Monthly Archives: April 2014

Contest Info

The Dorothy Churchill Cappon Creative Nonfiction Award offers $1,500 plus publication. Deadline is May 18.

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Better Action Scenes

Authors know that pacing is impacted by how long a particular passage runs. Often the longer the passage, the more time readers experience passing. There is one important exception: when the scene involves high action or suspense.

In this case, one of the best ways to enhance the writing is to slow down. Focus on the details that a character pressed mentally into a high state of alert will notice, and feed those to the reader. Fear, panic and the awareness of danger tends to make people hyper-sensitive to those kinds of details, so providing them in the narrative will connect readers directly with the emotional tone of the scene.

Audiobooks Provide New Opportunities

Audible launched the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) in May of 2011. It gives authors a platform on which to expand their audience base and connects audiobook professionals with authors. It has its own fan base of listeners around the world.

After starting with 1,000 titles, they have helped create 26,000 people create audio titles from their works. The site offers a bounty payment of $50 every time an audiobook on their site is the first purchase of a new AudibleListener member.

Indie Authors at London Book Fair

Representatives of Publisher’s Weekly and Kobo, the ebook reader that is very indie friendly, both noted that the room where the self-publishing events took place was so crowded they could not see the front of the room. One had to use his cell phone to look over the crowd to see the speakers and panelists. This is only one of the many indicators of the popularity of self-publishing, and the extent to which it is disrupting (in a beneficial way) the old-school methodsĀ of the publishing industry as a whole.

Juvenile Publishing Requires Unique Approach

At the Bologna publishing conference, a panel spoke about children’s publishing. It noted that a “nimble” approach was required…meaning that publishers had to be quick with distributing apps and other digital components to attract and engage readers.

One of the primary points to come out was that branding is a big deal even within juvenile arenas. No one can simply wait for Apple or Amazon to pick their product or app from the slew of incoming projects. Instead, publishers need to grab new opportunities for combining forces.

One of the newest things I’ve noticed lately is groups of authors teaming up to offer package deals on books. For a set price, usually equaling $0.99 for each book in the package, buyers get four, five, six or even twelve books at once. Authors copromote on their social media and often have found themselves achieving bestseller lists.

Digital Royalties

Ebooks have become a substantial profit-maker for heritage publishers, Some houses are reporting that over 30% of their revenue comes from ebooks. With the lower costs, many people assume digital is a big area where publishers can thrive.

Authors have been confused about what they’re likely to see as their cut of the benefits of lower costs. While many indie authors find that they get about 70% of the price, heritage publishers are still holding the line at 25% for authors. This includes works they are looking to republish under new contracts that include digital rights for works that came out before digital was part of the marketing plan.

Many people don’t feel this is right. But comparisons to indie authors’ royalty rates don’t account for the fact that the indies have to finance all the marketing themselves. For first-time authors, receiving a contract from a traditional house (even a very small one) can still be the easiest and most cost-effective method of building their fan base.

The dynamics change for those who have already created indie success or who have built a fan base after several traditionally published novels. The case can be made that the publisher has little more to invest that laying out the ebook and distributing it…which can be done for under $1K total by freelancers. Heritage publishers still haveĀ a network of existing contacts that are the buyers of books. Foreign rights, too, can be sold more easily through a traditional house.

When deciding which way to go, consider where you are in your career as an author. It could make a big difference to your success down the road.