Get Rich Self-Pubbing

Get Rich Self-Pubbing Your E-books with J.A. Konrath

 

“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.

Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.            Konrath (800x600)

 

Self-publishing eBook guru J.A. Konrath shared his experiences with us at the Ninc conference in St. Pete Beach. His sales figures are impressive and I’m not going to repeat them here. You can follow him on his blog, http://jakonrath.blogspot.com

Joe suggests making your website “sticky”, i.e. give people a reason to stick around. Content should be informative and entertaining. For example, you might offer an unsold book online for free as a pdf download. Joe calls this a “gateway drug” because these readers will go on to buy your print books.

Publishing houses still provide editorial services, cover design, and distribution, plus they serve as  gatekeepers between the author and readers via bookstores. But should we pay for these services forever, or one time only?

If you are self-publishing, the cover art should be professional, even if you have to hire your own artist. Be sure to get the rights to use your cover design for any promotional purposes and also possibly if your book goes into print someday. Make sure your work is edited, error free, and correctly formatted so it looks professional. You’ll need to write the blurbs and back cover copy and get reviews and quotes. You’ll want the free preview option and no DRM.

Joe suggests doing a Kindle Nation ad but not necessarily a Facebook ad to attract readers. Participate in the kindleboards and social networks.

When self-pubbing, if you start out at Smashwords, you’ll get an ISBN there. You can opt out of the Kindle and Pubit (for B&N) and do those yourselves.

If you have an agent, think above having him sell the subrights to your eBooks, i.e. audio, foreign, film.

Books no longer have a shelf life. “This is infinite. It is forever…It’s a buffet mentality. We’re not going to have a saturation.”

Author Collectives

AUTHOR COLLECTIVES

“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.

Multi-published authors are looking for a way to distinguish their epubbed books from the multitude.  In some instances, they’ve banded together to form cooperatives.  Here are three that presented to us at the conference.  Again, these statements are from my notes and subject to my interpretation.

A Writer’s Work

This site is for authors who have had at least two commercially published works. They sell direct to readers. Books may be original or previously published.  There is no exclusivity.  The author can put it up elsewhere or pull it down at any time.  The author gets 70%.  Then 25% goes toward maintaining the website and the other 5% for Paypal fees. So far they have 18 multi-published authors participating.  http://www.awriterswork.com/

Backlist EBooks

This site is for authors who put their previously published backlists up for sale themselves. They can list the titles here.  This site does not put the books up for sale directly.  There’s a small fee for website upkeep. Each author will have their own page and links to their sites. http://backlistebooks.com/

http://www.facebook.com/BacklistEbooks?v=wall

Book View Café

Membership in Book View Cafe is limited to authors who have had at least one novel published with a traditional advance and royalty-paying print publisher. Author members may sell original works as well as backlist titles through this website direct to readers.  They offer free fiction as well.  These authors have varied amounts of experience in epublishing and help each other format and prepare their work.  They can help with cover design, publishing, and promotion.  http://www.bookviewcafe.com/

Someone said that ePub and pdf are the two most requested formats.

I imagine we’ll see more cooperatives by career authors who want to distinguish their body of work from the uninitiated masses.  If publishers are the gatekeepers, then these authors have already passed through the gate.

Digital Rights

DIGITAL RIGHTS

“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.                                                   

lunch2

Lunch Break

Panelists

Lucienne Diver, Literary Agent

Angela James, Executive Editor, Carina Press

Brian O’Leary, Magellan Media Partners

Sue Lange, Book View Café

Barbar Keiler, Author

Chris Kenneally, Copyright Clearance Center

Lou Aronica, Publisher, The Story Plant

J.A. Konrath, Author & Blogger

Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.

Lucienne:  Unless you have an audience or a platform, you need a publisher.  And to reach the broadest possible audience, you need a publisher to put your book into the different formats.

Chris:  Digital publishing offers you a chance to experiment with a novella or a short story. 

Google editions may discourage piracy because people won’t share their Google accounts.

Lou doesn’t advice just putting your book up on Amazon.  They don’t put effort into marketing individual books.  Plus with so many formats, going with a publisher is better.

Joe Konrath believes consumers feel less toward digital copies than toward works in print. 

Agency Model: Publisher gets 70%, Amazon gets 30%, publisher sets price.  Out of the publisher’s share, the author may get 25%  and their agent gets 15% of that money.

