and my brain is almost working. So a couple of links and thoughts and then a reminder.
The first link is to Mad Genius Club. This morning, Dave Freer is blogging about the potential of an e-book avalanche. Not only does he discuss the signs he’s seeing, but also his plans and thoughts on the changing of the industry.
Of particular interest are his comments on Amazon giving authors access to their Bookscan numbers. I’ve heard the same stories Dave has from authors who are convinced — and some probably rightly so — that the numbers they are getting from their publishers are, at best, mistakes and at worse works of fiction. Amazon, by giving authors free access to data many hadn’t been able to afford before, is doing two things. The first is simply giving authors a means of double-checking their sales numbers (which is a good thing. I know authors who have had royalty statements reporting the exact same number of sales reporting period after reporting period).
But it’s the second thing Amazon is doing that I think is a brilliant piece of marketing. They are building loyalty with these authors. Especially since Bookscan will soon be reporting e-sales, iirc. Simply put, Amazon is saying, “Here you go, authors. We are on your side and we want to give you as much information as possible. We have nothing to hide. Can your traditional publishers say the same?”
(Of course, this still doesn’t deal with the problems inherent with Bookscan numbers because they don’t count all outlets where books are sold. But it is still a tool that has not been available to a number of authors before now.)
The second link this morning is to agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog. She has an excellent post on the dilemma faced by a prolific author, especially an author who has just signed a new contract. As a writer, her comments struck home with me, especially those about publishers who insist on contract clauses tying the author to that house either through the right of first refusal or by not allowing an author to sell to another house until after their contract with the first house has been fulfilled.
From a publishing standpoint, I can understand the need to see how a book does before committing time and resources to another book by an author. Even as a digital publisher, it’s an important consideration. Most e-publishers — NRP included — don’t pay advances. But that isn’t the only cost that goes into publishing an e-book. You still have multiple people involved in the intake process, editorial process, conversion process, promotions, etc. All that takes time and money. If those expenses aren’t met and profit made — very important so you can pay the author and they can then write more for you — you can’t keep publishing. Negative cash flow can only go on for so long before a company will fold.
But from a writer’s standpoint, it’s a frustrating issue. This is especially true if you’re just breaking into the business. It leads to having to decide between sitting on a manuscript — or three — while your first book is published and those first sets of numbers come in or not writing — ACK! — or finding alternative means of getting your work out there.
Can you can, “vicious circle”?
Finally, the reminder. Our submission period is open for one more week. We are currently looking for short stories, novellas and novels in all genres except erotica. For more information, you can check out our guidelines here. Or if you have any questions, you can e-mail us at submissions-at-nakedreader-dot-com (you know what to do to make it a valid e-mail addy).
Now, I’m off to find more coffee so I can dig into the work on my desk.