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Writers Readers Direct – A new site for authors and readers of ebooks

Writers, Readers, Direct – a new site for both authors and readers to find each other.

I received an email last night from Susan Barrett, an established author, who tells me that she ran into all manner of problems about getting her work published through traditional channels after taking a break from writing.

This has resulted in her setting up a website (www.writersreadersdirect.com) which will allow writers to submit their books for publication as ebooks (PDF and ePub formats) and then if accepted, they will be offered for sale on the site.

Obviously readers can visit the site and buy ebooks from it in the normal manner.

Only just started, so not many ebooks yet… But..

As it is a very new site, ( I am writing this on 30th March 2011) it has not got a very wide range of ebooks on offer yet, but as it becomes better known, obviously the number of ebooks being offered for sale there will increase.   We all have to start somewhere after all.

Pricing reasonable:

The pricing structure is very simple, full length ebooks will sell for 3 British Pounds (I don’t seem to have the symbol for that currency here…curious), short story bundles will go for 1 British Pound, so the pricing is very reasonable in my view.   The process for purchasing  ebooks is also straight forward, pay with  a credit card or PayPal and it is done.

Good royalties for writers:

The nice thing is the amount the author gets for any ebooks that are sold, for a full length ebook they will receive 2 British Pounds, and for a short story, 75 Pence, which is very generous.    You can see that it is a site set up by a writer rather than a publisher………

However, if you submit a book to them, they will charge you a non-returnable reviewing charge of 5 British Pounds.  Actually, this isn’t unreasonable, as they will look after all the steps needed to convert your book to ebook format, placing it on their site and so on.

Writers retain rights to their work:

By the way, one important note for authors, this site does not require that they have sole rights to your ebook, you are completely free to find other ways of selling your ebook……

The site itself is well set up and all works well, so wandering around it – as I did – is easy.   The various genres of ebook are categorized properly, there is a forum (still not really being used, but once again, give it time and it should be very lively).

They also offer a professional  reviewing service to authors should they wish to have their ebook read and criticized by a small group of writing professionals, a sort of Peer review which is a rather nice idea…  But this service is pretty expensive, ranging from 75 to 300 British Pounds according to length.  But this is not compulsory, happily.

As I mentioned above, this site does not yet have a very wide range of ebooks on offer, but what ebooks it does have now cover a reasonably wide range of genres, and as it is a site that is obviously both writer and reader friendly, I am sure it will grow.

I know there are already loads of self-publishing websites out there, such as Smash Words et.al, but I don’t see that as a problem, it is a big world after all, and there should be room for as wide a choice as possible.

Also, as Rich Adin has remarked, sites such as Smashwords are now so big they have become almost too big and cumbersome for the average person to use….   Try and find an ebook that interests you on such sites…  It has become a sort of gambol, one chooses an ebook in desperation in the end after ploughing through thousands of ebooks by unknown authors, and hope to find the jewel among the dross.

So, I wish this site all the best, and hope that many writers and readers head on over to it and help make it into what I feel it richly deserves to become – a largish, friendly place for writers and readers of new writing to find each other.

Link: http://www.writersreadersdirect.com/

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Black publisher promotes ebookstore for independent authors

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From the press release:

Darlene M. Washington wakes up one day and decides to create an electronic bookstore for her titles to be bought and read all over the world.  Just like that, DMWBooks.com was born!  “There used to be a day where getting published meant numerous submissions to book publishers, with volumes of rejection letters.  Now all you have to do is press a couple of computer buttons, and voila, you’re published!  Indie publishers (Independent Publishers) are recognized by major book chains such as, Google eBooks, Amazon, Borders and many others.  Google eBooks has emerged with over 3 million titles by various industry publishers. Indie publishers are a viable source for readers. The International Digital Publishing Forum states, 3rd qtr. 2010 represented 9.7 million in over all eBook sales.”

What does this mean for books in print? “So far it means, a sizeable competition.  It’s easier for textbooks for schools and offices to stay in print, vs. novels, cook books, etc.  Novels are a favorite pastime and can be used in any setting, unlike textbooks created for a learning environment.  Electronic books can be 1 million strong in your personal cloud library, accessible anywhere there’s internet, and read on various media devices.  Gone are the days where carrying your favorite Stephen King novel was back breaking work.”

