cimorene12's journal: change or die

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Noedig
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Noedig » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Cimorene, thank you for the Angela Palmer tip in an earlier post. A stonkingly great adult talent. Thanks for that and keep your thoughts flowing.

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jennypenny
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by jennypenny » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:16 pm

So ... did you read The Shadows? Is it worth reading? I wasn't going to read it until I heard that Ward went off-genre. It's pretty funny that she's got the whole romance community in an uproar over it. They can be such an uptight group.

My biggest problem is that I declined to review the book, so now I have to pay for it if I want to read it. :o

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:43 pm

@Noedig You are welcome. Amanda Palmer is great. :)

@jennypenny
Yes. I read The Shadows. It was better than The King, thank goodness. I'm actually glad that she took the risk.

I am a little bit ashamed, but yeah, I bought it even though it was (by my standards) astronomically expensive. I read it on the day it came out.
***
$7 Million Contract for Meredith Wild
I mean, the title says it all. She's published 5 books total, and Hachette is throwing money at her. Seven million is a lot of money.

This kind of thing happens fairly rarely, if you look at the entire pool of self-published authors, even though EL James, Anna Todd, Jasinda Wilder, and now Meredith Wild are making headlines. She also strangely was completely on point from the word go. You don't get there without a substantial amount of know-how and support.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:04 pm

Indie Recon: Basics
Image
I really liked the chart, because it's a succinct summary of her succinct summary. It's fantastic. I can't imagine ever going direct on Kobo, simply because they have a really wonky payment policy. Going through D2D is a much better option.

Notice who is missing from that chart? Google Play. All Romance. Smashwords. Oyster, with their brand new retail store. With the exclusion of Scribd and Oyster, the chart completely ignores the other subscription sites besides Amazon.

March KU Payout: $1.337
There's sadness on kboards. What I loved was a post from Rosalind James:
If you write 50-60K, or 20K, and you write fast and/or have a big backlist (have been writing for quite a while), I think it can be a good option.

If you write 95-115K like me, and and you write 500K words a year (which is a LOT, but not good for KU if it's across 4-5 books), it's not so good. I was an All-Star every month I was in KU, with my highest bonus being $5K, but it still didn't make up for the cannibalized sales on 10 long books.

I may eventually end up writing short like others, but for now, it doesn't seem like the best choice, because my core readership likes longer, more complex books. They do not like 50K books, and they do not like serials. So...I'd have to gamble that I could change my style to appeal to a completely different market that is looking for something different out of their romance novels.

I think that if your model fits the KU universe, you're great. If it doesn't, probably not.

I'm going to speculate here that the market is changing. That "indie" is going to be the short, sexy stuff (in romance, at least), erotic romance, and paranormal, and that tradpub and Amazon Publishing will take the sizable readership that still wants what I'll call "traditional" books--longer, stand-alone books in contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Most tradpub is that way, and tradpub is still selling a lot. There isn't that much crossover between the two markets--people who read tradpub in my market don't read much indie. Two different markets looking for two different kinds of books.
That's not entirely true. I'm an obvious crossover, but then I'm a voracious reader. I read the huge books, and I read the shorter ones from Milly Taiden. I like the short, snappy storylines.

The indie target market is people who cram in reading between doing other things. A novella can be read on a lunch break. You can read a romantic short when you're sitting in the car, waiting for your kid to come out of soccer practice. One of my cousins told me that she used to read a lot, until she had kids; then, she was lucky to finish a magazine article. That kind of busy, on-the-go reader is the kind that a lot of the shorter romances are marketed to.

It takes a long time for the average reader (aka not me) to read something that's 100k long. Milly Taiden used to write that long, and her current move to write novellas to short novels (and some actual shorts, like her smut-shorties and her Fur-ocious Lust series) means that she will profit more from smaller things -- and flooding Amazon with new releases -- than 100k books.

However, a lot of that is right. Tradpub will always go looking for 100k novels, because that's what they know. I'm also seeing that there's more upside for people who can write 100k novels (I can't. I've tried.). Milly Taiden is winning Amazon, but if you want to win on a larger scale you have to write big novels.

KDP All Stars
The people who are getting All-Star bonuses are writing serials and shorts. Authors who publish in 100k chunks just can't move fast enough for Amazon. Amazon gives you special dust when you first publish.

That's why Hannah Ford keeps releasing tiny pieces at a time and dominating the topseller charts while she does it. There are so many complaints in the reviews about length and editing, and it doesn't matter.

Frustrated reviewer:
TO THE AUTHOR: are you so money hungry that you need to charge a dollar for every 25 pages!
http://www.amazon.com/review/R2QA6HQ725 ... gital-text

She still has the most KU borrows, good enough to become an All-Star on two pen names. KU rewards frequent, steady releases. People can complain as much as they like, but this is what KU incentives bring. Short serials are back in style.

Book Report
There's a little bookmarklet that you can use to analyze your KDP reports. It tells me how much money I'm making. It has bugs. However, I like it enough to pay for it.

It's fascinating that people protect what they love. Hugh Howey loves it, and he said so in a Facebook post. And bobfrost's image was great.
Image

No breakout success, just steady releases of over 92 titles. That's hard work, right there.

Bonus: MMM kicks his IRP (and sort of Tyler Cowen) in the face: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/04/ ... p-working/

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:50 am

Oyster
Scribd and Oyster vs. the KU Goliath
Publishers are trying to make sure that Amazon doesn't get all of the bargaining power the next time negotiations come around. I looked on Scribd again. What would be the tipping point for me would be if they had Tamora Pierce's books. She has a lot of old books, a significant backlist, and I have print copies of all of them -- in Indiana. I think that it's ridiculous to buy other copies, and I'd much prefer to buy ebooks of them. The cost is prohibitive, so I'd rather have a subscription service I could pop in and out of to read them again.
Jan 15

So I looked on Oyster - and they have Tamora Pierce's books. I was about to sign up, but then I realized that only Alanna and Daine's books are in the subscription service.

KKR: Freelance Finances
The State of Oregon has a name for freelancers with only one client—employees. Yep, in the state I live in, one sign of a freelance business is more than one client. Hmmm…a state encouraging common sense. That’s not really the state’s reason for doing so, but that’s the net effect. Don’t put your eggs in one basket ever. As a freelancer, that’s a recipe for disaster, as those who got harmed in the KU Apocalypse found out. One change, one bad decision by the company you’re working with, and you could lose everything. It’s a hard lesson to learn, particularly when one client or one online retailer treats you really well. But you need to look at the large client as an opportunity that will go away. When I talk about negotiating a contract, I tell writers they must imagine that the nice person they’re negotiating with will move on and be replaced by a demon from hell. That evil demon from hell sometimes replaces the nice person who treats freelancers well inside a business. The thing is, the demon from hell can show up at any point. And the freelancer might not notice until he turns in the latest project or he gets a seemingly innocuous e-mail explaining that terms of service for the online retailer have changed ever so slightly. What might seem slight to that online retailer might be huge to the freelancer—because you’re in different businesses, after all. Your needs might no longer coincide.
I've said this before, and it's not going to come as a surprise to anybody on the boards: the ability to write for a living goes hand in hand with financial literacy. If you can figure out how to live with lumpy income, then you are set. We're the ones who would accept $110k any time during the year vs. $80k in regular biweekly paychecks.

