Archives for category: State of the Biz

Now that we’re winding down 2014, it’s time to talk about 2015. Several trends have been hitting the publishing business since July of this year and, to be frank, they’re not good. And only going to get worse in the new year.

Just remember, independent publishing—ebooks, in particular—hit the publishing business like a tsunami a mere four and a half years ago, in 2010. As a traditionally published author with a backlist that the Big Publisher just wouldn’t keep in print—like 90 or 95 percent of other traditionally published authors including some big names—the ebook revolution presented a huge opportunity to get worthy titles available again to long-time readers and new readers.

Further, with the huge contractions and distortions in Traditional Big Publishing, the ebook further provided the opportunity to introduce new works without the interference and parasitism of literary agents and the Big Publishers themselves.

I’ve explored at length the clear strength of the numbers and the flow of income for an individual ebook, comparing independent publishing versus traditional publishing. Please see my earlier blogs on this site, “Crunching the Publishing Numbers, Parts 1 through 4.”

Independent publishing of a print book presents a much gloomier picture. My research has shown a huge disconnect between independently published ebooks and the print books (even for a goodly number of ebooks sold, print books lag behind by orders of magnitude), whereas traditionally published print and ebooks tend to skew in just the opposite direction (eight times the number of print books sold for every ebook).

Further, except in the case of independent ebooks/print books with large amounts of capital to fund promotion and marketing ($100,000 in the case of Fifty Shades of Grey, according to some reports), most independent publishers and authors cannot begin to match the marketing power of Traditional Publishers.

So what happened in July, 2014 to make matters worse for independent authors?

Let me preface what I’m about to say with this: I really appreciate Amazon.com. They were in the forefront of making ebook publishing effective and easy for independent authors. They went the mile (as has Smashwords) with explaining what you needed to do to upload your book. They’ve vastly improved their uploading system, cover uploading system, and reporting of revenues.

That said, in July Amazon.com launched Kindle Unlimited, automatically converting all Kindle Select “free” books to the Unlimited program. This placed close to 50,000 “free” books for readers to choose from.

I say “free” because, behind the scenes, Amazon offers authors a royalty or stipend for each borrowed book, with the amount paid out of a “fund.”

I’m not going to explain how Select and Unlimited work here, since all that information is on Amazon.

But here’s what happened, and I’m seeing reports all over the Internet, beginning with Smashword’s most recent blog by founder Mark Coker.

Authors who opt into Select/Unlimited must remove their books from any other retailer and list exclusively with Amazon. Since those authors must take whatever Amazon decides to pay out to them (contrasting sharply with your ability to specify your sales price outside of the Select/Unlimited program) and since such a huge number of authors decided to opt into the system (thus reducing the per-unit share of the “fund”), I’ve seen authors reporting a 75% decline in revenues since July, 2014.

And what about authors like me who have opted to retain control of their books, the markets where they list them, and their prices? We, too, have seen a reduction in revenues, in many cases by 50—70%. Why? Because of the glut of free ebooks.

But just remember, “free” doesn’t equal “quality.” Will readers start to realize the distinction after getting an eyeful of “free” ebooks?

We can only hope. But as the “Fifty Shades” phenom taught everyone, readers like what they like sometimes regardless of conventionally regarded standards of quality.

So there you have it, my friends. If you thought independent publishing as an amateur writer or even as a dedicated, well-educated professional writer of something other than fiction, be advised: publishing is not (and never has been) a get-rich-quick scheme. It will take some real ingenuity to make your publishing endeavors work in 2015.

I have some ideas about that. Stay tuned.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia..

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

The verdict is in from The Hollywood Reporter: Summer 2014 box office earnings haven’t been so low since 1997. “The studios failed to connect with audiences,” THR laments.

This is a polite way of saying the summer movies stank. Several extremely expensive “big” movies tanked, including a piece by the makers of The Matrix Trilogy entitled (I think) “Jupiter Ascending,” which sank without a trace (or maybe the scheduled release has been moved up), and the second installment of the new Planet of the Apes franchise.

The two YA urban fantasy hopefuls, which I reviewed here earlier this summer, “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”, and ‘Beautiful Creatures” stumbled badly, suggesting viewers are weary of the genre. Neither film had an appealing young heroine or hero, and hopes for a trilogy for either have been dashed. Both were based on very good but very long books, and the scripts meandered and couldn’t focus on the core story.

Which supports the notion that a short story (like “Tomorrow’s Child”) or a short book like the Hunger Games provides a better basis for a film.

“Divergent,” the first in a proposed trilogy based on the YA dystopian novels, did moderately well by Hollywood standards ($250 million worldwide) but was damaged by reviews that the film seemed a lackluster derivative of Hunger Games. On the basis of reviews I’ve read, this viewer is going to skip it. Fans of the film and books will be happy to hear the producers at Lionsgate are proceeding with a second film.

The late summer “surprise quirky hit” is “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which has earned over $500 million worldwide in its second or third weekend. This is a cartoon movie based on minor characters in a Marvel Comic. The reviews I’ve read have called it “an irritatingly juvenile, derivative ‘Star Wars’”, which is setting the bar pretty low. We’re still considering whether to see it. I’ll review it here if we do.

