My e publishing decision

by Alexandra Sokoloff

Sometimes synchronicity just hits us here at Murderati – I’m so glad for P.D.’s post yesterday because I’m able to provide the flip side view today! Almost as if we planned it…

I’m sure everyone here at Murderati has noticed more and more e book posts creeping in alongside the craft ones.  Personally I’m thrilled to see it; I’m always very much about being practical about craft. I think writing is a marvelous hobby, everyone can benefit from doing it, and I strongly believe just writing is just fine. But if you are going to go through the agony of writing an entire book, a real, finished book, don’t you want at least the possibility of getting it out there in the market, for others to read and experience and for you to make money for your labor?

I myself plan to get much more hardcore about about publishing and e book issues.  Partly because it’s astonishing to me how many writers and aspiring writers still have so many misconceptions about e publishing – and there is a LOT of misinformation out there. (As my last workshop class knows,  I was outraged enough about this to teach an impromptu e publishing seminar in the middle of our writing intensive last week!)

The fact is, a very large number of the authors I know who started out in publishing at about the same time I did (2007) have made the leap and are now e publishing directly – either exclusively so or in conjuction with traditional publishing contracts.  My friends and wonderful authors Blake Crouch, Ann Voss Peterson, CJ Lyons, Elle Lothlorien, not to mention present and former ‘Rati  Zoe Sharp, Brett Battles, Rob Gregory Browne, and JD Rhoades are just a few who are doing VERY well with e publishing. Friends who started even earlier are doing even better (Scott Nicholson, Diane Chamberlain, Sarah Shaber and of course Joe Konrath, whose Newbie’s Guide to Publishing is a must-read.). In a few short years, e publishing has filled retirement funds for older writers and elevated midlist authors to bestselling – or rock star! – status.

And now that I have several of my traditionally published backlist titles up as e books and the sales numbers are coming in, it’s clear to me that at least THIS YEAR, e publishing is the right choice for me.

How do I know this?  Well, one of the amazing things about e publishing, for those of us who are used to the cryptic and essentially useless sales reports that we get quarterly – maybe – from our traditional publishers – is that now we can see exactly how many copies of each book we’re selling and exactly how much money we’re making per month.  This is a VASTLY easier way to ensure that you’re making a real living, and it takes huge amounts of anxiety out of the process.  Plus you get paid every month, instead of when your publisher gets around to it, which is a vastly easier way to keep up with the bills, if you see what I’m saying.

E publishing has made making a practical living a much more realistic proposition for authors who are not (yet) bestsellers in traditional publishing. I don’t know how long that will realistically last, whether it will get better or worse, but by now, for now, it’s unignorable.

So this month I will publish my new thriller, HUNTRESS MOON, directly as an e book.

 

(This great cover is by our own megatalented Rob Gregory Browne!)

Lots of thought and agonizing went into this decision.

First, I know that some people who have not yet succumbed to the rapture of e readers still want to hold and touch and smell their print books and get peanut butter on them and all that. I feel you.  I have a real pang about this as well.  But it’s not a very realistic pang.

The book is the book, whether there’s a paper cover on it or not.  And I can publish it this month and get it into the hands of thirty thousand readers in a week (Based on my numbers for Book of Shadows, The Harrowing, and The Price.)  Even if I never sold ONE book after that, that exposure alone would be worth it. Because exposure sells my other books.

But based on the numbers I’ve compiled with my other books,  I will sell thousands, and very quickly.

If I went through traditional channels, the book wouldn’t even hit the shelves until a year and a half from now.  How can I possibly think of giving up the tens of thousands of readers I will be able to reach with this book starting NOW?

Plus, I’m already almost halfway through my first draft of the sequel to HUNTRESS MOON (this is a series, my first-ever!).  I’ll be able to publish that one in the fall. No longer do authors have to hold to the glacial timetables of their publishers, or worry about the possibility of the publisher deciding not to publish at all (which has happened to several of my friends, recently).

I can have two books out this year, with a guaranteed income.  What that income will ultimately be, well, I don’t know, but traditional advances are way down and, much worse than that, most publishers are demanding e rights in perpetuity in traditional contracts, which seems to me an insane thing for authors to give up in the current climate. That alone pushed me in the e publishing direction.

