Archive for the ‘Independent Publishing’ Category

Indie Publishing Milestone?

January 10, 2017

faith

Perhaps you don’t realize it (I know I didn’t), but the year 2017 marks a special milestone for the book industry. Amazon released the Kindle, its first e-reader, on November 19, 2007. It sold for US$399 … and sold out in five-and-a-half hours.

kindle
As recently as ten years ago, it was a print-centric world. Print books accounted for nearly all book sales, and the traditional publishers controlled the means of production, distribution and sales.

Traditional publishing houses decided which writers actually became published authors; which books would become available for the public to read; which authors would remain in print … and which would be allowed to publish another book.

They were essentially the bouncers of that world.

The brick-and-mortar book retailers placed additional constraints on opportunities for writers. There were 1,000 or more titles competing for every available bookstore space. This hasn’t changed very much.

If anything, given the demise of many big-box retailers, there’s less shelf space now than ever.

Yet, ten years ago the biggest challenges faced by writers weren’t all that dissimilar to the challenges every indie author faces today….

How do I make my books more discoverable to readers?

Publishers assisted authors with editing, print and digital production, translation, pre- and post-publication sales, distribution to retailers, accounts receivables and payments, promotion, tax compliance, sales reporting and analysis, merchandising support and more.

Self-Publishing Revolution
In the last decade, thousands of writers have joined the indie author movement. Self-published books, a significant percentage of them e-books, have taken off, up from essentially nothing a decade ago.

According to one of the latest Bowker Reports (September 7, 2016), more than 700,000 books were self-published in the U.S. in 2015, which is an increase of an incredible 375% since 2010.

Indies have been drawn by the advantages of self-publishing … faster time to market, complete creative control, pricing and promotion flexibility and the opportunity to earn royalty rates up to five times higher than traditional publishers pay.

Traditional publishers have managed to stay afloat in this worsening marketplace only by shifting more and more marketing responsibility to authors.

Self-publishing has become big business.

Indie authors are now a major force in publishing, and I expect their influence to increase in the years ahead. However, as self-publishers, indies have had to assume responsibility for all the roles once fulfilled by traditional publishers.

As you might expect, thousands of service providers (both good and bad) have popped up to cater to self-published authors. If you’re a service provider, however, it’s not necessarily a winning story.

Publishing Prediction for 2017
Today the market is glutted with service providers competing for the favors of writers. There are too many cover designers, editors, e-book formatters, and book publicists.

In most industries, natural forces bring systems back to a sustainable balance, and indie book publishing is not immune to these natural forces. This is where I see industry consolidation coming.

If you believe as I do that indie authors are the future of publishing, it starts to become clear some form of consolidation is inevitable, because the business opportunity to serve readers by serving authors is so enormous.

It has already begun at Simon & Schuster.

In 2017 we’re likely to see increased merger and acquisition activity as large publishers, retailers, distributors and larger service providers recognize an opportunity to take advantage of the glut to strengthen their indie-author portfolio and grow their businesses.

Despite the challenges writers and publishers face, I believe there’s never been a better time to be a writer, or to be involved in publishing.

Today, you have the freedom, knowledge and tools to chart your own course in this industry. You have the power to support those players who work for you, and to resist those who are working against you.

All you need to do in the meantime is write good books.

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Are You Writing Because You Like It?

September 1, 2016

renaissance-centerThe Renaissance Center – GM World Headquarters on the Detroit River.

Eight years and six months ago I was sitting in my cubicle by the window high in the 400 Tower of the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, waiting for my professional writing career to begin.

In truth, it wasn’t the beginning of a career. It felt more like the end of one … and I was far from certain I was doing the right thing.

It was a chilly March morning on the river, and I had just signed the papers indicating my acceptance of an early retirement offer from General Motors, effective the first of April.

I’d originally been hired to produce the GM annual report, and that was my main responsibility for almost twenty years. It kept me busy from September to March. Days were routinely 12-16 hours long.

The rest of the year I considered peaceful … I only worked ten-hour days … producing a host of other material, from news releases to technical journals. I even produced a newspaper GM circulated to all domestic employees (at the time, that was about 800,000).

