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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 2016-08-02 05:08
Sifting through the minutiae of the Smashwords Sale

 

 Throughout the month of July I gave away one hundred and thirty-seven e-book editions of my novels during Smashwords SummerWinterSale 2016.

 

As an author who has published his books with Smashwords I was contacted and asked if I wanted to participate. You could offer whatever discount you wanted for what ever period of time you wanted during the month of July. Once you registered, Smashwords applied a coupon code to your dashboard and anyone who wanted the book just entered the code and got it free.

 

I've had no more success with Smashwords than I've had with any other sites selling my books - which is just about nil, but since I've been giving my work away on other sites lately, which entails a sweepstake and then actually sending the e-book to the individual winners via email, this seemed way easier.

 

It was.

 

Giving your work away on Smashwords was free and unrestricted. One might think that's not a lot to expect considering the time and effort that went into it, however, to give away a single title on StoryCartel costs twenty-five dollars, on Goodreads - one hundred and nineteen, and Kindle Select (Amazon) wants exclusive rights for ninety days.

 

LibraryThing and BookLikes don't charge for their giveaways but they generate about a third of the results and, as I mentioned, you have the labourious job of sending out individual emails with your e-book attached to the winners.    

 

I have six works on Smashwords - five novels and a play. I decided to go for broke and offer them all free for the month.

 

Just a brief aside here. Have you ever noticed how people without success pour over meaningless minutiae like the numbers hold the secret to fame and fortune if only they could decipher them? No? Well, I have, probably because I've begun to do it - and now you get experience it.

 

The Smashwords giveaway was interesting to me on a number of levels - though, like I said, not likely interesting to anyone else.

 

This was the first time all my writing (barring one of my better novels yet to be released by the publisher) was presented to the public in one place, at one time and on equal terms.

 

Here's how they faired in regard to free downloads:

Harry's Truth - A Play in One Act - 33

Saving Spirit Bear - What Price Success - 31

Abandoned Dreams - 22

 

Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs - 20

The Big Picture - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic - 18

Forest - Love, Loss, Legend - 13

 

What does it mean that my one act play, Harry's Truth, only sixty pages, ranked first? Or that Saving Spirit Bear, my first novel with the least positive reviews (and rightly so) was second? What does it mean that the better I write the less popular the book?

 

Any suggestions?

 

Other than those conundrums it appears giving away one hundred and thirty-seven books does not generate any reviews - at least not on Smashwords, or likely on any other site for that matter. Free, it appears, is the equivalent to no value - or, more specifically no downside.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

Links to associated sites:

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com

Kindle Select   https://kdp.amazon.com

Goodreads   https://www.goodreads.com

LibraryThing   https://www.librarything.com

BookLikes   http://booklikes.com

StoryCartel  https://www.storycartel.com

 

30

 

My novels and play Harry's Truth - A Play in One Act, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams and

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books and paperbacks at

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

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

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

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

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

 

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 2013-10-01 21:08
Free E-books to Soothe the Pain of Government Shutdown

Since the Republicans in the House of Representatives have decided they wanted a role on the show Hostages and are trying to extort  the president and the country at large, many people out there are not going to be paid.  With all the stress of having to continue to do your jobs (something that Congress doesn't know how to do anymore), you're going to need some escapist literature.  Fortunately, for you, there are a number of e-books available for free from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ibooks, and other sites.

 

1. The Honeymoon Cottage by Barbara Cool Lee.

 

InD'tale Magazine gives The Honeymoon Cottage 4 stars: "This first novel in the Pajaro Bay romance series promises great things to come! It is written well, with interesting characters that are easy to like. The novel holds the reader's interest with romance, intrigue, danger and murder. The author's theme of redemption and forgiveness is well thought out. One will love getting to know the characters in this story where everyone has a secret! Also, the author has 10% of all profits going to charities. With all that, what's not to love?" You can read the entire review at indtale.com/reviews/honeymoon-cottage

 

Camilla Stewart desperately needs to make a fresh start: her despicable ex-fiancé stole her life savings, embezzled from her job, and then disappeared without a trace--leaving behind nothing but his eight-year-old son, Oliver.

But when she arrives in the little beach town of Pajaro Bay, she immediately runs into local sheriff's captain Ryan Knight, and finds escaping her past won't be as easy as she planned.

