Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Industry News and October Book Sales Figures

A little industry news to wrap up the year...

From All Things D -Apple launched its Newsstand feature this past fall, giving newspapers and magazines their own dedicated shelf space, in hopes of boosting sales. According to Apple, it has, and it’s also boosted the sales of magazines. Popular Science reported a large increase in subscriptions when the Newsstand feature launched. As always, there are lovers and haters on both sides. Either way, more media are moving towards paperless.
How do you feel about reading a magazine on a tablet?

Want to find a bookstore in North America? Publisher’s Weekly has an interactive MAP that also shows where Borders used to reside, as Books-A-Million is now moving into some of those sites.
Since bookstores are slowly dying, I do have to wonder if that’s a smart move on BAM’s part. I’m not a fan of BAM (most disorganized bookstore I’ve ever seen) but will you shop at a former Borders turned BAM?

And the downward spiral continues...
According to Publisher’s Weekly, Ebook sales rose 81% in October while sales of physical books were down except for Religious titles, which saw an increase of 12.4%. Mass markets took the biggest hit - sales were down 37.6%.
Are you buying more Ebooks and less paperbacks?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Industry News About EBooks and Christmas Giveaway Winners

CBS News posted an article - Will Publishers Kill Amazon’s Golden Goose?

Big publishers are starting to push the price of their ebooks up again. Since ereaders such as the Kindle require an investment to begin with, this could hurt sale. Who will get hurt more - publishers, Amazon, or both?

The New York Times featured an article - Pulp Fiction: The Kindle Debate

It’s in response to an earlier article concerning the dissatisfaction of Kindle Fire owners. It does end with a note that Amazon does have the advantage, even though the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet is better and the Apple Ipad years ahead of either device.

Anyone care to share your thoughts?

And the winners of the Christmas Giveaway-

One print copy-  
A Southpaw’s POV - Holly
Cruising Altitude - DL
Ciara Knight

One ebook copy -
Sia McKye
Visiting Reality - Linda
Nancy Williams

Congrats, everyone! Send me an email and let me know what book you want.(The Circle of Friends Books I-V or Overcoming Obstacles.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Déjà vu Blogfest

Hosted by DL at Cruising Altitude
On December 16th all of those taking part will re-post their favorite blog offering, or one that never received the exposure it should have.

This post originally appeared May of this year, but as I continue to get hits and comments, I thought repeating it would be good.

Writing From a Male POV  

Writing from the point of view of the opposite sex can be challenging. Viewing the world from another perspective requires that we abandon our natural instincts. Since the books in my series, The Circle of Friends, featured a male lead, I had to understand the differences.

I read dozens of relationship books, seeking to comprehend the distinct qualities of the male gender. The books that provided me with the most insight were Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus and the Connecting With Your Husband/Wife series. Men and women really do view the world through different eyes!

- Men are not detail-oriented, at least not in the area of observation. They are focused on the big picture. When a man walks into a room, it’s doubtful he will notice the pattern on the couch or the smell of flowers by the window.

- Men tend to process information internally. While a woman will discuss her situation with friends, a man will privately think through his problems. Men tend to internalize rather than verbalize when seeking an answer. If he does discuss the situation, he wants answers not support.

- Because men normally do not discuss their problems, they use fewer words than women – by half! They tend to verbalize facts and opinions rather than feelings, too.

- Men focus better than women, who rely more on ‘diffused awareness.’ Once a man selects a course of action, little can distract him. While women multi-task with ease, men tend to focus on one thing at a time.

- Due to the amount of testosterone a man’s brain receives before he is born, he cannot think both logically and emotionally at the same time. Thus, when a man offers a logical explanation, a woman’s emotional reasoning simply doesn’t compute. And when a man grows angry, rationalizing with him is difficult as logic has gone out the window at that point.

- Men are not as emotionally expressive as their female counterparts. They are simply not wired in that manner.

- Last but not least, women seek to connect emotionally while men seek to connect… physically. The stirrings of love in a man come from physical attraction and contact first, emotional attachment second.

While all of that may appear to be stereotyping, it does provide a fundamental base for the male POV. Environment, background, and basic personality type also factor into the equation.

Armed with this knowledge, I found writing from a male perspective much easier. It was refreshing to discard my women intuitions and interpretations and just deal with the basics. I’d say it was almost liberating!

Are you comfortable writing from the opposite sex's POV?

Today is the last day for the Christmas Special Giveaway!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Amazon's KDP Select - Author Beware

Last week Amazon’s KDP Select program was announced to authors and small publishers:

"Here's how KDP Select works:

When you make any of your titles exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, those with US rights will automatically be included in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and can earn a share of a monthly fund. The monthly fund for December 2011 is $500,000 and will total at least $6 million in 2012. If you haven't checked it out already, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library is a collection of books that eligible US Amazon Prime members can borrow for free once a month with no due dates.

You'll also now have access to a new set of promotional tools, starting with the option to promote your KDP Select-enrolled titles for FREE for up to 5 days every 90 days."

Sounds like a good deal, right?