Please hear me. I am NOT saying this is the way to go for a never-been-published author. Be warned: it is not the Gold Rush that it was back in, oh, January – there’s a lot of competition out there.  I – and the other authors I listed above – know the benefits and drawbacks of traditional publishing because we’ve lived it; there’s no Holy Grail mystique about it. To me the choice between the (waning) prestige of having a print book in stores and having an army of dedicated readers is a no-brainer.  Someone who doesn’t have several years of actual sales numbers to compare and crunch is not going to be able to make the same kind of decision that I am doing, it would be much more of a leap of faith.  That doesn’t mean don’t do it, it just means it’s riskier.

Also, going through the gauntlet of traditional publishing prepares an author to e publish like bootcamp prepares a soldier for war.  I KNOW how much editing it takes to come up with a clean and readable book.  I KNOW how much time I’ll be spending marketing, and I have some idea of how and where to do that.

But even if you haven’t had the benefit of that kind of trial by fire, you do need to know that there is an opportunity here that was never available to an author before, and that – is nothing but good news.

Now is the time. Things may change within months.  But I’m not excessively worried about the current system collapsing, because no matter what happens out there,  I can still write books.  Or scripts. I’ve always figured out how to make a living with writing. And I’ve been doing the figuring once again, and  this is how I can do it right, right now.

So first, I want to hear e publishing stories, and of course questions.  Are you doing it? Thinking about it?  If you’re not, what’s holding you back?

And second – I’m giving away 50 copies of HUNTRESS MOON for potential reviews (Amazon reviews are what I need the most, but am glad for any, anywhere!).  You DO NOT have to review the book – I just ask that you be open to posting a short review if you are inspired to do so.

e mail me at  alex AT alexandrasokoloff  DOT com for a copy in whatever format.

Here’s the story!

HUNTRESS MOON

 FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman he glimpsed on the sidewalk behind his agent, who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers:  a female serial.

Roarke’s hunt for her takes him across three states… while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.

——————————————————————————


I am not launching the book officially until July 11, but it’s up in online stores starting today so that I can collect some reviews. 

E mail me at  alex AT alexandrasokoloff  DOT com for a copy in whatever format.

But if you just feel like reading, or want to support me and this site, of course you can buy a copy! $3.99 on Amazon, $2.99 on Nook

Amazon

Nook

Amazon UK

Amazon DE

Amazon FR

Amazon ES

Amazon IT

A note to Nook readers – Huntress Moon will only be available for Nook for the next two weeks, after which it will be exclusive on Amazon for the next three months at least. I’m truly sorry to have to do it that way, but it’s unavoidable (read more on that here.)   Also, if you’ve been waiting to grab The Harrowing, The Unseen, or The Space Between for Nook, they are up now for $2.99, again, only for a few weeks.

Thanks for reading!

Alex

36 thoughts on “My e publishing decision

  1. billie hinton

    Thanks for talking about this here – I have 4 novels and a short up as e-books – just coming off exclusive stints with Amazon and planning to get them back out via Smashwords and Kobo for the rest of summer and early fall. I'm someone who had agents and was shopped with good response but did not get the actual sale, and as you said, I think it's a little more work coming from that place onto the e-book scene b/c of the exposure factor.

    That said, I am seeing a slow but steady increase in sales, to the point that I am earning a nice little chunk of income each month, and every few months things kick up and I have a new "best ever sales" month, which makes me hopeful that when I get more titles up I will increase both monthly sales AND momentum.

    I hope you'll do an online workshop at some point that has to do with marketing – I need a booster shot in that department and know you would be a great source of info with an organized way of applying it!

    Can I also share that one of my novels, claire-obscure, is free today on Amazon?

    CRIME BOOK BEAT: Crime writers are generally like war correspondents, but Ms. Hinton doesn't require a flak jacket. Her writing is literate, evocative, and perceptive – even mesmerizing. Her mysteries aren't solved, they're dangled just ahead, just out of reach.

    http://www.amazon.com/claire-obscure-ebook/dp/B004CFASCY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341579074&sr=1-1&keywords=claire-obscure

    Can't wait to read Huntress Moon – will definitely review!