Regular Paychecks
Felix Dennis said this in How to Get Rich - paychecks are addictive. They are safe. And he paid a lot of people paychecks to keep talented people working for his dreams, not theirs.

I can't deny that paychecks and the illusion of safety (and benefits) are seductive. At the old company, we got paid on the first business day of the month. At my current job, we get paid every 2 weeks. That's incredible.

But having only one stream of income makes you fragile (yes, NNT). You have to find a way to mitigate the loss of income from losing your job. Jacob advocates saving and investing. Ramit Sethi has done very well with Earn1K, because the pitch is that $1k/month would help you. And it would.

MMM: Income Optimization
Every dollar is actually a little employee that will work for you, 24 hours a day, for as long as you keep it. But you don’t want your employees hanging around eating donuts in the smoking lounge of your zero-interest checking account. You will simply sweep these green paper employees to wherever they will work hardest for you.
The same goes for books. You want them to work as hard for you as they possibly can. Removing books from Smashwords (and everywhere they distribute) and putting them into KU can double or more your income. But it does make you fragile; there were plenty of people sad at the KU payout for March. They don't really have a choice, though, as they've gone all-in on KU. There should have been a stampede to the KDP dashboards to uncheck the auto-renew box, but there probably was not. People would rather complain than take the first step to go wide.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:56 pm

Indie Recon: HM Ward
She has a very long presentation explaining how to sell books. If you can bear her voice for that long (I can't), then definitely watch it. The good part in my eyes started around minute 35, when she showed the Golden Tripod.

Bonus read, because I loved the idea: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/04/2015/ ... s-popular/

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:31 am

PV Excerpts
Charm Pricing
Charm pricing—also known as psychological pricing—is a strategy based on the theory that certain prices have a psychological impact.

The most common example of charm pricing is ending a price 99 cents. There’s a mildly interesting scientific explanation for why it works, but you just need to know that the number nine is extremely powerful in pricing. Studies indicate that, counterintuitively, you can sell more of the same item for $39 dollars than for $34.
99 cents is what romance costs right now. If you're wide, you're charging 3.99, 4.99, or 5.99. If you are in KU, you're charging 99 cents. It's not about the 35 cents you get per sale.
Income Distribution: Writers
The top 5% of authors earned 42% of all income received by professional writers in 2013, according to The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.

Meanwhile, the bottom half of professional writers accounted for just 7% of all authors' earnings overall.
While a typical full-time writer earned £11,000 a year in 2013, the top 5% each earned at least £100,100, the research showed.
The report said: "Thus, it appears that writing is a profession where only a handful of successful authors make a very good living while most do not."
Around one in six writers did not earn any money from their writing in 2013, it said - despite 98% saying their work had been published or used in other ways.
The article is fear-mongering (and oh no, writers are making less than ever!), but the 80/20 rule says that the top 20% account for 80% of the income. The top 10%, according to the report, is making 58% of the income. This is how the world works. The trick is how to become part of the top X% and stay there.

The only people who will have to pay $10/month to use BookReport are the people who make $1k or more per month. Nobody knows how big that market is. Many, many authors make very little. The breakout successes get all the media attention.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:28 am

Gulf Coast Bookstore
There's buzz around the Florida bookstore dedicated to self-published authors. Seeing the response on PG's website and inside of the writer community, I wonder if I should imitate them. I messaged them to be put on the wait list, but I was told that Sarasota was too far away to be a "local" author. There were a LOT of people who wanted to pay to put their books in an independent-only retailer.
Self-published authors rent shelf space for three months for $60, plus a $15 set-up fee, close to what they might spend to exhibit a single title at a day-long book fair. They also handle stocking and restocking. In return, the authors receive 100% of every sale rather than 40% from a bookstore that sells their books on consignment.
I was thinking of setting this up for any American author (interstate commerce is enough to make me know that it's going to be headache, so no chance of international authors).

Their model is very good for an extremely local bookstore. If I made it available to any American author, I'd need to hire people to staff the store - handle the cash register, stock and restock, keep things clean, etc. The overhead would be higher, so $60+15 wouldn't cut it. I'd also make anybody who wanted to buy the books online go through CreateSpace; I know firsthand what it's like to ship retail products to customers who have moved away, and it is a PITA. PLUS the store doesn't take a cut of each sale, which lowers the store's risk a lot. As long as you can get enough authors to take care of your fixed costs and keep the lights on/rent paid, you can have an independent bookstore.

The area has lots of tourists and snow birds.
With the tourist season in Florida winding down, Jacobs says that he and Jefferson are focusing their attention on building a reputation for the store with locals. The slow season will also give them time to weigh the pros and cons of offering featured authors an e-commerce option.
I'd hire someone to handle the day-to-day, but I don't think that it's a bad idea at all.

Dark Romance
I finally overcame my aversion to Aubrey Dark's blurbs and read one, His. It was surprisingly good. The whole idea of "love redemption" so common in romance plays out. You can cure a serial killer if you just love him enough, apparently. The fact that he tied you to a bed and you tried to commit suicide - totally resolved, nobody worries about that. Rough sex where he slaps you across the face? Totally hot, we're all good here. He carves himself up with a knife and forces you to look at pictures of him beaten up - again, so good, totally explains where he's coming from, we're fine.

What's surprising is how good Aubrey was at making it seem normal(ish) to fall in love with a serial killer. He's a Dexter-type serial killer, a hero/villain.

I read Part 3 of His Gift, too. Stockholm Syndrome to the max. And also, if you love him enough, you can erase his darkness. He loves you, so you win. That's how dark billionaire romances go.

I recognize that dark billionaire romances are the natural direction, given that in most billionaire romances the hero has "dark secrets." It's just gotten darker and darker.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:30 pm

Krista Lakes
From October 2014
Readers' Behavior
I'm realizing why it helps you to have a large catalogue now. When I discover a new author I like, I'll immediately get every single KU title they have. I've done that for at least 4 authors during this month, most recently with Krista Lakes.
She wrote a blog post (using do not link, as I do not want her seeing a pingback to my journal if she ever checks her stats etc.) about meeting with Amazon.
However, after yesterday’s meeting, I have less and less confidence that my total embrace of Amazon exclusivity is mutually beneficial. Thanks for reading my post. This meeting has accelerated some of my plans and I’ll have big news soon.
I'm worried. Except for one piece that I have wide, that I use to learn how to publish on the various platforms whenever I hear about one that might be worth it, I'm in KU.

