Link of the Week – Amazon’s Buy Button (and it sucks)

June 20, 2017

So Amazon has quietly made more changes in the selling of books. One that seems to benefit everyone but the author. Third-party sellers can now “win” the Buy Box. What does that mean? It means this seller would be listed as the default for the Buy Button. It means that these third-party

Book Burn Open Knowledge Hot Fire Paper Old

sellers can mark books down to whatever price they want (so long as the meet some Amazon criteria…haha).  It also means that slices into any profit the author MIGHT make. I say might because there are various ways these third-party sellers can get their hands on “new” copies that would cut the author completely out of the sale. And it could mean that potential customers may only have a third-party seller as a choice to buy from.

This went into effect back in March and a buzz about it was made last month, but it has only been recently that authors have noticed and/or felt the pinch.

To read more about it, check out the links below to articles from Publisher’s Weekly and Huffington Post (with visuals). Definitely worth the read.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/73542-new-amazon-buy-button-program-draws-ire-of-publishers-authors.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/590b309be4b05279d4edc31f


Link Of The Week- Pronoun

August 23, 2016

I discovered this company at the annual conference of RWA in San Diego. They offer many services and looks like it may be a great place to do further investigation.

https://pronoun.com/download

 

Pronoun is a publishing platform created expressly to empower authors.

  • Create gorgeous ebooks and sell on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and Google
  • Take the mystery out of metadata and optimize your keywords, price, and more
  • Always know how your book is doing with daily sales and performance updates
  • Get a custom marketing page to promote your book and connect with readers

 

All for free.


Link Of The Week- Boroughs Publishing

October 27, 2015

This blog was created for readers and authors to provide a peek into the world of writing and publishing. This week’s link is definitely meant for both of you!

As a reader, you’ll be happy to discover Boroughs has an amazing line-up of authors. You want historicals- they’ve got ’em. You want suspense- they’ve got ’em. They have a library covering most any romance genre you could possibly be interested in.

Am I biased? Yes. Yes I am! Boroughs is my publisher and I’m about to release my very first book. (Check back in on Friday for my cover reveal. 🙂

http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/

 

“If you’re an avid reader of Romance fiction then you’ve found your new home. New to Romance? Let us entertain you, thrill you, make your heart pound, tickle your desire, bring on a few tears and have you smiling from ear to ear.”

As an author, you’ll be thrilled to know they are actively looking for new talent! Check out their web site and see the wide span of material they are hunting.

Enjoy and have a great day!! bpg-badge

 


Buying Your Way To The Top

February 27, 2013

Song of the Day: Empire by Queesnrÿche

What would you do to get on the New York Times bestseller’s list? How far would you go? How far is too far?

Oh, sure. Many of us have tried to manipulate the algorithms and sales numbers in various ways to our favor. We might offer a book for free for a limited time. Loads of people will take advantage of freebies, not thinking twice about downloading a book. It’s free, for crying out loud. We beg shamelessly, if not apologetically, for ‘Likes’ and ‘Tags’ to maneuver us to the top in genre specific search engines. We’ve had our family, friends, writing pals, and street teams do buying blitzes to get our names up on the board. These efforts are in hopes to reaching a prestigious list and inching our way up the Top 100 or Top 10 lists. These lists validate us, offer recognition, and generate interest, thereby increasing our book sales organically—preferably in a snow ball effect which launches our careers into the stratosphere. Look out JK, Nora, Stephen, and James. There’s a new kid in town.

getty rf top tenWe explore endless marketing options, participate in blog tours and book signings, deliver our souls to social media, lug ourselves to conferences and conventions, invest our hard earned pennies in ads and swag. And even some of us hire PR assistants. All in the name of success. It’s what we do to build our enterprises. Who doesn’t want to be a household name,  lounging on a private beach with muscular, oiled, deliciously bronzed gods fanning us with palm fronds, massaging our tired shoulders, feeding us grapes and adult beverages, and whispering in our ear how wonderful the movie-version of our book is doing at the box-office, or at least make a comfortable living as a writer?

But what if you could buy your way onto the New York Times bestseller’s list at the debut of your book upon your release date? Got deep pockets and a guarantee of 11,000 pre-orders of your unreleased book? You can purchase a spot. The practice is termed the bestseller campaign.

