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My Thoughts For Today


Opinion: Authors, Please Leave Your Sense of Entitlement at the Door

Headshot of Alison Morton

British thriller writer Alison Morton, lets off steam about her frustration with indie authors with the wrong attitude to self-publishing: a sense of entitlement.

You’re not. Entitled, I mean. To anything. Well, not in the book world.

I’m going to get into severe and profound trouble in writing this, but calm little soul that I am, I’ve reached that point of explosion. I’m fed up with attitude, specifically bad attitude.

Where I’m Coming From

Four thrillers already published and book five under way...

I’m a moderately successful indie author with four books (so far) out in print and ebook which have been fortunate to have gathered some reader fans, lovely reviews and credible awards. I talk shop with fellow writers in my genres – historical (especially Roman), romance and thriller – and with writers mainstream, indie and hybrid as well as publishers and agents. While I love being indie, but I’m not so snooty that I wouldn’t consider a Big 5 offer. (It would have to be seriously significant, though. ? )

You’ve gathered by now I’m ecumenical. I’m passionate about indie education, quality, standards and ethics. Serious indies have their work peer reviewed, beta read, edited, and commission professional covers, interior design, formatting. Some talented authors commit time to learning how to do this themselves, but only a proportion reach a professional level.  And then there’s the marketing…

Indie panel photo

So career-minded indies don’t sit on their hands. They also research their area, attend professional development classes, cultivate persistence and stamina, and network the Hades out of themselves. They should be proud of themselves; I know I am.

But that doesn’t make them entitled.

‘We demand a hearing.’, ‘It’s unfair.’, ‘Why don’t you stock my book?’, ‘Why aren’t I on the panel?’, ‘Why won’t you buy my book?, ‘I’m entitled to a chance.’

Perhaps I’ve been guilty of some of these, hopefully not the last. On a personal note, I’ve been door-stepped in bookshops by inexpert indies. One even followed me round Waterstones demanding I should buy his book ‘in solidarity’. Bleating and whinging doesn’t sound nice to people you’re trying to impress.

Alison and Liesel in conversation in front of the bookshop audience

Indies have had to make extra efforts to convince readers, organisations, shops and event organisers that they are worth listening to. And we’ve had to be nimble on our feet in making and seizing marketing opportunities, so much so that mainstream publishers have given us the ultimate flattery of copying our techniques. But innovation and quick-wittedness don’t belong exclusively to us.

Misplaced Entitlement in the Trade-published Sector

Perhaps we’ve reached the stage where we *are* being heard. But now I’m hearing disquieting mutterings from friends across the writing and publishing spectrum. Some mainstream authors feel pushed out by indies taking over by sheer force of numbers, others consider indies haven’t trodden the long and hard route via multiple rejection to agent then publisher that they, the traditionally published have. That’s a whole other discussion, but reflects another kind of ‘entitlement’.

All routes are hard; writing and publishing isn’t for cissies. And nobody owes you anything, however wonderful you think your book (even mine!) is or how it’s published.

Personally, I’ve never accepted that I’m supposed to have a different status from any other writer whose books are commercially available. These days, I’m more interested in discussing Roman ball-bearings with Conn Iggulden or Roman detective Falco’s antics with Lindsey Davis than proclaiming ‘the cause’. I was very proud to chair the panel on ’The Brass Tacks of Self-Publishing’ at the Historical Novel Society conference in Denver this summer, but equally pleased to have co-led a workshop on social media for authors at the 2014 HNS conference, participated on a crime panel at Charroux Litfest and to be talking about historical research at a ChipLitFest writing day in November.

Photo of Alison and Lindsey together

The Real Challenge to All Authors

We have arrived; the indie revolution has happened. But let’s leave the fierce, sometimes savage, war cries behind and mature into an established sector of publishing. Let’s be dignified and assured in our behaviour as well as writing great books.

Our ‘competition’ is the non-reader and other leisure activities that seduce our potential readers, not colleagues published differently.

Oh, and you still won’t be entitled to anything.

NOTE from Gloria Antypowich : Changing in the text under “The Real Challenge to All Authors” to bold was done by me. I felt this was was very important.  

To read the original post click here

 

Watchdog: Ingram Spark vs CreateSpace for Self-publishing Print Books

ALLi Watchdog Giacomo Giammatteo provides an invaluable detailed analysis of the two biggest print service providers for indie authors, Ingram (via its two different subsets, Lightning Source – for publishers of many books – and Ingram Spark – for individual self-publishers) and Amazon’s CreateSpace.

