Friday, July 17, 2009

Hey, let's really screw our new author!

Hi Kaleb,

I read a recent article about your publisher and agent deciding that NOT releasing an ebook when the hard back is released.

I'm an active member of the Amazon Boycott eBooks over 9.99 Board and so in love with my Kindle that I created a website devoted to eBooks that are priced accordingly (it cost pennies to produce, if that!).

I'd love to hear why you think they are looking out for your best it your goal to make a boatload of money or establish new readers and reach as wide an audience as possible?

Regardless, much luck to you. And I look foward to the far, far away eBook release...

Here's an interesting article -

A small publisher is holding back on the eBook release (for a year) for a brand new author.

So, here we have an author trying to build a following...and a platform to market his book (that cost nothing - no overhead). We've seen that *free* kindle eBooks often lead to readers discovering a new author and buying his/her other books.

So this publishing company decides to hold off on an ebook because they want to make profits on the hardback.

IF you read the article, both the agent for the author and a publisher states it's all about the money.

It SHOULD be all about building the authors fan base (which leads to profits in the big picture). Paulo Coelho?

It's really no wonder that publishers are laying off people left and right and closing whole divisions. They oughta try reading a few marketing/business books.

Might I suggest you shoot the agent and publisher an email to let them know that, as a Kindle owner, they are losing a potential sale, and a potential fan?

Richard Curtis: Agent

And, of course, no email for the publisher (why give a platform for customers to contact them? It's not about customers, is it?).

However, there is a blog featuring the story link about the refusal to release the can post your thoughts...for the whole world to see. I did.

And, here's the author email...I've written to him and wished him much success and told him I was disappointed that his small publisher is costing him potential sales, and hope that when his contract us up, he will consider signing with a publisher that cares more about his career and reaching out and establishing new readers than they do about making a quick buck.

Something to think about anyway.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kindle Flamer Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie - the author that stated he hates Amazon and Kindle owners so much that when he saw a lady reading a Kindle on the airplane, he wanted to hit her with it?
Well, he tried to explain his remarks, and, (IMHO) threw more dirt out of his hole than into it - the deeper to bury himself.

Here's my response to Mr.Kindle Flamer:

What a hypocrite.
If Sherman had bothered educating himself on the Kindle, he'd discover that people are purchasing and reading more books than ever before. He'd discover that the Kindle is enabling people who are paralyzed, people who have vision and hearing challenges, the awesome opportunity to enjoy reading again.
Amazon discounts books - Amazon's numbers are increasing while all major publishers numbers are decreasing - and why is that? Because publishers refuse to change with the times. The only greed I see is coming out of the Avenue of the Americas.
And Sherman trying to put the spin on his negative comments by his concern about 'poor' kids - and yet, nowhere on Sherman's website (as of 7:32 a.m. on June 3rd 2009) is there any place to donate books or money to a worthy childs cause.
And since when is up to Amazon to make sure every child is not left behind w/o a Kindle.
Sherman claimed "Oh, I had to submit to eBook rights, I have no other author allies."
Guess what Sherman. You did NOT have to submit. It's a free country.
I doubt we would be reading the headlines "Author killed by gunshot to the head after refusing to sign eBook rights in his publishing contract."
If you really despise Amazon that much, you should have refused to sign a contract unless your publisher agreed to not sell your books on Amazon.
So, let me get this straight, you hate Amazon, but you're happy to take the money you make from the sales of your books from them, yes?
Any true lover of books and reading would be championing every opportunity for books to be sold. Independents, Retail, Online, eBooks, audio, etc.
The true elitist is Sherman, who feels that books should only be sold one way - his way.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kindle goes Virtual "Post It Notes"

Recently, I actually DROVE to a bookstore (and the clerks almost fainted when they saw me - it's been so long due to the fact I have the Kindle and Whispernet) and picked up the book "I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like" by Mardy Grothe.

I decided to actually buy the hardback because I love to highlight and flag things, but have always found that doing so on the Kindle is fine, but used to be tedious to try and and go back and slog thru everything.

While reading it last night, I went through a ton of Post It flags, marking lines that I really enjoyed.

I'll admit it right now, I'm a POST IT NOTEaholic. I had to BUY the actual BOOK Practical Magic so I could highlight all the dreamy, thought provoking, sentences, (hey, it's what writers do!). Also, I did want to have an actual copy of the book in case something happened to my Kindle (no electricity, drop it in the toilet, roll over on it in bed and crack it, etc).

