More Authors Realizing They Can Make A Damn Good Living Self-Releasing Super Cheap eBooks

from the wave-of-the-future? dept

Not too long ago, we wrote about JA Konrath's claim that we had reached the tipping point with ebooks, where a decent self-published ebook author, who priced their books cheaply (generally under $4) could make a really good living, selling thousands of books per month. I still wasn't convinced that there were that many authors who could really do this, but we're starting to see more examples. There's been a ton of recent news coverage about the author Amanda Hockling, who is making a ton of money from her self-published ebooks. She's pricing them quite cheaply, and selling tens of thousands per month. Her latest book is selling an astounding 100,000 copies per month -- and everything is sold for between $0.99 and $2.99. She can do this, since it's all self-released and all ebook, so the only costs are the money that Amazon (and a few other ebook providers) take (usually around 30%).

As Konrath noted in that original story, no publisher can offer a deal for authors that is that good. Instead, they'd give her a tiny cut of sales, take much longer to actually get her works out there, and then have to price them many times higher. That's not to say traditional publishers don't or can't add value. A good editor and a good publisher who can help market and promote a book can be quite valuable as well. But, we're seeing more and more that for people who can do that on their own, they can get by just fine. And the real issue may be that many book publishers are still very much in denial about all of this, and don't realize that stories like this are going to become more common.


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    The eejit (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Another proof that piracy isn't killing the industry - just refining its uses.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 11:25am

      Re:

      Another proof that a free market works by becoming more efficient, and removing obstructions. To bad for the middlemen that they are the obstruction.

       

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    Mike C. (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 11:12am

    It also works for authors who aren't necessarily known for their writing...

    http://wilwheatonbooks.com/

     

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    coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Not in denial

    They are Not in denial, they simply do not want to share the profits.

     

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    Michael Long (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Amanda Hockling

    The interesting point that you missed in regard to Amanda Hockling is that she's just 26, and almost all of her books are geared to the teen and youth market. (More vampires, for heaven's sake.)

    So it follows that teens are buying her books, to the tune of 100,000 a month. Teens.

    And as I doubt that many kids have iPads and Kindles, they're reading them on their iPhones and Androids and Blackberrys.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:49pm

      Re: Amanda Hockling

      It's still 70K to 203K a month, I wouldn't mind that income no matter what I need to write.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 6:50am

        Re: Re: Amanda Hockling

        It is until there starts to be a market to pirate the e-book, then it's 7 sales and 10,000 pirated copies and the fun is over.

         

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          ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 9:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Amanda Hockling

          It is until there starts to be a market to pirate the e-book, then it's 7 sales and 10,000 pirated copies and the fun is over.

          There already is a market, and always has been. Next you are going to tell me that letting my friend borrow a physical copy of my book is piracy too (it isn't.) Most of these books are poorly protected, if protected at all, and yet there is a huge market. I doubt the numbers will go to 7/10,000 over-night, because they haven't done so at any time in the past. Many of the authors I now spend lots of money scooping up their entire collections of written works from, I first read via a friend loaning me a copy of their book. I've spent hundreds of dollars buying books by Koontz, Anthony, Vinge, Asimov, and Bradbury just because someone let me borrow one of their books to read first.

          I don't advocate copyright infringement of anyone's works, but the simple truth is, most people out there will happily pay to use an author's work, if they feel the pay is warranted. And many authors are now realizing that this is how marketing truly works...a groundswell of people interested in your work just because someone let them borrow your book. The traditional publishers can continue to crack down on their customers, but all they are doing is slitting their own throats by denying the true source of marketing.

           

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          m3mnoch (profile), Mar 9th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: Amanda Hockling

          there's already a market for this. you can get any book you want via irc. it's free. and for someone who is technically astute, it's not that hard.

          however, buying books on the kindle? it's a frictionless, awesome system that helps you find and one-click purchase content you want as well as help you find additional content you might like. it just works. and works well.

          it's quick, painless easy and absolutely, without a shred of doubt worth at least $0.99.

          m3mnoch.