In short, you hire marketing firm ResultSource (cha-ching!) which specializes in bestseller campaigning and secure a pre-selling commitment of bulk sales that reach into the thousands.

Read more on how one author did it here.

And here’s another article in Forbes on the subject.

The argument is the same for those of us who have done freebie days or book bombing or any one of the multitude of ways to reach a list—getting your name out there long enough to glean status and interest  It’s an investment into your career.

This is surprisingly not a new practice, nor is it exactly a secret. But it seems to be one that isn’t widely discussed. And while I can’t say for certain, I would wager that burning a hole rf gettypublishers aren’t rocking the boat if their clients decide to hire a firm to catapult them onto the bestseller’s lists. It is business, after all.  And business good for the author is good for the publisher.

That said, I do want to point out that the articles I listed above are focused on business non-fiction books. However, the methodology could be applied to anyone who has written a book, has spare change burning a hole in their pockets and 5,000 Facebook friends who aren’t afraid of commitment. For me, I’d rather make a list based on my talent and merit.

So is this practice moral? Is it fleecing book buyers into thinking a title is popular and in demand?  To an author, should it matter, so long as they get their ROI and, possibly, a fan base? Is this business savvy or deception? Does this make the bestsellers lists a sham? If you were able to work the system, would you?

Let’s hear your thoughts.


Writer Inspiration: Small Publishers – A New Writer’s Best Friend by Ruth J. Hartman

March 4, 2011

Small Publishers – A New Writer’s Best Friend

by Ruth Hartman

When I saw the advertisement in a children’s digest on writing, I never dreamed it would be the start of something wonderful. I’d recently taken a course in writing for children, and decided to apply to some publishers. 

What ended up happening though was a far cry from kid’s books.

 

The publisher, Pipers’ Ash, listed children’s books as one of their departments. I sent in a fictional short story about a girl with OCD. They rejected it. And I almost didn’t read their e-mail past that announcement. But boy, I’m glad I did! Even though my children’s story wasn’t what they were looking for, they asked if I could submit my own experience with OCD. (To this day, I’m not sure how they knew I had it, just an assumption on their part, I guess.)

I’d never even considered writing my memoir. I knew next to nothing about writing one, and at first felt the task was too huge to tackle. But, more than anything, I wanted to be published. I’d had so many rejections for various children’s stories, I gave it a try. What would I be out, except time and effort? 

It wasn’t easy writing that book. Believe me. There were things I’d forced myself to forget that were dragged out of my closet, hidden behind other skeletons. I wasn’t at all sure I wanted the world to know what I’d been through. But honestly, since writing that, I’ve had so many people tell me it’s helped them or someone they love.  

Even with that, though, I wondered if that would be my only published work. I didn’t seem to be having any luck with children’s stories getting a nod from publishers. But…I began wondering what would happen if a dental hygienist (I happen to be one) fell in love with her patient? That idea clattered around in my head for a while. I ended up writing a 40,000 word sweet romance. Imagine my absolute shock when a publisher wanted it!

Unlike my memoir, I went through countless submissions and rejections to get to that point. As a matter of fact, I was just about ready to call it quits. Study a publisher’s guidelines. Send in my submission. Sometimes with a synopsis, which I hate! And wait. And wait. Each time I got an e-mail from yet another publisher I’d hold my breath. Would someone finally want my book? But…no. 

When I received the e-mail from Midnight Showcase (recently re-named Melange Books), I fully expected another rejection. I mean, why would they want my book when no one else did? One thing, I think, that helped was that they are a smaller publisher. All of my publishers are small. But that doesn’t mean they are less of a publisher. Published is published! 

I guess one thing I would suggest to someone who isn’t published yet would be to not give up! And always make sure your submission is exactly what they’re looking for. Otherwise you’re just wasting your efforts when they could be better used somewhere else. Study their submission pages. Make your manuscript exactly what they ask for down to the last asterisk between scenes. I’ve heard complaints even lately from the publishers I work with, that the submissions they’re getting don’t follow what they’ve requested. And believe me, they’re all different. Some want single lines, some want double. Some want chapter headings and others only want scene breaks. It’s tedious work to read through their submission process carefully, but it’s so worth it! 

 

So what are you waiting for? Send out your story to some small publishers today!