What’s so great about DMWBooks.com? “DMWBooks.com is an extension of me.  It features titles that I’ve written and a few by my pseudonym.  More importantly, it’s interactive, entertaining and within a secure financial environment with purchases via PayPal. There’s The Rant Bar – an electronically distributed column, various unsolicited commentary, and categories like Getting Philosophical, Poetic Compilations, and Sex & Love.  Some of the books featured are Sealie Rose I, Bitch Squad I, Ironicles, and Love, Life and Learning.  All titles are downloadable PDF files. Some books are also in Kindle format.”

Why should people buy these titles? “Because much like Spike Lee, Robert Townsend, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, the Harlem Renaissance artist, and the many women writers who represent the ‘indies’ of the world, ‘discovery is key.’  My world of creativity is not status quo.  I offer my brand as an African-American woman having grown up in the projects with a Bachelors degree from Columbia College Chicago, and a vast background in business administration, advertising and public relations.  It’s a unique life experience which makes my writing fun, challenging, emotional, and at some point enlightening for audiences 18+.”


Readers, authors and librarians against DRM

Artist Nina Paley has created a cool collection of images for those ready to rail against DRM.

She created versions for Readers Against DRM, Authors Against DRM, and Librarians Against DRM.

If you share these sentiments, go to the ReadersBillofRights.info site, download the images and sprinkle them on your blog or web site. The images can be freely distributed, though please cite http://readersbillofrights.info as the source of the images.

DRM stands for “Digital Rights Management.” It’s a copy protection scheme designed to prevent piracy.

While few would disagree that authors deserve compensation for their hard work, the problem with DRM is that it treats law-abiding customers like criminals. DRM controls how, where and when a reader reads books.

Oh, and then there’s the small matter that DRM doesn’t work.

Five Reasons to Say No to DRM:
  1. Readers (who know about DRM) don’t like DRM
  2. DRM adds expense to books
  3. DRM makes books complex
  4. DRM limits accessibility to books, especially for those with vision disabilities who require Text-to-Speach (TTS)
  5. DRM doesn’t prevent piracy
At Smashwords, we’ve always been DRM-free. I’ve written about my views here on the blog, at HuffPo, and elsewhere.

The biggest threat facing authors and publishers today is not piracy, it’s obscurity. Anything that makes a book less accessible and less enjoyable makes it more obscure.

Piracy is an indication your content is in demand, yet it’s also an indication your content is not available, accessible or affordable to those who want it. Pirates satisfy demand not satisfied by the publisher.

The best method of combat piracy is to make purchasing preferable to pirating.

How do you do this? First, distribute your book to as many retailers as possible. If your book is available where customers want to shop, it’s easier for a reader to buy it than to look for an illegal copy. Second, price your book fairly. If the book is affordable to your customers, they have less incentive to steal it. Third, make your book available in multiple formats so it can be read on any e-reading device. Fourth, trust your customer by going DRM-free, and communicate to them that you trust them. Rather than threatening the customer with legal action, gently remind them of their ethical obligation to support the hard work of the author (This is the thinking behind the Smashwords License Statement).

At the risk of beating a dead horse (literally and figuratively), if a publisher were to do the opposite of my above four recommendations, then what you’d have are the practices of the big 6 traditional book publishers.

Isn’t it ironic that the DRM they require for their books is in reaction to a fear of a practice (piracy) encouraged by their own customer-unfriendly business policies? I’m referring to their practice of scarcity-as-a-business-model, high ebook prices, limited worldwide distribution, limited formats and unwillingness to trust the customer. For more horse-beating, see my last post, The Author Uprising against Big Publishing.

There will always be scoundrels and cheapskates who will never pay for anything. Those people would never be your customer anyway so they don’t represent a lost sale. And who knows, they might even love your book so much they rave about it to their more ethically-inclined friends.

Some best-selling authors such as Paolo Coelho are known to have deliberately encouraged piracy of their books. Kevin Kelly, last year at the Writing for Change Conference in November, told the crowd he views piracy as a tax on success, a tax he said he’s happy to pay.

A couple years ago, I remember one prospective Smashwords author wrote me and said, “Do you think I’m an idiot? There’s no way I’m going to publish DRM-free at Smashwords. Within days there will be millions of stolen copies across the Internet!” I shared this story later in a talk I gave at the IBPA’s Publishing University conference in New York, and afterward one author walked up to me and said, “Are you kidding? I’d pay to have my book stolen a million times!”

