Monday, September 28, 2015

The Truth About Ebook Sales, Oyster’s Failure, and Apple Goes to the Supreme Court

Karen Jones Gowen is visiting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group today with tips on how to query a small press.

Fortune ran this article last week: Apple Will Ask Supreme Court to Hear its Ebooks Price-Fixing Case. That’s right, Apple is taking this thing all the way to the top. Do you think they have a chance?

Book Business Magazine ran an article about why Oyster failed:

“But mostly, it is the publishers that killed Oyster, because there was never much interest in seeing it succeed as it challenged their existing and highly profitable ebook business model in their home market.”

There are other ebook subscription services out there, such as Bookmate and Amazon Unlimited. But will they succeed? Is it good or bad for authors?

This one at Talking New Media was really interesting. They wrote that the NYTimes cited monthly sales stats from the AAP and claimed ebook sales were declining. But these figures aren’t accurate.

The 1,200 publishers polled represent only 46% of the publishers out there. (It also included the big five.) According to the article:

“That difference is especially important because the Big Five are the same five publishers which negotiated agency contracts last fall and spring, giving themselves more control over their ebook prices. According to the WSJ, the new contracts resulted in higher ebook prices and fewer eBooks sold.
“And it’s not just the WSJ; there’s independent confirmation in terms of ebook sales in the Kindle Store. According to the Author Earnings report, the share of Kindle ebook unit sales represented by AAP members has dropped from 45% to 32%.”

So, while the bigger publishers are seeing their ebook sales decline, smaller publishers and self-publishers are not because they understand lower, competitive pricing. Think the big boys will ever figure that out?

Just a reminder about the IWSG Anthology Contest.
It’s open to all IWSG blog and Facebook members and the deadline is November 1st.
See the IWSG site for the full scoop.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Google Books, Realms Faire, IWSG Anthology Contest, and Birds

Wonder what ever happened to Google Books? Between lawsuits, settlements, and issues, the project sits in limbo right now. Read the full story at the New Yorker

Can anyone identify these birds?

Yes, they’re cute. But they and their mom have been snacking on my tomatoes. Not cool.

The IWSG Anthology Contest is open until November 1st.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity!

Ten winning stories will appear in a royalty-paying anthology next year.

The Realms Faire is coming!

November 9 - 13 - games and prizes.

A Thunderclap is set up to announce the Faire before it begins. If you can support us through Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, please sign up for the Thunderclap.

This year’s events:

4th Annual Joust

Hosted by MPax. Prizes for the winning knight. Prizes drawn daily for the crowd.

Up to 10 knights can joust. Each will battle daily. Magic words will be granted to each knight to pass out to their adoring fans. Knights score points by commenters using their magic words. Knight with the most points at the end of the week wins. What does the knight win? A year of promo on my blog in the slider and a tumbler printed with your championship boasts and badge.

Winners are drawn daily from the adoring crowds.

Beware the Vortex

Hosted by River Fairchild. Prizes drawn daily.

A vortex opens. Five people are trapped in the Underworld with only one way out – challenge an immortal to a contest of skill. The odds are against those brave enough to accept but enthusiastic fans can help them win their freedom with magic words given to each contestant. Daily prizes awarded to each challenger and a commenter chosen at random.

Dueling Bards

Hosted by Cassandra Webb. Daily prizes.

Your character squares off with another writer’s darling. Can you win? The audience decides.

Unicorn Hunt

Hosted by - me!

You are charged with tracking down the unicorns!

Every day, a new blogger will host a photo. You will have to find the unicorns in the image, much like the famous “Where’s Waldo?” Leave a comment stating how many unicorns you find in that image. The most correct guesses out of five, wins.

Prizes will include books and gift cards.

Five images – many unicorns – only one winner!

The Hero’s Dilemma

Hosted by Tyream Martinson.

Hero’s beware! Here at the House of Hero’s Dilemma, a new cliff-hanging adventure will dangle new heroes above the depths of destiny or despair. In 100 words or less, a hero will face a danger in story form.

