The first question:
Steve: I’d like to ask some questions of all of you self-published authors. For those of you that are starting out and even those that have a few books under their belt, how do you promote your book online? How do you distinguish it from the other 1,000,000 books on Amazon and other ebook retailers? Do you sell your books on all of the ebook stores or only Kindle?
Joe: I’m not starting out, Steve. I signed my first book deal in 2001, and had eight novels published by large legacy publishers.
Konrath did not actually answer Steve’s question regarding how a new author (one who is not a “name author” like Joe Konrath) can promote their book online. Konrath goes on to say,
So huge names will self-publish, banking on their brand to bring in 70% royalties.
This doesn’t help the authors whose self-published novels get lost in the primordial online soup. It’s the new and mid-list author that really benefit from the team assistance that a publisher offers. The problem is, New York no longer has the power or the initiative to get new authors the physical book store shelf space they need to break out. Under these conditions, the new and mid-list authors are better off signing with a small press, in every respect. Higher royalties and a dedication to preserving the authors’ creative visions are just a few of the many important reasons why a small press is superior to the “Big Five”. When a new author cannot be guaranteed any shelf space by the Big Five, why would they halve their royalties as compared to a small press?
The small press helps the author build their brand and name, more than being on the Big Five will.
What will happen when a “name author” signs to a larger small press that has the same basic paper book distributors as the majors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc.)? This name author would get 50% royalties, less creative interference and full “New York grade” distribution for their paper books.
As Joe Konrath points out later in the post:
(New York publishing’s) most valuable resource is your ability to get paper books onto shelves.
So what will happen to the Big Five if a larger small press breaks New York’s paradigm and gets a paper book onto the New York Times best-seller list? In many ways, this will be far greater bellwether of change than all of the #1 New York Times best-selling e-books combined. Paper books are the Big Five’s last bastion of strength. Amazon, for all their online might, cannot break New York’s monopoly on paper best-sellers. Sure, Amazon can start paper imprints, but (as we have seen) NO major brick and mortar retailer will touch them. These same retailers would see the burgeoning small press as a friend, not an enemy. A New York Times best-selling paper book, produced entirely outside of the New York publishing realm, will be the crack that finally breaks the Big Five’s dam.
We writers live in interesting times. The same digital tsunami that toppled Tower Records and collapsed Kodak has now consumed the world of publishing. The world we knew five years ago is gone. Traditional is reinventing, indie publishers are growing and self-publishing now can be a viable part of any author’s long-term career plan. This is one of the main reasons WANA has never taken sides and embraces publishing as a whole.
Granted, some authors may find a singular path that fits all their needs, but a majority of us will mix it up and venture on a hybrid path. Traditional houses are encouraging writers to self-publish prequels, short stories, or even stories involving supporting characters to keep the fan fires burning between books.
Indie houses are helping established authors breathe new life into backlists and new authors get a start under the care of professionals. Self-publishing is a fantastic…
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Kate Stone’s first-hand accounts of the Civil War make history come alive 🙂
From May 2012 to November 2015, a special series from Stillness of Heart shared excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.
She defiantly faced Union soldiers, escaped across a Louisiana swamp, fell in love with Texas, and watched the Civil War rip her country and her family apart.
The entire series of excerpts is collected here.
May 15: Death in defense of the South
June 5: The stir and mob of angry life
June 18: Whipped unmercifully
July 1: They thought me so ugly
July 4: The blood of her children
July 26: Gallantly fought and won
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Food for cosmic thought…
In preparation for tomorrow’s Spiritus Walking episode, I’m posting this blog entry. Tomorrow’s episode will focus on spirit guides. I’ve researched this subject extensively, so I’m presenting all view points on what spirit guides are, what they do, and how to communicate with them. Finally, I’ll present my personal opinion and experience.
The word “spirit guide” (SG hereafter) is used to explain some type of entity that acts as a guide or protector. Some feel that they hold ancient wisdom and that they are incarnated humans who lived many past lives, paid their karmic obligation, and have advanced past the need to reincarnate. Along these same lines, some say that all SG were once humans, they lived, went about their daily tasks, died, crossed over, and are given the choice to reincarnate or to remain in spirit form so that they can help their charge…
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Sorry, Virginia, even Santa Claus agrees there’s no such thing as a “famous author” anymore.
And this may be a good thing.
We live in a culture which doles out celebrity to “quack dynasties” of families who are famous just for being famous. You know they are, whether you want to or not.
No surprise that in such a “culture”, the authors, the dreamers, the creators are receding into the shadows of marginalization. Even if their creation enchants an entire nation.
Look no further than this magazine.
With all of that content, what could possibly be missing?
The person who created this saga in the first place. The person without whom the movie (and the tie-in magazines) would not even exist.
There was only one mention of “Suzanne Collins” or “novel” in the entire magazine.
In a small piece on the bottom of the back page. And not a single picture of Suzanne.
A stunning decline from the Twilight saga tie-in magazines of only a few years ago, which peppered their pages with pictures of Stephenie Meyer signing books and attending the movie premieres. Of course, she was never the subject of the intense media scrutiny focused on Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, but Meyer was at least “in the picture” (literally “in the pictures” of the saga tie-in magazines) as something of a household name that Twilight saga fans might actually recognize if they encountered her in person.
Now, in this issue of Us Weekly, Suzanne Collins is nothing but a name in the “closing credits.”
Imagine an adolescent Hunger Games saga fan flipping through a copy of the Us Weekly special issue in the supermarket. If this magazine was all they had to go by, Suzanne Collins could walk right past that fan and they would never notice.
This is what Suzanne Collins looks like. You’re welcome 😈
To think I was lamenting that a “J.D. Salinger”-type author could not exist today in this social-media-driven world. This magazine proves me wrong, at least in the “big picture” sense. Sure, Suzanne attends to all her social media, like any good author nowadays. Those fans who seek to know everything about Suzanne Collins can find it all on the Internet. But in the pages of the tie-in magazine, Suzanne is just a name hiding in the margins, as is the existence of her novel. Hidden from the mass media and the “non-readers’ view”, to the same degree Salinger hid himself from the world.
Sure, I dream of the Vampire Syndrome saga being optioned by Hollywood. But where will I be, if this happens?
I’ll be celebrated by my fellow authors, to be sure. My life will become interesting enough without the fishbowl of fame. Those who seek to know the mind behind the movies will not be disappointed. But in the mass media, “Vampire Syndrome” will be the movies. The actors. The “photos, interviews, diaries and stories.” And I will be a Salinger in the shadows, left to the company of those who still care about those who can bring their dreams to life.