And the verdict is in from Publishers Weekly: Summer 2014 book sales earnings were down twenty percent from last summer.

There just wasn’t any book that emerged as an exciting Must-Read except perhaps for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, which sold some 600,000 thirty-five dollar hardcover books. I’ve read Tartt’s first book, The Secret History. While I admire her writing, her subject matter and underlying consciousness just aren’t for this reader, let alone a 1,000-page book.

Similarly, Diana Gabaldon’s eighth volume in her Voyager series got a boost from a miniseries on Starz, debuting at Number One on the New York Times bestseller list. But within a few weeks, the book dropped off the list, suggesting the author has a solid core of fans, but hasn’t expanded beyond, in spite of the television exposure. I similarly have read an earlier volume in the series and admire the author’s writing, but her subject matter and underlying consciousness just aren’t for this reader, let alone a 1,000-page book.

Stephen King published a book that came and went; J.K. Rowling writing under a pen name published another murder mystery in her new series. Deborah Harkness wrapped up her All Souls Trilogy; her book appeared on the list, but has pretty much since wilted. If Laurell K. Hamilton published another volume in her long-running Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, I missed it.

So what were people doing this summer for their entertainment needs if they’re not reading or going to the movies? I’m guessing they’re watching television, playing games, and hanging out on the Internet. What did you do this summer?

So there you have it, my friends. I see the trends changing. Urban fantasy on the adult level continues to sell, especially among the latest volumes of multi-book series, but appears to have died out on the YA level. An author like Charlaine Harris has ended the Sooki Stackhouse series (the basis for True Blood on television) and has not presented anything new that’s compelling. Vampires are way, way passe. (I include minor vampire characters in The Garden of Abracadabra as objects of ridicule and scorn. They are comic relief, hardly the focus of the book or series.)

The genre trope of zombies (an image I personally dislike and will never write about) has succeeded in print in a limited number of books, notably Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series for the YA reader. But most people are getting their fill of zombies on The Walking Dead on television. I don’t see a huge expanding market for this unappealing genre.

So what’s new? What exciting or lurid new book or series has leapt to the top of the lists and claimed a gigantic readership out of thin air like The Hunger Games?

It’s not happening.

Which, in fact, is great news. Editors, publishers, and especially readers are searching for something new. That’s where writers like you and me may step up to the plate. The time has never been better to forge out there with a concept that’s fresh and original. Go for it!

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/19/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 8: Print Books in 2013 Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/13/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-8-print-books-in-2013-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 9: Amazon Vs Hatchett Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/16/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-9-amazon-vs-hatchett-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 10: Conversations with Author Elle Emerson Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/20/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-10-conversations-with-author-elle-emerson-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 11: In Praise of Copyeditors https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/21/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-11-in-praise-of-copyeditors-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

In October, 2013 I started a series of conversations with my acquaintance, the author Elle Emerson. I don’t have the link handy, but if you scroll back on WordPress to October 19, 2013, you’ll find our first conversation, which I entitled “Tales of Woe.”

Twenty years ago, Ms. Emerson began publishing stories in professional magazines and then books with two of the Big Five Publishers. She got good reviews, award nominations, and even a New York Times Notable Book designation.

But she didn’t get enough of a readership in a short enough timeframe and the Big Publishers crushed her career.

She knows a lot and has experienced a lot and I wanted to interview her and set out our conversations here.

I’ve been after her for months to tell me more. I regret to tell you she just called me and has declined to proceed further.

When I asked her why, she said, “Plenty of authors are writing about the problems with traditional publishing. The New York Times recently ran an article by a successful author who explained why she’s self-publishing her new book. Another author has written extensively in her blog about her problems. I don’t want to go there. However legitimate, these types of confessions sound like complaining. And I don’t see how it does anyone any good. If you’re traditionally published, you already know the score. If you’re not, you’ll probably never have to deal with it.” She laughed. “You’ll have to deal with self-publishing.”

Well, okay. Could she summarize her experiences?

“Sure,” she said. “Arrogant, careless, incompetent, lazy, disloyal literary agents.” [Note: Ms. Emerson has hired and fired five big agents.] “And arrogant, careless, incompetent, lazy, disloyal book editors.”

Could she give me some examples?

“Okay,” she said. “An editor who is no longer in publishing at all went off on his vacation to Italy after neglecting to include my Author’s Bio in the first edition of what was my biggest book. The book had to launch without it. This same editor withheld the payment of an advance after I had turned in my book. The editor had approved the book and was required under contract to pay me. But he stalled anyway as sort of a passive=aggressive power move even though my husband had just had surgery and we really needed the money. I had to get down on my hands and knees and beg for money I was legally and promptly owed.”

Wow. I was starting to get the picture. I should add, Ms. Emerson is an attractive, positive, cooperative, brilliant, business-savvy woman, as well as being talented and dedicated.

I was intrigued by her last words in our October interview. She had said: “I’ve been abused for years by the publishing business. The publishing business is just like a toxic parent.” What did she mean by that?