Each day, the people of Realsmdom will decide the fate of these heroes in three sentences or less. If fateful endings are giving answer in poetic form, an extra entry for prizes will be awarded.

Daily e-book prizes will be awarded via random name-pulling from the entries. Everyone is invited to participate.

People of Realmsom, you have the power of storytelling might to decide the fate of the would-be heroes. Will they die in glory or shame, live in victory or defeat? It is up to you.

And, after you have decided the fate of the Hero’s Dilemma, try your hand at the other Realms Faire Events for more fun and prizes!


Hosted by Untethered Realms. A simple word game. Prizes drawn daily.

Soak-A-Bloke and Drench-A-Wench

Hosted by Christine Rains.

Come by and soak a blogging friend with wet sponges… or witticisms. Prizes drawn daily.

Who Roams Here

Hosted by Julie Flanders.

Each day I will give clues to a famous ghost from literature or movies. I’ll give new clues throughout the day until someone guesses the right ghost. The first one to guess correctly will get a $5 Amazon gift card and a bundle of ebooks. The only rule is that the same person can’t win the daily game more than once.

At the end of the week everyone who left a comment will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize which is a $30 Amazon gift card and a bundle of ebooks.

Riddle Me This

Hosted by Cherie Reich.

I am a book so popular they made a movie of me. Within the what if realms I lie. Horror? Fantasy? Or am I Sci-Fi? A riddle every day during the Realms Faire for you to take your best guess and have a chance to win a prize most splendid.

Hall of Doors

Hosted by M. Gerrick.

Every book offered as a prizes will be hidden behind a doorway. Under each door will be the blurb for the hidden book. Each correct answer will be put in the drawing for the book given as a prize. will be used to pick the winners.

Stockade Brigade

Hosted by Mary Waibel.

Warrants of arrest have been issued for select authors accusing them of witchery and wizardry. The pillory has been erected and the trial dates set.

Good people of Realmsdom, I call upon you to bear witness to these trials and offer your testimony for or against the author’s crimes.

Points will be awarded for wordsmithing a comment in your best Olde English afore 8 of the clock in the Eastern time on the following scale:
5-Ye speak as one from the days of Queen Bess.
4-Ye could pass muster as a Ren Faire cast member
3-Ye could pass as a Ren Faire attendee
2-Ye wouldn’t be foolin’ yer mother
1-Ye stand out like the sun in a cloudless sky

An e-book will be given every day to the witness who scores the most points. Fear not, your daily score will be accumulated and the person with the highest score shall receive a special prize at the end of the week. So, brush off your Olde English and prepare to testify.


Hosted by Realms Faire. Prize packages up for raffle.

Are you participating in the Realms Faire?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Beware the Blog Leeches, Barnes & Noble Issues, and Japanese Book Chain Defies Amazon

Beware the Blog Leeches

After blogging for 10 & 1/2 years, I’ve seen my share of trolls, flaming, and bloggers behaving badly. I’ve also witnessed leeches - people who attach themselves to you for selfish reasons. They can even come off a super nice, but they’re still out to get something for themselves.

Who are these leeches?

Those who follow just to get you to follow back. They follow just to build up their own following, not necessarily because they want to interact with you. Sometimes they will unfollow you not long afterwards. (Just like on Twitter.)

Those who comment just to get you to visit them. Those people are usually all about the hits. Sometimes it’s just to get more comments, but usually they just want that hit counter to go higher. (So if you see a hit counter near the top, you know that’s what they are most proud of.) Blogging is all about being social though. It’s about interacting. And hits don’t add up to interacting.

Those who comment enough to get listed in your sidebar. They will visit for a while. Most of us have a blog roll in our sidebar where will list regulars. At some point, these people no longer become regular. They might stop by once a month, but that’s it. They’ve achieved their goal already - listed in your sidebar, you’ve added to the search engine fodder for their site and given them free advertising. (Which is why it’s a good idea to go through your blog roll and see who really is visiting you on a regular basis.)

