I think in most authors’ minds, the answer is no. But there are ways to break into these seemingly impregnable fortresses of traditional book distribution for indie writers, and most of them involve a lot of leg-work. Plus driving (unless you live next door to a library).
As one commenter says below this informative article from Publisher’s Weekly, “Don’t just dream the dream — crunch the numbers and decide what options are best for you.”
Leeds Library photo by michael_d_beckwith / Foter.com / CC BY
Two days ago I released my sci-fi story The Information Monster as a Kindle ebook and wrote about it in this post. I was very happy with the cover, created by myself and my regular cover designer Alex Nereuta, but then I decided to run an Amazon ad campaign for the first time and noticed that the cool font we chose didn’t show up at all when reduced to a thumbnail. Not only that, but the “monster” made of stars also disappeared at a smaller scale. The upshot was that I was asking Amazon visitors to basically click on a black rectangle! I’m guessing that rule 101 of ebook marketing is that you should actually be able to see the cover, so changing it was an easy decision to make.
Although the original would have made a lovely print cover, Alex and I are very happy with the new one and it certainly a) stands out more, and b) is creepier. What do you think?
So here’s the beauty of epublishing: if this was a traditionally published print book and I needed to change the cover, I’d be screwed. With Amazon, all it took was a couple of hours and the new version was proudly online.
Oh, and before I forget, please leave a rating and/or review on Amazon if you read The Information Monster. Stars for stars!
Porter Anderson is critical of the traditional publishing industry’s practice of staggering transatlantic release dates, and here’s why.
Chile’s Atacama Desert, 2053. The universe’s dark energy is increasing and only a former MIT astrophysicist knows what it means. As his worst nightmare becomes a reality, he flees Santiago with his young daughter to the peaceful safety of the decommissioned ALMA radio-telescope. But what if they were followed…
That’s the blurb for The Information Monster, a previous version of which was published in 2013 as part of an anthology called Disrupted Worlds. Now it’s available as a standalone Amazon Kindle book.
At over 10,000 words, The Information Monster has more meat to it than a typical short story, so if you’re ready to spend an hour (and a buck!) navigating the tortured mind of our hero Sigi, click right here to go to Amazon.com, or here for Amazon.ca and here for Amazon.co.uk.
An article in the Economist this week on how Romania’s rich and powerful are becoming authors to get out of prison early. Kind of hilarious if it wasn’t also depressing.
I’m working for a commercial client this morning and wanted to find out the difference between “freight” and “cargo”. It’s been a long while that I’ve operated under the principle of “never assume you know” for things like this, so instead of doing what all good writers should do and use a dictionary (even an online one) I started googling “What’s the difference between freight and cargo?” But before I’d reached the end of my sentence, Google proposed the most popular similar searches in a drop-down list, as it is wont to do. And that’s when I stopped typing because I saw this:
Now, I understand that there could be some confusion between a baby and a medium-sized squash or a very large zucchini. Maybe even an enormous yam. But an onion?
Well, as it turns out, there are actually some significant similarities between a baby and an onion, almost all of them fuel for very dark jokes, as I found out when I went back and googled what the rest of humanity wants to know (what – freight and cargo aren’t interesting enough for you, people!?) about differences.
Needing to get back to work, I managed to display almost superhuman levels of self-discipline and didn’t click on a single one of the links and wrote this blog post instead. Ahhh… procrastination takes so many forms! And just like babies and onions, it can also involve tears.
Insights into the illusory decline in ebook sales, from NPR’s All Things Considered:
According to Author Earnings, the e-book market is thriving, but traditional publishers’ share of it has slipped to about one-third. And Data Guy believes the e-book market will continue to grow well into the future.
I wonder if the mysterious Data Guy is related to Mr. Robot?
Last weekend’s New York Times Sunday Book Review features sci-fi and fantasy new releases reviewed by Charles Yu. He seems to have spotted an overarching theme:
“So much of this work feels as if it is post-something, pervaded by a sense of living and writing in an era that comes after, of fiction being produced by novelists who can’t help feeling that it’s getting late or, in some cases, that it’s too late.”
Several of these titles sound very interesting and it’s a pleasure to read insightful reviews that are not overly critical even when you get the sense that the reviewer didn’t particularly enjoy the book. Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below!
Interesting article in today’s Guardian about the Writer’s Manifesto to be presented tonight at the Manchester Literature Festival by Joanne Harris, the author of Chocolat, among other works.
“She’s putting forward a really interesting question about boundaries,” said Writers’ Centre Norwich chief executive Chris Gribble, “and about what we expect of writers … and what the limits are of being a reader.”
What are your thoughts on this? Are the boundaries between authors and readers becoming unhealthily fuzzy?