I wake up this morning, open the email from Amazon announcing that now highlights and notes can be easily navigated on line by going to

As an avid highlighter and notetaker, I can't tell you how enthusiastic I am about this new feature!

And my family will be relieved not to find little neon Post It flags stuck to their shoes all the time!

Love it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boycotting Baldacci

Sadly, I'm now boycotting ALL David Baldacci after reading his comment quoted in the NY Times Article "Steal This Book"

"The lower e-book price “is not sustainable,” said Mr. Baldacci, whose novels regularly rise to the top of hardcover best seller lists. If readers insist on cut-rate electronic books, he said, “unfortunately there won’t be anyone selling it anymore because you just can’t make any money.”"

In the hands of the right person, a well marketed eBook is valuable. In the hands of someone that is more concerned with their art than "making money" - a reasonable priced eBook is a spark that will ignite a career.

Paulo Coelho (author of The Alchemist) was disappointed that his book only sold 900 copies in its first he made is available for free. What happened as a result? Actual sales of The Alchemist jumped to one million over a 3 year period (with no additional promotion or publicity from his publishers). Coelho is still an advocate of sharing his work for free and because of this, author Jeff Jarvis named Coelho 'the Googliest author' in his book 'What Would Google Do.'

I've discovered new authors that I hadn't previously tried because their book were free or cheap on Kindle - Charlie Huston a prime example. I downloaded the free "Caught Stealing" liked it so much I actually bought more of his books - HOWEVER - his latest is 11.99 - so...not buying till the price is lowered.

So, yeah, there are authors and publishers out there that keep their readers in mind and with diligence and authenticity, are able to make a living selling their stories.

And THOSE are the authors & publishers that I will continue to support, spread the word about, and read.

**and ironically, Mr. Baldacci has several philanthropic interests
that concern and promote literacy - yet instead of seeing the positives of eBooks, he's worried "no one will make money."

Friday, April 24, 2009

13 Ways to Cheat on Amazon

This was originally posted on the Kindle Amazon Discussion boards by T.Beck

Amazon is not the only place you can find eBooks for your Kindle, check out these other 13....

Some have expressed a lack of content for the Kindle, here is what I have tried, and works (make sure you check the footnotes at the bottom):

1) 95,000 or so titles, instant download, easy.

2) 20,000 or so titles - mostly classics or things that no longer have copywrite. Multiple languages. Three are links to other sites that boast a total of 100k titles. ***, ****

3) This is a site that has mostly gutenberg books in a kindle ready format.

4) 400,000 titles - classics, modern, government, multiple languages, all the ones I tried were free. Requires $8.95 yearly subscription fee, consider it the cost of a library card.*, ***, ****

5) offers both unencrypted and encrypted .mobi files. Full range of reading and many free books as well. *, **, ****

6) lots of titles, most you can find on in the Kindle section for less.

7) This is Baen books and mostly SiFi. None are encrypted, many are free, and can be transferred directly to your Kindle. Choose Kindle compatible for the download. ****

8) uses .pdf format. **, You will need to register and can download up to three books a day, free. Only available to people in the US, due to copyright and licensing restrictions.

9) 900,000 Mostly original works, as in unknown, normally unpublished authors. Some good, some not, take your chances, you may discover the next JK Rowling. Displays in text. Cut, paste and email to yourself, or save in .txt file and upload.

10) 20,000 titles or so. Has a Kindle format. ***, ****

11) - an extension of Manybooks above, but if you access it through the basic WebBrowser in Kindle, you can download directly to your Kindle, the way you would an Amazon book. Choose the Mobipocket format.

12) Share books, self published books and a make it yourself newspaper. With a little manipulation of the tools below, you can get your own newspaper, you could probably even directly email it to your Kindle in the morning if you allow that site to send you stuff. You will need to register, but there is no cost. There is now a "Kindle Download Guide" from includes links to many classics, including many in foreign languages.

13) Christian centered works. Available in pdf, word, and text, all readily transferable to your Kindle.

14.) about 25,000 books, classic and contemporary. Download in a variety of formats.