           

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      JTO (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:52pm

      Re: Amanda Hockling

      I fail to see your point. Is it that money from teens is less valuable than money from retirees? Does, somehow, reading an eBook on an iPhone or Android phone suddenly make the book worthless? The whole music industry was built on the concept that teens would spend their allowances on records instead of comics and candy. Teens are the reason why action movies are released in the summer. The majority of soft drinks, clothes, cigarettes, alcohol, and even books, are marketed toward teens. Nobody wants to sell stuff to old farts like us. We think before we buy. Your argument only points out that Amanda Hockling is brilliant. She may not be the best writer, but she markets her books to an immature market at a very affordable price. She's building a legion of readers that may follow her as her writing skill improves and matures. On top of that, it sounds like she's living her dream and making good money at it. I can't think of anything better.

       

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        Michael Long (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:00pm

        Re: Re: Amanda Hockling

        She's SELLING content to the one audience that typically thinks it's okay to download everything they can get their hands on.

        That's sginificant.

         

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        Chargone (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:26pm

        Re: Re: Amanda Hockling

        there's also the fact that teens often don't actually have the budget to buy many books at the prices offered in bookshops and the like, and are thus usually the most likely to resort to piracy...

        so if she's actually managed to get to the point where said teens can and do Buy the e-books, that's a large market that would have been missed out on entirely (or at least large portions of it) otherwise...

         

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    fogbugzd (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    One more thing for publishers to worry about

    One of the most important uses of publishers is publicity. A lot of publishers promote the heck out of one author and then set back as the well known author sells herself. Publishers tend to build up stables of authors who are reliable producers.

    Once an author is well known they can usually renegotiate a somewhat better package with their current publisher. However, under the old system the author only had the option to jump to another publisher who had roughly the same cost and contract structure as the current publisher. Now a well known author has the option to cut out the publisher entirely. This could be a very bad situation for publishers who will find it harder and harder to develop a stable of popular authors.

     

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      Mark B (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 4:02am

      Re: One more thing for publishers to worry about

      Read Konrath's blog. It is a very rare author that gets the publisher to do stuf for them. Even if you are a decent author but not a bestseller you will get no extra support from the publisher. You have to do all the publicity on your own.

       

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    Bryan James, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    One cost you missed

    One cost that these authors do have to worry about (at least if they are in the USA) is the ISBN's. Officially every format of a book is supposed to have a different ISBN. That means if an author releases both a PDF and EPub version of the book they are supposed to put different ISBN's on them.

    Realistically most of these authors don't bother to purchase the ISBNs however

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:54pm

      Re: One cost you missed

      ISBNs are $35 on the web, not that much of a cost.

       

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        RD, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 3:31pm

        Re: Re: One cost you missed

        "ISBNs are $35 on the web, not that much of a cost."

        Not if you want to own that ISBN they are not. The only way to own them yourself is to buy them from Bowker for about $250 for 10. This is still only $25 each, but of course, you have to spend more up front. Any other way is using some kind of broker, and the underlying assignment of the ISBN shows up as THEM, not you or your company. It can be done, and is done, but not recommended as it creates some confusion as to who is the real "owner" of that ISBN.

         

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      mdmadph (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:54pm

      Re: One cost you missed

      Most ebooks I've bought on either Amazon or B&N don't have ISBN's at all -- they have ASN's on Amazon, and EAN's on B&N. Is it really something to worry about anymore?

       

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      fogbugzd (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

      Re: One cost you missed

      If you go to isbn-us.com they have a special package that lists your work entered under a generic "independent publisher" for $55. For $129 you can set yourself up as a named publisher, although you still have to pay for the individual ISBN's. The point is that the tools are relatively cheap and easy to implement for people who want to roll their own books.

      http://www.isbn-us.com/isbnnumbers.htm?gclid=CO6ujNfgsKcCFdtx5QodDzdhCQ

       

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    Ed C., Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Most writers I've meet still insist they have to go to a publisher to get "out there". One I know just got her second book published, but she still only got a few hundred on her advance and a small royalty. There's still money to be made in publishing, but usually not for the writers.

    We all know that middle-men add cost, but if they also don't add value, then they're just in the way. However, simply having monopolies on production and distribution does not add value, and only works when there's no real competition. They'll either have to shift their focus on what actually adds value, or just become irrelevant. With even more writers than ever, there's still value in publicity. A lot of people still prefer print, so there's still value in that too. However, publishers have to learn one that they haven't had to do before--actually compete! They have to be better than the other avenues that writers available to them now.

