Sunday, March 31, 2013

GoodZon, and promoting e-books.

First, let's wrap up some old business.  Congrats to the winners of autographed sets of the first three Pipe Woman Chronicles books: on Goodreads, Ebonique Knighton; and on LibraryThing, Kristy Choi.  Thanks for entering, ladies!  Here's hoping you like the series.

Also, many, many thanks to those of you who have already purchased Gravid!  It does my heart good to know that you like the Pipe Woman Chronicles well enough to get the fourth book the minute it came out.  However, I was dismayed to learn that some folks didn't know Gravid was out until this weekend.  I've been resisting the setup of an e-mail list because I know how I feel about marketing e-mails -- i.e., most of them go straight to my spam folder, where I never see them and never miss them.  But I'm learning that I just can't rely on posts on my Facebook page.  So I think this week, I'm going to succumb, if only so y'all will know when Annealed is released.  I'll post signup details, uh, multiple places, including here.

The big news in the world of indie publishing this week was the purchase of Goodreads by Amazon.  There was a lot of doom-and-gloom speculation about how this will ruin Goodreads, how this will ruin indie authors' hopes of success, etc., etc.  I was less inclined to believe it will hurt us after I learned that Amazon also owns 40 percent of LibraryThing -- as well as IMDb.  As far as I can tell, the Zon hasn't really changed anything about the day-to-day operations of either of those websites, and so I doubt that much will change at Goodreads, either.  In both of those acquisitions, as well as in the acquisition of Shelfari, what Amazon was after was the sites' databases of ratings and reviews.  I suspect that's what Amazon really wants out of Goodreads, too.

David Gaughran opined about the deal in a blog post about the purchase earlier this week.  He thinks the acquisition will help indies in the long run, mainly by giving us more opportunities to advertise on Goodreads (color me skeptical about that) and by boosting the visibility of Amazon links (which definitely will help).  I think as long as Goodreads doesn't implement the same draconian review policies as Amazon -- and Goodreads's CEO has said that won't happen -- then I'm cautiously optimistic that indies will be okay.  But time will tell.  In any case, I'm going to take Gaughran's advice in the meantime:  Keep writing.

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There's always a moment in any live event -- interview, public speaking engagement, whatever -- when I feel like I've lost the plot. So, of course, I had one during my talk on e-publishing in Indianapolis last weekend.  Toward the end of the discussion, someone in the audience asked me whether I ever did any book signings or talked to book clubs, or did any other promotional events.  And I confessed that I do almost none of that stuff, and that in fact I kind of suck at self-promotion in general.  So the kindly people in the audience then began giving me tips about finding venues and so on.

It didn't occur to me until I was on my way home (awake and sitting up in coach in the middle of the night, which is another story entirely) why I don't bother with it:  I'm selling e-books.

I thought about Cheryl Tardif (whose latest book you read about here a couple of weeks ago).  In her book touting her KDP Select success, she talks about how she spent years doing exactly what these kindly souls suggest -- running from personal appearance to personal appearance, more than 40 per year, and endlessly flogging her books. But after she put her books up on Amazon, she made more money than she ever had by making all those personal appearances.
I do make paperback editions available for all my books, as a convenience for people who don't have an e-reader.  But I sell far more e-books than I do paperbacks, and I earn more from each e-book than I do from each paperback.  So tell me again why I should make myself crazy by running hither and yon to sell dead-tree books.  I can reach more potential readers with a Facebook ad, or even a blog post, than I can with a personal appearance.  And I don't have to sit up all night in coach.

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Oh, there is one more thing.  Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow (no fooling!), so I'll be pretty busy working on Annealed in my spare time for the next few weeks.  I don't plan to miss any posts here, but just...well...fair warning.

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