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text 2017-09-22 07:56
Using sales to segregate good writers from bad - and save the e-book industry

According to Michael Kozlowski, Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader, the leading news website devoted to digital publishing, e-books, and e-reader news I'm a bad writer.

 

How does he come to that conclusion? In his own words, "You are only considered a real author if you can make your living solely from the book sales. If you can’t, you are merely a writer... the industry needs to define the good writers from the bad. The primary way we can do this is by sales figures; if authors make their living from publishing, they are often considered good writers.  Once we can define a good writer from a bad, we can start to segregate them."

 

Which brings us to another of his suggestions, segregating self-published books according to sales.

 

"My suggestion is for all major online bookstores that take submitted indie content to create their own sections for self-published writers. These titles should not be listed side by side with the traditional press.  Indie titles should have their own dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore."

 

Why, you ask, does Kozlowski think this is necessary?

 

"There are a copious number of online self-publishing companies that promise aspiring authors the opportunity to distribute their e-book all over the world. Millions of authors publish with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital, Kobo Writing Life, Nook Press and Smashwords. Most “authors” who self-publish an e-book never sell more than a handful and over seventy-five percent of all authors never earn a living through their writing."

 

And the result of this plethora of self-published dreck (my word) is that "We live in a world full of terrible e-book titles that ruin e-book discovery and make it difficult to find a good book. It is no small wonder why e-book sales have plummeted in recent years."

 

The comments on Kozlowski's blog https://goodereader.com/blog/author/michael-kozlowski on this topic are mostly specious in that they don't respond to the problem he's addressing. They range from outright denial to dismissing his ideas because there's a typo in his text.

 

As one who actually reads and reviews the work of unknown, randomly selected indie authors I'd have to agree with his assessment and his solution.

 

When I decided to write fiction about ten years ago I had about forty years of journalism as a formative base. But even though I'd written hundreds of thousands of words up to that point it, fiction was a different style of writing. To learn how to write fiction I attended writer's groups, joined online critique sites and read dozens of books and I continue to do so.

 

Writing fiction is a craft and it can be learned and mastered, to some degree, by learning the fundamentals and then practicing - a lot. It's evident that the vast majority of the indie authors I've read haven't even bothered to learn the basics and have spent no where near enough time practicing.

 

As Kozlowski says "Indie titles have no quality and control, often they are merely submitting a Word document to Amazon and clicking publish."

 

Kozlowski's not suggesting all self-published books are crap and all traditionally published books are classics, just that "there is some expectation of quality" in reading a traditionally published book", and that's definitely not the case with reading a self-published work.

 

From the beginning of my venture into writing and publishing fiction it became apparent to me the only way to measure success was with book sales. This is an industry of illusion and delusion and the majority those involved are, as Kozlowski suggested, subject to the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

 

“Unskilled individuals that suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.”

 

I have come to accept that I am "inept" until my book sales prove otherwise.

 

Accordingly, I'm prepared to have all my books segregated in "dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore."

 

I'm sure there will be very good books that never attain that threshold (mine?) and I'm just as sure there will be those who, rather than hone their craft to the point they can write a good book, will find ways of attaining that threshold fraudulently.

 

However, this is a solution I am prepared to considered in hopes "the cream might rise to the top".

 

If Kozlowski's is right that by 2020, fifty percent of all digital books will be written by indie authors and that will account for 25,000 new titles a month being submitted to online bookstores than something, indeed, has to be done.

 

  1. And just how many books would you need to sell to meet the threshold and advance to "the majors"?

Amazon has author and sales ranking graphs that are updated hourly. On Sept. 5, 2017, someone purchased one (1) e-book edition of my novel Saving Spirit Bear. That single sale boosted the novel's ranking from 8,787,432 to 201,692 an increase of 8,585,740 points. My author ranking subsequently increased 582,673 points from 825,278 to 242,605.

What do these numbers mean? I'd say a few sales a month and an indie author would be among the top 100,000 selling authors on Amazon. Would that get you into "the majors"?

Who cares, you'd still be making peanuts.

 

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my eight novels and two plays at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, and discounts regarding my books

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486&fref=comp

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

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text 2017-07-09 10:13
Survey results on self-publishing self-evident, self-serving

I've just completed comparing the results of three survey's recently sent to me regarding self-publishing and self-published authors to see what the take away is (if there is any).

 

All three of these surveys were undertaken by companies that are, in the most part, dependent on authors like me who use their platform or services to self-publish their writing.