     

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    Mesanna, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    The pace of publishing

    I read every now and then about the length of time it takes publishers to release a book and it continually astounds me. Now I understand the editing process can be slow and may require several rewrites from the author, but once that's complete the publishers will sometimes sit on a book for a year or more, until they can find a suitable "slot" for release (see this post by John Scalzi). It's utterly bizarre. Is there any other industry that sits on a new product for such a length of time to avoid competing with itself? Whenever I read this type of story, I can't help but feel that publishing industry is looong overdue a shakeup and self-published authors are ushering in a new era.

     

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    AJ, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

    When an author self-publishes to Kindle, there's something else missing from the process besides a middle-man publisher: an editor. I don't think most people realize how much value a good editor adds to the process. A novelist's best effort at a "final" draft can be exposed as effectively a first draft. This is value that the publisher adds and it is passed on to the reader in the form of better quality writing.

    As an aspiring writer, it is exciting to think of the prospect of flat out making a living via self-publishing. However, I struggle with the assumption that nothing is lost by making that choice, especially since these e-books can have a huge impact on how your skills as a craftsman are perceived.

     

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      Fickelbra (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 1:54pm

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      So then if you feel you need the services of an editor, look for it in that scenario. It's a big Internet. The need for editing does not need to be wrapped in the overhead of a publisher, middle-men, and market timing release strategies.

       

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        Greevar (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:12pm

        Re: Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

        I was thinking that too. Why not hire an editor? Perhaps editors will form their own business outside of publishing and sell their services to writers? Or, you could just marry an editor.

         

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        AJ, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

        You're assuming that a robust supply of quality editors-for-hire exists on the internet.

        You're also forgetting that a publisher will assign a potentially quality editor to a first time author's manuscript. To fund a quality editor out of your own self-publishing pocket, you'll need to have released probably a number of successful e-books before you can afford it. Chicken and the egg situation, there.

         

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      fogbugzd (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:26pm

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      >>When an author self-publishes to Kindle, there's something else missing from the process besides a middle-man publisher: an editor.

      This isn't necessarily true for several reasons.

      • Some writers don't need editors. I'll go further -- Some writers shouldn't have editors. Sometimes editors make books worse. Editors for the major publishing houses tend to lead or force the author to the marketable center. Sometimes better literature results when the words go directly from the author to the reader.
      • There are commercial editors who will edit a book for a fee. With a traditional publisher the author does not usually get to pick the editor. When an author hires their own editor they retain greater creative control.
      • There are a lot of volunteer editors. Read the blogs of some of the ebook authors. They use a huge array of people as editors including friends, spouses, and even folks like faculty in the English department of local universities. Some of these non-professional editors do a great job.
      • Once you have some loyal fans you have some built-in editors and a powerful CwF opportunity. Fans will be happy to help edit your book. One thing I don't like about the self-published Kindle ebooks is that you tend to get only one iteration of the book. On some of the more writer-centric sites the books change a lot over the first few weeks as the author responds to editing suggestions from the fans.

      Personally, I consider the lack of publishing house editors to be a feature of ebooks. Sometimes it is fun reading a book in its raw form.

       

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      Kelley Mitchell (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 3:16pm

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      You assume because an author is self-published that they don't have an editor? I suggest you follow Kait Nolan an author who blogs about the indie process. http://kaitnolan.com/2010/12/29/reflections-on-this-self-publishing-thing/

      The most popular indies on Amazon and the like do indeed have editors and crit partners.

      And just because an author goes through a publishing house does not mean its better quality; consider the garbage that is the Twilight series.

       

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      Deirdre (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:05pm

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      I keep hearing that about editors. If you would read Ms Hocking's web site, she has in fact employed an editor-- in fact she wasn't happy with the job the first one did so she brought another one in to clean up.

      A lot of employees from publishers are unemployed and some clever ones are offering their services to indie authors. This also includes graphic artists doing some very good covers (although Hocking did her own at first) and agents who are brought on board to negotiate derivative rights.

      The author now gets placed in the position of employer as opposed to being treated like an employee by the publisher.

       

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        Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:11pm

        Re: Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

        "The author now gets placed in the position of employer as opposed to being treated like an employee by the publisher."