Krista Lakes has, until now, been a big cheerleader for KU.
I had my best month ever in October, and it was due to KU.

With two books hitting Amazon’s Top 100 list (Barefoot Kisses and Hurricane Kisses) and Saltwater Kisses getting close to breaking into the list for the third time, I was the 10th best selling author in KDP Select.

This October,
I gave away close to 100,000 free books.

61% of all my books sold were actually borrows.

Due to the lower royalty percentage on 99 cent books, 66% of my earnings actually came from borrows rather than sales.
I definitely was not the only person to find out about Krista Lakes last October. If you are the 10th best, then you get a $25k bonus on top of a substantial amount of borrows and sales.

Krista Lakes has a substantial amount of clout as one of the most visible authors in KDP Select. If she decides to do something big with a different retailer - any, at this point... Barnes and Noble would do well to court her, but who knows - everyone will at least look over the fence.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:28 pm

Social Media: A Lesson on Cover Design
So I'm poking around, learning about viral marketing and how it relates to books. I understand now why street teams are so important. They are big multipliers on your outreach; Monica Leonelle says that 85% of book sales are due to word-of-mouth. That's why Amazon acquired Goodreads. Tucker Max, back when Bookstrapper was still live, said that every author needed to have a marketing strategy that included Goodreads.

I'm gearing up to do Goodreads giveaways. I recognize that they generate buzz, and they aren't prohibitively expensive to do.

So anyway, my books got pretty big recently, in a very modest way. Nothing like Milly Taiden of course. But when I saw other people sharing my books, I realized how important it was to have the top part of your cover look good and convey your story.

Look at Bella Andre's books. Here's one: http://www.amazon.com/All-Ever-Need-You ... 938127951/

Due to the way that Facebook does things, the image that people see is a square starting at the top of the image. You need to make sure that square conveys at least part of your story. I already knew that thumbnail sizes of your cover were important, but I hadn't consciously thought about what my books would look like on a social media site.

Monica Leonelle and Stories
She said something that really made me think - she says that writers have to refuel. They have to read. I realize now that TV and movies are really good ways to refuel, although it's sort of hard now to look at them as pure entertainment. They really are research.

Last posted October 13, 2014
What can I say about Neil Gaiman that hasn’t already been said?

Well, he’s no genius. He’s better than that.

He’s not a wizard, in other words, but a conjurer.

Wizards don’t have to work. They wave their hands, and the magic happens. But conjurers, now…conjurers work very hard. They spend a lot of time in their youth watching, very carefully, the best conjurers of the day. They seek out old books of trickery and, being natural conjurers, read everything else as well, because history itself is just a magic show. They observe the way people think, and the many ways in which they don’t. They learn the subtle use of springs, and how to open the mighty temple doors at a touch, and how to make the trumpets sound.

And they take center stage and amaze you with flags of all nations and smoke and mirrors, and you cry: “Amazing! How does he do it? What happened to the elephant? Where’s the rabbit? Did he really smash my watch?”

And in the back row we, the other conjurers, say quietly: “Well done. Isn’t that a variant of the Prague Levitating Sock? Wasn’t that Pasqual’s Spirit Mirror, where the girl isn’t really there? But where the hell did the flaming sword come from?”

And we wonder if there may be such a thing as wizardry after all…
I understand now why authors are allowed to deduct books as business expenses. I always thought that was the dream. But I keep seeing the levitating sock and the spirit mirror, and it's hard to get deeply immersed into a story anymore, because I can see the wooden frame behind the painted set. And I'm trying to see the wooden frame, that's the thing. JR Ward says to pay attention to the novels that you've loved, the novels that have really touched you to see what they did.

Small Bets
I was reading an article which featured a big director in Hollywood, one that did Bridesmaids. And he was talking about putting the movie in front of test audiences. He put scenes in and took them out to get the right emotional reaction from his audiences. I thought, "Of course!"

Patrick Rothfuss has a team of 50ish beta readers, and the favorite ones are the ones who scribble their emotional reactions down in the margins of the hard copy.

It's the Chris Rock method of little bets, something that Ramit Sethi/his friend taught me.
In gearing up for his latest global tour, Rock made between forty and fifty appearances at small comedy clubs. His early performances can be painful to watch. Jokes will ramble, he’ll lose his train of thought and need to refer to his notes, and some audience members sit with their arms folded, noticeably unimpressed. The audience will laugh about his flops—laughing at him, not with him.

Developing an hour-long act takes even top comedians like Rock from six months to a year. If comedians are serious about success, they get on stage every night they can, especially when developing new material. They typically do so at least five nights per week, sometimes up to seven, and sweat over every element and word. And the cycle repeats, day in, day out. (Writers for the Onion suggest roughly six hundred possibilities for eighteen headlines each week, a 3 percent success rate.)

By the time Rock reaches a big show — say an HBO special or an appearance on Letterman — he’s flawless.
You have to throw a lot of disgusting, misshapen clay pots. A lot of clay pots are going to fail before you can make good ones.

Putting short stories, novelettes, and novellas into KU are my way of testing the market for different niches. The thing is, niches don't perform uniformly for each person. Everyone is going to get a different result in a certain niche, even if it's a highly lucrative one. Some people fail and don't hit it right; other people hit it dead center and profit out of the park.

I've been looking at Sadie Black recently. She has 6 pieces, all of them in Short Reads, and two bundles, one of them a boxed set of her own work, the other an anthology. She's in the top 100 in contemporary romance. It is not trivially easy to get that high. There's an incredible amount of marketing that you need to do to get there.

However, she's also hit her niche dead center. Look at Indebted: Part 1. It's amazing, and how well it is doing reflects that.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri May 01, 2015 5:03 pm

Mobile Retail
The mobile experience is something that's dramatically different from web or even tablet. When designing for the mobile form factor, you have to do things really differently.

There are a lot of good insights from that McKinsey analysis. The big one is that the mobile retail experience is important.

One part is that Amazon's mobile experience for books is not so great. I can't 1-click anything. I have to add it to my wish list.

Apple's is phenomenal. iBooks on a computer is lackluster, but iBooks on my iPhone is stunningly great. It's the same design. It's mobile first. It's SO easy to buy an iBook. I love it.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Tue May 05, 2015 7:19 am

Apple and Samsung Smartphone Sales
Image
Going wide is my next major project.

Bonus read: How to hit the USA Today bestseller list: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic, ... 0/all.html

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed May 06, 2015 8:48 am

KM in April
Image
Notice how much variation there is in KM's graph. The best day had over 1000 borrows and sales (looks like 1200). The worst day was April 28, with a bit over 500 borrows and sales. It bounces from peak to trough.