There’s also a growing body of evidence that piracy doesn’t harm sales. Might piracy even improve sales? This is the conclusion author Neil Gaiman came to, as he explains in this must-watch video below.

Several major ebook retailers, including Apple, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, have already dropped DRM as a requirement in their ebook stores. Authors and publishers now have more freedom to publish DRM-free.

Some readers are rebelling against DRM. Check out Lost Book Sales. It’s a fun site sponsored by Jane Litte of Dear Author in which readers list books they would have purchased but didn’t because the books were DRM-infected.

Are you a reader? How do you feel about DRM?

My thanks to author and blogger Karl Drinkwater, whose interesting blog post, DRM Will Kill us All is where I first discovered the images of listentomyvoice.

Via the Smashwords blog

Self-publishing authors find success at the 99 cent price point

On the subject of e-books and pricing, whereas last night I hit the high end, Mike Shatzkin has come out with a blog post addressing the low end. He points to a story on CNet about it, and Slashdot links a couple of stories (on J.A. Konrath’s blog and The Technium) too. Essentially, self-publishing writers are starting to discover the loss-leader advantage in one of those magic-number prices.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing system gives authors a much bigger chunk of the retail price (70%) at .99 and up than at 99 cents (35%). But Joe Konrath reports that he went from selling 40 copies of an e-book per day at .99 to selling 620 copies of it per day at 99 cents. That works out to a change from .72/day of royalties at the higher price to 4.83/day—over 2 1/2 times as much—at the lower price.

And Shatzkin points to the marketing lessons learned by author Christopher Smith, as explained in the CNet article. Smith prices his e-books at 99 cents for long enough for the greater sales to shoot them up into the high ranks of Amazon’s best-seller lists, then raises the price back to .99 and takes in greater per-sale royalties until they fall back off the list. Then he lowers the price to 99 cents again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Shatzkin notes that, ironically enough, one of Smith’s biggest fans is Stephen King, who experimented early on with e-book self-publishing (his biggest “failure” only netted him about 4,000, which just goes to show how differently bestselling authors gauge success and failure than the rest of us mere mortals). King gave Smith a blurb recommendation that proved very helpful.

Might Smith return the favor for King by teaching him the revenue-maximization techniques he’s developed so King can get back into the self-publishing experimentation game? I think that possibility encapsulates the major publishers’ biggest nightmare. Publishers are going to have a devil of a time defending their 25% royalty rate into the future, which just feels intuitively unfair to authors. They can get away with it for the time being because print sales still matter. But they won’t for long and if publishers don’t use their scale to do a better job managing dynamic pricing to extract the maximum revenue from ebook sales than an author might do on his or her own, the challenge of retaining their top talent will become even more difficult.

He’s talking about the same publishers who imposed agency pricing because they thought .99 wasn’t a high enough price for their e-books. My predictions of impending doom made in last night’s post still hold.


Sarah Houghton-Jan and Andy Woodworth, authors of the Ebook Bill of Rights, interviewed

Screen shot 2011 03 08 at 4 25 01 PM

Salim Fadhley from The Pod Delusion podcast talks with Sarah and Andy about the E-Book Reader’s Bill of Rights that they  wrote and distributed for publication on February 28, 2010. (and we posted) here. You can read it here.

Here’s the Program Blurb from The Pod Delusion Web Site:

Last week the publisher harper-collins anounced that it’s ebooks would self destruct if libraries attempted to lend them more than 26 times. Libraries in the digital age are under threat from the publishers whose short-term profit-seeking goals are undermining their value to society. This is ironic, as most authors know that libraries are the biggest buyers and promoters of books – why then are the publishers set to undermine these important institutions?

Campaigning librarians Sarah Houghton-Jan and Andy Woodworth have written an eBook reader’s bill of rights – I began by asking Sarah why libraries find it so hard to deal with ebooks

Andy Woodworth and Sarah Houghton-Jan are perfect examples of what librarians ought to be – insted of curating collections of dusty old books, the new wave of librarians are campaigning for our rights to information access. As our society becomes more dependant on information, having somebody who can speak up for the information we need becomes more important than ever.

Listen to the Podcast
It runs about eight minutes.

