Not signed in (Sign In)
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2011
     (9604.21)
    She says in the comments:

    Amazing actually, as I am getting lots of sales suddenly.

    ...so thanks for your promotions,


    However, if you look on Amazon.com, she had 3 reviews up until March 27 and has now got 8 pages of them in the last few days, few of which are complimentary. So it does appear that a lot of people have been compelled to read it to see if it is quite as bad as it seems, although I am unsure how that is reflected in the sales, as some people are clearly borrowing a copy (and I wouldn't be surprised if the occasional troll has jumped on to post a review, I see one person has decided to run with the painfully obvious joke on the title "Greek Seaman"). Novel Rank's tracking of the book's sales rank doesn't go back before the 28th but in that time the book has gone from 346k to 26k, which suggests she is selling a few more than earlier in the week, although not something you could retire on and not a secret to Kindle success.
    •  
      CommentAuthorscs
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2011
     (9604.22)
    Freelance editors exist, as was mentioned a few pages back. There are also freelance proofreaders/copyeditors.

    Let me know if you want a recommendation (no, it's not me).
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2011 edited
     (9604.23)
    As a follow-up on the price point issue, I see Orbit have The Orbital Drop where they put out a book a month at 0.99. The current one is Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas, so it seems they are using it as a way to boost the back catalogue without undermining sales (and it could be they'll use it for promotional purposes connected with an upcoming release - you could, for example put out the first book in a series at a good cheap price when the next one is released). Of course, it might be they are testing the water to see how a lower price boosts sales - this isn't available in the UK unfortunately (although I am looking into whether I can use a friend's US address to get around that restriction) and the UK eBook edition is selling for £4.99, so they are clearly cutting a lot of the price. Fingers crossed it works and convinces them to lower the Book prices because, at the moment, there is little incentive to actual buy it instead of the paper version apart from storage and quite a lot of incentive for a price-conscious consumer to pick the paperback up secondhand as Amazon offer them for pennies with the main cost being delivery (drop the price and you might scoop up quite a few more sales). Anyway, one to each, if nothing else it might provide some cheap books.
  1.  (9604.24)
    I treated myself to a Kindle recently and have been absolutely amazed at the lack of Kindle Editions of SF books available from the major publishers.

    The up-side of this is that, in a desperate search to find something to read, I'm starting to discover authors I'd never heard of before (I've just finished one such discovery - "Zoo City" by South African author Lauren Beukes - which I though was a good read, and now I've just bought Beukes' previous novel "Moxyland" on the strength of that).

    The costs for a publishing company to get a book "Kindle-ised" are not too expensive - approx. 30p per page for conversion to Mobipocket format, which can then be fed straight to Amazon which takes about 48hrs to put it up on the Kindle Store (I work for an academic publishing company and I've had some involvement with the process). If I worked for an SF publishing company with a decent backlist I'd be digitising them as quickly as I could and pushing it to Kindle while there's little competition, in order to give those backlist books a second lease of life (and get a second wave of revenue).
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2011
     (9604.25)
    The up-side of this is that, in a desperate search to find something to read, I'm starting to discover authors I'd never heard of before (I've just finished one such discovery - "Zoo City" by South African author Lauren Beukes - which I though was a good read, and now I've just bought Beukes' previous novel "Moxyland" on the strength of that).


    Yes I'd be interested to see how well Angry Robot are doing - while some publisher's have been a bit wary of putting out eBooks they seem to have gone for it and their eBook pricing is better than most of the big names I've seen (Zoo City is £6.23 vs £3.58, the latter seemingly their standard eBook price), which makes going for the eBook a much better option (I'm going to give Dan Abnett's books from them a spin as an eBook). What is interesting is that in 2009 they ran a survey on eBook buying habits and that llink includes comments from Angry Robots' Lee Harris, who also wrote the SFX article mentioned there (the link is broken), so it is nice to know the editors keep this in the front of their mind. It is also interesting to see what he says - the bulk of the cost isn't in the physical copy it is in paying for the editor, proof readers, etc. They have also started selling short stories from their site for 59p each. It is probably too early to get a decent assessment of how well this is working for them but it'll be worth keeping an eye on developments.