Power of Free
Image
KM has hit free promos very hard.

Rosalind James and Free
In my experience, I got about 3% of the number of free books downloaded in increased sales per book after the free period. The past two times, that didn’t include the free book, or not to the same extent, due to recent algorithm changes. But I figured, if I got 10,000 downloads, with six books (besides the free book) out, that would be 1,800 additional books sold right there. Like I said, no-brainer—the last three promo periods had netted 92,300, 40,000, and 62,000 downloads.
KM has even more products out than Rosalind, so the people who start picking up the entire catalogue buy even more.

Novels vs. Serial Installments
KM's novels are wide, and I think that the sales are not worth mentioning. KM wrote a post in the 100 title experiment that he had taken off a month to write a novel which had not sold anything like enough to make up for the lost income from not publishing for a month. Novels are high risk products, but they have higher earning potential. And if the novel sells badly, you can serialize it and put it into KU. JS Scott is the #1 contemporary romance author right now; her most recent work consists of novels. But Olivia Hawthorne is #2, and she only writes the shorter pieces. The latest one, published a month ago, is only 26 pages long, which is around 5,000 words. Olivia has published 74 pieces since beginning in late January.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu May 14, 2015 5:35 am

Economics of Tidying Up
It's just a book about minimalism and mindfully culling your possessions, but the writer acts like it's a brand-new idea. Meh. This is old hat for an EREr.

Trad Pub and Joint Accounting
Author #2’s agent got him a 2-book deal with a well-known mass-market paperback publisher. The contract included joint accounting. Nelson explains in her “Think Like an Agent” series why joint accounting can be a very bad deal, as this author was about to find out.

When his first book published, it sold reasonably well. Meanwhile the author was busy writing the second. To his surprise, the publisher rejected the book. The author wrote another, which the publisher also rejected. The author wrote a third book, which the publisher rejected when the book was half finished.

Are you keeping count? Two and a half books written over who knows how many years in a valiant effort to deliver the second book of his contract. Meanwhile, because these two contracted-for books were irrevocably linked due to joint accounting, even though the first book was selling well, during all that time, the author didn’t see another dime.
It is very validating to be published by a proper publisher. However, it's not the most lucrative route. You'll be forced to write and rewrite and submit new manuscripts, only to have your next books rejected. It's not like that guy is an isolated case. That sort of behavior seems normal for a publisher, honestly.

Mark Dawson's 15k mailing list
He's making $450,000 a year from self-publishing which I can pretty much guarantee you is more money than he'd make in trad pub. He's a helpful member of kboards.

Mailing Lists
Having a 15k mailing list isn't cheap. On Mailchimp, that's $150 a month, whether or not you send a single email. I started out on Aweber but closed my account there, and I just started up on SendGrid. Mailchimp has the easiest UX by FAR, but it's also incredibly expensive. It's a freemium model, and as soon as you hit the end of that limit, 2001 subscribers, you owe them $30 a month every month. At the 15k subscriber level, SendGrid costs $83.70 a month for sending 15,000 marketing emails rather than the $150 that MailChimp charges for just having 15k subscribers. There is a crossover point. When you are HM Ward and you have 50,001 subscribers, looking for a cheaper option than Mailchimp is pretty necessary.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri May 15, 2015 9:23 pm

NetGalley
I'd heard about it, of course. There were people who were saying it was good. Some said it wasn't.

Someone just used it for her review team. It was a struggle. But what was even more surprising was that people reviewed it on GoodReads who were just ordinary people, not her review team (which BTW had a heck of a time getting copies). And I read one in Spanish that was just going ugh, this story was bad. And people who weren't already fans of her just said "did not finish." That would scare me a lot as an author. I found it really gripping and funny, but maybe that's me. It's sorta like dark billionaire but thank goodness the hero isn't a serial killer, you know? That book was romantic suspense done right. My cup of tea isn't going to be everyone else's.

I also started a review blog. I have many reviews. From now on, my reviews are going on my review blog. I've seen how it can give you a boost.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sun May 17, 2015 12:22 pm

Great Migration
Chad wrote:There is obviously a danger that Amazon becomes a monopoly and screws the authors over like the current cabal, but the barriers to entry into being a bookstore/distributor/publisher are significantly lower now than in the past. This will make it very difficult for Amazon to treat authors poorly, as they will just go to Google Play, iTunes/iBooks, Alibaba, some random startup, etc.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5571&p=80702#p80702

So the migration is already happening. Google Play is still a mess, and Viola Rivard continues to have problems with them, as they've cost her thousands upon thousands at this point. Having the reading app pre-installed on every Android device pretty much inevitably means that people will buy books via Google Play. Viola went wide with Dragon's Appraiser, and it's evidently made her enough money to continue publishing her serial wide.

There are some authors who are deriving half their income from Google Play, which, again, is pretty author-unfriendly.

iBooks is taking off like a little rocket. JS Cooper has made a TON of money in KU, but she's wide now. Having little free snippets has really helped her sell. Mina Carter similarly has made a ton of money, but now she's part KU, part wide for new releases. I've heard that the best revenue-maximizing strategy is to enroll a book for the first term and go wide after. It sounds easy and reasonable, but it actually requires action to uncheck the auto-enroll box. Most people aren't unchecking.

One problem for me is that my books aren't going to fit in on Apple. I've looked at similar books (Julia Kent's, for example, or Lexi Blake's NYT bestseller), and they are categorized in erotica. That's obviously not going to work, because Apple's erotica ghetto is even worse than Amazon's adult dungeon. So now I have to write books that will some day fit in with Apple's more stringent guidelines of what kind of sex you can have. If I could figure out how to write cowboy, I'd be writing that. Cora Seton's military books were also blowing up the charts for a while. I'll probably just stick with writing what I write, though, until the day comes when it doesn't make money.

George the original one
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by George the original one » Mon May 18, 2015 2:59 pm

8-) I know the cowgirl sex position, but what is cowboy?

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Mon May 18, 2015 10:33 pm

http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/sex-lo ... he-cowboy/

It's an illustration, but yes. I have never put it into a book. ;)

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri May 22, 2015 3:24 pm

Why Writing Is Just Like Software
I've said this before in my journal: all of my work experience before going into the old company was in writing. But I'm thinking a lot right now about how similar they are.

Mark Dawson again: https://medium.com/@CharlynKeating/if-y ... 5082d8de47

In software, you have to iterate constantly. Marc Andreessen says that the time between being the disruptor and the disrupted is 5 years. In books, it's faster, much faster. That's because you don't have to drum together users or figure out distribution. Those channels are open to you from Day 1. The courts call it "disintermediation". I call it opportunity.

