Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Little Things are EVERYTHING

                Time to play some more with our new topic of self-publication, or as it is being called today Indie publishing.  Last time I covered the magic number of 10,000 copies that tends to attract attention from agents and publishing houses.  Today, let me open that up a little more. 

                The incredible growth of e-books or self-publication in general has changed the landscape so fast that the traditional part of the business is still running to catch up, including the agents.  Consider how this works now.  The author USED to seek out an agent.  Now the author has complete control of his/her work.  When the book hits that magic sales figure, the agents come to the author.  Complete reversal.  Time after time after time I’m reading stories of authors turning down agents and book deals from New York.  Why?  Because if they take the deal, they will lose money.  And why is that?  The royalties authors make on e-books are much higher than traditional routes.  The new e-book authors also say no because they do not want to give up all the power they hold.  When you are an e-book author or maybe I should now say an Indie author, you are not only an author, you are also your own agent.  You control the price of the book, thereby determining how much royalty you get, you also control the cover design, the inside design, the foreign country rights, the movie rights, everything.

                How much royalty do you get?  Most people think that authors can’t be making much because the price point is low since these books are online.  Remember that you the author set the price.  Strategy comes into play.  You don’t want to set it too low and lose out on money, but you don’t want to set the price too high either and scare off the buyer.  Let’s say you set the price of your first book at $3.99.  Sounds low, doesn’t it?  Let’s publish it on Amazon and strike the deal with them.  Big company.  The king of e-books.  You get an 80% commission, or around $3.20 back on every  book sold.   Not bad really and with power and control.  I’ll take it.

                Let’s take a look at the impact Indie publishing has had on traditional recently.  Look around and notice.  We all know about Kindle.  Heard of Nook?  That came from a major Bookstore company.  Why?  You have to adapt or go out of business.  Major publishing houses have been buying into Indie publishing businesses.  Why do you think?  Again, adapt or die.  Times are changing and fast.  The influx of these traditional houses into Indie publishing is already causing problems.  These “old fogies” are already trying to change the amount of the royalties paid to the authors. Because of the hold such companies as Amazon have, they are having an effect yet.  I suspect there will be growing pains of different sorts for a few years with the “big boys” winning out. It is always supply and demand.  In the end it will be the little things that make the difference.

                Let me close with another little thing that is not so little with me.  It has to do with us as authors and writers.  As this industry grows, we have a huge responsibility to ourselves and to the public.  It really disturbs me to see some of the quality of work coming out in the Indie world.  There is, quite frankly, no excuse for it.  I will give you one VERY famous example of it.  FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. I read all three books in the series.  Oh cut it out.  I did.  Oh man…alright, I’ll wait a minute for the laughter to die down.  You know, on a side note, I think every male should read at least the first one to learn how to be romantic (Not sexual, romantic) with his partner.

                Okay, are you through now?  I will talk about the first book of the three.  Fifty  was self-published.  I do not know this for a fact and what I am about to say is just an opinion, but it appears to me that the author never had a critiquing group she went through prior to publishing it.  It also appears that she never ran it through any kind of professional editing service.  There are many minor mistakes throughout the book and Christian Grey, the main male character, must touch or rub his hair about one hundred and thirty thousand times in the first book alone.  Any critiquing group worth their salt would never let that go.  Our group would have ripped that book to shreds.  My point is there are many more examples of this out there.  As we publish, spend the money and do it right.  Have pride in your work.  Put out the best possible work you can.  Fulfill your dream the right way.

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