Ah, but there’s always a downside and authors need to be aware they are giving up their rights to distribute their books elsewhere.

The Writers Beware Blog had this to say:

"Also important to consider, if you're thinking of participating: you must be willing to distribute your work exclusively on the Kindle. Here is the relevant language:
1 Exclusivity. When you include a Digital Book in KDP Select, you give us the exclusive right to sell and distribute your Digital Book in digital format while your book is in KDP Select. During this period of exclusivity, you cannot sell or distribute, or give anyone else the right to sell or distribute, your Digital Book (or content that is reasonably likely to compete commercially with your Digital Book, diminish its value, or be confused with it), in digital format in any territory where you have rights.
This is a grant of rights and a non-competition clause all in one, and authors need to think carefully before agreeing to it."

Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, had this to say on the Smashwords blog:

When authors enroll a title in the program, they're contractually obligated to remove their books from all other distribution channels.

Wow. Most indie authors appreciate their independence. This rule is quite restrictive.

Impact on authors:
* Forces the author to remove the book from sale from the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Smashwords and others, thereby causing the author to lose out on sales from competing retailers.
* By unpublishing a title from any retailer, the author destroys any accrued sales rank, making their book less visible and less discoverable when and if they reactivate distribution to competing retailers.
* Makes the author more dependent upon Amazon for sales. Do you want to become a tenant farmer, 100% dependent upon a single retailer?

Yes, Amazon is the largest online retailer and the Kindle the #1 selling ereader. But B&N’s Nook is tied for second. Apple’s devices are also right behind Amazon’s Kindle. And the Apple IPad accounts for 88% of all tablet sales. 88%!!! Add in the Kobo and all of the other ereaders, and that’s a large slice of the pie you are losing.

Amazon wants to do it all - publish and distribute - and in the end, control. And when one company has total control, it’s not good for consumers, retailers, or the economy.

Authors beware…

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Snutt the Ift - Finding a Gem at the Bologna Children's Book Fair

When Rana DiOrio visits the Bologna Children’s Book Fair each spring in Italy, it isn’t just to market her own titles for Little Pickle Press, the publishing company she formed several years ago. She is also looking for foreign rights acquisitions, particularly picture books with stunning artwork and stories that fit her award-winning collection. At the last show, she acquired a title by popular UK artist and illustrator, Helen Ward, a reclusive artist represented by Templar Publishing since her graduation from art school. For some of us, obtaining foreign rights to a book might sound daunting, but Rana DiOrio has a former life as an attorney, so when asked how the entire process transpired, here is what she had to say:

I found the book myself in the Templar booth. I quickly brought our Foreign Rights Agent, Sylvia Hayse, over with me to see if she liked it as much as I did. She did. 

We subsequently set up a meeting with David McMillan, Templar’s U.S. sales manager. Sylvia continued her dialogue with David after the Fair. We inked our deal on July 25, 2011. As part of the agreement, Templar and Helen agreed to let us change the title, subject to Helen's final approval. The pub date was September 2011. 

That is lightening-fast timing! 

An important consideration in the contract is one that every agent and publisher is negotiating these days, and that’s the issue of digital and other rights. Because Little Pickle Press is a B Corporation and has a strong environmental focus, all the books are printed in North America with recycled papers using soy inks. But another major part of their production model involves digital, product, and performance assets for all their titles. So the negotiations with Templar Publishing included rights to create e-books, enhanced iBooks, posters, apps, and even original music for the North American market.

The book was first published as Wonderful Life in England, but that title was entirely too reminiscent of the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. So the title was changed to Snutt the Ift, after the main character, and was thus re-born in North America.

What is the book about? Please take a peek at the content by watching the lovely book trailer:

The story, about two explorers from different species and different worlds, who nevertheless discover common ground, will strike a warm and resonant note with anyone who has ever felt homesick or lonely or lost. It’s a children’s picture book, yes, but the message, like most classic children’s literature, will also resonate with adults. Consider giving it to your best friend. BUY HERE

Readers, if you have questions for Ms. DiOrio, please leave them in the comments. Also, there is a grand prize driving for nine award-winning Little Pickle Press books if you sign up for their monthly newsletter at their website or blog. May the best fan win!

A little about the author: 
Helen Ward has written and illustrated children’s books for over twenty years. She trained at the Brighton School of Art under such well-known illustrators as Raymond Briggs, Justin Todd, and John Vernon Lord and has accrued numerous awards and accolades for her work, including twice winning the prestigious National Art Library Illustration Award. 
Helen’s illustrations are renowned for their vitality and painstaking attention to detail, and this is never more in evidence than in the fantastical, imaginative world she has created in Snutt the Ift, a Small But Significant Chapter in the Life of the Universe. Originally published in the United Kingdom as Wonderful Life by Templar Publishing, the poignant story speaks to all who have discovered the elevated beauty of a world shared with kindred spirits. The message will resonate with those who understand, value, and seek true friendship. A children’s picture book, this book speaks to adults as well, and makes a lovely gift for all ages especially during the holidays.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group Post

Today’s post is for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

A recent post by Elizabeth Craig asked the question - what are your writer goals?