        That's basically it. The anime/manga Bakuman gives you some insight into workings of the Japanese manga industry, and in such a case authors are technically considered to be payrolled employees of the magazines that serialize/aggregate the works they create. Other types of creators (in general) have a less subordinating official working arrangement, but the general paradigm of the creator working for the publisher de facto is fairly widespread.

         

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 3:23am

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      When an author self-publishes to Kindle, there's something else missing from the process besides a middle-man publisher: an editor.
      Which seems to be available as a Service. Horses-for-courses of course but were I going to publish a book I'd probably look to "crowdsource" editing service from my (mostly fairly smart and well-read) friends for a first attempt. Then, if it turned out it wasn't just intellectual masturbation and other people were actually willing to pay for it, I think I'd prefer to pay the approx $5000 (all the UK based ones I looked at were POA) it would seem to cost to get a decent-sized novel edited professionally rather than be semi-indentured to a published who'd take a large chunk of whatever I made.

       

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      Danno (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 5:03am

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      While it "may" be true that editors add value to the authoring process, who says it must be the editor of a publishing company. I've been reading ebooks for more than 10 years now, and I've seen many cases where the author thanks family, friends and/or collaborators for helping with the editing. An author in any genre has a following, many of whom would be more than overjoyed to have an opportunity to preview a book and help critique it to make it better. A small team of fans would be very quick to spot spelling, syntactical, formatting and logic errors, it would cost the author nothing, and she/he can take what advise is given or not, it's up to the author.

      I know that human ego, being what it is, makes it very hard to accept criticism, but if for example you are an author with an editing "team" of 10 people, and nine of the 10 tell you that this or that doesn't seem right, you can be pretty sure they're correct, unless it's something you've done on purpose. In addition, by being a part of the team, they get to discuss their impressions of the work(s) in question and perhaps form a consensus of their impressions.

      Also, it is not uncommon to see, in any book, whether electronic or paper, an acknowledgement from the author for the help provided by others to ensure the accuracy of the book. How is this any different from a "professional" editor?

       

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      mikelinpa, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 9:36am

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      Just because they self publish, doesn't mean they cannot contract an editor to go over their work. Heck, I had an English teacher in high school who bought red ink by the gallon! He would do it for free!

       

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      Non, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

      Re: They may sell a lot but the product is still amateur

      Writers who aren't editors shouldn't be publishing books...

       

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    wallow-T, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    Someone should chirp up and point out that the publishing houses are now starting to look a bit like the record labels.

    Both publishing houses and record labels bring a great deal of expertise in "polish" and marketing, but they recoup those costs through their (former) control of manufacture and distribution.

    With manufacture and distribution now available at essentially zero cost to all creators, we will have to find some different way to fund "polishing" and marketing for all forms of art.

    So what I'm saying is, the record labels and the publishing houses do provide a useful service, but the old way of paying for that service is broken beyond any repair.

     

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    wallow-T, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Gack. Where things are going to go apesh*t: fan fiction. What do you think the market is going to be for fly-by-night stories written about the TWILIGHT characters, for example, at a dollar or two a sale?

     

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      fogbugzd (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      >>Where things are going to go apesh*t: fan fiction.

      Well, one thing you probably won't have is a bunch of knee-jerk reactions from the publisher's legal department. Authors are likely to be more flattered by the fan work than they are to hire lawyers.

       

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        Chargone (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re:

        and if they do resort to lawyers probably won't have the funds to conduct the ridiculous 'sink them with legal fees no matter the outcome' tactic available as their pockets aren't deep enough, even if they're personally making more money than they otherwise would. (doesn't change the outcome of actually Winning, mind you.)

        'sides, fanfiction mostly seems to have an associated attitude of 'getting paid for this is wrong, it's practice and skill building and an entertaining hobby in it's own right. if you want to make money, write your own original stuff'. how much of that is in response to copyright law and the risk of lawsuits, i don't know, but the moral event horizon on the issue where you go from 'the community supports the fanfiction author' to 'the community would gleefully beat them with sticks on the way to court' is when said fanfic author starts taking money. (well, i've not seen that happen, but that seems to be the sort of position taken when the issue comes up)

         

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    Terri, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Photos

    Do ebooks on Kindle and ebook readers also show pictures?