Barbara:  How will mobile phones affect the art of writing?  Will readers have patience for paragraphs longer than 3 lines?  Will description be tolerated or will it be replaced by a video clip?  Will the Twitter novel become popular?  How about turning off your cell phones on airplanes? Does this mean you can’t read during takeoffs and landings?  People with shorter attention spans will want shorter books.

Brian:  Re contract clauses and reversion of rights and subrights, try for a shorter term, like 3 to 5 years, after which these items are negotiable. 

Publishers have to agree on terms of sale with eReader device providers in order to offer their stock in that format.

“Windowing” is when a hardcover comes out then the eBook comes out xx weeks later.  You have to market the book twice when this happens so it causes the author more work.  This also may happen with books that release in the U.S. market and later in the foreign markets.  You lose sales momentum.

Final Advice:                                                           

Nancy and Denise

Nancy Cohen and Five Star Editor Denise Dietz

Write more good books and write quickly.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the marketing aspects.

Spend time selling your book.  Work it into your calendar.

You don’t need an entire social media strategy.  Start with just one thing.

You can reinvent yourself.  Don’t be frightened by the prospect; be excited by it.

Be transparent for your readers; let them see who you are.

You can find a smaller, devoted audience without a blockbuster mentality.  This can be artistically liberating for writers.

Follow you own path while keeping in mind all your options.

Lunch

Enjoying Lunch

Coming Next: Writing for Worldwide Distribution

EBooks

EBOOKS

“Brainstorming on the Beach” Conference with Novelists, Inc.                                                         

Annette

Annette Mahon, Nancy Cohen, Cynthia Thomason

Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.

Panelists:

Lou Aronica, Publisher, The Story Plant

Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO, Harlequin Enterprises

Al Zuckerman, Literary Agent and Founder of Writers House

Carolyn Pittis, Senior VP, Global Author Services, HarperCollins

Heather Graham, NYT Bestselling Author

Alan Kaufman, Literary Attorney

Loriana Sacilotto, Executive VP, Editorial & Global Strategy, Harlequin Enterprises

Angela James, Executive Editor, Carina Press

“Publishers are moving toward digital publishing because consumers want it.” Ereaders will be hot over the holidays.

A digital world offers no returns, no print production, and a different distribution avenue. It’s a very big opportunity for writers and publishers. Genre readers have adapted to the technology faster than others.

Neilsen Bookscan (if I got this right) reported $40.6 million eBook sales in one month.  The Kindle is responsible for this explosion.

The competition, i.e. B&N, Borders, Amazon, and Google, are growing awareness of this product.  What will really shake things up will be Smartphones.  This is the next big opportunity.  People who don’t own dedicated eReaders will have global Smartphones.  Even eReaders may disappear in favor of these devices.  The deciding factor is how long brick and mortar stores stay open.

See this article “Verizon Wireless Brings Kindle Experience to Android Smartphones and Other Devices” at http://bit.ly/9LypQG

Lou:  He doesn’t distinguish between print or eBook writers and publishing houses re prestige.  Readers want interaction with writers.  You must connect in some significant way with your readers.  The only way you can stand out from the pack is to market yourself, no matter the publisher or the format.

Regarding whether you should self-publish or go with an epub, Lou reminds you that epubs can manage the different streams of income.  Convenience is a major factor to going with an epub for now.  If eBook sales equivocate to print sales, perhaps these epubs should begin offering advances. 

Print publishers have to set up a new infrastructure while maintaining their legacy print operation, but there may be casualties as their margins are very small.

Angela:  Digital first authors may choose to go with an epub because they want to write something different or they want to start out in a smaller market.  It doesn’t mean they’ve been rejected by the major houses as many perceive it. 

“You don’t want to just publish a book.  You want a career.” Authors are small business owners and have to market themselves. 

Carolyn:  How do pubs and authors collaborate together as partners in a new business model to sell more books?  The major houses have to figure out how to reduce costs on the print side while increasing their investment in digital.  Readers care about what reviewers think and what their own friends like.  They care about a good story.  She believes too much technology (i.e. enhanced eBooks) may interfere with this experience, at least for fiction. It might work better for nonfiction.

Alan believes things may look similar in five years if the general trade publishers acquire the eBook publishing houses.  Then those pubs may in turn be acquired by Google.

“Publishers act as gatekeepers.  This is their most important function.  If they aren’t around to do that, who knows what’ll be out there?”

