roh morgon

~Weekly e-Watch Wrap-up: 20 May 2011

Enough news has already accumulated in my files this week to warrant a special Friday edition of e-Watch. Without further ado, here’s the Weekly e-Watch Wrap-up:

The Battleground Expands

Fast Times at Publishing High

Sink or Swim: It’s All About Survival

More Publishing News

The Last Word

Why you won’t succeed in self-pubbing by Joe Konrath
 

 That’s it for today, folks!  Have a good weekend!

roh morgon @ Friday, 20 May 2011 3:52 pm
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~Wednesday’s e-Watch: 11 May 2011

Today is the inaugural edition of Wednesday’s e-Watch and it’s packed with info for anyone interested in the status of indie and e-publishing.

In fact, you might feel a little overwhelmed with everything listed here. I do, because, with the exception of the final item at the bottom of this post, everything below happened in the space of ONE WEEK.

So far this week:

Joe Konrath’s post yesterday was another eye-opener in a long string of eye-openers. The first part included a guest post by indie author Scott Sigler. Scott shared his story of how he became a top-selling indie author and the marketing methods he used to build a devoted fan base.

Joe wrapped up Scott’s post with some astonishing sales facts: currently, the Number 1 e-book in Amazon’s horror category is Scott Sigler’s newly-released Blood is Red. Positions 2 and 3 are Run by Blake Crouch and Trapped by Jack Kilborn, both indie authors. In fact, Joe said that the top eight horror bestsellers are indie – and are outselling King, Koontz, and Harris.

Now that’s something.

~~~

Another well-known indie author made news of her own. Most of you have heard by now about indie author Amanda Hocking’s phenomenal success with her self-published books (900,000 books sold in ten months). She made the headlines again when she inked a four-book deal for a new series with St. Martins Press for $2 million dollars.

Well, last week she did it yet again. Amanda made a three-book deal with St. Martins Press for her Trylle Trilogy, a series she already published herself.

Big publisher buys previously self-published series. Thought they didn’t do that.

Looks like the rules of the game are a’changing.

~~~

Last week’s news:

Wednesday was a big day for announcements in the publishing world.

From Smashwords.com: Smashwords books are coming to an app store near you.Today we announced an agreement with ScrollMotion that will transform over 33,000 Smashwords Premium Catalog ebooks into individual mobile apps for distribution to the largest app marketplaces for smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The relationship will gain Smashwords authors and publishers free entry into the app marketplaces for Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS.

~~~

Wednesday’s press release from Lulu.com might be of additional interest to those who are planning to self-publish.

~~~

Also on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch published a press release from Amazon announcing their latest imprint, Montlake Romance.

Is Amazon moving in the direction of becoming a publishing house?

The question becomes more interesting. Read on.

Friday’s news contained an announcement about Bookish.com, a new book recommendation service backed by Hachette, Penguin (USA), and Simon & Schuster.

As in, Three out of the Big Six publishing houses have formed an alliance.

This alliance includes partnering with AOL Huffington Post Media Group. According to PR Newswire, Bookish will feature exclusive content, sell physical and digital books, and provide social networking.

Sounds like Amazon meets Facebook, right?

Is this an attempt to pool resources to better position themselves against the other Three? Against Amazon?

You can read more about this here and here, and draw your own conclusions.

In fact, Mike Shatzkin has an interesting post from May 8 that examines the mad scrambling taking place by anyone and everyone who’s a big name in publishing. Check it out on his blog, The Shatzkin Files.

~~~

I was introduced to science fiction and fantasy by my dad. He signed me up for the Science Fiction Book Club when I was about twelve, which pretty much changed my life, as I’m sure it did for a lot of other readers and writers of the genre. I haven’t thought or heard about book clubs in years (other than Oprah’s), so when I saw an article on subscription e-books from The Shatzkin Files, I thought I’d pass it along.

~~~

This March 23 post on if:book, A Project of The Institute for the Future of the Book was from Kim White and, ladies and gentlemen, I hate to tell you, but this is where we’re headed: shift happened

~~~~~~~~~~

Phew! It’s hard to believe that (except for the last item), all of the above events happened in ONE WEEK!

ONE WEEK!

And I only included the major stuff.

If I missed anything, or you’d like to add to the list, let me know. Include it in your comments and I’ll cover it in a subsequent post.

Remember, even though writing is a solitary art, getting published takes a team. Be part of the team. Help us stay current on the latest events so that we as writers can not only survive these topsy-turvy times, but actually thrive and maybe even come out on top.

Let me know what you think.

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 11 May 2011 5:11 pm
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~new feature: Wednesday’s e-Watch

As those of you watching the digital book revolution know, the world of e-books is changing faster than any of us can comprehend. 

I’ve been following the developments for several months now, and want to share the groundbreaking news that’s occurring daily within the publishing industry.

To help keep my friends up to date with all of the changes, I’m introducing a new feature to my blog. I’m calling it Wednesday’s e-Watch (and no, this has nothing to do with my soon-to-be-published novel, Watcher :) ). 

In the e-Watch, I’ll recap the latest news in e-publishing, including self-publishing, e-book technologies, and the digital marketplace.

One of the sources I use is Publisher’s Marketplace. I subscribe to the daily Publisher’s Lunch newsletter and pay to have full access to the Publisher’s Marketplace website. That access gives me links to the headlines mentioned in the Lunch newsletter, and I’m constantly amazed at the information I find there. The speed with which the publishing industry is embracing digital is incredible–and lately, there have been major announcements nearly every day. Being able to keep up with at least some of the developments is well worth my subscription fee.

Another source of good information, as you all well know, is blogs.

I follow the blogs of popular indie authors such as Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, Amanda Hocking, and Zoe Winters. Other important self-publishing blogs I pay attention to are The Creative Penn, Self-Publishing Review, Write to Publish, and E-book Endeavors.

But I’m also reading industry blogs like one I just found through Publisher’s Marketplace called FUTUReBOOK. This European blog on publishing has some eye-opening posts today that give a great snapshot of where the industry is racing at lightning speed.

My blog will be getting a facelift within the next couple weeks, and I’ll be refreshing my blogroll to make it easier for you to check them out.

I hope you all enjoy e-Watch and that it helps you to weather the publishing whirlwind that is upon us. Those writers who pay attention to what’s happening and do their own research will have the best chance of finding a safe harbor for their writing futures.

The storm isn’t coming…it’s here NOW.

