Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday Midday Links: Waterstone’s Vampire Timeline

Waterstone’s developed a very cool graphic timeline (scroll to the left/right) of vampire books.  I’ve been told an updated version will appear with Anne Rice on it.   It includes classics and modern favorites.

We had a discussion here at Dear Author about the mother of modern paranormal romances.  Christine Feehan received the most votes.

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Samhain is celebrating with a 30% off coupon.  I highly recommend the Meg Benjamin Konisburg series.

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Wall Street Journal writes that discoverability is a problem for self published authors.  It’s a problem for every author, of course.  In a world of increasing content, it is harder and harder for an author to stand out, regardless of whether she is self published or traditionally published.  In 18 months, Bella Andre has made over $500,000 in self publishing whereas others have netted only $100 to $5000.  For authors like Bella Andre, Marie Force, and Barbara Freethy (who released a statement announcing her 1,000,000 ebook sale) self publishing is making writing more profitable than ever.

A few of these self published authors have had print releases recently and I’ve been watching their sales success.  Bella Andre’s print title from Grand Central published under the name Bella Riley, Home Sweet Home, didn’t hit any lists.  Barbara Freethy’s September releases did the following.

  • Silent Run, self published, $4.99 – High mark on the USA Today list was 33,  No. 11, 16 on the NYTimes eBook list
  • Silent Fall, self published, $4.99 – High mark on USA Today list was 91, No. 19, 27 on the NYTimes eBook list
  • Garden of Secrets, published by Pocket at $7.99, did not hit USAToday list

Courtney Milan’s self published, $.99 novella, propelled her onto the NYTimes and USA Today list, but her Harlequin title, Unclaimed, price at $5.99  made neither lists.

Robyn Carr’s Harlequin titles regularly make the top of the NYT list but her self published historical Chelynne ranked lower.  Chelynne was previously published by Little Brown (now part of Hachette) in 1980.  It was #96 on the USA Today list whereas her last original MIRA release, Harvest Moon, in February 2011 was #8 on the USA Today list.

Heather Killough-Walden has a release out from NAL beginning tomorrow and priced at $7.99.  Her previous self published titles were at $.99.

I’m not sure what to make of these data points. The data points are small and there are so many variables that it’s hard to draw one conclusion; however, for Freethy and Bella Andre and Courtney Milan, it looks like self publishing is still more successful than traditional publishing but maybe not for a big author like Robyn Carr.  Price could play some part in it although Freethy and Andre price their books at a robust $4.99 (both authors, though, play around with their prices quite a bit).

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There is a new retailer in the digital book market called aNobii.  It’s for British readers and allows them to buy books directly from the publisher, both print and digital.

If a book catches your interest on British social reading site aNobii, you’ll now be able to buy it directly from the publisher. The site, which is backed by HMV (LSE: HMV), HarperCollins UK, Penguin UK and Random House UK, just signed deals with 10 British publishers to sell books directly through the site. Meanwhile, a similar effort in the U.S., Bookish, is bogged down and delayed its launch.

Will British readers move away from Amazon, Waterstones, Kobo, and Sony?  I can’t imagine why unless there is more and better content on aNobii.

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I loved this blog post by Veronica Roth about the unconvinced reader.  I subscribe to an Amazon thread called “Dear Author Don’t” where readers share their reading peeves with other readers.  The readers cite examples of everything from too many redheads to descriptive words they can’t stand.  But ultimately, I think the readers are responding to general unhappiness with the book that they read.  Truly, an author can do anything so long as she convinces the reader.

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Digital book ownership is a looming legal issue but Douglas County Libraries have attempted to avoid the hazards of parsing out whether a purchase is a lease or a sale by striking deals directly with publishers.

The new deals follow a similar partnership that was struck between the library and the Colorado Independent Publishers Association in March. All the deals are part of the strategy being pursued by LaRue to demonstrate that the library remains in the digital age a trustworthy steward and owner of intellectual content, and that the library can reliably guard against capricious copying.

