Monday, June 27, 2011

"John Locke is not a real published author unless I say so!" -The Big 6

*Warning Rant*

I woke up to this post on my Twitter feed and after reading it had to first smack my face, throw up and after all that read it again just to find out that yes, in fact it was posted by a real human. The Shatzkin Files posted this on John Locke.

Here is my take.

First off, this entire post is about what could have happened, might, maybe, but more important, DIDN'T. It is like a friend of a lottery winner trying to tell everyone else what they would spend the money or how it should be done.

We all know that JL has made headlines as the indie author that has sold one million eBooks. Now out of the woodwork come these talking heads that want to over think how he did it and what he should have done.

What is the goal of all this? To keep us thinking that the big publishers still have something to offer. He will run the numbers on a .99 book or a 9.99 book. How is that even in the same ball park? I mean, he sold the books he sold because of the price and his marketing. One without the other would not work as well and to compare what he would have made if he was with a big publisher is just stupid.

The fact they will never tell you is that JL would have never sold the books he sold if he was with a big publisher. No publisher would have taken him on, and even if he did get a deal they would not market him like he marketed himself. The price of his eBook would be to high and the small number he sold through them would put him out of print in 13 months.

So, I ask you, why are we trying to shove him into this box? Why not just say, good job john? Are we that scared to leave the old system? Is it that bad out there?

He was smart, he sold his books at a low price, built a fan base and made himself worth a ton of money. Now if a publisher wants him they will have to pay out the nose. It is not the money, I am so tired of all these talking heads and writers who just think of the money and how much the book is and what it cost and are you worth it and is your writing worth a buck and are you selling yourself short and is this a run on sentence?

Look, it is about FANS, let me say that again, FANS! If you build fans the money will come. He reached a million people and it doesn't matter if he gave out all those books for free! That group if they liked the book will come back and pay for the other books. I wonder why this is such a mystery in the publishing world.

So could he have made more money if he sold the books at 9.99? Well DUH, if he sells them at a higher price he makes more. Come on! But would he have sold a million? Nope. Not a chance, sorry but it wouldn't happen. Also, if he sold through a publisher for 9.99 he would make only 1.75 per book when he could do it himself and sell the book at 2.99 and make 2.10 per book. Lets do that math!

This blogger did at least say as much: Of course, if Locke himself sold the ebooks at $2.99, he’d be taking in six times more per book, or about $2.10 a copy.

But, either way, he seems to be leaving a lot of money on the table. Without a publisher’s efforts, he’s certainly leaving a lot of marketing on the table too.

The only thing here is the marketing he is leaving on the table. What marketing? Really, you think a big publisher is going to market you better? Come now, let us not be dumb. The only person going to market you is you. If they do anything it comes out of their royalty. Besides, why would they market him, he is a small fish, cuz we are talking all this before anyone knew who he was... You can't backdate your rules and treat him like a bestseller before he was. Now I would say he could get some marketing out of the publishers, but not before the million books.

And here is the meat of the matter: But if the markets are distinct, there is also some great potential reward. If there are people who only choose from the cheap books, there are also people who want to choose from the professionally validated books, the ones from the major publishers. The more you believe the markets are distinct, the more opportunity there could be for Locke in using what he’s done to launch himself independently as the springboard to a career as a published author with a major player.

This is what all the big publishers and the blind authors want you to think. That you are no good, you are sub par because you are not professionally validated.

Take that Amanda Hocking, Take that Vincent Zandri!

So we are fed the same lie. You are just a lame writer and have no value unless one of the Big 6 publish your books. Remember that when you see more and more eBook millionaires. Remember that when you read an amazing novel from a new author, that you the reader have no power, that you cannot choose who is a good writer or not, they choose!

It is the men on the hill that make the call, the publishers that decide if we are good enough. Well... what say you? Is it us the readers or them the publishers? You tell me.

Rant over.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Let's Talk numbers... Again

If you follow this blog you know about Vincent Zandri and his book "The Innocent." It made headlines by making it to #3 on Amazon Kindle and selling over 100,000 copies from Jan-June.

We if you want the skinny read the post a few down. This is the update, the "Experiment" as we called it. The book was prices at .99 and was ranked #10 at the end of April. We wanted to see if we could raise the price and ride the wave, maybe make some good money and so we jacked up the price to 4.99 and most of the month it sat at 3.99. So here is what happened.

We expected a huge drop but up till the 15th it was holding in the top 75. This was good news as we were sitting at 10k sold with a goal of 20k for the month. At this price we would stand to make about 70k.

But once it hit 75 in ranking it started to drop really fast. This proves that your sales rank will drive sales and is very important to how your book does. We ended the month with 13k sold and a ranking of 300.

The test did not go as well as we hoped but still ended up doing good. In the end we did better at the 2.99-3.99 price point as far as money goes but gave up the large fans base and mass books sold at the .99 price.

The end result was about a 5k increase to the bottom line, but a hugs loss on the people reached. The question is: Is it better to reach a huge amount of people for a time and give up sales, or try to make as much as you can no matter how many sell?

