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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.




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



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



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





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text 2016-08-08 16:21
Reading progress update: I've read 53 out of 353 pages.
Deadly Women - Ellen Nehr,Jan Grape,Dean James

I started rereading this last night, in part to jog my memory as to where I had got the darn thing.  The jog worked; I remembered.


About 20 years ago I was teaching a non-credit creative writing class at the local community college.  One of my students had started a book review blog -- I'm not even sure that term existed at the time -- and asked if I would be interested in reviewing for it.  She had some connections to the publishing industry, though I don't remember what they were, and received several boxes of books each week, more than she and her two or three other reviewers could handle.  All the books were mysteries; most were hardcover, some were paperback.  Her objective was to become a Harriet Klausner: get lots of free books, especially first editions, then sell them on a different website.


Seemed like a plan to me!


Anyway, I was diligent and produced reviews for all the books I was given, but alas, she couldn't keep up and the publishers stopped sending her freebies and her website/blog disappeared.  However, among the last batch of books she handed out for review was this uncorrected proof of Deadly Women.  That's how I came into possession of it.


Mystery solved!


The first section is an overview of the history of women in the mystery genre as both writers and characters, including information to suggest that the first true American mystery novel was written by a woman, Mrs. Metta Victoria Fuller Victor:  The Dead Letter, published in 1866.  She and the better-known Anna Katharine Green are considered the "mothers" of American mystery fiction.  Many of Green's novels are available as free Kindle editions from Amazon.  I've read The Forsaken Inn, and while it's not the best, it's still readable without any major rolling of the eyes.  I would definitely read more.


I read until 1:30 in the morning, reaching about the halfway point of an interview with Mary Higgins Clark.  I quit when my eyes started to blur . . . and the conversation devolved to discussing Clark's wardrobe.  Yeah, it did.

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url 2015-02-21 22:46
Capitalist publishing stifles originality

Anyone who’s read Ursula K. Le Guin’s National Book Awards speech last year will be reminded that capitalism stifles creativity.


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Source: literaryames.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/capitalism-stifles-originality
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url 2014-09-19 18:39
Publishers pushing for UK antitrust inquiry into Amazon’s dominance in the book market

The Financial Times is the only UK news organisation to report that British publishers are pushing ‘for a competition inquiry into Amazon’s dominance’ of the UK’s retail book market by the Competition and Markets Authority.


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Source: literaryames.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/publishers-pushing-for-uk-antitrust-inquiry-into-amazons-dominance-in-the-book-market
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url 2013-10-16 18:13
Is Censorship Contagious?

About ebook retailers taking down erotic self-published books for the inclusion of rape, bestiality and incest. Why this has happened, why only self-pubbed books, why people want to read controversial subjects, and the laws of supply and demand.


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