“If you’re a child with a toxic parent, you are totally dominated by that parent,” she said. “The parent controls your time, your activities, and your means of support. S/he demands that you meet every requirement the parent sets out, demands you abide by the parent’s rules, demands your loyalty and your love. In return, the parent doesn’t have to do anything. The parent can be cruel, withholding, manipulative, and careless, and you the child can’t do anything about it.”

“So traditional publishing is like that?” I said. I must tell you, she was making me nervous.

“You got it,” she said.

“What about independent publishing?” I wanted her opinion on this.

“It’s a time-consuming and expensive hobby that may or may not enable you to make a tiny living,” she said with a laugh. “I think there’s a lot of luck involved along with the hard work.”

So there you have it, my friends. “I have to get on with my life,” Ms. Emerson told me and ended the call. So do we all. I thanked her and said goodbye.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 8: Print Books in 2013 Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/13/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-8-print-books-in-2013-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 9: Amazon Vs Hatchett Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/16/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-9-amazon-vs-hatchett-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

No comment.

Seriously, if you have the time and inclination to follow this latest crisis in publishing, you only need to Google the title above to find ten thousand opinions and renditions of it.

One of the most absurd developments is multi-billion-dollar corporations soliciting the support of the people typically lowest and most powerless on their totem power—the Authors.

“What?” you say. “Aren’t writers the source of the content for both these corporations? Without authors, would they have any business to run?”

That’s right. But unless you as an author become like Stephenie Meyer or Suzanne Collins, you are one of thousands to a traditional publisher. Meaning, as I’ve detailed in this Blog Series and in the Crunching the Numbers Blog Series, They Don’t Care.

And Amazon? Amazon—and Smashwords, less so Barnes and Noble—has always been pro-author, especially independent authors. I, among many, am grateful for the opportunity to revitalize my backlist, find new readers, and even develop new projects without the interference of literary agents and editors.

One positive development in the dispute? Sensitive to the charge that Amazon offers “pre-orders” to traditional publishers but not to independent publishers, Amazon has just this week introduced a “pre-order” functionality for independent publishers and authors. (That’s another topic. Smashwords offers pre-orders, too.  I haven’t had a new title since the strategy became available, so I don’t have experience with it yet. When I do, I’ll let you know how it works and whether it works.)

If Amazon engages in business practices that Hatchett and its authors disapprove of, we can all come to our judgment about that. I personally have no business with Hatchett at the moment.

One issue that Amazon has pursued in the litigation is that Hatchett charges too much for its e-books. Amazon has sounded a call for lower ebook prices from traditional publishers.

I strenuously object. That independent publishers and authors can offer ebooks at prices much lower than traditional publishers is our one main competitive advantage. I can offer you a quality acclaimed work like Summer of Love for $ 7.99 instead of $ 14.99. I applaud Hatchett charging $ 14.99 and up for its ebooks. Go for it.

I’ve been personally solicited to sign petitions by both corporations and have declined to participate in either.

So there you have it, my friends. What authors have to say will mostly likely amount to little, if nothing. Stay informed, but don’t lose any sleep over this dispute.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 8: Print Books in 2013 Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/13/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-8-print-books-in-2013-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

This just in from Publisher’s Weekly:

“Bowker released its estimates of print book production for 2013, noting that what they call “traditional” output–which includes self-publishers like CreateSpace, but excludes public domain POD factories like BiblioBazaar — dipped 2 percent from 309,957 titles in 2012 to a projected 304,912 titles in 2013. Despite the decline as compared to the previous year (and general growth in the several years before then) Bowker said the result “points to a relatively stable market for print works despite competition from e-books.”

The public domain business (or what Bowker refers to as “nontraditional” titles) declined far more significantly, to 1,108,183 titles, a decrease of 46 percent from its production of 2,042,840 titles in 2012. It’s important to remember, as we have reminded in the past, that Bowker’s official stats continue to measure only books issued in print form (including print on demand). They still do not tabulate counts for ebooks issued during the year, so the numbers clearly under-represent the actual amount of new volumes coming to market.

Among “traditional” titles, fiction remains the largest single category with 50,000 titles, a slight increase from the previous year, with the broad listing of juveniles second at 33,000 titles, followed by sociology/economics at 29,300 titles.”

What does that mean for you and me?

It’s pretty dire. If you’re a traditionally published author, expect advances, print runs, and publishers’ commitment to you to decline. Get ready to have your series discontinued. I’m sorry to say it, but that’s the way publishing (or any business) is. When sales decline, expenses are cut.

If you’re an independently published author and considering financing a print-on-demand print book, think again. If you don’t know HTML, you’ll have to hire someone who does. If you use CreateSpace, the only place you’ll be able to distribute your books is on Amazon.com, which owns CreateSpace. Not other on-line retailer will list your book (hint: they hate Amazon.com). If you actually do a print run, most independent bookstores won’t stock your book.

As I cautioned you in State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books, print books are a very risky business for you.