~~~~~~~~~

Here’s a couple posts from FUTUReBOOK that take a two-sided look at the state of the industry as it stands today:

Is it the end for publishing – or a new beginning?  by Victoria Barnsley - the publisher’s perspective

A brief reaction to Victoria Barnsley’s speech by  Nick Harkaway – an author speaks up

In tomorrow’s inauguration of Wednesday’s e-Watch, I’ll recap some of the monumental events in e-publishing that have taken place in recent weeks.

And one last note:

The thing I love about blogging, both reading and writing, is the sharing of information. My research in e-publishing at this point has barely begun, and I’m sure some of you out there who’ve been at it a little longer have your own awesome resources.

PLEASE – for all of us struggling writers - SHARE them. Help us stay informed. Let me know about your favorite blogs and websites that cover e-pub happenings and I’ll be happy to pass the info along to my readers.

The only way any of us will ever be published, whether it’s self or traditional, is by educating ourselves and forging ahead with our eyes wide open.

Now…go write.

I’ve got the first watch.

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 10 May 2011 3:50 pm
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~shifting directions

Here we are, nearing the end of the fourth month of 2011…

I can’t believe the year is already a third over. Time flies when one is buried in both work and writing.

For those of you who occasionally check my blog, I apologize for my long absence and appreciate your loyalty.

The last several months have been a wake-up call for me. It all started at the San Francisco Writers Conference in February, where the predominate message on how to get published was nearly 180-degrees from that of last year’s conference.

In 2010, the traditional route to becoming a published writer  (i.e. via agent, publisher, etc.) was still being promoted at the conference as the smart and secure way to go. Those who were venturing into self-publishing were viewed with shaking heads and whispers of doom. But at the same time, some folks were watching the risk takers–and taking notes.

Several major events in 2010 and early 2011 indicated the wind was beginning to shift in the other direction.

The number of e-book purchases sailed past hard copy numbers in several categories, firing a warning shot across the publishing bow that the whole world felt. The bankruptcy of Borders was a direct hit, the first of many salvos that are continuing to rock the publishing industry.

The February 2011 Conference was aflame with the recent Borders news, yet highly optimistic about the changing publishing climate. And sessions on self-publishing, or indie publishing as it’s now being called, had an equal presence with those following the traditional, or legacy model.

In March, a new storm hit the publishing world as established author Barry Eisler walked away from signing a two-book, $500,000 contract with St. Martins Press to publish the books himself. And a week later, self-publishing darling Amanda Hocking signed a four-book $2,000,000 contract with the same St. Martins Press.

Needless to say, these two events left many folks scratching their heads.

But when it comes down to the dollars, both decisions make perfect sense. Barry retains control over his story and his release schedule (it can take up to two years for a book to hit the stores after signing with a publisher). What’s more important, and the deciding factor in his decision, is that he can earn more in the long term by publishing the books himself than he could using the traditional model.

For a little insight into Barry Eisler’s choice, check out this conversation between Barry and Joe Konrath. A follow-up to that post can be found here in Part 2.

Amanda Hocking, on the other hand, gained a legitimacy and recognition that is difficult for self-published writers to attain. She also now has a team behind her to take care of much of the publishing details, freeing her up to do more of what she loves–writing. To read about her decision, I encourage you to visit Amanda’s blog.

As for Amanda’s accounting, some would argue she could have made more by publishing those four books herself. But I don’t think she’s going to be hurting for money, because she still has her self-published titles that are selling well. And as print readers discover her books and visit her website, her self-pubbed works will keep selling.

Ultimately, these two authors did what they felt was in their best interests, and no one should question their decisions.

But we can watch the results of those decisions unfold, and learn from them.

I know I am, and I know which direction I’m heading.

I realize the self-pub route is difficult and requires a lot of work. But so does the traditional, and if I go that route, I have an uphill battle (see December’s ~biases in publishing).

My posts will be infrequent over the next several months as I re-position myself to publish on my own. I have a number of changes to make, both to blog and website, and a lot of preparation to get Watcher ready to hit the market by my target date.

So continue to check back once in awhile for news about the paradigm shift that is shaking up the publishing world. It’s a revolution that’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

roh morgon @ Friday, 22 April 2011 3:03 pm
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