By the way we couldn’t agree more that Sarah and Andy are two of the very best the library world has to offer in many areas of the profession including as campaigners and spokespeople for information access. They deserve a lot of credit for taking the time to share their views, write the eBook Readers’s Bill of Rights, and then support it with both interviews like the one linked above and what will most likely be a large number of presentations to both industry professionals and the general public.

We would like to disagree with one comment in the bolded paragraph above.

Librarians have many roles and one of them is curating collections of “dusty old books.” Yes, info access is very important but so is collecting, curating, preserving, and providing access to books and other print materials (maps, ephemera, serials, newspapers, etc.). We are nowhere close to digitizing “everything”* and print materials (dusty or not) remain essential research and reference tools and will continue to be essential for a very very long time. In fact, even IF everything was digitized (not anytime soon) print still will play a role. It’s easy to forget that at this point we have limited knowledge about long term preservation of digital information in terms of physical access to the ones and zeros. Also, even if the access is there will we have the technology to access?

See Also: Sarah’s “Librarian In Black” Blog

See Also: Andy’s Agnostic, Maybe Blog

Via INFOdocket


3G Kindle at AT&T stores – Random House US goes ‘Agency’- Indie author’s $$$Sales

KINDLE NEWS March 1, 2011

This means you can "test drive" a Kindle 3 at any AT&T store soon, and there are about 2,200 AT&T stores.  Here is info from AT&T on this.

Also, they will carry ONLY the 3G model, not the WiFi one, since they provide the 3G cellular wireless, which is free for Kindle customers (and best used with text-oriented sites with slower E-Ink) and it's speculated by JPMorgan & Chase Co. analyst Philip Cusick that AT&T will get a few dollars per Kindle sale.  These will sell at the same price as from Amazon: 9.

L. A. Times's Carolyn Kellogg reports that the last of the "Big 6" publishing houses is moving to the Agency model for e-books, which is noted most of all, by consumers, for its higher e-book pricing over the last year that it's been put in place.  Apple's iPad2 announcement tomorrow will probably include that Random House has been accepted into Apple's iBook store, rather than kept out because they would not accept the Agency model terms earlier.

  I mentioned other day that the Agency model and the pricing wars have less to do with the amount of immediate profit-taking than 'control' over the e-book market, which is threatening the paper-based book market and its profits - the main and admitted concern of the Big 6 publishers.
  As Random House put it:

' "Going forward, Random House will set consumer prices for the e‐books we publish, and we will provide retailers with a commission for each sale," Random House said in a statement.  The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms. We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships." '

  Translation: Apple is ultra-likely to announce Tuesday that Random House has come within the fold.

  Apple and Random House are said to have been in negotiations since December.  We can hope that Random House may choose to set lower prices than the Big5 did during the last year.  The American Booksellers Assn. gave "strong support" to the move.

Not surprisingly, to those following the UK scene, Random House's UK company is not going Agency.  The Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") launched an investigation into e-book pricing in February, and publishers outside the Agency model "said they would be more cautious about it while it was under review."

  The Amazon UK forum "Agency Pricing" message thread is still going strong (with 1727 posts since mid-October, and the last message, dated today, says:

' Posted on 1 Mar 2011 10:21 GMT
Izzy says:
Well I'm glad many of us emailed the OFT and that they are looking into it because Random House US is going agency too, but not Random House UK... phew.  It's very unlikely that any UK publishers will switch to agency while it's under investigation. '

They have been comparing pricing and ways to bring e-book pricing back to what made sense to them as Kindle owners until the Agency plan started taking hold even there.

That's sort of old news, courtesy of USA Today on February 9, but the story has been picked up more in the last couple of weeks and while I won't name the online zines that had so much "misinformation" in them (Amanda Hocking's word), including the misspelling of her name several times in one article as well as statements that she receives 70% of a sale for 99-cent books (not true, it's 35% for books under .99), it's been time-consuming to try to get more factually-based info.  But we have access to her blog for that.

Her success in sales should be given some attention by the Big 6 publishers in connection with their favored higher-ebook-pricing Agency plan.  They tend to insist that no one will be 'discovered' without their help.

According to the USA Today article, she started self-publishing in March, was selling hundreds of copies by May and thousands by June, at prices between 99c and .99.

' "More astounding: This January she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles. More than 99% were e-books."
. . .
In fact, Hocking is selling so well that on Thursday, the three titles in her Trylle Trilogy (Switched, Torn and Ascend, the latest) will make their debuts in the top 50 of USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

A recent survey shows 20 million people read e-books last year, and more self-published authors are taking advantage of the trend. '

  To see Amanda Hocking's list of facts to offset the misinformation online, see the 'Misinformation and Corrections' entry at her blog.