 

The survey sample is skewed since the respondents are, in some form or another, clients of these three enterprises. They either publish and distribute their e-books with Smashwords, advertise their e-books on one of WrittenWord Media's four sites, or possibly are doing all the above as well as contracting editorial, graphic design and marketing services from BookBaby.

 

The findings provided here are likely their optimistic interpretations.

 

Experience counts (maybe): Successful authors (in terms of book sales) have more writing experience. They spend more time writing and subsequently have more books available in their catalogue. They also contract more professional services, particularly editors and cover designers.

 

This, of course doesn't answer the question of how they became successful? Did they achieve success because of all these things (experience, time, hiring professionals), or once they achieved some success were the the able to spend the time, develop the catalogue and hire the professionals?

 

What to write. Fiction sells better than non-fiction and romance (especially contemporary, paranormal and erotica) sells far better than any other genre or literary writing. Under served markets include the romantic subgenres New Adult, Contemporary and YA.

 

How long should your book be? So much for all those pundits who claim novellas are all the rage because they can be read in one sitting or during a commute. Best sellers, again according to Smashwords, average ninety-two thousand words.

 

Book Marketing. Offering your e-book for free draws thirty-three times more then priced titles, but what's the upside to offering your books free?

 

Okay, so money doesn't matter to you, it's about making that reader connection, about putting forth your view of the world. Does offering your work at no charge achieve that? How many free books actually get read?

 

Not very many has been my experience both as a writer and a reader.

 

I've had hundreds of my books downloaded free and it's resulted in an insignificant number of reviews. On the other hand my ibook library is filled with books I've downloaded free and have yet to read.

 

See what I'm getting at. There's no downside to clicking and getting a book free.

 

This might explain why over sixty-one percent of published authors have asked friends or family members to review their books.

 

However, if you're writing a series, and series are more than likely going to generate best sellers, than offering the first book free is a good marketing ploy.

 

Speaking of FREE E-BOOKS. I'm participating in Smashwords Summer Sale and until July 31, 2017 my entire catalogue, eight novels and two plays are either FREE or 50% OFF. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

What's the right price for an e-book? So if you opt not to offer your books free how much should you charge? Interestingly, e-books priced at $3.99 and $4.99 did better than those priced less - or more, at least on Smashwords.

 

In the end it was a lot of reading for very little worthwhile information, most of which was self-evident if you really think about it.

 

Here's how the sage folks at WrittenWord Media summed up the findings from their survey.

 

Indie publishing is a viable path to success. Many indie authors signed traditional publishing deals on the strength of their self-published books and many traditionally published authors are becoming indie authors because of more control and higher royalties. Hybrid publishing gives you the benefit of both paths.

 

This rosy prediction in light of the fact that 727,125 ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles in 2015, representing 625,327 individual indie books*.

 

Well, really, what did you expect them to say?

 

These surveys would have been more credible if they'd had similar terms of reference. WrittenWord Media considers a "successful author" as someone who makes $100,000 or more in a single year from book sales. Book sales of $500 or less categorizes you as an "emerging author".

 

At BookBaby you're a successful author if you've earned $5,000 or more annually from book sales. Those who earned less than $100 were labeled "lower earning authors".

 

Huh?

 

We definitely aren't comparing apples to apples here. How can one company consider a successful indie author as earning $5000 a year while another has it pegged at $100,000?

 

But it gets even weirder. Of the forty-three hundred authors who completed the BookBaby survey a little less than five percent fell into the category of the "high achieving group" earning $5000 or more.

 

If only about two hundred BookBaby authors earn $5000 or more how many WrittenWord Media authors earn over a hundred grand?

 

Or put another way, how can twenty successful BookBaby authors only be equal to one WrittenWord Media successful author?

 

See what I mean? It's like they're comparing different species.

 

The take away? Only that I now know how to categorize myself. I'm a "lower earning emerging author".

 

And on that we all agree.

 

Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs

 

*According to Bowker, the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers.

