,
to warn people off a time-suck.


> You'll never see me publicly
> bash another author,
> no matter how bad
> his or her work is.

well, you _do_ bash publicly, you
just did, calling work "crap", you
just don't name names. still, the
broad brush can also be deadly,
especially since its target is not
well-defined, so can be anyone.


> But crap is crap.

yeah, most people realize that.

so they walk away and ignore it.

that's why it's _not_ a problem.

-bowerbird

JL La Salla said...

Reading your post makes me very, very optimistic :) I love to hear people doing so well on their own....just because someone doesn't have representation doesn't mean they don't have talent.

I have self-published my novel "Under the Willow Tree" on Kindle and Nook, and lulu.com. And I think every book I write will be self-published as well :) I thank you for giving us writers hope!

http://jlblasalla.blogspot.com/

Racheal McG said...

I would agree in the fact that ebooks are taking over their world (just like wal-mart). But, nonetheless, I am a die hard reader, and i will always choose the smell of fresh printed paper. Being able to feel the pages in my hands as they take me on an adventure. But I am eco friendly, so, ever since I have had my nook, I buy most my books via B&N. And try to save the hardcovers and paperbacks for my favorites... which happens to be just about every book. :) I am getting better at my obsession though, (not).

wannabuy said...

@JT"I can see a world where my Kindle lives happily alongside my beloved paper books, like one big happy family"

Congrats. You will find they 'live together well.' In particular the first year.

You asked for Scifi recommendations... Tough when I do not know your reading background in that genre, so I'll assume when you asked for 'scifi for newbies' it is from ground zero.

That means I recommend indie/small pub, big6, and classic books. :)

For a key, I put a star to mean classic or big6 at the end of the title: *

I love Nathan Lowell's "Quarter Share." However, in a way, pay homage to C.S. Forrester's "Horatio Hornblower*" series; if you haven't read the sail age classic, that is still a great read. If you haven't read David Webber's "Honor Harrington*" series (Horatio in space), those sum up my initial 'maritime adventure' recommended reading.

You've already caught DDDD....

"Bright of the Sky" by Kenyon is excellent. I'm not sure the sub-genre... just fun.

"The Second Ship" is the 1st book of the 'Rho Agenda' by Richard Phillips. So much fun I read through the series in one week!

"Star Soldier" by Vaughn Heppner is another I recommend. I forgot about this book until you asked for a recommendation... so I just bought book #2 in the series. :) (I finished it out of 3G & other internet range.)

Back to 'classics.' Isaac Asimov's "Foundation*" series is a must read. (It is my favorite Scifi series and the 1st book does stand on its own.) Another 'must read' is Larry Niven's "Ringworld*.' "Enders Game" by Olson Scott Card is another classic (in my mind...).

Lately I've been reading more the "Fantasy" part of SF&F. Brian S. Pratt's "The Unsuspecting Mage" (Morcyth Cycle series) has been a great light read. But let me emphasize, light.

If you like short stories (Fantasy), I loved Tara Maya's "Painted world Stories, Vol. 1."

That should hold you down for a bit. :) I am always looking for more excellent Scifi. It is a genre that has faded; but thanks to ebooks it seems to be on the upswing again.

Enjoy the Kindle. To be frank, my reaction wasn't far off Selena's. ;)

Neil

India Pictures said...

Really it is very useful post and I like to read these type of posts and thanks for sharing such type of posts please keep it sharing.

Moses Siregar III said...

If you like short stories (Fantasy), I loved Tara Maya's "Painted world Stories, Vol. 1."

Just bought it. Thanks.

Tara Maya said...

Thanks for the shout out, Neil! I just want to note that The Painted World stories and Tomorrow We Dance are also in Conmergence, also with several sci fi stories. (The anthology is about half sf and half fantasy.)

Much as I love sales, I don't want anyone who already bought Conmergence to feel disappointed if they buy Painted World or Tomorrow We Dance and discover that they already read these novellas. :P

Tara Maya
Conmergence
The Painted World, Stories Vol. I
Tomorrow We Dance

Stacey Cochran said...

Lively discussion on the "death" of traditional publishing over at howtopublishabook.org under the Jon Sternfeld interview. Check it out; leave your comments.

Lundeen Literary said...

@Nick

I'm working on getting samples, but I might have to resort to putting up a fake text of my own to do that. When I get that blog post going, hopefully some of my versions will be available on Amazon, and then the "download free sample" function would be the best bet. I'll be linking to those from my blog post on the subject.

@Dr. Cpe

Awww, thanks! You're too kind. I haven't had anyone give me the poetry challenge yet… it's entirely possible that if I have a slow week soon, I'll give you a deal in order to have one of those under my belt.

And you are correct, the nuance is everything. Subtle things enhance the look of art and covers, and subtlety is not everyone's strong suit.

dr.cpe said...

@lundeen literary. Thank you. re you and many, many here: Ever a permitted pleasure to honestly praise.

Michael Robb Mathias said...

'Sup B.V. your review of my epic: The Sword and the Dragon by M. R. Mathias is still my favorite. If I could get Konrath to to review it too, I'd be set. You both need to read The Butcher's Boy by my alternate pen name Michael Robb

Konrath when you sent me that Direct Message question on twitter to @DahgMahn I couldn't respond because you werent following. If you want to know the answer read your emails or follow @DahgMahn

no-bull-steve said...

Interesting Amazon statistic of the day (having to do with my ranking):

#53 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction > High Tech

#62 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > High Tech


Am I reading this correctly to mean that only 9 NON-Kindle books are in the top 60-ish for that particular category? Are other people seeing similar things? Are we reaching that tipping point in certain genres where eBooks are dominating the Top Seller lists?

Robin Sullivan said...

Just catching up with the post...FWIW I find that when doing boosk in a series the best "release scheudle" is 4 months. I'm currently on a 6 month scheudle with my authors in a series but I want to adjust that to 4. It is at 4 months tha the sales "bump" from one book stats to level off and so getting the next book out a this time would give it the next bump.

What I'm most excited to find is the "final" bump when the last in the series is released. Michael's Percepliquis is due to release in April 2011 and will do so unless the big-six who we are working with gets their act together contract wise. If not it will be on their relese scheudle which is fall of 2011. Either way we'll see the "last" book released soon and that is when (I suspect) the bump gets really interesting as many wait until the entire series is out before starting the first one.

Robin | Write2Publish | Michael J. Sullivan's Writings

josephrobertlewis said...

LOL, Larson's Mech has been in my To Read pile on my Kindle for ages. Too many books!

SF/F novels on Kindle