So there you have it, my friends. Just saying.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Amazon.com recently launched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription-style option for readers essentially permitting them unlimited ebooks in the Unlimited program for a standard monthly fee. What ebooks are in the Unlimited program? All books in the Amazon Select program, whereby readers borrow an ebook for a period of time for free. Because Amazon maintains a “Global Fund,” the borrowed ebook earns for the author a varying royalty determined as a percentage of the Global Fund, which may change from month to month. There are some 500,000 ebooks in the Select program, which are now in the Unlimited program.

You should be aware of two major rules affecting Select, and fherefore Unlimited, ebooks. First, if you decide you want to go this route, Amazon demands exclusivity. Meaning that you are required to remove the book from other vendors, typically Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Second, you are locked into the Select program for three months, whereupon, unless you uncheck the re-enroll box, you are automatically re-enrolled.

I tried Select about two years ago with a title, U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy. This is a novella based on a screenplay I wrote for a producer looking for another “Men in Black” or “Galaxy Quest,” and scored a five-star review on Amazon.com. I had sold a few copies of this ebook on Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords. Then I put the book on the Select program, according to the rules. I got no borrows whatsoever. After three months, I put the ebook back on sale and relisted it on the other vendors.

So my experience with Select was not good and I really can’t recommend it.

By the way, U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.

U F uh-O, A Sci Fi Comedy is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Here’s the 5 star review:

A very clever humorous novella! July 26, 2013 Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase “I had never read any work by this author, but I met Lisa on Facebook and twitter and she seemed a very nice person. For that reason, I thought I would try one of her books, but I really had no expectations; being a nice person is no proof that she will be able to write. As it turns out, she also was an excellent author! By about the time I was halfway through the book, I found myself very involved with the characters and wholeheartedly cheering them on! I took a chance on someone I never read before and was rewarded by finding another favorite author. It wasn’t until I had finished the book and read the end material that I learned that she had many other works published and some with pending movie contracts. I would highly recommend this 82 page funny novella to anyone who enjoys a well written book with excellent character development in unusually subtle ways. Read this little book and I’m sure you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was. I am looking forward to reading more of her works as I’m sure you will be, too!”

When Amazon launched Unlimited, they did not notify or ask the permission of Select authors before their books were automatically enrolled, they just went ahead and did it, causing a stir at Publishers Weekly and elsewhere. Because some authors did not wish to become a part of Unlimited, Amazon was forced to offer Select authors a way to unenroll their books from Select, and therefore Unlimited.

Why would you wish not to be a part of Unlimited? Two authors on the Books & Writers group on LinkIn have already expressed their fears that readers would begin borrowing so many books to make their monthly fee worthwhile that the authors’ royalty would be substantially reduced.

This problem is compounded by the fact that Amazon Unlimited counts a reader’s sampling of more than ten percent of the book as a sale! I don’t know about you, but I sample books—for-sale books—all the time to get a sense of the author’s style, how the book opens, and so on. As result of Unlimited’s sampling gambit, a number of Unlimited ebooks have precipitously leapt into the top 100 books on Bowker Ebook Ranking and elsewhere. In other words, Unlimited sampling artificially inflates “sales figures.” The problem became so dire, so quickly, that Bowker removed Unlimited ebooks from its ranking!

Finally, Smashwords has issued a blog denouncing both Select and Unlimited because of the exclusivity rule. Naturally, Smashwords has a vested interest in taking this position—they’re Amazon’s prime competitor after Barnes and Noble. Most authors, including me, list their books directly with Amazon and Barnes and Noble and then distribute to Apple, Kobo, Scribd, and so on via Smashwords. This is a good strategy because Amazon and B&N pay royalties on a monthly basis, whereas Smashwords pays only quarterly. Further, meeting the independent formatting rules of all those vendors is difficult. I find it easier just to let Smashwords handle that through its fantastic conversion program.

So there you have it, my friends. If you’ve never been published before and have written a ebook, you may wish to try Select and Unlimited to try to win readers who are unfamiliar with your name and your work and who don’t have to pay for your book (or your book is included in their fee along with all the other books they borrow). Personally, I think that unknown authors offering their books for free or for a minimal amount is demeaning to their work and an unsound strategy. Better to promote on the social networks, offer free samples, and/or publish stories in an established traditional venue and win name recognition that way.

I’m embarking on the serialization of The Garden of Abracadabra on WordPress and Wattpad today! I’ll let you know how that goes.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/19/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Book Expo America was held in New York City last week. The biggest topic of discussion was the Hatchett Book Group’s landmark dispute with Amazon regarding pricing and the percentage of authors’ sales prices a publisher and a retailer are entitled to take. This is book business, folks. And pertinent to my State of the Biz Series, so I’m quoting in full here:

ABA (American Booksellers Association) CEO Oren Teicher addressed the organization at their annual membership meeting on Thursday afternoon in an enthusiastic vein: “I could not be more pleased to be able to reiterate – the indie bookstore resurgence has continued.”

At the same time, he noted how “the aggressive discounting and strong-arm tactics of the dominant online retailer continue to cause havoc. Its recent bullying assault of a major publisher is just the latest example of a unilateral and shortsighted strategy. To put it plainly: the book industry is being held hostage by a company far more interested in selling flat screen TV’s, diapers, and groceries. It is clear they are prepared to sacrifice a diverse publishing ecosystem to achieve retail dominance. That’s not good for anyone.”

