Valerie Shanley rounds up what's happening news-wise this week in indie publishing with our ALLi partners and friends
Amazon Pay-Per-Page Makes Very Little Cents? Since the company's July 1st email to authors, The Guardian (never known to be pro-Amazon) estimated that royalties could be as little as $0.006 per page to indies whose books are available through Amazon’s lending services Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). Leading pro-Amazon indie, Hugh Howey, takes a contrary view. The new scheme means payment is now based on how many pages per book are read, rather than books bought. While Amazon claims this addresses complaints that authors of novelettes were paid at the same royalty rate as authors of blockbusters, there is concern among the writing community that the only people benefitting are readers with short attention spans. Tune into our regular Monday's Opinion Slot next Monday, when ALLi Director Orna Ross will assess the implications.
Route to Readers via New Passages Staying with the cloudy company, a new update on Kindle means readers can share highlights, quotes and passages while they are reading a Kindle book via social media or text, and also determine the recipient. It is now easier for recipients to read the content and they can also read a free book preview from various devices be it a phone, tablet or PC without having to sign in or install an app. As reported on Galley Cat, the new feature is now live on Kindle for Android, and coming to Kindle e-readers and other devices later this year.
Oyster now on Draft2Digital Menu Digital distributor and self-publishing service provider Draft2Digital has added Oyster to its distribution channels. Oyster’s growing e-book subscription service has over one million titles in its library and now authors with works in Draft2Digital’s catalogue of 50,000+ books can opt into Oyster Unlimited. For readers, the e-book world is also their oyster, as they receive suggestions based on what they like and editorial recommendations from The Oyster Review.
Promoting your Book? Or Yourself? There’s no point in doing social media until you have something to sell, says author Patrica C. Wrede on her Wrede on Writing blog where she views the subject of promotion, and “empty posturing”, with a steely eye. Far too many would-be writers end up promising far more than they can deliver, she says. And they are? “I know a couple of folks who have been writing about their writing for a couple of decades now, without ever producing an actual story. Their social media accounts don’t attract as much attention as they expected, because they don’t have anything to talk about but themselves (and frankly, they aren’t all that interesting). And their desperate struggles to “build an audience” soak up whatever time and energy they might have used to actually write fiction”. Write about writing then, but don’t put off the real writing.
It’s The End of the (Social Media) World As We Know It That’s what Will Francis, founder of digital agency Harkable, told The Bookseller’s Marketing and Publicity Conference this week. While social media is not dead, he claims it’s “the end of the era of social media as we know, or knew, it. That era when people used platforms like Facebook and Twitter for hours a day, sharing their lives with colleagues and friends.” Authors are creative, and being able to use social media tools was “just the beginning” Francis added. “To be a truly great marketer and to build a passionate community around your work requires creativity and the ability to realise good ideas. Authors are the people who can do that.” So, not the end. Just the end of the beginning.
What’s The Real/Unreal Cost of Self-publishing? Blueink’s monthly blog to help guide authors new to the field of self-publishing and what they might expect in terms of cost, was reviewed recently by Mick Rooney of The Independent Publishing Magazine, who noted how it “underline[s] the vast difference of experience and cost among authors.” As an example, Rooney discusses the last posting on the subject in May this year on the experience of author Dr. Nancy Saltzman and her 2012 title Radical Survivor. “Authors self-publish for different reasons and every author also has different reasons, aspirations and a budget to spend. Nancy Saltzman’s self-publishing costs are anything but real, and they certainly don’t strike me as any kind of blueprint to self-publish a book.” As with writing, it pays to do your research beforehand.
Taste of Success for Revenge & Retribution Congratulations to ALLi member Anna Belfrage on winning the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2015. Her novel Revenge & Retribution is the sixth in her series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and husband Matthew Graham. The action is set in 17th century Maryland, a time of religious upheaval and when the accusation of witchcraft is just one of many trials endured by heroine Alex. Spell-binding stuff from Anna.
Indie Publishing? Trade Doesn’t Want To Talk About It Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin’s s blog post tells of a recent Digital Book World agenda meeting “attended by most of the ten biggest trade publishers, some literary agents, and service providers”. He told the assembled group that he wanted to create a panel on “the future for indie and self-publishing” but “there was remarkably little interest in the subject from those in the room”. It looks like the establishment side has largely lost interest in the discussion, Shatzkin goes on, but perhaps, as he concludes, we are now entering a “new normal” phase in publishing after the whirlwind of recent years. Or maybe it's just a case of well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
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