How Long Have you Been Writing?

Simple question.

I’ll say I started writing in May/June of 2013. And I stopped a year later. Ha. But basically that’s true. Anyway, I know some of y’all are in high school with stories to be told later on in your life, but I also know several people on WordPress who have been writing for decades. DECADES.

Which means there’s a mixed bag of writers on WordPress. Some who have accomplished absolutely nothing and others who have more stories or books published than James Patterson. Maybe not, but still. There are some really accomplished people on WordPress and I bet somewhere along the line they’ve come across my little part of cyberspace. Maybe. Wait, James Patterson, are you reading this?! (Let’s see if he responds).

But seriously, I’m just curious to see how long some of y’all have been writing and what you’ve been able to accomplish during that time. Have you been published by a Big 5 publisher? Self published? Maybe you’ve written some collections of short stories or poetry? Or perhaps you’re working on your first major project? Just tell me so I can stand here in admiration.


On this day in 2014 I published 1,000 WordPress Followers and Giveaway!. Currently sitting at 2,813 WordPress followers. Not too shabby.

 

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HarperCollins Could Remove all of its Books From Amazon

Here we go again.

Everyone knows about the Amazon/Hachette dispute from last year in which it appeared the Big Five publisher was standing up to the internet giant. But the dispute was ultimately resolved when the sides reached a new agreement. One that Simon & Schuster and Macmillan also agreed to. But now HarperCollins comes along and thinks they’re different from everyone else.

In what world would it be a good idea to remove all of their books from Amazon? Maybe the CEO of Hachette left his position there and made the move to HarperCollins? Or maybe there are just some idiots running one of the biggest publishers in America who actually think this is a good business move. I have no idea.

Word on the street is that HarperCollins would try sending its readers to its own website that was made to decrease its dependency on Amazon. But how many people are buying books directly from publishers? I’m not and I don’t think I know anyone who does.

I don’t see this ever actually happening, but who knows? Crazier things have happened.


On this day in 2014 I published Coming up With the Perfect Title for Your Books is…Nearly Impossible.

 

Is Amazon Good For Books?

Exactly one year ago today I wrote this post asking the exact same question. But if you happen to click the link you’ll find that there was no discussion at the time. One Like and no comments. Which is funny because the post I published just two days later currently has 109 Likes and 189 comments. Just how these things go sometimes. And honestly, I’ve wanted to revisit this particular topic for a long time now. Partly because last year’s post went unnoticed and because a lot has changed in the last 365 days.

Let me also say something very important. I know some of you will read this question as “Is Amazon good for publishing?” Don’t. I’m looking big picture here. Writers. Readers. Publishers. All of it.

First, I’d like for you to simply answer the question. A simple yes or no will suffice for now.

Got your answer? Great. Let me begin.

Now I’m going to list out all of the programs and things that Amazon has done related to books. If I feel a particular topic requires more information, then I’ll say what I want to say.

I’ll reveal my overall take at the end.

Amazon Kindle

The premier eReader. Period. I have the super old Kindle Keyboard and it works like new. The Kindle Paperwhite was a major step in the right direction and then it was followed by the Kindle Voyage. It’s hard to keep making these better, but they do.

And let’s not forget that the Kindle changed publishing and how books are accessed.

CreateSpace

Yes I used CreateSpace for my first book, but ask anyone and you’ll find that it is the most used and the easiest to use self publishing platform.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Want to publish your book on Kindle and see what happens? This is what you’ll likely use.

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon’s eBook subscription service. You’ve likely read somewhere about how it’s taking money out of authors’ pockets and how all these authors are having to go back to their day job. Come on. The titles in Kindle Unlimited are self published or Amazon Publishing titles. These aren’t your super authors. The authors in the program are probably not making seven figures from their book sales. So let’s give it a rest.

Kindle First

Gives you access to four titles a month before their release date for a discounted price on Kindle. Or free if you’re a Prime member.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA)

The annual contest is no longer run, but it was the single most lucrative publishing contest in America during its time. The grand prize winner would receive a $50,000 publishing contract. And oh by the way, I’ve looked into some of the past winners and they’re very high in the Kindle store and have thousands of reviews.

Kindle Scout

This is why the ABNA is no longer conducted. It was replaced. Now Amazon has given the power to the readers. All an author has to do is enroll their unreleased book into the program and readers will be able to read a sample for a 30 day period and vote which books they believe should be published. If a book is chosen for publishing the author receives a $1,500 advance and a shortened timeline to publication.

Amazon Publishing

These are traditional publishers under the Amazon umbrella. Thomas & Mercer. AmazonCrossing. AmazonEncore. 47North. Montlake Romance. AmazonPublishing. Grand Harbor Press. Little A. Jet City Comics. Two Lions. Skyscape. Lake Union Publishing. StoryFront. Waterfall Press. Each imprint publishes different genres from the others.

Kindle Convert

You can convert your print books into Kindle books.

Audible

Audiobooks.

AbeBooks

The site on which you can find those rare books you can’t find elsewhere.

Goodreads

Bet you didn’t know Amazon owned this, did ya? Yep.

I think that’s it. I came up with this list off the top of my head, so feel free to tell me if I forgot anything. Now I think you’ve figured out which side of the fence I’m on. I’m Team Amazon. All the way. Let’s just go down the list real quick.

There’s nothing to be said about the Kindle. It’s great and continues to be great.

CreateSpace gives so many writers the opportunity to see their book in print. And who knows, there’s gotta be another Hugh Howey coming along. If you look at the other self-publishing platforms, there really is no match. Even if you think self-publishing as a whole is no good, it’s here to stay…might as well use the best platform.