Without providing exact figures, Teicher acknowledged that ABA members overall experienced a modest sales decline in 2013 after a strong 2012. His phrase was, “After a year of robust sales growth in 2012, the indie channel held on to the lion’s share of those gains in 2013.” The opening of 2014 was also soft, due in part to the weather, but “after a truly brutal winter that depressed retail sales nationwide… sales in the second quarter have recovered.” Teicher said, “There’s every reason to believe that 2014 will be another year of solid sales for the indie channel.”

He celebrated the gains in association members and member store locations announced informally through the AP, and celebrated how “a number of established stores are expanding and opening in new locations, and a whole new generation of younger booksellers are continuing to join our ranks.” Teicher also noted “what may be the most significant change,” which is the recent pattern in which “many veteran store owners who have put their blood, sweat, and tears into building successful businesses are finding buyers for their businesses.” He added, “Stores that just a few years ago might very well have closed are now beginning a new chapters of innovation and growth.”

Teicher also announced that the ABA has signed a new seven-year agreement with Reed “to continue our partnership at BookExpo America.” He noted, “Our ongoing co-sponsorship of BEA with Reed is based on a shared commitment to providing indie booksellers with the best possible experience – and value – by attending a large national event such as this.”

At the same time, Teicher acknowledged “there are also a significant number of threats to indie bookselling.” Among them, “Congressional gridlock seemingly has delayed progress on national e-fairness sales tax legislation and maintaining the sensible and needed reformations of the Senate’s USA Freedom Act.” Apparently the ABA also has misgivings about minimum wage legislation, which “may soon pose very difficult business decisions for members as they work to maintain the business profits necessary to pay an equitable wage.”

Teicher closed by saying, “While I do not ever under-estimate the challenges we face, by working together, I remain optimistic and confident that the best days of independent bookselling are ahead.”

So there you have it, my friends. The spirit of freedom and independence lives on in the bookselling world, taxes and corporate greed notwithstanding. I, for one, am very glad to see it!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

I received this blog from Smashwords today, detailing developments in the lawsuit between Amazon.com and the Hachette Book Group. The references to “I” below are to the blog’s author, Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords. The links are his, as well.

The news is pertinent to my State of the Biz Series and of such importance, I’m reproducing it here:

“Amazon and Hachette Book Group are locked in an epic battle over the future of ebook publishing. The outcome of this dispute will have permanent ramifications for publishers and indie authors alike.

On one side you have Hachette, the fourth largest trade book publisher. Hachette earns over 1/3 of its US sales from ebooks. Hachette wants agency terms for its books. Hachette wants to control the list price of its books and earn 70% list from each sale. Smashwords announced agency terms with our retail partners in 2010.

On the other side is Amazon, a fierce opponent to agency pricing. Amazon wants the ability to discount books, and to enable greater discounting Amazon wants a larger percentage of the publisher’s pie. A story out Friday by Jeffrey Trachtenburg of the Wall Street Journal confirms Amazon is seeking to reduce the percentage paid to publishers. Amazon is seeking to weaken or abolish the agency model.

This is also the view of Andrew Albanese of Publishers Weekly, who in his March 16 story, Will the Agency Model Survive? speculated that the future of agency hangs in the balance. As Albanese writes in his piece, the timing of the Amazon/Hachette dispute is not coincidental.

One likely reason (for the current timing of the dispute) is that when the publishers’ 2012 consent decrees in the e-book price-fixing case begin to expire this fall, so too will Amazon’s ability to discount e-books. The parties don’t comment on specific negotiations (and neither Hachette or Amazon will comment directly on the current dispute or ongoing talks). But it is fair to say that Amazon officials likely see the current negotiations as their best chance to push for the end of agency pricing for e-books, and are apparently prepared to bring to bear all the pressure they can on publishers—whether on the Kindle side, or print. The question is, will the major publishers stick together to keep agency pricing for e-books?

The dispute is generating some spectacular fireworks. It’s also confirming the suspicions of Amazon’s worst critics. In an attempt to force Hachette to capitulate, Amazon is employing a shock and awe campaign of scorched earth retribution against Hachette. According to multiple press reports, Amazon has increased Hachette’s book prices to its customers then turned its automated merchandising algorithms into attack dogs that encourage customers to consider “similar items at a lower price“; Amazon is telling customers Hachette print books are out of stock; and is denying Hachette the ability to list preorders. For a company that prides itself in customer service, these are all customer-unfriendly moves. These actions also punish Hachette authors, who through no fault of their own will suffer reduced sales at Amazon.

For the last four years, indie ebook authors have endured similar iron-fisted policy enforcement and lost earnings with Amazon’s KDP price-matching, even when Amazon knew the out-of-sync ebook prices were not the author’s intention or fault. Amazon plays business like war. Overwhelming force pushes weak hands to surrender and comply.

In a letter written to Amazon by the Association of Author’s Representatives (AAR), a trade group representing literary agents, AAR likened Amazon’s tactics to hostage-taking and extortion.