You can also put together a book completely solo. We're all product people. The people who can rise to the very top of the book market are also good on the Sheryl Sandberg side: market analysis, negotiating partnerships, understanding users/customers... The list goes on and on.

When I read Liliana Hart saying that she spent 14 hours a day working, I wondered what she was doing. I know she's not writing for 14 hours a day, because she releases a few books per year. There's an ENORMOUS amount of nonwriting work when you are actually making money off of your books. The ratio of writing time to nonwriting time fluctuates every week for me, and I'm keeping track. Editing and publishing don't count as writing time, as they are not writing. I used to think that publishing was as easy as filling in the title field and hitting the yellow save and publish button. I had no idea what people were talking about when they talked about the time that they spent publishing.

Most startups fail. Most self-published authors make very little for their work. It's the ones who find a rabid audience, the true fans who will keep them in groceries from here until the end of time who make money.

In order to use MailChimp, you have to put in a website. Before I agree to take on the burden of constantly updating a Twitter account, I set up an about.me page for each new pen name (how many do I have? It feels like zillions.).

I get email from About.me every week from readers telling me that they are enjoying my books and asking when the next one is coming out. I don't have a contact form on my websites or an email address where people can readily contact me. I recognize that a lot of the top authors have them right there, because it makes you feel accessible to your readers. I'm not into that at the moment; just handling my review teams takes a lot of time, and they are nothing like the huge ones.

Anyway, you iterate a lot. If a book fails, you look at why, and you fix it. And you can take lessons learned from books that you've written that have made you tons of money and try to replicate that success. When you do agile sprints, they aren't to pump out code or features. They're to push out books.

Spartan_Warrior
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Sat May 23, 2015 7:37 am

cimorene12 wrote:http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/sex-lo ... he-cowboy/

It's an illustration, but yes. I have never put it into a book. ;)
Thanks for sharing this. We'll be expecting new sex positions in your journal from now on.

Sounds like you're finding success. Congrats.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Mon May 25, 2015 2:15 pm

Bella Andre
Wider appeal: her Lucy Kevin name was one that retailers were happier to feature than her Bella Andre name.
Amazingly, here’s what happened--in some cases retailers were more excited to feature Lucy Kevin because the chick lit/sweet romance novels could reach a bigger mainstream audience. It simply didn’t seem to matter that no one had heard of Lucy Kevin. The fun, flirty covers (Oh, hello new graphic design skills I never thought I'd need!) seemed to draw people to the books and I’m guessing the $.99 to $2.99 price points helped, as well.
Retailers will feature you if they love your books. Apple has an editorial team that curates. They are real, live people, and I'm guessing that BookLamp is helping with data analysis, too. I was introduced to her through Overdrive, which is where I get a lot of my books. I had no idea she and Robyn Carr were self-published. They had tons of books, and I read most of the ones that were available to me years ago.

There's a WaPo feature on her from 2011, which includes mentions of Konrath, Eisler, and Hocking. She's making even more money now.
A word of caution
WE NOW INSERT THIS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT BECAUSE WE DO NOT WANT YOU CALLING US WHEN YOUR e-BOOK TANKS:

Don’t sprint to e-pub that novel you wrote on vacation that time but never sent to anyone because your wife said it stinks and what does she know? Well, maybe a lot.

The overwhelming number of self-publishing e-authors are consigned to the same fate as their print counterparts: oblivion.

“We have less than 50 people who are making more than $50,000 per year. We have a lot who don’t sell a single book,”
says Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.com, a Web site that helped launch indie publishing.

“When I load all our numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s the typical power curve,” he says. “On the left, there’s a skinny area of the chart where people are knocking it out of the park. And then we have a very, very long tail off to the right, where some titles sell very few at all.”

Belle, the Amazon veep, adds,“There are a lot of books, even low-priced, on Kindle that are not selling at all.”

Also, even the most successful of indie authors will say they have discovered that publishers do a lot of stuff that isn’t much fun to do yourself. Designing covers, solving layout problems, finding freelance copy editors, contacting umpteen hundred bloggers, looking up ad costs on Facebook: You know what all that is? Time away from writing.

Hocking, the self-pub phenom, signed a deal with a mainstream publisher because, she wrote on her blog, “I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc.”

END OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.
Meredith Wild said something similar when she signed her $7 million contract.

John Scalzi: $3.4 million over 10 years for 13 books
"In an era when publishing is in flux, this contract with Tor will let me spend more of my time doing what readers want me to do: writing books and making new stories for them to enjoy," Scalzi said in a statement. "It also gives both me and Tor a stable, long-term base to grow our audience, not only among established science fiction and fantasy fans, but among readers of all sorts. Science fiction is mainstream culture now, and there are so many people discovering just how much there is to enjoy in these stories of ours. We have much more to share. That's what we're going to do."

Three of Scalzi's books are currently in development to be television series: "Redshirts" by FX, "Old Man's War" by SyFy, and "Lock In" by Legedary [sic] TV.

On his blog, Scalzi explained more about the deal, including why he planned to spend the next decade with a traditional publisher rather than self-publishing: "look, I like to write, and I don’t mind marketing myself. But there is a whole lot more that goes into producing a book than just showing up with a manuscript and then telling people about it. I don’t want to do any of the rest of that stuff. That’s why publishers exist. That’s what publishers do. As it happens, when it comes to science fiction, Tor is as good as it gets, in every department. They are better at these things I don’t want to do than I am. I am delighted to partner with them and let them handle all that. I am clearly making enough money."
Tucker Max from Trad to Self-Pub
After two very successful books, I realized the weird paradox of the publishing business that every author eventually learns: It's terribly exploitive of authors (paying them a very small royalty on sales), yet it doesn't even do a good job maximizing overall revenue from book sales. Publishing companies are like schoolyard bullies that can't even fight well.

In preparation for my third book, Hilarity Ensues, I stepped back and tried to figure out a different approach. Frankly, I wanted to keep more of the money my books made, and I wanted more control over the publishing process, but I didn't want to deal with the problems that come from being in the "self-publishing ghetto."
He hired people to take over the other steps, and he signed a distribution deal with Simon and Schuster.
Hilarity Ensues debuted at No. 2 on the NY Times Best Seller list -- which is a higher debut than either of my previous books (and it's still selling great, on a faster pace than either of my previous two best-sellers).

The marketing I did was so effective, it pulled my previous two books back onto the list. In the long history of the NY Times Best Seller list prior to 2012, there were only two authors that ever had three books on the non-fiction list at the same time: Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis. Well, this year, my name was added to that list, because of the way I marketed this book.
He marketed his butt off when Hilarity Ensues came out. The other part was his existing fan base. He's the hero of many teenage boys and twenty/thirty somethings, just like Neil Strauss was as Style. Both of them are married and settled down now, but Neil Strauss could 100% do the same thing that Tucker Max did. Instead, Neil is putting together information products and mentoring men. He's still writing, but he's stayed in the traditional publishing world.

