Monthly Archives: May 2014

Harlequin’s Cross-Media Project

Harlequin is launching a romance fiction project that reaches beyond print and ebooks. The effort integrates video, mobile and social media. The project is based on a fictional location, the Chatsfield hotel in London, as the backdrop for the stories. Each story will be released on multiple platforms to better involve readers.

After years of self-published authors doing the same on their own, the big publishers are finally taking on the same creative ideas. They are expanding their models to move beyond the traditional print forms and even beyond the digital format. This is about engagement, loyalty, branding and the stories themselves. The stories and characters have to be strong…and all that pushes the focus away from celebrity books or pure fluff and back to the quality that has been overlooked for so long.


Co-Branding Hottest Trend in Publishing

As publishers search for new ways to reach readers, co-branding has become a big push…particularly in the children’s arena.

Borden milk is using Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody series for a summer reading campaign. McDonald’s UK is offering books in their Happy Meals. And characters that have been around for decades are showing up on banks, cars and coffee cups.

All of this means that the savvy author has to consider co-branding opportunities. While it is difficult to create these kinds of deals yourself, pitching your work to agents and publishers in a way that includes co-branding opportunities is a way to generate strong interest in your works. Already one Big Five publisher reports that 25% of their children’s division profits are coming from co-branding and merchandising efforts. Contact Writer’s Resource to place your work in the best position possible.

Oyster Now Offers 500K Titles

Oyster, an ebook subscription service, recently topped the half-million title mark. Its major competitors, Scribd and Entitle, offer far fewer with 300K on Scribd and 125K on Entitle.

Any of these subscription services can enhance an author’s career. They are focused on discovery, so they help readers find your titles. My own three titles have been available on Scribd for only a few months, and already they have achieved a surprising number of reads…without any additional advertising push.

Subscriptions offer smaller payments than purchases but if you’re looking for eyes on your work, these services can help you enhance your visibility and provide a modest income at the same time.

Profits Up 83% at HC Due to Juvenile Authors

Citing e-books as a major cause, operational efficiencies and higher revenue in general, profits rose 83% at HarperCollins for the third quarter of fiscal year 2014. The total reached $53 million, up from $29 million the same time last year. 

Sales and profits were driven by the Divergent series, which sold more than 8 million units that quarter. The children’s division in general was also cited as a major reason for this jump, and the increase was spectacular even without the impact of the Divergent series. 

This is great news for authors writing for juvenile readers. The trend across all juvenile titles for all publishers, including the hot children’s book market and the strong chapter book market, is for increasing sales and bigger profits.

Writer’s Resource is one of the few places where authors can find in-depth, experienced assistance with their juvenile works. Email or call today to discuss how your project can take advantage of this firestorm!

Laine Cunningham Novel Award Finalists & Semi-finalists

The contest judging is still in progress but we have some results for those of you who are waiting to hear. The results are provided by title only; the judging is performed blind and at this point, the author’s names are in a sealed envelope.
The original shortlist of semi-finalists selected the following titles:
Murder…by the Subconscious
Murder in Fort Angels
A Pheasant in the Brush
The Outlook for Earthlings
Since You’re Going to Die Anyway
Love’s Wilderness
Shadow Girl
Hong Kong Blues
The Rummy Club
Acoustic Memory
The Quartz: An Inspector Kwong Mystery
My Life With Wings
Rumors of Wolves
A Patch of Dirt
From the Love of Strangers
How They Civilized Duncan Dundarrach
Castaway in Kingdom Come
The Measures
From this shortlist, the following titles were selected as the top ten entries:
Murder in Fort Angels
A Pheasant in the Brush
Since You’re Going to Die Anyway
Love’s Wilderness
Shadow Girl
The Rummy Club
The Quartz: An Inspector Kwong Mystery
My Life With Wings
Castaway in Kingdom Come
Congratulations to everyone who made it this far! If you’ve been shortlisted, your work showed promise for publication and was strong enough to rise out of the slush pile. The top ten entries are all exciting. Final results for first, second, third, and honorable mention will be announced through The Blotter magazine first and then on this blog.

