E-Publishing in general

News, trends, and the future of publishing
Guardian
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E-Publishing in general

Post by Guardian » March 30th, 2011, 5:52 am

May I ask what are the major platforms in Ebooks self-publishing? AmazonKindle. Sony EReader, Apple IPad are the ones that about I know and I only know Kindle's website.

Amazon Kindle
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

May I ask what are the primary official homepage of the others (EReader, Apple)?

I also found this, but this seems to be as a proxy instead of the official one...

Smashwords
http://www.smashwords.com

And a second question, is it possible to set a pre-order and a release date on these sites?

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Cookie
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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by Cookie » March 30th, 2011, 10:13 am

There is also Barnes and Noble with the Nook. I am fairly certain that they have their own self-publishing. If I can find the link, I will give it to you.

Edit: There it is...
http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_a ... i_reg_home

rose
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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by rose » April 1st, 2011, 2:21 pm

By platforms, do you mean software formats or distributors?

Smashwords, which I am working with now, takes a word doc file and smushes it into formatted ebooks appropriate for each distribution channel. Off the top of my head these formats include html, pdf, epub, mobi, kindle, sony, and txt, but you can check on the page linked down below, to make sure.

Once the book is smashed into shape, it is then offered from the Smashwords site at whatever price the author sets. At that point, if the author submits the book to the premium distribution catalogs (Amazon, B&N, Apple, Sony), it will go through a more detailed vetting to make sure that it meets each distributor's standards. If it passes this stage, it will be picked up by the catalogs shortly thereafter.

One of my books is posted as free and will be, in perpetuity. The other,the memoir for which I am the coauthor (The Good-bye Man, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/49963 )will be posted for free the next ten days while we clean up typos and prepare some marketing blurbs. Then we will put a $4.99 price on it and submit to the premium catalogs.

rose (Jan Lofton)
Follow my work at Smashwords:

Riders on the Rez http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/35697
The Good-Bye Man

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wordranger
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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by wordranger » April 13th, 2011, 10:58 pm

Guardian:

Are you getting ready to take the plunge? Is Grace about to spread her wings?

The biggest outlets to sell your ebooks are Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

Good Luck!
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

Take a Step into My World and Learn From My Mistakes http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

Guardian
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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by Guardian » April 14th, 2011, 2:50 am

wordranger wrote:Is Grace about to spread her wings?
Yep. We've discussed this with my co-writer / editor and we agreed that we don't have time to play with agents, or with capricious publishers. Plus the royalty is also better than that charity money what we would get with traditional publishing. And at least I can do the marketing what I always wanted to make for CSA. So yes, she is preparing to spread her wings (In her case, literally. :) ).

In May we're going to launch the completely new and expanded website with few extras where we're also going to tell the release date of Volume 1, along with the planned e-platforms.

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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by authorgirl1485 » April 16th, 2011, 6:28 pm

*Sighs.* I understand that E-publishing is a cool enterprise, but I do hope that it doesn't get rid of the paperback. There is something about opening a book and feeling the pages that can not be beat.
Failure teaches success.

Guardian
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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by Guardian » April 17th, 2011, 1:51 am

authorgirl1485 wrote:*Sighs.* I understand that E-publishing is a cool enterprise, but I do hope that it doesn't get rid of the paperback. There is something about opening a book and feeling the pages that can not be beat.
In my project the income of the ebooks is going to fund the later paperbacks. Other authors are also used to meditate on the same way. I believe the only difference is; the order of the release. As most of the writers are willing to leave agents and publishers behind, the writer must create the financial background for the paperbacks on their own. But this background can be created with ebook sales.

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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by longknife » April 17th, 2011, 12:29 pm

And don't forget Print On Demand. The option if great for readers who still want a "real" book in their hands.