Amazon defenders (and critics too) and will say business is business, and if you want to play in the Amazon sandbox – the world’s largest ebook store – you have to play by their rules. The Amazon defenders are correct. Amazon is under no obligation to carry Hachette’s books under the terms Hachette wants. Amazon is under no obligation to play nice.

The industry can cry until it’s blue in the face about how Amazon is ruthless and heavy-handed, and how other retailers are kinder and gentler. The truth of the argument doesn’t change the reality. Amazon does what it does because it can, because authors and publishers let them do it, and because it’s in Amazon’s nature to act this way. Lions eat wildebeest.

For its part, Hachette is sending letters to agents and authors asking for their patience and support. In their May 23 letter, Hachette wrote:

Please know that we are doing everything in our power to find a solution to this difficult situation, one that best serves our authors and their work, and that preserves our ability to survive and thrive as a strong and author-centric publishing company.

Amazon is playing a game of divide and conquer. Amazon knows if they weaken or cancel their agency agreement with Hachette that the other publishers will have less leverage to hold the line on agency. And whatever concessions Amazon gets, other retailers will want the same, further undermining the ability of publishers to control their prices or maintain their profits.

Amazon’s tactics hit Hachette in two places where it hurts:

  1. Author confidence – The dispute will undermine literary agent and author confidence that Hachette can deliver books to Amazon. This will cause some agents and authors to think twice before selling upcoming projects to Hachette.
  2. Profitability – Amazon knows that if they if they can make Hachette the first domino to fall in their anti-agency crusade, it’s more likely to force other publishers to abandon it as well. Once agency is eliminated, ebooks will become less profitable to publishers, which then marginalizes publishers by weakening their strategic power in the marketplace. With lower margins, publishers will have less flexibility to increase ebook royalty rates to authors at a time when their authors are clamoring for higher royalties. This would thereby compel more authors to self-publish directly with Amazon, which benefits Amazon.

Publishers deserve much of the blame for making their ebook margins such an appetizing target for Amazon. Amazon’s assault on their margins should come as no surprise. In 2012, Adam Lashinsky of Fortune Magazine wrote that a favorite Jeff Bezos aphorism is “Your margin is my opportunity.” Publishers have been complaining about Amazon for years yet still supplied them the books that created Amazon.

Publishers have been reporting healthy earnings in recent months, driven in large part by high-margin ebook sales. Publishers pay authors only 25% of net ebook proceeds, whereas indie authors earn 85-100% of net proceeds. In other words, publishers made themselves a target for a company whose very DNA is programmed to strip suppliers (publishers) of their margin.

From a PR perspective, Amazon can cast their move as taking from the greedy publishers to provide customers lower prices. But in the end, they’re really taking from authors.

Hachette faces a dilemma. They face the lose/lose decision of either giving that margin to Amazon, or choosing to kiss its Amazon relationship goodbye. It would be painful for publishers to say goodbye to Amazon. Amazon controls approximately 1/3 of the overall trade book market in the US, and up to 50-60% of the ebook market.

In 2010, publishers presented Amazon with a unified front by simultaneously demanding agency pricing terms. This forced Amazon to capitulate and accept agency pricing. It was a different world back then. Amazon’s nascent Kindle ebook business needed the books of big publishers. The bitter aftertaste has never left Amazon’s mouth.

The publishers viewed agency as a better model.  The US DoJ viewed the united front as collusion.

In 2014, publishers are more disposable to Amazon than they once were, thanks in part to the rise of indie authorship, and thanks also to better business diversification. Amazon’s business is no longer as dependent upon books as it once was. They sell everything under the sun, from diapers to shoes to cloud services to groceries to media devices.

Books represent only one of hundreds of layers of icing on the cake of Amazon. Amazon can lose money on books while still operating a profitable business.

Pure-play book retailers – Kobo and Barnes & Noble for example, must earn money from book sales. Unlike Amazon, they don’t have the financial resources to sell books at a loss forever. Publishers must also earn money from book sales, otherwise they can’t keep the lights on.

If Amazon can abolish agency pricing it will have the power to put its largest pure-play book retailing competitors out of business.  This will make the publishers even more dependent upon Amazon, which further weakens their power.

How can Hachette get out of this mess? None of its options are good. Amazon holds the strongest hand in this high-stakes poker match.

The boldest option is for Hachette to play the nuclear card: they can withdraw all their books from Amazon.  Hachette could direct readers to more publisher-friendly platforms and stores. Hachette could also make a more concerted effort to develop new channels of distribution. Curiously, neither Hachette nor any other major NY publisher has ever attempted to sell their books in the Smashwords ebook store, despite the fact that Smashwords pays up to 80% list. Publisher insistence on DRM is one of several factors that has locked them into Amazon and locked them out of new outlets. Most of the publishers are also refusing to work with the new ebook subscription services, or have treated libraries as second-class citizens, even though these two channels provide yet another healthy counterbalance to a single retailer’s dominance.

It’s uncertain if Hachette or other publishers could survive if they abandon Amazon. Would authors and literary agents continue to support them if their books didn’t reach Amazon?