  2. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Billie, thanks for sharing your experience! I'm seeing that people like you, smart writers who can write, market and PERSIST, are having the same results. Maybe not a huge splash at first, but steadily increasing sales. And each book will sell the next!

    Now that the dilettantes are getting discouraged because they can't instantly sell a thousand copies through Select, it should be easier for serious writers like you to stand out.

    Thrilled to be able to snag a copy of claire-obscure!

  3. Phillip Thomas Duck

    I've been traditionally published, and for the past two years have also published directly to Kindle/Nook and the other platforms. I was hesitant to start e-publishing but now I'm glad I did. I've had big sales months, slow sales months (right now), and yet the sales has never been the aspect of e-publishing I was most excited by. I love the ability to conceive a project and see it through from conception to an actual package. Must be the control freak in me. Anyway, wish you continued success with all your projects and I will be checking out HUNTRESS MOON.

  4. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Thanks, Philip!

    Glad it's going well for you. Personally, I'd rather NOT be involved in every aspect of production, it's just right now a necessary evil. I think it takes a lot of time away from writing. But what I do love is the constant, direct feedback from readers and the ability to do things out of the box. It's incredibly freeing.

  5. Jake Nantz

    Alex,
    I think a lot of the unpublished masses (who actually understand enough to know that the first thing they ever write won't become an e-bestseller) need to hear both your side of it and P.D.'s. My first finished manuscript probably wasn't going to be good enough to get a nibble from an agent in today's publishing climate, and I knew that even as I sent it out time and again, but I had to try. With manuscript #2 nearing completion I'm more hopeful (as it's a better book), but I also know that if I never get an agent or traditional publisher there's still the possibility of going it on my own at some point. Thing is, once I get a few more under my belt I'll be better prepared, having written 4-5 books, by knowing which ones are better written because of experience. But I'll also be better off because I'll have a library to start with rather than just the one book. More w/ my name on it = better chance to start gaining a little bit of recognition and success each month.

    Also, to Billie's request above, I think you doing an online e-book marketing course would be a fantastic idea. For one thing, I know you'd do a great job because you know what I think of you as a teacher (and I know about good teachers, trust me). For another thing, you blogged a while back about diverse revenue streams for writers. You could charge a small fee and bring in bunches of people hoping to get an edge (I'd pay for it, you know that).

    And besides, for most writers not named King, Patterson, Steele, Meyer or Rowling, the biggest enemy to sales is anonymity or obscurity. By helping others with an online class like that – and getting paid for it – you would indirectly be helping yourself because you'd be creating even greater name-recognition than you already have (at least that was the theory behind my article-writing venture I told you about). Wins for team Sokoloff and wins for those of us that take advantage of the opportunity you would afford us. Whaddayathink?

  6. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Great blog. Yes, I'm thinking about it myself. Thinking about it. Haven't pulled the trigger on it. Still months of writing to go before my next book is ready. But I sure don't want to wait another year or more for it to publish after I've finished it, and I don't want the publisher to keep the ebook rights indefinitely, as you mentioned.

  7. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Jake, I love you for knowing that a first book is not going to be good enough (without a former career in some other kind of writing, anyway….) God knows I've skimmed the first horrifying three pages or so of enough direct-to-e-books to know that a lot of people don't give a flying – well, you know – about quality.

    I appreciate the faith that you and Billie have in my teaching skills but there are so many people who have been e published so much longer than I have – I JUST got my backlist back and I'm JUST getting started publishing fiction directly to e. By the end of the year I'll know more (and things will have changed again, so who knows who's going to know anything at all.). And – I have to concentrate on the fiction.

    But I'll be sharing the things I DO know here, not to worry!

  8. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Yeah, Steve, the time for you to evaluate is when you've finished the book. Because who knows what the landscape with be by then? I think we're all kind of waiting for the next shoe to drop, honestly…

  9. David DeLee

    Alex,
    Congrats on getting your latest book published, cover looks great btw (nicely done to you and to Rob).
    I'm using Kindle Select for a title for the first time, and coming out of the box, I must say I'm a little disappointed. I've used two free days so far, and only got about 130 free downloads worldwide. I'm disappointed in that because the last time (about a year ago–pre-select) I had a couple of titles up for free and "Sold" 30-40k each, and they lifted those titles up going forward over the past year. So far, with Select, no borrowing or cross over sales seems apparent. Wondering of those who have been using Select, is the hay day of free give-aways over, or is there something more you guys are doing I'm not aware of.