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The Kobo Vox deliveries are delayed according to Nate at the Digital Reader. I never received an email cancelling my order, telling me it was delayed or that shipment has occurred.  This is kind of disturbing and I hope that Kobo works things out.  Nate also reports that BN is readying a new Nook announcement for November 7.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

21 Comments

  1. Brie
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 10:47:06

    Barbara Freethy’s books are reissues, right? That might have something to do with it. Maybe her fans or readers curious about her work, are jumping to the opportunity to get books that until now were out of print and hard to get? You could also argue the opposite since it makes no sense that reissues are selling more than new books. But it’s interesting to see how some authors are finding so much success by self-publishing whereas others not so much, and this happens regardless of their fame because Roby Carr is a huge name and her book didn’t sell as well…

  2. Jane
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 10:53:38

    @Brie: I’m not sure what of her books are reissues and what are original works. In the case of reissues, though, they generally do sell less. If you look at the USAToday bestseller list, Robyn Carr had three re-releases of a series in the past few months and while they sold well, they registered around 80-100 on the USA Today list compared to her releases of new fiction.

    Chelynne by Robyn Carr is also a re-release and it didn’t do as well as her new books (but about the same as her other re-releases).

    For Freethy, maybe she isn’t putting the same promotion muscle behind her trad books because she is making less money from them?

  3. Christine
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:21:24

    Thanks for the posting the comparison of Robyn Carr releases. I had read some of earlier works years ago but they were in hardcover library bindings and I never mentally connected her as the contemporary author until you mentioned “Chelynne.” I will have to give one of her modern novels a try or revisit some of her older works to see if they hold up for me now.

  4. Brian
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:24:57

    Harlequin also has a Halloween discount code out…

    Enter “HALLOW3111″ to get 31% off list on ebooks and pbooks today only.

  5. joanne
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:33:28

    With authors who aren’t auto-buys for me it’s all about the tropes. Courtney Milan’s Unclaimed storyline didn’t appeal to me even though it was getting great reviews. Ditto for Carr’s Chelynne and Freethy’s Garden of Secrets.

    It wasn’t a matter of who or how the stories were published because I don’t care. No help from me obviously – just another point to muddy the sales-figures waters.

  6. Jane
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:36:59

    @joanne: I don’t think it muddies the waters because it is another data point. Data points are always worthwhile.

  7. Brian
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:39:25

    The Vampire timeline is interesting, but missing so many. No Barbara Hambly, No Tanya Huff blood books, No Fevre Dream by George RR Martin, and many more. Of course there are hundereds more from the past few years too. I get the need to limit it, but as it is right now it seems to short.

  8. Kim
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:45:38

    I would have a real problem purchasing an initial self-published book from a previously unpublished writer at anything over $1.00. If it’s an established writer that I’ve read over the years and is moving into self-publishing, then the price point isn’t as important. I liked the work in the past, so I would purchase their new ebooks.

    With traditional publishing, there is a minimal standard of quality that must be met. A reader may still hate the end result, but overall, there are experienced people (editors and agents) ushering these books through the publication process. There are also plenty of reviews and blogs on which the consumer can make an informed decision.

    With self-publishing, basically anyone can put up a book. It might be the best book ever written or entirely a vanity piece. There is no way to know right now except through word of mouth and/or a sneak peek of the material. Reviews just aren’t as plentiful as with traditional publishing. Many authors, such as Courtney Milan, are going to the added expense of hiring professional editors to put out the best product possible. I have no way of knowing if this is the norm or not.

    So while there is a lot of excitement by authors on the possibilities of self-publishing, I think it’s still in its infancy and it will be interesting to see how things play out. It will take time for new writers to overcome the belief that if their work was really good, a traditional publisher would have signed them. It helps that John Locke and Amanda Hocking disproved this bias.