Occasionally, I was allowed to write an article for the paper. When I did, I wove storytelling elements into it. My editor didn’t care for that, but our VP liked them, which made all the difference. He didn’t allow the articles to be changed. I even got a byline.

In nearly three decades with GM I had many assignments, all dealing with communications and marketing. I even got to create and lead an early group that dealt with designing the new communications tool that appeared in the mid-90s … functional web sites.

But by then I was managing people, not creating a thing.

On my last GM assignment, I wasn’t even doing that. As Marketing Operations Manager, I was a group of one … responsible for reporting to our VP on how well brand teams used their advertising budgets.

It was not something guaranteed to make friends. In fact, except for the time I had to tell 30+ people they didn’t have a job any more, it was the most disheartening work I’d ever had to do.

That chilly March day in 2008, although there was a lot on my mind, none of it was about writing. I was tired of what I did. I wanted out.

Decisions
My main concern after deciding to leave boiled down to these few words: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

Given what’s happened since, you might think leaving to write fiction would seem like a natural choice to make. After all, I’ve enjoyed it and played around with it since I was seventeen.

But it wasn’t. A natural, I mean.

I wanted to keep working in a creative capacity for a few years … but thanks to some really bonehead moves by our President at the time (G.W. Bush), by mid-2008 our economy faced its most dangerous crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. There was no other work of any kind to be had … anywhere.

So, with nothing else to do, I wrote.

I’d written lots of stories, but the decent markets for short stories were becoming smaller by the day. I decided if I was really going to write fiction, I had to write a novel.

I took some of the earlier things I’d done and expanded them to create a novel about kids in a fictional town during the tumultuous Vietnam era, trying to capture the essence of what it felt like to grow up back then in a small, working-class community.

That’s how REICHOLD STREET was born.

Then in June 2009, right about the time GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (making my decision to leave seem clairvoyant), I began searching for an agent, since none of the main publishing houses would even talk to me without one.

It was a decidedly painful experience.

After almost two years of getting essentially nowhere, I finally decided to produce the book myself. I thought I was getting too old to wait for the publishing gods to smile on me.

It was the right thing to do. People liked it. It won a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal and was reviewed positively by Kirkus Reviews.

I Like What I Do
For years I had been asked to plainly state facts in a way the audience could quickly grasp. You know … the who, what, when, where and how kind of writing most journalists learn, along with the AP Stylebook.

Boring stuff. Which is why I snuck storytelling elements into as many articles as I could.

Now I get to play with ambiguity and nuance, dialogue and metaphor. If you’re a writer you know what I’m talking about … making something out of nothing … the things that make writing fiction interesting.

I’ve published six books so far, including four award winners. That includes my latest novel, BLOOD LAKE, which was just named a Bronze Medal Winner in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite competition (Young Adult Horror) … and, more importantly, I like what I do.

Funny thing is … the work part of it is a lot like the other writing I used to do … only harder. I still have to do a lot of research, but it goes far beyond who, what, when, where and how.

I have to investigate local and world history, politics and religion, semantics, period jargon and dress styles, and specific-location weather. Not to mention period music, literature, radio and television shows, period magazines, local attractions and sometimes even plant species, all to help create an accurate sense of place.

But I don’t feel like I’m wasting anyone’s time … including my own. I’m not making tons of money … but I’m enjoying myself … and I’ve decided that’s what it was always about anyway.

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On Saturday, October 8, 2016, I’ll be attending the fabulous Ninth Annual Rochester Writers Conference at Oakland University.

On Sunday, October 23, 2016, I’ll be signing books from 11:00am-5:00pm at the Books & Authors Event at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, Michigan (96 W. 14 Mile).

On November 19, 2016, I’ll be in attendance at the Readers Favorite award ceremony at the Regency Hotel in Miami.

On December 3, 2016, I’ll be signing books from 1:00-4:00 pm at the annual “Giving Season” event at the Orion Township Public Library (825 Joslyn Rd).

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.
 
If you’ve written an interesting book too, consider submitting it to the Readers Favorite annual contest by using the banner link below.
What do you have to lose?

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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