* They save as .pdf files that you can email to your Kindle. It sees the .pdf as a file of words, not pictures of words, so it can be resized and adjusted just as any other ebook. Download the book to your PC, and email that file to your Kendle, or and load through the USB cable if you want to save the 10 cent conversion charge. (but they have not started charging yet anyway)

** For the encrypted ones in .mobi, a tool can be used to allow the kindle to see it. This tool does not make a copy of the book, merely adds a flag so that the Kendle can display it (it would be hard to call this a violation of copywrite or use conditions since both formats are amazon's). The tool and directions on how to use it are at:

*** Site runs on donations

**** Can be downloaded directly to your Kindle when it is plugged in as an external storage device, simply specify the Kindle folder when selecting where to put your book.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Neil Gaiman Wants to Be Heard

Neil Gaiman (Coraline - The Graveyard Book) offers his 2cents on the debate over text to speech for the Kindle.

I think we are starting to see the end of Publishers(Publishers Row, NYC) and agents as more and more authors become aware that publishers and agents make it more and more evident that they only care about the money... (ebook pricing and text to speech are prime examples) not about the author or the reader.

I think Old School Publishing may soon take on the title of Gaiman's lastest book "The Graveyard."

I've reposted his article below; but here is the link.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Quick argument summary

Posted by Neil at 3:18 PM
Just found myself having a long argument/discussion with my agent over the Amazon Kindle text-to-speech capability. I'm going to summarise it here.

Her point of view: The Kindle reading you the book-you-just-bought infringes the copyright (or at least, the rights) to the audiobook. We've sold audiobook rights and print book rights as separate things. We must stop this.

My point of view: When you buy a book, you're also buying the right to read it aloud, have it read to you by anyone, read it to your children on long car trips, record yourself reading it and send that to your girlfriend etc. This is the same kind of thing, only without the ability to do the voices properly, and no-one's going to confuse it with an audiobook. And that any authors' societies or publishers who are thinking of spending money on fighting a fundamentally pointless legal case would be much better off taking that money and advertising and promoting what audio books are and what's good about them with it.


Which I am putting up here to save everyone time asking me what I think.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

eBook Creation; Piece of Cake

Checked out Abbott's e Publishing website (the publisher that had written to the Amazon Kindle discussion boards that he is keeping eBook prices low and urging Kindle Owners to buy from Abbott).

I noticed two things about Abbott after visiting their website.

1) They are selling eBooks that are listed in the public domain which you can get for free on Project Gutenberg and

2) They are 'looking' for new authors to sign with them.

As I writer that has 'been there/done that' I urge new authors to consider the following:

I wondered how difficult it would be to publish an eBook on Amazon. In an experiment, I took an old manuscript and using 3 easy instructional steps on Amazon, I uploaded it (for free). I used a photo I'd taken for the book cover. I picked the price point (99cents).
I make 35% on every book I sell & there is a report link for me to check and see my sales daily/monthly. Earnings are disbursed every 2 months. My rights belong to me. My rights belong to me (worth repeating!).


Abbott takes the publishing rights (ownership) of your work for 5 years and has the right to turn your ebook into a paper book (keeping profit) or ANY OTHER FORM they choose. If you hit the jackpot and your book is made into a movie w/in ten years...they get royalties.

Abbott gives you 50% royalty. Sounds good doesn't it? Yet THEY decide how to price your book. Say your book is selling really well at 4.99 so they up it to 10.99 against your wishes - you're SOL. Not to mention, your books are only being sold on their website - which is a bit cheesy and chunky. For what Abbott provides, you can easily sell your book on your own website or blog! Most people turn to Amazon for their eBook reads. With Abbott, there is little to no mainstream exposure. They suggest they will list your eBook on Amazon, but if that happens, Amazon gets a 65% royalty, then you split the remaining 35% with Abbott 50/50. That means: A book sold at 10.00 nets 3.50 for Abbott - which is then split 50/50 - so your profit is 1.75. And you've given up your rights.

If you publish on your own, without using an "ePublishing" company, you'd keep that initial 3.50 from Amazon and your rights.

Abbott pays within 3 months (Amazon pays w/in 2).

Abbott, to me, is much like that infomercial promising you all sorts of things in the middle of the night when you are tired and not thinking straight.

Please-if you've taken the time to actually write a book, make sure you consider all avenues.

Chances are, if you can get out of bed in the morning and dress yourself, you can self publish and promote an eBook.

