Category Archives: roundup

Let Me Address This

As I said before I’m getting an education in the self-pubbed, indie author world. I’ve always been an traditionally published author, so I’ve neither lived nor worked in this world.

My books are, of course, available as e-books. My publisher publishes them in all formats. I just write the books.

Regarding books cheap or free, I’ve gotten an education there, too. What I’ve heard from various indie authors is basically this:

When this market opened years ago, those who chose to self-pub were able to take the time they needed to craft their story, do all the work required to publishe that work on line (it’s a lot). Most could and did–from my understanding–price their books at (rounding) about five dollars. Maybe more depending on the page count of the book.

At that price, the author earns 70% of the cover price. They’re doing all the work, paying–I hope–for a professional editor, paying for cover, for ads. It’s all out of their pocket, so they earn the lion’s share of the cover price.

They did the marketing, the advertising, the social media–while they worked on their next book. Maybe it took them three months, six months, even a year to craft that next book. Which they then published for about five dollars.

In this way, many could make a decent living.

A Broken System

Then came the scammers, and with the methods discussed in previous blogs, who flooded the market with 99 cent books. What a bargain! Readers couldn’t know these books were stolen or copied or written by ghostfarms. Couldn’t know about the clickfarms, the scam reviews.

At this price, the author receives only 30% (there’s a price point cut off on royalty rate). So all those out of pocket expenses may or may not be covered.

The legit indie saw her sales suffer, her numbers tank, her placement on lists vanish. To try to compete, many had to struggle to write faster, to heavily discount their work. Some had to give up writing altogether.

One other scamming method is to list a book–forever–as free. Not as a promotion, or incentive, but to toss up hordes or free books, so the reader wants–and often demands–free. They make their money off the scores of cheap and stolen books, and destroy the legit writer. Why pay when there are scores of free books at your fingertips?

Reporting bad actors, filing complaints didn’t do much. There have been, I’m told, some actions and improvements. But the scammers continue to thrive.

So those struggling authors have to devalue their own work, as many readers became accustomed to the fast and the cheap. Or the free.

I am NOT saying all books at a bargain price are scams, I am NOT saying readers should never scoop up a bargain or download a free book. I AM saying if you’re a reader who pushes for fast and cheap, who buys books simply because they’re under a buck, who hounds authors for free (and yeah, you know who you are, too) as I’m often hounded, this is a problem. This just plays into a broken system.

And I’ll happily say it again. Pay the artist, pay the creator.

Many authors–as Kasey Michaels explained so well in the comments on my previous blog–are and have been publishing their backlist on-line. Books they wrote for traditional publishers (for which they were paid) and now have the rights to. So many of them, like Kasey, offer a free book or a 99 cent one as a loss leader. But then up the price point for the rest in that series, or another group of books.

The straight to indie author is paid ONLY through those on-line purchases. And they can’t survive on thirty-three cents a sale. They wouldn’t have to without the culture these scammers created.

The scammers can survive, because of the volume they produce, of the bonuses they earn from incentive programs. I’m told some earn thousands, many thousands a week.

Feeding the Beast

Your honest, hard-working self-pubbed author? Not even close.

Writers are nowhere without readers. But readers are nowhere without those hard-working writers who pour their creative juices, their hours at the keyboard into the best book they can write.

If you want a book for a dollar, that’s your choice. It’s easy enough to check the author’s website, take a little preview of the story, see what else they might have to offer.

But if you’re a reader who’s just glomming those books because they’re cheap, because you’ve gotten used to cheap, it feeds the beast.

It’s still your choice–will always be your choice whether it’s buying on-line or buying paper.

For those–you know who you are, too–who’ve tossed my money back in my face, claim I’m elitist and mouthing off because I’m rich?

Bite me.

Nora

Bits/Pieces, Sunday 9/10

I don’t want to lose touch this fall so on those weekends Nora doesn’t share a blog post, I’l share updates.