KDP gives the writers who don’t care to see their book in print the opportunity to sell their book in the Kindle store, and they don’t even have to pay for anything if they’re comfortable with their cover and formatting.

Kindle Unlimited has the potential to be great, but not one of the Big Five has their titles included in the program. I’d say it’s just an eh for now.

Kindle First. I actually really like this. I’ve downloaded four new books for free in the last couple of weeks because I’m a Prime member. I’ll have more info once I read one of the books. But the idea is great and the books chosen for the program shoot to the top of the Kindle store immediately. People seem to like free and discounted books. Surprise, right?

ABNA was the most lucrative publishing contest during its run. Don’t tell me you have something negative to say, especially if you entered every year. And Kindle Scout is one of those programs that many writers dream of. Because let’s face it, there are A LOT of writers out there writing books who will never be published by a traditional publisher. I’m probably one of them. But you could have a blog or nice social media presence or some really cool friends and family members go and nominate your book for publishing. And guess what, there’s a chance that it actually gets published. The Amazon editors have the final say, but anyone who enters their book into this program has absolutely nothing to lose and the chance of a lifetime.

Amazon Publishing has a lot of imprints. For every kind of author. The downside of publishing with one of their imprints is that your books won’t be sold by Barnes and Noble or most other retailers. The plus side is your book will get a significant amount of Amazon marketing. I know because an author I really enjoy went from a Big Five publisher to an Amazon publisher and instead of having 50 reviews as he did on his previous books, he’s in the thousands. So he’s selling a lot of books.

Kindle Convert sucks and it’s stupid.

Audible. There are a few audiobook makers out there, and I haven’t listened to one in more than a decade. So eh.

AbeBooks is great. I once had a handful of books written by a favorite author of mine that I could not find anywhere. I even asked the author! He didn’t know. But then I was referred to AbeBooks and BAM I got my books.

Goodreads is actually Amazon’s second foray into the book social networking realm. Shelfari was their first, and if you’re still using that site….you’re behind the times. Way behind. And yes, I know Amazon didn’t create Goodreads. But they still own it so it belongs on the list.

All in all, if you look at what Amazon has done for readers, at the opportunities they provide authors, and at the newfound competition between traditional publishers that have had a stranglehold on the publishing industry for more than a century….I don’t see how one can conclude they’re bad for books. But I’m certain that this will be a mixed bag of responses.

Unleash your thoughts on the matter!

Hey look, Amazon Didn’t Take Over the Publishing World

Just yesterday it was confirmed that the dispute between Amazon and Hachette over e-book pricing has been resolved. Of course. I mean, all that crap about this author or that author calling out Amazon over their practices and signing letters to Jeff Bezos did absolutely nothing for the actual deal. What made the two sides come to a deal is the fact that this was never going to go on during the holiday season. Period. And if you think otherwise, you’re an idiot.

Amazon just recently inked a deal with fellow Big Five publisher Simon and Schuster. Which should have caused you to ask yourself two questions. How come they can come to a deal with Amazon and Hachette can’t? And then also, the terms of this agreement can’t be too much different from what Amazon was offering Hachette, right? Unfortunately the terms of the agreements have not been released. But Amazon made it a point in both cases to state that the publisher has a financial incentive to lower e-book prices. I would not be surprised if the deals are exactly the same or very similar.

So now everyone can stop acting like they hate Amazon when you know behind your computer screen or smartphone you love them. Why? Cheaper books. And if you buy dozens a year there really is no reason to pay full price elsewhere. Unless you just like wasting money. Then go right ahead.

Take Your Pick: Hardcovers v. Paperbacks

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Photo Credit: Out of Print

 I’m pretty sure I’ve written about every logical book related question you can think of. Print v. e-books. Standalone novels v. series. Types of e-readers. Different genres. And a million others I honestly can’t think of right now because I’ve written way too many posts to remember each one. I’ve had this question on my little docket for some time now. I don’t know if I was saving it for any particular day or what, but it’s been waiting to be written and now I guess it’s happening.

So, hardcover v. paperback. I think I typically list out some of the positives of each choice whenever I write these comparison posts, so might as well get to it.

Hardcovers

I have to be honest here. I’m not seeing a long list of positives for hardcovers. They’re way overpriced it’s not even funny. I mean, I love books as much or more than the next person but I am not okay with spending $29.95 for a book. No. Thankfully, Amazon and other retailers often slash the price of hardcovers immediately. But if they’re not new or bestsellers, then you better pull out your wallet. I don’t even pay that much for Blu-rays. Hm. Let’s see. They’re also bulky. They can potentially be used as weapons in the event of nothing better. They take up a lot of room on the shelf. And I can’t be the only one who hates those stupid dust jacket covers that always want to slide off while I’m trying to read. So annoying. Oh wait, I was supposed to list the positives here. Okay. If you’re lucky enough to meet an author, they much prefer to sign hardcovers over paperbacks. I don’t know why, maybe larger pages?

Paperbacks

Now this may be a bit more positive. Let’s see. They’re typically less than half the price of the hardcover edition. Don’t forget it is the exact same book. They’re much easier to carry around if you’re into that sort of thing (I take my books to my bed and nowhere else.) They’re easier to store on your shelf.  In my opinion, they’re more pleasing to admire on said shelf. Easier to hold while reading. And I have more paperbacks signed by authors than hardcovers. So there. The only real negative is that they’re often released almost a year after the hardcover. Stupid publishers.

For the sake of this post I tallied up my books so I could provide some concrete evidence about what I think of this little question here. I have 175 books. 41 hardcovers. 134 paperbacks. Hm sorry Big Five. Not really.

So tell me which side of the fence you fall on. I’m obviously having trouble seeing any reason to have shelves full of hardcovers, maybe you’ll offer some insight.