Posts Tagged 'Smashwords'

Off Topic Rant: Why Readers NEED Independently Publishing Authors!

Quoting Irene Goodman (a literary agent with her own agency) from an article in the September 2010 issue of RWR – the monthly  publication of Romance Writers of America:

“It’s always sad when an earnest author spends years working on something that absolutely no one is interested in, except a few geeks and hobbyists. Let’s say you want to write historical fiction…you must pick a marquee name. If you fall madly in love with the story of some obscure Norwegian king, please don’t think you’re going to convince the world to love it, too… Even if the Norwegian king had some kind of interesting hook or quality, readers are more likely to be interested in the queen. Learn (KRIS SAYS: and by this she means “write”) what is commercial (KRIS SAYS: and by this she means “already popular”).”

I am going to make the startling observation that engaging stories are always about people – of both genders, duh – and plot. It’s their settings that make them stand out in a crowded market. Based on Ms. Goodman’s viewpoint, how many fascinating historical stories are being passed over because they aren’t about kilted Scottish warriors or English Regency dukes?

The Good News for Readers: with independent publishing on the rise, you WILL be allowed to choose these unique stories. And then, you may fall in love with ANY king you wish!

Kris <–apparently a geek/hobbyist 🙂

“A Woman of Choice” is now available:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/22944

Kindle & Paperback coming soon!

Official release date: September 8


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The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 11: Spawning New Entrepreneurs!

In the new world of “Author-Straight-To-Public” publishing, tasks done by the traditional houses now fall on the author. But few of us are graphic artists/video competent/promotional whizzes. And we have already discussed how impossible it is to successfully edit our own work!

This is the moment when energetic go-getters will sit up and say, “But I AM a graphic artist/video competent/a promotional whiz/an experienced and competent editor! I should offer my services!”

Bingo.

Let’s say I want to independently publish my Ecuadorian same-sex vampire historical time-travel epic because – at 250,000 words – I’m having a hard time convincing the NY publishers to take a chance on it. Where do I start?

Obviously, the first thing is to get it polished. Enter ENTREPRENEUR #1: Independent Editors! For a fee (a penny a word is what I’ve seen bandied about) they will edit your manuscript and clean it up. Make it shine. Worth every – literally – penny!

Next, I need a cover. If I don’t have any art background, or am not techie enough to do it myself, I’ll want to hire someone to design it for me.

Enter ENTREPRENEUR #2: Freelance Book Cover Designers! These professional artists will design your cover to match your expectations – and your actual characters. Here are two I have met, though there are many more out there: Anastasia Rabiyah: www.rabiyahbooks.com and Dawne’ Dominique www.dawnedominique.com (Contact info is on their websites.)

But what if I DO have some skills? Where can I get the components to put together my OWN cover? Enter ENTREPRENEUR #3: Freelance Cover Models! Okay, I used the plural here. But honestly, the only one I have found (Do you know of others? Please share!) is Jimmy Thomas.

On his site, Romance Novel Covers Jimmy poses both alone and with female models in a variety of costumes and settings. Don’t be put off by the name: professionally shot, the photos are perfect for a variety of genres! And they are very reasonably priced.

Brilliant, Jimmy.

Now that I’m edited and have a cover, I can upload to CreateSpace, Kindle, Nook, iBooks (But only if I own a Mac. In typical Apple fashion they aren’t playing nicely with others), and Smashwords (who covers ALL formats – even iBook. So there.) on my own. But how do potential readers know I’m worth it?

ENTREPRENEUR #4: Freelance Reviewers! There are a ton of blogs and websites that will review your book for free. One, however, takes it a step further: Apex Reviews. For a very reasonable fee, they will review your book, create a trailer, and post it everywhere.

Speaking of which, ENTREPRENEUR #5: Book Trailer companies! A caveat to this: most of their prices are so high that I’m not sure they drive enough traffic to justify the expenditure. But you CAN make your own trailer very simply with PowerPoint and a conversion program.

Which brings us to ENTREPRENEUR #6: Teaching Other Authors! I teach classes on creating your own Book Trailer through Savvy Authors (Check it out if you are interested!). MANY authors teach classes through a variety of websites! And we all make a little money doing it. But the entrepreneurs RUNNING the classes? They make a lot.

Are you getting the point? If there is a corner of the publishing market that independent authors need filled, quick-acting and skilled entrepreneurs can jump in… ARE jumping in.