Harlequin is already ahead of the game because it has Carina Press.  Angela says other issues like DRM and pricing will change the landscape.

Other issues mentioned in the panel were consumer pricing and the strong trend toward price reduction, demographics and the behavior of younger readers and their purchasing habits, and the foreign market which is hungry for content. 

Coming next: Digital Rights

I’m guest blogging today over at Fresh Fiction on Creating Memorable Villains.  Please check out my post and leave a comment: http://freshfiction.com/page.php?id=2864

Judy

Judy Fitzwater and Edie Claire

                                   

Traci

Traci Hall, Sally Schoeneweiss, Kathleen Pickering

LIBRARIES IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Will libraries become a relic of the past when books turn digital?  Like in a Dr. Who episode, will there be one vast library that’s a repository for the entire world, the sole remaining place holding dusty shelves? That was a cool couple of episodes with David Tennant starring, by the way. Think about the trees cut down to produce all that paper and where those once living trees might have come from. Anyway, will libraries, with reduced funding as an additional obstacle, still be viable ten years from now?                          Books

If you think of the library as a multi-media center, then I believe the answer is yes. Besides books, movies, and music, public libraries offer free classes on a variety of topics, meeting rooms, computer centers, literacy and outreach programs. And did you know you could order digital books from the library to download to your eReader?  You can probably research whatever you want by accessing library services online, too.

 A recent article in an AARP bulletin for seniors reports about how Queens Library in New York holds a phone-in discussion group twice a week.  Participants dial in at the prescribed times and chat about books, recipes, current events topics, history, and more. It’s a great way for people to keep in touch and have human contact when they can’t get about so easily. The library’s mail-in program supplies assisted living facilities and homebound individuals with reading materials, movies, and music.  These are great services for people who want to benefit from their local library but don’t have the means to get there.

It appears as though the role of the library in the future is to expand rather than to shrink. So donate your used books to your local library, join the Friends of the Library and support their fund-raisers, and give your librarian a big hug of appreciation for all her efforts.

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RWA 2010: Conclusion

REPORT ON RWA NATIONAL CONFERENCE

 Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31

Reinventing Yourself with bestselling author JAYNE ANN KRENTZ .

 Jayne had to reinvent herself numerous times, from writing futuristics to contemporaries to historicals.  She takes her “core story” and puts it into a marketable setting.  Names she’s written under are Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, and Jayne Castle.

Jayne Ann Krentz

Jayne Ann Krentz

“Sooner or later, you will have to reinvent yourself.”  Jayne offered three rules for writers to heed:                                      

1.  Identify your core story: conflicts, relationships, archetypes, and themes that appeal to you as a writer.  Keep it fresh over time.  Writers who want to survive must be able to adapt.

2.   Know the market.  Be familiar with subgenres and where your core story fits in.

3.  Understand the importance of fictional landscape to readers. Each genre requires a particular landscape with conventions and reader expectations.  Adjust your core story to fit that landscape.

I went to a couple of workshops on Digital Publishing.  With so many Epubs popping up, writers are cautioned to evaluate them before submitting their work. Look at such things as cover art, frequency of releases, cover copy, and genre.  Read a few of their books to see how well they’re edited and if you like them. Be wary of too many releases at once because titles can get lost in the crowd and there won’t be any standout successes. The same goes for your own schedule. Readers can get overwhelmed if you release too many titles in succession. Space them out by at least 8 weeks.

 Digital pubs may pick up a series started elsewhere and may be interested in putting your backlist into digital format. The benefits of going with a digital pub instead of doing it on your own?

  • Editing
  • Cover Art
  • Promotional Tools
  • Established Reader Base

ANGELA JAMES gave a spotlight on Carina Press.  She spoke on how to submit to this digital first imprint and what they do in terms of online marketing.

Career Planning in a Changing Environment 

Issues important to authors were discussed in this seminar with agents KRISTIN NELSON, STEVE AXELROD, and KAREN SOLEM.

