Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rules for Estributors

Buried in the 'Joe sez' portion of a guest post is Joe's Rules for Estributors.  You can find the post here. He really should have broken out the whole discussion for a separate post bc much more could be said about it than what he has there.

Here are his rules as he sees them:

1. The estributor covers all costs of book production. Artwork, editing, proofing, formatting, layout, everything.

2. The estributor does all of the uploading to various sites (Kindle, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, Createspace, etc.)

3. The estributor pays immediately after she receives money, and her accounting is transparent.

4. The estributor gets a cut of no more than 15%, equal to her agency commission.

5. When the estributor gets big enough, she facilitates translations and the uploading to foreign ebook sites. For this she can receive a larger royalty share.

6. The estributor markets the ebooks above and beyond what an author can do on her own.

7. The author retains the rights to the work, and sets the price of the work.

8. If the estributor is an agent, she will also continue to exploit the subsidiary rights of the work.

9. The author or estributor can dissolve the relationship at any time. That brings into question who owns the artwork/formatting etc. That should be resolved on a case by case basis in a way that is fair to both parties.

For the most, I agree with what he has to say.  The only sticking point is the money going to the estributor and then being paid to the author.  Only  bc this is such a new industry (ebooks, I mean) that there isn't a company out there with the decades in business experience that I would require before I fork over my money and essentially my business.

Also, by keeping the money in the author's hands (and having them pay it out to the estributor), you can cut down the risks that come with the conflict of interest.

And yes, there is a conflict of interest there.  But it can be mitigated by the service being provided as well as the money staying in the author's hands.

Personally, I don't recommend getting an agent until you need one for subsidiary rights (print, audio, foreign, film/tv, etc).  But I recognize that some writers might want to have this type of person on their team to help guide their career.  The majority will, actually, bc of fear. I just hope that the readers of this blog happen to see that they don't need to give away percentages of their proceeds, that they can make these decisions on their own.

That's all for now.  Just wanted to put in a quick comment about that.

Happy writing, y'all.


Friday, February 17, 2012

What this blog is

Yeah, so I thought I would separate out my writing and self publishing thoughts from my more promotional thoughts regarding my fiction.  Basically, this blog will be for other writers while my WriterKMadison blog will be for readers.  They don't necessarily care about all of the inner workings of the publishing industry (ya know, bc I am such an insider!!) or the challenges of publishing in multiple formats to multiple different stores.

But other writers might.

And hopefully, my mistakes documented here will serve to help other fellow self pubbing authors to steer clear of this or that particular pothole into which I have so ungracefully fallen. (<-- Look ma, I totally didn't end that sentence with a preposition, even tho I really wanted to.  Oh, wait.  Darnit!!)

I write under a few different pen names.  Kate Madison is one of my newer ones.  I thought I would put the self pubbing stuff under this one because, well, I'm not sure.  I just did.

I have been self pubbing since the summer of '09 (just saying that sentence makes me sound like an old man!). I have learned a lot and changed a lot over the last couple of years.  I will write about what I have learned and why I have changed-- again, all with an eye towards helping a fellow writer in their journey.  I have been helped countless times by so many different writers.  So, this is paying it forward, I guess.

Why should you care what I even have to say?  --Well, when you say it like that?  No really, I am not a crazy successful self pubber like the many stars on Kindleboards or the superstars like JA Konrath, Amanda Hocking, or John Locke.  But I consistently sell around 1k units per month of my short stories (across a few pen names) for the past 18 months or so.  It took about 6 months to build up to that and has remained steady. I'm not quite living on my writing income alone, but I am about half way there.  Writing and selling novels is my next step.  But, I would say I am doing decently, better than many, not as good as some.

I also publish quite a few Kindle blogs which I will talk about some.  But, honestly, I'm not sure how much longer those will be around simply bc they are the red headed step child of the business units in Amazon.  The kindle blogs get no love.  And you can't even get them on the fire which tells me their days are numbered.  Which is too bad, bc I like their income.  The subscription model is pretty sweet money wise, if a little labor intensive.

More on that later.  I'll also talk about lots of nuts and bolts stuff, such as:

--My workflow for formatting, then and now
--My writing income broken out
--Cover Design, then and now
--Ideal Story Length for today's market
--Reader attitudes
--Author attitudes
--Marketing and PR
--Fiction vs Nonfiction
--POD or print run

and many others.

I hope you enjoy.


WSJ thawing a bit on self pubbing, sort of

The conservative WSJ is among many traditional publications that treat the self publishing industry and those in it like lepers.  I suspect it is because of their very cozy relationship with the big 6 publishers and not because their brains are small and they have a hard time understanding change or reading a situation.  Because that would be sad.

However, they have an article that does mention self publishing, if only tangentially.  The pricing that the article talks about is very much in the self publishing domain.  That might change, tho, if more of the big 6 wise up and start using the 99c price point more often for their promotions.

So all of those readers that swear off 99c books bc of the glutton of poorly edited self pubbed works might be tempted to wade into those waters again.  That's good for everyone, I think.

Will the big 6 ever price their novels at 2.99-4.99 like most self pubbers do?  Probably. But not for another couple of years.  Until then, only one here and there will tiptoe in that direction.  (Please excuse the many exceptions to this rule-- very little in life is absolutely absolute.)

Price will end up being a huge marketing communication to the potential reader.  8.99 and up will signal that this book was published by a traditional publisher.  For some readers, that will be a comfort and they will gladly pay that added premium.  For others, they might feel gouged.

The industry is still in flux in many people's views.  Probably very much so to the reader.  I think things are kind of set for now.  Print won't die, just get smaller.  Kobo will probably take over BN with ereaders in the next few years (Sorry bn- you just kind of suck business-wise). Scared writers will continue to flock to big6 for validation.  Scared readers will continue to pay $12-35 for big6 books bc buying habits die hard.
Amazon's KDP select will continue to lure authors with their offer of 5 free promotional days (the lending is a tepid lure as so few people are part of Amazon Prime right now).  But it won't take over their world and gobble all other ebook retailers bc of the diversity in hardware.  Everyone will say that's what is happening, but it won't be for long.  Fair market competition will keep things tilting this way and then that way.

Okay, that's all I got for now.  Toodles.