Is there an unmet need that you have as an author? Post it here and we’ll see if anyone can help… Or start a business! 🙂

An Off-Cycle Post RE: An Exchange with Romance Writers of America Regarding Shifts in Publishing

Being a wheel that simply cannot keep itself from squeaking, I decided to ask RWA to clarify its stance on “published.”

RWA has very justifiable qualifications in place before they will consider an author legitimately published. These guidelines are intended to protect authors from mills and vanity presses whose main source of income is the author’s own pocket. They prey on the hopes and dreams of new writers and are despicable in my view. No author published through this route is adequately vetted, can recoup their investment, nor will their book sell in any numbers.

That said, new avenues in independent publishing (e-publishing on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords with no-minimum-purchase, print-on-demand options for paperback copies) have opened up which are NOT the same sort of thing at all. So I went to the RWA site, copied out their criteria, added my own observations, and sent it off. Here is that email:

From: Kristin Tualla
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 7:08 PM
Subject: Question about Vanity Presses & PAN

My question specifically targets CreateSpace, Kindle, Smashwords & Nook. Here is what the RWA website says about qualifying for Pan (Published Authors Network) with my questions/comments in CAPS:

Eligible Novel: A work of Romance Fiction of at least 40,000 words (as determined by computer word count) that is offered for sale in a readable or audio format to the general public by a publisher, for which the author receives payment as stipulated in a written contract from a publisher WOULDN’T THIS BE THE ROYALTY AGREEMENT?

and for which the author does not participate in the costs of production in any manner including but not limited to publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing, preparation, and/or distribution. NONE OF THE PUBLISHERS I LISTED CHARGES THE AUTHOR ANY FEES TO PUBLISH THEIR MANUSCRIPTS. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.

A novel does not qualify if the publisher withholds or seeks full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs. NONE OF THE PUBLISHERS LISTED CHARGE ANY FEES, NOR DO THEY WITHHOLD PAYMENT. IN FACT, THEY PAY FASTER THAN TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS DO, AND SALES NUMBERS ARE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE TO THE AUTHOR AT ANY TIME.

The work must not be exclusively promoted and/or sold by the author or have distribution that is primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and/or associates. MY NON-FICTION CRAFT BOOK HAS SOLD 99% TO COMPLETE STRANGERS AND I EXPECT MY NOVEL TO DO THE SAME. THE BOOK IS PROMOTED ON MULTIPLE WEBSITES. THE PAPERBACK IS ON SALE IN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES, AMAZON.COM AND B&N.COM, AND THE E-BOOK IS ON THE PUBLISHER SITES LISTED ABOVE, PLUS GOODNIGHT PUBLISHING AS THE FIRST OFFERING FROM THIS LABEL.

So, can authors qualify for PAN using these publishers if they make $1000.00 in royalties a 12-month period? It seems to me that they should be able to, based on the criteria listed. Thank you for your time!

Their prompt and encouraging reply:

From: Carol Ritter
Sent: Friday, June 04, 2010 9:26 AM
Subject: Re: Question about Vanity Presses & PAN

Hi Kris,
Your email sent to RWA’s info@ email address was forwarded to me. Staff does not create policy, we merely follow the policies approved by RWA’s Board of Directors.  I will forward your email to RWA’s BoD today so that they may discuss your questions regarding Eligible Novel, Vanity Presses and PAN membership. Their next scheduled meeting is on July 26, 2010.
(Kris says: this meeting will be held at RWA’s Annual National Conference.)

Sincerely,
Carol Ritter
Professional Relations Manager
Romance Writers of America

And my reply to her, sent today:

Thank you, Carol!

There are – admittedly – some horrible presses that feed on the uneducated and charge authors $500-$4500 to “publish” them. These predatory Vanity Presses must remain excluded in the category created for them by RWA.

But with the rise of Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords (with CreateSpace or Lulu as the printer of POD paper copies) where the author is not charged any fees, publishing has shifted yet again. If an author uploads a manuscript – and makes $1000 or more in a year with royalties – it would seem that they should be considered legitimately published by RWA’s standards. After all, the public considers them published, and has spoken with their wallet.

I await the decision with an active blog’s worth of readers behind me. We are all curious as to what the ruling will be!

~~~~

So, readers, I will give you the response as soon as I received it. If you don’t already subscribe to this blog, please do so  – you don’t want to miss it!


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Authorpreneur Kris Tualla

www.KrisTualla.com

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