Here is what Abbott promises taken directly from their website:

" Q: What if I’m a Previously Unpublished Author?

A: Abbott e Publishing actively seeks out those who have never before been published authors. We are happy to “launch” the careers of those who have remarkable writing talents who have yet to be “discovered” by large, impersonal and often tough-to-crack major publishing houses.

Compensation and the Writer’s Contract:
We like to keep things simple: Authors receive 50 percent of all Internet sales of their original work, paid every quarter (every 3 months) beginning with the three-month anniversary of signing a contract with Abbott e Publishing, when the royalties amount to $10 or more. Contracts are simple, easy-to-grasp and are signed when the author’s first book is accepted for publication.

Authors receive reports every quarter, whether royalties are paid or not. Advances are never paid to authors.

Important: Authors will NOT receive reimbursement for single submissions to Abbott ePublishing-created, multiple-author anthologies. (Author royalties would be miniscule anyway.)

Book prices are set by the publisher, and vary based upon several factors, including length of the work (though this alone is definitely not determinative) the subject matter, the expertise of the author, and demand. Prices will usually be set between $4.99 and $9.99. We strive to keep most books under $10 to fit with our philosophy of providing easy-to-afford eBooks.

Publishing Rights:
Abbott ePublishing requires exclusive electronic publishing rights to works it accepts for publication as eBooks. It may publish them in any format under its name for five years, at which time the client may renew their relationship with us. Any film adaptations of works published by Abbott ePublishing as eBooks within ten years of publication with us are subject to royalties paid to Abbott ePublishing.

Abbott ePublishing will promote works it publishes both online and off, including in the mass media. Authors are encouraged to promote sales of their books and direct people to purchase them on the Abbott ePublishing’s Website, and may create outside Webpages to promote their works, linking back to the Abbott ePublishing Website."


In closing, please take everything into careful consideration...I'm not saying that ePublishing is easy, but with the right ingredients,and the correct recipe book, you can have your ebook cake and eat it too.

Mein Kampf illustrates eBook Pricing

Article from CNET News written by David Carnoy

This snippet is not about the eBook they are talking about, more about the selling practices of eBooks on Amazon vs Sony Reader.

"One other note regarding "Mein Kampf:" Based on a 65-35 split off the list price (Amazon's deal with self-publishers), Amazon is making about 89 cents on each copy, so it's possible that it's making more on "Mein Kampf" than it does on many best-selling titles that it sells for $9.99.
The terms Amazon has negotiated from publisher to publisher are confidential, but sources tell me that at $9.99, Amazon is basically breaking even on a lot of those titles. Sony, by comparison, tends to sell best sellers at $11.99, a price point at which you'd assume that it can eke out a profit.
What does this all add up to? Well, clearly the e-book business is in its Wild West stage, and it's only going to get more convoluted when Sony dumps 500,000 free e-books into its database, and Amazon continues adding more public-domain titles.
All these cheap e-books flooding the market are going to be a problem for traditional publishers (it's unclear who uploaded the Kindle Edition of "Mein Kampf," but it was certainly not a traditional publisher). They'll either embrace the brave new world, and make it work for them with lower, more realistic pricing--or adopt the bunker mentality of the music studios and risk downfall."

Special Thanks to Alice for sending me this info.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ebooks selling for more than Hardbacks...

From Julie at the Amazon Unreasonably Priced Discussion Board...

A friend pointed this book out to me so I researched the price on Amazon Book, Amazon Kindle & Border's Online.

Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie. From HarperCollins eBook
Digital List Price: $24.99 (DLP is $.04 more than the Print List Price)set by HarperCollins E book
Print List Price: $24.95
Kindle Price: $14.99 & includes wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: $9.96 (40%)

The DTB listed on Amazon:
Where Memories Lie: A Novel (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels) by Deborah Crombie (Hardcover - Jun 24, 2008)
Buy new: $24.95 (marked down by Amazon to) $18.96 75 Used & new from $5.99......( ) mine

On Borders: Where Memories Lie
Deborah Crombie
Mass Market Paperback
July 01, 2009 $7.99

So...the publisher wants us to believe that it cost $7.00 more to produce a digital book than it does a paperbook? And someone else is selling the hardbacks for $5.00 (plus shipping) but the e-book version is $14.99?