I realized, I didn’t have any.

Not that I don’t have goals. I’m big on goal-setting. It’s just that my goals don’t include writing anymore.

After an incredibly busy fall and the events of last month, my perspective has changed a bit. As I stated last month, I am juggling many things. Too many things. I am ready to cut back and focus on what I enjoy.

I’ll be setting my goals for next year and making some changes soon.

Anyone else in need of a little change?

And if you missed it, I am holding a Christmas Special Giveaway.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Christmas Giveaway Special!

As a thank you to all of my blogger friends and faithful fans, I have a special giveaway for you.

There are two parts to the giveaway:

1 - Comment to win a free book -
Must be a follower & comment - 2 points
Tweet this giveaway #SpunkyChristmas - 5 points
Post giveaway with button in sidebar of blog - 5 points
Post giveaway on Facebook - 5 points
Blog post about giveaway - 10 points

Three physical books and three ebooks will be given out to six random winners - the more points, the more times you are entered! Book is winner’s choice.

Contest runs until December 16, 2011 - winners announced on December 19, 2011

2 - Purchase a book to receive free book -

Buy any book from the list below and receive free books!

Purchase a print copy and receive ONE free, autographed copy of your choice.
Purchase an ebook copy and receive TWO free ebooks of your choice.

Books must be purchased between December 1 -16, 2011. Send copy of receipt from any retailer to wolferock@earthlink.net and let me know which book(s) you want. Don’t forget a snail mail address for print books!

Qualifying books:

Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting
Non-fiction - self-help/inspiration
Print ISBN 978-0-9816210-2-9  $13.95
Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-2-1  $1.99

The Circle of Friends series -Fiction - YA:
Book I…Lori
Print ISBN 978-0-9816210-0-5  $20.95
Ebook ISBN 978-0-9816210-8-1  $1.99

Book II…Sarah
ISBN 978-0-9816210-1-2  $20.95
Ebook ISBN 978-0-9816210-9-8  $2.99

Book III…James
Print ISBN 978-0-9816210-3-6  $19.95
Ebook ISBN 978-09827139-0-7  $2.99

Book IV…Mike
Print ISBN 978-0-9816210-4-3  $19.95
Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-1-4  $2.99

Book V…Heather
Print ISBN 978-0-9816210-5-0  $19.95
Ebook ISBN978-0-9816210-7-4  $2.99

Books available retail and online and in all ebook formats.
For a full description to all books, click the tab above marked ‘Books’

You have until December 16 - now go!

And Merry Christmas! (Doesn't Spunky look festive and happy?)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Promotions That Don't Break The Bank

Promotion special today as I welcome Bob Sanchez to share some ideas with you. Book promotion takes time, effort, and money - but it shouldn’t take A LOT of money. Bob has some great ideas for you. 

Thanks for inviting me to guest post, Diane.

I thought I’d share some promoting ideas that work and some that don’t. The past couple of years have given me a different perspective on promotions. I spent $150 on a mass mailing to a half million addresses of book buyers and experienced a tiny blip in my book’s Amazon rankings. A friend reported a similar experience, having shelled out more money for a larger mailing.

Someone made money, but not the writers. There is a whole industry profiting from writers’ hopes, with publicity campaigns that include press releases, interviews, and shilling your wares to Hollywood. All of that is money out of your pocket, with no guarantee and little likelihood of getting your investment back. The result is that I, who am normally an affable fellow, am fast becoming a curmudgeon on this topic.

My attitude has become this: Spend little to no money, and do as much as you can on the Internet. Here are a few things you can to increase your book’s exposure:

1. Set up a web site or blog that features your work. You can get a free blog through Blogger and other places. You could hire a web designer, but try doing it yourself with free templates. It’s easier than you might think.

2. Visit other writers’ blogs regularly and leave comments. Often those people will visit your blog in return, and you’ll see what their posts are like.

3. Be sure to get your book reviewed at Midwest Book Review which reviews self-published and small-press books. Your only cost is mailing them a couple of copies, and your chances of getting reviewed there are high.

4. Offer to post reviews of other writers’ books on Amazon in exchange for their reviewing your book. In fact, you can start with me (desertwriter1@gmail.com).

5. When you get a nice review, tell people about it. That applies to Midwest Book Review as well. Most of the world doesn’t read book reviews without a little prompting. Where to brag? Your own blog, Twitter, Facebook, and any writing or book discussion groups you might use.

6. Is your novel available as an ebook? If so, then see if your potential reader would accept an e-copy. That will save you time and money.

7 .If your novel is available on Amazon, let people know, and remind them with a link in your email signature. My own signature, for example, reads:
Bob Sanchez
http://bobsanchez1.blogspot.com (links to my blog)
http://tinyurl.com/bobsanchezauthor (links to my Amazon page)

These are just a few ways to build up your Internet presence as an author. Do you have more ideas? Please share them here, and we can all benefit in 2012.

P. S. My latest novel is Little Mountain, and I will be glad to trade Amazon reviews with you.

Thanks for sharing those ideas today, Bob!