Ruth J. Hartman

 
 

www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com
 
http://www.melange-books.com/authors/ruthjhartman/hartmanflossophyofgrace.html
 
http://www.turquoisemorningpress.com/2010/04/contemporary-romance-titles.html
 

 

Flossophy of Grace
What happens when a dental hygienist falls in love with her patient? That’s what Grace Hart discovers when she meets Bruce Gardener. The problem? Grace’s boss has a strict policy against relationships with patients. Can Grace and Bruce find a way to be together without her employer finding out?
 
Purrfect Voyage
 How can one cat cause so much trouble? Arthur’s owner, Kitty, is constantly amazed. Especially when she chases him onto a yacht, hits her head below deck, and wakes up several hours later on an ocean cruise with a man she’s never met!
 

Agents & Editors are people too… Some you like, some you don’t.

September 27, 2010

One of the things we all love is to read the comments of agents and editors. Come on. We’ve all done it. Laughed and groaned at the list of their worst received queries? Chuckled when another author makes such a heinous mistake or is sooooooo sure of their own talent that they say something that lands them an immediate rejection? Of course we come away from these stories a little bit smarter for having done our research and followed the A/E to see if we would be a good fit. We’re essentially – getting to know them.

The Agents and Editors are well aware of their reading public. Their stories are crafted to make us laugh, shake our heads, or want to cry. They know we secretly thank these authors who refuse to do their homework and clear a bigger path for us. They also know we cringe to know that these same authors make it that much harder for us to get in because the A/E are continually frustrated by these people who refuse to follow the rules.

I mean, let’s face it. Writing is hard work. You continue to learn, perfect, revise. You attend conferences and workshops and network until your eyes hurt to get your name out there. And there are those who refuse to even try. Makes us kinda crazy right?

I bet it does the A/E’s as well.

BUT – and yep, this is a big BUT.

No matter how badly we want this, and no matter how hard it is to get published, we all have to remember that Agents and Editors are people too. People just like we run into every day of our lives. The guy on the bus that stinks every morning? The opinionated PTA member who makes everyone crazy by being too demanding? The neighbor that refuses to move his six broken down cars away from the beautifully landscaped border of your property?

Yeah, we’ve all met them, and even if they offered to help us gain something incredible, we just have to agree to share it, would we take the offer?

Now think about this. You don’t enter a contract with anyone without doing your homework. Checking their background, their contacts, their actual qualifications, right? And if that all passes muster, do you just jump right in?

I think sometimes writers forget they are entering into a very personal, intimate contract with an agent. Do some REAL research on them. Follow their blog, Twitter, Facebook, anywhere they might post opinions or comments. And no I’m not giving you the green light to become a stalker. Eeeeek. (I’ve heard of A/E’s complaining of this too.) You can usually read the archives on an Agent or Editor to learn a huge amount about what they are like and what kind of personality they have. Just researching the basics to make sure they are qualified isn’t enough.

Case in point, I follow numerous agents and editors, on any of the media networking venues. I do so because in researching them as a potential A/E, I found that I liked their style. I also found any number of A/E’s that I took off my query list for one reason or another. That’s not to say they weren’t nice people, or even professional, they just didn’t fit me. And I assumed, if they don’t fit me, I won’t fit them either. At least – not the way I want.

I recently updated my To Be Queried list for a new YA novel I’ve completed. Near the top of my research list was an agent I had heard good things about, but not a ton. I did some digging. At first, I thought maybe I’d caught her on a bad day, so I read further into her archives. It quickly became clear that she got a good laugh out of making fun of – what I thought sounded like simple mistakes anyone could make. She continued to pick apart EVERYTHING, in detail, an author could do that would earn them a form rejection. Right down to the Mrs, Ms, or Dear.

Too picky? Yeah, me thinks so too!

Really? As aspiring or published writers, aren’t we up against enough without having to know that one A/E liked to be addressed Dear, while another wants to be addresses Ms???? I certainly wouldn’t boot an agent from my list on one little pet-peeve, but this agent was unhappy with everything.

Just as an A/E can decide not to work with someone because of their personality, so too can we. Agents and Editors are people too. Don’t forget to get to know them a little before you hop into a relationship that you could have easily determined was doomed!

The saying goes: ‘No agent is better than a bad agent.’

So – You tell me. Any horror stories?

Followed an A/E and were shocked by something they posted/tweeted?

Share so all can be aware.

(Of course, names should be and will be redacted. We’re not here to put anyone down. Just to learn what to watch for.)