Percy Chattey Books

Author of Thrillers: Genre: Murder, Mystery & Crime

Archive for the tag “self-publishing”

188% Increase in Digital Book Sales

Digital Book ReadersWell good news if you sell your books direct online or are an independent publisher via channels like Amazon, Google Books, Apple iBooks.

The Publishers Association has announced a 188% increase in 2012 digital book sales in the UK (over same period 2011). Physical book sales were down slightly. Digital sales almost doubled from £77 million to £145 million over the period – but that’s still only 1/6 of real books.

» Read the BBC Article

The main reason appears to be the recent popularity of e-book readers like the Kindle which has seen sales of digital books climb to new highs. There is a general acceptance of reading books on a device now.

I expect this will continue as eReader devices are much more affordable and appear to be converging in formats. I guess an eReader, cheap Tablet,  iPhone 5 or iPad will be on many people’s Christmas list for 2012… and as the article says there will be a  mad rush on Boxing day to buy eBooks online. Will it be a record year – expect so! Link: Hondon Real Estate

But it begs the question – Will the smaller independent book seller disappear from the high street?

The Daily Mail ask if the Kindle (and similar) are killing off the traditional book.

The article extract : Mr Jones, from The Bookseller, told the BBC that independent bookshops were struggling to keep up with their larger rivals such as Amazon. Some other shops, such as Waterstones, are aiming to increase sales by entering into tie-up deals with popular e-book manufacturers. The industry is unsure, Mr Jones said, over where exactly consumer interest will head next.

» You can Borrow Books online too! (using the OverDrive Media Console on your Tablet/iPad)

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Thanks a Bundle…

kindle-fireThe old adage “I suffered for my art” describes many poor or forgotten artists, poets, composers, etc but it seems even more pertinent in the digital age. It is mildly sad that we don’t cherish someone’s time or trade any more because the digital age allows us easy access with mass copying and easier distribution.

There is no doubt in my mind that the eBook revolution has empowered authors and writers to self-publish in their 10’s of thousands. It’s a liberating experience and cuts out all those “middle men/women” that want a cut for their work. We no longer need a long drawn out process to get our books “out there”… or do we?

Self-publishing is relatively easy now with the Internet but that’s only part of the process.

The down side is making it easy also makes the book sales market a very saturated and competitive place to trade. Consequently there is just a very small chance of breaking through the large Indie pack. So do we make money? Whilst most authors would say they write for the love of it, many would (when pushed) would also like to think that their effort can make them a living or at least compensate for the 1000’s of hours writing a fully fledged novel. That’s not an unreasonable dream I think.

Of course, no matter how good a book is, the reality is many Indie authors will struggle to break their books into the mainstream distribution channels such as Book-shops, newspapers, glossy mags or get a top position with Amazon, iBooks or Waterstones, etc. It’s sad but true!

Often we authors can feel frustrated and our hopes dashed by the burden, time and cost that is required to promote your book. Work that in “old school” would be done by the Publisher. There are quite a lot of online initiatives to help the growing number of Indie Authors, some are free, others charge and a few take commission on sales. There is no “one-size” fits all.

Speak to several Indie authors and they all have their favourite way of publishing or marketing. It’s a mine-field and a costly one at that requiring upfront costs, high risk and no guarantee of sales.I have seen authors giving away PDF versions, free kindle editions and just offering bundles to “raise awareness” of their work. Often authors are truly giving away their work for free or a pittance.

I am not sure it works most of the time for Indie Authors. The theory that Free means more sales later is hard to believe for most of us because there are just too many books available. Granted it is an age-old marketing ploy to offer “loss leaders” so it may work for a few. And it seems that this “free model + advertising revenue” has boomed since the Internet age. There seems to be a perception that all creative downloads are free. Well someone has to create that content, story, image, recipe, music, video, etc… and it can takes hours, days, months and years to achieve.