  Essentially, she is 26, has published eight books and one novella, "so there are nine works that you can purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Smashwords."
  She was never traditionally published and still has not been traditionally published.
  Hocking first published two books in April 15, 2010 and in less than a year, she's "sold over 900,000 copies of over nine different books."
  Has been on the USA Today Bestseller list but not the NY Times List.
  She has an interview with Elle that will be in the April issue and is due to be interviewed by Better TV in late March.
  She writes "young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy, mostly."

  Her Trylle Trilogy has been optioned for a film and is "a paranormal romance without vampires, shifters, mermaids, fae, angels, dragons, ghosts, or ninjas."
  On the other hand, her latest, Hollowland, IS a zombie urban fantasy, a bit more gritty than her previous books but romance remains part of the mix.  It already has 83 customer reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.  I have no idea why zombies are so 'in' these days and will add that's not a draw for me, but I do like that she has used a background of very-early writing focus and years of serious classes in writing and has exploded on the scene, enjoyed by many paying-customers despite no help whatsoever from the traditional large publishers.  Read her blog to see the avenues she uses for getting the word out.
  Here's her Amazon Author page.

Authors and Kindle Publishing.

A Kindle World Blog history of articles on the e-book pricing wars

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.


Free Kindle books, more info. Are new e-book royalties cheating authors?


At the end of most recent posts here you'll see a section of links like the one just below, so you won't have to wait for a blog entry to see the latest free nonclassics at Amazon.

  You can check for yourself at any time:

' Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. '

I recently added to the reference section a newer Amazon page of Kindle books that are tagged by Amazon customers as "99 cents kindle" to make these easier to find.

  A problem there is that e-book prices are always subject to change, so the tags on some are no longer accurate.  Amazon asks that customers use the tagging system to "vote down" those that are no longer related to the "99 cents kindle" tag.

  Kindle books that are tagged only "99 cents" might be missed using the link above, depending on other tags involved.  This link is to the shorter-tag results for Amazon products in general because the word "kindle" is not part of the tag and may interest those looking for low-cost products in general.

The ongoing Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources includes links to non-classic/contemporary ebooks that are within the range of to as well as free.

More important to many will be the section titled:
as many, if not most, gadget columnists are unaware that Kindle owners can download e-books from other sources.

New to me is a guide to some of the better editions of the classics blog that will be useful for many who may not know where to start with all that's available or who have been frustrated by the bad formatting too often seen in public-domain e-books.  Marilyn Sue recommends (for both US and UK readers) classics she's enjoyed and also warns of the downsides of some releases.  The blog header explains "Because some conversions are sloppily done, a free download can be a waste of time." The blog is ranked #1 on the Amazon UK Literature Blogs list & is in the Top Ten listing of Amazon US Literature Blogs.

NEWS: "How E-book Royalties are Cheating Authors"
andyrossagency writes that the Authors Guild posted an analysis of the dynamics of competition in the e-book market and "came down very hard on Amazon" but that they posted another analysis, this one showing how "the prevailing formula for author royalties on e-books unfairly diminishes authors’ income even as publishers earn more for each e-book sold."

  Many of us cautioned authors about this when their publishers sent them to the Kindle forums to explain how customers, publishers, and authors would be much better served under Apple's Agency model.  We explained in detail how the traditional reseller model used by the online bookstores was better for authors.

  The Big5 execs explained in interviews that the pricing of e-books was too low and "devalued" their books (their hardcover or paperback books).  They were also worried about the power that Amazon could have over publishers, explaining to us that Amazon, once they owned the market, would raise prices on us all.

  Their solution to that was to raise prices now.   :-)

The reality is that publishers were primarily concerned about Amazon's power over publishers, of course, and that's understandable.  What's not is their decision-making on e-book pricing and their open disinterest in what today's book customers want.

  At the end of the blog article, andyrossagency gives a breakdown on the numbers, as they read them, from the Authors Guild analysis (emphases mine) :

' Here’s the math:

“The Help” has an e-book list price of and is sold under the agency model.  Publisher grosses 70% of retail price, or .10.  Author’s royalty is 25% of publisher receipts, or .28.  Publisher nets .32. (.10 minus .28 royalties and .50 encryption fee.)