Anyway, Tucker had Tropaion, which was bought by Lioncrest Publishing, and he broke apart from Story Ark later on. There's a TechCrunch video from 2012 which I watched at the time, and now it just makes more sense to me. When he was talking about going to S&S, which was offering him a $1.5 million advance, he had other people on the table. He had a $2 million advance offer from another Big 6 publishing company, and he also could line up print distribution with Perseus. So when he negotiated that deal with S&S to only distribute for him - which totally made it risk-free for them - everybody walked away happy. He paid costs up front, such as printing; that's because he had his expected value projections for Hilarity Ensues, which included 100k-200k units hardback, 500k paperback. He knew what he was making. He's not the only author to mention expected value projections for books (you do this BEFORE you write them), and it turns out that I actually have to use stuff that I learned in business school. A lot of it, actually.

Tucker said that Tim's deal with Amazon was really good, but also really limiting; that's the same reason why Amanda Hocking didn't sign with them.

He's wrong about the scale at which you should do this. Meredith Wild was self-pub with digital and print on demand, and she moved 1.2 million digital copies and 200k print. Now that Hachette has bought the rights to her books, they'll move more print copies.

He says in his HuffPo article on how to triple royalties that people should talk to him if they have moved 500k copies. How many authors are there who have done that? It's a pretty small number, honestly. Most people in that position are more comfortable sitting down with a trad publisher or just doing everything themselves. His Book in a Box idea - 12 hours to a nonfiction book - for an upfront sum actually makes more sense, with a wider potential audience. The upfront sum starts at $15k and gets higher from there, so that's definitely pricy, but he's focusing on the premium market. He's looking at CEOs and entrepreneurs who are making serious bank - the kind that people tell all the time 'You should write a book about it.'

People on MMM told prosaic to do that, and she said that she would rather write her other books. And I think that's true - The Naked Truth has been IMMENSELY helpful for me, but I don't think that it's made them loads of money. I'm so grateful that they took the time to write things down, and it was a big part of the start of my journey, but it doesn't make you money to write a book on how to make money off of writing books. The opportunity cost in the time lost is a problem. It was also too high-level for someone just getting started, which I recognize now.
Reid Hoffman, a V.C. at Greylock Partners who co-founded LinkedIn, told me, “I look to see if someone has a marine strategy, for taking the beach; an army strategy, for taking the country; and a police strategy, for governing the country afterward.”
From Tomorrow's Advance Man

It's police strategy - that is stuff that you get into once you make money off of bestselling books. You only make audiobooks and translations once you have the MONEY to do so. And even then, if you are translating into German - which is a VORACIOUS market - you have to learn about their publishing landscape, which is different, as the major player is Tolino. You also have to pay royalties to your translator, which is a pain, though legal and fair. I have marine strategy down now, and I don't know the point at which I'll consider myself to understand army strategy. Lake money, probably. Somewhere in there, you start switching to a semi-police strategy. Bella Andre and Milly Taiden have police-level game.

Once you understand how to sell tons of books, the only thing limiting you is your production. That's why HM Ward has tons of "co-authors". It's what James Patterson and Clive Cussler are doing. HM Ward has moved about 10 million books, which is a LOT.

Nielsen Bookscan
Bookscan shows sales by author spread over a geographical region, but it can only do physical copies. Amazon refuses to give Bookscan the ebook data.

http://www.ibpa-online.org/ibpa/wp-cont ... cs2013.pdf

Publishers look at Bookscan data to see what's going on. That means that print has a disproportionate impact - there may be HUGE trends going on in self-pub, like stepbrother romance, BBW, military - but if it doesn't touch print, then it's like it's invisible to publishers. (Actually, Stepbrother Dearest was a NYT bestseller, so...) That is a market opportunity for self-pub, for sure, but that seems pretty near-sighted on the publisher side. Amazon has massively disrupted the publishing business by allowing authors to go direct. Authors disrupt the heck out of each other every day; trends come and they go, which is, again, why the top dogs iterate like crazy people. You can sell a ton today (Aubrey Rose), and then move onto the next trend, leaving your NYT and USA Today bestselling pen name in the dust (ok, not really in the dust, as she published 2 pieces in February). Yesterday's laurels don't count for today's money.

Watching Amazon sales rank is like looking at who is valedictorian in high school, except the valedictorian changes BY THE HOUR. Sales rank is public, and it's a concrete showing of how well you are selling against other people.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Tue May 26, 2015 12:35 pm

Christina Lauren
I left my research career in the pharmaceutical industry to write romance novels.

This is my spiel now, and I’ve heard a lot of great responses to it, but my favorite might be the one delivered at my son’s soccer game. “Oh, how wonderful!” a grandmother of a teammate said, clapping. “Are they formulaic? I simply love trashy books!”
The idea that romance novels are trashy is really old. I'm thinking about code words today, as introduced to me by Clotaire Rapaille (by way of Ramit Sethi) years ago.

Formulaic
The accusation that all romance novels are formulaic is pretty true. Romance readers are looking for exactly what they expect, and they will shower you with angry reviews if you don't give it to them. Even so, it's extremely difficult to write a 'formulaic' novel. I think that you can deviate from the norm when you're a megaseller like JR Ward.
I’ve read my fair share of paranormal fantasy and romance featuring angels and demons and frankly a sizable percentage is predictable, pedestrian fare. It’s the formulaic good versus evil. Everything is painted in black and white. Your Fallen Angels saga is gloriously gray. You’ve turned so many stereotypes on their heads. Angels aren’t necessarily good. Fallen angels aren’t necessarily bad. Humankind’s natural place is somewhere between the extremes.
The very first thing that I wrote that made money was fantasy. In it, I introduce the idea of blood oaths. This is common in fantasy, actually, but not in paranormal romance, unless you are a vampire. I don't write about vampires.

The idea for this stems from the ancient Chinese tradition of blood alliances. Family is extremely important in Chinese culture (I am omitting a huge rant about guanxi here, but I'll spare you), and there's an idea that you can ADD people to your family. The way that you do this is have a bowl with water in it. Everybody adds his own blood to the bowl. Then you drink each other's blood. There's also the alternate way that Europeans (and lots of other people) do it - linking families by marriage.

When I wrote the book, I didn't think, "Let's add Asian flavor to this! I want to incorporate an ancient Chinese tradition that is extremely not mainstream." A concept that I learned as a child was just what happened in the book. As a result, I have many reviews which contain the words 'very original'. That means not on trend. Not formulaic. So basically, it's a miracle that I made money off of those books, a series which contains that concept over and over.