Those who comment or follow just to get you to feature them. Again, blogging is social media. You need a relationship with a blogger before you can ask for a feature. Even with book bloggers, you should be following the site and commenting sometimes before asking for a review or feature. Someone who follows and then immediately asks for a feature isn’t interested in a relationship. They just want a quick and easy way to hock themselves and their stuff.

Those who comment just to get a rise out of you. These people leech the joy out of blogging. They feed on negative energy and get a kick out of starting something bad. Those are the people we just need to ignore.

Been visited by any of these leeches lately? Ever guilty of being a leech?

Industry news:

From The Digital Reader - B&N Says it is (Still) “Considering” Smaller Stores, But is Actually Closing Stores
"In the past 17 months B&N had announced the opening of a single store, and closed at least a dozen.
B&N said they are considering smaller stores, but what they're actually doing is shuttering stores right and left. And that is the real story here, not that a "book retailer considers new store prototype".
Actions speak louder than words, which is why you should look at what someone is doing rather than what they are saying.
Never mind what B&N says in interviews; their real plan is to cut unprofitable stores. They accidentally revealed that plan in January 2013, and have been implementing it ever since."

And on the heels of that news - The Digital Reader reports that B&N revenues are down in the last quarter, even as losses shrink. Not good!

From Publishing Perspective - To Defy Amazon, Kinokuniya Corners the Market on New Murakami
"Kinokuniya, the largest bookstore chain in Japan, has announced that it will snap up 90% of initial print run of Haruki Murakami’s latest title to sell at brick-and-mortar stores and make sure that customers who want to purchase the book will have to go to an actual physical bookstore. It is a move largely seen as a way to stall purchases through Amazon."

Thank you to everyone who commented on my post at The Insecure Writer’s Support Group last week, EPub Formatting and Beyond.

Does that news about B&N surprise you? What do you think of Kinokuniya's attempt?

Monday, September 07, 2015

EPub Formatting at the IWSG

I’m at The Insecure Writer’s Support Group today with EPub Formatting and Beyond.

Don’t forget our IWSG Anthology Contest is open to members until November 1, 2015.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anniversary Announcement

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I took the month of August off to work on the final story in my Four in Darkness manuscript. Naturally, August turned out to be really busy with more parties and bridal showers and events than you could shake a stick at. However, I did manage to write a ton and the story is almost done.

In the middle of this, another story I’d outlined ages ago called to me. I realized it would be a really unique addition to my paranormal romance collection. I even made a Pinterest Board for it.

(I already have Pinterest Boards for the other four stories - Four in Darkness I, Four in Darkness II, Four in Darkness III, and Four in Darkness IV.)

So, this manuscript might end up being Five in Darkness!

That ever happen to anyone else?

The big news is today marks four years since the IWSG began. The admins have put together something great to celebrate the occasion.

The IWSG Short Story Contest 2015

After the success of last year’s IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, we decided to create another book. This time it’s a short story competition with the top ten stories getting published in the anthology.

Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.

Word count: 5000-6000

Theme: Alternate History/Parallel Universe. That’s right, we’ve decided to go the speculative route. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines, except erotica or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st 2015

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to TheIWSG at gmail dot com before the deadline passes. Make sure to include your contact details.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges:
Laura Maisano - Senior editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian fiction
Russell Connor – Author and owner of Dark Filament Publishing Startup
Candace Havens - Author and Editorial Director for the Covet, Edge and Select lines at Entangled Publishing
Dawn Frederick – Literary agent and the founder of Red Sofa Literary
Alice Speilburg – Founder of the Speilburg Literary Agency
Michelle Johnson – Founder of Inklings Literary Agency and Writers' Center and Bookstore owner
Kendare Blake - Author
Lydia Mo√ęd - Associate agent at The Rights Factory

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press in the IWSG anthology next year. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title. The winners will also receive an exclusive badge to display on their blog.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!