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.

 

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Why is Zoella’s new Book Causing Such a Fuss?

231a7e20-7497-11e4-9b06-bb17e2c882df_Zoella-Girl-Online-launch

You need to know two things before reading on to have any idea what I’m talking about. First, Zoella is a very popular YouTuber. Second, her novel Girl Online had the best opening sales week ever for a debut novel in the UK. It was just released at the end of November.

Okay. If you don’t know what the fuss is about, well that’s what I’m here for. I’ve read blog post after blog post and article after article criticizing Zoella for her book. Why are all these people criticizing her? Because she used a ghostwriter. See, I have a theory. The criticism she’s getting really has nothing to do with that fact, though she had to release a statement on Twitter admitting that she had help. No. I think UK readers have issue with the fact that her book has outdone JK Rowling in some way. Because this young online star is somehow unworthy of selling a lot of books. What bullshit.

Just about every article I’ve read mentions JK Rowling. “Zoella outsells even JK Rowling and Harry Potter” or “This 24-year-old has best debut sales week ever in UK; besting JK Rowling.”

I know some people have issue with the use of ghostwriters. That’s fine. But why is this girl somehow being treated differently than other “authors” who have used them in the past? Oh. Because she sold a lot of books. The funny thing is that readers really have no idea how many authors actually use ghostwriters. No idea at all. Because some publishers and authors are a lot more open about that fact than others.

Lastly, I have no issue with her great opening sales week. As a matter of fact, I think she should be congratulated. I mean, she has more than six million YouTube subscribers. Did you think that she would release a book that didn’t sell well? Come on. JK Rowling was a debut author. Zoella is a debut author with millions of fans and followers. I’m quite certain that the author of the Harry Potter series is perfectly fine with not having the record for most sales in the opening week for a debut novel. (If she ever had it in the first place.)

So everyone needs to calm down about all this. Zoella has built up a brand of herself over the last few years on the internet. And now she gets criticized for wanting to write a book. No. I’m not a fan of celebrities “writing” books, but this girl is getting way too much negativity thrown her way when she’s doing something that so many celebrities have already done before her. She’s not even the first YouTuber to release a book. Just stop.

You can check out Girl Online here.

You can check out Zoella’s YouTube channel here.

Blogging Doesn’t Sell Books

I know this isn’t news to most of you. Cause you’re a blogger. And a writer/author, whatever you want to call yourself. And your book isn’t selling as well as you’d hoped. And the thing about this is that it is not only self-published authors who face this problem. You always see posts about author platforms on social media to help sell books or even get a publishing deal, but let’s take a step back.

Author platforms are great. But are authors selling more books because they follow 50k people on Twitter and have 45k followers? I think not. Are authors selling more books because they have 25k followers on their blog? Perhaps. But how many authors have that kind of following on WordPress or Blogger? I know A LOT of bloggers. If I’m just looking at book/writer blogs that I know of, I’m only thinking of a handful who even have a larger following than I do. And I’m just barely over 2,000.

Of course, a blog and Twitter aren’t the only social media sites out there for authors to use. Facebook is still used by a number of my favorite authors. And then of course YouTube. But just about every social media site is difficult to find an audience, especially for authors. I’m certain that my blog could grow exponentially faster if I wanted to write about news or pop culture or music or movies, but I don’t. I write about books. I write about writing.

Blogs seem like the obvious choice for authors to start their platforms, but selling books is difficult for everyone who doesn’t have a household name. Which is like 99 percent of us.

PS: If you’re going to point out one or two or ten bloggers you know who are selling a lot of books, then that’s nice. Except for the fact that there are literally thousands of others out there who aren’t. Cause blogs just don’t sell books like one might expect.

I have the perfect question for this post. If I were to release a book today, how many of you would seriously consider buying it? I’ll even do my first ever poll to make it easier.

What’s the Worst Book Title You’ve Come Across?

Most book titles are pretty basic. Nothing too memorable. At least not to me. You remember them because of the story and not because of the title. Although some do serve as reminders of what the story was about if it’s been a long time since reading it. For instance, Halo: The Fall of Reach is about the fall of Reach. How easy to remember. And The Cleanup is about a cop who is thrust into action when a local girl he knows calls him for help and there’s a dead body. He has to clean up her mess. Easy. I read that years ago.

But not all titles are like that. Storm Runners. No earthly idea what it’s about, besides the fact that it probably has something to do with a meteorologist or something. A Cold Day in Paradise. No idea. Kisscut. Not a clue. I’m not saying that these are bad titles, but they just don’t set off any bells when I think of them.

I mean, I don’t expect to really remember minute details from every book I ever read. Obviously that’s not going to happen. But maybe these titles aren’t the greatest ever. Maybe.

Anyway, that’s not the point. When you read those titles you’re not immediately taken aback or pushed away from possibly reading the book. So they’re all fine. But some books just ask not to be read. Better yet, their authors force your hand. I know we all have our reading habits and tastes, but let’s be real for a minute. There is not an audience of tens of millions of people in America who want to be reading about incest. No, not a book in which there is some inappropriate sexual contact, I’m talking about books that are basically meant to glorify the practice. So I don’t have a specific title that is the worst I’ve ever come across. But any mention of one’s brother’s you-know-what in the title is about as bad as it gets for me. And then the authors of these books complain when Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Kobo force a title change if the book is to be sold online. What a damn joke. The stories and the authors.

What’s the worst book title you’ve ever come across?