Formulaic sounds like an insult; it sounds like books are extremely easy for authors to write. All you do is add the right ingredients and HEY PRESTO you have a 100k book. Nope. Formulaic is the code word for "on trend." Predictable, pedestrian fare is on trend. I see people asking for shifter books with heroines who aren't curvy, and books where the shifters are black and the woman is white. It could be that there are underserved markets, but it's more likely that the audience for those books is so small that no one is writing to fulfill their needs. Or I could be passing by a $100 bill on the ground. ;)

Trashy
Christina Lauren's article is about how romance novels shouldn't be called trashy. You can either fight the tide, or you can move with it. I think that it's possible to reclaim the word 'trashy', like the word 'slut' has been reclaimed. Trashy is the common vocabulary for a book that contains sex. You can try to re-educate everyone and replace it with another word (steamy), or you can just say, "Yeah, I write really trashy books. There's wall-to-wall sex in them. If you like hot scenes, this is your jam."

Milly Taiden does this. From Curves 'em Right:
Reader Warning: This book contains panty-melting sex (the kind that makes you need fudge and a cold shower), adult language (we like some freaky dirty talk), and violence. If this is not the kind of stuff you like to read, skip this book. However, if you like dirty, raunchy sex with two men on one curvy sarcastic girl, then this is right up your alley. Enjoy!
What actually bothers me is the assumption that ALL romance novels contain sex. I've read dozens, maybe hundreds, of Christian romance novels, so I can assure you that not all romance novels contain sex. YA romances contain kissing at most, and then there's inspirational women's fiction. Rosalind James straddles the line between steamy romance and really sweet women's fic, because she does have sex scenes in her books. But if she completely obliterated them and did a fade to black, she'd still have a strong story. The interesting thing is that, like Barry Eisler, she does big picture commentary in her books. In Just In Time, she addresses the idea that erotic romance is shameful. In Just Once More, she explores the difficulties that working mothers face; a major part of the plot is accepting that you can receive help in order to work a full-time job and care for 3 young children while keeping your household in order. Carry Me Home talks about campus rape. Not all of her books tackle issues that big, but she does incorporate women's fiction elements. Does Rosalind have steamy scenes? Yeah. It comes with the area where she's focusing. Could she write inspirational women's fiction? Yeah. She sort of does. Can she write erotic romance? Yeah. She can, and she is going to.

The Door
I've been selling chicken tenders, and I've been gratified to see good results. In order to get to the next level, army strategy, I'm thinking of selling Beyond Meat. I am considering a transition to women's fiction. It could fail miserably, but seriously you have to iterate in this business.

This is how I think about it.

There's a LOT of money with your name on it, money that's only separated from you by a single, transparent door. You can see it. It's right there, wanting to get to you, to fill your bank account. It loves you.

The door is springloaded and locked. If you find the right key, you can open the door. BUT it is still springloaded, so you have to pull on it to let the money -- your money -- flow through. You can pull on it feebly, only letting a few very eager bills through, or you can pull with your full body weight.

I am not using my full body weight, because I've worked 14x what I'm working now, and it resulted in burn out (if you want to call 42-45 hours a week burnout). Also, when you are an author, you can't put in a doorstop. You have to keep pulling on it. It will never fully shut, of course, but you'll only get the flood of money if you're pulling (or if you hire someone to ghost for you).

The springs are different strengths for different people. I'm STILL envious of people who work my level and make 5x the money. There are people who work 10x what I do and make 10x the money. There are teams that work 40x what I do and make 25x the money. Conversely, there are people who work 10x what I do and make 25% of the money. Just pure effort does not equal cash. You have to unlock the door, too, or all the pulling in the world won't allow your flood of cash to get to you. You'll only get the stray bills that are squeezing under the door or through the keyhole.

Best-Selling Authors
Businessman, writer, and money educator Robert Kiyosaki was sitting down one morning to an interview with a young reporter in Singapore. During the course of the interview they got to talking about the reporter’s own career.

“Someday I want to be a best-selling author like you,” she told Kiyosaki, “but my work never seems to go anywhere. That’s why I keep my job at the paper.”

“Do you want some advice?” Kiyosaki asked her. He’d read some of her work before agreeing to the interview; it was strong and clear. She was an excellent writer.

“I . . . I guess. What did you have in mind?”

“I have a friend here in Singapore who runs a salesmanship school. You could get started with one of his–”

She was offended and cut him off. “You’re suggesting I learn how to sell?”

“Well, yes. What’s wrong with that?”

“I’m a professional! I went to school! I have a master’s degree! I shouldn’t have to sell–all salespeople want is money, and I’ll never stoop so low as that!” She was shoving materials back into her suitcase.

Kiyosaki picked up a copy of his book. “Look at this.”

She paused. “What?”

“What does it say under the title?” She looked, but didn’t see. Kiyosaki continued. “It says best-selling author . . . not best-writing author. You’re a great writer; I’m a terrible one. The difference is that I know how to sell. You’re one skill away from great wealth.”

Great talent is not enough. Great talent combined with the skills to market it and connect with an audience . . . that’s the whole package. It’s worth learning how to do, or finding someone who can do it for you.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu May 28, 2015 9:20 am

Jim Butcher and Commercial Writing
I'm thinking a lot about him since I wrote the last journal entry.
On your webpage, you have a fantastic tale of how the Dresden Files series got published. Please share your experience.
Well, drop by http://www.jim-butcher.com/ for that original distillation of the story. Long story short? I fought my writing teacher tooth and nail for the longest time, flatly rejecting a lot of very good advice she was giving me. When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.
https://www.sfsite.com/08b/jb182.htm
How did you come up with the original idea for CODEX ALERA? We’ve heard rumours that it involved a bet on whether you could combine the Roman empire and Pokémon… is that true?
The bet was actually centered around writing craft discussions being held on the then-new Del Rey Online Writers’ Workshop, I believe. The issue at hand was central story concepts. One side of the argument claimed that a good enough central premise would make a great book, even if you were a lousy writer. The other side contended that the central concept was far less important than the execution of the story, and that the most overused central concept in the world could have life breathed into by a skilled writer.

It raged back and forth in an ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FLAMEWAR between a bunch of unpublished writers, and finally some guy dared me to put my money where my mouth was, by letting him give me a cheesy central story concept, which I would then use in an original novel.

Me being an arrogant kid, I wrote him back saying, “Why don’t you give me TWO terrible ideas for a story, and I’ll use them BOTH.”

The core ideas he gave me were Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon… Thus was Alera formed.
http://www.fantasyliterature.com/author ... m-butcher/

The Codex Alera books and the Dresden Files are really good books. Jim Butcher is one of the biggest urban fantasy authors. He's writing formulaic books, too.