The window of opportunity for such a bold move is closing quickly. Within the next several years, ebooks as a percentage of the overall book market will increase as print declines. Within a few years, Amazon’s sales of indie-supplied ebooks will probably exceed sales of publisher-supplied books. This means the leverage publishers hold over Amazon will diminish each year.

The other alternative is for Hachette to capitulate to Amazon, which is akin to Hachette accepting a long term death sentence. Amazon views publishers as unnecessary intermediaries.  Amazon works to disintermediate the intermediaries so it can control the relationship with the creators (authors) and the customers.

The other Big 5 publishers might do well to play their nuclear cards before it’s too late.

If the big publishers capitulate and abandon agency, the other retailers, in order to remain competitive, will be forced to abandon their agency agreements with the publishers as well, otherwise Amazon would have the ability to underprice them. And then the pure-play book retailers would fall.

Are Indie Authors Next in the Crosshairs?

The dispute with Hachette foreshadows what comes next for indie ebook authors at Amazon who have grown comfortable to KDP’s 70% royalty rates.

Think about my divide and conquer reference above. Indies are already divided and conquered at Amazon, but most don’t realize this. These indies all have direct-upload relationships with Amazon. They don’t have the collective bargaining power of a large publisher to advocate on their behalf. As the unfolding events indicate, it’s questionable if even a large publisher has leverage over Amazon.

If Hachette doesn’t have the power to maintain 70% earnings, how will million-copy-selling New York Times bestselling indie authors have any power when Amazon decides to put the squeeze on them? And how about the rest of the indie community which has even less leverage over Amazon?

How long until Amazon puts on the squeeze?  The squeeze may already have started. In February, Amazon gutted the royalty rates they pay for audiobooks, as Laura Hazard Owen reported at GigaOm in her story, Amazon-owned Audible lowers royalty rates on self-published audiobooks. Previously, authors earned up to 90% list. Under the new terms, authors earn from 25% to 40% list. Amazon can do this because they dominate audiobooks.

At any time, Amazon could choose to eliminate the 70% royalty option at KDP. They could offer the same terms as their Audible division: 25% list if you’re non-exclusive, and 40% list if you’re exclusive.

If Amazon tightens the screws, indies will face the same painful decision Hachette now faces. Either swallow the bitter pill, or remove your books from Amazon.

Most indies would probably choose to accept lower royalties at Amazon under the logic that something is better than nothing. As individuals, indies have little leverage against Amazon.

Most vulnerable to any change in policy at Amazon are the indie authors who supply approximately 500,000 ebooks to Amazon’s KDP Select program.

Advice to Indie Authors: Four Steps to Improve your Independence

Is it really necessary that retailers and publishers should view one another as war-like adversaries, or as predator and prey? I don’t think so. At Smashwords, we serve our authors by serving our retailers. We help our retail partners efficiently receive, ingest and sell our authors’ books. By opening up new retail and library channels, we support our authors. We think our new channels help our retailers too, because each new channel we open is a reminder that exclusivity is bad for publishing. What leverage we do have we apply to negotiating fair and equitable agreements that are win/wins for our authors and retailers. We want our retail partners to profit from our books, because if they don’t profit it’s not a long-term sustainable relationship. We believe the 70/30 agency split provides retailers a fair profit. I’ve always believed that partnership and cooperation are preferable to war.

As an indie author, it’s important you understand that you’re the future of publishing. Your choices matter. Your decisions will shape not only your future but the future for all indies. Your decisions will shape how retailers treat you. Independence is earned – it’s not something you can take for granted. Here are four tips to preserve your independence:

  1. Choose your partners carefully. In the Indie Author Manifesto I wrote that indie authors should seek business relationships marked by partnership, fairness, equity and mutually aligned interests.
  2. Favor retail partners that support the agency model. Agency puts authors and publishers in control and frees retailers to compete against one another based on customer experience rather than cut-throat price wars. The agency model enables lower customer prices because more of the money goes to the author/publisher rather than the retailer.Indies have used agency to lower ebooks prices while publishers made the mistake of using agency to raise prices.Agency establishes a framework by which authors and retailers can work in partnership rather than as predator and prey.
  3. Avoid exclusivity. Exclusivity makes you dependent upon a single retailer. Work for independence, the opposite of dependence. Diversify your income stream by distributing everywhere. Every retailer reaches new readers you otherwise won’t reach. Each retailer, and each store they operate in each country, represents its own unique micro-market of readers. It can take years to develop readership, so maintain a strong and steady course of uninterrupted full distribution. This is similar advice I gave gave in 2011 when I cautioned authors to steer clear of Amazon’s KDP Select option.
  4. Support a vibrant ecosystem of multiple competing retailers. On your website and in your promotions, provide direct links to your books at each retail partner. Give your fans choice. Choice makes your books more accessible to readers.”

So there you have it from Smashwords, my friends. The four points above are good advice, which I follow. Note that this means you’ll have to have three different formats for each book—one for Amazon, one for Barnes and Noble, and one for Smashwords. I post my titles on Apple and Kobo via Smashwords, but if you have the technical expertise to post directly on Apple and Kobo (as yet, I don’t, so it’s easier and quicker for me to post on those sites via Smashwords), you’ll need special formats for each of those sites, too.