     

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      Deirdre (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:13pm

      Re: Photos

      There isn't color eink yet-- at least its not on the market at a reasonable price, but tablets show pictures nicely. I have a 10.5 android tablet I use for viewing graphic intense books. In fact I prefer it because I enlarge detail. There is also a dedicated Nook color although I think that ereader may be heading toward tablet status. I've seen it but it's smaller than my android although it is priced quite attractively.

       

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    Stacey (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 3:51pm

    Cheaper is better

    Big publishers can keep their editors. As a reader, I'm willing to read a few typos if it means my ebooks are much cheaper. My upper limit for ebooks has become $6 - above that, the books I've read are not of a significantly higher quality than the cheaper ones, they just maybe have a prettier cover image (and how often would I look at that, anyway?) and a lot more hype.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 4:42pm

      Re: Cheaper is better

      editors != proof readers. they're different jobs, unless the publisher is too small to be able to afford to hire separate people for each role.

      spell checkers etc. reduce the amount of work a proof reader needs to do (but don't eliminate it), but have no effect on an editor.

      actually, the book i own with the most typos/printing issues/missing punctuation, that i remember, is published by Vintage, which is a Random House imprint. (next most is the first book published by Yonagu books, which is a small, niche outfit using Amazon's print on demand facilities. the second book has much fewer issues.) I've seen fanfiction with less errors than that Vintage book, which also had no need of an editor at all. (most fanfic definitely needs someone to read it over though... keep your tenses straight, people!)

      still, i too will put up with typos, to a point, if they do not detract from my ability to understand the text, provided the text itself is good enough.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:29pm

      Re: Cheaper is better

      Big publishers can keep their editors. As a reader, I'm willing to read a few typos if it means my ebooks are much cheaper.

      Except that many of the new published and printed books that I currently buy have quite a few typos and even many grammatical errors. Some of them even have missing parts of paragraphs. I'll start reading a paragraph and it will end in the middle of a sentence and a new paragraph is started. Just because a book is published and printed by a company is no guarantee that the book is error free.

       

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    DeAngelo Lampkin (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:56pm

    Pretty Amazing Numbers

    As some above noted, I'm guessing that many of the top e-book authors skew younger. Still, it's quite shocking that the sales numbers are THAT good. The Amanda woman reminds me of Dane Cook in a strange way. He was the first comic to use the internet to promote himself. Seems Amanda and other e-authors are doing the same thing. While the e-revolution (e-volution?) provides a huge opportunity, it seems it's mostly accessible to authors who promote themselves and have younger audiences. -DeAngelo www.cheerthis.com -hassle free sharing and voting www.SheenNation.com - hassle free sharing and voting of Sheen! www.braincano.com

     

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    DeAngelo Lampkin (profile), Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 5:57pm

    Pretty Amazing Numbers

    As some above noted, I'm guessing that many of the top e-book authors skew younger. Still, it's quite shocking that the sales numbers are THAT good.

    The Amanda woman reminds me of Dane Cook in a strange way. He was the first comic to use the internet to promote himself. Seems Amanda and other e-authors are doing the same thing.

    While the e-revolution (e-volution?) provides a huge opportunity, it seems it's mostly accessible to authors who promote themselves and have younger audiences.

    -DeAngelo
    http://www.cheerthis.com -hassle free sharing and voting
    http://www.SheenNation.com - hassle free sharing and voting of Sheen!
    http://www.braincano.com

     

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    Anthony, Mar 2nd, 2011 @ 10:04pm

    ISBN's et al

    Write in French and ISBNs are free - i just got 10 of which the effort was no more than an application form and a fax...they emailed and sent a mail hardcopy...createspace gets you a real book - amazon for distribution ... Its there for us all. If you are good enough and the subject has an audience you can make money.

    I tried Blurb but that lost me 1 year as the software is so weak that it cannot handle text flow or pictures adequately...it introduced so many errors i gave up.

    Happy Publishing

     

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    MarketingXD, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 4:08am

    "self-releasing" != "self-publishing"

    Kudos and +1 for using the correct term, "self-releasing", at least in the title.
    http://blog.marketingxd.com/post/3578753535/this-is-not-self-publishing

     

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    Ian Kerr, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 6:37am

    Business Model

    If Techdirt admires this development, then presumably you would deplore the piracy/free downloading of ebooks??? That seems to contridict the impression given two entries down "New Study: 70% Of People Find 'Piracy' Socially Acceptable [Updated]". If we believe artists should be able to make money by selling e-copies of thir work, then piracy must be wrong. There may need to be other ways to get round the mendacity of publishers/record producers/other middlement, but you can't equivocate on the basic principle.