    One oddity I did note when picking up the first eBook I've actually paid for, thanks to all the public domain books I'm reading (Robert Jackson Bennett's "The Company Man"), is that you get charged VAT on eBooks but not books, so there is an extra bit of cash on top (90p in that case, 71p in yours) for a product that could be very strongly influenced by price (£2.90 seems an awful lot more inciting, especially if you were just giving it a go to see . Seems the Tories said they'd look into it if they won the election, the odd thing here being in the EU, where they tend to have the equivalent of VAT on books, they are allowed to charge less for eBooks - good summary here. There is a proposal running on this over at Jolitics and a petition here (and another one here and another one). There was, apparently a Commons Motion on this, but I don't know what became of it.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2011
     (9604.26)
    And talking of eBook success stories - according to reports, February 2011 sales grew by over 200% from the same time last year and eBooks are now the #1 format for books.

    Getting that I also stumbled across the dark side: increasing concern about piracy as more people get eBook readers and why 0.99c books are bad for the author, which also touches on how much eBooks should cost.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2011
     (9604.27)
    The discussion at that last link is worth checking out too.

    Like this from Vincent Zandri (not a Big Name author):

    I agree that $.99 can "appear" to bring down the value of a book, but an E-Book priced "temporari­ly" at that price can also attract a huge audience of readers that otherwise might not give you a chance. My indie publisher StoneGate Ink is able to price certain novels like The Innocent for instance, at $.99 for a limited time much like any other service or product will be reduced for a limited time. In this case it helped land the novel on the Amazon Kindle Top Ten Bestseller List for more than three weeks, and sold more than 60,000 copies in four weeks. It was able to pick up 14 or so 5 start reviews a few 4 stars, some three stars, and a scattering of clunkers. It's also helped my normally priced books like The Remains and Moonlight Falls ($2.99 and $8.95) respective­ly to improve dramatical­ly in sales. It's also helped the paper sales, The Remains having gone into a second printing. It's the quality of the work that readers will inevitably place value in. Not the price. Years ago, the dime novel proved just as efficient in drawing in new readers.


    You might only be getting 15-20c from 0.99 but if you shift 60k in a month of them then that all adds up and if it has knock on effects for your higher priced books then that is gravy.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2011
     (9604.28)
    The trick seems to be, presuming you have a book good enough to benefit from word-of-mouth from readers, to price it low enough to get an initial flood of trial purchases big enough to land your book in the noticeable end of the Amazon rankings, and then, once you are in that visible perch, to raise the price somewhat, to a still almost negligibly cheap rate, but enough to boost the income now that you are a hot commodity. It seems to be some thing like 1.99 on the cheap end and raising to between 3 and 5 dollars once you're up on the Amazon rankings, if what I've been reading is valid.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2011
     (9604.29)
    As an aside, Amazon UK are running a Spring Sale with lots of stuff at around a quid that isn't normally. Decent mix of stuff from established publishers and self-published titles.
  2.  (9604.30)
    It is definitely an interesting market. I'll forgo posting links at the risk of this turning into a self-promoting masturbation fest, but I helped my wife release 2 ebooks in the past month and we've been trying to navigate this very issue. She's been writing and editing the stories for years, but I get to make the covers, format the ebooks, and design/create the website.

    She has a twitter account, a website, and frequents various forums where she can spread the disease, but really her/our reach barely extends beyond our dozen or so friends.

    Anyway, enough background. She's only sold about a dozen books but we've managed to give away hundreds of copies of the first book on Demonoid (torrents), her website, and places like mobileread and smashwords. But with the nearly 500 copies we've given away, only 3 people have commented on the book so we're uncertain if anyone actually reads the free copies.

    Also interesting is the fact that Amazon doesn't allow you to offer free ebooks.

    Fuck. Completely lost my train of thought. Them's my personal observations of dealing with this shit the past month. It's enjoyable but seems pretty difficult to actually make any progress. On the consumer side of the fence, I love my ereader and have been reading A LOT more since getting it.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2011
     (9604.31)
    @oddbill:

    The trick seems to be, presuming you have a book good enough to benefit from word-of-mouth from readers, to price it low enough to get an initial flood of trial purchases big enough to land your book in the noticeable end of the Amazon rankings, and then, once you are in that visible perch, to raise the price somewhat, to a still almost negligibly cheap rate, but enough to boost the income now that you are a hot commodity. It seems to be some thing like 1.99 on the cheap end and raising to between 3 and 5 dollars once you're up on the Amazon rankings, if what I've been reading is valid.