I don’t know what the answer is in terms of making a living from your craft (or break even point even) but no doubt we will succumb to it as normal. Will this almost impossible goal of commercial success stop us from being creative? Of course not. For as long as humans can create, dream and hope there will be an abundance of art and crafts to amaze us – it is what makes life interesting after all.

The Next Thing in eBooks?

I have read various snippets and articles regarding the future of eBook in the Tech age we now find ourselves in. As paper book sales diminish and eBooks nudge in some innovative ideas have been muted and indeed tried…

But I think we are still at the nursery stage in the evolution of eBooks and reading technologies.

The Guardian (UK) caught my eye regarding immersive or interactive eBook Apps that in a nutshell engage the reader not only with words and illustrations (as per traditional books) but also video, games and even mood!

Sounds fantastical to me as a digital dinosaur! Gosh I only just manage to machete my way through Amazon and Kindle for my Thriller Books! But I can see that this might be true especially with virtually every gadget having a built-in camera, wi-fi and touch screens.

It reminds a little of those fantasy adventure books that allowed to choose a route through the book with questions on the next stage and that simply going to page X. So in effect the story can have more than one sub-plot and more than one ending… great for Thrillers I think.

And if you can build the drama with music and video or even tell the reader’s mood by watching their expressions then it really opens up many possibilities for story telling akin to films.

Of course that’s a lot more work and planning into a book and I guess there will still be many people you prefer their own imaginations to do the work but it could be optional and a bit like those old 33 picture discs, the version could be prised accordingly.

If it takes off I expect it will initially appeal to the teen market more you are up on the interactive nature of the web but it could be quite subtle and even used in non-fiction where say YouTube videos might be embedded into a section of a book to illustrate a particular problem or solution.

For sure there will be some convergence but I think independents like me will find it hard to justify that investment up front in a saturated eBook market…. I guess we watch and observe for now.

The Guardian article is here:
> http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/14/books-immersive-stories-app-the-craftsman

Please buy my thriller book!!

This is not my ManifestoAs an independent author and publisher, just selling a few books anywhere is nice!! You get a buzz for sure. Of course many authors dream of a best seller on show in their favourite bookstore. In reality that rarely happens.

The book market place is awash with TOO MANY BOOKS !! I am sure that just like my new thriller novel “The Black Venus” that a good % are worth the investment in time and, quite frankly, too cheap a price. So buy my books please they are well worth the read.

Ok, as much as most authors write for the love of it (I do), it seems to me in reality that economically, writing a novel is a terrible business idea. We have a very saturated marketplace and that means an almost impregnable wall of competition.

Yes on the one hand services like Amazon’s CreateSpace are a God-send to Indies but with my cynical eye I do wonder if it’s another global juggernaut milking the dreams of thousand’s of creative and naive people queuing up to pay over the odds for their work to be ‘out-there’, whilst they of course take the lion’s share. They seem to be getting rich, not authors!

Like many budding authors I have paid hard-earned money to services that amount to very little and in some cases a complete rip-off.

…. and these self-publishing services know too well that there will be a few thousand more rookie authors looking for a golden fleece today, tomorrow and another day. I read another article recently than most Indies will be lucky to sell 100 books in their lifetime! Of course it is such as shame that all that talent is not seen or read. I am sure it can be heart-breaking for some as it dawns on them that the 100’s of hours spent word-processing and crafting their novel will not get much further than a few friends and relatives.

Of course, I understand that we budding writers need a facility such as CreateSpace or Amazon, but why do they have to take such a cut? And does the ease of CreateSpace actually decrease our chances of success by flooding the market with even more books? Surely, every time a new book is published you have another competitor to deal with?

But a writer has to write, right?    …. that will never change!

Taking on Amazon. A greedy monopoly?

On the HUFF BOOK site … Three independent bookstores are taking the likes of Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers.

If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.

The main complaint is that the digital locking of eBook files prevent them being used on different devices. This is called “digital rights management”, or DRM, stops consumers from transferring any eBook they buy on an Amazon Kindle onto, say, a Nook or Kobo eReader.