Unreasonable E-book Price!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Author Speaks

After writing to romance author Bertrice Small about the Kindle listing for one of her books, this was Ms. Small's thoughtful response...once again pointing out that publishers really only think of themselves.

"I'm not a techie. Just a working writer who can get her e-mail, and quails at the words "cut and paste". I wasn't even aware that THE BORDER LORD'S BRIDE was
available for downloading on the Kindle. In fact I only recently learned what a Kindle is. I imagine the publisher will eventually inform me of this development. Or not. Authors really are the last to know. I wish I had the influence to get my publishers to keep book prices at a reasonable rate. But the truth is I have absolutely no say where the price of books in any format is concerned. If I did the price wouldn't be so high. And they'd use recycled paper!

Nowadays working authors like me who actually make a living with their writing don't earn it from royalties. The truth is we live on our advances - and just to keep the record straight - I haven't had a raise in a number of years. I realize the papers and gossip columns are always touting the big advances paid to authors, but those are the very few, Grisham, Steele, King, etc. And advances are not handed out in a lump sum. They are paid out in increments over the life of the book contract. You don't get rich that way and authors of popular commercial fiction like me make the kind of living most middle class people make. And I have to do 2 or 3 books a year to stay middle class. The market is tight, and was even before the economic downturn. I'm glad to be still working.

I have passed on your concerns to my agent, and to my editor at NAL Books. And I do appreciate you contacting me. God bless! Bertrice Small"

Friday, March 13, 2009

eBook Gouging = Print Book Losses

From the Amazon Boycott Board: and Amazon Boycott Board (the original)

D. Boyle writes:

I'm not sure they are making more money by charging higher prices. For example, I have not purchased Fearless Fourteen because of the price. I'm willing to bet I'm not alone in that. So for every hardbound they sell at $18, they only have to sell 2 copies at $9.99 to equal the current hard cover price. And if I really wanted to read it, I could buy a used hardbound for $5. Not to mention the mass market paperback is only $7.95.

In my opinion, the publisher's are charging ebook readers for the losses they take when they have to buy back unsold inventory from bookstores. They're trying to use ebooks to make up their losses/costs of print books. My answer to this price gouging is this. Offer me a reasonable price, or you've lost my business. I'll either quit reading that particular author, or I'll buy used. That way the publishers won't see a dime of my money.

In my opinion, if the ebook costs more than the print book, the ebook is subsidizing print books. Publishers are worried about ebooks hurting their business. If they keep trying to overprice their ebooks, it will. For one thing, there are a lot of books in public domain. It's also becoming easy for authors to self-publish. This price gouging by publishers just encourages ebook readers to look for other sources.

My prediction is that ebooks are going to become more and more popular. Current publishers can take advantage of that and grow their ebook market by selling at fair prices, or they can continue to sabotage it with higher prices. When an industry fails to provide what the customer wants, entrepreneurs usually rush in to supply the demand.

Hollywood Accounting

A long discussion from the HarperStudio Blog in which Bob Miller tries to defend publishers digital list pricing of ebooks @ the same/similar to those of actual print books

Rick Spilman:

"With all due respect, the suggestion that e-books should only cost $2 less than hardcover books strikes me as “Hollywood accounting”, which is to say that it makes no sense whatsoever. Can you really argue that a $26 hardcover should cost $24 dollars as an e-book and $12 as a trade paperback? You also seem to be assuming that while the cost of paper/printing/binding may be $2, that transportation, warehousing and other inventory costs are zero.

It may be comfortable to play these games with numbers, but it strikes me as symptomatic of the real problems within your industry. Making it easy for readers to get access to books in whatever form is good for both writers and publishers. It is past time that the publishers wake up."

DRM Delusions

An interesting quote at Nashuatelegraph-

Brought to my attention by Paxton Reader from the Amazon Boycott Board

"The publishing industry seems determined to make the same mistake the movie and music industries have: thinking customers won't mind having purchases locked down by software restrictions. Some may accept those limits, but others will spend their money elsewhere, on things they feel they actually own.

Record labels finally realized the folly of this strategy and began letting music sites - such as Amazon's MP3 store - sell music without DRM. But the movie studios remain stuck in their DRM delusions, and book publishers don't seem to want to learn, either.

Until that changes, Amazon can have the smartest designers in the world work on the Kindle, and it will still feel like a Version 1.0 approximation of the e-book future."