May 26 2011
Dear Ms. Chase:
I don’t have your email address but I had to write you to comment on a note a fan made on your behalf on the Smart Bitches site. You see, your book Captives of the Night(kind of a sequel to the Lord of Scoundrels) caught the attention of Sarah Wendell. But not in a good way. Your cover is poorly designed and it made Sarah wonder if it is was, well, self published. A reader emailed you to make sure that this was a book sold legitimately. Your response was thus:
BUT, I’m happy to report that the Kindle version of Captives is the first release in the process of an ongoing digitization of my back list—and yes, I’ve authorized it, and I get compensated. NYLA is my agent. Yes, sorry about the cover art, but they had to find public domain material, and I didn’t want to drag the process out by micromanaging the design.
I love your books. Love them. I think you are a shining star in the romance genre. I think your books are thoughtful and that you care about your readers and that your care and thought show in the quality of your work. But this is the problem of publishing with your agent who apparently knows jack all about self publishing. Nancy Yost is, by all accounts, an awesome agent, but she isn’t doing you any favors putting out a cover like this. You do not have to use public domain material. You see you can purchase stock art featuring ladies in historical dress. You can hire someone to design your cover. Yes, you do not want to micromanage the design but neither do you have to go with stock art that makes people wonder about the legitimacy of your publication.
P.S. Someone just emailed me to tell me that the book is not available on any other digital bookstore like nook, Kobo (international readers), Smashwords, or All Romance eBooks. If that is true, then I’m doubly sad.
Barry Eisler has made an about face from self publishing and has decided to sign with Amazon’s new mystery/thriller imprint for the publication of his next Rain novel. Eisler brokered the deal himself (and authors, I wouldn’t suggest this at home because Barry is a lawyer who practiced several years in Silicon Valley as an IP lawyer) and received an advance commensurate with what he was offered from St. Martin’s Press which Barry himself said was $500,000 for two books. The royalties for print are comparable and the digital royalties are much higher. Eisler said that the face he has creative control as well as the speed to market encouraged him to make the deal. With Konrath and Eisler going to Amazon for publishing, is self publishing no longer the best thing out there per these two authors?
I had previously presumed that advances weren’t part of the Amazon publishing scheme but I was wrong. WRONG. But the way I see it, Amazon is paying an advance, not just for the book, but for marketing services because Eisler and Konrath speak at a lot of conferences and have large writerly followings and Eisler and Konrath are essentially spreading the gospel of Amazon. That’s probably worth quite a lot to Amazon.
Speaking of Amazon and publishing, Sarah has an excellent piece on Amazon Montlake over at her blog.
I saw a tweet that the president of the ABA (American Bookseller Association) said that they were going to experiment with the hardcover + DRM free ebook in the fall. I don’t see this as anything as a niche (meaning only a few books will garner this type of interest at a premium price) or as a way to preserve print. But it fits with the publisher goal of trying to present DRM free as a premium feature and preserving print for as long as possible. Short sighted, in my opinion, but consistent.
Google says consumers love bundling. (Not sure which consumers Google is talking about) The impediment to bundles? Publishers not allowing discounts.
Google hopes to offer physical/digital book bundles, but publishers are standing in the way. “We’d love to get there. Consumers love bundling,” Dougall said. “But it’s up to the publishing industry to be more open-minded” about allowing discounts on bundles.
Bloomsbury has announced a new digital division designed to bring readers digital backlist titles.
Bloomsbury Reader, which will be run by digital media director Stephanie Duncan, is similar to Ed Victor’s Bedford Square Books,which he announced earlier this month. Bloomsbury Reader will publish books currently unavailable in print where all English language rights have reverted to the author or their estate and there is no edition currently in print. The books will be sold as e-books or print on demand titles at “affordable prices and to the highest quality specifications”
British women are pirating books at a higher rate than any other demographic in Britain. I suspect that a lot of this has to do with territorial restrictions. We need to get rid of those.
According to the firm’s annual Digital Entertainment Survey, one in eight women over age 35 who owns an e-reader admits to having downloaded an illegal version of an e-book. That compares to just one in 20 women in the same age group who admits to having pirated music.
Paid Content has a few snippets from the BISG study about readers. (I’m trying to get this through interlibrary loan. Wish me luck).
-“Power buyers” represent about 18 percent of the total people buying e-books today, but they buy 61 percent of all e-books purchased.
-The most influential factors leading to an e-book purchase are free samples and low prices.