Why are books different from other media. Why can’t we have a universal format… (I suspect the usual answer is GREED! – they want as much money for themsleves as possible – you the consumer can go take a hike!!)

Can you imagine in the days of 45’s records, if you couldn’t take your prized Elvis single to play on their Philips radio-gram but you could if he had a Bush ??

Their is JUST TOO MUCH control of digital media – it’s for sharing and distributing. I think Apple started all this malarkey with their iTunes.

STOP IT – One format for all devices please !!

Amazon Central for Indie Authors

Being an Independent Author of Crime & Thriller fiction books I use Create Space and Amazon to upload, promote and sell my books online (paperback and ebook). It can be very bewildering to use their systems although to think we writers can do all this ourselves in the digital age is still amazing thanks to the clever people at Amazon, Apple, Nook and others.

It’s a steep learning curve when all you want to do is write novels not learn about Jpegs, digital rights, copyright and ebook formats! So I am probably not getting to grips with all the tools that people like Amazon offer to authors. Well other writer’s blogs and websites do offer help, inspiration and share knowledge thankfully.

The INDIES UNLIMITED blog is great for new info and insights into Author tools and ideas – K.S. Brooks recently blogged about Amazon Author Central which allow writers like me to create a page on Amazon that gets indexed by Google. K S Brooks says every Author should use it…

SNIPPET: “Before I show you how to claim and set up your author page, you’d probably like to know why you need one.
#1
– they’re free. It’s like having your own multi-media website from which people can also buy your books.
#2 – you can post your biography, video trailers and even rss feeds from your blog(s) and twitter there.
#3 – you can post upcoming events, signings, appearances, etc.
#4 – potential readers can post questions directly to you in the “discussions” forum.
#5 – All your books will be linked to one page where people can see everything: how many books, how many reviews, and the cost…. ”

» Full article here

So I (and you) better get ourselves over their jolly quick. I’ll let you know how I get on. :-)

Be Careful of Self Publishing Pitfalls

Going Indie? Watch Out for Predators

Original: CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 2012

I’m a big fan of self-publishing because it gives anyone the opportunity to fulfill his or her dream of becoming an author. However, authors must watch out for the unscrupulous types who prey on unsuspecting writers who are so eager to see their work in print that they get, for lack of a more gentle term, ripped off.

“Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. Carol Burnett”

Here are three types of predatory behavior to watch out for when selecting vendors. Run for the hills if you encounter any of the following:

1. Promises of success: Any self-publishing company that guarantees it will make your book a best seller is lying. Would you work with a bookie who guaranteed a horse was going to win a race? Or a stock broker who guaranteed a certain stock was going to skyrocket? I certainly hope not. No one can predict the future.

2. Purchase requirements: Many indie authors end up working with self-publishing companies that require them to buy thousands of copies of their own work. The vast majority of the books end up collecting dust in a garage, and the duped author is out thousands of dollars. In today’s print-on-demand world, buying large quantities of your book upfront shouldn’t be a requirement.

3. Exclusivity: Before choosing a company to help you publish your book, make sure that if someone were to call you tomorrow and offer you another publishing opportunity, you have the option to accept it and walk away cleanly. If you don’t sign away your rights, you’ll be in the position to weigh your options carefully and make the decision that’s best for you and your book.

Quick tip: before committing to a vendor, type the company name into a search engine and see what others around the web are saying. When reaching out to vendors for more information, be sure to ask about each of the above points so you have a clear understanding of their business practices, which ultimately will help you make a more educated decision on a publishing partner.

c/o Maria Murnane [ CreateSpace ].

10 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing

There is a FREE eBook available to Indie Authors and Publishers:  GET IT NOW…

This free guide will get you up to speed quickly on 10 of the most important things you need to know to self-publish successfully. And it will help you avoid a ton of newbie mistakes, too!

Quick Quote : “I do not like to write – I like to have written.” Gloria Steinem

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