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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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review 2017-04-30 14:36
Great Story and Characters
Giving It All: A Naked Men Novel - Christi Barth

Logan just found out at twenty four he had a half sister . He had been traveling about thirty seven hours now to get home to meet her Then a hurricane grounded Logan on a Caribbean island  and he was grounded for the duration of the storm. He went to the guest desk at the airport and talked to Angelique and she told him to get away from the airport and her brother Remy would drop him off someplace good. Then Logan handed her his business card with a fifty dollar bill wrapped around it and told Angelique to let him know of any plane going anywhere in the continental United States.  Then Logan saw someone who looked like familiar and it turned out to be Brooke who had been the captain of the Roosevelt Prep’s cheering squad all grown up. He went to talk to Brooke and she did recognize Logan. Logan had always had a crush on Brooke.Brooke had also had a crush on Logan but neither had known.  At one point Brooke and Logan had been great friends and in and out of each other’s houses. Logan runs his family’s foundation.Logan is a disaster recovery specialist. Logan really wants to make a difference. But Logan also faces death, destruction and loss a lot. Logan’s mother was cold and uncaring and he was afraid to let people in,  Logan is on call for any disaster to any part of the world His father’s foundation gave aid to smaller disasters that normally do not get international aid. Logan had held onto the belief he had to continuously prove himself and save people in very dangerous situations. Logan eventually realized he had PTSD when he had been a young man and he had overslept and missed the bus as he had been a woman and his friends who had been on the bus ended up missing for three days on a mountain in the Alps but Logan was the one who wouldn’t give up and actually found his friends but he still managed to have survivors guilt for what his friends had went through for those three days.  Which means he has casual no strings relationships. Brooke had loved her teaching job but after a student had committed suicide Brooke quit. Brooke offered to share her hotel room and had a one night stand or until the storm abated she would be with Logan. Brooke had been planning on a job and move to North Carolina but the job fell through and Brooke ended up In DC and she had more time with Logan knowing he could be called away at any time. Brooke had been a Home Economics teacher and cheer leading coach.

I loved this story. It was a great read. Some parts of this story definitely made me choke up. I loved how Logan's friends went through so many trials and stages of their lives together as friends. So heartfelt as far as I was concerned . I felt  bad Logan had a form of PTSD even though he is the one that wouldn’t give up and found his friends before they had to spend yet another night on the mountain and they felt he himself had rescued them. I loved Logan and Brooke together two people who had gotten damaged by life and were helping each other to heal and find love. I rooted them on and wanted them to hurry up and tell each other how they felt before they lost each other. I was very happy when they finally opened up about their feelings. Almost like I was there with them. I did however had a vague feeling that the story wasn’t finished but might be just me. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this story and I highly recommend.

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review 2017-04-27 04:54
Visual novel review - Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups

 

Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups is a free/pay-what-you-want visual novel, available here. I don't know that it really matters much, but I'd probably recommend playing Robo-Tea: 1 Cup first, just to get a bit more information about the setting and a brief glimpse of Cors (who, in that game, is a minor character who briefly appears at the end of one of the routes).



I decided I could use a bit of cute robot time, so I debated between my remaining Robo-Tea games and decided on Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups. According to the description, its events happen at the same time as Robo-Tea: 2ndServing (which is currently only available in demo form, although the full game is supposed to be out sometime soon).

In Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups, you are Mitra (the blue robot). You’re in a band called Misten, which is going to be performing at MusiFest 59 soon. You’re in a happy polyamorous relationship with your two other bandmates, Alren (the red robot, pronouns: he/him) and Twinst (the green robot, pronouns: she/her). One thing the three of you would really like to do while you’re visiting the planet Verdande is see your crush, Cors (pronouns: xe/xir), for the first time in a little over a century and give xir a gift.

I’ll start this off with a warning: Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups is even less like a game than Robo-Tea: 1 Cup. There’s only one point where you’re asked to make a choice, and your decision has no real effect on the game (although I prefer the “accessory store” choice to the “latest tech” choice). There is only one possible ending. Also, the story ends before Mitra, Alren, and Twinst get a chance to meet Cors and give xir their gift. That last bit probably bugged me more than the lack of choices - I really wanted to see the meeting and how Cors would react. I suppose that will have to wait for Robo-Tea: 2ndServing.

This felt like a sweet and simple picture book in software form. It had the same bright colors and appealing artwork and music as Robo-Tea: 1 Cup, although it somehow managed to feel even fluffier than that game. There were no mentions of anything even vaguely distressing - the worst the characters had to worry about was whether they’d all wake up in time to go shopping, and whether they’d be able to find something suitable.

Mitra, Alren, and Twinst seemed to have a fairly solid relationship. All three had a crush on Cors, and jealousy did not play a part in the story. Unfortunately, there wasn't much time for character development. Although Mitra was the POV character, I felt like I knew more about Alren by the end. He was a book lover and also seemed to be the most assertive one of the three.

The storytelling could have been a little clearer. It took me a bit longer than I liked to match the names up to the characters, and I noticed one small typo. I also felt that Robo-Tea: 1 Cup was more interesting overall. Still, this entry in the series was nice, and I'm looking forward to Robo-Tea: 2ndServing.

If you enjoyed Robo-Tea: 1 Cup’s gentleness and sweetness, you’ll probably like this entry in the series. Just be aware that it’s shorter and simpler, like getting one part of a larger story (which I think is probably what it is).

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-04-08 04:49
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree is a story about the love between a tree and a young boy. As a child, the young boy would come to visit the tree and play around the tree. As the boy grew older, life began to really hit hard. He needed material things to survive or live the live he imagined for himself, so the tree gave and gave until she didn't have anything else to give. At the end it shows where the boy is now an elderly man and simply needs a place to sit. The tree was able to give him a place to sit. This book is centered round the concept of unconditional love. I would rate this book five stars out of five and is a 530L on the Lexile scale. An activity I would do with my future students would be for my kids to recall important details to an activity sheet about what the tree gave to the boy and what the boy used the items for. This will be good when working with comprehension of a text.

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review 2017-04-08 03:01
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

I love this book and the meaning behind it. The tree gives everything that it has to a boy who spends a majority of his life unappreciative. There is a big lesson to be learned in this book, even though it’s a short and simple read. This book’s meaning goes deeper than what you see on the pages, and that’s why it is so awesome.

 

 

In the classroom, this story would be great for teaching students about lessons, morals, and values.

 

 

  • Lexile Measure: 530L
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