Pages and Pages
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Are books getting shorter? More and more, I'm finding that the books on my reader are pretty quick reads. When I recently looked at 10 books from the top 15 Amazon bestsellers in fiction, half of them were less than 300 pages. The other 5 contained fewer than 500 pages. Not one that I saw was a thick, epic novel, like a Little Women or Clan of the Cave Bear. Should you be aiming to write shorter books, too?
Pages and Pages
Have you ever gotten a good look at Gone With the Wind? The printed book can practically be used as a deadly weapon -- it's that heavy. Epic-length novels are something that people once took for granted. Big, thick heavy books were very much the fashion when Jane Austen was weaving her tales. But these days, big books are becoming harder to find...not just on the bestseller lists, but all over the book market.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Amazon recently unveiled yet another program designed for indie authors, and if you use Amazon services you've probably already been treated to the email blast. Kindle Unlimited is a book-sharing program that gives readers a database of books to read. It all sounds great...until you learn that, like Amazon's KDP program, it requires exclusivity.
Amazon wants you to be their steady significant other...for ever. Authors who participate in Kindle Unlimited must be members of KDP Select, Amazon's exclusive program for indie authors. The authors who use KDP Select cannot sell their books on any other website, such as Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
One could argue that Amazon sells more ebooks than all those other websites anyway. One could also argue that Amazon has provided all the platform and marketing opportunity for self-published authors, and they clearly support indies. What about CreateSpace?
There is a good reason that Amazon sells more ebooks than anyone else: stunts like this Kindle Unlimited arrangement.
Loneliness. Stress. Fatigue. Insecurity. Insomnia. I'm not describing the symptoms of a terrible disease...I'm listing adjectives that describe the life of an indie author. This isn't me trying to make things seem dark and grim. If anything, I'm making it sound good. It's hard, probably harder than I could even describe. That's why you need a support system if you're going to write.
Writers, artists and musicians are generally chalked up to being creative types, and therefore somewhat eccentric. Some even seem to cross the line into craziness (Van Gogh, the ear, you know what I'm taking about). But I maintain that it takes at least a small dose of crazy to even want to become a writer. Even the sanest writers, however, can find themselves going a little crazy because it's such a tough task.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
UK's Society of Authors have crunched the numbers, and they've reached a conclusion: traditional publishing is "no longer fair or sustainable."
Looking at the Numbers
The Society of Authors has about 9,000 members. New figures released recently showed a marked drop in median income for professional authors. They're now earning less than $20,000 annually, wages that aren't "fair or sustainable," according to the chief executive for the Society.
The statement comes on the heels of a survey released recently, in which 2,500 writers answered questions about their earnings. Author income is down about 29 percent since 2005 -- a number that is truly frightening. Now, only 11.5 percent of professional authors in England earn their main income from writing. In 2005, that number was 40 percent.
Authors have to be detail-oriented. They're misplaced comma hunters, grammar Nazis, word warriors. But that ongoing quest to write a perfect book is exhausting, time-consuming...and impossible.
My quest for perfection has been going on for about two weeks, ever since I finished the first draft of my newest book. Almost the minute I was done, I started re-reading and editing. I finished the first read (after I corrected about forty thousand mistakes) and immediately uploaded the book to my Kindle so I could read it in a different way.
I used this to give myself about 40 more notes, some of them perhaps added in a weird insomniatic stupor. I'm saying that because some of it doesn't make any sense. I have certain words highlighted and I seriously don't even know why.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Pat McCrory, the Governor of North Carolina, has named a self-published poet as the poet laureate for the state. This immediately created a firestorm of controversy...though not for all the wrong reasons, at least.
Is North Carolina's Governor More Progressive Than You?
Valerie Macon has been appointed the poet laureate of the state of North Carolina, and the state's Governor is in hot water over it.
Usually, this type of appointment involves a ton of red tape. There are submissions and an application process, letters of recommendation. And of course, a full review by the North Carolina Arts Council. Gov. McCrory decided to bypass all of that, however, and appointed Macon on his own.
In researching this post (that's a euphemism for checking to see if I've already written a topic), I learned that I've written a lot about time. I'm qualified to write about time, because I've gone to war with it so very often. But here's the end of the story: I always lose. As an indie author, you're going to face your own troubles when it comes to time tables, schedules...and losing sleep. Battle if you will...but like me, you'll lose.
Up All Night
I come across a lot of writing tips where authors say don't do this and don't do that. If you're independently wealthy, it's all well and good to say write when you're inspired and comfortable and well-rested. But if you're like me, that isn't going to happen often.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Public opinion isn't wholly on your side yet if you're an indie author, but the tide is slowly turning in our favor...because money talks. More and more indie authors are making 6- and 7-figure paydays from their self-published efforts. That makes it much harder for others to scoff at the idea of indie authors.
The Upper Hand
Numbers don't lie, and some of them show what's really happening in the book industry. Some self-published authors are now earning more than authors who have taken a more traditional publishing route.