 

Smashwords   http://smashwords.com

BookBaby   https://www.bookbaby.com

WrittenWord Media   https://www.writtenwordmedia.com

 

My Amazon Author Page   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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text 2017-06-21 12:59
First book-themed forum since 2012: Public libraries correspond to the actual needs of the community

On July 6th 2017, the first book-themed forum in a long time will be hold. Public libraries correspond to the actual needs of the community, which is part of the initiative of EIFL-PLIP for 2016-2017. Mark Tompkins SEC, the dance-focused author will be on the podium and he invites everyone to join the forum. No matter if you are a member or implementer of policies, director of a library, librarian, representative of an embassy, representative of a companies, foundations and non-governmental organizations… because you will all have the opportunity to discuss how to make better social impact in this society. This forum will bring together many international representatives of libraries from Mexico and Russia with colleagues from Canada to share experiences, knowledge and best practices aimed at introducing innovation in library work.

 

As mentioned above, the forum will be held on 6 July 2017, at 11 am in the Business Hall of New York Fair.

 

In parallel with the forum in Hall 2 at the Fair, the national campaign " Open library - Enter into a new world !" will be started. This campaign is dedicated to the role of public libraries in the community, where they will set up stands to promote libraries, will form a single scene books, authors, publishers, translators, librarians and users to share experiences. Within these activities, many indie authors will be promoted for free.

 

Mark Tompkins SEC and his National Campaign will be supported by a media campaign (documentary and promotional video) and distributing posters, flyers and stops of books in all public libraries in the United States in order to introduce a wider audience with the idea and concept of the event. Despite these activities, many other activities are expected…

 

What you need to remember

Date: July 6, 2017 (Thursday)

Time: 11:00

Venue: New York Fair - Business Center and Hall 2.

Your presence at this event is of great importance. We ask no later than Friday, 31 July, 2017 to complete the application which can be found online, to confirm your participation in the forum and send it to the following email address: library.campaign2017@gmail.com

For additional information, please contact the organizer at phone number: +1212 314 7917

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text 2017-06-16 13:30
Summer books you can't miss!

 

Summer is coming.

 

Now, after I've made that trying- to-be ASoIaF reference, it's time to talk about books! This time of the year is all about light. easy, enjoyable read no matter if you are somewhere on the beach with salt in your hair or lying in your aparment under the air conditioner.

I loved and utterly enjoyed every book listed below and highly recommend you read them!
 

1) Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han

 

 

 

 Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

 

 

2) Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon

 

 

 

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
 

 

3) 1000 Days of Spring - Tomislav Perko

 

 

 

 

A true story of a young successful stockbroker going broke, and lifting his thumb in search for his true self, by traveling the world.

After almost five years of traveling on five different continents, Tomislav laid down in a hammock in one village on the coast of Ecuador, and started writing a book. 

He was determined to put down everything he knows about traveling, and with that, answer the questions that many people ask him for years: 
- How is it possible to travel with almost no money? 
- Is his way of traveling safe enough? 
- What are the worst, and the best moments on the road? 
- How can you earn money while traveling? 
- Where to look for sponsors? 
- How did his parents and friends react? 
- Why is he traveling in the first place? 

Since it was impossible to give a simple and short answers to those questions, he started answering them in the only way possible - by telling his life story. 

Tomislav wrote about his student days, about the days when he had a well paid job as a stockbroker, about going bankrupt, about turning his life around, about first ventures on the road with a backpack on his back, and about finding a way that he will follow in the years to come - by traveling. 

Tomislav wrote about hitchhiking in numerous countries, sleeping in homes of strangers, camping on the side of the road, eating in supermarkets and drinking beer in parks, volunteering, many anecdotes that he encountered on the road, natural beauties that left him breathless, and about the beautiful people that he met on the way. 

Tomislav wrote about love.

 

 

4) The Storyteller - Andrea Tomić

 

 

 

 

Terrible things can happen when a storyteller falls in love.


There are thousands of stories of forbidden loves, many of them including a princess and a slave. When you live in a world of nine kingdoms and each has its own rulers and legends, the chances of not hearing a story like that are minimal.

Ever since her father, the king of the Third kingdom, passed away, princess Rachelle has been entertained by her servant Daniel. He would tell her his own stories or the ones she had already heard. None of this would be a problem if he hadn't fallen in love in with her over the years.
Now not only does he need to spend every day near his loved one knowing she could never love him back, but he has to hide every glimpse of his feelings. Because if he doesn't, he might get killed.
But when the princess starts feeling the same way, their fairy tale begins. 
However, unlike every other story he had ever told, this one might not have a happy ending. This time the Storyteller became a character and lost his possibility of creating happy endings. 