“Hell’s Corner” is also sold under the agency model at a retail list price of list price.  Publisher grosses 70% of retail price, .50.  Author’s royalty is 25% of publisher receipts, or .63.  Publisher nets .37. (.50 minus .63 royalties and .50 encryption fee.)

“Unbroken” is sold by Random House under the reseller model at a retail list price of .  Publisher grosses .50 on the sale.  Author’s royalty, at 25%, is .38. Random House nets .62.  (.50 minus .38 royalties and .50 encryption fee.) '

However, other analyses have shown that because Amazon took a loss on bestsellers (making this up elsewhere) while guaranteeing publishers 50% of the list price set by the publishers -- under the traditional reseller model -- both publisher and author would tend to make less under the Agency model.

  The brouhaha has actually been over control rather than current profit-taking.  One publisher focus was to try to slow e-book sales because they hurt hardcover sales, and if customers were willing to buy e-books at those higher prices, all the better.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite


Barnes and Noble launches In-Store event featuring Pubit Authors

Barnes and Noble released a new program last year called PubIT, which allowed independant authors to create eBooks and have them listed in the Barnes and Noble eBook store.  The PubIt program has been a resounding success and recently hit the 11,000 published works milestone and 35 of these are in the top 200 best sellers. Barnes and Noble has staged various events featuring the authors themselves and giving prospective authors a chance to engage in a Q and A.

The first event kicked off today at the Santa Monica location featuring H.P. Mallory, Beth Orsoff, a traditional turned self-published author who has boosted her sales with PubIt!, and Lisa Cortés, President of Cortés Films and Executive Producer of the Academy Award-winning film Precious. There will be more events like this in the feature, so stay tuned for more information.

The next event at Barnes and Noble will occur on February 26, consumers who visit any of Barnes & Noble’s more than 700 stores and take a guided tour of Nook Color with a bookseller will get a free tall cup of hot or iced fresh-brewed Starbucks coffee in the Barnes & Noble Café.

We have covered PubIT extensively throughout its closed beta to the official release in October of 2011. The program is very solid and easy to use if you have done your written work on a popular word processor. You can use RTF, DOC, TXT and other file-types to the very popular ePUB format. Every Barnes and Noble E-Reader launched to date supports this format and so does popular other ones including Sony, Kobo and Pandigital. Once you submit your book and make a Pubit account you can submit your content and within 24 to 72 hours later you can be an officially launched author.  Although creating your book is the first step and in order to have it sell you should invest some time in self promotion, creating a facebook page, and your own press releases.

“The variety and quality of the content we are seeing through PubIt! is beyond our expectations,” said Theresa Horner, Barnes & Noble’s Vice President, Digital Content.  “We are thrilled with our initial sales for PubIt! titles as our millions of customers enjoy exploring newly added works from PubIt! writers and publishers.”

It is very impressive that Barnes and Noble has been able to attract over 11,000 authors and aspiring writers to submit content through their system that is barely 4 months old. Some authors in particular have had some great success.  H.P. Mallory, author of Toil and Trouble, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, and To Kill a Warlock, calls PubIt!, “an incredible experience…one of the best decisions I ever made.”  Mallory’s paranormal romance books have become such a hit that she just signed a three-book deal with a major publishing house.

Hopefully Barnes and Noble continues to showcase their authors and have more artist panels at their various locations. Not only will it draw attention to their digital publishing initiative but it would give an advantage to the company that Amazon cannot provide. Barnes and Noble is taking advantage of their tangible retail spaces and large book stores, that are a great place to showcase their own authors and build their brand internally. Meanwhile Amazon has a virtual website only and cannot put its own authors in the forefront, while their Digital Text Platform continues to be THE most popular self authoring program on the internet. If B&N can continue to the momentum of this event into future ones it could very well double the 11,000 authors using the program in another four months.