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The No-Name E-Book Model

Post by TracyEWymer » April 19th, 2011, 5:17 pm

An e-book hypothetical. This leans on Nathan's post about the "tragedy of the commons." What if traditional publishers, in order to level the playing field and make their e-books more appealing to consumers, that is--more appealing than the $0.99-$2.99 self-published books, used a graduated price increase. Let's say all e-books start at $0.99, until the hundredth or thousandth e-book sells--depending on the estimated number of sales, the author, the popularity of the series, etc.--and then when sales hit the target (dare I say, "magic") number, the price increases to $1.99. After the next hundred of thousand books sell, the price increases from $1.99 to $2.99. Publishers could sustain this model until the price hits the current $9.99, and then cement the price there. Or... publishers don't stop at the current e-book ceiling. Instead, it takes the price all the way up to $12.99 or $16.99 (the most common price of a juvenile hardcover). I would imagine that sales would decline around the current e-book new release average, $9.99.

The big questions are - What does this do to consumerism? How does it affect readers? How does it affect authors, publishers, and the likes of Amazon, Apple, and B&N (the people actually making money)? Does it have any effect at all? Am I a bumbling fool?

Well, the goal would be to drive readers to books early and often. There is probably a name for this type of business model, but since I teach English and creative writing and know little to nothing about business models, I'll leave the naming to someone who knows what he's (or she's) talking about. Whatever the name, you'd think this approach would have to create some sort of immediacy in readers.

Take a look at consumerism the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. It's still the biggest, most successful, shopping day of the year almost every year. Why? Because of limited time only bargains. Half off. Seventy-five percent off. But only for a limited time. People have to take two trips home from Toys R Us because everything doesn't fit in their van. I've seen it happen!

This could be the publishing industry. Every day. Imagine it. There are certainly times when more books are released than others. Spring and fall are hot beds for forthcoming titles. But there are always new books hitting the "shelves." With a graduated price increase, there would be an urgency to buy new releases--as they're released--as opposed to waiting around until the price drops or one of your friends buys it. Or, if your local library still exists, waiting for your library to acquire the title, which can take months.

Furthermore, how would this graduated model affect sales? Short term? Long term? Would most books open to tremendous sales and then taper off?

I guess that would depend on the reviews, acclaim, and overall popularity. If a book sold moderately at opening, and then caught fire with consumers (readers), you could be looking at the largest number of sales at a higher price point. Would this create more profit for everyone? The answer to whether this model would be successful or not would take more numbers than I have access to and more time than I'd like to spend away from writing stories. It would also take Amanda Hocking's and Barry Eisler's brains to navigate a spreadsheet and come up with a definitive solution.

Publishing is at a major crossroads. So, whatever the answer, why not try it?

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Re: The No-Name E-Book Model

Post by Doug Pardee » April 19th, 2011, 6:42 pm

TracyEWymer wrote:What if traditional publishers, in order to level the playing field and make their e-books more appealing to consumers, that is--more appealing than the $0.99-$2.99 self-published books, used a graduated price increase. Let's say all e-books start at $0.99, until the hundredth or thousandth e-book sells--depending on the estimated number of sales, the author, the popularity of the series, etc.--and then when sales hit the target (dare I say, "magic") number, the price increases to $1.99. After the next hundred of thousand books sell, the price increases from $1.99 to $2.99.
This goes contrary to the entire economic model of traditional publishing. It costs the publishers a pile of money to get a book into print, and they need to recover that money if at all possible. The reality is that many/most books never do recover all of their costs, but if all goes well, the few big-sellers make up for the many losers.

This proposed pricing model would cause the many small-sellers to generate a far deeper loss, which means that the big-sellers have to produce considerably better than they do now. Unfortunately, you're also cutting off much of the early income from the big-sellers, too.

The reason that self-pubbed e-books can sell so inexpensively is that the author is forgoing any royalty advance and is probably not paying for professional editing, cover art, etc. A traditional publisher doesn't have that option. And really, would you go to the trouble of trying to get your book published by a traditional house if you weren't going to get any royalty advance? And if you were going to have to supply your own cover art, and pay for your own editing?