The most commercial piece of fiction is going to be an excellent book, well-written with elements that make it sell. You can put together the tropes in the hands of an unskilled writer, and it won't be a commercial piece of fiction. You'll end up with wookies, mermaids, and futuristic cyborgs.

From The Oatmeal
Image

Writing is not as hard as finishing.

Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsdDKa1ol9Y

That video is full of excellent, excellent advice from them. You take some and you leave some, but that's the advice from top-selling authors. Bella Andre has every launch hit the NYT now. I found it really interesting that they are partnering with Ingram to distribute their print books. Not print on demand. Actual print, exactly the way that publishers distribute their books. And big retailers such as Target are on board to sell the books.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:30 pm

Neil Gaiman, Ideas, and Virality
Neil Gaiman and his wife just edited an edition of the New Statesman, in which they talked about censorship. The cover was pulled in order to censor it.

What I'm thinking a lot about right now is virality. Facebook has a little section where you can see the things that are viral. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's cool, like the impromptu sing-off in the airport between the Lion King and Aladdin cast members. You can't buy that kind of publicity, and it could have been staged, but it probably wasn't.

It takes two clicks to share a ready-made post. That's very easy. If 85% of book sales are made on the strength of word of mouth, then Facebook is an incredible vehicle for booksellers. There are street teams, but they are made of volunteers. Not all of them are going to comply and frankly not all of them are going to see it.

Twitter is the same way. They've made it a two-click process to retweet, and I actually like that better. It's easier to provide commentary on tweets now, and I really enjoy that.

What makes a message viral? I have been looking for the answer to that. It sort of changes. There are big stories. Bruce Jenner's decision to become Caitlyn Jenner is a big story right now.

Seth Godin has the idea of an ideavirus and sneezers. Interesting products are purple cows. Street teams are sneezers BUT one of the beauties of FB marketing (and yeah, I've been burned already doing this) is that you can pay Facebook to do the work of a gigantic street team. True, you don't get the added endorsement of a friend they know IRL signing off on the book - but I'm not sure how much that matters.

FB is personalizing ads hardcore. As an advertiser, I can drill down very far - and I'm focusing on the market segments that have the most money in them for me as a bookseller.

No Stack Startups
One way of looking at a publisher’s chain of business operations is that there are five core things it must do: (1) produce content; (2) market/promote content; (3) distribution; (4) figure out the best user interface or experience for its content; (5) and monetize the business. This applies, really, to any publisher: both content and commerce, for example. So, to maximize end user experience and value, and from there enterprise value, a company needs to maximize its ability to deliver across those components.
I thought that I wrote about this before, I don't seem to have. Anyway, Andy Weissman is talking about startups, but it's pretty on point for a book publisher, too. Amazon has a horde of people beating down their doors in order to produce content. They have 3-5 down pat. It's #2 that's in the hands of most authors.

Even as I'm looking over the fence and gearing up to put stories wide, I'm still very grateful to Amazon for having KU and KDP Select. I think Rosalind James made a good move to initially ramp up inside of Amazon's walls; she's making a solid amount of money in non-Amazon vendors now, and I want to follow in her footsteps.

Publishing Isn't Capital Intensive
I was talking to my "relationship manager" at the bank, and he was talking to me about maybe opening a business savings account in the future. He's a pretty nice guy, and he's really good at his job. However, there's pretty much nothing that I would need to have a business savings account for. The largest expenses that I'm going to have are to go to conventions and/or advertise at this point, and for those I'm always staying within my means and my income for a month. There's pretty much no reason for me to use a business savings account, because I already have the saving habit down.

The nice thing is that as an author you can write off a lot as a business expense. I'm traveling a lot, and I'm setting a story in each city where I travel. Why? Because I can write off the plane tickets as a business expense. This is all research. If I weren't selling anything, I'd not care at all about writing things off as business expenses or not, because the IRS would call my writing a hobby and not allow me to claim negative income at a certain point. Being a selling author gives me more choices - although I'm still drooling over Bella Andre's 8-figure per year income. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/independ ... 37913.html
Andre has become a one-woman publishing house. She’s churned out more than 30 titles and sold 3.5 million books around the world, the majority in ebook format. Revenue for Oak Press LLC, the indie publishing house she created in 2011, has been in the “eight figures,” she says. In 2014, Publisher’s Weekly named it the fastest growing independent publisher in the U.S.
Calling her a one-woman publishing house is absurd. She has tons of employees and/or contractors helping her do what she does. She has an army of proofreaders, and she has content editors and assistants and others to help her run her massive empire. She's NOT a one-woman operation at all. Barbara Freethy and Bella discuss that in the video linked above.

I've been itching to source books and just publish them. There are a lot of people who want the validation of an agent or publisher in order to know that their books are good enough; they refuse to self-publish. That's a market opportunity for someone who does know how to sell. There are spectacular novels that are languishing at the bottom of Amazon's rankings, and it sort of kills me to see good work wasted. I see that's why Aubrey has her Pub Yourself Press.

Bad Blood
Taylor Swift's launch of Bad Blood was flawlessly great. She did a great job of teasing the launch, and I think it showed up on my Twitter feed twice: once from Lily Aldridge and a second time from Karlie Kloss.

I had a conversation on a plane with my seatmate about Taylor Swift and how her songs touch everybody. My seat mate was in her 50s or 60s, and she was talking to me about how Taylor Swift sings about things that are common in the human experience. She said to me: "Everybody's been hurt by a breakup. Everybody's fallen in love."

I asked her if she had seen Bad Blood, which had just come out and broken VEVO's record for first-day views, and she told me: "I don't have time to watch music videos."

Now, as an EREr, many of us have removed time-sucking/wasting habits like watching TV. I stream TV, but I don't tend to watch actual TV. Too many commercials. Bad Blood is 4 minutes and 4 seconds long, and in my opinion, it's a good music video.

A time management technique is to say what things you DON'T have time for, the things that hang out on your to-do list forever because you 'should' do them but don't really feel motivated to. So by saying, "I don't have time to watch music videos", is she telling me that she's culled watching any music videos at all in order to be mindful about her time? Maybe.

I'm pretty careful about my time, and I track my work hours. Good time management is pretty essential when you have two jobs and are taking 8 classes at the same time. I also tried to Never Eat Alone. Even at the height of my busy-ness, I'd have time to watch a 4 minute and 4 second video featuring Taylor Swift and assorted celebrities. I value Taylor Swift music videos more than she does, I guess.

Spartan_Warrior
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:24 am

Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:43 am

x2 Facebook ads. They definitely provide you some interesting tools for measuring ad effectiveness and drilling down to market segments. It's very interesting to me as it's quite a step further into the nuts and bolts of advertising than most other popular advertising for indies, which is usually of the "select book category and that's it" variety.

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