  •  Do we want to release simultaneously in print and in ebook?  Do ebooks cannabilize other sales?
  • Make sure you’re covered if your contract is cancelled arbitrarily (i.e. so you don’t have to pay back your advance)
  • 25% of net versus 25% of retail price—the former is harder to track.  Ebook royalty rates are still in a flux.  Consider renegotiating your current contracts re ebook royalties.
  • Classic publishing model strengths are turning into weaknesses
  • Independent bookstores are in trouble and that will jeopardize hardcover sales
  • Publishers are trying to control all rights that may come down the road someday
  • New opportunities for authors are out there.  In between print books, you could publish novellas or short stories in digital format.  You can bring your own out of print books back to life on the digital platform.
  • The biggest question is still how to get your work noticed.
  • Authors are forging direct connections with fans through social networking. The challenge here is balancing the time requirements with writing the next book.
  • If your career isn’t moving forward, it’s time to diversify.  Consider writing a bigger book. Do what you always do but in a different way.  If you decide to write in more than one genre, ask yourself if you have time, if you are prolific enough, and if publishing in more than one genre will cannibalize your own sales.

 Fight Scenes with popular author Angela Knight was a very useful workshop. I’m not going to repeat what she said here except to say I scribbled notes the entire time.  She could have used another hour to complete her presentation and have a Q&A session but what she said was helpful. Some of it was common sense like save your biggest fight scene and worst villain for last. She offered some great ideas which hopefully I can deploy.

I also attended Publisher Booksignings and collected lots of free books signed by the authors. These are great for keeping up with what’s current in a genre.  The Carina Press open house with cocktails and snacks was also fun.

Alyssa Day

Paranormal Romance Author Alyssa Day

Ann Aguirre

Science Fiction Author Ann Aguirre

The RITA and Golden Heart Awards Dinner and Ceremony was Saturday night. Everyone dressed up and excitement was in the air as we prepared to hear who’d won these prestigious awards.

RITA Awards Dinner

RITA Awards Dinner

RITA Awards Dinner

Sharon Hartley, Nancy Cohen, Allison Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 The Food
 What are those weird purple vegetables on the plate?

The Gathering was Friday night.  This was the FF&P (Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal chapter of RWA) Steampunk Ball and Prism Awards with music provided by bestselling science fiction author CATHERINE ASARO.  This took place at the Swan Resort, a short walk from the adjacent Dolphin. At the buffet, we had a choice of Roast Beef and Chicken, various salads, poached potatoes, roasted vegetables, and delectable desserts. The room was decorated with style and many of the folks dressed up in period attire.  It was fun watching the costume contest and meeting so many new people. This is definitely an event I’d attend again. Kiss of Death chapter also has a chocolate party that’s fun if you belong to that chapter.

The Gathering

The Gathering

Lizzie Newell

Author Lizzie Newell

 PRISM Award Winners:

Dark Paranormal: Immortal Danger by Cynthia Eden

Erotica: Secrets in Stone by Radclyff

Fantasy: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Futuristic: Close Encounters by Katherine Allred

Light Paranormal: Secret Life of a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks and Wild Blue Under by Judi Fennell

Novella: Belong the Night by Cynthia Eden

Time Travel: Viking Heat by Sandra Hill

Steampunk Ball

Steampunk Ball

Congratulations to all!  It was a great conference.  I met many new friends whom I hope to see again at future events.

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THE ROMANTIC POST: SS REVIEW

Review of Silver Serenade at The Romantic Post

Earth Centrum Security Integrated Network field operative Silver Malloy is assigned to eliminate ruthless Tyrone Bluth, leader of the brutally nasty gang Tyrone’s Marauders. S.I.N.’s top assassin, Silver almost completes her mission when Kurashian Jace Vernon interferes by tackling her.

Ace pilot Jace is after Tyrone also, but unlike Silver needs his prey alive if he is to prove his innocence on his home planet where he is wanted for murder. He does not want to work with Silver who wants the beast dead, but has no choice if he is to achieve his objective as his enemy’s enemy is his ally; if he does not team with her they will get in each others’ way. She reluctantly agrees with his assessment.

This is a fun romantic science fiction thriller as the lead couple targets the same person, but disagrees with the output as each has a different outcome in mind. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Jace makes the hit on Silver and never slows down as love between them complicates their already complex relationship. Sub-genre readers will enjoy this outer space tale of a lethal gang lord serving ironically as a matchmaker between two people who disagree on what to do with him as the options are life in a maximum prison or assassination.

Harriet Klausner

The Romantic Post

PUBLISHING TRENDS: ENRICHED E-BOOKS

What is an enriched ebook and how does it differ from an ordinary one? An enriched ebook has bonus features like on a DVD. These can include research material, references, deleted passages, alternate endings, footnotes, audio interview with the author, research photos, interactive maps that follow the action, music to accompany scenes in the story with music, commentary by the author.