    Off to download Huntress Moon now.

  10. Robert Gregory Browne

    David, I used Select for my first foray into e publishing and the 46K free downloads resulted in over 20K sales of the book since the last week in May and a month in the Top 100, plus my back list has begun selling fairly well.

    But the added bonus is the Prime Library, which, thanks to about 4,000 borrows has added a nice chunk of change on top of the sales. The Prime Library is what, in my estimation, makes going exclusive with Amazon so valuable.

    I do think, however, that there's a certain amount of timing, and luck, that helps the post-giveaway bounce. Plus having a good cover and a great title. TRIAL JUNKIES is a title I've been holding onto for twenty plus years and I'm glad I finally used it. I honestly think it had a lot to do with where the book landed after the free period.

    So, bottom line, the exclusivity has been well worth it for me.

  11. Alexandra Sokoloff

    David, Rob's right about timing and luck but 130 downloads over two free days seems absurdly low to me, especially given your previous free venture. Almost impossibly low, even. Did you do any promotion at all?

  12. David DeLee

    Rob, thanks for sharing real numbers with us. Yours are the kind of results I've been hearing, (and had with my first freebies) so, I'm stymied by the lack of results this time (though I do believe I shouldn't have made my story free on July 4th, lol).

    Alex, I don't do much in the way of promotion (okay, I don't do anything in the way of promotion) other than announcements on facebook, mentions on a few lists and blogs I'm on or visit, a couple of reader/writer sites like crimespace, ITW, MWA, and my own website. Realizing that isn't much, but the same as I did before, still can't explain the dismal results.
    I guess that is the question to ask–what is it you all are doing to promote your work?

  13. billie hinton

    I'm jumping back in b/c I'm really interested in this free promo thing and analyzing how/what seems to create that big bounce that one sees sometimes with certain titles.

    I've done free promos where I got 1000 downloads and did all the same things that I later did for the same titles but that time got 16,000 downloads. I've been featured on Pixel of Ink which at one point seemed to be the thing that helped create the bounce – but then another time did a free promo where I was NOT featured and that was the one that bounced the highest both with free downloads and actual sales leading to my biggest royalty ever.

    I've not done heavy promotion – but have found that getting away from FB and Twitter seems to work best – I figure at this point anyone who wants my books on those two platforms already has it – and has shared it with their circles of friends/etc.

    I suspect that the promo that had the biggest bounce but the least marketing effort on my part happened b/c somewhere on Amazon, for some minor amount of time, they either featured or mentioned the book. That's the only thing I can come up with.

    I have also had some success with the timing of my promos and doing it around holidays but not in the obvious ways – i.e. on Memorial Day I started a 3-day promo the day before most folks did – I figured a lot of folks were at work but not really working, and that they might be looking at free e-book sites to load up on some holiday weekend reading. I think it was the boost of that first day's downloads that sailed that particular title up into the top 10. Something kicked in on the second day which is still a mystery to me – but it was the kind of thing where I would refresh the page and the number of downloads was going up by the hundreds every few seconds. Crazy.

    This current promo is over 6000 right now – Pixel picked it up on July 4th as did Digital Book Today and I did a $29. ad on KND. But obviously it didn't go completely wild the way the previous promo did with none of the above.

    With each free promo, I have gotten some reviews and some emails and then my average sales bumps up and seems to stay up – again, nothing dramatic, but if you look at all the data on a graph there is a huge uptick since last year and I can see (at least I hope) that I am beginning to build a strong foundation that can hold up over time – in the way that folks say the shelf life is forever.

    Right now I'm interested to see what sales do on other platforms now that I have a little more exposure via the Amazon promos… and while I'm opening things back up that way I really have to buckle down and finish the final edit and formatting for two new titles that are just a little bit away from being ready to publish. I do feel some pressure to get these up before the holiday season hits.