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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by TracyEWymer » April 20th, 2011, 12:08 am

Would the small sellers really be generating a deeper loss? Think about it. It comes down to quantity and how many books the small sellers (or mid-list) would sell if their books were cheap ($0.99) to start with, and then increased in price as sales increased. Wouldn't the mid-list authors sell more books if their books were cheaper? I think so. And that volume of sales, even on a graduated price scale, could equate or surpass a mid-list authors average sales figure. With this method, it's possible publishers could actually make a profit from their mid-list because they would sell more books on a graduated scale than they would at a set price of $9.99. I'm rarely willing to pay $9.99 for a debut author's book, or a mid-list author's book, unless it's already garnering acclaim or I've read a stellar review about it. However, if that same e-book were $2.99 or even $4.99, I'd probably pull the trigger without the acclaim or stellar review.

Yes, this (the graduated pricing scale) is contrary to the entire model of traditional publishing, but what has the traditional publishing model proven so far? Granted, the economic downturn hit publishing as hard as any other industry, but their business model still banks on the best-seller to bail them out. Why? It doesn't have to be that way. I get that editors, art directors, and marketing people and publicists need paid, but there must be a way for publishers to make the mid-list work for them. I'm not saying this graduated pricing scale is the answer, but it's a start. Let's be honest, publishing needs to do something innovative. The house-cleaning (job cuts) from publishers in recent years proves that fact.

Pricing e-books cheaply, at least to start with, would increase volume in sales. Publishers should turn to quantity over quality. (There's something to be learned from Amanda Hocking's approach to self-publishing.) In the current model, publishers make quality sales to avid readers (ones with enough money to spend on new releases) and loyal fans. They bank on that; their pricing proves it. Then you have readers like me, and there are a lot of me. I'm a teacher, so I don't have a lot of extra money to spend on books. I'm picky about the books I buy. If I can't get it from the local library or my school, I turn to my Kindle. And still, I rarely buy new releases priced at $9.99, especially ones from mid-list authors. However, I'd be willing to purchase a new release on a graduated pricing scale.

Another hypothetical. Let's say I looked up a new release on a graduated pricing scale at Amazon and saw it for $4.99, which is already a great value. If I couldn't decide whether I wanted to buy the book or not, I probably still would, because the next time I return it could be $6.99 or $7.99. So I'd pull the trigger at $4.99. If that same book were $9.99, I wouldn't buy it because I'm not fully committed to it. But for nearly half the price, I'd take a chance on the author. Bottom line: the publisher and author make a sale at $4.99, one they would not have made at $9.99.

I hope that jibberish makes some sort of sense. Like I said, I'm not a businessman. But this makes sense to me.

I'd take the publishing contract with no advance, because I know I'd be getting top-notch editing. Cover art and marketing are another story. But honestly, authors end up doing most of the work these days anyway, especially with publishers downsizing and tightening the belt. If you want your book to sell, and you're a debut author, you have to get out there and sell yourself along with the book.

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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by PassiveGuy » April 20th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Tracy - I really like your pricing idea a lot and have a blog post about it that will show up in about an hour, at 1:15 Eastern Time.

The post centers around how the ramp-up pricing idea might work for a new Stephanie Meyer novel, Blood on the Saddle, a vampire western.

The Passive Voice - http://www.thepassivevoice.com/

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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by Doug Pardee » April 20th, 2011, 1:09 pm

TracyEWymer wrote:Would the small sellers really be generating a deeper loss? Think about it. It comes down to quantity
No, it doesn't come down to quantity. It's about dollars. Total book and e-book sales aren't being significantly restricted by pricing, but rather by the number of books that consumers want to read in a year. Demand for books isn't particularly elastic, and reducing prices basically just reduces total revenue.