I have done a few posts on printing for the self-published author, but the more I play around with social media, the more confusion I see among indie authors. Most of the confusion stems from misinformation or old information regarding the two biggest players in the indie author printing game—CreateSpace and Ingram (either Spark or Lightning Source).

First, to clear up a simple thing that always bothers me—it’s Lightning Source, not Lightening Source. There is no ‘e’ in the name, just like there is no ‘e’ in the lightning that you see during a storm.

And to clear up a few other misconceptions—there are lots of options available to indie authors. InChoosing a Self-Publishing Service, Mick Rooney and I covered quite a few possibilities, and Mick’s site The Independent Publishing Magazine has plenty of articles on those options. But for this post, we’re only going to deal with two options—CreateSpace and Ingram Spark.

What To Compare

Determining what to compare is a major consideration for a blog post. If we go into detail on all the choices, it would require a book to do a proper justification. We don’t have time for a book, so I picked what seems to be the biggest concerns for most indie authors.

FEATURES CREATESPACE INGRAM SPARK
Cost Per Copy B&W 4.45 4.86
Cost of Setup $0 $49**
Discount 40/60%* 40/55%*
Distribution Amazon/Extended Worldwide
ISBN Yes Yes
Quality Very Good Excellent
Shipping Exc. US/Int’l okay Very Good US/Int’l excellent

Analysis

For the above chart I used a sample of a 300-page B&W book. Paperback, 6×9, perfect bound, gloss finish, and cream paper.

Cost Per Copy

This is straightforward. CS costs 41c less than Spark.

Cost of Setup

This isn’t quite as straightforward. CS costs nothing. Spark costs $49…however, if you are a member of ALLi, that fee is only $37.50, and they also waive the $12 yearly fee.

Discount

This is one of the big factors in making a decision, and it is the one that confuses most indie authors. I’ll try to break it down to simple terms.

  • CreateSpace takes 40% when you sell on Amazon.
  • CreateSpace takes 60% for expanded distribution (other online stores, libraries and bookstores).
  • With Spark you can choose whether to allow 40% or 55% for distribution. (LS allows lower discounts, and I have reason to believe Spark will in the future.)

This is all very important.

Most of the authors I speak with know very little about discounts and how they work. They simply sign up with CS and go about business. But remember, you’re not just an author; you are now in business for yourself, and you should pay attention to the details, especially discounts.

Let’s Take a Little Page Time to Review the Basics

Your print book is sold either online or through bookstores. If you are selling online (Amazon, B&N, Books–A–Million, etc.) and you have no intentions of trying to be “stocked” in the brick-and-mortar stores, the following examples are for you. CS offers only one discount for “expanded distribution” (which means everything outside of Amazon, such as B&N, libraries, BAM, etc.). The discount is 60%.

Ingram offers 40% or 55% discount options (LS offers 30% and even 20%). Please note—neither one of these options will result in brick-and-mortar stores stocking your book. They will order it if a customer requests the title, but they won’t stock it. Here is the breakdown based on using Ingram’s 40% discount and CS’s 60% discount.

Let me show you what this looks like in terms of earnings for you based on each company’s price of a 300-page b&w book with their respective discounts at the different retailers. The table shows the CS discount to Amazon and expanded distribution. Ingram shows the options for 40%.

BASED ON RETAIL PRICE OF $15 PROFIT IF SOLD ON AMAZON PROFIT IF SOLD ANYWHERE ELSE
CreateSpace 4.55 1.55
Ingram Spark 4.14 4.14

Spark shows only the 40% option for this chart so that we’re comparing apples to apples. If you don’t plan on active distribution into brick-and-mortar stores, you can keep your discount at Spark to 40%. That means with every book sold, no matter where it’s sold, you’ll earn $4.14. With CS you’ll only earn $4.55 on Amazon. All books sold at B&N (Barnes & Noble), or BAM (Books-A-Million), or any stores that happen to order from you, will earn you $1.55. That’s a big difference.

And if you’re thinking…but I want to get into bookstores, so I need the 55% discount…That’s fine. But then you’re not comparing apples to apples, because you’re not getting stocked in stores with CS, not without the stores getting a true industry-standard discount and the books being returnable, neither one of which CS does. If you have an account at LS, you can opt for the 30% discount and earn an additional $1.50 per book.