  9. DianeN
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 13:24:30

    I suspect that Robyn Carr’s lack of sales of the reissue of Chelynne is due to the fact that it’s an old historical romance. Ms. Carr’s huge success came to her thanks to the contemporary world of Virgin River, and evidently her loyal readers aren’t willing to follow her back to the court of Charles II. At my library we have all of the Virgin River books as well as Chelynne and a few of her other older historicals. The historicals haven’t circulated at all despite continuing demand for the Virgin River titles.

  10. Brian
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 13:52:12

    The Kobo Vox deliveries are delayed according to Nate at the Digital Reader.

    My order status says “processing” (not that I’m sure what that means).

    I know they’re saying they had a lot of demand, but the only note on their site if you go to order now is…

    Due to overwhelming demand, your order may be delayed up to 5 business day. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  11. Jane
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 13:59:11

    My Kobo account doesn’t even show that I purchased the Vox despite getting an email confirmation minutes after I completed the purchase. I suspect I am not getting one.

  12. Linda Hilton
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 14:14:15

    Re digital re-publishing — and then there are those of us whose publishers refuse to give us the rights back to books that have been out of print for 15 years and not only won’t revert the rights but also APPEAR to be doing everything they can to sabotage their own “reissue” of the titles.

    Please see http://lindahilton.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-i-hate-publishers.html

  13. Estara
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 14:25:17

    Heh.

    Now I know why I got a recent German domain reseller’s e-mail trying to make me sell bookish.net. They didn’t tell me who really wanted it, though. I’ve had that domain since 2004 and I’m not that poor – and the offer wasn’t that amazing. I wonder how much the reseller was going to keep for themselves. I also wonder why the people behind Bookish didn’t contact me directly. A casual glance at my retired blog should have made them aware I can speak English.

  14. Brian
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 14:35:36

    @Jane: Their setup is a bit weird. If I go and login to my regular account there is no trace of a Vox order. You have to go to https://www.kobo.com/customer/account/ and login there to see your Vox order (apparently their eReaders are on a separate system from their ebooks). I tried logging in with my regular email and password and couldn’t get in. I had to do the forgot password and use the password they emailed me to get in.

    I’ve gotten a total of two emails from them IIRC. The first was when I ordered and it had “New Order” and an order # in the subject. Now today I got one that says Invoice # xxxxxx for Order # xxxxxx.

  15. Jane
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 17:45:52

    @Brian Success. I have an order “pending”. Looks like I am not getting one anytime soon.

  16. Brian
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 22:36:42

    @Jane: That sucks. I hope mine ships soon.

    Kobo has a 25% off coupon (exp Nov 4) due to the Vox shipping problems [you don’t have to have ordered a Vox for it to work. “vox25oct28″

  17. CK
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 23:34:24

    So after an ultra busy Halloween night, I went to use the Samhain coupon (9:30PST)…expired. Sigh. No love for us West Coasters. LOL.

  18. Evangeline
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 03:43:24

    @DianeN: Which is a shame since I love Carr’s historicals. Meaty, sexy, and emotional.

  19. jmc
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 08:03:46

    @Jane:

    Chelynne by Robyn Carr is also a re-release and it didn’t do as well as her new books (but about the same as her other re-releases).

    I read Chelynne years ago as a library book. While I enjoyed it, I would have to say that Carr’s early historicals are VASTLY different from her current work, being of the epic historical variety, lots of melodrama, etc., so readers looking for a Virgin River-type book probably wouldn’t be interested or buy it.

  20. LG
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 08:46:11

    Thanks for the news about the Samhain code – I was able to get most of what was left on my Samhain wishlist. I’m looking forward to reading Jordan Castillo Price’s Hemovore and Josh Lanyon’s Mummy Dearest, although my shopping cart also had a lot of steampunk in it.

  21. Lynnd
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 10:27:12

    Thanks Jane for letting me know that Robyn Carre has released at least one of her old historicals(hopefully she will be releasing the rest of them). I loved them back in the day and had no idea she was doing this. I don’t follow her current writing at all and I did not see anything anywhere that she was self-publishing her backlist. Lack of publicity may explain why her self-published re-releases are not doing as well as her Harlequin-published titles.

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