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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 Amazon.com 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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Swancon 39 Roundup

Arriving home from Swancon 39 my wife asked me how much Cola and sugar I'd had because of how hyper I was - almost, but not quite, bouncing off the walls hyper. So a week after the con finished I can now look back on it and assess how it worked for me. Particularly as this was the first Swancon that I'd actually been on any panels for.

The Guests

Isobelle-Anne-Sally-Jim, Swancons Guests

L-R: Isobelle Carmody, Anne Bishop, Sally Beasley, and Jim Butcher

 

Anne Bishop and Jim Butcher were the international guests of honour. Both very nice people, articulate, with very dissimilar writing styles. I hadn't actually read any of their books, although I had picked up the first in Jim's 'Dresden Files' series when we were in Sydney earlier this year without realising he was the GOH - what can I say, I'm terrible with names. Continue Reading →

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Getting to know us: what makes Hague Publishing tick.

Logo600x600I've just renewed our membership with the Independent Book Publishers' Association, and was filling in the questionnaire provided, originally posed by Jan Nathan, when I thought it would be worth re-posting. So here it is ...

Why did you become a book publisher?

Three years ago I was looking at creating a second career for myself when I retire from the public sector in five years. At the time there weren't many small publishers focussing on the ebook SF&F market (and to the present in Australia that remains the case). I was NOT aware of how all consuming the whole process was going to be, and if I had been I might not have done it.

What do you enjoy most about publishing?

Working with the author to create a finished eBook that we can both be proud of. Secondly being a patron of the arts. Unlike our authors who aren't paid an advance, our illustrators are paid upfront for the work they do in designing our covers and the work they produce is simply stunning. I'm actually in the process of getting some of our covers printed onto canvas for framing. Continue Reading →

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Swancon 2014: Panels

SwanCon imageDespite having been a long term attendee of Swancon (I was actually at the first one way back in 1976) I've never been on a panel. With Hague Publishing now turning three in June I thought it was about time I was, so this year I am. And not just one, but two (nothing like plunging in without a safety net):

  • Maintaining a useful and meaningful web presence 101 for authors (with Anne Bishop, Jim Butcher, and Isobelle Carmedy) Thursday 20:00
  •  How To Piss Off A Publisher (with Cat Sparks from Agog! Press) Sunday 15:30

A full listing of the draft program is available here.

So - if you're in Perth over the Easter long-weekend why not drop and join us at Australia's longest-running science fiction convention, and probably the longest-running in the southern hemisphere (Wikipedia).

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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 HaguePublishing.com

 

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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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To illustrate or not to illustrate? A question.

Frontier IncursioRecently we nominated Leonie Rogers' Frontier Incursion for the Independent Book Publishers Association's Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards. The Awards were established to honour the best in Digital Book innovation with nominees being judged on 5 criteria:

  1. Content,
  2. Use of Platform and Technology,
  3. Innovation,
  4. Design, and
  5. Overall Reaction.

As a publishing award rather than a literary award we knew it was a bit of a long shot and unfortunately we weren't successful. What was interesting, however, was the feedback we received from the judge about how they believed the book could be improved.

When I launched Hague Publishing it was with the intention of producing well edited eBooks, with a fast load, and a clean appearance. A book where the words did not get in the way of the story, but in fact supported that reading experience. Despite the failure to win the Award, it reassuring to have the judge recognise that the goals I had set myself had been achieved. It was also pleasing that the judge had enjoyed the story, particularly liking 'the plot elements of genetic engineering and people-cat empathy'.

However, the suggestion that the book would benefit from the addition of internal illustration is not one that I would necessarily support. From a purely publishing perspective the use of internal illustrations would significantly add to the costs of production. While from the reader's perspective illustrations would slow load time and chew up valuable storage space if they are like me and tend to leave previously read books on their eReader. It also raised the question of whether it would actually add any benefit to the reading experience.

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What's coming up

Welcome to our new blog which will cover all things writing, publishing, and eBooks. The blog will be updated every Sunday.

Some of the topics we have coming up for you include:

  • Creating a killer title!
  • Just how many eBook readers is enough?
  • How to produce an eBook; and
  • From the slush pile - common mistakes of first time authors

If you have any specific suggestions, or anything you want us to cover, then let us know.

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