Tag Archives: e-publishing

Links: the extrordinary poet Ruth Stone, and Barnes & Noble

In case anyone missed it back in November, you can read about the extraordinary poet Ruth Stone in the New York Times. I call her extraordinary not only because of her talent, but also because of her steadfast refusal during her lifetime to quit doing what she loved most: writing poetry.

She finally achieved literary success at the age 87 when she received a National Book Award in 2002. She’d been a poet for over 50 years by then and despite all she had been through had kept writing.

I couldn’t help thinking as I read about her life–what if she had given up on poetry in her fifties and sixties when things were rough? What if she hadn’t kept going? It was in her seventies that she began to break through.

In other links, Digital Book World has two great articles: one on Barnes & Noble’s strengths, and one on Barnes & Noble’s weaknesses. The article on the weaknesses includes a look at Amazon’s KDP program to contrast it to Barnes & Noble’s Pubit that is well worth the time to read.

What I’ve Learned so far from the Temporary e-Sale Test

I’m part of a tiny press, and we’d never done a sale before where an e-book had been set for free for a short time, so doing so with Soul Cages gave us some valuable information for future temporary sales.

First off, the Sony eBookstore and iTunes were terrific in responding in a reasonable amount of time to the change of the price to Free, and then ending the sale after we raised the price back to $4.99.  Considering that the pricing was being done through Smashwords, this was an impressive turnaround time. We’d do a sale with them again in a heartbeat.

We also confirmed that it takes a while for a free version to get over to Barnes & Noble, and also confirmed that a different e-bookstore (not Barnes & Noble) tends to be irritatingly sloooooooow in responding to price hikes after a sale is over.

If you want Amazon to match the temporary sales price set at Free, Barnes & Noble and iTunes tend to be key markets that need to be part of the sale. We decided we’d learned enough already and stopped the free sale at Barnes & Noble before it could begin. We had no need to trigger a free sale at Amazon this time around.

I strongly advise any tiny press planning a temporary sale to be careful about which e-retailers you do it with. Most will honor your request to raise the price back up once the sale is over, but there’s one or two out there that will drag their feet for months, and you’ll probably have to file a complaint with Smashwords Customer Support to contact those e-retailers to get them to cooperate and raise the price back up.

So you may want to think carefully about which e-retailers have your e-book in their inventory if you’re going to do a temporary sale.  One option is to do the sale at the very beginning when an e-book has just been published, then wait until after the sale is over to ship the e-book at the regular price to those few e-retailers that have a pricing behavior problem.  That way you can do a temporary sale as a marketing strategy when the e-book is first released, then get coverage in all e-stores later on.

Another option is to avoid certain e-retailers entirely for e-books if you want temporary sales to be done for that e-book on a regular basis. But remember to weigh the convenience of doing so against the disadvantage of lost sales if that e-retailer can get you into markets otherwise inaccessible.

But no two e-books are alike, so what works best for one e-book is not the same as what works best for another.

More Signs of a Fun New Era for Writers

A writer friend of mine, R. G. Hart, did a blog post about his favorite memory of Halloween and listed his favorite movies and stories. Then at the end of the post he put together a collage of ebook covers in different sizes. Many of the writers in the collage are both traditionally and indie published, some have won awards, some have hit the bestseller lists on the Kindle or Barnes & Noble, and all of them are having a wonderful time experimenting with indie projects. I’m in the collage as well, but it’s the sight of so many talented writers getting to experiment that makes me smile.

Oddball and niche projects that are unappealing to traditional publishers don’t have to sit in a drawer anymore. And yet that oddball project can be the perfect opportunity to take risks and grow as a writer. Kristine Kathryn Rusch talks about the importance of this in her latest blog post today, Believe in Yourself.

Soul Cages is Getting a Much Better Cover

Okay, so I’m a bit excited. The new cover for Soul Cages is done, and is being uploaded. Some e-stores will take longer than others for the new cover to appear in (could take as long as a three weeks).

I didn’t think it was possible to make a cover that expressed the personality of the novel since it’s a strange cross-genre story, but the photo that was found nails the heart of the book so closely that I feel a bit stunned.

That’s one wonderful thing about the e-book era. It’s a lot more forgiving of a publishing startup’s learning curve in doing book covers. The cover for “Parallels” also got completely redone about two weeks ago to try and get closer to the feel of the story. Let’s just say that a magical realism story set at  Christmastime is darn difficult to convey in a cover and still have room for the author’s name and the title and some general info.

Now that this cover tinkering is over, more stories of mine will be rolling out in e-format this fall and winter. We’re hoping to be able to do print trade editions of novels and short story collections by fall of 2012–a rather steep learning curve awaits on that.

A Blog Post to Give Comfort in Rough Times, and a Few More Links

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has gone and written a blog post for all writers who are suffering through rough times right now due to the upheavals in publishing, “You Are Not Alone.” If you know a writer friend who is thinking of quitting writing or suffering from severe depression due to publishing industry changes, this essay is a must.

I also found out about a website that has various posts by pro writers (such as David Morrell) about the publishing industry.  It’s called Backspace – The Writer’s Place.

Another great resource is the NINC blog. Members of NINC have to be multi-published in order to join, so I find the information and blogs professional in tone and attitude.

Also, there’s Bob Mayer’s blog. He has 20 years of experience as a fiction writer in traditional publishing, and 2 years of experience doing indie publishing, so I find his posts have a lot of depth to them.