     

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 7:28am

      Re: Business Model

      I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case I don't believe that e-books or other digital media should/must be free. I do believe however that free downloading will happen whether you want it to or not. It is therefore incumbent on the author/pubisher to make that a less attractive option.

      As someone else commented, the author here seems to be successfully selling to a market well steeped in "free downloads". How? Well that's probably complex but for a start the pricepoint certainly has a lot to do with it.

      Contrary to various claims here I don't believe there's a "moral imperitive" to not copy based on law - people will simply ignore it - but I think there is a background sense of "fair play" that makes people feel they ought to contribute something. The price of Hockling's books seems to me to nicely hit that "almost micropayment" level where the reaction is "Well it's not onerous so why wouldn't I pay for it?" Most e-books seem to hit more in the "But it costs more than paper and it's imaginary! Why would I pay that for it?" range.

      Sure a lot of people will still get it for free, but you'll discourage a lot that way and others by adding value to the purchase (updates from the Author, invitations to "signing" days or whatever). You'll never stop all the freeloaders so I think looking on the positive side of what you do sell rather than dwelling on the "lost" imaginary money will tend to generate less heart attacks.

      The "70%" survey only included 20% that thought copyright infringement was always OK. You probably won't get them, but pitch it right and you can probably get the other 80% of potential customers to give you money for something so I don't see that the 2 are really that incompatible.

       

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      Kirk (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 8:40am

      Re: Business Model

      Your insight is trolly impressive.

       

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      Kirk (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 8:40am

      Re: Business Model

      Your insight is trolly impressive.

       

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      Kirk (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 8:42am

      Re: Business Model

      Your insight is trolly impressive.

       

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      Kirk (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 8:42am

      Re: Business Model

      Your insight is trolly impressive.

       

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      Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 11:17am

      Re: Business Model

      Economics 101: demand for something and price are negatively linked. By making their works available for very low cost, authors are able to massively increase demand for legal purchases. However, free is always cheaper than cheap, and as such there will always be more demand for free than for cheap - people that would take something for free that wouldn't pay the price for it. Thus there will always be piracy as long as it's an option, and if you take away the option those people will simply do without.

      While there are undoubtedly some that will pirate something that would have bought it without the possibility of piracy, in the average case piracy really isn't worth losing sleep over. You do what you can to reduce piracy (e.g. selling stuff cheaply) and don't worry about the things you can't change - as the old proverb says.

       

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        Ed C., Mar 4th, 2011 @ 1:52am

        Re: Re: Business Model

        Not quite. Convincing people not to pirate is not the same as convincing them to pay--which is supposed to be the end goal, right? However, not all is lost on "pirates". Like any other demographic, you have to know what the market wants. One thing to separate is those who can't buy, but would, and those who are not interested in paying. Even with global trade and the internet, regional licensing still tends to delay or even block entire markets. Obviously, you have to be able to sell to the market before you can get anyone to buy, so the issue of legacy middle-men has to be addressed before you can consider piracy.

        Others that pirate doesn't mean that they won't pay. Like any other non-costumer, you have to figure out what they want. As you pointed out, getting to a price point that they're willing to pay helps. You know, like a $15 CD vs. $1 track on iTunes. Others are drawn by convenience. Again, the CD vs. iTunes comparison comes to mind.

        Pirates that are completely uninterested in paying money for infinite goods aren't necessarily unwilling to pay. For those who still value convenience maybe willing to pay with time through ad-sponsored streaming. Hulu and internet radio are quite popular. Some even still use traditional broadcast too.

        Even for those geeky enough to consider setting up a BitTorrent client to automatically pull RSS-feeds "convenient", there's always merchandising. Yes, I know you're laughing, but it is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it is one thing that geeks who would never pay for intangibles actually buy. Think about it, who buys all of those geeky action figures, memorabilia, and logo-wear? GEEKS! And even those who won't buy this stuff still wear promo tee-shirts that are given out at events. Sure, those cost money, but the whole point is to get people to be walking billboards advertising the product.