Bear in mind, too, that Smashwords has a vested interest in stirring up authors’ anxiety about Amazon—they are bitter rival competitors for the retailing of ebooks.

Like Big Media’s continued investment in Blockbusters (as a select few individuals define and choose such properties) to the neglect of everything else, Amazon’s strategy is horrible for authors. All authors.

Next:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 6: Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Hello, hello, is anyone out there reading? Reading fiction for pleasure?

One of my longtime fans, an avid reader, told me neither of his kids read for pleasure. “They’re nineties kids,” he said. Meaning they watch the boob tube, play video games, cruise the Internet, listen to music. Their cultural pleasure is defined by their senses, by their eyes and ears. Not their minds.

I could summon no rebuttal or plea, and I was troubled. People who don’t read, who don’t use their minds, who don’t think and analyze—which is what reading, including fiction reading, encourages—can be so easily manipulated by the sensations of Big Media.

But the good news is, yes, plenty of people are reading. Children became acclimated to reading fiction for pleasure by the phenomenal success of the Harry Potter books. Young adults have learned to read for pleasure from Twilight and other YA books and, whatever you think of the quality of those books, if they encourage people to read, they’ve done a good thing.

We’re talking a multi-billion-dollar business. The fact that the Big Five Publishers continue to maintain posh editorial offices in fancy Manhattan skyscrapers (been there, seen them) is proof that the getting is still good.

For the Big Five Publishers. And for some authors.

Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about last year:

A Strong Finish for Trade, Even with eBook Decline, As Every Other Major Publishing Segment Rises In 2013

Trade publishing finished 2013 with two strong months of sales, according to the publishers who report to the AAP, closing the gap to put full-year trade sales a little shy of the big 2012 results. Measured sales from the approximately 1,200 reporting publishers were $6.441 billion for 2013, down by $74 million (or 1 percent) from 2012 — which was a banner year, thanks to the Hunger Games and Fifty Shades trilogies. (By comparison, total AAP trade sales in 2011 were $6.082 billion, when Borders went bankrupt and liquidated.)

November sales of $651 million were up strongly, by $62 million (or 10.5 percent) compared to a year ago, with December sales of $530 million up 2 percent (or $12 million) over 2012. Adult sales showed the largest gains in November, while children’s and YA sales led the December increase.

The other headline for 2013 is that overall trade ebook sales declined — slightly — for the first time since the AAP has tracked such sales. Total publisher ebook sales for 2013 were $1.471 billion, down by $15 million, from 2012. All of the decline and then some came from children’s and YA ebooks, since the late-in-the-year rise of Veronica Roth’s Divergent books was not big enough to overcome the falloff from the success of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games in 2012. Children’s ebooks comprised $170.5 million in 2013, compared to $232.5 million in 2012. Adult ebooks rose modestly, at $1.301 billion up 4 percent (or $48 million) from 2012.

What do you notice about this news?

Billions of dollars and brand-name successes you can count on the fingers of one hand. (I’ll get to the ebooks issue a little later.)

Brand-name fiction successes that literally drive the profits up or down of massive multinational corporations. The rest of those profits flow from business books, technical books, religious books, diet books, self-help books, some celebrity books. Those books don’t interest me and I’m not qualified to comment on them.

That said, what is a brand-name fiction success? Where does it come from? How does an author make this happen?

I’ll analyze the first of the two trilogies Publishers Weekly mentioned.

Suzanne Collins wrote some baby TV scripts for Nickolodeon and some baby books. She was well connected to East Coast Big Media. By her own account, she watched a Japanese TV show very similar to what she produced in The Hunger Games. She has an interesting background as the daughter of a high-ranking military officer in the U.S. Army. Scholastic, the publisher of Harry Potter in the U.S., picked up her book, got a great Stephen King blurb for the cover, and published 500,000 books. I’m not sure if that was the first print run, but that’s what got printed before THG hit gigantically big, thanks to a relentless publicity campaign on Amazon and elsewhere.

I’ve reviewed The Hunger Games on Goodreads, I thought it was a mediocre, weird science fiction book, kind of rambling and obsessed with food and clothes, and not at all the “non-stop speed rap” Stephen King claimed it was.

But The Hunger Games hit with the young adult audience, for reasons no one completely understands, and equally mediocre and nonsensical movies have been made, and Suzanne Collins has earned $50 million dollars. Since then, Collins has written a small children’s book about war that pretty much sank like a stone.

So that’s a conventional Traditional Publishing Phenom: a project that went through all the right channels and emerged—to everyone’s surprise—into a blockbuster.

But what about Fifty Shades of Grey? This trilogy has been such a puzzling Phenom, I’m not sure anyone understands it at all.

So there you have it, my friends. Traditional publishing has never been easy and looks to be getting worse than ever. What about all the other books? What about all the other authors?

What about your book? What about you, as an author? If you’re serious about writing fiction, is there any hope?

Yes, there is. But that hope comes with a lot of caveats.

Next: The Fifty Shades of Grey Phenom.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!