The adventurers arrived home safely on August 27.  Word is that Nora got home, minimally unpacked, napped for a bit, then watched the Game of Thrones season finale.  She had to do this because I’d have whined at her to catch up. since we share our GoT thoughts every Monday.  (We loved the finale, btw.)

Then I left town for a long-planned working vacation at the beach with my husband.  We’ve had the usual mix of Outer Banks weather and since I get up to watch the sunrise, I work early so I can have cocktails on the beach in the afternoon.

Just before dawn. Photo by Laura Reeth

Nora adjusted to the time, dove back into the current WIP (an In Death, as we all know) for three days before it was time to prepare for the annual summer barbeque.  I’m afraid she was short one sous chef (me) but I hear the party was a success.  And Kat sent me a photo of her amazing watermelon carving for the fruit salad.

Kat + watermelon = greatness. Photo by kat

Once the Labor Day weekend was over, I hit my beach stride.  Nora hit the manuscript.  What can I say?  We each have our priorities.

Sunrise on the water. Photo by Laura Reeth

And, of course, September 6 brought Secrets In Death release day. The conversation continues on this thread.

On Wednesday, September 7, we shared the brand new author photo for Year One on all social media.  Isn’t it amazing?

Photo by Bruce Wilder.

I shared a couple of quotes on Facebook.

As well as a great review of Secrets in Death on Criminal Element (don’t forget to click on the fun GIFnotes tour of Secrets).

Then suddenly, it was Friday and the end of the week and we knew readers were facing adversity in so many places — recovering from Harvey, preparing for Irma, breathing in ash from western fires — and we wished everyone a safe weekend.

Hope you had exactly that.

Laura

PS.  Kat agreed to continuing with the #randomkatness, but only if I curated the photos and wrote the captions.  I agreed.

Cat in the driver’s seat. Photo by kat

The Register — 11/11/16

Only a few things to report this Veteran’s Day.

First, thank you to our veterans.  As I posted on Facebook this morning, some of the most wonderful, poignant and gratifying emails are from members of the military and their families thanking Nora for the difference her books make in getting through the strains of deployment.vet-day-greeting

Second, despite the fact we’re all so weary of the voting process in the US, here’s something you can endorse:

Untitled-1brotherhood

The Obsession and Brotherhood In Death made it into the semi-final round of the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016.  The Obsession is in the Romance category while Brotherhood in Death is in Mystery/Thriller.  Click the category name for your chance to vote. Voting is open until Sunday.

Nora’s at the spa right now, but will be back in time for Girls Night Out at Turn the Page Bookstore on Thursday, November 17 from 6-9 pm.  I’ve copied/pasted the info from the Facebook page since it’s not on the TTP website:

It’s a fun evening of champagne, refreshments, treats, door prizes, and lots of mingling with authors, artists, and girls galore. Special guests Lorrie Schoettler of Stony Ridge Ridge Farm and Jeanne Brumbaugh will provide farm goodies and healing energy work. Also meet Joyce Taber, creator of the Nora Roberts’ jewelry collection.

Rub elbows with some of our favorite authors who will meet fans and sign books: Anna Bennett, Mary Burton, Lisa Dyson, HelenKay Dimon, Kimberly Kincaid,  and Erika Robuck.

TTP received permission to sell 50 copies of ISLAND OF GLASS at this event (limit one per attendee)! This is pretty exciting for us since the actual release date isn’t until Dec. 6.

Then be sure to wander around town and stop in the many participating businesses, including our lovely neighboring shop Gifts Inn BoonsBoro. Visit all of the participating businesses with your punch sheet and you’ll have a chance to win a free night’s stay at Inn BoonsBoro and other prizes.

There is no charge for this event, but books signed at Turn the Page must be purchased here.  Call TTP at 301-432-4588 for more details.

Finally, I posted some quotes on Facebook this week.  Enjoy!

lean-and-mean you no-matter

Laura