        And speaking of PR...even those who won't buy anything aren't completely anti-social--they tell their friends and family about their experiences. Some consider the pirate a "lost" sale, but everyone they get to buy who otherwise wouldn't have is still a sale all the same. I'm not saying it completely balances out, but a sale is a sale, and getting people to pay is the goal, right? Of course, not all PR is good PR, so word of mouth advertising only works for things that people actually like. I guess that's the real reason the movie and recording industry hates piracy--it's harder to con people into paying if they've already heard the products stinks.

         

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    eamon (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 11:18am

    More Authors Realizing

    There already is a market, and ever has been. Next you are effort to recite me that letting my someone have a somatic duplicate of my playscript is robbery too (it isn't.) Most of these books are poorly covert, if burglarproof at all, and yet there is a huge activity. I doubt the book present go to 7/10,000 over-night, because they haven't done so at any reading in the knightly. Galore of the authors I now drop lots of money scooping up their intact collections of typed complex from, I best construe via a person loaning me a duplicate of their fact. I've spent hundreds of dollars purchasing books by Koontz, Suffragist, Vinge, Asimov, and Writer rightful because someone let me have one of their books to construe freshman.
    ______
    eamon
    Free Internet Security

     

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 4th, 2011 @ 12:50am

      Re: More Authors Realizing

      Which just goes to show, just because you "copy" someone elses work doesn't mean yours is any good. :-)

       

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    April, Mar 4th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    manual trackback

    Hello, I’m doing a manual trackback…

    http://thearrglingtonjump.com/blog/2011/03/03/publishing-evolution-in-the-transmedia-a ge

    [She is the living proof, Techdirt reports, that authors can actually make a living by releasing cheap ebooks.]

    Thanks,
    Great site!

     

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    Ray Charbonneau, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 6:16am

    HarperCollins tells us what ebooks are really worth

    By setting a cap on how many times a library can lend an ebook (26 times), HarperCillins is telling us what reading an ebook is really worth - about $1.15.
    HarperCollins tells us what ebooks are really worth

     

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    Mike Duffy, Mar 28th, 2011 @ 10:39pm

    Clever Pricing

    One thing that most people fail to mention about Amanda Hocking (and I've actually read the Trylle trilogy) is that she cleverly prices the first book at $0.99 and the two subsequent installments at $2.99. Assuming she writes a good first book, most people purchase the more-expensive second and third books. Smart.

    But at the heart of it, Hocking produces a good product. If it were crap, it wouldn't matter how she priced it.

     

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    Marvin Ferguson, Jun 18th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    marketing ebooks

    I'm impressed with Amanda Hocking's success. But as a writer myself and currently my book is available in the Kindle Store, sales is not good. Do you have a suggestion on how to draw potential book buyers to my book?

     

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    Ozuwarudo, Jul 4th, 2011 @ 12:56am

    I don't see how this hurts publishers. Of course a lot of people will switch to selling ebooks but there is a lot of pride in having a book printed.

    This is more like self promotion as there is no reason I can think of to not get a book published after the ebook sales drop enough. You hit a second group of people and a lot of the original readers will probably want a copy in print as well.

     

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    Mister dead, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 3:02am

    Marvin, you said: 'Sales is not good', then asked for advice. I'm soory, Marvin, but if this is how you write, I would touch your book either.

    Someone else said: "The interesting point that you missed in regard to Amanda Hockling is that she's just 26, and almost all of her books are geared to the teen and youth market. (More vampires, for heaven's sake.)

    So it follows that teens are buying her books, to the tune of 100,000 a month. Teens."

    I hate to tell you this but most teens don't even read books, it's adults reading Hocking's work. Grown, sad adults.

     

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    Vicki, Apr 22nd, 2012 @ 12:45pm

    Writer's and Publisher's

    I never understood the industry. If it wasn't for writers there would be no need for publishers. One day soon they will regret making the decision not to pay them what they were worth.

     

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    identicon
    Vicki, Apr 22nd, 2012 @ 12:45pm

    Writer's and Publisher's

    I never understood the industry. If it wasn't for writers there would be no need for publishers. One day soon they will regret making the decision not to pay them what they were worth.

     

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    identicon
    Vicki, Apr 22nd, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    Writer's and Publisher's

    I never understood the industry. If it wasn't for writers there would be no need for publishers. One day soon they will regret making the decision not to pay them what they were worth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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