Archive | For writers

Round Three - Hachette vs Amazon

Amazon-HachetteEarlier this month reports started to circulate that Amazon had acted to slow the speed with which it fulfilled orders on Hachette's titles, with delays in some shipments reaching five weeks.

The news was first broken by the New York Times on May 8. However this appears to have only been 'round two' in an extended series of 'negotiations' which may have started back in February when Michael Sullivan first noticed that the discounts for all his Riyria books listed on had vanished, raising the price of  his ebooks from $8.59 – $8.89 to $9.99 and his print books from $11.41 – $13.80 to $16.00 or $17.00. What was even more disturbing, however, was the discounts on most of his fellow Orbit (the fantasy imprint of Hachette) author’s books had disappeared as well.

Michael also started to see stocking issues from March 9 with both Hachette and Amazon blaming each other for the delays (Hachette accusing Amazon of placing small orders, Amazon blaming Hachette for not filling them). However, we are now well and truly into round 3 with Amazon upping the ante by removing the preorder capabilities on many major forthcoming Hachette titles. Continue Reading →

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When submitting to a publisher (2): Keep within the genre

This blog is running a little late due to illness, my apologies. And just a warning that there won't be a blog next week due to my attendance at SwanCon.

Keep within the genre

Marketing 101 image

I'm not sure why a writer would submit a manuscript 'outside of genre' to a publisher, but they do. This is despite our website saying we publish speculative fiction, with a focus on Science Fiction and Fantasy. Case in point - knowing this, and in fact already having had a manuscript rejected by us, why would someone email us a detective story? Even going so far as to say in their covering email - "I know this isn't Science Fiction but Detective stories are similar." Actually they're not, particularly for readers of either genre.

My advice, check a publishers website, read a couple of their books, or at least read the samples provided, and try and find someone who is going to be interested in your work before they open it for that important first read.

Hague Central

In a nod to Jerry Pournell's Chaos Manor articles which he used to write monthly for BYTE (starting in 1979 which is when I must have started reading) I've decided to try and give a more personal view at the end of each blog on what we've been doing during the week. I suspect it may take a couple of weeks before I get into my swing - but here goes...

I've finished the penultimate edit on the sequel to Ruth Fox's sequel to The City of Silver Light. The cover has also been finalised so hopefully we'll be in a position to announce a release date for Across the Bridges in the near future. It just needs one more quick read through and then its off to Coreynn, who's our copy editor, to do the final check on grammar, spelling, and consistency. Its been a long haul, but I still like The City of Silver Light and I think readers of the series will like how Ruth has taken the opportunity to develop some of the character is this sequel.

Still waiting on a response from Overdrive as to whether they will distribute us. I've just send a second query off to Overdrive as to how their QA on the five eBooks I sent them is proceeding. So far its taken two months without any sort of update.


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Marketing 101 for authors: Designing a landing page for a book

Graphic of a landing pageOver the last two years I've been constantly working to improve the landing pages we use to try and convert interest in one of our books into a purchase. The latest iteration of the design is now fully responsive, allowing people to read a sample of the first four chapters of 'Lights Over Emerald Creek on their smartphone. That said, I'm not actually sure why someone would want to read a book on their smartphone, but they can. More importantly,  with the addition of the QR code to our book-business cards I thought it important that when someone did scan the code they were provided with a page they could actually read (see Marketing 101 for authors: business cards for books).

But first, back to basics, what is a 'landing page'?

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Marketing 101 for authors: business cards for books

Image of Front and Back of business cardIn this post I discuss what I have found to be the most effective marketing tool for ebooks - the business card. 

In a November 2013 blog I discussed a poll conducted by USA TODAY which found that a majority of those surveyed (57%) cited their own opinion of the writer's previous work as the major factor in creating interest in a particular book for them. Opinions of a relative and friend ("word of mouth") came in second at 43%. Lower on the list were professional reviewers and other writers (each 17%), the book cover (16%) and Internet opinions by non-professionals (10%).

From this, it would appear that the most effective way of selling a book is for the reader to actually meet the author, allowing them to form a positive view of the author and their work. It is for this reason that authors attend conventions, and it also why authors (or their publishers) take big stacks of paperbacks to conventions that the author is attending, for sale. That's all very well for authors with a traditional book, but how do you achieve the same for eBook, because by the time the reader has gone home and is sitting at their computer, ready to purchase the book, they may have forgotten the name of the book, or even the author.

Hague Publishing tackles this problem by producing business cards for each book it publishes.  Continue Reading →

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Our first newsletter for 2014 is now available

Our January newsletter has just been released.

2014 promises to be a bumper year for Hague Publishing with four eBooks slated to be released, as well as the release of our second paperback sometime in late March. As I explain in next weeks blog, relying on Facebook, Twitter, or (now) Google+ to be kept informed of what's happening at Hague Publishing is somewhat problematic so why not subscribe to our email newsletter and never miss a release ...

In the Newsletter

  • New Releases
    • 28 February - Lights Over Emerald Creek by Shelley Davidow
  • Forthcoming releases for 2014
    • Paperback
      • Frontier Incursion by Leonie Rogers
    • eBook
      • Frontier Resistance by Leonie Rogers
      • Isis, Vampires and Ghosts - Oh My! by Janis Hill
      • Across the Bridge of Ice by Ruth Fox
  • Hague Publishing on Social Media
  • Blog Talk
  • Submissions Status
  • Now available from


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How people chose what ebook to read - Part 2

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Infographic - why people buy booksIn my last blog I discussed a poll conducted by USA TODAY and Bookish, a website designed to help people find and buy books. The poll found that a majority of those surveyed (57%) cited their own opinion of the writer's previous work as the major factor in creating interest in a particular book for them. Opinions of a relative and friend (publishers call that "word of mouth") came in second at 43%. Lower on the list of major factors: professional reviewers and other writers (each 17%), the book cover (16%) and Internet opinions by non-professionals (10%).

This week I wanted to share with you the results of another recent survey by ebookfairies which  confirms many of the USA today survey's results. The ebookfairies survey was conducted from June 1-30, 2013, via Survey Monkey, and as many as 2,951 people replied to most of the 44 questions formulated by more than a dozen authors.

Some of the more relevant information from the survey include: Continue Reading →

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How people chose what ebook to read - Part 1

USAToday - logo

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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