Sunday, February 23, 2014

Thinking of going indie?

First off this week, a couple of bits of business.

I never awarded prizes for those pathetic Valentine's Day stories I asked y'all to post. Apparently you guys have either sublimated your bad experiences or you don't want to admit to having had any, because I only got three stories. And I can't pick -- they're all great. So congrats to Laurie Boris, BigAl, and Rich Meyer. The mini-bookmarks are as good as in the mail.

Speaking of prizes, the Goodreads giveaway for Crosswind is over. I had more than 500 entries, but only three could win. Congrats to Joanne Wofford, Alison Hong, and Justine Miller for being the lucky winners! I'll get your copies in the mail to you within the week.

Thanks for playing, everyone.

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If you've been thinking of going indie with your book (or books), but you're still on the fence, have I got a website for you. A couple of weeks ago, indie phenom Hugh Howey fired up a new site called www.authorearnings.com. Howey was approached by an indie author who knows something about number-crunching, and together they sifted through Amazon's sales data and came up with some pretty amazing results -- among them, that for the top-selling books, "[i]ndie authors are earning nearly half the total author revenue from genre fiction sales on Amazon." How can that be? Because indie authors make more per book than traditional authors do. A lot more. Indies who publish through Kindle Direct Publishing earn 70% of the purchase price from ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99; traditional contracts typically provide their authors a 25% royalty on each ebook sold.

So okay, not everybody has a top-selling book. That's why Howey and his unnamed Data Guy are collecting information on earnings from as many indie authors as they can. There's a button on the website's landing page that will take you to the form for inputting your own earnings info.

As you might expect, the blogosphere lit up almost as soon as the first part of this report went live. The usual suspects have all weighed in, with trad-publishing apologists claiming the data is incomplete and/or just plain wrong, and indie-publishing cheerleaders picking apart the trad-pub arguments yet again. It certainly makes for great theater. But it also makes me wonder whether traditional publishers are paying close enough attention to the indie movement. 

To be clear, Howey himself isn't out to skewer trad publishing. He's a hybrid author, after all -- his dead-tree books are traditionally published, but he's still self-publishing the ebook editions of his novels. What he says he wants to do with authorearnings.com is to force traditional publishers to wake up. In the old days, when publishers actually nurtured their authors and took an active interest in their careers -- and when a trad contract was the only respectable way to get your book in front of readers -- it made sense to pursue a traditional contract. Now, indie publishing is offering a respectable -- and more lucrative -- alternative. Howey would like to see publishers lower the prices of their ebooks, and offer better contract terms to their authors.

I snagged an interview with Howey this week for my LynneQuisition feature at Indies Unlimited. That post will run this coming Thursday. But in the meantime, I'll leave you with another mind-expanding conclusion from his report. If you write mysteries, thrillers, speculative fiction or romance: "Genre writers are financially better off self-publishing, no matter the potential of their manuscripts."

Just sayin'.

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This moment of bloggy reporting has been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.



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