Bookstores

Keep in mind that when we talk about discounts, this is the amount you are discounting the book off the retail price. This is not the amount of discount the bookstore receives. As an example—a 55% discount with Ingram means the bookstores receive a 40% discount off the retail price. So if your book retails at $15, the bookstores would buy it from Ingram at $9. Ingram keeps 15% ($2.25). You would be credited $6.75 ($15–55%) for each sale, from which you would have to deduct the cost of printing the book (4.86), which leaves you a profit of $1.89.

I tell you this so you don’t misinform the bookstores and tell them to expect a 55% discount. They’ll understand, but it will make you look naive. The easiest way to inform them is to say that you offer the “industry-standard discount,” and that the books are available from Ingram and are returnable. Read more about returns in the post on my site.

Will Bookstores Stock My CreateSpace Books?

There is a long-standing myth about bookstores not stocking books from CS because they are owned by Amazon. I’m sure a few of the bookstores take a firm stand, but the real reason that most bookstores won’t stock CS books is purely economics.

CS charges the author 60% for expanded distribution, but the bookstores only receive about 25%. The breakdown looks like this.

On a $15 sale, CS takes $9 and you get $6. From that $6, you need to deduct the cost of the book, which is $4.45, leaving you a profit of $1.55. From this example, you would think that the bookstores get $9, but they don’t. They don’t even get close to that, and here’s the reason why.

CS uses Ingram for distribution. Ingram is the world’s biggest distributor of books, so for all channels except Amazon, CS books are distributed through Ingram.

Ingram gets approximately 15% of the cut, and CS takes about 15–20%. That leaves 25% for the bookstores. That’s not enough to make them even consider stocking the book, but they will order it if a customer asks.

The bottom line is that with all Ingram books, you can earn $4.14 per book, no matter where it’s sold. If you are with LS and opt for the 30% discount, you’ll earn $5.64 per book. The math is simple. Even if you pay the full amount for setup ($49 + $12), you would only need to sell 23 books through Ingram to break even. If you opt for the 30% discount (LS for now) you only need to sell 14 books to break even.

Returns

If you don’t plan on aggressively pursuing brick-and-mortar stores, don’t choose the 55% discount, and don’t make the books returnable.

ISBNs

CS offers several options for ISBNs. The free and $10 options are only good if you only want to distribute solely through CS; they can’t be used anywhere else. The $99 option can be used elsewhere, but not if you opt into expanded distribution. Here’s why.

As we already discussed, CS uses Ingram for distribution. So if you purchase the CS ISBN and opt for expanded distribution, when you go to publish with Ingram and use the same ISBN, it will show as already being in their system, as CS has it assigned.

There are two ways around this.

  • Buy the CS ISBN for $99 but do not opt into the expanded distribution.
  • Buy an ISBN from Ingram Spark (less money) and use that for both Ingram and CS.

Of course the other option is to use your own ISBN, which is my preferred choice.

Shipping

CS has an edge on shipping in the US. It is fast, easy, and inexpensive. Ingram has an edge on shipping internationally. It is fast, easy, and far less expensive. The reason is simple. Ingram has printing facilities in the UK, AU, and partner agreements in Germany and other countries. I can ship a book to a customer in Australia almost as inexpensively as I can other parts of the US using Ingram. Ingram does charge a $1.50 surcharge per order for shipping though, and CS doesn’t.

A Good Option

What I do is use both CS and Ingram. I use CS for the advantages it offers:

  • Fast and good distribution to Amazon.
  • Fast and affordable shipping to US customers.
  • Shipping “review copies” to bloggers and/or for giveaways like on Goodreads.

And I use Ingram for the advantages it offers:

  • Distribution to all stores except Amazon.
  • Fast and affordable shipping to international customers.
  • Shipping high-quality copies as samples to bookstores, for autographed copies, etc.

Bottom Line

Each person has to look at their own situation and determine what strategy suits them best. For some, it might be CS only. For others Ingram only. For most, though, I think you’ll find the combination of using both CS and Ingram offers the best solutions for all of your needs.

If you want a more detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of each, check out the two-part post I did on my site.

If You Enjoyed This Post, Please Share.