I believe in both. Put books on sale, test the market as each author will have different stats. Some will sell well at a buck and others it wont matter. I have one author that sells just as good at 2.99 as she does at 8.99. So we keep it at 8.99.

We thought that "Godchild" would rise to the top, as it was on tour last month, but it ran out of steam in the top 50. We are still testing to see if we can bring "The Innocent" back in the top 100.

This is still a guessing game but all we can do is keep testing and try to find that sweet spot. The trick is to find where we can reach the most people and make the most money all at the same time, and this all comes down to marketing and a little luck.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

B&N Must Hate Indie Authors! Or are they just out of touch?

I want to start this off by saying that I have no proof of what I am about to say. I am getting this from other authors, bloggers and... well, I guess that is proof. But the giant B&N have been silent, (Shocker) on the subject. This is yet another example of why I believe that B&N hate Indie authors, or... they have a bunch of out of touch old people working for them. Sorry old people.

The Passive Voice Blog
did a story on this last week and others have as well. Here is the deal as I can break it down for my own little brain.

"It looks like Barnes & Noble may be “managing” the Nook bestseller list to make certain worthy (and higher-priced) ebooks do well. Nobody under $3.00 is in the top 125." -The Passive Voice

What does this mean?

Well, this means that because of pressure from the BIG 6 to force the Indie authors out they want more of the top 100 list. So higher priced books will be first on the list and this forces the low priced eBooks down and shoves the books under them even lower in the rankings.

So I ask you, how is this ranking system a real ranking system? I mean is it on sales (unite sold) or not? Why should it matter how much the book sold for? If a mass market paperback sells 100k and the hardback only does 50k, the mass market out sold the hardback. So what! It is books sold, who cares how it sold or for how much.

Next, why? I understand they want the top 100 list to be filled with books by well known bestsellers, but really? Are you that lame that you have to have Dean Koontz and James Patterson on your main page, and push out the other hard working Indie authors?

B&N has a bad rap and has had one for years of being "Too good" for Indie authors. They are hard to sell into the stores and now with eBooks they have a platform and website that seems to be built by someone who has no clue how to sell books. The site is hard to navigate, searching books is difficult, there is no tagging system, no good way to find new authors and link them to other authors to make a connection. In all their website is just like their store. You walk in and only see the NYT bestsellers and everyone else is hidden.

If you think I am being to hard I will let the sales numbers prove what I am saying. Last month I sold about 4,000 eBooks on amazon. guess how many I sold on B&N? Come on... take a swing... 100. Yup, 100. This is not just me, most authors will tell you that in pure sales B&N is way behind, almost not even worth being on their site.

Why is it that they claim to have more eBooks than Amazon and the biggest and best bookstore in the world, but can't sell eBooks and lag so far behind it is almost funny?

Want more? The Color Nook! Strike two! I mean come on, they spend the money and time to join the tablet wars with a sub par device and fight Apple, when they are in a long battle with Amazon. What is that? So why would we want to read a book on a LCD screen? Why not spend that same time and money on R&D into Color eInk? To make a color ink on the same screen as the Kindle and Nook? This is one more example of how out of touch they are.

My thoughts are this: B&N if they don't stop the Hate, have a new website created with tags and help promote Indie authors and come out with a good eReader, they will be the next Blockbuster. Amazon is on the verge of taking over the book world and if they do I will be happy on one side and scared on the other. This is not the time to join the tablet wars, this is the time to step up and take back some of the book market.

Do what you will, think what you like, and I'll do the same. Cheers

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Four Letter Word: W.O.R.K.

I get this vibe a ton from authors and other writers, that somehow by being in the same room as me or maybe by chillin with vincent Zandri the books will fly and the money will come in by the truckload. I think we all have this idea that it is the rub factor, can this person rub off on me, make me do better or by some sort of magic something will happen.

I do not say this with a mean spirit or because I think I have done anything special. in fact I wonder sometimes why and how I ever got anyone to read my books. I don't think I am that great of a writer or that I hold some power that makes me a success. That being said I will tall you one thing. I work hard.

Now I cannot claim to have great talent or to have a super brain, but I am a hard worker. And after talent and smarts give out, the hard worker will always win. We all remember the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. It is a simple story we all know about sticking with it, keep going and never give up. Now I like most never thought that story was more than just a kids story. But it is more.

Think about writing, publishing and selling books. It is not all about talent or style. Not about being the smartest person or having the highest ranking wizards review your book. It is about hard work.

What I lack in brains I make up for with stick-to-it-never-give-up-ness! What I lack in talent I make up for in Market-the-crap-out-of-my-and-others-books-ness!

I know we all want a pill, a magic list of how to make it. We want that simple thing we can all do to become a bestseller and so on. so here it is... the list the magic!

W: Work your A#% off!
O: Open up to new ideas! Don't get stuck in the mud, i.e. eBooks etc...
R: Reach out! Brand yourself and meet people. Share and support other authors.
K: keep going! Never stop. Be smart and market all the time but in a cool easy way.

There you go, the magic to the bestseller line. Want to make it big? This is it, not writing the best book, not being super hot, not paying out money to but your way up, good old hard WORK.