Learn more about the PubIT program here

via B&N Events

Related posts:

  1. Barnes and Noble shakes up digital publishing with Pubit!
  2. Barnes & Noble PubIt! self-publishing portal launched
  3. Good e-Reader Radio – PubIT news and Redgroup goes Bust
  4. The NOOKdeveloper program by Barnes and Noble
  5. How to copy eBooks to the Barnes and Noble Nook Color e-Reader
  6. Barnes and Noble releases Nook Kids for the iPad

11,000 Independent Publishers and Self-Publishing Authors Bring Their Digital Works to Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!™ Publishing Platform

Landing logoFrom the press release:

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, is experiencing major growth for PubIt! (www.PubIt.com), its easy-to-use digital publishing platform for independent publishers and authors, and announcing the expansion of its program into its bookstores. Since launching four months ago, more than 11,000 independent publishers and authors have joined the PubIt! community of booksellers, adding more than 65,000 new works to Barnes & Noble’s expansive NOOK Bookstore™ of more than two million digital titles. In fact, there are currently 35 PubIt! titles among the Top 200 NOOK Books based on sales, and Barnes & Noble customers have purchased PubIt! works in more than 50 categories to date.

“The variety and quality of the content we are seeing through PubIt! is beyond our expectations,” said Theresa Horner, Barnes & Noble’s Vice President, Digital Content. “We are thrilled with our initial sales for PubIt! titles as our millions of customers enjoy exploring newly added works from PubIt! writers and publishers.”

Continuing its strong tradition of author support, Barnes & Noble also announced its expanded promotion for PubIt! titles and authors into its retail channel. The company will host its first in-store event featuring PubIt! authors tonight in its Santa Monica, CA, store. The panel discussion will feature successful PubIt! author H.P. Mallory, Beth Orsoff, a traditional turned self-published author who has boosted her sales with PubIt!, and Lisa Cortés, President of Cortés Films and Executive Producer of the Academy Award®-winning film Precious. The discussion will explore new opportunities in do-it-yourself publishing, online and on-screen. For more information on the event, visit http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/3085464.

“This in-store PubIt! event is a continuation of Barnes & Noble’s strategy of bringing the digital and physical reading worlds together,” said Horner. “We recognize the importance of uniting the reader with the author regardless of the book format, and we look forward to conducting many more events to support our PubIt! authors in our bookstores.”


Authors, readers and discoverability in the new age of publishing, by Jane Litte

We are now in a period of disintermediation which essentially means the number of entities in the supply chain between the content creator and the customer have been reduced.  The reason for this is because the supply channel has become incredibly efficient and cost effective.  If you can type up a book in Word, you can publish it digitally on platforms like Kindle and Smashwords.

The challenge authors face right now is this:

Contracts are being signed right now that extend 2-3 years out (and maybe longer). The digital reading market is growing and authors need to be equipped with what that will mean. In other words, if digital market is 30% then only getting 8% royalty will require a much higher advance to recoup the royalty loss. If the digital market becomes a force in 2-3 years or even just a few years beyond that, would you rather have no advance and a higher royalty?

Many authors are looking at the growth in digital, the decline in mass market sales, the reduction of Borders’ footprint, the decreased orders from Wal-mart and thinking, hey, this digital thing might not be so bad after all.  I think with the inclusion of digital book sales by the NYTimes and USA Today, digital books are finally gaining an imprimatur of respectability.  For the record, while at TOC, a bunch of us made predictions about what the digital book market would be like at the end of 2011. I said it would represent 60% of trade publishing revenue.  A year ago, I probably predicted that 30% wouldn’t be achieved for five years.*

As I said in the beginning of 2010, this is both a great and terrible thing:

This is both a boon and a curse.  It’s a boon because it means that more books of a greater variety will be available to the reader. It’s a curse because that means more books a reader must filter through to find new reads.  Quality will vary wildly.  But the fact is that there is a number of books out in the marketplace that are of low quality, poorly edited, with horrible covers, that aren’t worth your time or your money.  When I looked at the free list of books that All Romance eBooks were promoting during the holidays (probably because those publishers participated), it confirmed what I thought already: the dross is already here and in large number.

The current publishing system is a system of filtration.  Authors submit to agents who submit to editors.  The editors produce books that are bought by retailers and wholesalers and the reader gets to choose from that selection.  Except not exactly.  With the rise of online book purchasing, the decline of physical brick and mortar stores, and the rise of digital books, the reader is confronted with a panoply of reading choices.  Too many, in fact.  One reason why 30% of book discovery happens in the bookstore is because readers are being offered a smaller and more manageable selection.

The big question is how do we find good stuff to read in the future?  I’m going to suggest four ways.