This post is based on a real life happening and it is very poignant for me. Yesterday I received a phone call that related an incident involving my mother who is in her 90s. Tears filled my eyes as I listened, and my heart was filled with many emotions–wonder, sadness and compassion. (more…)

I encourage readers and authors to click on this Change.org link and sign the petition to request that Amazon change its “You Know This Author Policy.”  Amazon is deciding which reviews will be accepted and posted for individual books, showing no respect for the readers who buy books from their sites and take time to express their thoughts about what they have read in a review.

Amazon is so big, I actually do not expect that they will listen to us. Because of it’s massive audience, no author can afford to totally ignore Amazon, but at this time having all your reviews in one place is not healthy for an author or for potential readers

Amazon  is not the only game in town and I think we all need to reach beyond it  As individuals we can reach out to other reviewer and reader groups to avoid the dictatorship of one monopoly–check out Good Reads (who at this time has many readers and authors and while it is owned by Amazon, it is not being restricted in the same way), Indie Writer Support and BooksGoSocial.

Jas Ward started this petition. Please read what she has written.

 

In the world where both Indie and Traditional authors are using all tools available to try to get their latest books out to the reader, it’s essential for the authors and their associates to use social media: IE: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

With that being said, a reader is therefore going to have cookies and data when they see that interaction and very likely would have LIKED and/or followed the authors pages, profiles and other avenues being a fan of the author’s work.  They are fans after all–they want to know what an author does and their current news and title releases. 

Your current process of removing reviews that a reader has created to show their honest & sincere opinion on a book is not fair and cripples the review process more than assists. 

In the days of the negative trend where those who wish an author harm are using reviews to hurt sales or the author’s confidence, this policy makes zero sense, as the individuals that are instructed or wish to harm are most likely NOT a fan and or follower and therefore would most likely NOT to have as many cookies, data tracks as a good, loyal fan would. 

We the authors, fans, reviews, bloggers and other individuals in the industry ask that you please consider how the review process is done. By using a reader’s other accessible history to determine if they are worthy of leaving a review by knowledge of an author, is not a fair one. A real fan of any person would, of course, have links to someone they respect and follow and therefore they should have the right to leave a review. 

The review process has taken so much heat in the last few years, and while we appreciate Amazon trying to make it a respected tool for a buyer when deciding a purchase, this aspect of your system is not a fair or just part. 

Therefore, we are asking that you consider all the above and review your internal policy on tracking a reviewers history. It is not fair nor is it just and we the readers, authors and all-around lovers of books ask that it be stopped. 

Thank you. 

If any signers have any additional input/info, I can be found and contacted via my Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJasTWard

 

Letter to
Amazon.com
Amazon
Change the “You Know This Author” Policy

Updates

  1. 4 weeks ago
    12,500 supporters
  2. 4 weeks ago
    Featured in Adweek

     
    Self-Published Author Challenges Amazon's Review Policy
    Jas Ward, an author who has self-published five books in the Kindle store, is challenging Amazon with a Change.org petition after one of her readers was unable to post a review of her book on the site. The petition, which has already garnered more than 11,000 signatures is calling on Amazon to…
  3. 1 month ago
    Featured in the Guardian

     
    Amazon accused of 'Big Brother' tactics over customer reviews
    If you interact with an author in any way online, beware: Amazon might decide that you’re “friends” and ban you from leaving a review of their latest book.

  4. Wow, what a movement this has become. We are getting notice and that’s incredible. When this petition hits 10K we will call it a success and send it on to Amazon. We are only 2393 supporters away from that goal. Please keep…

    17 comments
  5. 1 month ago
    7,500 supporters
  6. 1 month ago
    Petition update

    Wow, it hasn’t even been a day and we already have more than 375 supporters and more than 450 individuals have viewed our petition. Please keep sharing the link and asking others to consider signing. We will get the…


    Jas Ward started this petition
 

 
 

(more…)

 

 

 

 

I am sharing this great post from livewritethrive.com

C.S. Lakin is an accomplished Author/Editor, who has written several books about writing. Last fall I bought Say What? and I  have found it to be a valuable resource. (It has a bit of humor woven into the serious business too!)

Say-What-front-cover

 

Take the pain out of learning good grammar! With short, sometimes snarky entries, Say What? provides answers to your most common questions at your fingertips.

Buy Say What? here on Amazon.

