Feb 21 2011
So many interesting things out there on the internet today. First up we have a new blog by Stephanie Laurens in which she reaches out to the community of authors about her trepidation and excitement about the future of publishing. This definitely looks like an authorial community and I’ve got some thoughts about the topics she has brought up, but I won’t comment over there for fear of stifling the discussion, which, I think is fascinating. I hope that it isn’t taken private, as one commenter suggested, and the reason why is that I think these are voices that all in the publishing community needs to hear and I know readers will be heartened by Lauren’s comments that geographic restrictions don’t make much sense in today’s market.
Phillip Downer, a retail consultant and former Borders exec, wrote a short piece on the downfall of Borders. It really isn’t digital books but a series of mistakes in management (which does not bode well for the future of Borders as the management isn’t significantly different now).
Publishers’ Weekly wrote about the trickle down affect of the Borders’ downsizing.
The trickle-down impact will affect everyone from manufacturers to agents. Borders accounted for about 8% of overall industry sales, a higher percentage in some categories. A downsized Borders means publishers are likely to receive smaller orders and in turn place smaller first printings, resulting in less business for printers. The likelihood of lower print sales, one publisher said, means that books acquired one or two years ago when Borders was much bigger will have a more difficult time earning the advance back and that less shelf space could mean lower advances.
I got into it with a self pubbed author on Twitter. I know right? Who among you isn’t surprised? Actually, I was trying to avoid confrontation with everyone after having this epiphany about a new spirit of cooperation at Tools of Change but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I didn’t come to blows, but had strong disagreement with her statement (although apparently reading through her tweet stream, I possibly made her cry? Now don’t everyone get on twitter and attack her. She is entitled to her own opinions even if we strongly disagree with them). Her statement:
and my reply:
We do. We get queried by self published authors all day long and my response is always, “is this book professionally edited” and maybe 1 in 100 queries (if that) will respond in the affirmative. Self publishing doesn’t mean that you can skip all the steps in the publication process. It means, rather, than you eliminate middlemen in the supply chain and do it yourself. You are your own general contractor. Readers deserve and want self published books that are on par with what is put out by publishing houses. I don’t think that self publishing authors want readers to equate their work with terms like “homemade” or “subpar”.
There are costs to publishing books and when you go through a publisher, digital first or print, those costs are absorbed for the author in exchange for part of the author’s profit. I don’t mean to make anyone cry about this but I believe editing is an important part of ensuring quality.
Courtney Milan pointed me to this blog post by Amanda Hocking who points out self publishing is hard; likely harder than traditional publishing.
There are no tricks or schemes with self-publishing. It’s just about writing a good book, polishing it really well, getting a good cover, pricing it right, and putting it out there. There are no short cuts. If you want to be successful at this, you have to do the work.
I fully support self publishing, subsidy publishing (which is, in my vernacular, payment to someone else to help you through the self publishing process), coop publishing, and the like. But I also believe that editing, copyediting, good cover art is invaluable. Ms. Whitten did encourage me to look at her covers, as indicia of the quality of her books.
I’m sorry, but you have the impression that I “fire and forget” my ebooks, I guess. You might try looking at some of my book covers.
So I did. Probably Konrath’s biggest problem is that he never talks about the fact that self publishing books can cost an author money with no immediate returns. As someone else pointed out, the majority of traditionally published books never make any money so why would it be different for self published books? We can all get behind the idea of wanting quality works, regardless of how published, right?
On Friday, I blogged about how Barnes & Noble quietly got rid of the online discounting for books for readers with a BN Membership. Reader Lindsey emailed me screenshots from a survey BN asked her to take, suggesting that discounting may be coming back but that there may be a separate “digital membership.” Why they would not have something like this in place before discontinuing membership discounts for online book orders doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Click for larger images:
The International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) is proud to announce it’s Third Annual International Conference, hosted by the Fales Library and Special Collection of New York University, New York City, 26-28 June, 2011.
Keynote Speaker: Laura Kipnis (Northwestern University), author of Against Love: A Polemic.
Special student rates are available, as are rates for just one or two days of conference attendance, rather than the full conference fee.
Apple has decided that everyone who partnered with them in the past should pay them for the privilege of being mentioned in the same sentence or something. Readability App provides revenue to the content creators when people use its service to read things later. Apple’s new policy requiring an in app subscription at 30% revenue share basically means no money for Readability. Readability submitted an update for the app without the in app subscription and now Apple has rejected them. There are two sides to this and it’s pretty well represented in the comments. One side is Apple doesn’t have to provide you with the most optimal business model and that it is forcing apps to provide the optimal in app experience. The other side is that Apple has a stranglehold on the mobile market and that it is unfairly using its power to force unreasonable concessions. This other side is causing the Department of Justice and the FTC to look at Apple’s current practices. I don’t have anything concrete but I wonder if this move by Apple will result in the death of Agency pricing.
Finally, the review by RedHeadedGirl at Smart Bitches today of Virgina Henley’s Seduced makes me want to do a re-read. I seriously had forgotten the “CHOKED BY LEECHES” scene.