    The "price-pumping" trick that seems to work best takes advantage of the two different price bands - you launch at $2.99 and get steady sales to the people who want to buy the book, once the first wave of interest goes you drop to $0.99 and that brings in a tonne of sales taking you up into the top of the sales charts. Once there you can switch back to $2.99 for the 70% of the price and make a lot more profit until the book starts dipping again.

    You can, obviously, price things differently within the two bands, but the independent or self-publishers, have less overheads and seem to focus on the bottom price of the two bands, which can help with impulse sales, as $0.99 isn't a big deal if it seems decent.

    However, for it to work you do need some sales to start off with, so there is a whole publicity angle to deal with, as you need to stand out if everyone is also selling at $0.99.
    • CommentAuthorjonah
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2011
     (9604.32)
    Anyone know if you can bundle audiobooks or mp3s with ebooks on Amazon? I couldn't find anything on Amazon's site.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2011
     (9604.33)
    When you say "bundle" do you mean buy one get one free or do you mean having the book but being able to also to switch to an audiobook within the same file?

    If the latter, then there is some discussion on this here but I don't know if this is possible, although Amazon Active Content might enable you to add audio to an eBook so...

    I do know you can enable text-to-speech in the Kindles, although it seems some publishers don't do this presumably because of the audiobook rights, Amazon had to back down on making this feature universal because publishers kicked-off. Someone here questions the need for bundling audiobooks given TTS but it is still a little Stephen Hawking-esque and it will never be better than a well read audiobook so...
    • CommentAuthorjonah
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2011
     (9604.34)
    @Emperor Yeah, a good voice is golden. For a children's story I wanted to have the audiobook roughly play along with the text. I need a friendly engaging voice for that. Combined with Kindle's dictionary I hope it would appear as (and thus be salable as) a valuable learning tool. I'd like to appeal to the less tech savvy that may not have the confidence to go to another site to get mp3s and also the people that are just too busy(who isn't?). Leave TTS to A Brief History of Time (a kid raised solely on TTS would be a cool dude and have an amazing voice though).

    So, more along the lines of "buy one get one free," but really I'd like to sell it as a package. I'm also thinking more complementary uses of audio. Things like illustrated audio stories (black & white line work is rather handsome on the kindle(and it's not long for color)) or bringing back album liner notes for music mp3s. Maybe a theme song for a bad ass main character to trigger a Pavlovian response after reading?

    Thinking about other uses, the rights issues would get more complicated, but a music magazine sold with music tracks would be practical. I liked when magazines did that, but hated having the CDs cluttering things up and would rip them and chuck 'em if I liked anything. I'd appreciate and pay more for some ambient backing tracks for a book. There a plenty of applications I can think of for non-fiction as well... Now that I think about it, why not videos too? A five minute video prologue for a sci-fi epic? Instructional stuff like knot tying examples for a sailing book would save me the time of sorting through all the chaff on youtube and that's super valuable.

    Anyway, I emailed Amazon about it in a more coherent, less rambly manner than this post(I used a (short)(and lacking in parentheticals)) numbered list and everything!), but I doubt anyone even reads those messages.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2011
     (9604.35)
    Jonah, it does sound like Amazon Active Content, might be what you are looking for. It is still in beta and I have signed up as a tester but details are patchy, however, people have suggested you could make interactive children's books with it - they have made games and chose your own adventure stories so why not? You could, for example embed shorter chunks of text into the page - so you click on a sentence and a voice reads it out "Where's Billy Butterfly?" for example. The kid clicks on the butterfly and are told "well done." Something like that, so the interactivity eases a child into reading and they can use the book whenever they want, even when the parents are doing silly things like driving the car ;)

    I suspect once ACC goes live people are going to come up with all kinds of uses for it, you have clearly got a whole bucket of ideas right there!!
  3.  (9604.36)
    My fiance just bought a Kindle, and now that I've tried it, I've got to say that cracking the Amazon DRM is trivial with the right tools. I frown at distributing books as torrents or whatever to third parties, but I'm enough of an entitlement bitch that if I'm not given a legal way to lend e-books to family members just like I lend paper based books, I'll take the illegal route and feel all warm and justified doing it.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2011
     (9604.37)
    Here is one author's views on giving away his books in order to build a fan base that he can then market his later paid-for books to. It seems to be working out nicely for him.