November is Over

No, this isn’t my monthly recap post. It’s a little different. November being over also signifies the end of NaNo. Finally.

Now most of the people who rave about the “community” will see how they’ve got it all wrong. Sure some might stay interested in your project, but it likely won’t be too many. Because why would they? They’re going to self-publish soon. Or continue working on their own project. Or they won’t be “writing” much more for the time being. So why would they stay interested in your project when it’s no longer cool? They won’t.

And so many of the NaNo participants will finally shut up about how great NaNo is until Camp NaNo in whichever month. Thank goodness.

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Did you Know These Books Were Originally Self-Published?

Cause I didn’t.

Most people by now know the story of Fifty Shades and The Martian starting out as self-published works. And anyone who knows anything about publishing also knows about Hugh Howey. But there are a few more titles I’d not known about until just a few minutes ago.

Legally Blonde.

Uh, weren’t there like three movies in this series? And it was originally a self-published book? Did not know that.

Still Alice.

I actually think I may have known about this one. Maybe. But I definitely know Julianne Moore won ALL the awards for her performance in the movie adaptation.

Eragon.

I think this has something to do with a dragon, right? I just know from the bits and pieces of the movie I’ve seen. Two interesting facts about this one. The author was 19 when he became a NYT bestselling author with this title. And he started writing when he was just 15. Yikes.

Did you know these were originally self-published? Or do you know of any other popular books/authors who were?

Indies, Read This!

I normally don’t even say indie for self published authors because it seems like they’re trying to legitimize their work by avoiding “self published” author. Which is ridiculous because if you self publish then you self publish.

Anyway, now to the point of the post. One thing I was looking to do when I first self published two years ago was book signings. And I know the thought has crossed your mind if you’ve self published recently or are planning to.

I’m here to tell you that there is a place that has a nice customer base and will be happy to help you host an event. Obviously different locations are going to have their own guidelines and rules, but let me tell you about my Half Price Books. We have author signings most Saturdays. The authors set up near the door so everyone can see them. And the author leaves with 100 percent of what they make during their time in the store. There’s no fee or percentage taken by the store. AND most authors stay for three hours and the manager makes announcements every half hour or so telling customers who is at the front of the store and why.

How cool is that!? Half Price Books of course isn’t in every city or town. But there are more than 200 locations spread across the country, and I bet most have signings and guidelines similar to mine. So give your local store a call and see if you can get yourself in front of plenty of people who are already looking for books!

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.

 

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!

What’s With the Rush to Publish?

Self publishing has changed the mindset of many writers in many ways. But today’s topic is the rush to publish. Back before the days of self publishing, I don’t think most writers were in any rush to publish their books. Why not? Because they had no control over how long the process would actually take. Queries. Rejections. Queries. Rejections. It was a cycle that continued…until it didn’t and an agent and/or publisher was found. But that’s no longer the case. Sure you have the purists who will still go through the process to find an agent and traditional publisher for a wide variety of reasons. And these writers are in no rush because they know the process takes time. But bring on the self published authors and it’s a different story.

They seem to pride themselves on the number of “books” they can release. I’ve read about some authors trying to write one million words in a calendar year. ONE MILLION. And then taking the next year to “edit” those books. Like really? I’m sure that person had every intention of self publishing all those books at some point. Also, I’ve read about self published authors releasing a book a month. I mean, who do they think they are? James Patterson? Because those books can’t possibly be high quality. It seems like they’re getting that whole “quality over quantity” thing all wrong. Just because you release dozens of books does not mean anyone is actually reading them.

I just don’t understand why all these “authors” are in such a rush to publish. As if their nonexistent readers are going somewhere.

Will you Consider Downloading a Free Book?

free-ebooks

Photo Credit: GoodEReader

This question ultimately asks if you read self-published books, but not all self-published books are free at some point. In my experience I’ve found that people are typically “I read a lot of free books” or “I will not ever read a book if it’s free.” I’ve rarely found someone who sometimes reads free books and sometimes doesn’t. I’ll never sit here and say that one person’s reasoning for their decision is wrong while another person’s is right, so this is just me repeating what has been said about why people do or don’t download books that are free.

“If it’s free it must be bad”

This goes along with the stigma that still exists for self-publishing. Maybe self-published authors are making strides when it comes to their literary merit, but talk to someone who knows nothing about the publishing industry about your book. One of their first questions is sure to  be who published your book. I mean, there are MANY great books out their that have been self-published, but some readers will never find them because they don’t give them a chance. Like when they’re free.

“I have too many books I actually WANT to read”

There’s no doubt in my mind that when said in this context this statement is an excuse not to read a particular book or perhaps a book that is free. I understand that most avid readers have dozens and dozens of books they want to read, maybe hundreds cause some people are crazy, but the notion that reading one book that’s not necessarily on your never ending TBR list is going to mess with the alignment of the universe is simply absurd. After all, you have to keep adding new books to your TBR list if you intend to keep reading, right? Just say you don’t want to read the damn book and be done with it.

“I have too many books on my Kindle”

This is probably more valid than you might think. There are plenty of readers out there who navigate the Kindle free store on a daily basis just downloading books. This isn’t bad and I’m not going to knock anyone for it, but this really does create the dilemma of having too many books. I’m talking hundreds of unread books just collecting figurative dust in the depths of your Kindle. From what I’ve been told and understand, many of these readers just pick titles almost at random once downloaded because there’s no easy way to pick which book to read when you have hundreds at your fingertips.

I’m quite certain that I could continue the list here because the likelihood is that you’ve had some experience with this question. Maybe you’re a reader who never downloads free books. Or maybe you’re an author who has offered your book for free through KDP Select. Me? I’ve never actually downloaded a free book. And I have offered my book for free a couple of times. I think my best free promo garnered 6571 downloads in a couple of days, but obviously I don’t have a gazillion reviews of my book.

Do you download free books?