Penguin Random Selling Direct to Readers

Penguin Random House is forming a consumer marketing group to market its titles and authors. The initiate includes enhanced development of digital programs, platforms, and partnerships. This will mean better sales for authors, expanded readership and easier discovery for readers, and better profits for the publisher. These kinds of initiatives are critical in a market where the number of indie bookstores have fallen dramatically in the past five years and where Amazon consumes a substantial portion of digital sales.

Amazon is a Wolf Eating Its Own Cubs

The Association of Author’s Representatives, the organization that many top agents are members of to prove their professionalism and ethical approach, has sent a shot across Amazon’s bow.

Currently Amazon is delaying deliver of books by Hachette authors by as much as three weeks. The move is intended to force the publisher to accept terms Amazon wants for book prices. Amazon has used this tactic in the past.

Every time this happens, my first thought has been, What about the authors? They are the ones suffering as their books are withdrawn or delayed. Readers, too, suffer when they can’t receive the books they want easily or quickly. Here’s a comment I made on Publisher’s Weekly’s site about the issue:

When this battle first broke out, my immediate thought was, What about the authors? Amazon has used these tactics in the past against publishers but never has anyone in a place of authority inside publishing stood up for the authors and the readers who suffer. Finally, this time, authors, readers and publishers and their associates are standing up to say, Enough! They are engaging in unfair trade practices, and are acting like a monopoly. Shame on them, especially since a recent court case found other publishers guilty of price-fixing…because of their negotiations with Amazon. Amazon is important to authors and readers…which is why it should be ethical in its approach to business. This is just a wolf eating its own cubs.

Sell 3K Books, Hit the Bestseller Lists

Recently I had a client ask how many copies of a book she needed to sell to hit the bestseller list. And she wasn’t talking about Amazon or any other digital retailer’s lists…she meant the oldest and most prestigious lists like USA Today and the New York Times.

She was shocked when I told her the number could be as few as 3,000.

The time factor is important with lists. Selling 3,000 copies a year or even in a month won’t put you on any lists. But selling 3,000 in a day could…or even that number over a week. Let’s look at some hard figures.

Publisher’s Weekly presents the week’s top-selling books. March 31 of 2014, Divergent had sold 87,563 copies to land at #1. This is for the Top 10 Overall listing, not the individual category numbers. Number 10, not that far down the list, only sold 24,494.

Now look at the individual categories. For Mar 24 through Mar 30, number 10 on the hardcover fiction section sold 4,086 copies; number 25 sold 1,818. In paperback mass market, number 10 sold 9,770 and number 25 sold 5,059. Paperback trade’s number 10 sold 7,182 and number 25 sold 3,643.

Note that these numbers might represent only 80% of actual sales due to the flaws in the tracking system publishers use. Still, 3,000 is often the magic number. And since only 3,000 units separate the number 10 slot from the number 25 slot, it is magical in a different way…boost sales just by doubling, and still be in the bestseller slot with fewer than five figures in unit numbers.

Finally, remember this key fact: since the big bestseller lists frequently offer more than 10 slots (some have as many as 100), the chances of hitting the list at any slot increases further.

Excited yet? You should be! Contact Writer’s Resource to discover ways to manipulate the sales-over-time ratio that is so important to creating a bestseller.

What the Author Earns Per Book

On hardcovers, authors earn 30% of the publisher’s gross revenue. This equals 42.5% of the total margin, which is defined as the amount the author and publisher earn combined.

On ebooks, the author earns 25% of gross revenue. For now, most publishers are holding that number steady and will not negotiate higher percentages unless the author is very well-known or the author has a strong agent advocating for them.

This tells us two things. First, publishers are fairly compensating authors for hardcovers. Second, the debate over the fairness of the author’s share of digital revenue is valid. People should be asking why publishers are withholding a larger portion of the profits when the author is the creator of the content on which publishers make money.


Top Three Places to Sell Books

Books can be marketed through a number of channels. Right now, the top three places to sell books are:

Ecommerce, which moved 43.8% of the copies in 11 months of 2012. This was up nearly 9% from the previous year’s figures.

Large chains (bookstores), which claimed 18.7% of the market that same period, down 10% through all of 2011.

The general “all other channels” category moved 15.2%, up half a percent from the previous year.

Removing the general category from the mix, the single channel that came in third was mass merchants (Costco, Walmart, etc.) with 7.7% of the sales.