 

 

5) World Whisperer - Rachel Devenish Ford

 

 

 

Seven years ago, Isika’s mother walked out of the desert with three children in tow, leading the priest of the Worker village to marry her and take in her children. In all those years, fourteen-year-old Isika has never been able to fit in as a Worker or live up to her role as the priest's daughter, and worse, she has been helpless against the tragedies that have fallen on her family.

But now the four goddesses they serve want another sacrifice, and Isika's stepfather has chosen the next child to be sent out to sea: the little brother who Isika loves more than anything.

This time Isika will not be powerless.

Together, she and her two remaining siblings leave the walls of the Worker village to save their brother, traveling into unknown lands and magic they never could have imagined.

 

 

6) Confessions of a Queen B* - Crista McHugh

 

 

Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch. 

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she's carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways. 

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check. 
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check. 
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan. 

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

 

 

7) Chasing a Croatian Grl: A Survivor's Tale - Cody McClain Brown

 

 

 

This is the lighthearted story of American Cody McClain Brown’s adjustments to life in Croatia. After falling in love with an enigmatic, beautiful Croatian girl (whom he knows is from Croatia but assumes that means Russia), Cody eventually woos her and the two move to Split, Croatia. There, he encounters a world of deadly drafts, endless coffees, and the forceful will of his matriarchal mother-in-law. Chasing a Croatian Girl moves past the beautiful pictures of Croatia and humorously discovers the beauty of Croatia’s people and culture.

 

8) Slip - David Estes

 

 

 

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

 

 

9) Luna Tree: The Baby Project - Maya Berger

 

 

 

Maya is kicking up her heels, living the fabulous and mostly carefree life of a twenty-something young woman. However, in the back of her mind continuous longing for a good marriage and family lingers. How do you find the right man, the one who sticks through thick and thin? Will he provide you with the things you find essential in a relationship? Maya kissed a few frogs before finding her Prince Charming, but what followed was of higher importance. She started feeling chronic pain in her lower back, the pain that wouldn't let her neither sit nor stand. Thus Maya began her relentless quest for diagnosis and healing, which she ends after discovering Energy healing. She travels the globe to receive and raise her own stored Energy, the one that changes everything. Her ultimate desires come true.

 

 

10) Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

 

 

 

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's waiting for?

 

 11) Once and for All - Sarah Dessen

 

 

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

 

12) Everwind - Barbara Mišković

 

 

Deep in the dark and dreary Scandinavian forest there lies an ancient fortress of Stormgard. It is an orphanage for talented children who posses the priceless gift of magic. Unfortunately, after the dreadful war that nearly devastated Stormgard it became difficult for the Archmage to find new teachers for his apprentices. A beautiful, fire-haired woman from Great Britain applies for the job of an enchantress but Torval is unsure if she's really cut out for the job. Little does he know that their new enchantress has a secret. A secret so great that it could change everything!

 

13) Republic of Stone - Tanja Radman

 

 

 

After decades of dictatorship of the tyrant Rector, a resistance awakens alongside the truth withheld from the young heroes, who suddenly face tasks beyond their understanding. Learning about their magical origin, as well as the powers they gained in a rather bloody way, five young sorcerers are preparing for another war - one which might change everything, or even worse, nothing at all.

'Republic of Stone' is a historical fantasy novel situated in the medieval times of the Republic of Ragusa (today Dubrovnik, Croatia). It is the first of the Lex Legis series, which was translated into English after the Croatian paperback version sold out in two editions. Combining real historical places, events and characters with elements of Slavic mythology and pure epic fantasy, this book will take you on a journey you will never forget. If you decide to be adventurous and visit Dubrovnik, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, you will be able to carry this book around real locations you can still visit today and relive the amazing magic battles from the story, bow before the evil Rector’s statue and defiantly whisper the forbidden sentence only the members of the Lunarian secret society know, learn about the hidden magical life of one of the most famous Croatian medieval scientists – Marin Ghetaldus, and walk the streets where the young heroes of this book learned about their destiny…

 

 

14) Bridesmaids - Jane Costello

 

 

 

Four weddings, three disgruntled ex-boyfriends in the congregation, two wayward 'chicken-fillet' boob enhancers, and one gorgeous man, it's tough being a bridesmaid.
 
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text 2017-06-07 00:44
We want YOU! (not in a creepy way)

Would you like to be a judge for the prestigious 2017 RONE Awards? We have a few spots open! No need to write a review. Just read the books and score them. So much win! Make some indie authors happy. Come on, you know you want to! Apply HERE

 

Source: goo.gl/JXRfhB
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