1.  Metadata.  Metadata is the text (letters and numbers) that are embedded in the file and identify the contents of a digital book.  Metadata can include the blurb but also keywords associated with the digital file.  One of the reasons that people believe that Google Books will be a dominate player in ebooks is due to its knowledge of search and people’s usage of search terms. But Google will have to seriously step up its game.  This is what shows up for What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long.

Authors who self publish (and publishers of course) need to ensure that the books have metadata that make it easy for readers to find the books that they want. I.e., if I want to read a historical friends to lovers story containing a marriage of convenience plot, I should be able to type that into a retailer site (or somewhere) and have those books pop up.

2.  Social sharing sites.  I get a ton of recommendations via Twitter and I’m sure people say the same thing about Facebook.  I also pick up recommendations from Goodreads.  There are other social networking platforms for bibliophiles such as Library Thing and Amazon’s Shelfari (against which I still hold a grudge because of its terrible spamming of readers).

The takeaway is that you never know which reader will be influencing another reader, but we do so via social networking sites, blogs, and emails.  Authors getting their books out there to readers will be a key to discovery.

3.  Epicenters of influence.  In the future, I think there will be new epicenters of influence such as authors banding together forming coops and editorial epicenters.

Author coops.  A number of really good backlist titles can be found at AWritersWork.com including titles from Patricia McLinn, Patricia Rice, Jasmine Creswell and others.  The problem with these books is that the covers, for the most part, make the books look less than professional.  Compare the covers to these books published by a group of authors under the imprint “Wicked Writers“.  Ironically, I prefer the books at A Writer’s Work to those offered by Wicked Writers, but by covers, there is no comparison and I don’t just mean because there is man titty on the Wicked Writer’s covers.  The WW’s also do something clever by branding each cover with a consistent logo.  If a reader reads a WW book, she can tell almost instantly which books she might also be interested in purchasing.

Wicked Writers Branding

I definitely see advantages to the WW method of self publishing and look forward to books published by groups like Unusual Historicals or The Oddshots.  (This is theoretical and not based on any insider knowledge).  The point is that authorial coops can work like an extreme version of the author endorsement on the book cover.  Of course, there are drawbacks to that type of branding or endorsement.  I have an instinctive recoil every time I see Deborah Anne MacGillivray’s name on anything.  Most of the authors at Wicked Writers I have tried at one point or another and thus it’s not likely I would buy anything under that brand.  However, I think that type of author cooperative works well because it leverages the readers of many instead of just a few.

Editorial epicenters.  Back in 2006, Sarah Wendell mused about whether readers would glom onto editors’ like they’ve glommed onto authors.  Currently, editors try to buy books that sell but there are certain editors that have a flair for a particular type of book.  Cindy Hwang is fairly well known for her paranormal authors (Christine Feehan, Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook to name a few).  Wendy McCurdy has a stable of historical authors (Madeline Hunter, Jo Goodman, formerly Elizabeth Thornton, Sherry Thomas).  If editors start freelancing and offering their editing skills to self published authors (which I believe will happen), editors themselves can become their own sort of publishing imprint.  (I had an idea to do this with the launch of the anthology in the winter, but I think it will be cost prohibitive and by that I don’t want to front the money for putting out quality books and I wouldn’t put out books unless they were professionally edited, copy edited, with a professional cover).

4.  Aggregators.  As disintermediation increases, books will come at the reader from a thousand different sources  and that will simply be too much.  What will happen, I believe, is that there will be aggregators of content.  (This will also reduce the costly time investment in self publishing).  To some extent Smashwords, Scribd, and others are already aggregating and delivering content but I suspect that there will be services that will collect content from various writer coops and then deliver them to readers in more manageable form (searchable, sortable data).

How do you think you will find and buy books in the future?  Do you browse for books online and if so how?  Are you willing to try new authors that are published in non traditional ways or are you sticking with published books and how do you tell?


Oh, how the landscape has changed so dramatically. In preparation for this post, I re-read several posts in the Dear Author archives.  It was under 2 years ago when the president of RWA effectively said that digital publishing wasn’t a legitimate career path!  In 2007, I was writing manifestos to ebooks, trying to justify them to readers.  In 2008, I was begging for publishers to digitize their books and wondering whether the publisher business model would change.  But I was also saying that self publishing equated with inferior to me. My opinions have changed since then, obviously.  I wonder if Pershing’s opinons have changed?

Reprinted, with permission, from Jane’s Dear Author blog

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