Let's say you currently read a book a month at $27.99 per trade hardcover. If you can get those same titles in e-book form at $0.99, will you be reading more than 28 books a month so that the publisher takes in the same number of dollars? And do you really think that the publisher's costs are the same for producing 28 titles as for producing one?

Remember, the traditional publisher has already paid the author a royalty advance. They need to recover that advance from the book sales. The publishing contract with the author sets out the terms, but it's typically been 8-15% of list or maybe 25% of wholesale for printed books. Authors are pushing for higher rates for e-books because of their lower prices.

As it is, most titles never "earn out" their advance. If the publishers start by selling books cheap, I don't see any way that they can afford to pay an advance at all. And I don't see any way that a halfway-savvy author is going to accept a publishing contract that provides for no advance and 25% of 70% (Agency Model publisher net) of 99 cents per copy. For those of you without a calculator handy, that's about 17 cents a copy. If you e-publish yourself, you'll get no advance and 35-85% of the sales price, so around 35-85 cents per copy at that price.

Edited to add: Oh yeah, I forgot about Nathan's former profession. What literary agent is going to take on your manuscript in return for no advance cut and 2 cents per copy sold? If you sell 5000 copies — which is a pretty good number of sales if you're not a Big Name — at 99 cents each, that's about $100 to the agent.

This pricing structure pretty much destroys all that makes traditional publishing attractive to the author by making those things economically nonviable for the publisher. Authors might as well go to Smashwords, Amazon, and the rest.

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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by TracyEWymer » April 20th, 2011, 2:37 pm

Yeah, that makes sense too. But keep in mind, with a graduated pricing model not all e-books would be $0.99. Some would start there, or higher, and then, according to sales, increase in price over time. My thinking is that this would increase sales volume. The problem is that publishers bank on people buying books no matter the price. Yes, like Nathan said, that could be true for authors like Rowling or Pratchett or Franzen. But lesser known authors don't have that luxury. Their books need to be priced at a point where consumers will take a chance on their books instead of witholding that money for the big names and bestsellers. The current model sets all new releases at about the same. So here's another thought: Price the big name authors' books higher and see if their audience really will buy their $35-$50 books. Then make the lesser known, debut authors' books cheaper. My whole proposal is that the mid-list could generate more sales with cheaper books. Not everyone is going to buy a book, no matter the price. That's a severe misconception. I think publishers could sell more books, and generate more revenue, if books were cheaper to begin with. This is precisely the same reason people loiter in B&N, reading books for free. They simply don't want to pay $27.99. An e-reader helps, making books considerably cheaper. But I'm still not going to pay $9.99 for a debut author's book, unless I have good reason to. If it were priced cheaper (on a graduated pricing scale), I'd be more likely to buy it. That's just me. Maybe I'm a misrepresentation of readership.

Also: the graduated pricing model does not set every book at 0.99. That's a hypothetical starting point. The book could start at $4.99 and stay there for the first 500-1000 sales, then increase to $5.99 and so forth. If a book is not going to earn out, then why not price it lower to start with and try to generate more sales than you otherwise wouldn't have.

Is there proof that book sales are not elastic? I'm not buying it. (No pun intended).

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Re: E-Publishing in general

Post by Doug Pardee » April 20th, 2011, 4:47 pm

TracyEWymer wrote:The problem is that publishers bank on people buying books no matter the price. Yes, like Nathan said, that could be true for authors like Rowling or Pratchett or Franzen. But lesser known authors don't have that luxury. Their books need to be priced at a point where consumers will take a chance on their books instead of witholding that money for the big names and bestsellers.
The traditional publishers are not in business to help the newcomers and lesser lights at the expense of their big-name authors. The publishers are in business to make money, and it's their big-name authors that make them money. There's precious little chance that they're going to price Fred Newauthor's e-book at $0.99 in the hopes that people will buy that instead of Pratchett at $14.99. The publisher would come out $14 behind in that deal, and for what?

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