Archive | For writers

How people chose what ebook to read - Part 1

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The availability of online bookstores, and particularly the arrival of eBooks is starting to transform how  people discover the books they may want to read. The traditional place to do that was bookstores. You'd go in to buy one book and discover another.

Officials at Amazon and other book websites argue that clicking can replace browsing, but is that just a vague and nebulous hope, or are people actually selecting the books they'll read in different ways? A recent poll  conducted for USAToday and Bookish, a website designed to help people find and buy books, asked readers what factors create interest in a particular book for them. Continue Reading →

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When submitting to a publisher don't: submit your partner's manuscript without seeking their approval

Picture of manuscript submissionAfter last week's posts which dealt with the relatively heavy topic of eBook earnings I thought it might be time to try something a little lighter. As a result this is will hopefully be the first in an irregular series entitled: When submitting to a publisher don't:. In this case don't submit your partner's manuscript without seeking their permission!

Now you might think this warning isn't really required, but it has actually happened to me. In the case in point I received a short, illustrated manuscript suitable for a parent to read to a young child. I liked the story, and the illustrations, but wasn't sure if we were the best fit for the book .

When I emailed the author I discovered than not only was he not aware that his partner had submitted the manuscript without telling him, they had also commissioned the artwork without his permission and he hated it. Probably made for rather a chilly conversation over the breakfast table the next day. I do have to say, however, that I felt it was rather sweet of the partner to have that much faith in their partner's work. But the bottom line remains: don't.

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Did the average eBook really earn just $297 in 2012?

income-graphicAs a small publisher this is obviously an important question: both for us, and for our authors. The question being, of course, how well is an author doing compared to their peers.

Unfortunately this information is difficult to obtain, as from the publisher's perspective it is often commercial in confidence. Alternatively the information may rely on a small, non-representative sample of self-disclosing authors. What information is around seems to indicate, however, that the goal of earning enough to get a cookie and a mug of chocolate each week on the royalties from eBook sales is probably going to be well beyond the experience of the average author.

Back in May 2012 The Guardian ran an article with the headline 'Stop the press: half of self-published authors earn less than $500'. The article was based on a survey of 1,007 self-published writers that was originally published by the website Taleist.  Unfortunately I was unable to view the results from the original survey from the Taleist site due to its age, so this information is gleaned from the Guardian article.

What the survey shows is that  the average amount earned by self-published authors in 2011 was just $10,000, with half of those responding making less than $500. While self-published superstars such as Amanda Hocking and EL James raked in enormous sums of money (Hocking attained sales of $2.5 million), the overall figure  is significantly skewed by the top earners, with less than 10% of self-published authors earning about 75% of the reported revenue, and half of writers earning less than $500.

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Creating a killer book title

I've been following Valerie Peterson who blogs on publishing on about.com for over five years now and thought her recent article on creating a killer book title was worth alerting people to. The article covers:

  • What makes a great book title
  • Using a step-by-step approach to creating a book title
  • Making a 'good' title 'great'; and
  • Creating strong, clear subtitles

Creating a good title for your book is even more important than that very first sentence (a topic to be covered in a future blog). A good title helps ensure it will stick in the minds of prospective readers. A good book title, like an effective and appealing cover, is a vital marketing tool for the book (for example consider Fifty Shades of Chicken which has a killer title and a picture of a trussed roast chicken on the cover). Read about what makes a selling book title.
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