    Curious to know if there are big things I'm NOT doing that would help push things. I've done fairly well but wouldn't it be fun to go viral? πŸ™‚

  14. Darla

    Great post – many thanks!

    As a reader, I appreciate the easy access with ebooks except for one thing — if I really like a book, I want to have it in hard copy as well (paperback is fine) because I re-read favorites over the years and doubt I would look back through my Kindle to find one again. Another fabulous aspect of digital is the ability to download a preview of the book; that allows me to purchase only those I'm really interested in and not waste money on those I'm not. But generally, if I find an author I like, then I want to obtain their books in hard copy. Which leads to one question: when you publish your ebooks, do you consider the possibility of also offering hard copies via self-publishers (lulu for example)?

    As a writer, I'm encouraged by the ebook phenomenon. Doesn't guarantee I'll make any money when my manuscript is complete (this is my third one, but the first that I feel is strong enough to continue the re-write process into further drafts), but I do like knowing that I can at least put it out there as an ebook. That's if I can figure out how to do it. πŸ™‚ So, again, I'm grateful for all the information you share here!

    P.S. My favorite book of yours has been "Book of Shadows" — loved it!

  15. David Corbett

    I think we all have to realize that not making a decision is a decision, that the ebook platform is viable and certainly here for now, if not forever, and mainstream publishing is in a tailspin and therefore even more inimical to writers than ever before.

    As several commenters have pointed out, the problem is not vanishing in the blur. That means one of the key commitments has nothing to do about writing, but about marketing — how good are you at it, how much do you want to do, etc.

    I'd second all those votes for your teaching a class on ebook marketing, Alex. One, you'd be brilliant. And two, well, it's so easy for me to pile onto your already overwhelming work load, no?

    Great post, and yes, a wonderful companion to Phillipa's yesterday.

  16. KDJames

    Great post, Alex, thanks for being so forthcoming. It's interesting to me (as a writer who has never been tested by the fire of trad publishing) that you seem to discourage self-publishing for those who don't have that experience. Okay, fine, maybe "discourage" is too strong a word. Probably "caution" is better.

    But let's face it, anyone going through that trad process now for the first time faces all the same negatives you mention. You'd have to be a very out-of-touch writer not to realize the need for an editorial process. And marketing effort. And you'd also have to be pretty clueless to think there is any monetary advantage to trad publishing (with rare exceptions). Or that the "prestige" factor hasn't devolved from what it once was.

    So yes, I think it's fair in some respects to say e-publishing is "riskier" for new writers — then again, we have far less to risk. And everything to gain, when we start from zero. What it IS is more difficult for someone like me than it is for you. You have a confidence born of experience and that makes a huge difference, not just once the book is done but even during the writing.

    Personally (and we're all different in our wants/needs) I would LOVE to go through that traditional process and work with an experienced editor. Not to mention all the other professionals who help produce that product. But the pragmatic side of me wonders whether I could get the same experience (without the downside of ridiculous contract terms and lack of accountability) by hiring an editor. And everyone else. The trick is in finding experienced professionals. And paying them.

    Regarding marketing and the lingering "sales bump" of offering books free over at Amazon, I read somewhere recently (can't remember where, maybe David Gaughran's blog?) that Amazon has changed their algorithm so that rising up in the ranks of free no longer translates to ending up higher in paid once the free run ends. You go right back into obscurity instead. Which is a shame, as it was one of the big selling points of that program.

    Anyway. The new book sounds awesome and I'm on my way to buy it. I'd offer to write a review (I do so on occasion) but I honestly don't know when I'm going to have time to read it, and that's not helpful. Still haven't read Brett's latest and I've been anticipating that one for months. My entire focus lately is on writing. Happily, and surprisingly, productivity is way up.

    One thing that hasn't changed is that readers want stories. I'm more determined than ever to do my best to give them what they want.

  17. Lisa Alber

    As ever, thought-provoking post, Alex. I'm closer than ever to e-publishing. There's a lot to learn, so it might not happen until 2013, but still, I'm heading in that direction. I'm researching marketing now…To which I fourth, or maybe it's fifth, the idea of you doing an online e-marketing workshop!

    Question: I have heard that for purposes of appearing more legit (or some such thing–"legit" isn't quite the correct word), at least for us debuting novelists, it's a good idea to publish under a press name, rather than simply under our own names. Do you or some of the other commenters (Billie?) have opinions about this?