Ever Watch Book Trailers?

BookTrailer

Photo Credit: The Fat Pixel

I don’t. But companies offer this service to take even more of your money. I can name on one hand how many authors I know who you use these. James Patterson. Michael Connelly. David Baldacci. The only reason I know of Baldacci is because I spend a lot of time on YouTube and happened to catch the trailer for his newest release before the start of a video I was watching.

That’s a pretty short list of authors, right? Even though the companies or people who make these claim that they will help hype your book and get people buying. Uh no. Come on. Even if you have a very well done book trailer, you can’t really believe that. Book trailers are always so dull. A monotone voice (assuming you have someone speaking) that gives the watcher only the slightest bit of information about the book. You can most definitely get more information by reading the reviews and/or synopsis. So why do authors use them? I have no earthly idea. But there are a lot of things people will do that they believe will help their book become the next self-published bestseller.

They’ll have a press release written up. Even though no one really cares that they’re releasing their book. They’ll have bookmarks made. Even though they can’t plan a signing or event anywhere. They’ll send out ARCs to major publications seeking a review. Even though it won’t be happening. They’ll do anything in an effort to get their book in front of some readers…like have a book trailer made. For the 18 people who are going to buy the book. Great thinking there.

Two questions this time around. Ever watched a book trailer? Ever had one made for your own book? Don’t worry, I’m not going to laugh at you if you admit to having one made.

I just watched a few on YouTube and they were basically all the same and not intriguing at all. Ugh.

Why is it Still Acceptable to Strip Books?

ImagePhoto Credit: Nesting Place

I was thinking last night about how traditional publishers allow for unsold books to be returned. I had an idea about how the process to return unsold books takes place, and unfortunately I was right about how the process works when it comes to mass market paperbacks. These are those small paperbacks that basically fit inside the palm of your hand. You probably have hundreds of them. The price range for these books is typically $7.99-$9.99. At least that’s what I’ve always seen them listed at.

But do you know what happens to these books if they go unsold and a retailer decides to “return” them to the publisher? Their covers are ripped off and sent back to the publisher as proof that the book has been destroyed. Ripped off! These then become known as “stripped” books. Paperback and hardcover books are typically shipped back to the publisher as whole books, but mass market paperbacks are not. They’re simply destroyed.

Tell me how come these books can’t be shipped back to the publisher just the same as others. Or how in the world this practice was ever acceptable. Or what kind of evil person could sit there and actually strip the covers off either by machine or by hand. I almost couldn’t believe that the practice was still going on, but then again, the publishing industry has remained unchanged for so long that it really shouldn’t have surprised me.

It doesn’t matter that the return rates of these books is higher than the rest. You know why? Because the publisher is the one paying to have it shipped back, not the retailer. This practice should be done away with immediately because I’m sure a group of reasonably intelligent people could come up with something better that doesn’t destroy books.

I don’t like that books can be returned at all, but if I had to pick between returning a book to its publisher or destroying it, well then I say ship it back.

What do you think of the practice of stripping the covers of mass market paperbacks?

You’ve likely seen this message on the inside of your mass market paperbacks.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

Question: Which book description is more enticing?

Photo Credit: Writers and Artists

I love that more of you guys are Liking, commenting, reading, and following my blog. Obviously, right? Well, now I’m going to ask for your input on a relatively important issue I’m facing. My book’s description on Amazon! This will likely be the third time I change it, and I’m counting on you all to help me out a bit. Sound okay? Okay. Also, you should know that I’m not really worried about the book description selling more books. My book came out almost six months ago and I rarely tell people about it in person anymore because I’ve already told just about everyone I know.

Now all I’m going to do is have you read the current description and another I have written out. For this to be a bit more blind, I’m going to remove the description from the My Book page. I ask that you NOT click on the Amazon link before you make a recommendation, because I obviously can’t change that one just yet. So just tell me what you think! Here we go:

Option #1

A teenage girl walks into the office of Houston area private detective Andrew Banks a day before the office is set to open. But Mercedes is sent home before she’s able to disclose anything about why she’s there in the first place.

As instructed, she returns the following day after taking the night to think about why she needs a private detective, but still, she’s unable to give Banks any concrete information about her problem. All she knows is that her parents appear to be more combative than she’s ever seen them, and not much else.

Banks agrees to take her on as his first client thinking it’ll be a walk in the park, until he meets her parents. Alejandra is a stay-at-home mom who often buys herself things for all the work she does at home. Carlos is a banking manager who can no longer afford his wife’s constant buying.

Just when Carlos is on the verge of financial collapse, an old high school friend makes his way into his life. Carlos is offered a job that pays $10,000 a month and all he has to do is drive a car. That is, from Houston across the Mexican border and back again every two weeks with drugs being his only company during these long trips.

Now Carlos Vega wants out. Banks is ill-equipped to handle the case on his own, but he’s given no choice. Police intervention isn’t an option and an entire family entrusts him to get them out alive. He vows to do his best, but even that may not be enough.

Option #2

Houston area private eye Andrew Banks is hired by sixteen-year-old Mercedes Vega to determine what’s dividing her parents. As soon as he meets the rest of the Vega family he realizes that the situation is only one step from becoming dire. He puts the safety of the family over everything else until the case hits much too close to home and it becomes a race against a wealthy restaurant owner that ultimately turns deadly.

Okay, those are your choices! Don’t go on Amazon and cheat, please!