 

 

5 Tірѕ for Mаkіng Wrіtіng a Dаіlу Hаbіt

 

colored-pencils-150x150

What does it tаkе tо bесоmе a wrіtеr? Dо уоu еаrn the tіtlе of аuthоr thе mоmеnt your wrіtіng is published оr thе mоmеnt ѕоmеbоdу рауѕ you fоr іt? Of course nоt! Yоu become a writer whеn wrіtіng becomes part оf уоur dаіlу routine.

Yоu bесоmе a writer when you wrіtе аѕ іf іt іѕ a jоb аnd nоt ѕіmрlу аn асtіvіtу in which уоu іndulgе whеn іnѕріrаtіоn and ѕраrе tіmе mаkе it convenient to do ѕо. Unfоrtunаtеlу, trаnѕіtіоnіng frоm a реrѕоn whо wrіtеѕ to a wrіtеr (more…)

50!: “THE LIFE, LOVES & PSYCHE OF A MALE MID-LIFE CRISIS: Volume 1 – The Journey” by Author Cory Y. Standby

This is the story of life. It is about love and relationships; about the importance of family; about how real life and human emotions invariably mess each of these up. It looks at death, divorce and dating; losing loved ones; family feuds and other intertwined issues; grief and stress and how we seek to cope (or spectacularly fail to do so) with all that fate and fortune throws at us on our journey through life. It is a series of personal anecdotes intertwined with the author’s view of the world, both then as it happened and especially now he is older and hopefully much wiser. It is written with the benefit of hindsight. If he had had such clarity and understanding at the time, much of it would never have happened. But he didn’t. As we all know: “To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid”

Read a sample here

The book can be purchased on Amazon.com

To visit and learn more about Indie Writers Support go to 

 

 

The Results Are In: 2015 Reader Survey

With nearly 6,000 respondents–twice as many as in 2013–readers have let us know their thoughts on a wide range of topics. We discovered that ebooks are still hot, Amazon and iBooks are growing, Nook is down a little, most readers aren’t jumping to join subscriber services and Facebook remains the primary way that readers connect with their favorite authors.

Click here to read an executive summary of the results.

Click here to view the summary in table format.

Click here to review the raw data.

 

 Everyone wants to Live at the top of the Mountain, but all happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.”  Andy Rooney

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Gloria Antypowich does it again!, 20 July 2015
By mbsgreg (British Columbia, Canada) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Full Circle (The Belanger Creek Ranch Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
“Full Circle is the second book in the Belanger Creek Ranch Series and it doesn’t disappoint. I enjoyed the first book The Second Time Around so much that I thought I would give Full Circle a read and just like the first book, I found all of the characters real and endearing and I found myself rooting for them.

I loved the relationship the characters Colt and Frank have developed since the first book. They have a marriage filled with love and devotion to their children and ‘family’, which includes their closest friends. Without giving away too many details, their marriage is tested big time when they suffer a terrible loss – make sure you keep the Kleenex box handy!

The character Shauna Lee was a big surprise! I wasn’t sure if I liked her very much in the first book, but book II lets us in on her background and the personal tragedies she has endured and you learn the reason she is guarding her heart from love and close friendships. Shauna Lee learns the hard way that you can run but you can’t hide from your past forever…

Shauna Lee’s love interest Brad Johnson is another sexy cowboy like Colt, and a real gentleman. Luckily he also has the patience of Job when it comes to Shauna Lee. Will he give up on his wounded little ‘Tweetie Bird’ (his pet name for Shauna Lee) or will love prevail… and, Just like in the first book the author steams up the pages just enough to titillate the reader.
If you are looking for a very sweet story with endearing characters that value family, and stick by one another through thick and thin, Full Circle will not disappoint!

I am looking forward to reading the next book, “The Hand of Fate.”

NOTE: This person notified me that they had posted a review for The Second Time Around, Book One of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series, and when they attempted to post this review on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca they were told they were ineligible, even though the book was a verified purchase at Amazon.ca. I have heard about this happening before–now it has happened to me.

 
 
 
on July 20, 2015
Second Time around is the perfect name for this book and I really enjoyed the story.

Both the h and H had back luck at love and no wonder they both fought it so hard even tho they were clearly perfect for each other.

Colt was stubborn and very stupid at times and I wanted to hit him when he got engaged to his friend with benefits and announced it at a party Frank attended yet expected her to stay. Huh?!?

Frank (very odd name for a woman although it’s explained why she’s named that in the story) was a hard worker who was also a vet and I was definitely rooting for her.

I’m glad they got their HEA.

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