    A friend and I were thinking of creating a press name for ourselves, with a press website, a logo, and all that…Do online reviewers and readers care about that kind of thing?

    I also wonder about having some trade paperbacks around for guest blogging giveaways and that kind of thing. Thoughts on this?

  18. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Sorry I disappeared, yesterday – Internet was down! Catching up now…

    David, I think "no promotion" answers your question about low downloads! You might get lucky, but you also might win the lottery tomorrow, right? You have to work it.

    Billie has some wise words on promotion. I'd rather not spitball the question, though, but save that answer for a dedicated blog post with thoughts in actual order.

  19. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Sorry about disappearing like that yesterday – internet was down!

    David, I think "no promotion" is the answer to your question about low downloads! Yes, you could get lucky, but you also could win the lottery tomorrow. You have to work it.

    Billie has some wise words about promo. I'd rather not spitball the question, though, but save the answer for a dedicated blog post I'm planning with thoughts in actual order!

  20. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Thanks, Darla – Book of Shadows was my favorite book, too – until I wrote Huntress Moon!

    I suppose eventually I'll do a print version of Huntress but what I hear from friends is that compared to e book sales, print sales of indie books are very low. I'd rather put that time into finishing the sequel, right now. It makes more sense for me personally to put out my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbook as a print book.

    I would not do Lulu, though, makes more sense to do it through Amazon. I'll explain why in a follow up blog.

  21. Alexandra Sokoloff

    What Corbett said is so important I'm going to copy it:

    ——As several commenters have pointed out, the problem is not vanishing in the blur. That means one of the key commitments has nothing to do about writing, but about marketing — how good are you at it, how much do you want to do, etc. ——–

    Totally. If you want to be an indie author, you MUST commit to marketing.

    Of course, you have to do that as a traditionally published author, too.

  22. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Well, KD, judging by the dozens of e book samples I've tried, there are a LOT of out of touch writers out there, who have NO idea about an editorial process!

    And you know you're exaggerating! I'm not at all discouraging e publishing for non-trad published authors. I just said it was riskier. And maybe I really mean "more of an unknown."

    The editing process – well, my trad thriller editor edited very little. I find beta readers absolutely crucial to the process, now, but they always were crucial.

    There's a lot of talk about the Amazon algorithms having changed but look at Rob's numbers on his new release. Last month I released a backlist title that has been up in the UK for a while, now, and just in the US I got 27000 downloads and sales in the thousands, still in top 100 lists. This is since the numbers have supposedly changed.

    But I don't know, which is why I don't want to jump in to teaching a class on it all until I've been at it a little longer.

    I hope you'll like the book! No rush on reading, of course.

  23. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Hey Lisa. I don't know about the press name, actually – I'd be interested in hearing examples of whether that works. I tend to think not. One of the effects of e publishing that I think we're seeing is that a whole lot of readers who buy books could not care less what the name of a publishing house, imprint or press name is – they don't read that. It's the same with DVDs, when you think about it. It absolutely appalls me to walk into a DVD store (which I still do, although rarely) and see the direct-to-video titles right up there with the studio movies. And people DON'T CARE, they rent them anyway, just as if they were real movies. An indie or foreign movie, of course, but DIRECT TO VIDEO??? Are these people high? (Well, actually….)

    It just doesn't seem to be a factor. But I could be totally wrong, I really don't know.

    On the print copies for review – I am very rarely asked for one, personally, everyone wants e copies. YMMV.

  24. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Hey Lisa. I don't know about the press name, actually – I'd be interested in hearing examples of whether that works. I tend to think not. One of the effects of e publishing that I think we're seeing is that a whole lot of readers who buy books could not care less what the name of a publishing house, imprint or press name is – they don't read that. It's the same with DVDs, when you think about it. It absolutely appalls me to walk into a DVD store (which I still do, although rarely) and see the direct-to-video titles right up there with the studio movies. And people DON'T CARE, they rent them anyway, just as if they were real movies. An indie or foreign movie, of course, but DIRECT TO VIDEO??? Are these people high? (Well, actually….)