 

This book is available on Amazon through October 3rd.

 

2. All the Blue of Heaven by Virginia Carmichael

 

Eight years ago, Allie Hathaway scandalized the wealthy elite of Chicago when she ran away to San Francisco. Now a world-renowned portrait painter, her life is filled with laughter and friendship, including being a mother to her orphaned niece. Life is perfect, so why can’t she forget her first love?

 

Thomas Bradford has come a long way from being the Hathaway family’s carriage boy. A veterinary degree, ambition and hard work have made him one of Chicago’s most sought-after bachelors. If only he could forget those stolen moments with Allie, Thomas might be able to enjoy his success.

 

The Great Quake of 1906 stuns the nation and Allie’s art studio burns to the ground, destroying years of valuable work. She’s forced to return to Chicago with little Janey, the only spark of hope in a life reduced to ashes. Her faith is crushed by her tragic reversal of fortune.

 

Thomas knows better than to fall for the beautiful young painter again, but he’s never been very wise around Allie Hathaway.

 

The carriage man’s son is all grown up and Allie doesn’t expect a second chance at a love that was refused eight years ago. Her life is in shambles and she has a child to support, so why won’t her heart accept the truth?

 

Once their love was torn apart by circumstance, but Thomas and Allie must decide whether to forge a future of hope together.

This book is available through Amazon until October 4th.

 

3. Blood for Ink by L.L. Muir

 

If he unmasks her, she's as good as dead...

As the mysterious writer who exposes gentlemen's secrets, it is not the first time The Scarlet Plumiere has been hunted. But this time it’s different. This time, she interferes with one of the Four Kings, and the brotherhood will not rest until they marry her off and place her securely under a man’s thumb. Only they have to catch her first.

The Earl of Northwick is falling for this writer, sight unseen. Will she be pretty? Will she have all her teeth? In his rush to claim her for himself, regardless of who she might ultimately be, he places her in grave danger — her desperate enemies are watching closely for the moment her mask is removed.

 

This book is available until October 2nd on Amazon.

 

4. The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James

 

The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.

 

When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers — but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?

 

2013 Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards Finalist
2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award Finalist
USA Today Recommended Read

 

This book is available on Amazon and Apple through October 6th.

 

5. Broken Build by Rachelle Ayala

 

Bestselling Technothriller & Romantic Suspense

 

When a woman wrongs a man... can a man forgive and love?

 

Jennifer Cruz Jones thinks she can lay her past to rest. She’s landed her dream job at Silicon Valley’s hottest startup. Instead, she’s caught in a web of blackmail, murder, and broken code.

 

Startup founder David Jewell refuses to dwell on his past. When a man last seen with Jennifer is found dead, he takes a closer look at her. With investors losing confidence and his company in jeopardy, he is forced to protect Jennifer when she is attacked.

Together, David and Jennifer must thwart a killer while rescuing a victim from their past. Love blossoms, but a damaging revelation points straight at Jennifer and threatens to tear them apart forever.

 

Broken Build is a dramatic, multicultural romance mixed with a huge dose of chemistry, an unsolved murder, a missing child, and a relentless adversary.

 

This book is available through AmazonBarnes and NobleAppleSmashwords, and Kobo through October 6th.

 

6. Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

 

From USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly comes Waking Up Married, a free book in Harlequin’s brand-new contemporary romance collection — Harlequin KISS.

 

Her first thought: “Who are you?”

It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse having woken up with something else as well — a funny, arrogant, sexy… husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible — been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter… no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don't want a divorce.”

 

This book is available on AmazonAppleGoogleBarnes and NobleSony, and Kobo indefinitely.

 

7. Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

 

Maggie Newberry is sheltered, privileged, but also a whip-smart advertising copywriter who’s fast on her feet and a little stunned to realize that she’s 32 years old and still hasn't found “the one.” When her long-missing sister ends up dead, Maggie flies to the south of France to find the little niece that no one in the family even knew existed. Along the way, she finds handsome Laurent Dernier, a sexy if nefarious Frenchman who it’s not clear is there to help or hinder Maggie’s search for the girl. Meanwhile, her sister’s murderer sets his sights on the little girl — and Maggie.

 

This book is available through AmazonAppleBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, and Sony until October 11th.

 

Hopefully, the government shutdown will be over long before these deals expire.

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