As you may have guessed, adding these features means more work, but we do a lot of this anyway. For example, I’ve added a glossary to the ebook edition of Circle of Light, my first book published in 1994 and just now debuting in digital format. Imagine if I’d added these features to my mysteries when they came out in ebook format. I’d have been able to share my research photos, info I gathered at on-site locations, research material that didn’t make it into the story.

Do readers care? When you’re engrossed in a world the author has created, often you don’t want the story to end. I know that when I finished the Harry Potter series, I wanted to read more about the lives of Harry and friends after they left school. The brief epilogue wasn’t enough to satisfy me. So the question is, will readers want to read more about your fictional world and your characters? Do they care to learn about the writing process involved in creating the story? Or would they rather close the page and wait for the sequel? Will this enhance reading experiences or add more burden on the author’s shoulders? Will it draw in young readers who look for multi-media presentations? There’s no doubt the publishing industry is changing. Authors have to embrace these changes or risk getting left behind in the dust.

*This post originally appeared on the Novelists Inc. blog: http://www.ninc.com/blog

A DREAM COME TRUE

CIRCLE OF LIGHT, my seventh manuscript, became the first novel I sold. It began as a dream, wherein I was at my job as a clinical nurse specialist. The dream unfolded in much the same manner as the excerpt on my website. My dream ended at the same place, but I couldn’t let it go. I had to finish the story! I wrote the whole thing, and that’s my first book that sold. CIRCLE OF LIGHT became number one in a trilogy and went on to win the HOLT Medallion Award in the paranormal category. The story has ancient prophecies, mysterious glowstones, a magical Blood Crystal that foretells the future, and a transcendent healing power inspired by love. It also has villains: the evil Souks, a slaver race; the nasty Horthas with their stun whips; the Twyggs with their grasping branches, a traitor in the central government; and mercenaries who hire their services as assassins. It’s an exciting story. No wonder I felt compelled to finish it.

CIRCLE OF LIGHT, originally published by Dorchester when I was writing as Nancy Cane, is now available in digital and trade paperback formats. And lest you think it’s all purely made up, I used a National Geographic article on volcanoes for the scenes on Taurus, a volcanic planet. I used my Star Wars and Star Trek sourcebooks and technical manuals for inspiration in terms of ships and weaponry. The capital city of Bimordus Two is a biome, a self-contained ecosystem. I cut out articles about these habitats at the time, and they’re probably still in my files. So research took many forms for this futuristic romance. And because it’s at heart a romance novel, woven throughout the exciting adventure is the developing love story of Sarina and Teir.

Attorney Sarina Bretton is kidnapped from Earth to become the legendary Great Healer, thus saving the galaxy from a dreadful plague. To activate her power, she must marry Lord Cam’brii, a stiff politician. Instead, she falls in love with the spaceship captain transporting her to the wedding.

Captain Teir Reylock is drawn to the feisty woman he’s escorting to the capital city, but he must fulfill his duty. He doesn’t count on being assigned as her bodyguard once they arrive. Now not only must he protect Sarina from the Coalition’s enemies, but also he must guard her from his heart.

Digital edition available from Belgrave House

Circle of Light                       Belgrave House

Trade Paperback edition available from iUniverse

Circle of Light

THE ACCIDENTAL READER

In this dawning digital age, when people download books onto ebook readers like the Kindle or Nook, how will an author get noticed? It’s hard enough already with so many books on the shelves, but what happens when your book no longer appears in brick-and-mortar stores? I’ve received many letters from fans saying my book cover caught their eye in the library or my catchy title snagged their attention in the bookstore. Am I going to lose those accidental readers when my books can only be ordered online?

Internet marketing will become even more important in this new age. But participating in guest blogs, chat rooms, review sites, social networks, listserves, and discussion groups can leave no time for anything else…like writing the next book. Commenting on sites of interest, hosting guest bloggers, posting online book reviews, and interviewing other authors are some other ways to gain recognition. Myriads of possibilities exist, limited by time and energy.

As a reader, I like to browse through bookstores. It’s a pleasure we’ve taken for granted. Now you have to read excerpts online or examine the virtual book cover. Will this give you the same thrill as holding a book in your hand? Do you care? How can we, as authors in the digital age, attract new readers without spending hours at the computer after we’ve already spent the day there writing? Because we can’t rely anymore on the accidental reader who spots our book on a shelf made out of real wood.