    It just doesn't seem to be a factor. But I could be totally wrong, I really don't know.

    On the print copies for review – I am very rarely asked for one, personally, everyone wants e copies. YMMV.

  25. Kealan Patrick Burke

    Great post Alexandra!

    If there has been some kind of a dramatic shift in Amazon's algorithms, I haven't seen any negative results, or much in the way of change one way or another. For over a year now, I've been making a living from digital sales. It is, in fact, the best-paying job I've ever had, and two years ago I would have scoffed at the idea.

    I would suggest any writer give it a try, but manage your expectations. When you're the sole power behind every aspect of your book, it has to be a business. YOU'RE the publisher as well as the author, so you have to do all both jobs entail if you want your book to do well. This includes PR, marketing (including market research), design and advertising…everything you'd expect a trad publisher to do. It's a lot of work, but worth every minute of it.

    Digital allows you complete control, but that control will only pay off if you understand every facet of it and know how to use it.

    Kealan Patrick Burke

  26. Diane Capri

    Hey, Alex, Enjoyed your post. Welcome to the indie world. I've only been at it a few months myself and I love it. Although it took me a while to get on track, I agree with you that it has huge advantages over my previous trad experiences. Wish you the best with everything. All digits crossed for you!

  27. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Kealan, you have been doing fabulously, I'm so glad to see it! Actually, we should talk about doing some joint workshop or panel, or you doing a guest blog, here to start. YOU'RE the one the people here really want to hear from, they just don't know it.

    And again, the control issue!!

    I would gladly give up some of this control if someone would just take it, but that's not going to happen, so I'm doing what I have to do. But SO much of this e publishing thing makes more sense than that other way.

  28. Winona "Nona" Cross

    Thanks, Alex. I'm learning more and more about e-publishing. Hope you give a lesson in Canyon next year. I Have a friend, Maria Rachel Hooley, who has made the switch from traditional to e-publishing. She's been able to move to a part-time teaching position. It's promising for newbies as well.

  29. Kealan Patrick Burke

    Alexandra:

    I'd be delighted to do a guest blog, panel, workshop any time. Drop me an email or zing me on any of the social sites and we can discuss if you like!

    And yes, digital has definitely changed the game in terms of how hands-on we have to be if we want to succeed. It's time-consuming, but worth it when you see the results.

    Kealan

  30. Lisa Alber

    Ah…Funny you should mention direct-to-video movies. I tend to sniff my nose at those, and I don't consider myself that picky about movies. Soooo….this gets me wondering if potential readers–especially reviewers–sniff their noses at direct-to-ebook novels…Isn't it kind of the same thing?

    <shrug>

  31. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Hi Nona! Yes, I've already talked to Jodie about doing a bigger e pub seminar next year. But check in here, in the meantime – things change so quickly, and I really am committed to at least linking to what you need to know here.

  32. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Lisa, I think you're just more educated. My point was that people NOT in the business don't notice, but you, baby, are more attuned to the business than the average bear.

  33. Cathy Perkins

    Fascinating post and comments.
    My first novel released earlier this year. While there were things about my publisher I loved (my editor & the cover, for example) I was frustrated by marketing decisions I couldn't change – and discovered 90% of the marketing still fell on my To Do list.
    I'll definitely still traditionally publish but I'm planning to release a novella this fall. I'm having a ball writing it, already have marketing links, a cover. Several people have mentioned working on both craft and marketing but the key item I keep hearing is the importance of writing the next story and timely getting it out there
    Cathy

  34. PD Martin

    Great post, Alex! Although I do want to reiterate that the reason I'm going traditional publishing with CROSS ROADS is really genre based. So far my research and experience in ebooks indicates they're fabulous vehicles for crime, thrillers and romance but maybe not so much for other genres. That probably will/is changing but this time around I'm going trad even though my last three books were ebooks and my next will be, too.

  35. Elle Lothlorien

    Great post, Alex, and you're doing the right thing! (Rob: LOVE the cover. My god, aren't we surrounded by such amazing, talented people both in traditional AND indie-pubbing? Our cup runneth over…] Best of luck to you, Alex. There's no doubt you'll be the next e-pubbing success story! See you at B-con, my dear friend! πŸ™‚

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